Sunday, July 31, 2016

8 Ways to Master the Art of Communication
Written by Jim Rohn

The better you become at using these tools, the better you’ll be at communicating.

“The art of communication”—I like that phrase. Because communicating is an art. When we’re attempting to get our message out to others, it’s as though we start with a giant blank canvas and we then begin to paint a picture, any picture we desire.

Now, most people assume that when painting a picture, they have only a few basic brushes at their disposal. But the advanced artist knows there are many tools available to create their masterpiece, and they use each to their advantage.

The same is true with communication. There are many tools available to you as you communicate; you just have to be aware of them and then use them purposefully. The better you become at using these tools, the better you’ll be at communicating.

The two primary categories these tools fall into are verbal and nonverbal. Let’s look at the different ways you can use each to improve your ability to communicate.

Verbal Communication
1. Your words
It’s been said that people judge you by the words you use, and this is true. Choose your words wisely. Words have power. They have the power to move nations and they have the power1 to destroy as well. When you speak, use your words carefully.

Here are a few things to consider in regard to your words:

Avoid using words that will cause the other person to think poorly of you. Slang is one example. Another is, of course, slurs of any type. Use words that communicate positive values. Use optimistic words, words of strength. Make sure they are understandable. Use words that are colorful and rich with meaning, as long as they can be understood by the listener.

2. Your Vocabulary
An expanded vocabulary will set you apart. It enhances the communication process and draws others in.

Your vocabulary can reveal to others how educated you are, and others may make judgments about you that can affect your opportunities with them. The best communicators will use an expanded vocabulary with more educated groups and a more basic vocabulary with less-educated groups.

Just as important as what you say is how you say it. What tone are you using? When you speak, are you monotone? Or do you move the tone of your voice, changing it up? This will naturally help people follow what you’re saying. Changing the tone of your voice is a very effective way to draw people into your message. Imagine if a painter only used one color. We want lots of color and lots of tone.

Along with the words you use and your tone, consider your pace. Sometimes when you speak you may need to go slowly, and sometimes you may need to go very fast. The speed with which you speak will tell others certain things. A fast pace will communicate that you’re excited about something. A slow pace usually communicates thoughtfulness or that you really want them to hear your point.

Choosing your pace is also like using your volume in an effective way. Master communicators will draw their audience in by fluctuating their voice from very loud to a near whisper. The audience doesn’t even know that the speaker is taking them on a roller coaster ride of communication. There are lessons to be learned here. Even in a one-on-one conversation, we can shift and change volume, keeping our communication more effective.

3. Emotion
The emotions you communicate while speaking are vital. The key here is to show emotion without “getting emotional.” Emotions can be a very effective communicator. For example, showing anger can communicate that you are very serious about something (as long as you don’t get angry often). Allowing yourself to cry can show a side of you to others that communicates that you are a person of passion who, while being a hard-charging person who desires success, also has a tender side. Allowing yourself to laugh will communicate that you have a fun side and do not take yourself too seriously. Emotion, if controlled, is a powerful communicator.

4. Enunciation
Do you speak clearly so people can understand you? Enunciation is an often-overlooked key to effective communication. It’s imperative to clearly enunciate our words so that people understand us. Clear enunciation gives us a little “punch” to our communication. Work on enunciating your words clearly. The key is to get it just right—enunciating so that your words don’t run together but not over-enunciating so that you sound unnatural.

In all of these principles, the idea is variety. Anytime we communicate in a single way, we become predictable and people stop listening. Think of yourself. Do you like to listen to people who speak at one speed, in one tone, with a boring vocabulary and without emotion? Of course not! Then we should make every effort to be colorful and effective communicators. And we can be—if we work at it and practice, practice, practice!

Nonverbal Communication
What you say affects how you communicate, certainly, but just as important is what you don’t say. Yes, your nonverbal communication has a major impact on how well you communicate.

Have you ever given much thought to how you communicate nonverbally? Here are some thoughts on ways to use nonverbal communication to support what you’re saying verbally.

5. Your Hands
Keeping your hands by your side will make you seem stiff and uncomfortable. Instead, use your hands to communicate. Now, don’t get too demonstrative to the point where people are wondering where your hands are going next. One way to see what you do nonverbally is to record yourself speaking. Watch what you do with your hands.

6. Your Eyes
The eyes can be a very powerful tool in communication. You know the old saying, “the eyes are the window to your soul”? It’s true. Think of what a mother communicates to her newborn when she gazes into their eyes, or what a couple says without words when they look into each other’s eyes. The eyes speak volumes.

Have you spoken with someone who is constantly looking around? What does that communicate? A lack of interest in what you have to say.

When you speak to someone, look at them. Give them your attention with your eyes. Listen to them with your eyes. Communicate with them that they are important.

7. Your Arms
Some people don’t even realize when they’re “closed off” to someone else by crossing their arms when the other person is speaking. Those who study this tell us that crossing the arms is a surefire way to close yourself off from the other person. It communicates closure, fear and opposition.

8. Speaking Position
When you’re communicating, especially in a presentation situation, your speaking position, whether you are standing, sitting, kneeling, etc., can communicate a lot.

For example, my good friend Zig Ziglar, a master of the stage, will frequently move to the front of the stage and kneel. What is he nonverbally communicating? He is saying, “Listen closely to this. This is really important.” He is bringing the audience in for an intimate moment. Even in a room with 1,000 people, this way of communicating can make every individual feel like Zig is speaking closely to just them.

Sitting communicates casualness. I know many speakers will give a considerable part of their presentation this way. John C. Maxwell, another friend of mine, and a world-class leadership expert, gives quite a bit of his speeches while sitting. His style is informative and casual—and it is effective..

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2016. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

5 Simple Steps to Plan Your Dream Life
Written by Jim Rohn

Reflect on where you are going and how you are going to get there.

I’ve often said that the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes you do to accomplish it. This will always be a far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful—they are part of the fabric that makes up our lives.

Goal setting provides focus, shapes our dreams and gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to take in order to get everything in life we desire.

Goals are exciting because they provide focus and aim for our lives. Goals cause us to stretch and grow in ways we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better; we must change and grow.

A powerful goal has three components:

It must be inspiring.
It must be believable.
It must be one you can act on.

When your goals inspire you, when you believe and act on them, you will accomplish them.

The basis for knowing where we want to go is knowing where we came from and where we are. It also knows how well we have done achieving things we have previously set our eyes on. This is the essence of evaluation and reflection. We need to understand how to look at what we have done and then use that as a platform for what we want to do next.

The process of evaluation is relatively simple, but can be varied a bit. The important point is having a process. Here is the basic process for evaluation and reflection:

1. Find a quiet place.
Reflection is best done away from distraction. It gives your mind space to think.

2. Take a regular time.
Whether it is once a week, every other week, once a month or quarter, be sure to set aside a regular time at regular intervals to evaluate and reflect.

3. Look at what you have accomplished and where you are.
Be specific. Be truthful. Be ruthlessly honest.

4. Write it down.
Keep a record. This gives you the chance at the next stage of evaluation to see exactly where you were last time and keeps it as objective as possible.

5. Look forward and set your next goal.
Stretch yourself according to what works for you.

That is the basic process of evaluation and reflection. If you have not done this before, then this will get you going. Be sure to follow the general idea and set aside time for your evaluation and reflection.

Now, the purpose of evaluation is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for your life. Second, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. In other words, it gives you a baseline from which to work.

We have all heard the quote that the unexamined life is not worth living. To evaluate and reflect brings us face to face with who we are and what we have become. More important, it allows us the time to dream and create a vision for what we want to become. Only when we take time out of our busy schedules can we get into the state of mind and quietness of heart we need in order to find that inner place where we see what we are and what we can become. Those who never take time to evaluate and reflect will blow to and fro through this life, living by the forces of culture, circumstances, societal pressures and, unfortunately, personal weaknesses. In contrast, those who take the time to evaluate will find they are like an oak tree in a storm: They have a firm foundation, know where they are going, how to get there and, ultimately, they will get there no matter what comes their way!

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2015. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

5 Money Principles You Need to Know
Written by Jim Rohn

The things you must understand to achieve financial freedom—aka your get-out-of-debt plan

Although finances shouldn’t be the highest priority in our lives, I will say money plays a major role and we need to see it for what it is: a tool. As my good friend Zig Ziglar says, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen!”

Money is a tool that, depending on how we use it, can bring much joy to our lives or it can bring destruction. We need to be aware of all the possibilities it offers as well as the pitfalls. Some of the most amazing things have been done because people had the financial resources to fund them—businesses have been built, schools started and philanthropic charities founded that have accomplished much good. On the other hand, friendships have been ruined, illicit gains profited and lives destroyed—all over money.

So today, I want to focus on applying some simple financial principles, but I also want to teach the underlying philosophies that govern what good people can do and what tremendous accomplishments can be made when we see money for what it is: a tool to improve our lives and the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can.” A person who sees the powerful force for good that money can be will more likely keep their own life in balance by pursuing the disciplines of earning, saving and giving, which, together, create the perfect tension and balance.

But we must also remember that money has a seductive side and tells you it will solve all of your problems, but it won’t. It is great to have money—lots of it—as long as your life is in balance and you keep the proper perspective. It is important that we own our money and not the other way around.

The first way to make sure money doesn’t own us is to deal with the issue of debt.

Americans, along with most of the world, have more debt than ever. We would do well to remember the old proverb, “The borrower is the servant to the lender.”

When we are in debt, we owe someone, and because of this, they have a certain amount of control over us. We are, in essence, their servant. This is not the way of financial freedom.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to debt, I have found that many otherwise intelligent people just don’t get it. So, for a little help, here are five things you must understand to achieve financial freedom:

1. Develop the right mindset.
When it comes to debt, the only mindset is one of ruthless opposition. We need to see debt as the very enemy of our financial lives. If we begin to say, “Well, a little debt here and maybe a little debt there,” we will soon see a lot of debt everywhere. In the same way money can compound positively when we save and invest, debt can also multiply and push you deeper into debt as each month passes. The right mindset is that we need to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Is this your mindset? Many times, we are a product of the environment we were raised in or we associate with currently. Have you thought lately about the mindset you have toward debt?

2. Gain more understanding.
Some people have no idea how much debt they actually have. Some people do not know whether they have a positive or negative net worth. You can’t plan your future if you do not know where you currently are. Think of it this way. Let’s say you wanted to visit a friend and needed directions to get to his home. When you call for directions, he would ask you where you are coming from. Typically, we would tell him our town or address, and he would then give us directions how to get there from where we are. Imagine, however, if we told him we didn’t know where we were. He couldn’t give us directions because he wouldn’t know whether to tell us to go north or south, east or west.

The same is true with knowing where we are financially. If you have a goal to save $1 million, your plan is going to be different if you already have $750,000 saved than if you have $100,000 in consumer debt. Figure out where you are financially—get an understanding. In this instance, the old “Knowledge is power” adage is true. There is power in knowing where you stand financially, because only then can you map your financial future!

3. Seek help.
When you are sick, you go to the doctor. When you want to improve in a sport, you get a coach. When you are in debt, you need to seek some help. Depending upon the amount of debt you have, you will have to look for varying degrees of help. If you have $2,000 to $5,000 in credit card debt, you might just need a friend to keep you accountable on monthly spending. If, on the other hand, you are over your head in debt, for instance $50,000 in credit card debt, you may need to bring in the help of a financial advisor who can help you with your creditors. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Everyone needs help at times, and wise people get help when they need it. If you have debt and need help managing it, get help. Your future depends on it.

4. Get control.
Think about the concept of debt for a minute, especially the specific action of going into debt in order to purchase something you want but don’t have the funds on hand to pay. Now, you might not ever articulate it this way, but what you are really saying is, “I don’t have the money for this, but I want it so much that I cannot go any longer without it. And, not only that, but I am willing to pay 10 to 20 percent more for it than it costs.” (Ten to 20 percent is a typical yearly percentage rate on a credit card.)

What this boils down to is an issue of control. Can you control your urges? Or, more appropriately, will you control your urges? Will you take control of your life? Will you take responsibility for your actions and decide for yourself that you will no longer buy on credit and dig yourself deeper into debt, jeopardizing your financial future?

5. Create a Plan.
To get out of debt, you need a plan. It needs to be simple, effective, workable and tailored to your individual life. There are some fundamentals you can follow, but everyone has different incomes, levels of debt and at different stages in life. A 50-year-old couple who has an income of $125,000 with $50,000 in debt is going to have a different plan than a single male, age 25, who has an income of $30,000 a year and a total of $10,000 in debt.

The key is to have a plan. Once you have a plan that will work for you, then work the plan with all of the discipline you can muster. Your plan should include detailed strategies for spending, income, saving, investing, etc. I remember the day so clearly that I told my mentor Mr. Shoaff, “If I had more money, I would have a better plan.” To which he replied, “No, I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money. Remember, it’s not the amount that counts, it’s the plan.” As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So true.

Here are a few additional basics for your get-out-of-debt plan:
  • Write down everything you spend. Keep a ledger or a journal or a notepad or whatever works for you, but write down every transaction you make. This is so important. It creates awareness, forcing you to take a second look at each decision, and helps bring accountability to your spending.
  • On all future credit card charges, pay off the full charges for the previous month’s expenditures—no exceptions. This will keep you from paying “new” interest. If you are not able to do this right away, set it as a goal to be able to do as soon as possible.
  • Determine how much additional money you can apply to your debt each month and apply it all to your highest-interest debts.

Your financial future can be amazing; it can be anything you want it to be. Part of the heritage you can leave behind is being financially independent, but it will involve some deep soul-searching and some tough decisions to figure out exactly what you want out of life. One of the first issues you must deal with, though, is debt. If you don’t have debt, that is fantastic. If you do, life isn’t over for you; you can still achieve whatever you desire, but only if you make the commitment to shift your priorities.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2016. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How to Succeed in the Face of Seemingly Insurmountable Obstacles
Written by Jack Canfield

To achieve your goals, you must take action – and REMAIN in action, moving persistently in the direction of the results you want to create.

But sometimes you run into roadblocks that seem too big to overcome, setbacks that knock you down so hard you begin to wonder if you’ve been wasting your time chasing an impossible dream.

How do you persist in the face of such seemingly insurmountable obstacles?

Here are my top 7 tips:

1. Know that adversity is inevitable
No matter how well you plan and how well you execute your plan, you are bound to meet with disappointment, setbacks, and failure along the way to your ultimate triumph. Sometimes, you will encounter what seem like overwhelming odds. At other times, the Universe will test your commitment to the goal you’re pursuing. It’s inevitable – and it’s a good thing.

Why? Because adversity is an excellent teacher. It gives you the opportunity to develop your inner resources of character and courage, requiring you to learn new lessons, develop new parts of yourself, and make difficult decisions.

So instead of worrying about setbacks or letting them put the brakes on your momentum, know that they are bound to happen sooner or later – and when they arrive, welcome them as the learning opportunities they are.

2. Talk to people who have walked the path before you
Every challenge you encounter on your journey has already been experienced – and overcome – by countless others before you. Do your research and find out who these people are. Talk to them one-on-one if you can and ask them what they did to overcome that problem. Read their articles, watch their videos, buy their books – whatever it takes to find the answer to your problem.

The clues to success are out there in plain sight – if you look, you will find them.

3. Chunk it down into achievable short-term goals
When you’re faced with a big challenge, the best way to deal with it is to chunk it down into simple, achievable steps. This is true for any goal you want to achieve, really – by breaking it down into a series of smaller tasks, and accomplishing them one at a time. Be sure to set measurable goals with specific deadlines and then determine all of the individual action steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal.

Maybe your first step will be to google, “How do I [solve this problem]?” Maybe it will be to do some research, find someone who has solved the problem before, and set up a meeting with them. Or maybe it will be to download a tutorial, or watch a YouTube video. As long as the action is carrying you further along the path toward your ultimate goal, it’s a step in the right direction.

4. Come up with 3 possible solutions for every problem
When you run into an obstacle or roadblock, a great way to resolve it faster and with less hassle is to brainstorm three possible solutions to it. There’s always more than one way to solve any problem, and in order to find the one that will work best for you, it’s smart to give yourself some options.

That way, if the first solution doesn’t work you don’t have to go back to the drawing board or waste time getting discouraged all over again because you already have two more solutions lined up ready to go.

5. Set ambitious goals that help you stay focused on the big picture
When you’re scaling a mountain, it’s the breathtaking views from the peak—and the triumph you know you’ll feel once you’ve reached the summit – that keep you climbing toward the top. Don’t get stuck thinking only about your next few steps. Remember the ultimate reason why you’re doing this.

What kind of life are you striving to create for yourself? How will you feel once you are living that life? This is the fuel that will keep your motivation burning bright even when it feels like your luck has run cold.

6. Be willing to pay the price
Achieving your biggest goals and dreams will require some level of sacrifice. It might mean putting other things in your life on hold while you devote your evenings and weekends toward your dreams. Or it might mean investing some of your savings or giving up a few hours of sleep each night for months on end. Are you willing to make that effort?

Many people proclaim to want to achieve their goals, yet are unwilling to pay the price it takes to make their dreams a reality. No one knows this better than Olympic athletes. According to John Troup, writing in USA Today, “The average Olympian trains four hours a day at least 310 days a year for six years before succeeding. Getting better begins with working out every day. By 7:00 AM most athletes have done more than many people do all day.”

Although becoming an Olympic athlete is probably not in your future, you can become world class in whatever you do by putting in the time and disciplined effort required to excel.

But before you choose to pay the price, you must know what the price is. If you don’t know what will truly be required to make your dreams a reality, investigate what it will take to achieve your desired goals. Research the costs other people have had to pay to achieve dreams similar to yours. You may even want to interview these individuals to discover the sacrifices they had to make along the way.

You may find that some costs are more than you want to pay. Only you can decide what is right for you and what price you are willing to pay.

7. Never, ever, ever give up
If the price is something you are willing to pay, commit yourself to achieving your dream – no matter what it takes. The willingness to do whatever is required is the magic ingredient that helps you persevere in the face of challenges, setbacks, pain and even personal injury.

Consider these examples:
  • Admiral Robert Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he made it on try number eight.
  • In its first 28 attempts to send rockets into space, NASA had 20 failures.
  • Oscar Hammerstein had five flop shows that lasted less than a combined total of 6 weeks before Oklahoma!, which ran for 269 weeks and grossed $7 million.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early television reporting job as “she was not deemed suitable for television.”
  • Tawni O’Dell’s career as a writer is a testament to her perseverance. After 13 years, she had written six unpublished novels and collected 300 rejection slips. Finally, her first novel, Back Roads, was published after being chosen by Oprah Winfrey for the Oprah Book Club, and the newly anointed novel rose to number two on the New York Times bestsellers list, where it remained for 8 weeks.
Can you imagine if any of these people had given up along the way?

The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor. No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist, the more likely your success will be.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Friday, July 1, 2016

7 Books Everyone Should Read
Written by Jim Rohn

The book you don’t read won’t help.

There is very little difference between someone who cannot read and someone who will not read. The result of either is ignorance. Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives.6

You can start with these seven books and see where the journey of reading takes you, how much higher you can climb because of the growing stack of books under your feet. Read, read read—and let the books touch you, make you think, challenge your views and carry you to new horizons.

1. The Bible
The best-selling book of all time tells the story of sin and redemption, the story of mankind, of despair and hope. It is quite literally the story of our lives.

2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is arguably the best personal development and wealth building book of all time. It belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.2

3. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
This book will teach you to do just what the title promises: how to read a book for all it is worth so that you come out the best you can be at the end.

4. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
This book will ground you in the belief that whatever you believe you become. It’s based on the idea that we are what we think.

5. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Written in parables, this is a classic on thrift, financial planning and personal wealth. Everyone needs to read this book.

6. The Lessons of History by William James Durant
This book gives insight as good as any book on the changes that have taken place over time in economics, politics, military customs and more—very insightful.

7. The Story of Philosophy by William James Durant
In this book, Durant summarizes the lives and influence of philosophy’s greatest thinkers. This is very important for us, as we know that our philosophy determines how we live and what we achieve.


Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2016. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.