Three key elements to become successful

We all want to be successful. It’s totally normal because we all want to be better, regardless of our current circumstances. We all wish to be in a better situation.

Here are three key elements that we must focus on to become successful. They are education, relationships and coaching.

Education helps us to change our mindset, because when we learn we become smarter. When we read a book, when taking a course online or attending a class, we will generate more ideas. If we have a trade or ability that we have practiced for years, we can learn to turn that ability into a business that can give us a tremendous advantage over those who decide to do other non-productive things.

Now, let’s not forget that there will always be someone smarter than us, but there will also be someone who learn from you and will benefit from your experience. We don’t need to be the greatest expert in each topic or trade to create value towards other people. The important thing is to find those who have the same goal and interests that you have.

For example, if you know how to cultivate corn, I bet you can find a lot of people interested in that as well. On the other hand, there will be a lot of people who don’t care about that. Now, those who are interested in this topic will want to learn from you and to hear your experiences about corn crops. And just as they are learning from you, you need to keep learning from others. You need to stay in that continuous improvement cycle because we never stop learning, regardless if we are 5 years old, or 20 or 50 or 90 years old. We must always be learning.

I remember a situation where a very old man who loves to play the guitar was asked why he kept practicing 4 to 5 hours every day, when he was very proficient at playing that instrument. Now, he wasn’t born with that ability. He just put the time to practice and followed his passion. His answer to the question on why he kept practicing so much was: “I think I’m making progress”.

So, it doesn’t matter in what part of our lives we are, we always need to be getting better and better. And education is a powerful tool to become better every day.

The second component is relationships. The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. We become the average of the five people we hang out with. Our relationships can make us better or worse, because if we hang out with people with a negative mindset we will get infected by that. On the contrary, if we follow people or groups with a hard-working and positive mentality, we will raise to their level and will get better. If we try to make it alone, we might have some level of success, but the long lasting and sustainable entrepreneurship requires that we flock together with those of our same feathers. The goals will be similar, and the synergies and mutual support will deliver tremendous results.

Finally, the third key element in our journey towards success is to have a mentor or coach or guide, call it whatever you want. A coach is someone that helps us to figure out how to put together the pieces that will result in a business by using his experience. This accelerates the process and can give you the confidence that you have been lacking to make hard decisions. By following in the footsteps of a proven entrepreneur, your odds to be successful increase significantly. A lot of people who have achieved success always refer to someone else who helped them get clarity and support them in ways that were critical in their lives.

There you have them, the three key elements to achieve great success. First, education and continuous learning. Second, relationships, seeking to hang out with people with a learning and improvement mindset to help each other and to continue learning. And finally, never underestimate the power of having a mentor or coach who can help you accomplish your goals faster and with better results.

That’s all I have today my friend. I hope this was helpful and I wish you the best of success in all your projects.
Hasta la vista!

The dangerous power of the snooze button

How you start your day determines the success you will have.

Every new day brings a new opportunity to do something amazing.

But the SNOOZE button in our alarm clock has created a dreadful mechanism to procrastinate early in the morning. Those 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes that we setup for this “feature” create a temptation to hit it again, and again, and again.

Some successful people have shared their experiences regarding this problem, and they explain how they adjusted from hitting the snooze button to slowly start counting backwards from 5 to 0 while getting up when the alarm sounds.

It takes a lot of effort, and it requires multiple repetitions before it becomes a habit.

But the results can be really staggering. Wanna do some math?

If you hit snooze and the alarm sounds 5 minutes later and then you get up, in a workweek you’re wasting 25 minutes that could be beneficial to yourself. If the snooze is set to 10 minutes, 50 minutes were spent between alarm buzzers. And if it’s 20… 1 hour and 40 minutes!

Multiplied by 52 weeks… that amounts to… a lot!!!

But this is not the only benefit from using those minutes. Being able to create that simple habit as the first action in your day will give you a great sense of accomplishment, and will set the stage to work on other productive habits that will boost your productivity in any area of your life.

If we want to be successful, we need to start with small changes, good changes, long-lasting changes.

I can help you in your journey towards success. I’m just an email way.

Next time your alarm sounds, commit yourself to avoid the dreaded snooze button.

Until the next time!

-AC

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Photo by Mr. Himal Chaudhary on Pexels.com

The things we don’t know

It’s not the things we don’t know what keeps us from being great. It’s the things that we know that get in the way.

It’s the old ideas, the old mentality… the “normal” way of doing things. Those are the things that we carry throughout life that are so hard to shake up.

Sometimes even the idea of looking for a better job does not sit well in the mind of some people. They think that a person must stay in the same job for life.

And that can apply to business as well. We cannot stay in a business model after we have realized that things are not working out. We either need to make changes or move on to something different.

I’m sure you know the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If we analyze the success of some people who have accomplished great things, we invariably marvel when learning about the great ideas and results they produced.

But the facts that I want to emphasize here are these: they did not follow a typical or “normal” way of doing things, they did not try to fit in the culture of “if ain’t broken don’t fix it”, they did not quit when they failed but instead used every failure to become better.

And above all those, they are not different from you or me. They were not born gifted or superior to anybody. They only have been exercising the same potential that also lives within you or me.

They followed their passion and consistently put time and effort to walk their own path, which translated into creating value and into serving others. They defined their own destiny and eventually arrived at the promised land that they visualized for themselves.

Every castle is built by putting the first stone and then the next one until a majestic fortress stands tall and beautiful.

You can also build your castle. It’s just a matter of putting the first stone.

Have a great day!
Alejandro

10 reasons to read daily

The amount of reading we do is directly proportional to the knowledge and the kind of mind we have and live by. There are scientific studies that suggest that our brain will not deteriorate in our late years if we keep learning new things frequently.

Here are 10 reasons to keep reading:

  1. The more you read, the more intelligent you become. In every book we can find new words or expressions that enhance our vocabulary. Applying those new words in the daily conversations helps our brain to create new connections between the neurons, reinforcing our brain health.
  2. You learn to focus and concentrate. It’s a challenge to read a book from cover to cover. Sometimes reading a chapter gives us a lot of value in our learning journey. The special time devoted to read can be very important, so focus… focus… focus…
  3. You can travel. Yes, reading makes your imagination fly and it transports you to remote places. This is the reason why many people state that reading a book was better than watching the respective movie. That’s because the visual image they created is the result of their own creativity and mindset towards the story in the book.
  4. You can improve your verbal abilities. By increasing your vocabulary, you can speak about the topics you read with fluency and with references to the source of the topic you talk about. If the topic is related to your job or other person situation, you will be able to drive the talk…
  5. It can be relaxing. Reading before going to bed can help you to transition smoothly into a good sleep. Also, if you read early in the morning before doing other kinds of information intake, it can be beneficial in your learning.
  6. It can make you interesting. When you’re know as an avid reader, people will want to talk with you. This turns into a positive cycle to keep gathering more knowledge by keep reading. It is a good problem to have!
  7. It boosts your memory. As opposed to watching videos or listening to audio books, engaging the eyes in this active interpretation of the text forces your brain to ingrain the knowledge in a more effective way. The attention needed for reading is higher and will produce better results.
  8. It’s entertaining. Reading about the themes you love will keep you busy while reaping all the benefits enlisted here. That increases you skills and make you a source of information for other people.
  9. It enhances your creativity. You can always improve what you learn. That applies to what you read. Like when reading this article, you have the power to make it better.
  10.  It makes you appreciative of the arts. You will likely pursue additional knowledge related to what you read in other venues, like museums, the internet or any event related to your passion.

I love reading. Here are some of the latest books I’ve read. I think you can find these interesting.

Happy reading!

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Side Hustle

A lot of us hesitate when it comes to start a business on the side. The fear to fail, to not make money or to lose money always get in the way. Our inner 6-year old child is always telling us that we’re not enough, that we don’t have what it takes to be successful, or that other were born talented… WRONG!

In today’s world we cannot apply the mindset of those who lived in before us. With all due respect to our parents and grandparents, the times we live in are way too different from theirs, and if they did not adapt to the new reality then we should think twice about following their advice to the letter. And that includes our teachers, mentors, friends, colleagues or acquaintances.

Technology has reshaped the way business is done. And learning by doing is the best formula to decide is we want to start a new business venture.

Here are the reasons why you should start a side hustle online:

#1 – It’s easy. It’s incredible how simple and fast is to start creating content online. Writing blogs, posting videos, creating digital courses… there’s a million things you can choose from to decide the nice you want to focus on. It’s literally a few clicks away.

#2 – It’s free. You don’t “need money to make money” online. You just need to understand that it will not happen overnight, but after some time while constantly creating value, you will reap the benefits of this, and then you’ll realize that your initial investment (if any), it was nothing compared to the new kind of life you have now.

#3 – You can learn. Doing by learning is great. I have learned things like trading forex and stock options, affiliate marketing, product arbitrage, and all that by giving myself the chance to try it. And even though sometimes I have list as a result of my investment, the learning experience and the connection I’ve made along the way have been invaluable. Those lessons I have learned cannot be taken away from me by anybody.

#4 – Learn about yourself. Sometimes we learn things about ourselves that have been there the entire time. This can happen when we connect with other people who are pursuing goals that are like ours. Their input is a great way to validate our potential and let it transform into actions that can help us get going. Remember, to avoid falling from the bicycle we must keep moving forward.

#5 – Find your target market. If you’re at this stage, that means you’re sold on the idea of doing business online. Here you use all the learnings and the feedback from those who are consuming your content to find your ultimate customer… those who will be interested in products that you recommend or your own product.

So, there’s pretty much no investment when it comes to learning online business models.

It’s up to you to take action.

Let me know if you need any help. I’d appreciate connecting with you to increase my network and learn how I can create more value to you.

Have a marvilloso día!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

A restless mind

Our brain doesn’t need to rest. When we sleep and cross into the dream world, the brain is reconstructing itself and becoming smarter. What we call rest, for the brain that translates into rewiring and producing complex and stronger structures that will allow us to continue the physical and intellectual journey the next day.

Learning new things keeps the brain active, and such activity continues (if we allow it) in the golden years, when the physical part becomes more challenging. Is in this moment when we need to find ways to stay in learning mode. It’s never too late to become a musician, a poet, a writer or a singer. As long as we fuel the passion for acquiring new skills, new trades, new moves…

The brain has a unique capability called neuroplasticity, which is the ability to change continuously throughout an individual’s life. For example, brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time.

We can learn something every day. But we have to seek for new knowledge. We need to move from “I’ll try” to “I will”, in order to keep our minds busy in productive thoughts. Such drive will take us to a better state in our older days… away from the risk of senility.

Let’s keep learning, keep the grey matter working!

I can help you learn Spanish, and you can help me learn something!

Adios! 😁

BOOK REVIEW – The 5AM Club: Own your morning, elevate your life.

BOOK REVIEW – The 5AM Club: Own your morning, elevate your life. By Robin Sharma, Adam Verner, et al.

This is a great book! It presents a good story on how to own your morning in order to conquer your day. It presents a similar approach to what’s known as the compound effect, where small increments lead to huge benefits in the long term.

The 5AM Club is a story where the lives of a billionaire, an artist and an entrepreneur get intertwined to produce a plethora of learning experiences and events that redefine and reshape the mindset of the last two, guided by the unorthodox yet appealing billionaire.

In audio format, this is an 11-hour book. It took me four days to listen to it entirely, but a couple of hours into I was psyched and hungry to keep learning more.

Event though this is depicted as a fiction story, the life lessons are real. I bought into this approach and I’m applying it myself.

In a nutshell, the book presents an approach to devote 1 hour a day to yourself. From 5AM to 6AM this is a time to practice the 20-20-20 method, which consist of 20 minutes of intensive exercise to the point of breaking a sweat, followed by 20 minutes of meditation and rest, and finally 20 minutes of deep learning about anything that improves your life.

A very important part of this is to jump right out of bed with no distractions, no technology, no news. It just you and you only. Resisting these temptations is a key component for this to work.

I’m just three days into this and I’m seeing good results already.

But, hey…this is not something new! It’s being said that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, but it takes around 66 days to get such habit ingrained in our subconscious minds, so it becomes automatic.

I’ll share with you my results half-way thru to such period, to let you know what kind of progress I make. However, I want to share with you now a few quotes that I gathered from this book.

  • Change is hard at first… messy in the middle… but gorgeous at the end.
  • The moment you most feel like giving up is the instant when you must find it in you to press ahead.
  • One who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.
  • High victory is made in those early morning hours when no one is watching and while everyone else is sleeping.
  • To find your best self you need to lose your weak self and that only happens thru relentless improvement, continuous reflection and ongoing self-excavation.
  • The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.

You can borrow it from your public library. Let me know if you need help with that.

Or you can get it on Amazon.

You’re welcome to join the club!

Have a nice day!

 

Alejandro

Use your defects to your advantage

Sometimes a defect can be an impediment, a hurdle, a hard thing to live with.
 
Other times a defect can help us be creative and use it to our advantage. Let me share a personal experience.
 
Early in my life I faced issues with my right ear, to the point that I’m almost deaf on that side. I didn’t know until I got tested around 11, and as a result of that the doctors tried to compensate for the lack of internal tissue in my inner ear to enlarge my bones so I could have a “normal” hearing. The medical care was awesome, and I was able to improve my hearing a bit, but to this moment I still must manage such imbalance in different ways.
 
I tell my friends that their secrets are safe with me, if they talk to my right ear, which is quite the case. 😅😅
 
This condition made my school days challenging, and I had to ask several times to the teachers for additional repetition of the topic, because I missed some details sometimes due to the noise around me. But then this became an advantage, because by having the teachers repeat things I was reinforcing, having an extra “class”. At first, I did not think of this that way, and of course it was not done intentionally, but later in college that became a powerful tool when needed to juggle multiple activities. Let me explain.
 
My parents’ financial situation was tight, and the expenses of a professional career were too much for them. Although I attended public schools, the everyday expenses and books and other materials were taking a toll on my folks, so I quickly decided that I needed to work in order to help myself and them. This job was in a daily newspaper, which was great because it was after school and it was a full-time job. The downsize was that I was home very late, at 1 or 2 AM, and classes started at 7 AM, with almost 1-hour ride on the bus.
 
Also, during those days I decided to pursue student leadership, which led me to become the president of the Computer Systems Engineering student counsel. This helped me tremendously to get out of the shell where I was before and I was able to create great connections in and out of the school.
 
So… how much time was left for studying? You can imagine. 😕
 
So, I resorted to the tactic I had created as a result of my early struggle. I started asking the teacher to repeat the process to solve the problems, or the definitions of any term or topic, so I could reinforce it right there in the classroom. Sometimes the subject was so easy, it was ridiculous, but I knew that I would have no time to go over it by myself.
 
Sounds like cheating? I will let you be the judge of that.
 
Have you use any defect to your advantage?

 

 

Failure is relative, learning is constant

This is a story about chickens… Should they live or should they die? It all depends on the context.

When I was about 6 or 8 months old (according to those in my family who told me the story) I lived in a small house in Mexico located out in the country which had a big backyard at the time. A lot has changed, as today my parents’ house is in a crowded area with not a lot of wooden spots as before.

One day my mom sat me on a blanket while she was taking care of the house chores, and during one of those activities, a group of baby chickens came close to me, wandering from their mom, probably looking at me as the weirdo giant brown bird playing alone in the back of the house. Neither the chicks’ momma or the human baby’s momma were paying attention to their respective sprouts, which created a situation of “opportunities” for us trying to discover the world around us.

When a baby chicken was within reach, I took it with my hand and started holding it from the neck as if it was a squeaky toy, maybe with the idea that such thing was fun and exciting. And yes, the chick started squeaking, but only for a few seconds, and then died, allegedly from asphyxia (up to this day, such allegation has not been proven).

Disappointed, I dropped the inert little bird and proceeded to take the next one in the proximity, to continue having fun but getting the same result as before, until there were no more chicks (alive) to play with. It was then when apparently the fun experience turned into fear in lieu of the sight in front of me… a chick graveyard. It was then when I started crying, either because of guilt (unlikely at such age) or because I was no longer having fun as I had ran out of chicks.

That’s when my mom came to my “rescue”, just to witness the scene I created, and while she quickly comforted me, she kept asking why had I done such thing, although we both new (!?) it was only a rhetorical question.

In these circumstances is easy to determine that I FAILED to keep the chickens alive, as they would have served a better purpose other than just the temporary entertainment of my innocent life at the time.

Killing the chickens: WRONG.

Now, fast forwarding approximately 14 years, I visited my grandma’s farm, where there was still a lot of surrounding nature and simple life to enjoy, away from the city craziness. It was a summer break, and my brother and I were working with our uncles doing hard country physical work, like preparing the soil, seeding the crops, helping at the brick factory, carrying buckets of water from the well to the house, and some other challenging activities.

One day I was assigned an interesting yet creepy task. For dinner we were going to have chicken. And the chicken had to die. And my aunts were mean, so they were having fun because I had never done this before (allegedly). But in this case the circumstances were different. This is a grown up chicken with enough meat to feed a group of 6-8 people. So, here we go… I was supposed to hold the chicken’s head with one hand and the legs with the other, and pull them apart with enough strength to break the neck and minimize the poor animal’s suffering. But for some reason, even though strength wasn’t an issue, I could not do it. It could be that the chicken kept moving, making me nervous, or that the subconscious brought back the images from my early childhood.

One of my aunts came to the rescue, not without giving me all kinds of “compliments” for my failure. And then it just took her a few seconds to make sure the chicken crossed the finish line, and headed towards the cooking pot.

Not killing the chicken: WRONG

Failure is not absolute, is relative. When we face failure, we must identify the circumstances, and separate those that cannot be controlled by us, from those that can be changed to try again.

And of course I learned something: chicken is delicious!

chickens

 

Three steps to make habits stick

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links to outside websites. I may receive a commission if a product is bought as a result of using those links.

 

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit. But that it’s just the first part of success. It takes more than 60 days to stick to a habit and to avoid the risk of getting back into the old behavior.

In his book, “Atomic Habits“, author James clear provides very simple ways to create and sustain habits geared towards success. I share my comments here, taking this book as a guide.

If you want to make sure that a new habit gets ingrained in your mind, follow these three steps:

  1. Make the habit clear and visible. This requires the use of tools that remind us of the habit every time is due. It can be a simple note on a sticky note, or a text or phrase in a whiteboard. Also, our phones provide a great variety of alarms, reminders and applications that can help us remember that is time to get to work.
  2. Add context to the habit, to make it meaningful. When add more elaborate meaning to a habit, this can motivate us to keep working on it. For example, exercising can lead to losing weight, but additional information like avoiding high cholesterol or cardiac problems can be a bigger motivator to avoid skipping a workout session.
  3. Make it fun. You can create your own system to make a habit a rewarding experience. If you want to play with your kids or grandchildren, and you push yourself to the point of breaking a sweat, you will accomplish two goals: spending time with them and working out. Or if you want to stick to reading, you can pick two books, one that helps you learn something, and one that entertain you but maybe doesn’t create value.

There are millions of small habits that can improve your life, and finding a way to start and sustain those is the key to great success. Staring is simple, but it takes discipline to make their execution automatic. However, creating discipline weights ounces, but if we don’t get disciplined, that brings regrets… and regrets weight tons.

This is a great read, or if you prefer, you can also use the audio version.

Are you ready to create good small habits?