The #1 Skill They Fail to Teach You in School

How the hell am I supposed to read the labels…

Stumbling out of school, you look over your shoulder, as if in a movie, and see mirages of your education career.

The late night cramming, the late night parties, sleeping in the back of the class, staring at a test paper hoping you sat down in the wrong class because you understand zilch of what’s on the paper.

Mostly, you finish with a collection of facts, great friends, and a diploma. Let’s think about it, do leaders thrive with their “collection of facts.”

Of course not.

Leaders have something that followers don’t…the Power of Decision.

Power of Decision

Leaders know how to make decisions. We’re a people that get overwhelmed with too many decisions.

Sheena Iyengar has a famous experiment on choices, an experiment on “analysis paralysis.”

Sheena and her assistants set up a booth in various grocery stores. First they set up a collection of 24 jams for customers to browse, taste and perhaps buy. Then, every couple hours, they removed 18 of the jams and left just 6 for customers to enjoy.

They found something interesting, the table with 24 jams drew about 60% of potential customers while the 6 jam set-up attracted around 40%. Makes sense right?

That’s the obvious point, the interesting result they found, however, was about 30% of customers who visited the table of 6 jams actually bought a jam while only 3% from the larger selection. A wimpy 3%!

Ever walked into the wine section of a grocery store. I like to go and pretend I know what I’m looking for, but most of the time singing “Eeney meeney miney moe”. No one knows what’s going on, there must be hundreds to thousands of bottles you’re supposed to pick out a winner for the romantic night with the wifey.

Leaders prepare themselves for these situations and know how to make decisions quickly without freezing.

Types of Decisions we Learn in School

While in school you are faced with many different choices, moral and mature. What we have is a peer group to base our decisions off.

“Oh, the whole floor is going for a late-night Taco Bell run? Well, I guess that’s what I should do as well.”

Nothing wrong with some TB, there’s always time for a Crunchwrap, but you made a decision based off the behavior of others.

This “influence” is called the power of “social proof.” In a nutshell, usually subconsciously, we base decisions off the actions of the group.

The schoolyard is where you build your character, personality, and also where you set the foundation for the type of person you will be in the future.

Due to social proof, many students lose their ability to make a decision for themselves. Like zombies, they will follow the decisions and actions of their peers.

Become a Decision-Maker

If you got wrapped into this culture, don’t worry, most will to an extent, myself included. The key is how we will respond to this “negative” influence.

Formulate a Unique Brand: Your distinct brand automatically puts you into your own class.
Think about that clique in school. You wouldn’t even think of them as different people just 1 group.

If that’s the case, the members of that clique will become more warped into the social proof umbrella instead of making their own decisions.

Take charge of something: This is a skill that needs more teaching in school. Everyone isn’t going to become President, but each student should be able to take on a project and make decisions to complete the project.

You don’t need to be best at picking the “best” decisions, just having the ability and having the confidence to put yourself out there and make a decision.

Figure out when Social Proof is in play: Here’s a great talent to have. Learn to recognize when you’re being influenced by social proof.

Use your gut, is the choice you’re going to make actually what you want, or are you flocking to what everyone else is doing?

When you have a purpose, your gut will tell you which way to go. You will always have the naysayers who oppose you, but ultimately make your own decision.

Have you caught yourself falling for Social Proof decision making? What leaders with great decision prowess do you admire?

Photo: Credits to Mr_Wahlee

‘Choose Yourself’ Grow Your Idea Muscles with James Altucher’s Book

james altucher
Who do you choose?

I was reading James Altucher’s new book, Choose Yourself! (definitely worth checking out) and I got so into the book that once I finished I turned the book back over and started again. Make sure to check out his site as well.

Altucher touches on many of his failures with brutal honesty sharing on multiple occasions where he lost millions after a successful company and ended up broke. Most people will never have a $1 million bucks in their account all at once, but Altucher on many millions and went bankrupt.

That’s not the lesson that stood out, it’s how he was able to bounce back using his “Daily Practice.” I’m not going to go through all of it, you’ll need to check that out yourself but he had 2 major themes which alone provides humongous value to your career path and personal brand.

Idea Machine

What is an idea machine? It’s being someone who’s mind is always racing with ideas to solve problems, help others, or even start something new. We each have an “idea muscle” that needs to do some lifting on occasion. Every muscle needs exercise to perform at it’s peak, and Altucher credits his idea muscle from bringing him back from bankruptcy and failure many times over.

How do you exercise your idea muscle? You force yourself to come up with new ideas, however lame they may be, and write them down.

I was inspired after this and started a new note on my Evernote page simply called “Idea Dump.” One day I may open that vault, but not today ūüėÄ

In just a short period of time, I already had thought of a problem I felt needed solving and a business that could spin off from it. I’m in the testing phase of the idea and will write a post after the test to pursue it / not pursue it.

A point he makes is every idea must have a material next step you could take. Thus, you can’t put “Time travel” because no one has any idea to make that happy. Maybe you do know how, if that’s the case, let me in on it so I can go back to middle school and never wear headgear!!!

Altucher says to write 10 ideas a day, no matter how dumb they are. I’ve started with just a couple a day and will go from there, but soon he promises that you will become a machine at constructing new ideas. If you want to get ahead in your career, be the go-to for ideas on problem-solving and bettering the company. Those are the wealthy people.

Richard Branson is notorious for trying many different ideas, some stuck, others didn’t, but he built up that muscle and so can you.

Give, Give, GIVE to your Network

This has always been a tough one for me. I’m always worried I have nothing to offer to my connections, especially those with more experience, more successful etc.

But he provided an idea I hadn’t thought. It’s funny how simple this IDEA is.

It’s give new IDEAS to your network. Where can you provide ideas to improve their business, interests whatever. James reached out to top players and didn’t ask for anything. He simply said “Here’s some ideas for new posts you could do or here’s some code you could use to improve your business.”

That was it. Immediate value to your network.

You’re not even asking for anything, just providing instant value. This is something anyone can do, it doesn’t have to be an idea, it could be an actual product whatever. The main idea is to provide value without asking for anything.

It’s so simple. I’ve already e-mailed connections I’m hoping to grow and offered this book for them to read because I know they’d enjoy it. Provided instant value. I’m going to send you this book for free without expecting anything, done just to provide value.

My idea muscle is still hitting the gym, but once it’s ready for big-time, I hope to provide my ideas to connections I want to cultivate.

Networks are built on value.

Valuable Interviews/Talks with James Altucher

One of my favorite things to do is show you great places to find further awesome valuable content to sink your teeth into.

  • Excellent talk on Social Triggers by James giving a talk on how he’s provided value and grown in his career. His dry sense of humor is worth the watch, it’s hilarious!
  • I’ve mentioned this interview before, but Srini’s interview with James is probably one of my most favorite ever and ever. It’s where I was first introduced to Altucher, but it covers how he first got started at HBO and going from there.
  • Lewis Howes also interviewed James for his new book. I shared this interview right away it was that good.

Make sure you pick up the book HERE. Have you used your Idea Muscle today? Put your ideas below.

One of my ideas I’ll share, it’s terrible, but it’s a re-usable tissue that remains dry after each sneeze and nose-cleaning. It’s unsanitary and sounds completely nasty, maybe it has some self-cleaning mechanism. Who knows? It’s just an idea to start with that may mate with another of my ideas down the line. It’s fun!

Multiply the Hours in your Day Right Away

wake up early

You always want more time in your day, more time to do the things you love. Well as we talked about in the last post about Pruning and Batching you were able to free up counter-productive tasks.

Remember that everything you feel may be productive, could actually be lowering productivity.

“Is there something better i could be doing with my time?” – The key to Pruning.

Sometimes busy schedules can only be pruned so much that you simply need more time. Where else do you find time?

Waking up Early

Oh no! The worst 3 words many don’t want to hear. “I’m not in high school anymore, I don’t need to be on the bus by 6. Work starts at 9.” If you usually wake up at 7:30 for work and leave at 8:30, imagine if you cut down your preparation time by 30 minutes. That’s 30 min. a day 5x a week, over 100 hours a year.

Sounds productive! Right?

I’m lying to you and if you hear this “tip” it doesn’t work. When you know you’re on your way to work in an hour from waking up, you’re not going to hurry up and do something productive right before you leave.

“Yes I can, I can do 30 minutes of cardio, jump in the shower for 5 minutes, eat breakfast for 5 minutes and be gone, so there!”

All that sounds fine and dandy on paper, but let’s look at the real picture, we never allocate enough time for certain tasks. When we go and find more time for the regular chores, we cut out the productive time, the “cardio” time.

After a while, we figure “What’s the point, cardio’s down to 15 minutes, not worth it, and back to bed I go!”

If this sounds familiar give me an “Amen.” I’ll say it with you.

The magic key? Waking up earlier!

Successful people are known to wake up early, it’s the best way to automatically create more time for your goals.

Remember what we talked about with “Finding your Adventure“, you never SETTLE!

Thus, there is always something to be reaching. Maybe it’s just reading for 30 minutes a day, perhaps reaching out to a new contact every week and building a relationship there, or, for me right now, it’s creating new content on taking control of life as an entrepreneur.

Whichever it is, you need a buffer of time to be making your goals happen. As Deacon Bradley mentions, set time to work on your “play” (you’ll need to check out his post to see what ‘play’ I mean.

Time is a valuable asset, each second that goes by we never get back. Most successful people will say that they value their “time” more than any other asset, even more than their wealth. Wealth is something which can be multiplied, time remains fixed for each individual.

You have the same amount of time to do something adventurous with your life as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs etc. We’re all on the same level when it comes to time, but that extra time in your day when you wake up early is your advantage in “multiplying” your time.

“Early to bed, early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin. CLICK TO TWEET</a>

Steps to Waking Early

1.) Prepare mentally or write down what you plan to do in the morning. Don’t try and stumble out of bed and figure it out as your groggy state will tell you there’s nothing better to do but sleep! We call that your “drunken state.”

2.) Set your alarm clock. You may do this already, but now you need to find a fixed time to set and stick with it throughout the week. On the weekend you can let it slip a tad, but stay consistent. Your body naturally adjusts to waking up. In college, I found getting up at 8 o’clock was the worse thing in the world (not to mention for a class I hated). Now that I wake up around the 6 o’clock hourly regularly since graduation, if I woke up at 8, I’d be wide away. Give your body time to adjust, it will get easier with time.

3.) Figure out if you’re more productive Before or After your shower, getting dressed, and breakfast. I’m more productive before I get into the shower, because showers are, first of all, my favorite (as creepy as that sounds). However, once I’m in the shower, it’s go time for work/activities for the day. Figure out your “production zone.” Perhaps you need just a cup of coffee (hate coffee…) or you have a need to feel clean, whatever, figure that out.

4.) Get to a good stopping point. Start your day on a high note by accomplishing something, it’s fun, it’s motivating. Sometimes you may have a multi-day project, but set your goal for that day, and that’s your stopping point. Start small, start strong!

I go through stages of many weeks getting up perfectly without the snooze button, and other times it may be the opposite. Sometimes I get upset with myself when I let a week slip, but that’s more de-motivating than anything.

I realize I’m doing something millions of others will never do and that’s what makes me different, that’s what makes me unique.

Are you unique? How’s your morning routine? Share below!

Discover More Time in your Busy Schedule Immediately

time management

“I don’t have time to do that.” Ever hear that? Maybe you’ve said it, heck, I’ve said that, until I actually thought about my daily schedule to see where the time goes. Chunks of time were spent staring off in the distance THINKING about what I want to do in that spare time. We lose productiveness.

See the irony in that statement? The problem many have is they take breaks in little bit size pieces and they tell themselves that they don’t have the time to do what they want on hobbies, spending it with the people they love, getting their finances in order. What can you do to grab the reins of your time like an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk & Jack Dorsey, work tons of hours a week but have time to do everything they need to do. You don’t even need to work as much as they do as they are much more work-orientated than family-oriented, most want a balance.

In Todd Henry’s book, “The Accidental Creative”, he gives some quick tips on productivity.

Learn to Prune

This is a key component to building better time management, learn to Prune the less effective processes. Many people, unknowingly, spend hours, not to mention DAYS of their lives just checking emails. Not even answering emails, just checking. Henry calls it the “Ping”. We get that nagging in our head that we need to check our phone.

I find when my mind is wondering that I automatically will grab my phone to check for a message only to find nothing. Then it takes about 30 seconds to refocus and get back to what you’re doing.

Thus, you blow almost a minute of counterproductive behavior that adds up all throughout the day. It’s funny because there are easy ways to prune unproductive time such as the “Ping.” I started by taking off automatic syncing of emails so I have to manually go into the app to update for new emails not by seeing each 1 at a time or wasting time looking for notifications of new emails. Automate yourself to build the habit.

Beyond the phone, where else do you waste big chunks of time? Duh, TV. We waste so much time with the boob tube we feel it’s a necessity. You can’t just say “I won’t watch TV” because it doesn’t work like that. It’s mostly a matter of discipline, some shows Sam and I love to watch and that’s fine we enjoy programming together.

Counter productiveness creeps up when we find ourselves watching an episode of our favorite show “Big Bang Theory” that we’ve seen at least 10,000x. Do we really need to watch it again, it’s about catching yourself and asking “Is there something better I can be doing?” Sometimes spending the time just watching your favorite show with your spouse is the best thing you could be doing.

“Is there something better I could be doing?” – Key to Pruning and time management.

The Key to Creating More time for Yourself…Prune. Click to Tweet!


Tim Ferriss stresses in the “4 Hour Work Week” the art of batching. As with e-mail, you consolidate all random tasks into 1 time slot. Instead of answering 1 email at a time when you receive it, wait until you receive all the emails and answer all of them in the same time period.

It saves time, focus, and energy. As the top entrepreneurs do, they schedule time for each task they need. You can do the same!

Plan ahead to when you have free time. I know at certain times throughout the day where they will be a lull in work/action so I can plan ahead for that time. You only have certain slots throughout the day to be productive for your own activities, know when they are coming up so you can prepare mentally to get to work!


Check out Tom Ewer’s tips on Efficiency!

(page114 Accidental)

Sources: “Accidental Creative” Todd Henry.

The Easiest thing to do in the World

Give it up for….

What’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Think about it for a second.

The easiest thing to do is quit. It’s so simple, just drop whatever challenge or even non-challenge you are doing and give up.

You feel free for a second (“yeah more time to sleep!) but then you feel guilty. Doesn’t matter what it is, you’ll feel guilty for quitting.

The curse of “us humans” is we immediately justify it in some way.

Recently, I tried cooking Tuna and Noodles…out of a box! And halfway through it I just started telling myself “Just throw it away, Sam’s the cook, you suck. Go get some Fast Food, it’s yummier and lazier!” I would tell myself these things, justifying quitting.

Sam’s the cook, not me. I stopped myself, realizing what I was doing in my head. We do this all the time, and it’s toxic, but it’s easy.

I trudged through it and ended up with something that didn’t look anything like the box, but tasted better because I “created” it (mass produced creation.) To anyone else, it would probably taste like slimy seafood, but to me it was good….erh…acceptable. But I finished.

That’s what counts. Especially with small things, it’s easy to throw in the towel, and at first you feel guilty, but the toxicity comes into play down the line because the more you quit the less guilty you feel.

Meditate long and hard at the things you quit at. The things you quit at are the things you are afraid of, and the things you are afraid of are the things you should do.

Exercising is the best example of that, but what other things are you afraid of? I’m not talking about the dark or heights, but what you should do whether this year or the rest of your life.

Start small, I’m all about small things….

I’ll work on this with you, what small things pull at you all the time you are afraid to do?

Just today, I didn’t want to go talk to one of my coworkers I don’t know very well yet and my quitter voice was saying “Just email him/her, it’s so much easier.” But one of my goals since moving is to open myself up more to new people and sharpen my social skills. I took a second and without thinking anymore about it (because as humans we over-think everything), I marched over and said hello.

It’s something small, tiny to some people, but little steps lead to bigger and bigger steps. Now, I feel much more comfortable going up to not just them but others in the office as well. With these gradual steps, soon I’ll never even have my initial nervous thought every again!

The problems is we blow off those little things as “Oh, it’s nothing.” Thus, after a while you keep building a worse mindset on everything as being “Oh, it’s nothing.” Whether it’s with savings (“Oh $10 a week is nothing, there’s no point in saving that little) to sending an email to an executive to meet (“Oh they won’t want to talk to me so no harm to me.”), or keeping at their blog (“Oh no one read it, it’s nothing if I quit.”).

It adds up so easily and so quickly we don’t even notice.

The easiest thing to do is quit, but you can slowly use “little hacks” to get out of the Qu

Action Steps:

  • Think about little things everyday you worry about or scare you, think little.
  • Reflect on little things you can do now you feel could have a big effect later.
  • Write them down (optional: I write down short and long term goals & ideas, but that’s all I can keep track up. Some people, like Sam, love writing everything down and that’s awesome for her and perhaps you too!)
  • Try just once a week to go do something little that scares you or you should try. Perhaps getting out of your cube and saying hi to another, or try automatic investing into a savings or investment account. Try it!

Picture : Flickr

Find Your Adventure

It’s been crazy busy. Side note: This isn’t going to be a normal blog post :D.

Sam and I just moved to Dallas, TX from Charlotte (you read my bio right…note, need to go update my bio, brb). What a trip it was to get down here.

I’ve been networking like crazy, looking for a job, Sam’s been packing away our “charlotte life” to prepare for “Dallas life.”

Many of our CLT friends asked, “Why are you moving? What’s wrong?” The truth was nothing was wrong with the friends we had made, we had just settled into a rut.

I HATE the settle word. Settle means you’ve reach a point you’re fine with, everything’s “okay.”

That’s not how we want to live, we just got married a couple months before, but we were in an expensive place, we both didn’t like our jobs, charlotte’s a small city, we knew it was time to make a change.

We love “UP” the movie, and we always say that “Adventure is out there.” And we want to find it. So we did.

UP book!

We made a choice, and we worked our tails off to get to that finish line. We had set a written goal that we will be moved by December 31, 2012.

Guess what, I got my present job offer on December 31.

I wanted to find someplace where I’d be happy to work. Where I came from I didn’t enjoy at all, so I switched avenues. I went from large company to very small, corporate accounting to public. I needed something different, so I went and found it.

Trust me it was no easy task, but we set our minds to it. Your mind is more powerful than you think, don’t rely on just “skill” let your intelligence get to work for you as well, consciously and subconsciously.

We’re proof it works, and it can work for you as well.

Takeaway from this, never settle. Find your adventure, find your path. Set your mind to it and take off.

Starting a Podcast is the Fastest Way to Meet the Best

The Online Business world is filled with scammy scams, hopefully you’ve never been a victim of them but it’s out there.

People selling worthless “info” products or creepy MLM schemes that sound amazingly good but rarely pan out. Sometimes it’s hard to rise above the fold, but here’s a simple way you can start succeeding online or offline.

Start interviewing the best around.

When I say that, I mean, starting a podcast. It doesn’t need to be a 6-figure business or a 5-star rated show, that’s not the point.

You’re actually doing it for a very selfish reason which I’ll get to in a second.

Think about it, if you reach out to a successful person you know online, a Pat Flynn, Andrew Warner etc. and ask them for an hour of their time to talk, you’ll get a NO, a very nice no to be fair. Their time is mega-valuable and if they took 1 hour for every person that asked, they’d be 150 years old before they finally got around to their own projects.

Thus, you need a better way to POSITION yourself in their minds. Remember positioning is one of the keys to negotiation and persuasion.

You actually present it as a way to let them market and promote themselves for free. In their minds, they chat with you for an hour and than you have their name, face etc. on your site and promoting it without them having to do anything! Of course some will do it out of goodwill, but we all have selfish interests at heart, as bad as that sounds.

It’s a slam dunk for them. Now, I’m not going to say that everyone agrees to be on your show, especially when you start out you’ll get rejected many times. Heck, I’m sure Andrew Warner and John Dumas get rejected and they have some of the best podcasts around!


Here’s a sample email I sent to Pat Flynn the DAY we released. ¬†We had zero traffic, a small sample of downloads but was still able to nab someone as busy and successful as Pat (being a nice guy helped to in Pat’s case) but we used this type of email for many other high profile guests.

Why You Need to Start One Today, JUNIOR

I’m not going to go into the How of starting a podcast, there’s many resources for that. ¬†This is a WHY piece as that’s the important part. ¬†Remember, even if your intention is for your show to sit at the bottom of the iTunes sea never to be seen, you need to start a podcast for the Whys.

  1. Build Your Personal Brand:¬†I’ve harped on the importance of this my fingers might bleed from all the typing. ¬†You’re putting yourself out into the internet world and showing the chops that you have with speaking, formulating ideas and sharing ideas with others.¬† People like people who share, that’s what you’re doing.
  2. Credibility:¬†In whatever niche you dive into, you get to rub elbows with some notable figures in the space. ¬†In other words, you get to be seen with successful people. ¬†When others see you getting to hang out with successful people, their perception of you goes way up! ¬†They trust you more, they feel you know what you’re talking about. ¬†That’s influence that many will never have, you have access to it.
  3. Speaking Skills:¬†Maybe it’s not technically public speaking but you get a chance to record yourself speak. ¬†When you public speak you need to think on your feet and this is the perfect opportunity, take advantage of it.
  4. Consulting:¬†This is the key reason to start a podcast. ¬†It’s the selfish reason I mentioned. You’re getting FREE consulting and able to ask whatever you want. ¬†Having problems starting a business? Bring on the best to help you. ¬†You still need to provide great value as your guests are smart enough to smell a rat, but get your burning questions out. ¬†All the mistakes they made you can avoid.
  5. BEST REASON: Provide Value to Others:¬†¬†SYKE! You think I was just being selfish right? ¬†This is the best reason to start a podcast. ¬†You get to give back to others. ¬†Generosity is the theme of this game, those who give, get! ¬†It costs very little to do it as well and you don’t even need to come up with the theme. ¬†With blog posts you need to think up a post idea, do the research, write it up. ¬†It gets Exhausting! Here, you do research but just to get background info. ¬†Everything else falls into place later and you can switch up the direction of the content in a second. ¬†It’s exciting.

Have I convinced you? Remember, even if you don’t want to be #1 in iTunes, this is still a smart move. ¬†Head over to the podcast at Entrepreneur Showdown to get the ideas going!



Art of Salesmanship 1 of 4 – Invisible 3rd Party working for You

art of salesmanship
****! Bad screenshot…

To kick of 2013, what better way to get bopping than a Video Series?

That’s right! A 4-part 7ME Video Series on the Art of Salesmanship with actionable tips and ideas that can change the way you think and respond!

For the next 4 weeks, you will be nailed with a new video on persuasion/sales tactics to get what you want!

You are also welcome to share this series with your friends because we are all Salesmen!

This is a year that you will have to sell yourself, a product, idea etc. at some point, and this series will provide the tactics and mindset to get you going.

You’re a business, so Invest in the Business of You! Invest in Yourself!

“Invisible” 3rd Party working for You

In this 1st video, you will learn:

  • How Napoleon Hill was able to persuade where 20 leading lawyers could not
  • Use the “Ghost” in the room to influence and sell
  • For bloggers, a quick tip to nailing a guest post.

You’re going to love this series!

Whether you are introverted, never had sales experience, or do sales, it doesn’t matter. In any job, business, or online interaction, you are selling yourself and building a brand and personal relationship.

You can use persuasion in negotiation , interviews, bartering and more. Get creative with it. You’ll always be pushing your ideas, so learn the strategies the pros use to get ahead.

Make this a year to branch out, learn a new skill, learn a new MINDSET!

Check out the 1st part of the series NOW! Joe Know Show presents!

If you have a friend who could use a confidence boost in social interactions, presentations and more, make sure you send them this video. It’ll make their day!
Get more great content and updates absolutely free to yourself by signing up below!

Utilize the “Illusion of Truth” for Personal Branding in Your Career

Personal Branding
Flickr – Personal Branding

During election season, you hear each politician constantly repeating points again and again! Surprisingly, it seems we also start to care more about the point the more it’s said.

How many times did you hear the “23 Million Unemployed” in the last election? Whether that number is accurate or not, you remember it. Furthermore, you probably didn’t care nor knew about that number before the election, but soon everyone was quoting it.

Even when the news stations constantly check the facts and scream out the candidates’ are “wrong” or “stretching the truth,” we remember.

The candidates continue hammering home the point and slowly the masses begin to accept the politician’s statements as correct. Most people are not going to take the time to check if the politician’s are speaking the truth or not.

You’ll hear candidates say “That’s a fact” during tense spats, which is inserted to automatically alert our unconscious mind “Hey, remember this as true.” Even if it’s not true, your mind pairs fact with statement.

You can implement this “political” strategy on your Resume and throughout your career.

A study from Hasher, Goldstein, and Toppino had participants read 60 statements every 2 weeks. During each session, a couple statements from the previous session were sprinkled in with the 60.

Results showed participants marked the repeated statements as true even though they say they hadn’t heard the statement before.

How can you take advantage of this “illusion.”

Focus on what you want to be known for, use keywords or use a statement over and over.

If you look at my bio, resume, profile, I don’t just put for the 7Minute Entrepreneur, “Founder”, I put “Personal Brand Equity Strategist.”

What does that do? First it gets readers curious and want to delve more into your background.

Then with that questioning, when they hear “personal branding” they’re curiosity will automatically revert back to my title, back to my personal brand.

Further, you will find the phrase “Invest in Yourself” on many pages/posts of this blog. It will sit in your unconscious until you hear it somewhere else, itt will then trigger a thought back to this site, my personal brand.

I’m creating an “Illusion of Truth” around the brand of this blog. Whether you think you can learn how to invest in yourself or not, you will be triggered back to the 7Minute Entrepreneur.

Create Your Own “Illusion of Truth”

When you interview for a job, you’re not always going to be the most experienced person they may interview.

You need something to stand out from the crowd and not be a “me-too” candidate. Have a Message! Those get washed away (I’ve been one before too).

Here is where your personal branding works directly for you.

The plan is to plant seeds for what makes you unique and include those seeds in your resume and profiles.

Then, when you go to interview, you will get to expand on your brand that has already been planted in the interviewer’s mind thus strengthening your “illusion”.

Target certain keywords that are on your resume which their unconscious mind has already logged away. Or even better, show the way your brand is unique compared to others.

Looking at my previous example from my title “Personal Brand Equity Strategist”, they will find this title on many profiles when they search for “Joe Cassandra.”

During an interview, I bring up personal branding, and it immediately triggers more questions about that, and I can tie them into added benefit for the company.

Going along with this example, I am a Financial Analyst (fun accounting work…yay!). If I come in sounding and branded as every other “financial analyst” on the market, I’m doomed.

There’s tons more qualified candidates, but with this added personal branding, I’ve created an “illusion of truth” which automatically stands out from other financial analysts.

Those companies who value your unique branding will be closer to the “Dream Job” you are looking for. A position that doesn’t value those added skills and expertise is a step away from your dream position.

The companies who value your unique branding will be closer to the “Dream Job” you are looking for. Click to tweet

Key Action Points

Think about your current position. Now, sift through the common skills and brands that exist with your position. Usually the stereotype will nail it. (For me, accountants are bean counting, introverted, cube-dwellers).

These assets are important, but not what we’re focusing on here. We want to zone on what makes you unique. The personal brand makes you stand out.

What soft assets do you have which the stereotype usually doesn’t? (For me, public-speaking skills, internet marketing and blog skills, outside-the-box thinking, extroverted and networking capabilities & others).

Include these certain key words throughout your profile and include them on your Resume. If it’s not directly related to your present position, I have an “Additional Information” section where I include this type of information.

Get creative with a new title with your brand, stand out!

I’ve found those who show no interest in my added skills, usually aren’t the type of company for whom I want to work. We desire to be in a place where ALL our assets are valued and distinguished, don’t settle.

During the interview process, make sure you mention these added skills using those keywords. It puts the “illusion” in their head:

  • 1. You’re an expert in the area (on top of the normal skills of candidates).
  • 2. You create an “urgency” that you’re skills are a necessity for the position i.e. the “Illusion”.

What you’re doing is creating belivability and constructing the idea in their mind “Hey, this point is important. This candidate could bring added value.”

It’s exciting for them as they receive the initial product (you) and get a freebie along with it. Like a Buy one Get one Free!

I’ve used an example for a regular position, but you can use this in your Freelancing work, your own company, when negotiating and much more. Get Creative!

For complete TRANSPARENCY, this is a new LIFEHACK I’ve just learned recently, so I’m still in the process of testing them. Soon, I do have an opportunity to test further these ideas and try different tactics with the “Illusion of Truth,” so I will keep you updated!

Have you used this tactic before? How else do you brand yourself? If you know someone who has an interview soon, could they benefit from this article? Share it with them!

Sources:Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (David Eagleman) (affiliate)

Have You Been Chosen to be Successful?

chosen for success

Think about the most admired and successful individual ever for you.

Each person will have a different response. Some will base success on wealth, others prestige, and some plain ol’ happiness.

Now, what adjectives come to mind with this individual? ‘Intelligent,’ ‘Creative,’ ‘Forward Thinker,’ ‘Lucky,’…..

“Lucky?” Do you think of the most successful as “lucky?” or “chosen for success.”

Are the Successful “Chosen for Success”

I was having this discussion with a friend of mine last Saturday over drinks (and a gluten-free lava cake, surprisingly good!). He has a successful real estate company and he kept saying how “fortunate” he was for the opportunities he’s had.

Now, he works very hard for his business and his money and he’s good at what he does. It’s great he’s thankful for the opportunities he’s received, but can he attribute much of it to being “fortunate.”

He cited his view from the book, “Outliers: the Story of Success,” (Malcolm Gladwell)(non-affliate). As of 12/12, I have not read the book yet, but definitely intrigued.

According to the description on Amazon, his main gist is :

“Superstars don’t arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, “some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.

If you’ve read my stuff, you know I am a big follower of Napoleon Hill. He asserts that if you focus on what you desire to an obsession, you can achieve what you want whether it’s wealth, fame or more.

So this new mindset threw me for a loop and I told him, “No, you’re not fortunate, you just work harder than everyone else. You create your own opportunities and luck.”

If you introduce serendipity, luck will find you. If not, luck will just be mixed series of one-night stands.

If you introduce serendipity, luck will find you. Chasing luck is chasing the lottery. Click to tweet.

I’m a huge component that you are the Entrepreneur of your Life (it’s in the tagline), and yes, sometimes you need some fortunate circumstances and the help of others.

But those circumstances arise after you have taken action and put sweat equity into your work and relationships.

But to think you were given something others do not, I can’t go for the idea.

Are you born with these traits?

Now I’m not looking to attack my friend (as I will surely send him this article), I love a great discussion about business and mindset.

Since he’s in real estate, he responded saying “Well, I started working on and selling houses in mid-2010. If I was born a couple years earlier, I would be trying to sell in ’07 and ’08 and my properties would be worth nothing.”

On a similar note, in the book, Gladwell talks about Steve Jobs and other tech pioneers who were all born in the same period. Jobs was “fortunate” to be born in that era, while younger techies will not have the same opportunity since they were born later.

Your life is defined by every instance and experience you encounter. Each circumstance molds your character and it’s your choice what virtues and vices will play out in your life.

You could spend your life imagining the hypothetical. If my friend was born now, perhaps present technology would inspire him to build a tech company instead of a real estate. Or perhaps he could have been the next John Lennon, Babe Ruth, who knows.

It’s a backward-thinking mindset. Instead of thinking “What could be..” you’re spending energy thinking about “What could have been…”

Now, everyone isn’t born in the same conditions, status, or location, but the question remains, are some people born with:

  • A Better Work Ethic?
  • Entrepreneurial Drive?
  • Desire for Success and Happiness?
  • A Hunger for Increased Intelligence and Knowledge?

Are you born with those traits, are they infused in you during your childhood. Can you learn them?

Path of Least Resistance

“The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.” – Henry David Thoreau

path of least resistance
Easy way out – Flickr

Many argue we are ingrained with this principle. A quick definition, paraphrased from Mark Cuban’s book, is when given the choice, we automatically will take the easy choice.

But, Gladwell seems to argue there are the few and successful who “missed” this principle in their genes, and so they have “hidden advantages” all the rest of us don’t have.

In the same way some will be born with a High IQ and others a Low IQ, some will be born with the 4 traits listed above and others will not.

This can’t be right, as there are many examples of rags to riches stories and vice versa.

It doesn’t come down to “he has the drive and I don’t.” The problem is Discipline. The path of least resistance destroys discipline and also opportunities.

It’s easier to watch TV then work on your writing, it’s easier to huddle with your friends at a networking event than it is look for someone that could be great to speak with.

And we can’t beat ourselves up when we do succumb to this path, but to use it as an excuse for not achieving what your definition of success is…Not buying it.

Is it easier to just complain about how “they got it made” then to Invest in Yourself and build the life you want to live? Of course it is.

The human race wouldn’t have survived if someone didn’t step up and put in the time and effort to better the world around himself/herself.

I was happy to engage in this brief discussion with my friend. I’ll definitely need to check out the book to get the other side’s perspective.

For certain, I know it was his work and dedication which created his luck and good fortune. He wasn’t “chosen” to succeed at what he does.

He told me a story that really hit home what I was thinking:

While working out of state for a time, many of his friends wanted to go out all the time and get smashed.

He had his fun in college, but was ready for other opportunities. So, he went to the library instead of the bar, and read and invested in himself new ideas and skills which he translated into what he was passionate about, a real estate business.

Was he born with a desire to consume Literature over Tequila? No, he made that choice. He was ready to start his life after college, and that’s Discipline with a sprinkle of Forward-thinking.

The easy path is to go out and have fun, but will that path ever translate into your happiness?

It’s easy to look at him and say, “he’s lucky he’s good at what he does.” But they don’t see his countless hours reading and teaching himself the skills he now wields for his business.

Are some people “Blessed” with Talents to be successful? Have you had a major life change that you took control of your life like an entrepreneur and made it your own? Leave a comment below! Or share this with someone you know that may need a nudge in the right direction.

UPDATE: Thanks for these sites for including this post in their favorites!: