Last week I wrote about the mafia guy Sam “Mooney” Giancana and how he used systems to build and manage a huge, albeit illegal and vicious, financial empire. I’m not encouraging you to use his particular systems but it is a wild example of just what can be done when you have good systems in place. So the question now is, what kind of systems will work for you to allow you to dramatically increase your income and at the same time give you more free time to do whatever you like and enhances your life?
Before we can go over what a system is and how you develop it, you must understand this:
Grand Strategies Pay Huge Dollars and Details Drain Your Time.
Look at most people’s lives and you’ll find that they spend the majority of time wrapped up in the details. No, that’s not the way they planned it, but it’s so easy to get sucked into that habit. One big footnote here is you must realize that some people thrive on detail. And that’s okay, it’s just that if you really like the detail then you probably need to accept the fact that your road to huge automatic streams of income will be much harder for you. On the other hand, it’s these kinds of super detail loving people you need to hire to do the details for you.
If you’re a big ideas person, the struggle may be keeping focused. Ever notice how, when you’re away from home and business, usually on vacation, you can come up with some darn good strategies and systems for success? But then, when you get home, the details of your life and business pull you away and you lose focus of those great ideas you came up with when you were away from it all. So the number one strategy needs to be a plan to back away from it all, to get a clear mountaintop view of your business and your investments or potential investments. You must be able to see your own financial big picture.
Once you have that mountain top view and you figured out what your grand strategy is going to be then you need to start getting systems into place. When I started out to dramatically increase my income and net worth, my grand strategy was to build my fortune with income producing properties. To speed up the process I decided to find “dirt bag” properties that I could fix up and sell for a good profit. I found out very quickly how the details can just suck up your time so my first “grand system” was to start delegating these details to other people. Everything from using dozens of real estate agents to look for properties that fit my criteria to very inexpensive workers to do the hard labor required for the face lifts the properties needed.
I clearly remember the first apartment building I bought. It was twelve super dumpy, dirty, rundown units. That’s where I learned my big lesson about systems, especially about details and delegation. In the beginning I thought it would be smart to save a few bucks since I was way short of cash and take over as the resident manager even though I didn’t live on the property. Wow, was that ever stupid! Fortunately, within a few months I realized that the details were not only driving me crazy but, more importantly, they were sucking my time and energy which was destroying my outlook on buying more properties.
So you see, right here is the biggest rub. If you’re handling all the details and you hate it, why would you ever want to buy more properties which will only bring you more frustration and problems? Of course the answer is that you wouldn’t. Always remember, if you want to double or triple or even gather 5 times your income, you will always need to delegate the details!!
Ridiculous! Most people won’t believe the next sentence, but it can be absolutely true if you want it to be: The average person can increase their income by 5 times and spend less time working than they do now.
Yes, that’s true, and I can prove it in just a few minutes. Then you can go out and do it.
A few years ago as I lay basking on the beautiful Poipu Beach in the South Pacific, I was reading, Double Cross, the story of Sam “Mooney” Giancana. Sam ran the Chicago Mob for years, involving “the outfit”, as they called it, in prostitution, numbers, vending and protection (a nice word for extortion) of legitimate businesses ranging from garbage collection to barber shops. They also were involved in running drugs, money laundering, motels, restaurants, night clubs and hijacking, to name just a few more.
How did Sam find the time to manage, direct and control such a vast cash generating empire? Sam was not even what you would call an educated man, so how did he do it? He saw the big picture and knew the key to his own personal success was in the “systems”. Nobody has more than 168 hours in a week to get things done–so to expand or clone yourself you must devise “systems” that work automatically, whether you are awake, asleep, working in Washington or playing tennis in Tangiers. And Sam had developed just such systems, systems that, once set up, would run on auto pilot most of the time. When the system slowed down or broke, he would fix it. Granted, his methods to fix the system were more than a little harsh. For us non-criminals when our tenant, broker or employee makes a mistake we might want to put them on some kind of probation or fire them rather than break their leg or rub them out.
Can you see the vision here? If you organize your life and business to run automatically without you–with income constantly coming in, especially from one source, then that gives you free time to work on other ideas, dreams and develop more income sources. Then you can literally increase your income by 2 or 3 times and even by 5 times and work less than you do now!
Personally, one of my initial driving forces was the thought or question of how my family would get along if I died the next day. So I went to work with that somewhat negative motivation and in a very few years I had arranged more than 95% of my income to flow in on auto pilot which gave me lots of time to work on more income streams. How was that done? In a word, Systems.
This week I just wanted you to take away the idea that you can make more money and work less by simply developing systems that can bring in automatic income. Next week I will tell you what kind of systems I used and that you can use to increase your income or just to give you more time to do other fun things.
A few nights ago I presented 2 Cottonwood High School Senior scholarships. 27 years ago I set up the Kristin Haroldsen scholarship fund in honor and in memory of my daughter Kristin, who died suddenly at age 16 from an eating disorder. I told the 400 or so high school seniors and parents how shocking and painful it was to lose a child and sadly a few families already knew from experience the deep sorrow parents, families and friends suffer.
But then I tried to explain the huge “life lesson” I learned from that tragedy. And yes, it took years for me to learn this big life lesson. I tried to convey to the audience and especially these wonderful young, senior high school students what I consider the great secret of a happy, fulfilling and productive life. Here are those 2 messages:
LIFE’S BIG LESSON: It’s not what happens to you during your life but how you react or respond to what happens to you. You have to remember that whatever happens, you have choices and you determine the quality of your life by the choices you make.
LIFE’S BIG SECRET: To have a happy, fulfilling and productive life, you must monitor, control and program your self-talk and constantly make positive affirmations to yourself, inside your head. Talk to yourself by saying simple things like,
“I can handle any situation.”
“I am happy and healthy.”
“I am positive and upbeat.”
“My life is working out beautifully.”
“I love people and I listen to them.”
Based on the many comments I received later that night from these wonderful teenagers I think they got the message, The real key, however, is how long they will remember it and live by it. That goes for their parents too. And for you and me!
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge believer in setting goals. Of course that’s the major them of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Goal setting grabbed my attention in a very big way even back when I was in high school.
As a pole vaulter then and in college my goals were in feet and inches. As soon as I reached a certain height, I would set a new goal a few inches higher–from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 9 inches then 11 feet. After a ton or work, trying over and over again, I finally was consistently clearing 12 feet and eventually I peaked out at 14 feet 1 inch. Back then, in 1962, the world record was just over 16 feet, so I wasn’t doing too badly. But, no, I didn’t set the world record. Still setting those goals kept me completely engaged and excited about life. Such physical, self-competitive goals aren’t the only goals that can do that for you. Just about any goal will do that for you if it’s something you really want.
To get that jazzed feeling every day, be sure to constantly set goals for yourself. It will keep you passionate about your life and living and of course there is a Big Bonus in that you end up accomplishing so many things. So my message this week is push yourself to set more goals, and tough goals, in all parts of your life –physical, mental, family, charitable and, yes, don’t forget financial goals. I promise you as you do this you will enjoy each hour and each day more.
By the way, as you may already know, it helps to tell people that are close to you (as long as they are positive people) what goals you have set for yourself because when you know they are watching, you are more likely to stick with them and they also can act as a cheer leader for you. I myself have been sharing with you my goal of working out every day until I turned 70 and just knowing I told you about that makes even more dedicated. I just can’t let you down.
So you know. I am still on track with that goal which is 46 weeks from now. I was sick one day last week and hurt my back on another day but I still got a work out in. Yes it hurt physically but, wow, I sure got a huge mental boost from sticking with my goal! That’s 83 out of 84 days that I have kept up my work outs. Pretty good! Now, what goal do you have?
Well, did you start doing it? Did you start looking for a house to buy as an investment or a place to live and profit from today’s super low interest rates? If you don’t know what I’m talking about go read my blog post from last week entitled “Money Money Money”. Maybe I should have called it “Low Rates Low Rates Low Rates”.
If you are already in a very comfortable place financially and either don’t need to or don’t want to make some easy money (I probably shouldn’t call it “easy money” it’s more like “simple money” because it does take work!), then may I suggest you talk to your kids or friends that may not be so comfortable but have the drive, desire and energy. You can be a major financial mentor for them and they will love you for doing it and you will get a ton of satisfaction knowing that you directed them and helped them.
I receive so many messages from people coast to coast and even from foreign countries, thanking me for my financial advice, for giving them the motivation to get up and get moving and for making good financial things happen in their lives. There are not many things in the world that give a person more satisfaction and contentment than knowing you’ve helped someone make major improvements in their lives.
And I’m not talking just about money. Just helping people believe in themselves and motivating them to be proactive in any and every part of their lives is what it is really about. Having a solid financial situation is certainly a good thing and can help in a myriad of ways but there is more to life than money. Bottom line … help others to reach their goals with encouragement and constant support. You will get your reward in the happiness it brings you to see them bring about what is important to them into their lives.
We all want it and we all need it—and some people will do most anything to get it. Right now there are a few things you can do to really cash in big time. I don’t mean to say that money is the most important thing in the world but if you don’t have any, or not very much, it certainly makes life pretty darn rough!
What many, if not most people, don’t fully realize is that there are some critical choices and critical timing of those choices that can make all the difference in the world. It should be obvious that the “choice” of making the most income that you can and at the same time keeping spending lower than your level of income is a very good thing. By doing that you create savings and with enough savings you can make investments that, if you do it right, can give you passive income that makes your life smoother, more pleasant and rather easy. But … what about those investment choices and, maybe even more important, that thing called “timing”.
My advice to most everyone, at least here in the USA, has to do with what you could and should be doing RIGHT NOW!! Recently I said to my adult children, “You know, if you are financially wise and want to make some huge strides in your financial situation right now is the time to act! And, acting right now will pay huge dividends in the near and distant future.” What are those actions that I encouraged them to take and they are doing even as I write this blog?
Ok, here’s the simple advice which could easily be called “Million Dollar Advice”! Go buy a house or maybe 2 houses or a duplex or even more. That’s pretty simple but it’s almost sure to make my children or you a ton of money. You may be saying “Wait a minute. Prices have already bottomed out and have moved up in the last year or so and more in the last few months. You’re right but that’s OK because the big if not the huge reason to buy now is not because the possible continuing rise in values (and it might well slow down a bit) but because of a thing called “Interest Rates” or should I say ”Super Duper Low Interest Rates!” Just take a look at where we are now and where we used to be and very likely will return.
Monthly Payment on a $400,000 Loan for 30 years
Today’s interest rates are:
Rates in past years & probable future years:
Now at first glance that may not seem like a huge difference but … over the life of the 30 year loan–the difference between the 7% loan and the 3.5% loan is almost a third of a million dollars ($958,035.60 on the 7% loan and $646,624.80 on the 3.5% loan.) The big bonus is that today’s rental rates are going up and up, so you can rent those houses or a duplex’s out for more and more. Just think … 3 properties could make you almost a million bucks over the life of the loan not counting the cash flow that is possible. And what if you had more than that? At the top of my “rental property career” I owned more than 1,000 units! How does that sound to you?
I hope I have inspired you to go out and take advantage of these super low interest rates. They won’t last more than maybe one or two years longer and maybe even shorter than that. In other words, this is not the time to hesitate. It is the time to buy!
It practically goes without saying … the Boston bombings were absolutely terrible. There’s no question that Boston’s tragedy pales by comparison to what is going on in the Middle East on an almost daily basis but here in the USA we’ve not seen anything like it since 9/11. But I’m afraid that too many Americans will jump to the wrong conclusions. I say that because I have seen and heard so many people blaming religion and specifically the Muslim people for these and many other acts of terrorism. But that’s more like blaming the evil acts of the KKK on Christianity– most of the KKK were Christians but very few of the Christians in the world were in the KKK.
I have had the great fortune and honor to have lived my formative teenage years in a Muslim country and have traveled extensively ever since then, experiencing the many different cultures and lifestyles in the over 80 countries I have visited. The bottom line lesson of all that traveling for me is simply this: 99% of the world’s people–regardless of their culture, language, lifestyles or religion–are good, honest, and non-violent human beings.
I have said to many, many people in the last few years as we’ve watched the media sensationalize violence from all the corners of the planet, “It’s too bad everyone couldn’t visit dozens of other countries and cultures to observe and get to know the people that are different than themselves. If they could they would see that the vast majority of all people are pretty much all the same.”
Sadly, there are many evil, demented, disturbed and brain-washed people who will use religion to try to justify their acts of evil and terror and in most of the world’s religious scriptures these people will find words that they interpret as God giving them permission to reject, torture or even kill someone who doesn’t believe the same way they do! After the Boston bombings the Muslim community in Salt Lake City made a statement to the community and the world that the Koran does not give any permission or instructions to their followers to commit such horrific acts. To me, it’s sad that they felt they had to make such an announcement. If people really knew the Islamic culture and the Koran they would already know this fact.
I sincerely hope that as we mature as human beings and as a country we will see and understand other cultures and religions and accept that 99% of all people, nations and religions are good and do good in the world. The world is not near as dangerous as you’d think from watching the news. Always remember, bad news sells and lifts ratings and that is the main reason you hear so much of it and so little of all the good and wonderful things that happen in the world every day, in every corner of the globe.
Last week I told you about my goal to work out every single day and do that at least until my 70th birthday which is now 347 days. (I’m pretty sure when I hit 70 I won’t stop then either!) So far so good–I haven’t missed a day in the last 45 days! I sure could have used the fact that I hurt my back one day as an excuse to skip a day but I didn’t. I was in a lot of pain then but I sure felt terrific when I finished. I mean, physically I was totally beat and in a world of hurt but mentally, I felt like a champion. And, wow … that felt great!
One big discovery I made with my “every single day” workout goal was that we are more likely to succeed at it because unlike a goal to work out 4 or 5 days a week, an “every single day” goal doesn’t tempt you to skip today’s workout. You can’t say “Oh, I’ll feel better tomorrow and I can still get in my 4 or 5 days this week.” The thing is, if you do procrastinate you may well find yourself skipping and pushing your work out until you run out of days in the week and miss your target. With an “every single day” goal you know procrastination or skipping days is simply not an option.
If this simple goal hasn’t motivated you to start your own health and work out program by now, then I think I need to tempt you by giving you a list of huge benefits or as I call these lists in my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”, B-RAM. B-RAM stands for Benefits, Reasons, and Motivations. These are the things that will keep you chasing your goal if your keep them in the forefront of your mind. (See Chapter 7 entitled “The Sure Fire Way to Stick with Every Goal” on page 71 for more on how to benefit from B-RAM.)
Here are 7 huge benefits of setting unshakable fitness goals as given by Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. Print out this B-RAM (adding more reasons to it if you like) and post it somewhere to keep reminding yourself how wonderful this goal will be for you:
1. Those with pep in their step stay younger.
2. Aerobics will help you keep more brain tissue.
3. Balance exercises help you age gracefully.
4. Active seniors look years younger than their couch potato friends.
5. Resistance exercises keep you stronger to live longer.
6. The greater your muscle strength, the less risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. Those who exercise slow down their biological clock.
By the way Dr. Amen documents the evidence behind each of these 7 benefits starting on page 123 under the heading of “Exercise and Longevity”. He introduces this section by saying “New research seems to be popping up every day proving that exercise will not only increase how long you live but also the quality of life in those years.”
What else do you need to get you up and working on fitness? If you haven’t started, why not start RIGHT NOW! Take five minutes and briskly walk, dance, stretch, lift a few weights … and think about how you’ll do this every day so you can get all these great benefits, starting right now!
In early March I was on my way back to Kauai to spend the rest of the winter when we had a long layover in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I had left Dr. Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” at my Salt Lake City office, so I wandered down to the airport bookstore for a copy and stumbled across Daniel Amen’s book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. There is a lot of good stuff in his book including many before and after brain scans of people that turned around bad habits and behaviors both in eating and exercising. The huge difference in those brain scans really got my attention but what stuck with me the most was the story Amen tells about 52 year old Andrew McGill and what he did to end up with a “younger brain, a sharper mind, and a happier life.”
Andrew McGill is a doctor who had totally let himself go and was in poor health (which just goes to show that even being a medical professional does not insure great health.) His brain scan reflected his poor physical state, looking like the scan of a much older man. Daniel Amen says “it could be attributed to a number of causes: alcohol; drugs; environmental toxins, such as mold or organic solvents; infections; a lack of oxygen; or a significant medical problem like severe anemia or low thyroid.” On top of these other possible contributors to his poor health, Dr. McGill weighed 289.5 pounds, which I’m sure was also a major contributing factor.
To cut to the chase and the real heart of the story, McGill had one day “found himself lecturing a diabetic patient about the importance of nutrition, losing weight, and exercise. On the way home he thought to himself, ‘Andy, what a hypocrite you are! When are you going to stop playing around with your own health?’” It wasn’t until later, in November 2006, that McGill finally made a deep, committed vow to never to miss a day of exercising. That was five years ago. Surprisingly, he has kept that promise, not missing a single day. Ever.
Wow! Just … wow! That kind of commitment really made an impression on me. And he was paid well for his commitment. He lost 100 pounds and a new scan showed the brain of a much younger and healthier man. Now, as I mentioned last week, exercise is not the only thing you need to lose weight and be healthy. Dr. McGill also stopped drinking alcohol, which contributes a huge amount of sugar to our diets, among other healthy changes to achieve these results.
The thing is his story was enough for me to make that same commitment to exercise every single day. Truthfully, it’s not that big a deal. There are so many things you can do to get in your exercise each day, things that don’t even require equipment or a trip to the gym—a lunch time walk, a morning run, 10 minutes jogging up and down the stairwell at work, calisthenics on your living room floor while watching your favorite show, etc. The important thing is to do it and if you make a habit of exercising in some manner every single day you will become healthier, especially when combined with healthier eating.
Since reading that story I have only missed one day of exercise and only because my wife had surgery. I have decided that I am going to keep it up for at least one full year … that’s when I hit age 70! And I know I can and will do it. So why don’t you? Is there any reason not to? No. But there are so many, many reasons to take on this simple challenge, aren’t there?
By now I hope you have watched Dr. Robert Lustig’s video that I’ve talked about in my last 2 blogs. If you heed his advice it really is life enhancing. I have and it’s made such a huge difference. But now, as I promised last week, I want to talk about exercise and what it can and cannot do for you.
To summarize what Dr.Lustig says on the subject of weight loss and exercise, exercise is not the key to weight loss, but it is one of two keys to great health. The first key is changing your diet by drastically reducing your intake of sugar in combination with a huge increase in your intake of fiber. Do that and your half way to excellent health.
The second key is, yes, exercise and by that he means consistent exercise. As Dr. Lustig points out, exercise will build muscle and in the very long run will help you lose a little of the weight because muscles burn calories faster than fat but this would only be a little additional weight loss. In other words, exercise should be part of a weight loss plan but is not the key to it. Without the change in diet, weight loss will be slow and the increase in overall health will be minimal.
Not a believer quite yet? Well, I’d recommend going out and getting Dr, Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” so you can read about all the factors that go into healthy weight loss and healthy eating. It’s not that exercise cannot have a tremendous impact on your health but exercise alone won’t do it. Next week I’ll tell you about another book and the story it includes of an amazing man, his commitment to better health and how you can follow in his footsteps. In the meantime, start evaluating your sugar intake. You may find it startling just how much you take in and, hopefully, it’ll stir you to do something about it.