The One Thing To Improve Your Life

The one thing to improve your life is to be on time for all appointments. Making the effort to be on time, it will have a cascading effect in your life.
Vince Lombardi who led the Green Bay Packers to three straight and five NFL Championship is famous for his so-called Lombardi Time.

Lombardi expects all his players to be 15 minutes meeting, practices and even the bus. If the players did not arrive 15 minutes early. The players are considered “late”. Thus the name Lombardi Time.

How does being early improve a person’s life? In fact, it is everything!

It is a sign of respect to others. You have an appointment to meet up three friends for dinner. You are five minutes late. What you have wasted is not five minutes but a total of 15 minutes of your friend’s life. Being late is a form of bad manners. You are telling the other person that you are not respecting their time. You can shower your loved ones with gifts and meals. The best gift is being respectful for their time. You have promised your children that you will be home on time that evening? Do it. You will put a smile on the children’s face.

It is a sign of self-respect. If you are constantly late and drag yourself through a series of mad dash because you are late; you probably do not have a lot of respect towards yourself. Why make yourself suffer? Respect yourself by being on time. Sleep at the right time. Wake up at the right time. Eat at the right time. Your body and your emotions will thank you.
It is a sign of self-discipline. Being on time needs discipline. Being on time means you have to watch your time and your activities. It is a form of training. By being on time, you have to put effort to manage all aspects of your life. So that you can get to your appointment without delay. The funny cat video on YouTube looks very tempting? No, you cannot watch it. You have to finish your task at hand and attend to the next task or appointment.

People will notice you. People will take notice that when you are never or hardly late. This becomes your brand and reputation. People talk about it and your personal brand can only improve. Being associated with a positive trait is far better than a negative one. You will gain the respect and admiration from others.

You set the standard. We are the average five people that we hang out with. If you set the bar high enough. Your friends will soon follow. The person who is always late will either step up or drop out from your circle. Why? You are living the higher standard. You will not lower yourself. And you will attract more good people into your life.

You get things done. To be on time, you cannot procrastinate. You have to get your things done. If you procrastinate, you will run out of time and you will be late. You will prioritise so that you can go to your next appointment without fearing to be late.

You remain cool and calm. Notice that you will only break into a sweat or nervous when you are late. If you are on time, you will always be as cool as a cucumber. Being cool and calm, you will be able to think clearly and make rational decisions. Decision made when you are in a hurry sometimes end in regret. More time and effort needed to undo the damage.

I am guilty of being late almost all the time. So if you feel bad that you fail to be punctual. We are only human. But please make a real effort. Life is a journey. We do not know when we have to check out. The only thing that we can do is to make use of all the time that is allocated to us.
So if there is one change to improve your life. Make sure you are on time.

I Reach Out to 100 Strangers in My LinkedIn Contacts. Here is What Happened.

How many LinkedIn connections do you have? How many people do you actually know of your connection? If you are like me, I do not think I know more than half of my connections.The question of what does the connection means always bugs me.

I started this exercise when I noticed I have more than 650 LinkedIn connections. The number of my connections does not mean much. The connections are a mixed of friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and bunch of strangers. Whenever a stranger asked for connection, I would accept it without much thought. And the numbers of connection grow without much meaning. As a matter of fact, I hardly reach out to anyone who is on my contact list.

According to Dunbar’s Number, we can only maintain a stable relationship with about 150 people. As such, having 650 connection is obviously too much and unrealistic.

Of course, Dunbar’s Number does not stop me from reaching out. So, I have decided to reach out to the strangers whom I have connected. And I write the following as a template.

“Hello XXX. I have just accepted your invitation. Curious, how does the connection benefit you in terms of career and ambition? Don’t mind me. I am just curious. :)” 

Within hours, I started to receive replies from my contacts. Broadly speaking, the replies are broken down into a few categories.

  • Asking whether I am interested in new job opportunities
  • Asking whether I am interested in their services
  • Readers from my post who wanted to connect with me.

Thus far, the majority of the people that I have written did not reply.

Nevertheless, for those who have responded, I learned much more than all the years of writing and reading on LinkedIn combined.

  • I have introduced a few headhunters to some friends who are looking for new job opportunities. Both parties are happy to get connected.
  • I have exchanged a few emails with those who read my post. We shared stories and encouragement.
  • I have made new contacts whom I will be meeting up for coffee.
  • I caught up with friends whom I have not talk for a long time.

What is the point of this exercise? I actually wanted to challenge the notion of getting connections for the sake of getting connected. For some of the individuals, they are now more than just a plain digital face. To these new found friends, they may be living in a faraway place, they all shared the same frustrations, fear and ambitions like me. I am not rich or famous, but I still can reach out.

Next time, if you ever click to accept a stranger’s invitation to connect. Write back and ask about their life, ambition, and inspiration. You will get more than just LinkedIn connection, you are truly getting “linked”.

Be Your Own Inspiration

I am a regular contributor on Quora. Quora has been my daily go-to site for casual reading and inspiration. I have read about many tips and ideas from Quora. Stories about great struggles that end with success always lift up my spirits.
Stories are meant to inspire us to take action. Inspire us not to fear failure and keep trying. Everyone loves a good dose of inspiring stories. A successful business person tells about the struggle against bankruptcies. How inspiring!
A better way to be inspired by other people’s stories is to be your own inspiration.
Stand up against challenges and difficulties. A bully in the office? Find ways to defuse the situation. Maybe stand up against the person and do what is right. Buried under a pile of debt? Find ways to reduce debt and make more money. Everyone deserves a hero’s journey. You deserve to be your own hero.
Track your failures. No one is born to be a success. Life is tough. It is meant to suffer. Success is sandwich between failures. Write down your failures and learn from it. The journey will be tough and painful. Track your pain and you will get used to it.
Write it all up in a journal. It can be the old fashion way of pen and paper. Or it can be the modern way of digital format. The choice is entirely yours.
Tell your story. Everyone loves a story. Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has been sitting around in circles in the night telling each other stories. Stories can be fascinating. Stories can be scary. Stories can be inspiring. Make your story inspiring. What if your story is a story of failure? Then, make it into a lesson where people will not make the same mistake that you made. You can start a blog. Make your stories relevant by answering questions on Quora.
Our life is made up of multiple stories. The story of growing up. The story of learning. The story of pain. The story of success. The story of failure. You do not need to tell all of your stories. Be the curator of your own life. Tell the stories where you can light up someone’s day. Inspire others and most importantly inspire yourself.

How To Take Up More Responsibilities Even You Have a Lousy Job

Theoretical physicist Elbert Einstein actually spent nine years working in the patent office (1900-1909). Working in the patent office is probably not many would think an intellectually stimulating place for a genius like Einstein.

Nevertheless, it is during this period where Elbert Einstein wrote three of his most important paper on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion and special theory of relativity. All of the mentioned happened in the year 1905.

If you desire to take up more responsibilities and be more productive. No one is stopping you. The only person stopping you is yourself.

Self-study. Improve your skills and knowledge. You do not need 10,000 hours to master a skill. You probably just need 100 hours of dedicated study. If you dedicate 100 hours to studying Excel, you probably know more about Excel than anyone else in your office. Stack up your learning with other skills. You would be someone to watch out for in the office.

Have initiative and take action. The days of gatekeepers are long gone. You do not need an agent to get the world to see your work. The internet is your stage. If you want to write, there are Quora, Medium and other platforms. If you want to perform, there is YouTube. Say yes to yourself. Take action and put your work out there. If you are good enough, people will soon take notice.

Prepare for failure. Failure is part of life. You will first fail and fail until you succeed. At first, no one will take notice. No one will pay any attention to you. You just have to keep going. Nothing is easy. You have to prepare for success but be prepared to fail. Gary Vaynerchuck‘s Wine TV has no audience during the first 18 months. Gary kept going until he grows his family wine business from 3 million to 60 million.

In a nutshell, improve yourself, start taking action, prepare for failure and embrace the success.

The same post appeared on both of my Quora and LinkedIn Profile.