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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to Shawn Achor speak at a conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Shawn is a Harvard-trained researcher and an expert in happiness and human potential. He has a fantastic Ted Talk which only lasts 12 minutes which you should listen to – click here to watch it online.

Let me share with you some of my notes from Shawn’s presentation:

  • Most people are not average – average is just a statistical measure – it’s not relevant. If you study the average you miss out on learning. Best to study the above average.
  • It’s not reality that changes us, it’s the lens that we view the world that changes us. What you focus on is your reality. If we know everything about your external world, we can only predict 10% of your happiness. 90% of your happiness is how you process that information. Learn how to control your mind and focus, then you can only focus on the positive.
  • School grades do not predict success. In fact, studies suggest that a roll of dice is 2% more likely to predict success.
  • If we know a child’s IQ we can only predict one third of success – so intelligence has little to do with it.
  • There are three things that determine success/happiness: 1) Optimism – belief that behaviour matters and you can alter the outcome 2) Strong social connection 3) View stress is a good challenge – not a negative thing.
  • Be careful because negative patterns train your brain. E.g. If you always look for mistakes at work (e.g. such as an auditor does) you’ll look for mistakes in personal life.
  • Happiness is a choice. What you attend to first is your reality.
  • Happiness spreads. The best way to change someone is to change yourself.
  • Happiness is a work ethic – it takes effort.

So how do you make yourself happy?

Shawn offered a few exercises that you can do daily – start by doing one of them only – don’t try and do all of them at once:

  1. 3 gratitude’s – each morning write down and say out loud 3 things you are grateful for
  2. The doubler – think about one meaningful experience and write it down and think about it and visualise it
  3. The fun fifteen – 15 minutes of exercise
  4. Meditation – start with one minute of meditation and do more gradually
  5. Conscious act of kindness – do something nice for someone such as sending someone an email of appreciation (because it creates social connection).

Do one of these for 3 minutes a day for 21 days and that is all that is required to rewire your brain.

How do you ensure you follow through with these ideas?

Reduce your activation energy. Activation energy is the initial investment of time to start doing one of the tasks above. Decrease the energy it takes to do something to 3 to 20 seconds and the chances of you doing it increases significantly. For example, if you are going to exercise in the morning, sleeping in your training gear will increase the likelihood of you actually doing the exercise. The reason is that it takes less energy to get start – you don’t have to think “now I have to get out of bed in the cold, get changed and then go – it’s all too hard”.

Final thought

The problem is we think we might be happy when we achieve a certain volume in our businesses – $3m, $5m, $10m… whatever it is. So you work harder and harder to get to that volume so that you’ll be happy. Once you are there, you’ll move the happiness goal post up – so you’re never really happy. Problem is, that’s broken – it doesn’t work. Get happy first and that is what’s likely to get you more volume. A happy brain is 37% better at sales than a natural or negative one. Get happy first and success will follow.

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The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time

Posted by Oct03, 2012 Comments Comments Off on The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time
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The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time – with a Foreword by Jim Collins — is Verne Harnish’s latest book. Author of the ever popular Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne along with some of the top writers and editors at Fortune magazine, share the inside story on 18 of the most unconventional decisions ever made in business – decisions that not only changed companies, but changed industries and even nations. Endorsed by several top CEOs and biz authors, these decisions should spark important ideas to transform your own companies and industries. Here’s a link to the book site. where you can download a free chapter (GE’s key decision) and read Verne’s six page Introduction. And Jim Collins’ Foreword on the most important decision all biz leaders must make is worth the price of the book alone.

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There are 168 hours in one week. How many hours per week do you invest in yourself? Self improvement is anything that makes you a better mortgage broker and person and could include exercise, meditation, education and so on. Spending time on these things is an investment in YOU and it’s something that high performers do.

We are often so busy focusing on getting “work” done and we don’t spend enough time becoming better mortgage brokers and people. One hour spent on yourself could save you 10 hours of “work” in your business.

I am lucky to have recently returned from a conference overseas that included some amazing speakers. I learnt a huge amount but perhaps the biggest lesson (or reminder) was how much ‘learning’ there is for people that are hungry enough to go out and find it.

Specifically, as a mortgage broker, there are many things you can study to help you advise your clients better including refresher on credit policy, products, tax rules and changes, the property market, loan structuring, property management, financial planning and so on. Mastery should be the aim of all true professionals.

If you’re not happy with the results you are producing in your business have a think about how much time you are spending on self education and improvement. If you are consistently spending less than say 2 to 3 hours per week, then this is probably the cause. It’s impossible for your business results not to improve if you are spending more than 3 hours per week on self improvement. Good luck.

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The law of reciprocity

Posted by Sep14, 2012 Comments Comments Off on The law of reciprocity
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Many brokers are guarded with how much information they’ll give away to prospective clients. For example, a broker asked me recently if he should wait until a client signs an application before he gives them an RP Data report. The law of reciprocity definitely works so ignore it at your peril. Watch my video blog below.

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How much do you want it?

Posted by Sep07, 2012 Comments Comments Off on How much do you want it?
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Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Rasmus Ankersen (the author of The Goldmine Effect). Rasmus has studied high performance to work out what drives high performance – to find the secret of success if you like. He studied phenomena like the athletics club in Kingston, Jamaica which trained nine of the sprint mentalists from the 2008 Olympic games (including 5 gold). Why does Kenya produce a ridiculously high number of marathon runners? Is it genetics or raw talent? Neither.

Rasmus concluded that sometimes high performance is partly due to natural talent – like Usain Bolt for example. However, that is rare. The single biggest factor that drives high performance is… wait for it… hunger. How much do you want it? Hunger is important because it leads to practice. Practising is the biggest difference between high performance and low performance.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about The 10,000 Hour Rule. Malcolm suggests that greatness requires tremendous effort and you have to do something for 10,000 before you become an expert at it. He says Bill Gates accumulated 10,000 hours of programing experience by the age of 13. That is the ‘secret’. High performers start early in life and they work very hard. If you want to become good at something, practise the task for 10,000 hours.

What do you want to become better at? Better at lead generation, selling, something else? How much practise are you doing? How much do you want it?

Success is a lot of hard work but anyone can do it. So the choice is yours!

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