How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

I just finished reading Andy Andrew’s latest best-selling book: How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why the Truth Matters More than You Think. Andy Andrews is one of my favorite public speakers and author. He’s been referred to as “a modern day Will Rogers.”

This book is small, a quick read (less than 30 minutes) and to the point. Rather than donating to a candidate’s political campaign, a better use of my money would be to buy a lot of these books and give them away — and encourage everyone I give them to read it quickly and pass it on.

From his own words, here’s why Andy wrote this book…

“Several years ago I asked myself these three questions: Where do we begin to find common ground in regard to what we want (or don’t want) for the future of America? Is it possible to write something that doesn’t use the words Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, yet conveys a message with which everyone could agree? Can it be written in a concise fashion allowing anyone to read it, clearly understand the message, and be empowered in less than 15 minutes? Here, then, is my answer to those questions.”

From the back cover…

Andy Andrews believes that good answers come only from asking the right questions. Through the powerful, provocative question, “How do you kill eleven million people?” (or to be precise, 11,283,000 people) — the number of people killed by the Nazi German regime between 1933 and 1945 — he explores a number of other questions relevant to our lives today:

Does it matter that millions of ordinary citizens have checked out of participating in the decisions that shape the future of our country?

Which is more dangerous: politicians with ill intent, or the too-trusting population that allows such people to lead them?

How are we supposed to tell the difference between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”?

How does the answer to this question affect not only our country but our families, our faith, and our values?

What happens to a society in which truth is absent?

Andy Andrews issues a wake-up call: become informed, passionate citizens who demand honesty and integrity from our leaders, or suffer the consequences of our own ignorance and apathy. Furthermore, we can no longer measure a leader’s worth by the yardsticks provided by the left or the right. Instead, we must use an unchanging standard: the pure, unvarnished truth.

Right now, more than ever, this book is a “must-read” — Buy it! Read it! Share it!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849948355/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=andyandrews-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0849948355

Best of Luck Always,

D. Scott Elder

More about Andy Andrews: www.andyandrews.com

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

“20 Seconds of Insane Courage”

I enjoy getting carried away in a good movie – especially a movie that’s based on a true story. And as a student of mythology I especially enjoy a well crafted story that incorporates “the Hero’s Journey.” We Bought a Zoo  was that kind of movie for me. It’s based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee. Although I highly recommend this movie, and will buy it when it comes out on DVD, I’m not going to do a review of the movie here. I want to talk about one line in the movie that has stuck with me and has caused me to reflect on many of the defining moments in my life. It’s when the main character, played by Matt Damon, says to his son: “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something good will come of it.”

When I heard this, it hit me that in my “Lucky Break Factor” steps (see earlier post): Prepare, Plan, Act, Expect, Recognize, Act, that both actions steps require courage. And as the quote suggests, sometimes “insane courage.” So I started thinking back on those “20 seconds of insane courage” in my life, and how they became defining moments in my life. One of the earliest stand-out courageous moments came when I was 16 years old. I wanted to work at McNamara Sports, a family owned sporting goods store, that to me was the best job in town. The problem was that every boy 16 and over thought the same. I had a friend who was a good friend with the owner’s son and through him knew his parents. My friend knew that I wanted to work there so he took me over to their home one evening and introduced me to them and told them that I wanted to work for them. They, not knowing me, of course told me that there weren’t any openings. But, that their “back room boy” (shipping and receiving clerk) was going on vacation for a week and that they needed someone to cover for him while he was gone. One week, that’s it with no prospect of staying on after the week was up. If I wanted the temporary job I could have it. Even though the owner was real clear that it was just one week and that’s it, I jumped at the opportunity.

Although that was a “lucky break” it could have very easily been a very short lived break if it were not for another “lucky break” that came towards the end of my one week of employment. The “back room” shipping and receiving area was literally a room at the back of the building. My job was to prepare the outgoing shipments and receive the incoming shipments. I was given clear instructions to not leave the back room. Just sit there on a stool at the desk in the back room all day and take care of the shipping and receiving — nothing else. There wasn’t a door on the entrance to the back room from the main floor of the sporting goods department. When I wasn’t shipping and receiving packages (which required about 1 hour of combined activity a day) I sat on the stool watching the salespeople help customers. On one of the last days of my temporary employment, a family came into the store and was looking at the water skis.  There weren’t any salespeople to be seen on the floor. The husband and wife kept looking around with a look on their face that shouted “hey we need some help.” That was my “20 seconds of insane courage” moment — my “lucky break.”

I had friend whose father took us water skiing almost every Saturday during the summer for the past three summers. I had become a pretty good water skier and had learned a lot about the sport. Knowing that I was told not to leave the back room and interact with customers, I felt that unless someone helped this family, they were going to walk out of the store. So with all of the courage I could muster, I walked out of the back room and onto the main floor and asked the man if I could answer any of his questions. It turned out that they had just purchased a new boat and wanted to take up water skiing as a family activity. They had no water skiing equipment and didn’t know anything about water skiing. I told them the type of double skiis and rope they would want for learning and that as they improved they would want to go to a single ski and different rope. They had kids of various ages and so I recommended getting a skis of different sizes so that their learning experience would be easier. And since they would most likely advance to a single ski quickly, they should also get several single skis of different sizes. I also suggested that once they advance to a single ski, they’ll want to pull two people at once, requiring more ropes and some single skis the same length.

The father told me that everything I told him made sense and he then asked me to outfit him with everything I felt they needed. So I loaded up the counter with several pairs of double skis, several single skis, several ropes and life jackets for the whole family and extras for friends. It was a lot of stuff. I then told the man that I wasn’t a sales clerk, that I worked in shipping and receiving and didn’t know how to ring up the sale and that I would need to get a salesperson to do that. I found Claire McNamara, one of the owners, and told her the situation and asked her if she would ring up the sale. Claire wasn’t happy about the situation, that a “real” salesperson hadn’t been on the floor to help this customer. But when she saw how much merchandise I had sold, she was impressed. The man told her that he was just about to walk out of the store when I approached him. He was very complimentary of me and told Claire that I should be working on the sales floor and not in shipping and receiving.

Claire liked that I took the initiative, saved a customer, and made a very large sale for the store. She told her husband, Steve, that she didn’t care if there wasn’t a need for another employee at the store, that when the shipping and receiving clerk returned from his vacation that I was going to stay on as a salesperson and that I would be trained in every department and fill in wherever needed. “20 seconds of insane courage” helped me get my dream job that would have a significant impact on the rest of my life. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was on work release so that I could work full time at McNamara Sports as the Athletic Shoe Manager, making a very good salary for a kid my age.

I worked at McNamara Sports for four years, through Jr. College. When I finished Jr. College I applied to Brigham Young University in Utah. After I received my acceptance letter I told Steve and Claire that I would be leaving to go to college in Utah. As “luck” would have it, Steve knew Elliott Wolf, the owner of the Wolf Sports chain in Utah. Steve would be seeing Elliott at an annual sporting goods store owner meeting in San Francisco and would tell him about me. Shorty after Steve returned from the meeting I received a call from the manager of the Wolf Sports near the BYU campus informing me that Elliott had told him to call me and offer me a job. The manager told me that he didn’t have a position available but that he was told he had to hire me, and pay me what I was making at McNamara Sports.

Before I had even moved to Utah I had a very good job, and with very good pay for a college student, waiting for me. Something very good did come to me from that “20 seconds of insane courage.” I will forever be grateful to Steve and Claire McNamara for the opportunity they gave me and the doors they opened for me. Their impact on my life is beyond measure. Many, many great things have happened in my life as a result of “20 seconds of insane courage” — such as meeting my wonderful wife, a video project with General Mills, and starting Investools, Inc., just to name a few.

Prepare, Plan, Act (with insane courage), Expect a Lucky Break, Recognize the Lucky Break, then Act (with insane courage) on Your Lucky Break. That’s the Lucky Break Factor… and it works.

Best of Luck Always,

D. Scott Elder

(c) 2012 Cosmicbridge, LLC

Published in: on January 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM  Comments (1)  

It Doesn’t Matter

Here’s a politically correct truth for you to consider: the Tea Party, the Occupy Wallstreeters, the Unions, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party and any and all other political parties out there truly don’t care about your financial security and well-being. Nobody cares about your money and your health more than you do. It doesn’t matter if Obama remains in office after the 2012 election or if a Republican becomes president. Your economic situation will probably remain the same. It’s not the change in presidents that will make a big difference in your life, it’s the change you make in your attitude and your actions that will make the biggest difference in your life.

I learned this truth a long time ago. I’ve observed that it doesn’t matter who is president, if the economy is up, down or stagnant, I can enjoy whatever quality of life I choose. There are opportunities in every economic condition. Of course, they’re easier to find and implement in a rising economy. But even in a down economy the opportunities to enjoy a financially secure life, and even profit, exist.

When you embrace a “It Doesn’t Matter” philosophy about what the economy is doing, what the stock market is doing, what the real estate market is doing, where unemployment is, who the president is, what political party controls congress, it truly doesn’t matter because you will find opportunities that each of these situations provide. What’s happening “out there” has less influence on your life than what’s happening “inside you.”

Go deep inside yourself and you’ll find the resolve and answers to enjoy the peace of mind and quality of life that a “It Doesn’t Matter” philosophy can bring you.

Best of Luck Always,

D. Scott Elder

(C) 2011, Cosmic Bridge, LLC

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 6:00 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Lucky Break Factor – Part 2

My life has been a series of Lucky Breaks — just as yours has. The only reason that I have more Lucky Breaks than the average person is because I recognize that there is what I call “The Lucky Break Factor.” I’ve identified the pattern that creates Lucky Breaks. And once you know the pattern in anything, then you’re able to replicate it — it’s no longer chance.

There are several quotes about luck, such as these:

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca (Roman philosopher)

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

– Samuel Goldwyn (Film producer)

“I am a great great believer in luck, and find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

– Thomas Jefferson (Founding Father)

Each of these quotes contain the essence of “The Lucky Break Factor” but leave out critical details. Yes, luck is where preparation meets opportunity, but what is opportunity? And the harder you work, the more luck you will have — if: 1) the work is related somehow to what you’re wanting to achieve; and 2) you know how to recognize the Lucky Break when it happens. Let’s say you want to become a movie mogul like Samuel Goldwyn. You can work hard all every day, year after year, digging ditches in the middle of the desert and you’re not going to get a Lucky Break in the movie business.

Your Lucky Break starts with an idea, a vision, and the desire to make that vision a tangible reality. There is a lot of pop psychology and purveyors of positive mental attitude programs, such as “The Secret,” that teaches “the law of attraction.” These principles are correct, as a part of the process. But sitting in your home every day, year after year, “visualizing” that you’re a movie mogul will not make it so. In fact, what most people think is “visualizing” is actually “fantasizing.” Visualizing is holding the image in your mind while you’re taking the proper action to turn your vision into reality. Fantasizing is just that, creating a fantasy world in your mind where you’re not working towards making the vision in your mind a reality. People who fantasize are quite content living in their fantasy worlds because they can get some satisfaction for a time without doing any real work. When they become bored with one fantasy they simply move on to another fantasy.

Let’s say you have a big idea — a vision that you can clearly see in your mind and a strong desire to turn your vision into reality. Here’s how you get your Lucky Break:

Prepare. Preparation is the first step. Start with taking inventory of the knowledge and experience you have that can help you achieve your vision and what knowledge and experience you’re lacking. In an earlier post I talked about The 3 Resources for Personal and Business Development: Time, Expertise and Money in an earlier post. In your Preparation step you need to consider these three factors. You’ll need to determine the Time frame in which you want to turn your vision into reality.

In order to achieve your goal in the stated Time frame, what Expertise do you need? What portion of the Expertise do you yourself currently have? What portion of the Expertise can you personally acquire in your stated Time frame? What portion of the Expertise will you need to get from others (OPE)? OPE can be acquired from others who package and sell their Expertise through books, CDs, DVDs, Webimars, Seminars, etc.  You can acquire OPE through bringing on business partners, through joint-venture partnerships, and by hiring Experts. Your resource of Money will determine many factors, such as your Time frame and how you will get the additional Expertise that you lack.

Plan. Once you know what you want to do and what you need to do it, it’s time to create your Plan. Your Plan will include your Time frames; your Expertise needs and acquisition; and your Money needs, acquisition and allocations.

Act. Proper action, based on your Plan, is what determines the difference between a “fantasizer” and a “visualizer.” As a visualizer you’ve been visualizing your Preparation, your Planning and your Action throughout the process. Here’s the key thing you need to know when you start taking action on you Plan — “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In other words you’re acting on the best Preparation you could do with the best Plan you could create based upon what you thought you needed to know and do. But your limitations as a mere mortal keep you from being able to know and foresee everything you need do in order to turn your vision into reality. But you know this, and you take Action anyway.

Expect. You take Action fully Expecting a Lucky Break to happen while Acting on your Plan. You need to get to this point to qualify for “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” This “hard work” is the Preparation, Planning and Action. This is were “preparation meets opportunity.” This is why I’m luckier than the average person — because I Expect Luck.

Recognize. When you Expect Luck you’re always on the look out for that Lucky Break. And because you’re on the look out for it — you see it. Lots of people go through the necessary Preparation, Planning and Acting steps, but because they don’t understand, or believe, how Luck works, they don’t Expect it, and therefore don’t Recognize it when it happens. What’s truly unfortunate about this is that these people are doing the work to qualify for Luck and the Luck comes to them — but they don’t Recognize it when it comes. It’s usually because they’re so caught up in executing on their Plan — with the mistaken belief that their Plan has everything they need — that their minds are not open to a Lucky Break.

Act. When a Lucky Break comes — Act on it. Change your Plan and Act on the Lucky Break. This phenomenon is the reason for the saying “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Give Thanks. Lucky Breaks are not accidental, coincidence or serendipity. Lucky Breaks are designed and orchestrated in our behalf and for our benefit because we have put into motion the steps and actions that qualify us for a Lucky Break. Lucky Breaks are gifts. Your religious beliefs will determine for you from whom these gifts come from. As a Christian, I believe that Lucky Breaks come from God and are put into motion by angels who have been given the charge to minister to men and women in this world. I believe Lucky Breaks are Miracles.

When you believe that Miracles can happen at all levels of your life, and in every aspect of your life, you have literally tapped into the power of heaven. Acknowledging these Miracles in your life, small or large, is important. Your expression of Gratitude for the Miracles in your life is necessary for you to continue experiencing Miracles throughout your life.

Repeat. Repeat these steps in everything you do and you will see small and large Lucky Breaks — Miracles — in your life on a regular basis.

Best of Luck Always,

Lucky Scott

(c) 20011 Cosmic Bridge, LLC

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 9:11 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Lucky Break Factor – Part 1

When Online Investors Advantage (OIA) merged with Telescan, the company that provided OIA with its financial data and investing tool technology, the name was changed to Investools. I was the CEO and Chairman of OIA, and because I wanted to get back to focusing on marketing and business development, Lee Barba, CEO of Telescan was made CEO and Chairman of Investools. OIA had started off as a small company providing seminars, workshops and home study programs to help people become self-directed investors in the stock market. When we hooked up with Telescan they were a large company backed by Paul Allen (yes, the same Paul Allen who was a founder of Microsoft). Telescan had many clients who were contracting their services (CNBC and Business Week to name two) and OIA was just a small and insignificant client.

However, in just a few short years OIA grew to become Telescan’s largest client in terms of revenue generated. As the Internet bubble was starting to burst Telescan found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. Paul Allen had made the decision to stop funding the company and to let it fall into bankruptcy if it couldn’t become self-sustaining. At that point we started looking for another potential financial data and tool provider to replace Telescan. This was not an ideal situation for OIA because we had built our entire marketing and instructional content around the Telescan investing process and tools. We also found that at the time there wasn’t a close second to switch to.

So we made the decision to “merge” the companies. Although we made it appear as a merger, technically little OIA acquired Telescan by  paying off $6 million dollars in liabilities. Shortly after the merger, the CEO of the bankrupt Telescan, who became CEO of the newly merged companies, felt the need to set the record straight. He was educated at a top business school and had been a very successful investment banker at one of the largest banks in the world. I, on the other hand, graduated from a much less prestigious university and had only been a small business owner.

In a meeting shortly after the merger we were talking about the meteoric success that OIA had achieved considering its very humble start. During this discussion Lee said something to me that has since had a powerful impact on my life. Referring to the success of OIA, he said:

“Scott, you’re really not that smart – you were just lucky.”

At that moment I took it as the put-down it was intended to be. With my ego bruised and my self-confidence shaken, those words kept playing over and over in my head for the rest of the day and into the night. And then, that night, I had an epiphany. Lee was right, I really wasn’t that smart, I was lucky. It’s been said that “a friend tells you what you want to hear, but an enemy tells you the truth.” It became apparent not too long after the merger that Lee definitely was not a friend, and as an enemy he had revealed a very insightful truth about me.

You see, I had to admit to myself that Lee was right, I really was of average intelligence. I was always an average student in school. If you were to contact my high school teachers and college professors and asked them about me they wouldn’t even remember me – I was an ordinary person with no outstanding qualities – except one.

That one outstanding quality that I had, that Lee revealed to me, is that I had a track record of being lucky. I can go back to my early childhood and identify lucky break after lucky break after lucky break. My life truly is a series of one lucky break after another. Once I was able to put my ego aside and admit that I truly wasn’t smart enough to have achieved the successes that I had achieved in key areas of my life (namely family and business) I was able to see the reality – the “cause and effect” of lucky breaks more clearly.

It may have been like an “Aha” – Egos Anonymous – experience for me. I clearly understood that there was an intelligence vastly superior to mine (and all other mortals, including the really smart ones like Lee) that I could tape into simply by applying certain universal principles. And that I had learned to apply these principles unknowingly.

Since there appeared to be a pattern to my lucky breaks, I decided to go back over the lucky breaks throughout my life to find that pattern. And when I found it, I started studying the successes of well known individuals and businesses (such as Bill Gates and Microsoft) to see if the lucky break pattern was a factor with them as well. And guess what – in every situation that I studied, I found the lucky break factor played a key part in the success. Yes, even really smart people like Bill Gates owe their success to “lucky breaks” too.

Here are the steps that create The Lucky Break Factor:

Prepare – prepare yourself the best you can for whatever you’re wanting to achieve

Plan – create the best plan you can with the preparations you’ve made and the best knowledge you have to achieve your objective

Act – act on your plan with the intent to succeed

Expect – expect a “lucky break” because you realize that you can’t know everything but there is an infinite intelligence who does and will help you

Recognize – recognize the “lucky break” when it happens – because it will happen

Act – adjust your plans and act on the “lucky break” when it happens because it may take you in a different direction than your original plan

Thank – always express gratitude for your “lucky breaks” – acknowledge that you too “really aren’t that smart, that you were lucky.”

Next week, in “The Lucky Break Factor – Part 2,” I will share with you more details of these key principles that create the “Lucky Break Factor.”

Best of Luck Always,

“Lucky Scott”

PS – I recently acquired the domain name http://www.luckyscott.com and have directed it to my blog for now. That’s how serious I am about being lucky :-)

(c) 2011 Cosmic Bridge

Published in: on June 2, 2011 at 1:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

The 4 Prosperity Pillars

In my previous post I mentioned The 4 Prosperity Pillars. These 4 Prosperity Pillars pick up where Time, Expertise and Money left off. The proper accumulation and management of Money is key to achieving financial Independence. Before I share these 4 Prosperity Pillars, I’d like to first propose a shift in how you think about Time, Expertise, Money and the things that money can acquire. Instead of thinking in terms of ownership, think in terms of “Stewardship.” You have a stewardship over your Time, your Expertise, your Money and the things that you can acquire with your money.  Here’s a paradigm shift that has served me well: “Owning” is “Buying” and “Stewardship” is “Investing.” It’s easy to buy something without giving thought to its overall value; and how what you buy will best serve you, our family and others. But when you invest your Time, your Expertise and your Money, you’re more aware of the return on investment you’re getting.

I try to approach how I implement my Time, my Expertise and my Money in this way: As a steward of my Time, is this activity a good investment of my Time? As a steward of my Expertise, is this application a good investment of my Expertise? As a steward of my Money, is this purchase a good investment of my Money? I then ponder on the reasons why and why not for each question before making the investment of my Time, Expertise and Money before making a decision. This approach helps me to be more disciplined and temper the human weakness of wanting immediate gratification. Start thinking of yourself as a “steward” rather than an “owner” and it will greatly change your perspective of how you interact with those things that you Invest your Time, Expertise and Money in.

The 4 Prosperity Pillars are what support Financial Independence. In turn, these 4 pillars are supported by 3 Systems: Belief Systems; Learning Systems; and Operating Systems.

4 Pillars Graphic

Click on the link above to see a graphic representation of the The 4 Prosperity Pillars.

Earn. The first Prosperity Pillar is Earn. You must have an initial earning mechanism to begin building your Financial Independence. This initial earning mechanism is usually a job. It can be an entry level, menial labor, low paying job. Many fortunes have been built by hard working industrious people who started with low paying jobs and understood and applied the 4 Prosperity Pillar concepts. In the early years, it sometimes requires having more than one job to give you enough money to live on and have enough money to build the second pillar.

Save. The second Prosperity Pillar is Save. The biggest challenge most people have to saving money is spending everything they earn. The #1 enemy to achieving financial independence is DEBT – which is spending more than you earn. And the “disease” that kills a person’s dreams of living a financially secure life and enjoying financial freedom is immediate gratification. To be financially independent you must discipline yourself to live on less than you earn. You see, it doesn’t matter what you earn. What matters is what you save. You can earn a million dollars a year and if you spend every penny you make on things that depreciate in value, and go deep into debt on homes, cars, boats, etc., you will never achieve financial independence. Whereas if you only earn $24,000 a year and put 10% in savings and adjust your lifestyle to live on what’s left, you will eventually become financially independent. You see, it’s a mindset, your belief system, that matters most, not how little or how much you make. To learn more about this principle, I recommend that you read the book, “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason.

Invest. The third Prosperity Pillar is Invest. Investing is why you’re saving. What you invest in will be different at different stages of your journey towards financial independence. When you’re first starting out your financial resources may be small so you will be investing more of your Time to increase your Expertise. You may also be investing what Money you do have in education that will also help build your Expertise. By investing your Time and Money into education, training, internships, on-the-job training at low or no wages (in a sense subsidizing your own internship or apprenticeship) you increase your expertise. By increasing your Expertise, you increase your Earning ability. As you increase your Earning ability, you increase your Savings ability. By increasing your Savings ability, you increase your Investing ability. By increasing your Investing ability, you’re creating financial Independence.

Now you can see how applying your resources of Time, Expertise and Money to Earn, Save and Invest creates an upward moving spiral of financial independence. Although you should always continue investing your Time and Money into increasing your Expertise, to achieve financial independence you will also need to invest in passive income generating investments. The three investments that you want to consider, which are the top three wealth creators in America, are:

1. Business Ownership – investing in owning your own business is the quickest way to leverage your Time and your Expertise to increase your Earning ability, increase your Savings ability and increase your Investing ability.

2. Financial Markets – investing in stocks, options and other financial vehicles is something everyone should be doing at some level to build long-term wealth and financial security.

3. Real Estate – investing in real estate that can create positive cash flow and build long-term wealth through appreciation should also be a part of everyone’s investment portfolio.

The key to success in all three of these investments is first investing your Time and your Money into either gaining some level of Expertise in these three areas or Investing your Money in acquiring someone else’s Expertise in these areas.

Protect. The fourth Prosperity Pillar is protect. Early in my journey towards financial independence I thought there were only 3 pillars, Earn, Save and Invest. It turned these 3 pillars do not create a strong enough support for achieving financial independence. I learned about the fourth pillar, Protect, the hard way – by losing a lot of what I had saved and invested. After having this experience I observed that many people who had achieved great financial success in their lives have also lost much (if not all) of their fortunes by not having the fourth pillar in place.

There are many “wealth robbers” that you need to protect yourself from. The first is yourself. A common mistake that successful people make is to think that because they are successful – that they’ve built their Expertise in an area that has enabled them to become financially successful – that they are Experts in everything and will succeed in everything they do. Our own egos can be our greatest enemy to achieving financial independence. As you become more successful in whatever you do, keep your ego in check. Remember: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Other wealth robbers you need to protect yourself from are good intentioned relatives and friends who usually have not invested their Time, Expertise and Money to Earn and Save and therefore don’t have Money to Invest in their own ideas. They’re looking for a shortcut and see you as their shortcut. You’ve paid the price; you’ve disciplined yourself and you have built your Savings and Investments up over time. People close to you will see this and see you as a source to Invest in their ideas. There will also be people who are not close to you who may hear of your success and want you to invest in their business or idea. In these instances be even more careful to protect yourself from being robbed by someone who is charismatic and persuasive. It’s been my observation that if someone has not been a good Steward of their own Time, Expertise and Money then they’re not going to be a good Steward of your Time, Expertise and Money. Whenever approached by anyone asking you for an investment of any kind, it’s good to keep in mind: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

Other wealth robbers include government through poor fiscal policies and taxes and litigious people and lawyers. One of these wealth robbers created by our government is heading at us fast, and that’s inflation. Hyper inflation can wipe out your wealth quickly. Inflation is not an increase in prices, although prices do increase. It’s a decrease in the value of your cash. Inflation is a heavy tax that no one gets to vote on. It’s a tax that’s imposed upon you and it transfers all of your wealth to the government. Protecting yourself from these robbers, and similar others, fall under the category of “Asset Protection.” Asset Protection is too big to cover here. But at some point on your journey towards financial independence you will need to Invest in the Expertise of someone who can help you protect what you have worked so hard to acquire. Without good asset protection you can lose great wealth acquired over many decades literally overnight.

Poor health is also a common wealth robber. It’s been said that we spend all of our health to acquire wealth and end up spending all of our wealth to regain our health. It doesn’t have to be this way. Study and apply the principles of maintaining good health through proper diet and exercise and you will be able to maintain more of your health and your wealth on your journey to financial independence. For me, it needs to be physical independence along with financial independence. I would not give up my health for wealth – good health is a greater wealth than money.

The foundation that supports The 4 Prosperity Pillars are 3 key systems: Belief Systems; Learning Systems; and Operating Systems.

Belief Systems. I have shelves and shelves of books, including the Bible and other religious books, that teach the importance of having the right mindset, or belief system, to succeed. Henry Ford summed it up when he made this statement: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” To succeed at anything you have to: First, believe you can do it; and second, believe it’s worth doing.

Learning Systems. I covered the importance of Learning Systems in my previous post Time, Expertise and Money. The key to accelerating your success in anything you do is to: 1. Have a Learning System; 2. Have a Practice Discipline (System); and 3. Have a Feedback Mechanism (System).

Operating Systems. Another shortcut to accelerating your success is to implement a proven Operating System whenever you can. There is no need to re-invent a process when someone may have already Invested their Time, Expertise and Money in developing an Operating System. Investing in a proven Operating System can save you both Time and Money. An Operating System is a proven process that produces the same result over and over again. Ray Kroch’s most valuable contribution to business was not McDonalds hamburger stands. His most valuable contribution was developing the turnkey franchise business Operating System. It was the Operating System, not the hamburgers, fries and milkshakes that made McDonalds – Ray Kroch – hugely successful. Developing, or implementing an existing, Operating System is the key message in Michael Gerber’s landmark book “The E-Myth.” If you want to gain a deeper appreciation for the value of a great Operating System, read John F. Love’s book, “McDonald’s Behind the Arches.”

Whether you’re looking to Invest in your own business, in the financial markets, or in the real estate market don’t try to figure things out on your own. Instead, look for a proven business Operating System, a proven Stock Investing Operating System, or a proven Real Estate Investing Operating System. And look for proven Operating Systems that also incorporate a proven Learning System so that you can accelerate your Expertise as well.

You will always learn some things through trial and error on your journey to financial independence, but you don’t have to learn everything through trial and error. Take advantage of the trial and error other people have gone through in developing their Expertise and leverage their Learning Systems and Operating Systems whenever possible.

Next week I will share with you my “Lucky Break Factor” – a proven Operating System for using luck as a key strategy for achieving success in both your business and personal life.

Best of Luck Always,

D. Scott Elder

(c) 2011 Cosmic Bridge, LLC

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 5:07 PM  Leave a Comment  

Time, Expertise and Money

Time, expertise and money are the three key resources for personal and business development. Time is what I call “the great equalizer.” Everyone has the same number of hours in a day. It’s what you do with your time that makes all the difference in your life. Henry Ford said:

It’s been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”

Think about the truth of  that statement for a moment. If you fully understand the power of this statement then you know the secret to success in all areas of your life.

When we start out on our journey to make our mark in life we have lots of time, little or no expertise and little or no money. There  are people who achieve high levels of expertise at very young ages in sports (tennis and golf), music (piano and violin), and other areas such as chess. But for most people, it isn’t until after high school that we begin developing the particular expertise that will have a significant impact on the quality of our lives. But whether it’s a so-called child prodigy (Tiger Woods) or a late-blooming CEO of a major corporation (Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE) the way is the same – investing time and money to develop expertise. And time is a bigger factor than money.

Education + Practice + Experience over Time determines the level of Expertise. Money can have an influence on the amount of Time available, the quality of Education (schools, teachers, mentors, coaches), the quality of Practice (deliberate practice VS unfocused practice) and the quality of Experience (internships, on-the-job-training). But for the truly determined person, willing to persist with patience “until,” the lack of money is only another obstacle to overcome and never an excuse for failure. Money can buy Time, so the lack of Money usually just means it will take more Time.

These “4 Prosperity Pillars” – |Earn| |Save| |Invest| |Protect| – are the foundation to Financial Independence. The road to Financial Independence is building Expertise. Since Education, Practice and Experience are key to building Expertise, the purpose of Earning and Saving Money in your younger years is to Invest it in Time, Education, Practice and Experience in order to build Expertise. The more Expertise you have, the more Money you’ll be able Earn.

A team of researchers led by K. Anders Ericcson published a paper – “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” that proposed a new framework for understanding why some people are so “talented” – and so-called prodigies. This ground-breaking research concluded that:

…the search for stable heritable characteristics that could predict or at least account for the superior performance of eminent individuals has been surprisingly unsuccessful. The difference between expert performers and normal adult reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.”

In other words, there are no prodigies. It was found that all so-called prodigies had the right set of circumstances that enabled them to focus a lot of Time to build their Expertise. These circumstances included such things as priority of parents, access to the right resources, teachers and coaches and a willingness for the child to go along with the plan. Since this report, many books have been written on this topic. It’s eye-opening and mind-expanding. It removes all excuses for not achieving what we want to achieve in life. It’s a matter of how much you want it and what you’re willing to do to achieve it. It really is your choice. That reality is hard for a lot of people because it’s much easier to say to yourself   “I’m not that talented so I could never do that and so I just have to settle for who I am.” No, it’s not that at all. What it really is, is not willing to Invest Time and Money in building Expertise.

Below is a list of books that I’ve read that springboard from Ericcson’s research. They are all worth reading. Especially if you want to give your children a huge advantage in today’s competitive world.

Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin

Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell

The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle

The Genius in All of Us, by David Shenk

Bounce, by Matthew Syed

Best of Luck Always,

D. Scott Elder

(C) 2011 Cosmic Bridge, LLC

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 6:14 PM  Comments (2)  

My “12 Prosperity Ps.”

Some time ago I shared my “10 Prosperity Ps.” Since then I have added two more, Passion and Practice. Passion is obvious and I can’t believe that Passion wasn’t included in the original list.

Practice was added after reading the books, Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin; The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle; and The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk. All three books expound on research done by Anders Ericcson and colleagues, which was published in a paper titled “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.” This research shed valuable insight on the ongoing debate of “nature vs. nurture.” In a future post I will go into more detail on these ground-breaking findings. The basic premise of the findings is that people are not born “gifted.” Instead, exceptional performance is the result of certain “nurture” influences and what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” This includes so-called prodigies such as Mozart and Tiger Woods. It’s very interesting reading.

The good news is that virtually anyone can achieve a high level of expertise and virtually anything they want (excluding areas that require certain physical characteristics and size such as a jockey or a basketball player or football player) if they are willing to discipline themselves and follow a specific framework of deliberate practice for many years.

The bad news for many is that these findings virtually remove all excuses for why they haven’t achieved much in their lives. The answer is as simple as “they chose to do other activities to spend their time doing rather than choosing “deliberate practice” in a chosen field to acquire a high level of expertise in that field. It puts the responsibility squarely where it belongs… on ourselves; and not on our DNA or other excuses.

There is a phrase I have repeated so often at my home that when I start the sentence: “When you say YES to one thing…” my children can finish it: “… you say NO to another.” That’s fundamentally the key to “acquiring expert performance” in almost every field. Simply put, people who have acquired certain levels of expert performance in their fields said NO to years of social and leisure activities and said YES to years of deliberate practice.

As I said, I will go into more detail on that in another post. For now, here is my updated “12 Prosperty Ps.”

D. Scott Elder’s 12 Prosperity Ps

  1. Personal Responsibility. You must take personal responsibility for your life. You have to stop blaming others or circumstances for where you are in life. You need to be accountable for your decisions and actions and not allow yourself to fall into the downward spiral of “victimitis” where one thinks that the world, and everyone in it, is out to get them.
  2. Purpose. When you find a big enough “why” you will find a way. What drives you? What are the desires of your heart? When you live life on purpose, doors open and miracles happen.
  3. Passion. You must ignite within yourself the motivation that will give you the drive to persist, no matter how hard it, how tired you are or how many times you fall and have to pick yourself back up.
  4. Preparation. With a plan in hand you can begin preparing yourself to achieve it. This might require learning a new skill; specialized training; getting the right tools or equipment; building up your savings account; etc.
  5. Plan. Planning helps you chart your course. When your mind can see a clear and logical path, your imagination can be inspired with hope and creativity to help make it a reality. It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The journey actually begins with the idea and the plan to take the journey.
  6. Proper Action. Taking just any random action will not help you carry out your plan. In fact it might hurt you. Your actions must be the proper actions.
  7. Practice. You must always be improving your skills through constant and deliberate practice.
  8. Persistence. Once you start your journey, you must persist “until” – until you succeed. Everything worth doing, everything that brings about a substantial reward will not be easy. You will not have “over night success” you will not “get rich quick.” But if you persist you will eventually succeed and you will eventually get rich if that is what you desire. It’s like Dory said in Finding Nemo: “Keep on swimming.” Challenges and trials are the test from life to find out if you’re really serious about achieving your desire. If you’re not, you will drop out early.
  9. Patience. Even when you’re doing everything right, achieving success in any area takes time. If you know you’re not going to quit, then you know you are going to eventually arrive at your destination. When you know this you can turn frustration into anticipation and get excited knowing that with each obstacle you overcome you’re another day closer. And as Benjamin Franklin said: “He that can have patience can have what he will.” You can’t have it all right now, but you can have all that you want eventually if you persist with patience.
  10. Perspective. Keep your failures and successes in the proper perspective. You are learning and growing as you persist with patience. It really isn’t about how much stuff you can acquire in this life, it’s how you can use your experiences to grow and progress as a person… and help others to do the same. At some point along the way you will realize that you can acquire as much material stuff as you want. The test after that is to stop wanting to, and to start using what you have learned to help others enjoy lives filled with abundance.
  11. Perception. You must be aware of the opportunities around you. Contrary to a popular expression, I don’t believe that “your ship only comes in once in your life.” I believe you have opportunity ships coming in all the time. But until you believe that and start looking for them, you’re missing opportunity ships on a regular basis. Expect a “lucky break” and through the convergence of everything you’re doing to achieve success, the lucky break will come and you will recognize it.
  12. Prayer. This step is optional depending upon your religious beliefs. I used to leave it out, but don’t any more because I believe prayer is instrumental in helping me to do the other eleven. I believe in a higher power, a Creator of worlds and people without end who cares about me and is willing and able to help me achieve the righteous desires of my heart.

Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity,

D. Scott Elder

(C) 2010 Cosmic Bridge, LLC

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM  Comments (2)  

Thank You Jim Rohn for A Perfect Day

This past Saturday I enjoyed another “perfect day.” I have several versions of “a perfect day” — a perfect spiritual day, a perfect family day, etc. But this particular “perfect day” was a perfect relaxation day. It started with waking up at our family cabin in the mountains of Sanpete County, Utah. From our cabin I can access several ATV trails near “The Great Western Trail.”  After eating breakfast I chose a trail that snakes along a hillside that looks over a beautiful canyon full of Pines, Aspens, and Maple Trees. At the top of the trail is a meadow where I like to stop and look over the canyon. The trail continues on through a heavily wooded forest, crosses two creeks and eventually loops back to my cabin. It’s about a 90 minute ride that I call “mountain therapy.” I was at the cabin alone to do some work the previous day, so I decided to head back to my “city home” after my trail ride and relax and swim with my family.

I live near the mouth of Provo Canyon, which is where Robert Redford’s Sundance Ski Resort is located. It was such a beautiful day that I decided to ride my bike up Provo Canyon and “earn” my relaxation and swimming. It took me about 90 minutes to get to the top of South Fork road in Vivian Park, and about 30 minutes to get back home. When I got home I put on my swimming suit and enjoyed a nice relaxing swim with Barb. Our home is nestled at the foot hills of Mt. Timpanogos so it’s a beautiful view of the mountains from out backyard. After just coming from one beautiful canyon in the mountains to another, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to live in a such a beautiful place where I could enjoy an ATV ride in one area and then a bike ride in another all in the same day… and then enjoy a relaxing swim at my home.

I share this experience of a “perfect day” not to boast, but to pay tribute to Jim Rohn. Although I never met Jim Rohn he was one of my mentors through his books and tapes in my quest to learn and apply the principles of health, happiness and prosperity. Jim taught me that I could be financially secure by 40 and financially independent by 50. When I was born my mother was still in high school and not married. I was raised by a hard working mother who was single most of her life. As a young boy I had high aspirations and talked about living in a big house with a swimming pool and having a cabin in the mountains. I was naive and didn’t know what the reality of achieving those dreams required (lots of money) so adults around me were always trying to help me understand “reality.” Their intentions were noble — they didn’t want me to be disappointed in how life “really is” when you grow up. In my early twenties (while attending college at a major university — something else I wasn’t suppose to get my hopes up for) I was introduced to Jim Rohn through a cassette tape program. He taught me about personal development, about Philosophy, Attitude, Activity, Results and Lifestyle.  He taught me that if I just followed some basic proven principles I could be financially secure by 40 and financially independent by 50. So I took Jim at his word and did what he told me to do. Heck, I didn’t have anything to lose in trying. And guess what? By 40 I was financially secure and by 50 I was financially independent.

Jim Rohn passed away on December 5th, 2009. I regret not having the opportunity to meet him and thank him personally. So today, as I reflect back on this “perfect day” that I enjoyed this past Saturday, I just wanted to say “Thank you Jim Rohn for all you did to help me achieve my naive dreams as a child.” Oh, and another key principle. Jim was also a very religious man and he often mentioned the importance of God in our lives and how God helps us with miracles if we do the work — the miracles that God blesses us with if we act in Faith and do the Work. So everyday I thank God for all of the many blessings in my life.

May you enjoy an abundance of health, happiness, and prosperity,

D. Scott Elder

Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 12:21 PM  Comments (1)  

Consolidating Blogs

Well, my intent was to post regularly on two blogs, my D. Scott Elder blog and my Health Crusade Now blog. What I discovered is that in trying to make time to write on two blogs, along with the other writing I do for my partner/client ventures, I ended up not posting on either. My objective is observe, learn, do and teach the principles of health, happiness and prosperity. So the things I would write about on Health Crusade Now, would be appropriate here as well. So starting today, Health Crusade Now topics will appear here.

Enjoy,

D. Scott Elder

Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 10:36 AM  Leave a Comment  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.