The Importance of Personal Development

In the world of personal development information is everywhere. There is no shortage of things to do, diets, exercises, listen to podcasts, read books, go to seminars. If you have clicked on this page it is likely that you have some interest and therefore have probably tried at least one if not multiple of the above examples. But as fad diets come and go, so do a lot of the ideas in these mediums. That is usually a sign that they don’t work or they are just not reasonably feasible and/or sustainable. Wanna lose weight? Easy, go vegan and run 22km per day 6 days a week. I guarantee you’ll shed pounds, but I guarantee that you will have about a 99.8% chance of failure.

A lot of the quick fixes make great headlines because they promise the world, but can they deliver? Am I going to invest that much of my time on a whim? Likely not, so the question remains; How can I find something that will work for me? I want to help you with that.

I have been trying to figure it out for a while. I think it is one of those processes that you continually learn. There is no official measuring system like a B.A. or a doctorate that I know of in this realm so I am first going to share the story of my journey to put where I am at in context. I am referring to it as a “Journey” because I am not at a destination. There is no destination. You can just strive for continual improvement. I am not perfect, but I think I can help.

I started my personal development journey by wanting to get into some form of investing. I found that real estate will works for me (Check out the “My Investment Journey” post for specifics of how I came to prefer real estate as my main vehicle).

Did I just hear you say “Aha, that why Adam’s site is tilting in that direction?

I have gone through the process of rental real estate a couple of times.

I have done a ton of research on the subject and am constantly doing more.

I am at a point where action is needed. My next steps are attracting capital and joint venture partners.

During my real estate geared personal development, I have noticed some trends or commonalities showing up in some books, podcasts and trainings. I was always a little skeptical because a lot of my research was from reading. I am a slow reader so my pool of books wasn’t overly vast and my pool of content contributors was even smaller.

Generally, if you have written a book about something that means you have found a system that works for you. You are probably extremely successful and have had extreme focus in your one area. You must have a work ethic or routine or habit or all the above that is unsustainable to the masses. To really prove this point read “The Wealthy Barber” that has an unsustainable method to a comfy retirement, then read “The Wealthy Barber Returns” written by the same author (David Chilton), who has added little more clarity from his years of experience and pokes a little bit of fun at his first books unsustainability.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed and then stalled.

OK, so I am at a point where I “Get” real estate and I can slow down my research of how… and move to the doing. Personal development should never end though so I needed to expand my viewpoint a little.

This happened a little bit by accident I have to admit, but what an eye opening journey it has been.

I travel 4 hours to work. Quite frankly I got sick of the same old music on XM radio. I was finding the drives to be such a huge waste of time. As co-incidence would have it, two more things occurred to help:

First, my wife’s phone became too crappy for her but it was a significant upgrade to my phone. I got it when she got a better one.

Second, I was at a weekend real estate investment training seminar and people were talking about podcasts. Sick of wasting time on the road with the same music, people recommending
podcasts and now having the hardware capable of downloading and playing them. I think it was a
trifecta of awesomeness!

I started listening to “The Everyday Millionaire” podcast, by the CEO of the real estate network that I belong to.

This is where I started to notice some trends in the interviewees.

Wake up!

This is where it all starts to pay off.

The people being interviewed were not unattainable high achievers; they were regular people doing extraordinarily well. They were doing a lot of similar things. I expanded my podcast listening to a few others like Tim Ferriss, Bigger Pockets and Tony Robbins (I was always extremely dismissive of Tony Robbins because I though all his mind control hypnotism pump me up bologna was all just hype type junk. I was blown away at how direct, relevant and insightful he actually is.) I noticed the trends were continuing. These trends were not only in achievers in real estate but in every field that the interviewees were in.

I was soon realizing that my skepticism was holding me back. It was really hammered home when some of the successful people on the podcasts didn’t really sound any smarter than me, they just followed better practices.

Whew, that was a long build up to the guts of this post, but I think it is important to know how I got here. I am not coming from the point of view of just one book or one podcast or something. So here are a few of the things that will help you immensely. Most of them are pretty simple and most are easy to start and maintain indefinitely.

Write it down

Let’s start with an easy one that I can’t overstate how powerful it is. It comes in so many forms and different practices, but the crux of it is simple.

Write down your thoughts or needs or goals.

Keep a pad and paper handy. If you go to the grocery store chanting the ten things you need to pick up, you will get eight or nine of them. You might get lucky and get all of them, but if you write them down, you will get all ten and your mind will be free to think about other important things. You already thought of your list, why let it clutter your mind trying to remember it?

This is a simple example, but you can, and really should expand this idea. You have probably heard it before. It is not a brilliant epiphany, but it could very easily be lost in all the other suggestions.

A notepad by the bed is very common in books and podcasts that I have read/listened to. Have you ever gone to bed and started thinking of stuff you need to do? You get to thing one, then two, then three, five, eight and then aargh, what was the first one. Now you are thinking of all these things around and around and then you don’t sleep for a long time and then you wake up forgetting most of it. Sleep is important (See below).

Keep a pad available to you in most occasions. Sleep isn’t the only thing you lose because you don’t only think of things at night. During the day it will rob your focus on anything. Write it down, move on and continue to focus knowing you won’t forget it later. Stress free.

The method to put this step into action is not important.  Find one that works for you. For me, I have a pad in my pocket at all times at work.  Routinely I will think of a list of five or six little things I need to go and do before travelling to a site.  Forgetting one 2 minute job, can cost hours of lost time. I write it down so I can’t mess it up. It is a lot less stressful when I have my list.  At home I often use the notepad on my phone. I look at it periodically and it gives me reminders of what I need to focus on.

Write it down

Schedule

You really should plan and schedule your time.  If you have your plan, then you have your mission.  You don’t have to stress about “What do I need to do?”  You can find yourself racking your brain for how to make the day work and trying to fit other small things in.  This will stress you endlessly.

I am terrible at this one so don’t think I am perfect like the “Authors” I was talking about above.  I have relied heavily on my wife to do a lot of the planning because she was home more than me, but I really got under her skin by constantly asking about what is going on in a particular day.  

Everyone that was on any of the podcasts, that were effective daily, spoke about how they schedule their days weeks or months.  Sometimes it was a topic, sometimes it was just a fact of life and was discussed in passing. Routinely I heard people talk about how important this was to them.  It allows you to say “no, sorry, I can’t fit it in”, or “I have free time Wednesday at 10:30. Will that work for you?”. Either way, there is no stress of being put on the spot.  My wife carries a day planner and schedules that way. I use the calendar in my phone. At work I use my calendar in Outlook.

There are several ways to keep your schedule written down, try one and do it.  Modify it or completely change it until you find a way that works for you.  

The next question is how far in advance do you schedule?  

There seems to be three time periods that are very often used.  

The long range scheduling seems to be pretty simple.  This is planning holidays or trips or training or something that has a set day far in advance.  Once it is set it is set.

The next scheduling range is to schedule your week.  Probably half the successful people that I have listened to, do this as a Sunday night ritual.  They do it before going to bed and sleep soundly because of it.

The last scheduling range is scheduling your day.  Very often this is done the night before. It is also often a pre-bedtime ritual.

Some things to take into account when scheduling a day is to schedule some fudge time, because things will come up.  That’s life. You don’t want one thing happening to throw off your whole schedule. Also if you are trying to achieve something, you must block off some time just for that.  I will repeat this statement:

“Block time off for the most important thing you need to be doing.”

Let nothing interfere with it. Read “The One Thing” and that will make more sense.  Basically, it is a book on focusing on the important thing to achieve your desired outcome.  Plan it. Execute it.

Workout

What does this have to do with investing in real estate?  

Great question.

I am not saying bulk up so you can beat up the competition.  Stay fit. Mind body and soul. It sounds like oxymoronic thinking but if you work out, you will have more energy.  If you work out, you get it. If you don’t you probably wonder how does that guy have the energy to go workout and then go to work day in and day out?  In reality your thinking is backwards. He has the energy to go to work day in and day out because he works out everyday.  He probably has more energy at work too.

I could load you up with quotes like “Take care of your body, it’s the only one you got”, but then I would have to drill a hole in my brain because I despise quotes like that one that point out obviousness even if they are true.  I hope you get it without them.

The fact is if you spend some time at regular intervals on your body, you will have more energy, you will be healthier, you will make better decisions, you will feel better.  I am sure you have heard most of this before…But have you put it into action? You have the choice.

Take Responsibility

This one is not as black and white to implement.  

It does take a little bit of thinking to wrap your head around using it, because it is way easier to say IT’S NOT MY FAULT.  It rarely takes the words of “It’s not my fault”. It’s not my fault the market crashed or my tenant moved out or my car broke down or the campsite sucked or the burger wasn’t that good or I bought a Dodge.

Passing off responsibility comes in much more subtle and sinister ways. Listen to peoples (and your) excuses for a couple of days. Ask yourself if it really isn’t your fault or if you actually did have some responsibility for the results. You will be blown away if you truly and honestly listen.

If you have a consequence occur and you find an excuse why it happened and leave it at that, then you are doomed to make the same mistake over again and again.  

If your tenant moved out on you, try and find out why.  Try and find out if you can improve your process to limit this occurrence.

If the market crashed and you lost a ton of money. Stupid Syria. Think about how to protect yourself in the future from that outcome.  Perhaps you should plan more long term so the next time you are more comfortable and don’t panic sell at a loss.

If your marriage is falling apart and you think “My wife is nuts and doesn’t love me.  What a cow”, then maybe you should take some responsibility and look what YOU are not providing (Look into Tony Robbins Six Basic Human Needs and listen to his podcast on “Why People Cheat Part 1 and 2”.  It is more about how to fill a good relationship rather than bad ones.).

The campsite sucked? Did you do any research to find out before hand. How could you find out the next time before you book?

When it is not your fault, you are helpless.  Ask yourself, “Am I really helpless here?”, “What can I do differently?”.  

How do other people avoid the issue you just had/have?

Be Accountable

It is really easy to skip your resolution if nobody knows and nobody is watching.  

If you say “I will go to the yoga twice a week for a year” will you do it? It is far more likely you will if you make that goal with someone else who will go with you.  They will drag you along in your weak moments, as will you them (perhaps even out of spite because they did it to you last week).

You are far more likely to succeed if you are accountable to someone.  

There are several ways that people implement this. I have a real estate coach that I am paying to learn from, so my cheap nature is my accountability because if I have not done the work and I am not prepared, then I have wasted my money. I also have an accountability partner. She and I keep each other on our toes.

You could try putting it up on Facebook and ask for public internet shaming if you quit.  You can get creative with this. Just make sure that whatever pain will be inflicted (embarrassment, financial, shame) will be worse that doing what you need to do.  Humans are more concerned with avoiding pain, than creating pleasure.

Use pain as your motivator, but also have some positive re-enforcement. 

Know Your Why.

This is a big one. It is in every personal development piece that I have ever come across.  It is a resounding chorus that says you need to have a purpose. This purpose needs to be bigger than yourself.

You probably are somewhat successful on your own and you can LIVE with that. I have a good job and I can milk it until I retire and then be done. I can be comfortable. Most people can get there because comfort is a relatively powerful driving factor.It drives the majority of us without us even knowing it. More importantly we fear not having this comfort and certainty. This is why the majority of us stop there.

We stop growing out of fear of losing it all.

If you have a purpose, it will propel you to get started and it will pull you through when it gets difficult.

Part of my WHY is that I fear that without growth, I am tied to MY status quo of comfort.  

My status quo can evaporate in a heartbeat with an accident, getting laid off, or any number of terrible things. We have all heard the stories of someone who’s life changed drastically in a moment. They are then financially handcuffed and they are out of options. I want to avoid this possibility. Have you ever heard a story of someone who is very close to retirement only to have a market crash/correction and they get stuck working in the later part of their lives?  Just go to a Tim Hortons or McDonalds and look behind the counter.

That WILL NOT be me.  

Ensuring that I am able to finance my own retirement and more, so I never have that happen to me is part of my why. When I am successful at unlocking MY formula to achieve this goal, I will have the ability to duplicate it. This will allow us to prosper as well as certainly retire. We will then be able to contribute, donate to charities, help others or whatever we choose.

P.S. I have already set myself up for a good retirement. I am already at step 2 of this process.  This whole website is dedicated to sharing and achieving this goal.

If you are reading this you probably are wanting more out of life.  You may want to give back and might be looking for a means to allow you to do this.  You may have a loved one that you are wanting to help out.

I personally want to help people in general.  I want to take part in trips such as one that I am planning on doing in 2019, where we go to Mexico for a week and build a house for a family that needs one. I think that would be incredibly fulfilling.

Any way you cut it, money IS power. It represents work. If you amass greater amounts of it, you can control greater amounts of work.  You can choose the work that it represents. It is NOT equally represented though of course. Some people work way harder for their dollar than others. I would rather have it work for me.  

Some people view their dollars as little children that can grow up and have children of their own and grow exponentially like a family.  I want to have extra so I can allocate where the funds go. Of course, lots will be for me and my vision of pleasure, fun and security, but I also view it as a way to stop trading my time for work.  When I can lessen my trading of time for work I can spend my time for my vision. I can spend it on my version of doing good. I want to help people in genuine need and I want to counsel people who are less educated in the world of personal finance.

What is your “Why”?

Get Some Sleep

I am not your mom, but I can tell you that it is the very rare person who can actually work at a good capacity after only four hours sleep.  If you say you can you must be either a unicorn or you are lying to yourself. Try it for a few weeks.

I heard a few stories of extreme over achievers that swear by getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 and starting their day while everyone else is in bed.  The amount you can get done when nobody else is up is incredible. The Terminator is one of those guys.

I am not a morning person. I am best friends with the snooze button, but there is hope.  A lot of the people being interviewed were like me and not into getting up at ridiculously early hours. They were optimal performers later at night. I think I fit better in that category as it is 10:45pm whilst I am writing this.  

There were early workers and late workers and normal schedule workers, but they ALL agreed that to perform at their best they needed to get the right amount of sleep.  This is about 7 or more hours. Obviously at times this isn’t possible, but make an honest effort and don’t stop trying.

Focus. Don’t Multitask

Time and time again the power of focus came up.  It is such an important subject somebody should dedicate a whole book to it.  They should call it “The Power of Focus”. I wish I was that brilliant. It has already been written.  It is on my list of books I will read.

Over and Over I kept hearing that multitasking is not actually feasible. There is research that shows that people who are “Multitasking” are actually changing very fast between tasks.

Without going into too much detail, multitaskers don’t really multitask, and the work they put out could be so much better if they were to focus on just one thing at a time. There are some situations and jobs that are out there that require more of this rapid task shifting, but if you want to be effective, focus on one important task at a time and do it for longer periods. Finding that one task has a book of it’s own appropriately called “The One Thing”. One way to train yourself at focus is to meditate.

Meditaion/Mindfulness

Yes, I snickered too and I know what you are thinking.  

You can never picture me doing it. Bazinga, I have started to.

 It isn’t what I thought it was about. It is another one of the habits that an overwhelming majority took part in (Over 80% seem to take part).  I am new at it, but I have noticed some improvements in myself. I can’t speak too much about it for that reason other than to tell you that you shouldn’t dismiss it without looking into its merits first.  

Mindfulness teaches your brain to be able to focus. It may or may not be just a coincidence that focus is the section just above this one.

Be Grateful

Time for another rhetorical question;

Have you ever been angry and that caused you to make a bad decision?  

Of course, you have. We all have.

Think of a time when you learned of someone that had something terrible happen to them or when you watched one of those world vision infomercials.  

These two things do have a common thread.  Gratefulness. Think of a few things you are grateful for everyday.  It can be simple things as good weather or a good lunch or a smile that you got from someone.  You are probably thinking “How are these things tied together?”.

When you heard that sad story or watched that infomercial you probably had a small part of you that softened.  You had a part of you that actually felt good. You probably would have supressed this feeling because you thought it wasn’t correct for the situation, but if you understood why; it makes sense.  You would have seen the terrible situation and then subconsciously felt gratitude for your situation.  

When you are feeling grateful you feel good.  Being grateful is the antidote to anger. You can’t simultaneously feel grateful and angry at the same time.

I have started a daily ritual in our house.  

At dinner time we go around the table and say three things we were grateful for on the day.  It seemed a little weird at first. At times it has been difficult. With a little practice it has gotten easier.  On occasion the kids actually request to go first. It is too early to tell how much of an impact this will have, but I know I have seen some small improvements so I plan to continue.  

Try it for yourself. Try it first thing in the morning or last thing at night or both. I would also encourage you to write it down. If you do write it down you can look it over when you start to feel frustrated or angry and it can help.