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CAT | Productivity

How long does it take to become so skilled at a job, hobby or any other particular area that you are considered to be a Master – an expert?  According to Michael Masterson who is well known in the copywriting field, it takes about

1,000 hours

If you started today and spent 20 hours a week on it, it would take you 50 weeks before you mastered your job or hobby.  Those 1,000 hours are if  you are learning on your own while on the job or working on what you want to master.

Can the time be shortened?  Yes, there are several ways that it can be.

The first is by reading as much as you can on the subject.  That will shorten the time significantly.

The second is by working under the guidance and supervision of someone who is already a master or expert.  They can show you how to continually improve what you do so that you become more adept at what you are doing.

If you truly love and are passionate about something then it is worthwhile for you to do what is necessary to become a Master at it.  You will put yourself in a position where everyone will look up to you because so few people will have reached that level.  Most are not willing to devote the time and energy to achieve Mastery.

How Are You Rewarded by

Becoming a Master?

If it is your job, your income will be higher than what you it would be had you not become so skilled.  You will also be complimented by your associates, friends and family.  If it is a hobby, there will be recognition for you.  However, neither the higher income nor the compliments of others nor the recognition will match the personal gratification you will experience from becoming a Master in your field.

Start Today

Decide that you will become a Master in a certain area of your life, an area you are truly passionate about.  Follow through on this until you know that you have truly mastered it.

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Think about when you learned anything new.

When did you learn the most about it?  Was it when you knew absolutely nothing about it?  Or – was it when you had some knowledge of it and you were just adding to it?

If you think about it deeply, I am sure you will agree.  You learned the most about a subject when you had absolutely no knowledge of it beforehand.  The reason is simple.  You had no preconceived notions of what you were learning.  Your mind was more open to learning about it.

When you had some knowledge of the subject and were just adding to it, you already had some preconceptions.  These were there.  They may or may not have been correct but they were still in your memory.  The new knowledge that you were getting was being distorted by the preconceptions you already had.

The Starting Point – Beginner’s Mind

Anytime you are learning more about a subject either at a seminar or lecture, in a book or article or over the Internet it’s best to start at the beginning – to have a Beginner’s Mind.

That simply means prior to the event you decide to put everything you already know about the subject beside.  You are going to listen and understand what is being taught as if you knew nothing at all about it.  That is – as if you never read or heard anything about the subject before.

The Benefit to You

Starting with a Beginner’s Mind enables you to learn far more about the subject than you ever knew before.  You may learn things that you had never thought of before or were receptive to before.  You may find some of what you had read or heard before to be untrue.

As we age our preconceived ideas become more deeply entrenched.  It’s far more difficult to change our opinion.  That is until we resolve on a regular basis to look at each and everything with a Beginner’s Mind.  In the process our knowledge grows.  We become wiser individuals.

Try it today.  Have a Beginner’s Mind when you are learning anything new or are being exposed to a new idea.  Let me know the results.

Much Success in your efforts,

Bob Paroski

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“Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t, You are Right.”

– Henry Ford

I don’t know if you’re like me.  Sometimes it takes me quite awhile to understand something I read or hear.

Case in point.

I first heard the quote at the top of this post from Henry Ford quite a few years ago.  Not only  didn’t I look at it closely to see what he was actually taking about, I have to admit until recently I totally misunderstood what he meant by it.

You see – I was really upset when I first heard it.  I thought it was a put down.  I thought he was saying at any time on any issue there are people who are going to be on opposite sides.  There are those who are going to be right.  There are going to be those who are wrong.

Regardless of what anyone does it is going to be difficult to convince those whose positions are wrong that they are wrong.  The more someone tries to persuade them otherwise the more firmly they hang on to their position.

When I heard this quote again several weeks ago, a light went on in my brain.  I finally got it.  I also realized how badly I had misunderstood what Henry Ford meant.

It has to do with

A Person’s Beliefs

Frequently some people will believe they can do a certain thing.  They find that they are right – they can do it.  Other people believe they can’t do it.  They are right – they can’t do it.

Let me give you an example.

  • Some people have no problem speaking in front of a group of people.  They are very comfortable doing it.
  • Others fear talking in front of a group of people.  No way will they ever speak to a group of people.
  • Their thoughts stem from their beliefs.  Each is right.

Frequently beliefs can be limiting.  Many never achieve what they can in life because their beliefs limit them.

The sad thing is that people rarely question how they developed their beliefs.  They never look closely to see if their beliefs are valid.  They never see if they want to hold on to them.  They never determine if they would achieve more of their potential if they worked to change their beliefs.  They don’t explore what they would have to do to change their beliefs.

Are You Open to Trying Something?

Take some time this week alone.  Look at the beliefs you have.  Are they helping you to reach more of your potential?  Do you have any which are limiting you?  If you have any that are limiting you, what can you do to change them?

After you have done this, let your spouse, a loved one or a friend whom you can trust know about the self analysis you did.  Tell them of the limiting beliefs you have that you want to change.  Ask them to support you as you work to change each.  Also ask them to hold you to follow through and change each.

What Will You Gain from Doing This?

You will achieve more of the potential that you have.  You will be more fulfilled.  You also will have more happiness and more peace in your life.

I want you to know that I support you in your efforts.  I know that you will be pleased with the results you get.

Much success in your efforts,

Bob Paroski

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Several weeks ago I needed ten $1 bills.  So I stopped at a bank close to where I live.  It’s a small community bank but not one that I have frequented before.  I went up to the teller gave her a $10 bill and asked her for change.

What A Bank – No Account – No Change

She asked if I had an account with their bank.  When I said no, she told me that they only make change for their account holders.  Since I wasn’t one, she wouldn’t be able to help me.

She could tell that I was astounded by her comment.  So she decided to help me.  She took my $10 bill and reluctantly gave me the ten $1 bills.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at This

There are branches of 7 other banks within a mile of the bank I visited.  The only reason I stopped at the one I did was because it was the first one on my way.  I passed 3 of the other banks after I left that one.  I know that the tellers at these other 3 would have gladly given me the change I wanted.

Will I ever open account at the bank where I got the change?

As you may have concluded already, there is no way that this bank will get my business.  If they don’t take care of their customers on small things, how do they respond on major ones?  My first impression was that their customers are there to serve them and that they don’t believe that they exist to serve their customers.

Not only will I not do business in the future with this bank, I have already told many others about the poor customer service I received.  I doubt that they will open accounts at this bank.

All Over Change for $10

I am sure that if the executive management team of this bank were aware of what their local branch office was doing, they would have had all of their staff go through a remedial course in customer service.  In this economy many local banks are failing.  Banks cannot afford to lose potential customers to other ones especially in those markets where their competitors’ branches are close by.  The way to get new customers is to show them that their service is better than that at any other bank.

Your Customers  Always Monitor

the Service They Receive

If you are providing service for people or have a business that provides services for others, just remember that your customers are regularly monitoring how you treat them.  If you treat them poorly on small things, they will believe that the service you and your employees will give them on major items will be much worse.   As soon as they can, they will be looking to take their business to other companies who provide better service.  They  will also tell their friends about the shabby service they received.

Have a great day,

Bob Paroski

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Several years ago I was listening to a speech by the late Gene Schwartz, a great copywriter.  He had spoken to people at the Philips Publishing Company in 1993.  During his talk Gene mentioned a time management technique that caught my attention.

A Simple and Powerful Time Management Technique

This technique was so simple.  I thought there was no way it could have great results.  He said to go out and get a standard kitchen timer, you know, the kind one uses to time meals cooking in an oven.

Set the timer for 33 minutes and 33 seconds.  Put the project you have to work on in front of you.  Start the timer.  Work on your project without interruption for 33 minutes and 33 seconds.

The project you are working on gets all of your attention for all of that time.  Don’t allow any interruptions.  Hang a sign on you door saying “Do Not Disturb.”  If the telephone rings, let it go into voice mail.  Don’t check email.  Don’t take any breaks during that time.

The reason Gene said to set the timer for 33 minutes and 33 seconds was that he found for himself that was the maximum amount of time he could work on a project before he started to tire.

At the end of 33 minutes and 33 seconds, he would get up and take a break for 5 to 10 minutes.  That gave him time to recharge his batteries.  After that break he could

Repeat The Process

I bought a timer some time ago and tried it.  I liked what I was able to accomplish.  However, I didn’t stick to this routine regularly until recently.

What has happened for me?  The system is great.  I get far more accomplished now than I ever did before.  The reason is that I am focusing all of my attention on what I am doing for a very short period of time.

I Have Made Several Changes

I don’t limit myself to 33 minutes and 33 seconds.

If I am writing, I will limit the time I spend at any given time to about 45 minutes.  That seems to be the maximum time I can really concentrate on what I am doing.

On other projects, I extend the time to an hour.  If I am reading, I will set the timer for an hour.  If I am doing research, I do the same.  I have found this works for me.

I also schedule 15 minute breaks normally twice a day to check emails and do other things.  This is in addition to the 5 to 10 minute breaks I take when the timer goes off.

My Productivity Has Skyrocketed

I find that I am able to get far more accomplished now than I could before.  Doing this has also increased the amount of free time I have to do other projects.

You may be saying to yourself – this is too simple.  How can this technique increase productivity so dramatically?  It boils down to the focused concentration you are giving to each project.

Just get a timer and try it.

Let me know what happens.

Bob Paroski

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