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Give your excuses a black eye!

August 21, 2010

Hey all, welcome back. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday; I was busy most of yesterday and today setting up my website. Check it out here! Alright, let’s get down to business.

So you can probably tell that I’m going to talk about excuses today. My first two blog posts dealt with excuses: excuses of time and excuses of money. I live by the following principle: you always have enough time and money for your priorities.

Say, for example, you can’t afford to make your car payment. What’re you gonna do? Probably put in a few more hours so you can pay for it.

And have you noticed that when having a deadline, though you tend to procrastinate, you always get it done? College students, lemme see your hands! That 10 page paper always finds its way to completion, even if it gets done five minutes before it’s due! Why does this happen?

It’s all psychological. When we’re faced with a situation, we assess what will happen if we don’t take care of it, and what will happen if we do take care of it. Subconsciously, we’re trying to figure out what bad things will happen if we don’t take care of it. One would think that the opposite would be true as well; that if we figure out what good things will happen if we DO take care of it, we’ll also be motivated to do things. This isn’t the case. That extra credit that was assigned could very well increase your grade by two letters! But it’s extra credit, so nothing bad will happen if you don’t do it, right??

As humans, we’re wired to react more predictably to negative reinforcement. If i miss my car payment, I may have my car taken away from me. If I don’t do that term paper, I may fail the course. I don’t want either of these things to happen so I will make the payment, doing whatever it takes. I can assure you that if there were a huge party the night before the extra credit was due, the invitees who had not yet completed it will never have completed it. That’s just the way we’re wired.

So what causes us to respond to these negative consequences? Well we look long-term. If my car gets taken away from me, what happens? Well, I either have to walk to school (it’s a three hour walk) or bus to school and transit. I’d have to leave the house by 5am to get to school on time. Now though these are indeed viable options… I believe those 2-and-a-half hours would be better off with me in my bed. Cuz I love my bed!

And let’s say I fail the course. Well, in some cases, if I fail a course, I have to take it the next year. And I can’t take the classes that had that class as a prerequisite. This could delay my graduation by a whole year. Though a viable option, I’d rather not shell out an extra 15 grand if I don’t need to.

So we weigh out our negative consequences. After all, would you rather 500 people be abandoned on a deserted island or 500 people be rescued from it? Oh, there’s only 1,000 people. Chances are, you want people to be rescued, not abandoned. There’s actually a real survey on that that’s a bit more complicated and I’m sure I got it wrong, but I can’t seem to find it after looking for about an hour. So I’ll just let that stay there for now.

The point of that was that we would rather prevent a bad consequence from happening rather than making a good consequence happen. Most people at least.

So what’s the point of all this? We make priority the things that will avoid bad consequences over things that will make good consequences happen. Let’s go even further. Many people would even make priority the things that will make nothing happen over things that will make good consequences happen. Let’s face it–people are lazy. I’m lazy. Tell me to run a mile and I’ll say “I don’t wanna!”  Tell me to run a mile every day because it’s good for my body and I give an excuse: “I’m already healthy!” And yes, I acknowledge that as an excuse. I tell you that I’m already healthy for two reasons: to get you to stop telling me to run miles and to get myself to believe that I’m too healthy to run a mile every day.

I can hear what you’re thinking. “You’re never too healthy to run a mile!” Or maybe some are thinking, “Yeah! That’s the life!”

Either way, most of you can recognize that as an excuse. When you’re late for work because you slept in, what do you say to your boss? “Sorry boss, I slept in.” No, you either try to sneak in or you say, “Oh, there was tons of traffic on the freeway… and um… there was a huge accident… and… cars blew up… and… yeah… so I’m late… even though you know that I live down the street from work… and I walk to work…”

You make excuses to prevent yourself from getting fired! It’s natural! It takes a person with real integrity to say, “Sorry boss, I slept in. I apologize, it won’t happen again.” Because we know we’re in the wrong! Now I don’t condone lying to your boss about why you’re late, it’s always better to tell the truth. However we also can’t ignore the fact that first instinct is always to lie to cover our own hides, and I’m talking about instinct here. Not what’s right to do.

Now what’s the point of all this? To tell you why you make excuses? No. Let me ask you a few questions. Answer only to yourself.

Why aren’t you making the income you desire?

Why don’t you have the job you want?

Why isn’t your health as good as you want it to be?

Why don’t you have the friends you want?

Why don’t you spend more time with your family at home?

Some of these questions may not pertain to you. Some may.

To my college brethren, you probably don’t have the income you want because you’re in college. Similar for job. Well, the job part is understandable. But the income part? Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire and his fortune started right out of his dorm room.

No, you don’t need to invent something new to get the income you desire. You don’t need to do something extraordinary and work 100 hours a week while still going to school full time. No. None of that. You merely need to learn your priorities. If you really want to have a nice income while you’re in college, don’t let “I’m in college” stop you from attaining that. You’re only lying to yourself. There are many many ways to earn income while you’re in college.

As much as I hate to do it, take me for example. I am unemployed. Have been for the past couple months. What can I say, it’s difficult to work 10 hours a week at place where I can only work between the hours of 8-5 when I’m at school and my classes take place during those times.

However that does not stop me from earning money. I’m a private tutor for a few families. I don’t count that as a job because I actually enjoy doing it. It’s a lifestyle. I love the kids I tutor. I enjoy associating with their parents. Great families. I almost feel bad for taking their money, but they always insist. Sure it’s not much. But it pays for gas and the minimal business expenses. And gives me $%&@ happens money.

Yes, I’d like more income. And I’m not letting college get in the way of that. Which is why I started with business. My business is out of the scope of this post, so I’ll not discuss it. But it’ll allow me to earn additional income, which is always good, right? Of course it is.

Now I understand that many of my ambitious college brethren are doing internships, getting tutored, in fraternities, or whatever. And that’s fine. I’m not saying your college life should be boring. Have all the fun you want. Personally, I’d rather work on my future instead of going out and partying. It’s a personal decision, and I’m not going to enforce it on anyone. But for your own sake, don’t make the excuse “I’m too busy with college to make any money” when you go out to parties every other night and spend all your [parents’] money on alcohol. It doesn’t matter to me if you make that excuse. It will matter to you though when you realize that all your partying did not help with any of your college debt.

Stepping off of my soap box, let’s focus on the older crowd. Why don’t you have the income you want? Is it because your boss is a bloodsucking leech who doesn’t even know your name? Lemme tell you this. You can blame all of your own problems on the rest of the world, but in the end, the world turns without you and you’re still left with your problems. You’ll never change anyone else. Try telling your boss, “HEY. MY NAME IS FRED. LEARN IT.” If you’ve been working there a year and he still doesn’t know your name, shouting your name at him will only get you a pay cut. Don’t try it. Don’t try to change the world before you’ve tried to change yourself.

Here’s an analogy. You forget to look both ways before taking that right turn on the red light, and you get hit by oncoming traffic. Who do you blame, your car, the other person, the other person’s car, or yourself? Well, some people will blame themselves. “I should have looked…” Some people will blame the other person, “If he hadn’t been speeding, I wouldn’t have gotten hit!” or “If he had braked a bit, I wouldn’t have gotten hit!” Few will blame the vehicles in question. “The car accelerated on its own!!”

But here’s the kicker. The insurance companies don’t care. It will probably be written off as your fault and your insurance skyrockets and you have to pay for both vehicle repairs. Doesn’t that suck?

Yelling at the other person for speeding won’t help your case. It may make you feel better, but in the end, you’re still paying for it. And it probably won’t make a difference to the other person because he’s not paying for the damages. The thing is, if you don’t take the blame and change yourself, you’re probably going to get into another car accident for not looking.

How does this pertain to income? Well, I believe employees get paid about 20% of what their contribution earns the company in a year. Sure they get paid by the hour, but during (most) of those hours employees are contributing to the company by developing software, helping customers, or whatever it is they do during their shifts. That’s why you’ll probably be granted that pay raise if your performance above the bar as opposed to if you sleep at work.

So how can you increase your income from your current job? Well, work smarter! What are your top 3 responsibilities at work? Write them down. Do them to the best of your ability. Make your boss notice. Why do you think the families I tutor are always willing to pay me above and more than what I had originally asked for? Because my only job is to ensure their child learns the material, and I don’t move on until the child understands. And the parents have seen results from the children. I have a genuine interest for the child. Did I know I’d get more money? Maybe it was in the back of my head. Not every boss will be willing to give raises. However, I do the best of my ability because it’s me. The child’s understanding of math is a reflection of my work. I’ve gotten numerous referrals to other parents because of my great work.

It applies to every job. Don’t sleep at your job. When you get fired, you’re gonna have a hell of a time finding a new job if you don’t have a good job recommendation.

Okay, so I went into several segues in this post. This is what I want to get at.

Don’t make excuses. Why is your life not the way you want it to be? Probably because of you make it like that. Shape up your own life first before trying to shape up others’ lives. Take blame for your actions and inactions. Set your priorities and focus on them. There is truth in the saying, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” Focus on adding value to everyone in your life and you will be well-respected.

Let me end with the story of W Mitchell. If you want to read his story, I suggest picking up “Dance Until It Rains,” which is a compilation of inspirational stories. If you want to read his book, pick up “It’s Not What Happens To You, It’s What You Do About It” by W Mitchell.

Because I’ve already spent about an hour typing this, I hope you don’t mind if I leave you with some copy-paste.

W Mitchell once guided passengers up the famous hills of San Francisco, as a strong and entertaining cable-car gripman. Amazingly, the same scenario holds true today! As an award-winning keynote speaker, he now guides audiences uphill and empowers them to take responsibility for life’s inevitable challenges and to embrace the power of taking charge. As Mitchell so convincingly states, It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it.

Why Mitchell? Undefeated by a blazing motorcycle accident and a paralyzing plane crash four years later, he learned to take responsibility for the countless changes in his life. Whether coping with devastating burns over 65% of his body or being sentenced to life in a wheelchair, this once robust Marine firmly held on to his feisty nature and quick wit. It was “his” uphill journey and he was determined to maintain control, cope with the changes, and prosper. Without a doubt, Mitchell understands what it takes to rebuild and eventually reach the top. His life clearly illustrates his philosophy — that most limitations are self-imposed.

Step by step, Mitchell moved forward with his life. He became an internationally acclaimed mayor “who saved a mountain”, a successful businessman who put thousands of people to work, a congressional nominee from Colorado, and a respected environmentalist and conservationist who repeatedly testified before Congress. His accomplishments have received media recognition in North America on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News and their counterparts around the world. He has been a radio and television host, a successful author, an award winning international keynote speaker and the subject of a recent television special.

Today, as an international keynote speaker, Mitchell captivates and stuns audiences with his story and then calmly empowers them to accept challenges, embrace change and take action – not only at work but in everyday life. His tenacity and credibility are indisputable as he so obviously lives his message. No one goes away unaffected as Mitchell proves that unexpected changes can become exciting new starting points. “Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I’ve lost or focus on the 9,000 I have left.”

W Mitchell shares his unforgettable story and proven strategies with corporations and associations throughout the world…in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Mitchell has met with presidents and prime ministers, CEOs, managers, and workers with a message filled with warmth, good humor and wisdom.  People leave inspired and encouraged to take action regardless of the obstacles! Imagine the impact of these same words on your organization as he eloquently and compassionately guides each person “uphill” through their challenges. If Mitchell can soar to the top, so can you and your organization.

Taken from http://www.wmitchell.com/amazing.html

So why aren’t you where you want to be yet? Why don’t we make the journey to the top together then?

See ya there,

Rasheed.

PS I apologize for rambling. I really wanted to make a good post tonight for not making any good posts recently. However, I have a tendency to ramble and digress. Since I spend a lot of time digressing and rambling, usually I get too lazy to delete what I’d just written so I leave it there. As a result, you get a cocktail of rambles. I’ll try harder in the future to organize my posts a bit more. Bear with me as I improve my blog writing skills.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2010 9:47 am

    One comment not related to this post, but the web-site.

    Looks like you are using their service (secretsofnetworkingsuccess) to create your web-site, they probably charge you for it. Web hosting services are getting cheaper these days. Even the free ones are not too bad.

    One suggestion is to create a video and you can host it on your favorite video hosting site and embed it on your page as well. If you’re camera shy, you can just record a screencast of how the “simple system” looks like.

    You already have a few now, but since there are quite a few social networking companies, I suggest that you publish the same info there. The quickest way to do one post to all is a service at posterous.com. Albeit it creates another blog for you, but that’s acceptable, they need to get your web traffic as well for the free service they provide don’t they? :). There are probably other ways as well. Hmmm, you could probably create a system that ties all these technologies and services into one and sell it 🙂

    Love you,
    Abah

    • August 22, 2010 12:17 pm

      The website is actually hosted by another company called MLMLeadSystemPRO; SecretsOfNetworkingSuccess is my own domain though.

      Though I’ll try the posterous thing. My main concern is traffic right now. As to making a new system, I’ll look into it 🙂 I don’t know anything about web-development but it still seems promising

  2. August 22, 2010 12:47 pm

    You can generate traffic by making it “viral”, just like how the other social networking works. You know by just registering, you may end up with all your friends in your address book invited to the site if don’t choose the options correctly. I got plenty of those invitation emails. Then when you subscribe, you’ll start seeing people’s friends postings, and friends suggestions, targeted ads etc.

    Creating web site is relatively simple, it’s the content that makes the difference. Start simple, focus on what kind of feature a network marketing person would like to have. The social networking technologies are relatively new, so any good ideas will get noticed. Consumer will determine if the idea will survive or not. Think of it as a service targeting specific group of people. If they do everything that they need to do in one site and more, they will stay.

    • August 22, 2010 7:44 pm

      I’m just looking for targeted ads right now, so I’m going to utilize social media.

      But there’s already a social network for network marketers: http://www.betternetworker.com and they’ve already got a lot of information and value in their website. Around 11,000 users of the forums, they’ve helped me out a lot in starting up.

      Right now I’m just gonna work with this targeted lead system and try methods to generate traffic… maybe when I do well in this, I can share my success with others in another website. I’ll come to you for help when that happens 🙂

  3. August 23, 2010 3:27 am

    hi i like the blog very much.

  4. August 29, 2010 9:32 am

    I really like this blog. great post keep up the good work. I have bookmarked your site.

  5. September 18, 2010 3:08 am

    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

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