There is a simple eight step method for systematic problem solving.
By solving problems in an orderly way, you can dramatically increase the power of your thinking.
Proceed With A Positive Attitude
First, approach the problem with the expectant attitude that there is a logical practical solution just waiting to be found. Be relaxed, calm, confident and clear in your mind.
Second, change your language from negative to positive. Instead of the word “problem,” use the word “situation.” Problem is a negative word while situation is a neutral word. “We have an interesting situation”, is better than, “We have a problem.”
Define the Situation Clearly
The third step in systematic problem-solving is to define the situation clearly, in writing. “Exactly what is the situation?” Then ask, “What else is the situation?” Sometimes stating the problem in different words makes it much easier to solve.
Once, when I was working with the Chamber of Commerce, I came to the attention of a senior executive who hired me away from the company I was working for a year later at triple the salary. Meeting people is very important. Network at every opportunity.
Fully 50% of situations can be resolved by accurate definition.
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Identify Causes and Solutions
Step number four is to, ask “What are all the possible causes of this situation?” Failure to identify the causes or reasons for the situation often causes you to have to solve it again and again. Fully 25% or more of situations can be effectively dealt with by discovering the correct causes.
Step number five is to ask, “What are all the possible solutions?” Write out as many solutions or answers to the situation as possible before moving on. The quantity of possible solutions usually determines the quality of the solution chosen.
Clear Decisions Are Key
Step number six is to “Make a clear decision.” Usually any decision is better than none.
Step number seven is to “Assign clear responsibility for carrying out the decision and then set a deadline for completion and review.” Remember, a decision without a deadline is just a fruitless discussion.
Finally, step number eight is to follow-up, monitor the decision, compare actual results with expected results and then generate new solutions and new courses of action.
Now, here are two ways you can apply this technique to think more creatively.
First, state the problem clearly, in writing, so that you know exactly what it is that you are trying to solve. Ask, “What else is the problem?”
Second, develop as many solutions as you possibly can, including doing nothing, before you make a decision. Quality of ideas is in direct proportion to the quantity that you generate.
The Importance of Self-ConfidenceBrian Tracy talks about Self-Esteem
The Law of Capital – your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your physical and mental capital, your earning ability.
Your Earning Ability
You may not even be aware that, unless you are wealthy already, your ability to work is the most valuable asset that you have. By utilizing your earning ability to its fullest, you can bring thousands of dollars each year into your life. By applying your earning ability to the production of valuable goods and services, you can generate sufficient money to pay for all the things that you want in life. The amount of money that you are paid today is a direct measure of the extent to which you have developed your earning ability so far.
Use Your Time Well
The first corollary of the Law of Capital says: “Your most precious resource is your time.” Your time is really all you have to sell. How much time you put in and how much of yourself you put into that time, largely determines your earning ability. Poor time management is one of the major reasons for poor productivity and underachievement in every industry in America. It is the number one problem for both managers and salespeople in every field.
Invest Yourself Carefully
The second corollary of the Law of Capital says: “Time and money can be either spent or invested.” One of the smartest things that you can do is to invest three percent of your earnings every month back into yourself on personal and professional development, on becoming better at the most important things you do. In fact, if you just invested as much in your mind each year as you do in your car, that alone could make you wealthy.
Invest one hour of your time reading in your field every day. Listen to audio programs in your car. Attend every course that can advance you in your career. Get personal and professional coaching to help you to get the very best out of yourself.
Get Better At the Things You Do
There is nothing that will give you a bigger and better “bang” for your buck than reinvesting a part of your time and money back into your capability to earn even more. All wealthy and successful Americans have learned this sooner or later, and all poor and unhappy Americans are still trying to figure it out.
Watch this video on the story of The Universal Laws of Success and Achievment.
Increase Your Return on Life
The third corollary of the Law of Capital says: “One of the best investments of your time and money is to increase your earning ability.”
The purpose of corporate strategic planning is to increase “return on equity” or ROE. This requires organizing and reorganizing corporate activities so that the company is earning a higher return on the capital invested in the organization. In your work life, your personal equity is your mental and emotional capital. Your job then is to earn the highest possible return on your human capital, to increase your “return on energy.” This way of viewing yourself must become a key part of your attitude throughout your work life.
Here are two things you can do to apply this law immediately:
First, take a list of your output responsibilities, the things you do that represent accomplishments, not activities. Examine the list and rank the tasks by priority, on the basis of the value of the work to your company.
Second, take a list of all the things you do, day in and day out. Take this list to your boss and ask him or her to rank your tasks in terms of how valuable he or she considers them to be. Then resolve to work on your most valuable tasks every minute of every day.
This is only 1 of 149 Universal Laws of Success and Achievement
Universal Laws are at work whether you know about them or not. These laws explain why some people are more successful than others. By knowing them, you can explain and predict the workings of the world – and allow them to work in your favor.
Learn all The Universal Laws of Success and Achievement today.
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Build Your Own Business
The high road to becoming a self-made millionaire in America is starting and building your own business. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Most businesses started by inexperienced people fail.
Probably the primary reason why people don’t start businesses is because they’re afraid that they’re going to lose their money and for good reason. 99 percent of businesses started by people lacking business experience fail within the first two or three years.
Why Businesses Fail
And why is that? It’s because they don’t know how to succeed. They haven’t the slightest idea how to make a business successful. They may have an idea for a product or service, but they don’t know all the things that they need to know to run a successful business.
Why Businesses Succeed
However, surprisingly enough, 80 percent of businesses started by experienced businesspeople succeed. Now why should this be so? The reason is because experienced businesspeople know what to do. They know how to purchase their products and their services. They know how to negotiate with their suppliers. They know how to raise money. They know how to negotiate leases. They know how to sell and to market. They know how to manage their finances. In other words, experience is the key. In order to start your own business and succeed, you have to learn how.
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Competence Makes the Difference
Now according to Dunn and Bradstreet, 96 percent of businesses in America that fail, fail because of what is called "managerial incompetence". Managerial incompetence means that the people running the businesses don’t know what they’re doing. And here are the two critical areas of managerial incompetence that cause business failure.
First is sales and marketing. 48 percent of businesses that fail in America fail because the business cannot sell enough of its products or services. Very few businesses fail when they have high levels of sales and revenues coming in.
Control Your Costs
The second reason that businesses fail, 46 percent, is because of poor cost control. They may be selling enough on the front end, but they’re losing so much on the back end that they go broke anyway. Sales and marketing, financing and cost control, both require experience. And if you’re serious about becoming financially independent, you have to learn how to do both of these.
Put Luck On Your Side
You must learn the skills you need to be successful. Business success is not a matter of luck. Business success is a matter of application. It’s a matter of ability. It’s a matter of experience and skill and intelligence, and wonderfully enough, you can learn what you need to know to be successful. And you can start by learning through on-the-job training, which is called OJT. Most successful businesspeople become successful because they get all their training by working for someone else.
Here are two things you can do immediately to make sure that your business succeeds greatly:
First, take the time to get the knowledge and experience you need in business by working for someone else where you can learn a lot in a short period of time. Go to work in an area in which you are interested and learn everything you possibly can.
Second, read and study in business, especially entrepreneurial business, all the time. Read one or two business books per week and read every business magazine that is published on your subject. Never stop learning and growing.
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Listening Builds Self-Esteem
It has been said that, "Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery." When you listen intently to another person and it is clear that you genuinely care about what that other person is saying, his or her self-esteem goes up. His or her feeling of personal value increases. He or she feels more worthwhile and important as a human being. You can actually make another person feel terrific about himself or herself by listening in a warm, genuine, caring way to everything he or she has to say.
When a man and a woman go out for the first time, they spend an inordinate amount of time talking and listening to each other. They look into each other’s eyes and hang on every word. They are each fascinated by the personality of the other. The more each listens to the other, the more positive and happy each of them feel and the stronger becomes the bonds of affection between them.
The Opposite of Listening is Ignoring
You always listen to that which you most value. You always ignore that which you devalue. The fastest way to turn a person off, to hurt their feelings and make them feel slighted and angry is to simply ignore what they are saying or interrupt them in the middle of a thought. Ignoring or interrupting is the equivalent of an emotional slap in the face. Men especially have to be careful about their natural desire to make a remark or an observation in the middle of a conversation. This can often cause the sales conversation to come to a grinding halt.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, take every opportunity to make the other person feel important by listening attentively to what he or she says.
Second, avoid interrupting the other person by slowing down and pausing for a few moments after he or she has stopped speaking.
The Foremost of the Values
Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it all others depend.” The systematic development of the deep down quality of unflinching courage is one of the fundamental requirements for leadership in any field. Fear, or the lack of courage is more responsible for failure in management, and in life, than any other factor. It is always fear that causes people to hold back, to sell themselves short, to settle for far less than they are capable of!
Eliminate Fear and Doubt
I firmly believe that you can do, have or be far more than you now know if only you could eliminate the fear, doubts and misgivings that consciously and unconsciously interfere with your realizing your full potential.
Unlearn Your Fears
If there is anything positive about fear, it is that all fears are learned, that no one is born with fears, and that having been learned, they can be unlearned. If you want to understand the role of fear in shaping the course of your life, just ask yourself, if you had a magic wand that would absolutely guarantee you success in any one thing you attempted, what goal would you set for yourself.
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The Great Question
“What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?” If you had no fears at all with regard to money or the criticism of others, what would you do differently? Most people can think of all kinds of changes they would, or could, make in their lives if they had no fears to hold them back.
The Origins of Fear
The development of courage begins with understanding the psychological origins of fear. The newborn child has only two fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears that we experience as adults are learned as we are growing up, primarily as the result of well-meaning but destructive criticism from our parents.
How Fears Develop
When the curious child gets into things and makes a mess, the parent scolds and punishes the child, eventually building up a pattern of fear connected with trying or getting into anything new or different. As adults, we experience this as the fear of failure, the fear of risking, of making a mistake, of losing.
Here are two steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, imagine that you had no fears at all. What would you set as a goal for yourself if you were guaranteed of success?
Second, decide exactly what you want and then act as if it were impossible to fail. You may be surprised at how successful you are.
The Miracle of Self-Discipline
How Are You Treated By Others?
Self-acceptance begins in infancy, with the influence of your parents and siblings and other important people.
Your own level of self-acceptance is determined largely by how well you feel you are accepted by the important people in your life.
Your attitude toward yourself is determined largely by the attitudes that you think other people have toward you. When you believe that other people think highly of you, your level of self-acceptance and self-esteem goes straight up.
The best way to build a healthy personality involves understanding yourself and your feelings.
Let the Light Shine In
This is achieved through the simple exercise of self-disclosure. For you to truly understand yourself, or to stop being troubled by things that may have happened in your past, you must be able to disclose yourself to at least one person. You have to be able to get those things off your chest. You must rid yourself of those thoughts and feelings by revealing them to someone who won’t make you feel guilty or ashamed for what has happened.
Understand What Makes You Tick
The second part of personality development follows from self-disclosure, and it’s called self-awareness. Only when you can disclose what you’re truly thinking and feeling to someone else can you become aware of those thoughts and emotions If the other person simply listens to you without commenting or criticizing, you have the opportunity to become more aware of the person you are and why you do the things you do. You begin to develop perspective, or what the Buddhists call "detachment."
Be Honest With Yourself
Now we come to the good part. After you’ve gone through self-disclosure to self-awareness, you arrive at self-acceptance. You accept yourself for the person you are, with good points and bad points, with strengths and weaknesses, and with the normal frailties of a human being. When you develop the ability to stand back and look at yourself honestly, and to candidly admit to others that you may not be perfect but you’re all you’ve got, you start to enjoy a heightened sense of self-acceptance.
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Do An Inventory of Your Accomplishments
A valuable exercise for developing higher levels of self-acceptance involves doing an inventory of yourself. In doing this inventory, your job is to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.
Think of your unique talents and abilities. Think of your core skills, the things that you do exceptionally well that account for your success in your profession and in your personal life right now.
Think About Your Future
Think about your future possibilities and the fact that your potential is virtually unlimited. You can do what you want to do and go where you want to go. You can be the person you want to be. You can set large and small goals and make plans and move step-by-step, progressively toward their realization. There are no obstacles to what you can accomplish except the obstacles that you create in your mind.
Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action:
First, sit down with your spouse, or a good friend, and tell him or her about something that is troubling you and is still causing you unhappiness.
Second, develop perspective on your problem by standing back from it and imagining that it was happening to someone else. What advice would you give to that person?
Third, think continually about the good experiences and accomplishments you have enjoyed in the past. Remind yourself regularly that you are a pretty good person and you’ve done a lot of good things in your life.
The Science of Self-Confidence
Attitude is Everything
The most important attitude for financial success is long-term thinking. Successful people think a long way into the future and they adjust their daily behaviors to assure they achieve their long-term goals. In a longitudinal study done at Harvard University in the 50s and 60s, they studied the reasons for upward socio-economic mobility. They were looking for factors that would predict whether or not an individual or family was going to move upward and be wealthier in the future than in the present.
They studied factors like education, intelligence, being born into the right family, or having the right connections. In every case, they found individuals who had been born with every blessing in life who did poorly. They also found individuals who had been born or come to this country with no advantages at all who had been extremely successful. What was the distinguishing factor?
They finally determined that there was only one key attitude that mattered. They called it "Time Perspective." Time perspective refers to the amount of time that you take into consideration when planning your day to day activities and when making important decisions in your life.
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People with long-time perspective invariably move up economically in the course of their lifetimes. When you spend weeks, months and years developing your skills and ability and expanding your experience in order to be successful, you have long-time perspective. The average professional person has a time perspective of 10, 15 and 20 years.
Begin to see that everything that you are doing today is part of a long-time continuum, at the end of which you are going to be financially independent or financially unfortunate. People with short-time perspective think only about fun and pleasure in the short term. They have what economists call "The inability to delay gratification." They have an irresistible tendency to spend every single penny they earn and everything that they can borrow.
When you develop long-time perspective, you develop the discipline to delay gratification and to save your money rather than spending it. The combination of long-time perspective and delayed gratification puts you onto the high road to financial independence.
Now, here are two things you can do to develop the attitudes of financially successful people:
First, think long-term about your financial life. Decide exactly how much you want to be worth five years, ten years and twenty years from today. Write it down. Make a plan. Take action on your plan every single day.
Second, develop the ability to delay gratification. Instead of buying something on impulse, put off buying decisions for a day, a week or even a month. Decide in advance to "think it over" before you buy anything. This can change the way you spend money almost immediately.
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Look for Opportunities
How do you find a new product or service, recognizing that 80 percent or more will be new in five years? Here’s a series of ideas. Number one, begin with yourself. Begin with your own talents, your abilities, your experience, knowledge, interest, background, education, and so on. Look carefully at your current work, your current business, your current position, or your current product or service. Seek for what is called your own acres of diamonds. Look under your own feet.
Look Into Yourself
Here’s a question. What qualities account for your greatest successes in life so far? What personal qualities and abilities have gotten you to where you are? And how could you apply those qualities and abilities to starting and building a new business?
If you already have a company, ask what are your companies’ talents, abilities, experience, knowledge, interest, background, and so on. What qualities and talents and abilities have enabled your company to succeed up to now? Where can you specialize? Where can you make a difference?
Identify What You Really Enjoy
Number two is look for a product or service about which you can really become enthusiastic. Sometimes people become wealthy by translating or transforming their hobbies into a business. You will be most successful doing something or marketing something that you really love.
Every product must have a champion. Every product or service must have someone in the business who really, really loves the product or service and is eager to get out and tell other people about it.
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Improve On Something Else
Number three, look for something that is an improvement on an existing product or service, not something brand new. Look for something that’s cheaper or better quality. Or that has additional features or functions. Look for something that’s an improvement.
Remember improving an existing successful product or service is the fastest and surest way to build a successful business. An idea only needs to be ten percent new and better to capture substantial market share. Brand new products or services are very risky.
Be Willing to Work Hard
The fourth key to finding a new product or service is this. Don’t look for easy money. Don’t look for gimmicks or useless knickknacks. Don’t look for get-rich-quick schemes or rewards without working, because they’re aren’t any.
More people have wasted more time and more life and more money trying to find quick ways to make easy money than you can possibly imagine. So be willing to put in a lot of hard work before you start making real money in a business.
Success Takes Time
It takes two years to break even in the average business. It takes four years to show a profit. It takes maybe eight to ten years before it starts to generate real cash flow. So you have to be patient. If you’re impatient, what will happen is you’ll end up setting yourself further back than you can imagine.
First, be prepared to research a lot of business ideas before you make a final decision. The first 10% of time that you spend doing your homework will save you 90% of the effort in getting results later on.
Second, look for something that you can make an improvement upon rather than something brand new. You are surrounded by ideas and opportunities for improvement if you can just identify them.
The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success
You may have a thousand different goals over the course of your lifetime, but they all will fall into one of four basic categories.
Everything you do is an attempt to enhance the quality of your life in one or more of these areas.
The Key to Happiness
The first category is your desire for happy relationships. You want to love and be loved by others. You want to have a happy, harmonious home life. You want to get along well with the people around you, and you want to earn the respect of the people you respect. Your involvement in social and community affairs results from your desire to have happy interactions with others and to make a contribution to the society you live in.
Enjoy Your Work
The second category is your desire for interesting and challenging work. You want to make a good living, of course, but more than that, you want to really enjoy your occupation or profession. The very best times of your life are when you are completely absorbed in your work.
Become Financially Independent
The third category is your desire for financial independence. You want to be free from worries about money. You want to have enough money in the bank so that you can make decisions without counting your pennies. You want to achieve a certain financial state so that you can retire in comfort and never have to be concerned about whether or not you have enough money to support your lifestyle. Financial independence frees you from poverty and a need to depend upon others for your livelihood. If you save and invest regularly throughout your working life, you will eventually reach the point where you will never have to work again.
Enjoy Excellent Health
The fourth and final category is your desire for good health, to be free of pain and illness and to have a continuous flow of energy and feelings of well-being. In fact, your health is so central to your life that you take it for granted until something happens to disrupt it.
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Peace of Mind is the Key
Peace of mind is essential for every one of these. The greater your peace of mind, the more relaxed and positive you are, the less stress you suffer, the better is your overall health.
The more peace of mind you have, the better are your relationships, the more optimistic, friendly and confident you are with everyone in your life. When you feel good about yourself on the inside, you do your work better and take more pride in it. You are a better boss and coworker. And the greater your overall peace of mind, the more likely you are to earn a good living, save regularly for the future and ultimately achieve financial independence.
Control Your Attention
Life is very much a study of attention. Whatever you dwell upon and think about grows and expands in your life. The more you pay attention to your relationships, the quality and quantity of your work, your finances and your health, the better they will become and the happier you will be.
Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, take time on a regular basis to think about what would make you really happy in each of the four areas.
Second, set specific, measurable goals for improvement in your relationships, your health, your work and your finances and write them down.
Third, resolve to do something every day to increase the quality of some area of your life – and then keep your resolution.
The Psychology of Achievement