Increase Your Probabilities of Success
Your aim should be to increase the probabilities that the things you want will happen to you, and that you will achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. One of the ways that you increase the probabilities of success in any endeavor is by using your time in an excellent fashion. When you set clear goals, make detailed plans of action, establish clear priorities and then focus single-mindedly on your most valuable tasks, you dramatically increase the likelihood or probability that you will be successful.
In the information age, the more ideas and information that you take in, and expose yourself to, the more likely it is that you will come across exactly the idea or insight that you need, at exactly the right time for you. As a result, you will greatly increase the probability of success in whatever you are doing.
Here are a series of ideas that you can use to keep up with, and get on top of, your job, career and field of expertise.
Readers Are Leaders
Read at least one hour per day in your chosen field. One hour per day will translate into approximately one book per week. One book per week will translate into approximately 50 books over the next twelve months. If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field
within three years. You will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. All leaders are readers.
Over the years, I have shared this simple concept with many thousands of my seminar participants. I receive a continuous stream of letters, faxes and emails from people all over the world who tell me that their lives have changed profoundly as the result of developing the habit of reading for one hour, or more, in their fields each day.
Give It a One Month Trial
Try this out for yourself. Give yourself one month to test whether or not it works. In all likelihood, one month from now, if you read one hour each day in your field, your whole life will begin to change. “Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body.” When you read in your field every day, you will become brighter and more alert. You will become more positive and focused. You will become smarter and more creative. You will see possibilities and opportunities in the world around you that you would have missed completely in the absence of your reading.
The average adult reads less than one book per year. According to the American Booksellers Association, 80% of households have not bought or read a book in the last 12 months. If you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will add up to 500 books in the next ten years. This habit of regular reading will give you an edge in your field, and move you ahead faster toward the front of the line than perhaps anything else you can do.
Just think, if you were reading at this rate, to become more effective and productive, do you think that this would affect your income? Do you think it would affect your career? Do you think that this amount of reading would affect and change your whole life? Do you think it would give you an edge over your competitors? I think the answer is obvious.
Read Magazines and Trade Journals
Read the business and trade publications that contain articles and stories that are relevant to your field. Subscribe to them all. They only cost a few dollars a year, but one article with one key idea can save you years of hard work. Sometimes, a single insight in a single article written by a specialist in your field can change the direction of your career. Remember the Law of Probabilities. The more ideas that you expose yourself to, the more likely it is that you will expose yourself to the right idea at the right time.
Read publications like Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, Inc., the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, your local newspaper and business section, and all the specialty magazines in your field. One good idea is all you need to solve a major problem, or even change the direction of your business.
Falling Further Behind
A friend of mine is a management consultant. He was hired by a company to advise them on how they could turn around their business. Their sales and profitability was falling. They were falling behind in the market. Their competitors were surging ahead of them. They needed help desperately.
My friend asked them a few questions about their business and then asked, “Can you give me the names of the major magazines, books and newsletters that are written on and about this industry?” The president of the struggling company looked at him with surprise. He said, “I have no idea what books or magazines to recommend to you. I don’t have any time to read that stuff. I can’t even attend the annual conventions for this industry. I am too busy.”
My friend the consultant stood up and said, “Well, I can save you a lot of money. I will tell you what your problem is right now, without further investigation. You have no idea what is going on in your industry. If you are not reading and keeping current with the changes in this business, you have no future.”
It is the same with anyone in a fast-changing, hard-driving, competitive business. If you are not aggressively keeping up and ahead of your field, you have no future in that field.
Invest in Your Most Precious Asset
Decide today to invest 3% of your income back into yourself, into upgrading your knowledge and skills. Spend 3% of what you earn on your own personal and professional development. Subscribe to every magazine in your field, buy every book written that can help you in your business, listen to educational audio programs in your car, watch educational DVDs, alone and with your staff, and take all the additional training and seminars that you can find.
Here’s my promise to you. If you invest 3% of your income back into yourself, within a few years, you will not have enough time in the year to spend the amount of money that 3% represents. Three percent does not seem like a lot, but the impact that investing this small amount will have on your life and career will be so extraordinary that it will amaze you.
Not long ago, they did a survey in New York of a cross section of professionals in business and academia. They asked them this question, “If you had managed to accumulated $100,000 from your job, what would be the very best way to invest that amount of money?”
They received a variety of answers from business people, academics, teachers, doctors, journalists and other specialists. The most popular answer that they finally settled on was different from what most people had expected. They concluded that, if you had saved up and accumulated $100,000 in your work, the very best investment that you could make would be back into yourself, and into becoming even better at what you had done to earn the money in the first place.
The Guaranteed Formula for Getting Rich
Sometimes, I will ask my audience this question, “If I could give you a guaranteed formula to become rich, would you be interested in hearing it?”
Of course, everyone says yes and raises their hand. I then tell them the “guaranteed formula” for success and lifelong riches. It is this. Invest as much in your mind each year as you do in your car. That’s it. Simple. Guaranteed. Obvious. And it works every single time.
The average driver spends $600 per month on their car in terms of purchase payments, insurance, fuel, maintenance and so on. If you are a high earner, you probably spend much more. But whatever the amount, resolve from this day forward to invest that same amount back into your mind, into becoming even better at what you are doing today.
In the first year of practicing this formula, your income will increase 25% to 50%, or more, and your entire career will take off.