Why Should I Read | Sam Walton: Made in America

Sam Walton didn’t set out to become the wealthiest man on planet earth. 

It just sort of happened along the way.

This week’s book, Sam Walton: Made in America is a prime example of a man who passionately pursued a desire to be the best at what he had chosen to do.

This post follows the points brought up in this video:

Here are the three things we are going to cover.

  1. Sam Walton’s personality
  2. Walmart’s culture
  3. A couple fun stories from the book.

With the possible exception of Henry Ford, Sam Walton is the entrepreneur of the century.

Tom Peters, Author, In Search of Excellence

Sam Walton, “thought of perhaps running for president one day,” when he was a young man. Many people have big dreams like this but Walton was willing to back up his ambitions with work. Transitioning out of political ambitions, athletic excellence into merchandising he found that he loved the process that went along with buying a product and selling it at a profit.

His mindset is summed up on pg. 39 by his successor and CEO of Walmart, also current owner of the Kansas City Royals, David Glass:

Two things about Sam Walton distinguish him from almost everyone else I know. First, he gets up every day bound and determined to improve something. Second, he is less afraid of being wrong than anyone I’ve eve known. And once he sees he’s wrong, he just shakes it off and heads in another direction.

That relentless drive to improve pushed Walton to continually benchmark the practices of his stores against others.

There’s not an individual in these whole United States who has been in more retail stores- all types of retail stores too, not just discount stores – than Sam Walton…. there may not be anything he enjoys more than going into a competitor’s store trying to learn something from it.

Bud Walton, Sam’s brother & co-founder pg. 190

Again, Sam Walton didn’t set out to become the wealthiest man in the world, but he did have a burning desire to win and be “on top of the heap.”

His natural abilities of motivation, coupled with a sickening amount of work, resulted in a multinational corporation that rocketed from profits of $112,000 in 1960 to over $1 Billion in the early 1990s when he passed away.

Walton would maintain throughout his life that the culture built the business. Yet he embodied the culture his organization carried out with precision.

The “Walmart Culture” as it came to be known, was a real partnership with the associates with the intent to make the customer number one. That was beautifully executed in an environment of high trust.

With practices like the weekly Saturday morning meeting, constant store visits, thinking small, passing profits and stock options to associates, and giving smart trust to people, Walton built a very specific culture into his organization that endured throughout his life. It can be summed up in this statement from pg. 137.

I learned this early on in the variety store business: you’ve to give folks responsibility, you’ve got to trust them, and then you’ve got to check on them.

Beyond those two ideas, this book is downright fun to read. The adventures that Sam Walton would experience in building Walmart make for a fun time.

In the early days it was not uncommon for Sam walton to pull up to his store front with the back seat of his car filled to the brim with ladies panties which he bought for a great price. Walking through his own front door with arms full, he would announce a sale.

That mindset of passing along savings to the customer reverberated through the entire organization for years. My personal favorite is the story of Phil Green in Hot Springs, Arkansas, who ordered enough Tide to build a 12 foot tall mountain of Tide that ran the entire length of his store, 7 cases wide. Even Walton thought he was crazy but people came just to see that much soap in one place. Green sold it all. Emboldened by this experience Green later bought 200 identical riding lawnmowers and filled his parking lot with them.

They all sold too.

You’ll have to read the book to find out why Sam Walton was crawling around on the floor of Kmart, flying his plane sideways over the Missouri countryside, hollering pig calls at shareholder meetings, or dancing the hula on Wall Street.

This man had a self termed “Bias towards action” and his was a full life. His autobiography is no different.

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Why Should I Read | Attitude is Everything

In this week’s video on the Why Should I Read That series, Jeff Keller’s Attitude is Everything is the book under review. Interestingly, the Tesla 3 reveal is a great illustration of how thought patterns play into attitude and lead to action.

tesla-model-3-news-1200x630-c

I’m including the 4 minute video below, which has two main points:

  • Thought patterns lead to conversation and are the precursor of action.
  • Habits contribute to our subconscious thought patterns and by taking control of our habits we influence our tendency for action

Check the video out here:

Also as promised in the video, we will cover the 7 ways in which adversity serves as a benefit to us.

You may be wondering, isn’t the point of problems to be fixed, for adversity to be overcome, and comfort to be reached? Yes. However, the way in which we approach adversity can either help us or harm us as we endure or triumph over them.

So without further ado, here are Jeff Keller’s 7 ways in which adversity serves us.

  1. Adversity gives us perspective. Say for example (because it happened), it snowed three inches today. Michigan doesn’t usually get snow in April. I could be bummed about the snow, because it affects my evening plans, but on the road today I saw a tow truck on its way to pull a car out of the ditch. I was immediately reminded that things were going relatively great for me today.

  2. Adversity teaches us to be grateful. Doing my best to not be cliché, we don’t appreciate things as much until they are gone. I have written before about my tenuous relationship with manual labor on my parent’s farm growing up. However, now looking back on that I see the value in it, from learning diligence, responsibility, and the like, to maintaining a physically active lifestyle simply by doing that job.

  3. Adversity brings out our hidden potential. By overcoming, we are better prepared to face the next challenge. I have a two-fold story on this one. I can remember being turned down for a certain internship and being quite frustrated. However, because of that denial, I was open later for accepting a political job that required me to use every single skill I had in my repertoire. That field rep position equipped me for almost all of the challenges I have experienced in the last 18 months and each time I’m faced with a challenge, I can remember what I overcame to succeed in that job and I’m encouraged. Had it been easier, I wouldn’t have that experience to draw on now.

  4. Adversity encourages us to make changes and take action. One speaker and author I have an incredible amount of respect for, Orrin Woodward, shouted on an audio one time, “When the pain of staying the same overcomes the pain of change, you will change.” For some, this means that they would rather stay the same and lose rather than overcome their adversity, change, and win. For others, this means that they meet hardship, realize that the pain of becoming who they need to be to win is less than the pain of staying the same, and triumph.

  5. Adversity teaches us valuable lessons. If you fail in business or in life, it’s highly likely you shouldn’t repeat that mistake that led to the failure. Like all the others, this benefit is available only if you and I choose to learn the lesson. I was driving too fast on a tractor growing up, went through a dip and broke the plow I was towing. I had to face my father and tell him I busted his plow, definitely an adversity. However, if I didn’t learn from that and went careening around the farm at high rates of speed you can be sure I would have had to go tell my dad that I broke more implements of his.

  6. Adversity opens a new door. Back to the rejection I faced when applying for that internship a couple years back. Because they turned me down, I got to live on my own in Texas, be responsible for getting 28,898 votes for Greg Abbott, and learn a ton.

  7. Adversity builds confidence and self esteem. Please don’t take these stories as braggadocios, because of the tough situations I found myself in, I look back and appreciate the challenges. And the same is available for everyone reading this! When you choose the higher road of looking for the positive aspects of your situations, you gain skills and insights that directly contribute to your confidence to face the next challenge.

The view you take of adversity can be either negative or positive. Remember this quote from Mary Case.

No pressure, no diamonds.

(Credit to Digital Trends for the post image)

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WSIR 008 | The Speed of Trust

“Fish discover water last” -Stephen M.R. Covey

Because fish are immersed, surrounded, and in constant contact with water, their perception is fundamentally changed. Covey says that humans have the same experience, but that trust is so much a part of civilization that we rarely realize it.

However, we are at a trust crisis, with each passing day illustrating our departure from basic trust in one another or the institutions of our society. It doesn’t take much thought to remember the latest juicy scandal that further reminds us that we can’t trust our leaders.

While we definitely have some bad apples in our society, this deficit of trust does nothing but damage our productivity and creativity as a civilization.

Besides being one of the most widely read books by CEOs, The Speed of Trust puts an equation forward that applies to all interactions. Here is the equation:

When Trust is High, speed is High and cost is Low.

When Trust is Low, speed is Low and cost is High.

Covey goes so far as to categorize these situations in specific economic terms, and I would refer you to the book if you are interested in how building the competency of trust can impact your organization. For the remainder of this post we will examine the central origin of trust from others: whether or not one is worthy of trust.

So now that we are aware of trust, and that it has the potential to bring concrete economic and relational results, where can we start?

Covey argues that trust acts in the same manner as a ripple on water after a drop has fallen. Each wave radiating outwards based on the action of the one before that. His five waves are as follows. Self Trust (1) leads to competence and inspires Relationship Trust (2) which permeates an organization and brings Organizational Trust(3). When Organizational Trust is apparent organizations can work together to achieve Market Trust (4). When all these are present, then Societal Trust (5) is the result.

If this ripple analogy holds true, a failure at higher levels of trust is the result of lack of trust at a more central level.

So let’s talk Self Trust.

Self trust comes from four cores, two of which have to do with Character and two of which have to do with Competence.

Again, I highly recommend you either pick up the book, The Speed of Trust, or go grab the audio presentation from Stephen M.R. Covey on audiobook to fully grasp the content because it is broad and extremely applicable.

As promised in this week’s video, we jump into the core of credibility, and the first of three behaviors to build credibility, making and keeping commitments to oneself.

If you are like me, it is easier to hit snooze in the morning, it is easier not to pick up the book you are meaning to read, or it’s easier to put off making that call. Now, there is nothing wrong with the snooze button, or not reading, or choosing to make a call at a later date. The problem comes when we told ourselves we were going to do something and then we wimped out on ourselves.

The failure to follow through on self commitments does nothing but tear down self trust and hurts our ability to experience trust at higher levels.

So what’s next? Covey says by practicing three habits in the context of self commitments we can increase our successes in this area.

His three habits are these

  1. Don’t make too many commitments.
  2. Self commitment merit the same importance as commitments to others.
  3. Don’t make impulsive commitments.

Remember, a true commitment is not a preference. Commitment comes with synonyms like obligation, responsibility, duty, or dedication. If it is a true commitment, it cannot be taken lightly. If so, it may not have been a true commitment.

  1. If we causally commit to activities without fully understanding the work involved, we are liable to be frustrated later on when we realize what is really going on.

2. Back to hitting snooze, the reason so many people have workout partners is that as humans we are far more likely to follow through if we know someone else is involved. If we can learn to treat self commitments that no one else on earth will ever know about in the same way we treat public commitments we are significantly far down the path to self trust.

3. Some personalities have more of a problem with this than others, but it can be easy, in a moment of inspiration or passion to declare, “I’ll run 5 miles every day for the rest of the year!” or “Today’s the day I’m quitting everything but water for the rest of the year!” If you truly have self trust, you have no choice but to follow through on these public commitments. So be careful what you commit to.

Some of this may be new to you, but remember, if fish really do discover water last, but are truly hurting for it when it is gone, the realization that trust does the same thing for humans should be a breath of fresh… water… That analogy breaks down 🙂

fish photo

Anyway, check out this week’s video, I almost was attacked by geese while filming. Leave a comment with a commitment you are proud you followed through on!

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WSIR 007 | The Slight Edge

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have a drastically negative effect on your life?

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have an immensely positive effect on your life?

Likely you believe that each of these things are possible but that these two paths of action are quite different.


 

What if they were nearly identical?


In this week’s video I quote from page 41 Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge, 

“The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, most people miss it.”

The Slight Edge presents a philosophy of our actions, one that affects the choices that you and I make over the course of our lives.

This philosophy is based on the principle of compounding, the idea that one thing builds upon another and adds up over time to a logical conclusion.

Before we get into the body of this post, a story.

I hate weeding.

weed photo

I should probably frame my experiences differently in my mind but at this point in my journey of life I haven’t achieved that yet. I grew up on a farm and while the sheep were fluffy and the fruit tasted good, I could not stand being dirty, sweaty, and bending over for hours on end to pull tiny sprouts out of the dirt. One summer sticks in my mind because we had a new 4 acre field of strawberries and they all needed to be weeded. For those of you who don’t know what 4 acres look like, imagine a field that you have a hard time hearing someone on the other side who is yelling and you’re pretty close.

So myself and the other workers that summer were busy in the field from roughly 8am til 12pm 6 days a week and then we got to work on less offensive projects. During that year the worst weed was Nut Grass. I also hate Nut Grass. My description of this plant wont be written on this blog because children could read it. Anyway, as we weeded I can remember doing enough to make the field look great, but it wasn’t 100% clear. Generally there were a few small weeds left, or roots not fully unearthed and those would spring back like, well, weeds. Several weeks later, by the time we had made our way across the yell-distance field, those first small weeds had grown back and multiplied and we had to start over.

My point with this story is that had we put in that last 5-10% effort to demolish the weeds, we wouldn’t have had to weed the field multiple times. That final 5% was the difference between a summer filled with 4 hour spinal stress sessions and one that still included weeding, but only half as much.

 

That is the Slight Edge.


A cursory search of “Compound interest retirement saving” got me Business Insider article. Check it out if you want a reminder to be consistent in the things that you do, or if you like graphs and charts.

The slight edge not only applies to finances but to areas as diverse as health, relationships, skill sets, and thought patterns. It can be summed up in the following image, thanks to attackstylewrestling.com for hosting the image online and demonstrating that it also applies to wrestling!

Your daily actions matter.

They do.


So what does this mean for our original idea that our actions tomorrow on the success path or our actions tomorrow on the failure path look quite similar?

Simply put, the right actions to take are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.

Brushing your teeth. Easy.

Buckling your seatbelt. Easy.

Writing down 3 things you’re thankful for each day. Easy.

Pulling 38 more weeds in the midst of 3200. Easy

Listening to an audiobook instead of the radio. Easy.

However each of these things are also easy not to do. 

Would you agree with me that NOT writing down three things you’re thankful for would be unlikely to mean that you are a grouch and constantly complaining tomorrow?

Would you agree that NOT buckling your seat belt on your commute on Monday would be unlikely to end in a fiery car crash?

In my opinion, one of the main ideas of the book is that our habits generally rule the actions that tie directly into the slight edge.

Your habits are what will propel you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

–J. Paul Getty

If we can structure our habits so that they feed our positive progress up the slight edge, we can use the momentum we build over time to ride our way to goals that may seem incredible at this time.

This post is not designed to be the exhaustive resource on habits, if you would like more information on the power of habits, making them stick, and a book recommendation on the subject, here are three resources:

However, I would like to encourage you to start as soon as you can to build the habits that you need to propel you towards the goal you have. Think of it in this way, could you move in that direction by 0.3% tomorrow? That’s only one third of one percent!

If you usually run 1 mile, you would run 1 mile and 15 feet.

This is a ridiculously small improvement, right?

Consider this though, if you are able to consistently improve at this rate, one year from now you will be well over 100% better!

This old Chinese proverb is worth pondering.

Be not afraid of going slowly;

be afraid only of standing still

 

So what easy thing are you going to do today?

Have you watched this week’s video?

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Why Should I Read | Confidence of a Champion

Have you ever been scrolling down Instagram and been hit with a barrage of happy couples, outfit grids, tanned legs in front of palm trees, or engagement rings?

If you’re like me, you’ve thought to yourself “Wow, they have it all together! I wish I were more ….” You fill in the blank, in shape, more handsome, wealthier, more successful. You name it. We are consistently barraged with the comparison game in our social media, social circles, or social lives.

 

This game, however, doesn’t lend itself to your success. In Tim Marks’s breakthrough book, Confidence of a Champion, section two is dedicated to stopping people from negative comparing. He chronicles our tendency to focus on our weak points in an unfair comparison with other’s fantastic successes.

This post is the follow up to the YouTube video, check out the video if you haven’t yet!

Our minds and bodies are wired for accomplishment and when we feel like we don’t measure up to others that we see around us we feel inferior. However, this becomes a never-ending quest for trophies and trinkets.

This could be why John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and one of the richest men in historym when asked, “How much money is enough?” responded with the ground shaking statement:

Just one more dollar

Think about that, the most financially successful individual in recent history didn’t feel as if he could be satisfied even when “beating” everyone else in the rat race.

Reality Check. You and I have a very small chance of beating John D. Rockefeller in the possessions game. 

While I certainly believe that you and I have unlimited potential and we live in a time of unparalleled opportunity for success, the fact remains that even if we “succeed” in the world’s eyes the victory will be hollow if all your satisfaction is tied to your accomplishments or accolades. As a Christian, I believe most people have a God-shaped hole in their lives that they try to fill with money or success but are ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor.

So stop comparing your weaknesses to other’s strengths.


Stop it.


Instead rest assured that our country is founded on the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” You have worth regardless of your accomplishments because you are created in the image of the Creator.

 

In the video this week, there are several topics and each of them give value to individuals seeking to live confidently in their current situations and avoiding unhealthy comparison.

Our tendency to compare usually has something to do with the association we have, the stories we tell ourselves, and our understanding of the world we live in.

First of these three topics, association.

Association: The connection between people, ideas or things

Confidence of a Champion was written by Tim Marks and he was highly influenced by association through audio with Zig Ziglar. If you aren’t familiar with Zig, he was the foremost motivational speaker and teacher of the late 20th century and a highly respected authority on the topic of motivation and hope.

I have recently listened to Zig Ziglar’s audio series and then reading this book I was struck by the similarities in thought process and example types. The reason I share this observation is because of the association that both Tim and I share with Zig and it has influenced both of our views of the world. For you reading this, you may want to identify a leader in your chosen field and find ways to associate with them through audio or in person.

The power of association is apparent in the way you and I choose to view ourselves. By spending time with inspiring and healthy individuals we become more like those we are with. This has direct impact on our comparison tendency because we are reminded by inspiring stories that we can achieve our goals.

The second of these topics, Self Talk, deals directly with the inner dialogue we keep with ourselves. This topic is handled in section three of the book and one major point in that section is the idea of framing one’s circumstances in a positive light.

When I started my most recent job, I was faced with multiple areas of responsibility that needed to be addressed. These things seemed to pile up and pile up and eventually I sat down and filled a notebook page with bullet points of things that weren’t right and I needed to address. However, I stopped in that moment and took another sheet of paper and for each of those “wrong things” I wrote down a corresponding point of what was right in that area and how it could be improved on. This exercise helped me push off frustration in the moment because I could focus on the things that were going well.

The third of these topics, understanding our world, is handled in section six of the book. This section is entitled “Fight fear with faith.” Without faith, you and I tend to be down on ourselves or are ruled by fear. This is why we see such fear-mongering and the scared reaction many have to current events.

However, we are not called to a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And while we may tend towards comparing our current situation with others and become fearful, we need to remember that the end of the story is already written for those of us with faith. Tim Marks writes from a Christian perspective and encourages those with a different faith background to understand what their faith tells them about their world.

Two days ago, I had an opportunity to attend a luncheon with a favorite speaker and author of mine, John Stonestreet. One of his points was that as Christians we understand that moment in which we find ourselves, in light of the overarching story of the Bible’s four areas: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This gives us hope for the moment we are in (even when things seem crazy) because we understand our world in the context of the full story.

The next time you find yourself wondering why you aren’t as successful as Bill Gates, or as beautiful as Beyoncè, or as funny as Kevin Hart, remember that we are created with that self evident value and without an eternal perspective, even if you did accomplish those goals you would still desire more. Instead try associating with someone you respect, framing your situation in a positive light and getting some eternal perspective on the moment you find yourself in.

That’s my current take on confidence, I hope it helps.

See you next week for a discussion on the Slight Edge!

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Listeners | WSIR 005

This post is drawn from the book How to Have Power and Confidence in Dealing With People.

sw_Listening_sa209430

If you haven’t seen the video on the book yet, click here

We all have been in situations where we felt extremely heard. This was as much a function of the person listening as it was us talking. The act of listening is exactly that, an act. If you or I choose to listen in anything but an active way we do ourselves and the person we are in conversation with a disservice.

According to Les Giblin there are 7 ways to practice effective listening. Yet some individuals may still wonder why listening is such an imperative habit to develop. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, quoted on pg. 97 of the book,

To be able to listen to others in a sympathetic and understanding manner is perhaps the most effective mechanism in the world for getting along with people and tying up their friendship for good. 

Here are the seven habits of highly effective listeners. It is worth pointing out that none of these will help you without implementation, so next time you’re talking with someone try one of the following that you don’t normally practice and see how it works!

  1. Look. The habit of eye contact shouldn’t need too much explanation. Perhaps if you think back to a time when you were talking with someone and they wouldn’t meet your gaze. Did you feel a bond of trust with that person? Did they convince you of their position? Our eyes are “the window to our souls” and a point of deep connection
  2. Deep Interest. The process of listening is not simply a blank look on your face with a dead eye glare fixated on bridge of the other person’s nose so they think you’re listening. You may be able to think 3 times faster than the other person can talk but you can take the time to nod along with things you agree with, laugh at jokes, smile at stories, etc.
  3. Lean. Think back to the classic picture of Christmas Eve with all the kids gathered around the fireplace to listen to a story by a grandparent. Were any of those kids lounging back gazing off into the middle distance? Lean in when you’re interested, it signals anticipation to the talker.
  4. Questions.  The practice of asking questions shows that you’re thinking about what is being said. In fact, thinking IS asking questions. (inner dialogue, “is thinking really asking questions?” …yes. 🙂 )
  5. Tell Me More About That. This one comes directly from Dr. Jeff Myers and expands on the habit quoted in the book of “Don’t interrupt; instead ask him to tell more” People are subtly complimented when you listen to them, and they are doubly complimented when you demonstrate your interest enough to draw them out.
  6. Subject. When listening, don’t simply wait your turn to talk and change the subject. Exercise your patience muscle and stick to their subject.
  7. Use their words to get your point across. If you stick to the first 6 habits you’ll remember a number of points from what your companion was saying. Repeat them back or even use their phrases and ideas to introduce some of your own.

Hope you’ve enjoyed listening to me expound on listening! Comment below how using these habits work for you or if you have any thoughts on the same topic.

P.S. In the video I promised to explain a story from Middle School. What had happened was I was asked to demonstrate a stroke in front of the whole swim team in the lane next to a 4th year veteran who demonstrated the same stroke. When we both and swam the 50 yards my coach said, “Jon you’re doing great for a 1st year swimmer.” They went on to point out in front of the team a couple things I was doing different than the other guy who was doing better than I was and I wanted to sink to the bottom of the pool. My guess is that their purpose was to help the team but it really made me feel small. I would recommend not taking that tact when dealing with others 😉

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WSIR 004 | How to Win Friends and Influence People

If your goal is to be a likeable person, these 6 points are for you.

Warren Buffett, currently the third wealthiest man in the world, has a diploma up on his wall. But it isn’t from an Ivy League university, or an honorary doctorate from a prestigious admirer, no, he has a Dale Carnegie course completion certificate that cost him $100 back when he was 20 years old. Check out his story on this topic here:

The book that Dale Carnegie put together, and the one the Buffett read and gives reference to is How to Win Friends and Influence People this classic, first published in 1936, has sold over 15 million copies and contributed to the rise of many famous individuals.

Most of us will immediately recognize the single sentence summarizing the first chapter, “Never criticize, condemn, or complain.” Yet, I for one struggled to recall all six of the ways to make people like you from section two of the book. Central to success in dealing with people is their ability to tolerate or their enjoyment in interacting with you, and these six points have a great deal to do with making one a more likeable person.

Despite reading the book several times over the past few years if you were to ask me what the 6 ways to make people like you are, up until now I would have had a hard time remembering them. I put together a list of 6 keywords all beginning with “S” and hopefully it helps you remember them like it has helped me.

Here they are.


 

  1. Straightforward
  2. Smile
  3. Sound
  4. Shut Up
  5. Special Interest
  6. Sincere Importance

1. Straightfoward interest.

Be genuinely interested in the other person.

Carnegie uses the everyday example of a dog because a pooch doesn’t have any ulterior motives or wants to get anything out of you. They are genuinely happy to see you. This straightforward approach is the most innocent tactic you can use in dealing with others.

2. Smile

Hopefully it is abundantly clear what is meant by this statement. 🙂

3. Sound

Remember, the sweetest and most important sound in any language is that of the other person’s name. This keyword serves a double purpose, the first being that people like to hear their name and when you use it when you are with them they appreciate you for it. The second is that when trying to remember names it is extremely important that you get the cadence and the sound of their name correctly in your mind. If you simply let the pronunciation of their name wash by you when they introduce themselves, you are unlikely to get it correct later on.

4. Shut Up

Certain people are more prone to overtalking than others, but in general, when in conversation you can practice generosity by letting the other person talk more.

Cultivate the art of listening well!

Listening is much more than only not talking, but that is outside of the scope of this point, you can read a great section on “empathic listening” in Stephen Covey’s bestseller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

5. Special Interest

Most of the time I don’t favor special interests, but in this case what I mean is that your interests should reflect those that the other person holds when you talk with them.

As they talk about things that they are comfortable with, the walls begin to recede and the capacity to relate is strengthened.

If you are passionately interested in building houses out of cards, but the other person is into dirt-biking, ask them more about dirt-biking! You might learn something interesting.

6. Sincere Importance

When you deal with others, remember that one of the base desires of individuals is to feel important. This need is insatiable and will be filled either in healthy ways or unhealthy ways.

If you motives are pure, you can give others a feeling of importance and they will love you for it.

You can make someone’s day or even week by sincerely giving them a feeling of importance. In some cases that becomes a touch-point of their self-identity, and you, by doing something that could have been an off-hand remark changed a bit of that person’s self image.

I remember several times throughout my childhood on the family farm my father put me in situations where I knew that he was trusting me with something important. I remember driving a truck from one farm to another at 12 years old (very illegal, do not recommend) and I felt like a man. My parents let me drive by myself to Wisconsin from Michigan at 17 and I loved it. Things like that built my own sense of capability and I hold those experiences of responsibility to this day.

Warren Buffett said that the Dale Carnegie course changed his life, judging by his results, it seems like it did. 

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WSIR 003 | Personality Plus

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why can’t this person be normal… like me?”

If so, you’re experiencing a difference in personality that manifests itself in different ways based on several different things in that “odd” person’s nature or nurturing.

Florence Littauer in her book, Personality Plus, has laid out a wonderful framework for understanding yourself first in a quest to figure out what motivates the “other guy.”

Everyone is created unique, and yet as a whole, people are predictable. There are four main temperaments which each person has to a greater or lesser extent. You definitely have an extremely unique blend of these four temperaments but the single traits that you choose to embrace can also be observed in many others, leading those who understand the four temperaments to make roughly accurate predictions when dealing with others.

We will briefly touch on the four personalities, and then dig into a couple things on how to deal with others.

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If you have ever wondered why you’re the smartest person in the room and everyone else is acting dumb… you’re probably Choleric.

The Choleric individual is out-going, task oriented and can always be happy if other people would just figure out that she needs everything done her way… NOW.

They are happiest when they are getting results.

If you’ve ever had a hard time remembering what someone else literally just said to you because you were singing a song in your mind… you’re probably Sanguine.

The Sanguine personality is constantly upbeat, forever singing, dancing the night away, enthusiastic about everything, and maintains a childlike innocence throughout their life. They will always be on the lookout for the next thing to do, and wear their emotions on their sleeve.

They are happiest when they are having fun, in fact they don’t do anything willingly unless it has an aspect of fun in it.

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes and compulsively changed the toilet paper roll in someone else’s bathroom so it would be on “the right way” … you’re probably Melancholy.

These individuals are the smartest, most meticulous, people you will ever meet. If you are of this personality, you find yourself in the company of the greatest geniuses of history who disciplined themselves to adhere to perfection.

You are happiest when you are getting quality answers, when things are in order, and when you are correct.

If you don’t know what it means that a toilet paper roll could be on “wrong” or if you haven’t figured out what personality you are yet… you are probably Phlegmatic. 

These individuals are the most relaxed of all the temperaments. If you are a phlegmatic person you enjoy rest, it’s not uncommon for people to enjoy being with you, but at the same time you could be fine on your own. It’s a great day for you if nothing crazy happens, no arguments happen and you’re able to relax.

You are happiest when everyone is getting along.

How to Get Along with Others

This section is from one of the most helpful chapters in Personality Plus. p. 171-186

Take what you will from these headlines, they can be applied in various different ways.

Choleric – I can remember a time where I was dealing with a choleric individual who needed correction. After we had a talk they turned to me and said something along the lines of, “Yeah I know you’re right but I’m really not happy about it and I don’t like you right now.” Take this sort of thing in stride 🙂

  • Recognize they are born leaders
  • Insist on two-way communication
  • Know they don’t mean to hurt
  • Don’t push your luck
  • Try to divide areas of responsibility
  • Realize they are not compassionate
  • Know they are always right

Sanguine – I grew up with a buddy who would exaggerate, I could never figure out why it was that he would lie to everyone about what he had done. Then when learning about personalities I realized I wasn’t friends with a pathological liar, I just had a sanguine for a buddy.

  • Recognize their difficulty in accomplishing tasks
  • Realize they talk without thinking first
  • Realize they like variety and flexibility
  • Help them to keep from accepting more than they can do
  • Don’t expect them to remember appointments or be on time
  • Praise them for everything they accomplish
  • Remember they are circumstantial people
  • Bring them presents, they like new toys
  • Accept that they make fun out of what would be embarrassing to others
  • Realize they mean well

Melancholy – When dealing with Melancholy individuals, their process is very important to them. While reading this book, I came to a realization that I was consistently interrupting a melancholy’s process with my interruptions and it was putting them on edge when they dealt with me. They do their best work in their own way, and generally it’s the correct way to do it 🙂

  • Know that they are very sensitive and get hurt easily
  • Realize they are programmed with a pessimistic attitude
  • Learn to deal with depression
  • Compliment them sincerely and lovingly
  • Accept that they like it quiet sometimes
  • Enjoy quiet?
  • Try to keep a reasonable schedule
  • Realize that neatness is a necessity

Phlegmatic – I naturally have quite a bit of this personality in myself and I can attest to the helpfulness of the suggestion in the book that phlegmatic individuals should start by forcing themselves to get enthusiastic about one thing a month and work up from there.

  • Realize they need direct motivation
  • Help them set goals and make rewards
  • Don’t expect enthusiasm
  • Realize that putting things off is their form of quiet control
  • Force them to make decisions (lovingly)
  • Don’t heap all the blame on them
  • Encourage them to accept responsibilities

Hope you enjoyed this brief overview! Feel free to reach out to me to continue the conversation, this is one of my favorite topics.

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WSIR 002 | How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success

Why should someone read a book on sales? I asked myself this question when this book was recommended to me the first time. I didn’t feel that anyone outside of the profession of sales should have to pick up a book entitled, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling. I realized later, and as the title of this post points out that the title could easily have been, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success” and still been entirely accurate. The principles in successful salesmanship are directly tied to the principles of human interaction

Most people think sales is something like this:

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This book, first released in 1947, covers topics all the way from arguing for keeping detailed records to Benjamin Franklin’s program of personal improvement to even how to talk to your barber to look your best.

Three topics addressed in the video are enthusiasm, overtalking, and a correct view of failure. There are certainly more key topics in this book, especially the section on asking questions to effectively listen and on handling objections but you’ll need to go read the book to get those broken down.

1. Enthusiasm!

If there were a single thing in your life that you could change and by changing that one thing you were able to double your results, would you do it?

That switch is called enthusiasm, look at anyone who is successful and in some capacity they have used enthusiasm to help them. Without getting too political, Dr. Ben Carson has been widely criticized for lacking enthusiasm in his campaigning and it has damaged his bid for the White House in 2016.

Bettger recollects to his mindset of nervousness and how he (understandably, I’ve done this too) let nervousness translate into laziness or lack of enthusiasm. This actually got him fired from a minor league baseball team. He discovered however that he could force himself to be enthusiastic regardless of his feelings and he tried this tactic out at his next team.

Three things were a direct result.

  • His enthusiasm overcame his fear, his nervousness began to work for him!
  • Other players noticed his electric manner, and began to match his enthusiasm.
  • Rather than being tired from the heat, he was exhilarated at the end of the game.

Another thing was an indirect result, Bettger gained a reputation of enthusiasm and Frank “Pep” Bettger used that reputation all the way to becoming the third-baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I urge you… to make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm that you have been putting into your work and into your life. If you carry out that resolve, you will probably double your income and double your happiness. – Dale Carnegie

2. Overtalking

We’ll keep this section short 🙂

Bettger was convinced that the biggest reason salesman lose business was their tendency to overtalk.

I work as the Director of Development for a non-profit so I have meetings with donors quite often. One of my mentors has suggested a 70/30 split on how much the other person should talk in conversation compared to how much the person presenting should talk. This is based on the idea that the more the other person talks the more they like you. You pay them a subtle compliment by listening to their ideas.

Abraham Lincoln had a knack for cutting to the core of an issue in his communication with others. Most people are familiar with the Gettysburg Address. In 272 words, our 16th president started with the founding of the country, reminded those present of the tragedy that took place before them, and cast vision for the future.

Edward Everett, who spoke for 2 hours before Lincoln that day, is quoted as saying,

I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the center of the idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

Remember, “We quickly resent the person who is abrupt; but we admire the person who is brief and to the point.”

3. Failure

“Your greatest asset is is the number of strike outs you have had since your last hit.”

Most people, if asked, “what is the opposite of success?” Would immediately respond with the idea of failure. However, this mindset that failure is where someone should stop is far from what should happen in that situation.

When someone fails, the opportunity for learning is present. If you quit because of failure, you’ve in effect said, “This issue will always beat me, and I won’t attempt to win here again.”

Babe Ruth, the baseball star not the candy bar, in his day was known widely for being a man who could hit. His home runs are legendary. Most people don’t know this though but he also led the league in another area, strike outs.

That’s right, the man who is immortalized with 714 home runs, struck out at that very same home plate 1330 times!

Ruth is quoted as saying,

“I just keep going up there and swingin’ at ’em. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me the same as it does for anybody else, if I keep havin’ my healthy swings.”

We need to adopt some of that same attitude, whether in sales, customer service, or engineering. The law of averages is real, and if you have built the correct skills and implement them regularly, your efforts will pay off.

Bottom Line, If you are looking for a book that gives rock solid principles for successful every-day interaction with others, look directly at Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

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WSIR 001: Magic of Thinking Big

Welcome to the Why Should I Read series. This is the companion site to the YouTube channel Why Should I Read That.

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I’m Jon DeLange and I’ll be breaking down a concept or two from a series of books in order to answer questions I believe, most of us are asking.

Today we are going to be looking into a book entitled The Magic of Thinking Big, by Dr David J. Schwartz. This book was first published in 1959 and the things that Dr Schwartz talks about in that book are as true today as they were then. I’ll point out a couple things that I learned reading this book, but believe me there are thousands more lessons and applications to get from reading this classic.

Define success… Why?

This step is key in many personal development literature, one of the original works in the genre, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, lays out a process of writing down stated goals and creating a mental picture of oneself achieving that goal. This method was pulled from Hill’s interviews of 500 early 1900’s millionaires.

Dr. Schwartz also recommends this process so that by having stated goals, you automatically decide based on your end-game. If I’m driving down the freeway, any exit is the best exit until I know where my destination is. If I drive from Detroit to Chicago, unless I know I’m driving to Chicago, I won’t follow the clearly marked signs that say Chicago.

As you go through this process of defining what your goals are, a great framework can be used, I found it in Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady. They state that material goals, recognition goals, and missional goals are the three levels of motivation. Each person is motivated differently by items in these categories. For example, I am highly motivated by recognition from those that I have respect for. If a mentor of mine tells me that I have done a good job, I generally respond more strongly to that than the thought of being rewarded with a material bonus of some kind.

Action Cures Fear

This is probably one of the biggest things I learned reading this book. Chapter 3 is entitled Build Confidence & Destroy Fear.

On Pg. 48 of Magic of Thinking Big, Dr. Schwartz states, “The traditional ‘It’s only in your mind’ treatment of fear assumes that fear doesn’t exist. But it does. Fear is real. Fear is success enemy number one.”

In the rest of the chapter, Schwartz goes on to state that there is always some sort of action to take in response to a fear reaction. This conscious exercise of the muscle of courage in the face of fear builds a habit of overcoming that one can use to conquer increasingly larger fears in life.

  • If you fear making a certain phone call, make it! And the fear dissipates.
  • If you fear being out of shape, go to the gym or do exercise and over time your fear disintegrates.
  • If you fear something totally out of your control, pray, and then put it out of your mind by taking a positive action in some other area.

 

In a personal example, when I have told some people that I am starting a youtube channel based on my book-a-week reading list, some have responded by saying “That’s a lot of work to choose to do.” I don’t know if they were trying to put fear into my thoughts of starting, but at some point I had to start this series despite never, repeat: never, filming or editing video.

Eventually, later, some point, those are all failure words. The only acceptable way to not do something now is to have a definite point by which you will do so! If I have a great idea for a blog post or video, but never post it, was it really a great idea??

Thinking Big.

If for no other reason, read this book to expand what you believe to be your potential.

If you have a goal for yourself that doesn’t stretch you or scare you, what kind of thinking are you teaching yourself? Have you ever accomplished far more than you set out to do? I’m not always about cheesy motivational quotes, but it bears repeating, “If you aim for the moon and miss, at least you’ll be among the stars.”

I see people every day that are uninspired or of my generation that give up on the dreams that they have.

If you read this book, define success for yourself, consistently take action towards that goal, check and adjust as you go, there’s no reason you cannot accomplish what you set out to do, regardless of how far it may seem at the present time.

Thank you for your attention, time is the only resource we don’t have the opportunity to reclaim and as such it is the most precious commodity… but that’s a post for another time.

If you haven’t seen the youtube video, click this line!

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