Time Power: Keeping Up and Getting Ahead by Making the Most of Your Time

03/03/2023by dang tin0

Keeping Up and Getting Ahead by Making the Most of Your Time

‘‘Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt, but a gathering power that moves steadily through time, like the weather.’’ JOHN C. GARDNER, JR.

We live in a knowledge-based, information-driven society. Successful people today are simply those who know more than their competitors. One of your most important responsibilities is to keep up with your field and stay ahead of the pack by continually taking in new information and ideas. The amount of knowledge in every field today is doubling every five to seven years, sometimes every two to three years. This means that you must double your knowledge regularly just to keep it even. The basic rule today is, ‘‘To earn more, you must learn more.’’ You are earning all that you possibly can today, with what you now know. If you want to earn more in the future, you will have to learn and apply new knowledge and skills.

You must continually absorb new information if you want to achieve and maintain excellent performance in your field. If you want to be the best, you must pay the price in terms of reading, listening, learning, and growing. Your outer life will always be a reflection of your inner life. If you want to improve your life on the outside, you must begin with yourself, by improving yourself on the inside.

One New Idea Can Make the Difference

One new idea or piece of information can change the direction of your life. For example, think of the Nobel Prize for Physics that was awarded for research on superconductivity in 1987.

Once upon a time, a group of IBM scientists working in the IBM laboratories in Switzerland reached an impasse in their research on superconductivity. They could not find or develop the formulas they needed. They finally gave up, putting the work aside so they could concentrate on other activities with more immediate commercial applications.
One of the scientists on this project decided to take a break and go down to the company library. While he was browsing through the reading materials, he came across a French journal on applied ceramics. In that journal, there was an article discussing several experiments that had been done in conductivity with ceramics. The scientist suddenly realized that this was the key that they had been looking for. The article and the information contained in it approached the subject of superconductivity from a completely different direction than the one they had been working on.

He immediately took the article and the information back to the laboratory and began applying it to their experiments. Within twelve months, IBM scientists discovered the secret to superconductivity. Not long after, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. They are now recognized and esteemed as two of the most important scientists of the twentieth century, George Bednorz and Karl Alex Mueller.

By keeping their minds open, and by continually reading and gathering information from different sources, the scientists found the one piece of information they needed to make all of their other knowledge and information work together to achieve a single, large goal.

When Your Mind Collides with a New Idea

It turns out that every change in your life comes about when your mind collides with a new idea, like a billiard ball colliding with another ball on a pool table. This is why people who regularly expose themselves to new ideas tend to move ahead more rapidly than those who do not.

Most of life can be explained by the Law of Probabilities. This law says that there is a probability that virtually anything can happen. In many cases, this probability can be calculated with considerable accuracy. Most of the calculations in the worlds of finance, investments, and insurance are based on some kind of estimate of probability.
Increase Your Probabilities of Success

Your aim should be to increase the probability 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 probability of success in any endeavor is by expertly using your time. 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.

Keeping Up and Getting Ahead

One of the fastest ways of getting ahead is learning how to make the most of your time. 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 a day will translate into approximately one book a week. One book a week will translate into approximately fifty 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 e-mails from people all over the world who tell me that their lives have changed profoundly as a 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 it works. In all likelihood, one month from now, if you read for 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 a year. According to the American Booksellers Association, 80 percent of households have not bought or read a book in the last twelve months.

If you read one book per week, fifty books per year, that adds 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 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, would it affect your income? Do you think it would affect your career? Do you think this amount of reading would change your whole life? Do you think it would give you an edge over your competitors? The answer is obvious.

Read Magazines and Trade Journals

Read the business and trade publications that contain articles and stories 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 such as Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, your local newspaper and business section, and all the specialty magazines in your field. One good idea is all you need.

Falling Further Behind

A friend of mine is a management consultant. He was hired to advise a company on how it could turn around its business. Sales and profitability were falling. Competitors were surging ahead. Company management needed help desperately.

My friend asked them a few questions about their business and then said, ‘‘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 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 it.

Invest in Your Most Precious Asset

Decide today to invest 3 percent of your income back into your- self, into upgrading your knowledge and skills. Spend 3 percent 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 videos-sites, 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 percent 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 percent 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 it will amaze you.

A cross-section of New York professionals in business and academia was asked this question: ‘‘If you had managed to accumulate $100,000 from your job, what would be the very best way to invest that amount of money?’’ Business people, academics, teachers, doctors, journalists, and other specialists gave a variety of answers, but the most popular answer was different from what most people would expect. 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, during my speaking engagements, 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 his car be- tween 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 percent to 50 percent, or more, and your entire career will take off.

Appreciating Assets Versus Depreciating Assets

An automobile is what is called a depreciating asset. It is subject to what accountants call ‘‘straight-line depreciation.’’ This means that, from the time you acquire the car, the value of that car depreciates a certain amount each year until it reaches a value of zero. At a certain point in the life of a car, it becomes a piece of scrap metal, suitable only to be melted down and turned into a new car. Your brain, on the other hand, is an appreciating asset. The more money you invest in it, by reading and acquiring additional knowledge and skills, the more valuable you become. No matter how much you invest in your car, it will soon be worth nothing. But when you invest in your brain, you increase your ‘‘earning ability’’ with every new idea or concept that you can apply to produce value or results for someone else.

This is why people with more knowledge and experience earn more than people with less knowledge or experience. Their earning ability is greater. They have turned their brains into appreciating assets that are worth more and more each year in terms of the quality and quantity of results they can achieve by applying their minds to their work. You should do the same.

Practice the ‘‘Rip and Read’’ Technique

You must be alert and aware of what is going on in the world of business, and your business in particular. How- ever, we are overwhelmed with a deluge of information that pours into our lives from all sides every day. You cannot get through it all. It is estimated that the average executive has 300 to 400 hours of reading stacked up around his home or office. You have to find a way to sort the relevant from the irrelevant and read the most important material.

One method you can use is called the rip-and-read method. Instead of reading a magazine the way it is written and laid out, you instead go to the table of contents, identify the articles of interest to you, and then turn straight to those articles. You then rip them out and place them in a file folder for reading at a later time.

Carry Articles with You

Many people keep a ‘‘rip and read’’ folder in their briefcases that they carry with them to read during ‘‘transition time,’’ such as in taxis or waiting rooms, airports, and airplanes. You can keep this file handy and read the articles, one at a time, whenever you have a few spare minutes. You will be amazed at how efficient you become in plowing through huge quantities of key information using this method.

Remember, magazines and newspapers are written and designed to sell advertising. For this reason, you must resist the temptation to read a magazine from front to back, from cover to cover. Instead, approach each newspaper or magazine with the assumption that most of the material it contains is of no use or value to you. The best way to save time in reading an article is to determine if it will be of any use to you, and if it won’t, to not read it at all.

The Way Adults Learn

Here is an important point about learning. The adult brain is designed so that you only learn and remember something if it is immediately relevant and applicable to your current situation. No matter how interesting it might be, if you cannot connect the information to your current life or work situation, and visualize how you might apply the idea immediately, it will slip through your mind, like water through a grate, and you will not remember it at all.

For this reason, you should not waste time reading subjects that may be of interest to you ‘‘someday.’’ Remember the Law of the Excluded Alternative, which says, ‘‘Doing one thing means not doing something else.’’ If you are reading something that has no immediate relevance or applicability to your work, you are simultaneously failing to read something that may help you immediately. Especially when reading well-laid-out magazines and newspapers, you must discipline yourself to keep focused on only those subjects that are relevant to your current work.

Use Gifts of Time Wisely

Take advantage of every gift of time that you receive. These are short periods, sometimes just a few minutes, which you receive during the day. Always carry reading material to go through when you get these unexpected moments of waiting or inactivity. Many people harbor a secret desire to read the classics of literature. They even purchase the ‘‘great books’’ and keep them on their bookshelves, hoping someday to sit down and read them. This seldom happens.

Here is a great idea for you: Purchase a paperback version of a classic book that you have been wanting to read. Tear out twenty pages and put it in your briefcase or purse. The next time you have a gift of time you can read a few pages. When you have finished reading the torn-out pages, replace them with a new set of pages from the paperback and put a rubber band around the old pages.

If you read a book a month in this way, you will read twelve books a year, 120 books in the next ten years. You will become one of the best-read people in the world by using this method. Or, if you read the classics for fifteen minutes a day, over a few years, you would have read all the great books of literature.

Learn from the Experts

Read the books written by experts in your field. Read books that contain practical information that you can use immediately to improve the quality of your work and your life. How do you know what books you should read? Here is a simple technique. With few exceptions, you should only read books written by people who are active practitioners of their craft. Books written by university professors are usually theoretically true, but practically useless in the course of operating a real, live business or living a successful life.

When you see a book that interests you, immediately read the biography of the author. Find out what the author has done and accomplished, where she has worked, and what kind of experiences she has accumulated in the course of her career. You are looking for books by people who have established a successful track record in your field.
Once you have determined that the author is a credible source of information, look at the table of contents to be sure that what the author is writing about is relevant and applicable to your field today. Avoid theory whenever possible. Look for practical ideas with practical solutions to common problems.

That is, if the book doesn’t offer something practical, then the best way to save yourself is to not read it at all.
Another way to determine whether you should buy a book is by looking at the number of books that have sold, especially if the book has come out in a paperback version. Any book that goes to paperback has usually sold well in hardcover. This is a helpful guideline, although not a guarantee of quality. Some of the best-selling business books are written by academics. They are full of completely impractical ideas. No one is ever able to achieve improved business results by applying an academic’s ideas in a real corporation. The material looks wonderful on paper, but it has no relevance to the real world.

Build Your Library

We are all creatures of habit. When we are young, we often develop the habit of going to the library, checking out books, reading them, and then returning them to the library. Many adults still do this, even when it makes no sense at all. Your time is your most precious resource. If you earn $50,000 per year, divided by approximately 2,000 working hours, means that your time is worth $25 per hour. You must think continually in terms of your ‘‘hourly rate’’ in the way you use your time. Why spend two or three hours going to a library, browsing, checking out a book, taking it home, and then returning it to the library? It is much cheaper and more efficient for you to buy the book, take it home, and have it at your fingertips for the rest of your life.

When you read, get over the idea you were taught in school that you must not leave any marks in your textbook. Instead, use a red or blue pen to underline and mark the key ideas and concepts that you come across. Turn down the corners. Write excel main points and stars in the margins. Personalize everything you read so that you can quickly go back and access the most important ideas. Many people will read a book, making notes throughout the important points. They will then go back through the book with a dictation machine and dictate all the key ideas. They will have a secretary type up this synopsis of the book, which they will then three hole punch and put in a binder. If you use this method, you can go to that binder and quickly review all the key points that you discovered in your reading. Then, each time you review these points, you will have new ideas and insights on how to apply them to your work or business.

Join Book Clubs

Join the book clubs in your field. Get on their lists. You will often receive solicitations in the mail offering you three or four free books when you join a new book club. Take advantage of the offer. Each month after that, you will receive recommendations on what are considered to be the top books published in that area in the last few months.
Book clubs tend to be very selective in the books they choose and recommend because they depend entirely on their income on selecting books that you will buy and keep. An enormous number of books have to be screened before they select the ones that they recommend to you.

Read and Listen to Book Summaries

Subscribe to SoundView Executive Book Summaries. This company selects and condenses three or four top business books each month and sends them to you in a six-to eight-page condensation that enables you to quickly get the best ideas in the book in just a few minutes. With book condensations, you can pick out the most practical and usable ideas that the book contains, and then determine whether you would like to read the entire book. You can also get book summaries on audiocassette or CD each month, so you can listen to them in your car as you drive to and from work. Each time you do, you will pick up some of the most current ideas on effective business operations.

Open Internet Accounts and Use Them

Open accounts with Barnes&Noble.com and Amazon.com. Put in your address and credit card number. Whenever you hear about a book that may be of interest to you, pull it up on the Internet and read a brief synopsis. If you like what you read, you can order the book online and it will be delivered to you in three to four days. This is a great time-saver instead of visiting the library or driving around to the bookstores. You can accomplish the same results that might take you an hour or more in one or two minutes.

Take a Speed-Reading Course

One of the most valuable things you can do in your adult life is to take a speed-reading course to learn how to accelerate the amount that you read and retain. Most speed-reading courses are based on similar principles. You can triple your read- ing speed in the first lesson or class. These courses are given in every city, and they are usually advertised on the Internet or the yellow pages.

With a good speed-reading course, you will quickly learn how to read 1,000 words per minute with about 80 percent retention. You will learn how to plow through large quantities of magazines, newspapers, and books. You will learn how to get through more reading material in two hours a day than many people get through in a week.

Learn How to Read Efficiently

Learn how to read a nonfiction book efficiently. Perhaps the best method I have found is called the OPIR method. OPIR stands for Overview-Preview-Inview-Review. Here’s how it works.

Start with an Overview

When you pick up a book for the first time, instead of opening it up and reading it from front to back the way you normally would, you instead begin with an ‘‘overview.’’ Read the front and back covers. Look at the flaps inside each cover, which contain important information about the book and the author. Read the table of contents from beginning to end, looking for a subject or heading that is of special interest to you at the moment. In the OPIR method, you then flip through the pages quickly, one at a time, to get a feel for the way the book is structured.

You look at each chapter heading and the way the pages are laid out. Read the subtitles and look at the charts, graphs, or visual elements. Get a sense of how the material flows in the book. This entire overview will not take you more than about ten minutes. As a result, you can now read ‘‘on purpose.’’ You can establish a clear purpose for reading the book by deciding in advance what it is that you want to get out of it.

Preview the Book Before You Read It

In the second part, the ‘‘preview,’’ you flip through the pages one at a time to get an even better feeling for the layout and content of the book. During the preview phase, stop and read an occasional sentence or paragraph, usually the first sentence or paragraph of each section. If there are questions or summaries at the end of each chapter, read them through carefully to get a better sense of what you will learn when you start to read the book seriously.

Read the Book in Depth

In the ‘‘interview’’ stage, you sit down and read quickly from page to page. The overview and the preview will have aroused your interest and triggered your curiosity. In the interview phase, you will be looking to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You will be engaging in what is called anticipatory learning. You are searching for information and ideas that are contained in the text.

During the interview, use your hand to move down the page just below the sentence you are reading. Read with a colored pen in your hand, and make notes whenever you come across an idea that you find interesting or important. Turn down the corners of pages if the material is important and you want to come back to it later.

Review What You Have Read

In the final phase, the ‘‘review,’’ you go back through the book again, from cover to cover, page by page, and reread the parts that you noted are most important to you. Remember that repetition is the mother of learning. It usually takes between three and six exposures to a new piece of information before you internalize it and transfer it to your long-term memory.

This four-step method, Overview-Preview-Inview-Review, will reduce the amount of time it takes you to read a 300-page book from six to eight hours to two to three hours. The more often you practice this method, the faster and more efficient you will become and the more you will remember and retain from each book. Using the OPIR method repeatedly will enable you to read two to three books per week. If you follow through and then dictate the key notes from each book you read, you will develop a personalized library of notes that you can reread months or years later, in just a few minutes.

Increase Your Intelligence and Learning Ability

The more you learn, the more you can learn. Your mental capacity grows and expands as if adding more microprocessors to your mental computer. And the faster you read a book, the more information you get. The faster you read, the more you retain. The faster you read, the more you are forced to focus and concentrate your mind, which makes you smarter. The in-tense concentration required by speed-reading drives more blood to your brain, and it activates more of the neurons and ganglia in your neocortex, your thinking brain.

There is a direct relationship between the number of words that you know the meanings for and how well you think. There is a direct relationship between the size of your vocabulary and the amount you earn. There is a direct relationship between your understanding of the differences in meaning between similar words and how smart you are.

You can increase both the quality of your thinking and the quantity of your income by disciplining yourself to read intensely regularly. Just as you become fitter physically when you engage in physical exercise, you become fitter mentally when you use your brain to read material that increases your knowledge, and skills.

Cancel Useless Subscriptions

Over the years, I have received solicitations to subscribe to every type of magazine, newspaper, newsletter, and journal. If it seems to be of interest to my life and work, I always take out a trial subscription and read the publication when it arrives. Over the years, I have accumulated as many as fifty to sixty weekly, biweekly, and monthly subscriptions of all kinds.

At a certain point, you have to stand back and ask, ‘‘Does this publication help me to achieve my goals?’’ Does it help me to achieve my goals better than other publications that I receive in the same area? Remember, you simply do not have time to read everything that comes to you in a day, week, or month. If a publication is not helping you achieve your goals or is not serving some other important part of your life, cancel the subscription.

Eliminate Your Stacks

One of the problems that you face today is called ‘‘staccato bia.’’ This occurs when you receive an unending stream of reading real that you don’t want to part with. You begin to create stacks in your offlcofficeat home. Sometimes, you consider it a sign of progress when you begin a new stack because the existing stack is too high. You often spend a good deal of time ranging your office home so that you can accommodate ever higher of material.

Once a year, I apply an important rule to my stacks. I ask the question, ‘‘Is this more than six months old?’’ In other words, has it been here for more than six months without me reading it? The rule is this: ‘‘If you haven’t read it within six months, it’s junk!’’

To keep your mind clear and operating at maximum efficiency, you must develop the habit of going through your stacks and throwing things away. When in doubt, throw it out! If you haven’t read it in six months, you will probably never read it. Whatever it contains is probably obsolete. Think of business or financial commenting on business conditions, all the information in those publications is obsolete within a month. Throw them away.

Don’t Worry About Missing Something

Here is another point. If the article is on a subject of importance, someone else will rewrite the article at a differently later time in a different publication. Don’t worry about missing an important idea. The more important the idea is, the more likely it is that it will come back to you from a different source. Throw the article out.

Always ask, ‘‘If I did not have this information, and I needed it, could I get it somewhere else?’’ The fact is that almost any information you need is available with a few clicks on the Internet. You can go into the archives of the major business magazines and retrieve articles that were written several years ago, print them out, and have them on your fingertips for a few seconds.

Listen to Audio Programs in Your Car

Develop the habit of listening to audio programs in your car when you drive from place to place. Audio listening is perhaps the greatest breakthrough in education since the printing press. With audio listening you can become one of the best-educated people in America by simply turning driving time into ‘‘learning time.’’

The average car owner in America drives between 12,000 and 25,000 miles each year, according to the American Automobile Association. This translates into 500 to 1,000 hours per year that you spend behind the wheel of your car. This is the equivalent of twelve and a half to twenty-five work weeks (based on forty hours), or three to six months of forty-hour weeks. This is equal to between one and two full-time university semesters.

Attend Automobile University Full-Time

Imagine if your boss came to you and said, ‘‘I am going to give you three to six months off each year to engage in personal and professional development activities,’’ and if you knew you’d be paid more money in the end as a result. According to a study at the University of Southern California, you can acquire the same educational time as university attendance just by listening to audio programs in your car as you drive from place to place.
The rule is this: Never allow your automobile to be moving without educational audio programs playing. You cannot afford not to be listening to educational audio programs. Turn your car into a university on wheels. Turn your car into a mobile class classroom

Knowledge and Ideas Condensed and Compressed

The information contained in audio learning programs can be enormous. The average program contains the best ideas of thirty to fifty-fifty. The author of the audio program has probably invested hundreds, if not thousands, of hours studying, reading, researching, and teaching the material contained in the cassettes or CDs. You can ‘‘hire’’ this expert for pennies a day. You can have him drive around with you, stopping and starting instruction at your leisure, sharing the best ideas he has learned over the years.

To learn the equivalent of the information contained in a good audio program, you would have to purchase thirty to fifty-fifty and read them. This would cost you $500 to $1,000 and take 300 to 500 hours of study. Even then, you would not have the ideas and information organized as helpfully as you can find the audio program.

Increase Your Income from the First Day

Over the years, I have produced dozens of audio audio-learninggrams. Many of them have been translated into as many as twenty languages and have now been used successfully by millions of people. Having spoken in twenty-four countries and met countless whose lives have been changed by audio listening, I can say I have not met a single person, in more than twenty years, who has not seen his income increase dramatically from the day he began listening to audio programs in the car. No exceptions.

In my experience, audio listening becomes addictive. When you begin listening to an audio program in your car, you are struck by the number of great ideas that you can learn so easily and enjoyably. Because of the Law of Attraction, according to which a person is like a living magnet, you will almost invariably find afindportunity to use these ideas shortly after you learn them, and almost immediately you will see results and improvements in your life. This motivates you to listen more consistently. As a result, you get even better results. Your performance improves and your income increases. Audio listening affects certain parts of your brain in becoming intelligent. Try it and see.

Attend Seminars and Courses Regularly

Attend seminars and courses given by people with practical experience and successful track records. In a seminar or workshop given by an expert, you can learn a tremendous amount of practical information in a short period because of the way seminars and workshops are developed.

When I conduct a full-day seminar on sales, leadership, management, or strategic planning that lasts six or seven hours, I will usually invest several hundred hours of reading, study, research, consulting, and practice to get the information that goes into it. I will read anywhere from twenty to 100 books, underlining and taking notes. When I design the seminar, I will take the very best ideas that I have learned on that subject from every source. I will organize the seminar around the key concepts that can be immediately applied to get better results. Most people in the field fieldofessional speaking and training follow the same procedures in designing seminars. What you learn in three to six hours when you attend one of these semi- nars may have taken the facilitator ten or twenty years of hard work to learn and condense. And the pressure is always on the speaker to include more value in a seminar by seeking out even more helpful ideas.

So, by all means, attend every seminar you can flnd. Bfindlling to travel across the country if necessary to spend several hours with an expert in his fleld. field attendance at one seminar, if it is the right one for you, at the right time, on the right subject, can save you years of hard work in your fleld.

field the Professional Associations in Your Field

Join professional associations where you can meet other people in your fleld. Jfieldhe organization or association that represents your business, or that the top people in your field befieldto. Join the chamber of commerce in your community and attend their regular meetings. Join business groups that welcome people who are in the same field as fieldwork in similar flelds. fields every meeting you possibly can. As Woody Allen once said, ‘‘Eighty percent of success is just showing up.’’ Business associations are designed to be ‘‘self-help’’ groups.

Everyone who belongs to these associations is there because they are looking for ways and opportunities to improve their busi- nebusinessesir results. They join professional associations be- cause they know that the very best way to help themselves is to look for ways to help other people.

At each meeting of your professional association, you will meet people who can help you, and whom you can help, to achieve business goals. In my experience over the years, having addressed hundreds of business and association meetings, I have found that the very best people in every industry belong to these groups, and they attend regularly.

Get Involved and Offer to Help

When you join your local association, resist the temptation to simply show up for meetings. Instead, decide to get involved in some way. Offer to help. Offer to serve on a committee. Offer to do something that needs to be done on a voluvoluntarilythe most important and respected people in every business associaassociatione who actively contribute to the activities and success of that organization. Make sure that you are one of them.

Almost everything that you accomplish in life will be determined by the people you know and the people who know you. When you offer to serve on the committee of your professional association, you get a chance to meet and work with some of the best people in your industry. They get a chance to meet and work with you as well. Over the years, your willingness to volunteer your time and effort will allow you to build a wider and wider network of contacts that you will be able to draw upon to help you to achieve your business and personal goals. There is a saying, ‘‘The more you give of yourself without expectation of return, the more that will come back to you from the most unexpected sources.’’

Network with the Top People in Your Business

Make it a habit to network regularly with people in your business and your community. Introduce yourself to people who can help you, and whom you can help in return. The most successful people in any business or organization are those who network effectively on a day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month basis. Your success in life will always be determined by the qual- ityqualitytity of the people who know you and who think of you in a positive and favorable way. The more people you know, and who know you, the more successful you will be. People like to deal with people they know.

Trigger the Law of Reciprocity

The key to networking, and to building a wide range of contacts is called the Law of Reciprocity. This law says that people are always looking for opportunities to return favors to people who have done favors for them. Therefore, you should always be looking for ways to help or to do favors for people who can be helpful to you sometime in the future.

One study found that the most successful managers, those who were promoted regularly, spent as much as 50 percent of their time interacting and networking with other people, both within their business and industry and outside of it. More people knew them, and more doors opened up to them as a result.

The Success Formula That Never Fails

Here is a simple formula that you can use to save an enormous amount of time in achieving your career goals. It is simply this: T X R = P. In this formula, T stands for talent. These are the talents, abilities, skills, knowledge, and experience that you bring to your work. R stands for relationships. These are the number of people you know, and the number of people you can affect or influence in some way. P stands for productivity. Your productivity is the quality and quantity of your results, what you produce, and what you get paid for. Talent times relationships equal pro-equality.

In other words, constantly work to become better at what you do. Continuously network to expand your number of contacts and your productivity or value will continue to increase.

Take a Course in Public Speaking

One of the most helpful career decisions you will ever make is to take a course in public speaking. Take the Dale Carnegie course, or join a local chapter of Toastmasters International. At- tend ea At-teAt-unfollow the directions they give you to learn how to speak on your feet.

The way to overcome your fear of public speaking is by learning to prepare and deliver a talk. Once you learn how to deliver a speech, you will attract into your life opportunities to speak in front of small groups of people, and then larger groups. When you do your homework and become, become more knowledgeable on your subject, and then express yourself clearly and effectively to others in public forums, you will attract tons of people who can help you.
One of the most admired skills in the world of work is the ability to speak well on your feet. As you develop this skill, new doors will open for you. You will feel more courageous and con- fldent. Youfluenthave higher self-esteem. People will respect you and admire you. You will be given opportunities to use your development in developing higher and higher levels.

Invest the Golden Hour in Yourself

One of the very best ways to get ahead in your fleld is to field early, by 5:30 or 6:00 A.M., and invest the first-hour first day in yourself. This is often called the golden hour. It sets the tone for your entire day. If you get up and read something uplifting or educational for one hour each morning, you will start your dentally prepared to perform at your best in the hours ahead. One hour each morning spent reading a book in your chosen fleld, or field educating, motivating, and inspiring yourself, will improve your performance in everything you do.

Three Keys to the Future

Here are three final points final keeping up and getting ahead. They are repeated throughout this book because they are the pivotal points of high productivity and personal success.

First, plan every day in advance. Start off every day with a written plan, clearly organized with tasks, and activities, and I prioritize work with your most important task.

Second, listen to audio programs in your car. Always have your audio player on when you are driving. Take every opportunity to learn new ideas that can help you in your life and work.

Third, commit yourself to lifelong personal and professional development. Reading, learning, listening, and growing can save you many years of hard work in achieving in your career goals and your desired income. Sometimes, one new piece of information, at the right time, can change the whole direction of your career.

Become a No-Limit Person

There are no limits on what you can become, except for the limit its limited space on yourself. There is no you cannot do anything willing to prepare yourself long enough and hard enough in advance.
Your decision to keep up, and keep ahead of what is going on in your fleld, will field that you reach your full potential. It’s one of the most important decisions you can make. By becoming the best at what you do, you will become everything that you are capable of becoming. Never stop learning and growing.

‘‘I kept six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who.’’ RUDYARD KIPLING

Action Exercises

1. Resolve today to dedicate yourself to lifelong learning; decide to pay any price, invest any amount of time re- quired, to be the best at what you do.

2. Build your library of books that can help you to be even more effective at what you do; take time each day to learn something new.

3. Listen to audio programs in your car from now on. This habit alone can make you one of the best-educated and highest-paid people in your fleld.

4. Take a course in public speaking and learn how to be both effective and persuasive on your feet. This skill can open countless doors for you.

5. Learn to speed-read and also to read more efflciently. These are both basic skills that you can acquire and use for the rest of your life.

6. Join the business groups and associations that welcome members of your profession or business; get involved and offer to help.

7. Get up at least one hour earlier than you need to and invest the ‘‘golden hour’’ in yourself. Read something uplifting or educational that prepares you for the day.

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