Friday, 29 June 2012

Serious Brain Power

We are just scratching the surface on brain research. The power of the brain is absolutely awesome. Dr. Amen is a leader in this field and this book is a testimonial of his research results. 


Alzheimer's, Dementia and depression are all horrible diseases that really do not get much attention, yet they destroy lives. It is my strong opinion that Dr. Amen’s research will continue to bridge the gap and hopefully help people reduce their chances of getting these diseases.

If you looked at two brain SPECT images comparing heavy alcohol use with Alzheimer’s, they would both look like Swiss cheese. A normal brain SPECT scan looks whole. What this is depicting are areas of non-activity in the brain.

The effects of alcohol use and Alzheimer’s look very similar. Brain health is directly tied to overall health. The brain uses 30% of the energy consumed by your whole body and through proper nutrition and exercise, we can enhance brain health.

Use Your Brain to Change Your Age is a collection of real patients and real results. These patients typically were overweight and had horrible diets. We will examine the what, why and how to brain health. I think this title is telling because most people are pretty vain when it comes to age and if it helps sell books then so be it. This book needs to be read and taught to the masses. The problems with our sick care system are only getting worse and the real solution lies with the individual taking control of their own health. This book is a great stepping stone in that direction.

1. What is it? In particular, I am talking about SPECT imaging. Dr. Amen uses brain imaging to show his patients how their brain stacks up against a norman brain. A normal brain SPECT scan shows a solid brain in all directions. This signifies brain activity. If the scan looked to be filled with holes then those holes represent non-activity centers in the brain. Additionally, brain health typically can be reflected on the outside. Obesity has a major negative effect on the brain. Most of the patients Dr. Amen profiles in the book were overweight and had negative looking brain scans. Dr. Amen argues that your brain health can be enhanced and effectively reverse aging. Aging in this sense is sharpness of mind and body. One way to be younger is have more energy and increase your activity. These are looked at in the how to section.

2. Why is it important? The answer to this question is self-evident unless you want to die a horrible death. Brain disease is hard on the patient and really hard on their families. The responsibility for your health falls on your shoulders. Most people are looking for a miracle drug or somebody else to take care of them. This is not going to work and has not worked in the past.

3. How does it work? Dr. Amen goes into great detail on the how to but for the sake of time let me summarize the majors. First, diet is a key component to brain health. Dr. Amen recommends low Glycemic foods which he details in the book. For simplicity, eat vegetables and cut down on sugar/junk food, alcohol and soft drinks. Drink a lot of water and increase your daily activity. Exercise is a big deal and has a positive effect on brain health. The brain runs on Glucose and Oxygen so if you increase you oxygen intake through exercise and activity, your brain will benefit. Also, protect your head. If you do high impact sports then wear a helmet. Dr. Amen has worked with several NFL players and the damage to their brains is significant. Through diet, exercise and in some cases Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, he has been able to improve brain function significantly. The brain is a muscle so it needs to be exercised as well. Continuous learning is critical for proper brain function.

Read this book. The How To’s are very straight forward and easy to do. One thing I recommend for all the people who work out of their house and have a treadmill, set up a treadmill desk and work from there. If you work 8 hours per day then work for 2 hours on the treadmill at a slow walking pace. This will increase circulation, reduce inflammation and increase oxygen to the body. 

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Taxes Down, Wealth Up

I was lucky as a kid to have my father as a business mentor. When the time came and I entered the business world, I could not lean on him as he passed away young. The Rich Dad / Poor dad books were my saving grace when it came to financial education. Several of the concepts I knew about because of my father but the advanced strategies and the “how to” really came from the Rich Dad books. Tom is a Rich Dad advisor. 

The Cash flow quadrant really sums up the essence of financial success. If you focus on the left side of the quadrant then you can make an ok income but if you focus on the right side then you can become rich. Robert Kiyosaki points out in Rich Dad / Poor Dad that the left sides of the quadrant people make money, pay tax and then spend it. On the right side of the quadrant people make money, spend it and then pay their taxes. This is a huge difference and can be the biggest success lever in your financial arsenal. 

Tax-Free Wealth points out 24 Tax Strategies you can use on your way to Tax-Free Wealth. For the sake of time I will point out a few along with some commentary about each. 

1. Rule # 1 – It is your money, not the governments. People tend to run scared when it comes to taxes. Remember that you are the one creating the value and making the business work, be smart and utilize tax strategies to minimize tax and maximize your investment. The key here is tax avoidance NOT tax evasion. Every concept in this book is totally legal and encouraged by the IRS. 

2. Rule # 2 – The Tax Law is written to permanently lower your taxes. All financial plans need a solid foundation. This is why you simply can NOT focus on rate of return only. You can make a huge rate of return but if you can lose it because of a law suit or 50% gets eaten up in taxes then you will lose in the long run. 99% of the tax code is written as incentives to encourage people to start business. The reason the government does this is because businesses create jobs and that is the single biggest economic driver. 

3. Rule # 3 – The fastest way to put money in your pocket is to reduce your taxes. Businesses require investment. That investment is a business expense along with R&D, Travel and other business related expenses. You can combine vacation and work legitimately and write it off as a business expense. If you travel and sell items then go on sales calls in the vacation area. If you are a real-estate investor then travel where you may invest. 

4. Rule # 24 – Build massive passive income through your tax savings. This is the strongest wealth builder in the book because you lever up compound interest, velocity of money and leverage. Utilizing these three vehicles along with investment stacking and you will be rich. The goal is to build your business and make the money there and turn it into passive income and then park the added money into cash flow investments like real estate. You want your money working harder than you do. You do not want to trade hours for dollars. Let me give you an example. 

In our software company there are two ways to build wealth and that is through intellectual property and maintenance agreements. These two things used together will build a company that can be sold for 2-4X revenues. Now to foster that investment with leverage, I use the “Infinite Banking Concept” to lend money to the business through “my own bank.” Now the money the business pays me comes back as investment income which means lower taxes. The new revenue the additional maintenance contracts bring foster new contracts. The next step is to use “good debt” to leverage our coverage and purchase more maintenance contract revenue with our software platform. 

In summary, you make money in your business and hold it in passive income generating assets using good leverage, velocity of money and compound interest. 

I hope you found this summary useful. Always appreciate any feedback! Have a great weekend.

Joe

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Frame Control is Key

You need to be able to sell in every profession regardless if you are a lawyer, accountant, doctor, dentist or microbiologist. Again, all fields require you to sell. If you have an idea that will drive your team, you need to sell it. Lawyers and accountants need clients to do work for, which requires selling. 

I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your financial life. In order to be effective at selling, you need to be able to influence and persuade, PERIOD. These two attributes require confidence and guts. Bottom line is that 95% of the sales people today are not qualified to do the job. Most will show up and throw up features and benefits and hope you will buy.

Hope is not a strategy. One required sales activity is to book a meeting with a prospect. Example- An amateur salesperson makes a follow up call on marketing lead and says , “I see that you downloaded our e-book, was it informative? – Yes – Great, is there anything else I can help you with? – No – Okay, well how about I follow up with you in 6 months to see if things have changed. – Sure!" This simple interaction is being said right now by thousands of sales people who think it is working. This solidifies that hope is not a strategy.

"Pitch Anything" really focuses on the meeting and presentation portion of the deal. I will talk about three main concepts and dive into the What, Why and How answers.

Frame Control – What is a Frame? Oren discusses several types of frames – Power Frame, Analysts Frame and Time Frame. Frames are energy fields and perspectives between people. Controlling frames is critical in winning deals. This is rooted in brain development and Oren spends time discussing the Croc Brain which is the primitive brain. Frames are rooted in the croc brain. The croc brain controls your flight / fight and friend / foe chemical reactions. Think of frame control as being the alpha dog or pack leader.

Frame Control – Why is this important? Most sales people present to the higher intelligent brain and ignore the Croc Brain. This is a problem because if you ignite a threat, the prospect will not hear anything else about your pitch. The words simply become white noise. The person who owns the frame controls the meeting. Frame control happens all the time between people.

Frame Control – How does it work? The best way to show this is by contrasting example:

a) Lost Frame Control – You set up a meeting with the decision maker and his team. You show up and they agreed to a 1 hour meeting. The meeting starts and the main decision maker shows up and looks at his watch and says – I have 10 minutes let’s go. This is his attempt at controlling the frame. The bad salesmen will agree and start rushing the presentation. 99% of the time this wimpy action results in no money.

b) Having Frame Control – Let’s use the same scenario about and now change the action. The professional salesmen will simply gather his things and say – “We agree to a one hour meeting and I understand things come up. Let’s reschedule the meeting and you and your team can come to my office. The pro does this as he begins to leave. 99% of the time, the decision maker will back track and try to keep you there which give YOU frame control. This simple act exudes confidence and leadership. People want to buy from leaders.

There are countless examples of this throughout Pitch Anything and I have experienced all of them. I want to give more examples and outline successful pitches from my perspective that illustrate Oren’s point. There are two critical things you need and they are guts and humor. Pulling off gutsy techniques require humor because anytime you piss people off then they will not want to work with you.

Pitch Anything is rooted in neuroscience and brain function. Oren has studied this for over 10,000 hours and I can say that it works. I want to profile some examples: 

1. My biggest deal – My team and I walk in and are ready for the meeting. I am prepared with a tight script and ready to go. There are 20 people in the room and the winning bidder will bag a seven figure deal which is large considering the average PO in the industry is $25,000. I know that controlled interaction within a room environment is critical for success. Here is the opening dialog and battle for frame control: Me: Thank you for inviting us in , what I would like to do is go around the room for introductions and have you state two main goals you would like to get out of this meeting today. Prospect: You were given the agenda and no questions or dialog will happen until after the presentation so we will not go around the room, now get started with your software presentation. At this point, my underwear is around my ankles and lost total frame control. I knew I had to get it back so as we started through our presentation I would ask questions and then pull back and joke with the group that it was not allowed. The big boss asked a question of me and I said – I cannot answer you yet. This removed all tension and showed the prospect that I was confident. Once I joked with the main boss then I knew I had control back. 

2. Hot Cognitions – Oren defines hot cognitions as things that trigger pleasure centers in the brain. For simplicity, I will simply say that people buy emotionally and make decisions intellectually. This means that you need to trigger emotion in your presentations and after give them enough cold cognitions (intellectual crap) so they are comfortable with their decision. Back to the big deal scenario above. My team and I understand this concept and used emotional words and storytelling to get their hearts pounding. We also knew that the 4 competitors after us would talk about their size, their expertise, the corporate structure etc. All this crap means nothing at the heart of the pitch. One last thing we did was take 3 minute breaks every 10-15 minutes. Your average person now has the attention span of a nat. People retain information in story format in 10 minute increments. We had two hours for this pitch and proposal review so we knew that data chunking was important. Also, with these breaks people loosen up and you know where you are at within the pitch as you mingle for the 3 minutes. 

I need to tell you that your income is directly tied to the level of your ability to persuade and sell. Most people do not think they have to sell for a living but I am telling you every interaction is a sale. You either agree or disagree to do something. Persuasion, influence and leadership are critical to winning deals. To master Oren’s methods you need to understand human interaction, have guts and eliminate the neediness. I have worked with several salespeople throughout my career and I can tell you the reason 95% of them suck is because they are “I centered”, Pushy, and very needy. This desperation is called sales stench and is why most fall out and don’t attain their dreams. 

In closing, don't be cocky, but be confident.

-Joe

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Friday, 8 June 2012

The Turtle Knows

Trading is an interesting art form. Most of the theories in this book have to do with psychology of winning and losing. Research has shown that people are more emotional about losing money than they are about winning money. The negative effect of losing is almost 3 times stronger than winning. Professional traders know this and make big money because of it. 

This is important because people are looking for ways to make money in the markets. Financial planners have made a killing over the last 25 years; unfortunately most of their clients have not. This is a paradox that has people worried about their retirements. When you enter a 401K, it is touted as simply put money in and forget it. The problem here as people know, most 401K’s are really bad investments. People put in money for years and the account seems to not have moved or worse is less than what you put in. Market pundits will tell you to simply think long term and keep putting money in. There are so many problems with this logic but I will not go into it now. 

Financial education needs to be acquired by each person. I am accountable for my financial future and so are you. 

Curtis Faith was an original turtle and at 19 years old made $31.5 million in profits. Let’s examine what, why and how around the turtles. 

1. What is the “way of the turtle?” This is a trading system based on principles that beat the market handedly over a long period of time. This book examines the system and shows you how they did and why some turtles were more successful than others. 

Based on my own quest for financial education, I wanted to study the most successful traders and understand the psychology around it. How does it work? The how is the bulk of the book. I will examine the psychological side of why some turtles did better than others. There is a ton of math in these trading systems that I will let you dig into on your own. 

1. Rules to live by: Trade with an edge, manage risk, be consistent, and keep it simple. The entire Turtle training, and indeed the basis for all successful trading, can be summed up in these four core principles. 

2. Trading with an edge – Are you familiar with black jack? This is the only casino game that can be beaten without cheating. This is so because the game has a memory. Card counting and playing in teams is a way to create an edge so the odds swing in your favor. The same is needed in trading. The turtles were trend traders and understood how to create an edge to make money. 

3. Manage Risk: In trading terms there is price risk and liquidity risk. Price risk is fairly straight forward, if you are betting the price goes up over time then your risk is that it either does not move or goes down. Liquidity risk consists of the number of people who will take your trade. The Forex trades $4 trillion per day. This morphs all other trading platforms in the world combined. The New York Stock exchange trades $32 billion per day to give you an idea. 

4. Be Consistent – This is where Curtis beat all other Turtles. He simply stuck to the system through thick and thin. Being consistent is the way to trades heaven but actually doing it is another story. There is a concept in trading called a draw down that happens to all traders. This means you can make 100% returns in six months and then have a drawdown of 20% of your profits in one day. When this happens, then consistency goes out the window. The herd effect takes over and people run for the hills at the same time. The mental side of trading is by far the biggest asset or liability when executing any system. Curtis summarizes the whole mechanical trading system in the book. He covers Markets, Position Sizing, Entries, Stops, Exits and Tactics. This is great information to know especially if you are thinking about investing money. I personally just got involved with a professional trading group and only will allocate 3% of my investment capital. I realize that if I need heart surgery, I will not pick up a book and do it myself. There are true pros out there and I don’t want to be eaten. In the book, Curtis and the rest of the turtles were trained for only two weeks but they were mentored by professionals. 



Joe Mosed
successprogress.com

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Friday, 1 June 2012

All About You

This book can be summed up in one great quote by Jim Rohn: 


“Work hard on your job and you can make a living, work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” 


Reid is the founder of LinkedIn and he talks about this and the power of the network. There is nobody better to articulate those benefits than Reid. 

Entrepreneurship is required today because the old adage of go to school, get a good job and retire, is dead. You need to put yourself in a position to make sure you have security. You need to help yourself first and then you can help others. This is not a selfish act. If you look at what Warren Buffett has done for charity, he created his fortune first and helped in a much bigger way later in life. 

The start-up of you is broken down into 7 parts. For the sake of time, I am going to focus on three. 

1. Develop a Competitive Advantage
All successful tech companies know this automatically otherwise they would not be successful. What value do you bring to the table? What unique skills and insights do you possess? In the business world, this is known as your unique value proposition. In our software company, we spent a lot of time creating a unique value proposition and it has made all the difference in the world. You need to do the same for yourself. This is true if you are going to start a business or work for a company. People need differentiation. A good litmus test for this, look at your competitors website and if you could simply cross off their name and put yours then your company is in trouble. If you are interviewing for work then keep this in mind, creativity is required to get in and passion, work ethic and a desire for excellence will keep you there. 

2. I to the power of WE 
This signifies the strength of your network. Your network consists of strong links and weak links and both are very valuable. In LinkedIn, if you have 170 first level connections then you are only three layers away from connecting to over 2 million people. This is very important especially if you are looking for new opportunities or for specific expertise to advance your company or yourself. The power of who you know makes all the difference and can shave years off of obtaining your goals. Metcalf’s law states that your networks’ value is the square of the number of members. In lay terms, this is why Facebook is worth billions. They have 500 million members and that type of influence is strong. There are more people on Facebook than the total population of the United States. 

3. Pursue breakout opportunities
This one is straight forward in theory but sometimes hard to execute. How do you know if they are breakout opportunities? In our business we have sold products in the past that had very little market. This is not recommended. This was early in my career and there is nothing better than learning a lesson with a baseball bat. This simple lesson costs us years in time and a lot of wasted money. Have you ever watched the show Shark Tank? On the show, people have to pitch the billionaire panel and ask them for investments in their ideas. These billionaire's sniff out in the first 20 seconds the market for the idea. If the market is small or commodity then they do not invest. Remember that as you pursue opportunities. 

"The Start-up of You" is a really good book that I highly recommend you read. Remember that one of the fastest ways to success is following somebody who has already done what you want to do. This can save you years of work if executed correctly. 

Until Next Week,

Joe at Success Progress

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