Goal Setting Productivity

Making This Year a Success

2011 was one of the most successful years of my life – and by no accident.

It was engineered to be so by following a proven success formula I discovered in 2010.

As a fanatical student of personal development for over 17 years now, I’ve learned and tested a lot of different approaches to achieving success but nothing has been as effective for me as the success formula I’ve been following for the last year or so.

In 2012, I plan on continuing to utilize this proven success formula and I’ll gladly share it with the rest of you – in case any of you have an interest in implementing it in your lives as well.

Where the Proven Success Formula Comes From

As I mentioned above, as a student of personal development for over 17 years, I am no stranger to theoretical “success formulas” that many personal development book authors, speakers and gurus teach.

There are thousands of different formulas out there – developed by well meaning authors, speakers and gurus who try to encapsulate the essence of success into a simple formula that their students can follow.

Some of these formulas make perfect, logical sense, and sound like they *should* work when applied in real life – but then end up producing no long-term results.

Some of these formulas look good in theory and on paper, but then we quickly discover that it is impossible for the anyone to ever apply them — and we also discover that the person who created the theoretical formula is not and has never actually followed the formula themselves either.

For 15 years or so I tried out various different success formulas out there with varying degrees of success, until I discovered a fundamental flaw in my thinking.

The flaw in my thinking was that I was looking for a success formula that made sense to me and that fit in with my current beliefs and habits.

Many people make this mistake.

Instead, what I now realize is that the best success formula to follow is a PROVEN Success Formula that will actually produce results, NOT a theoretical one that sounds good and makes sense to your current level of understanding and that fits in with your current beliefs and habits.

It doesn’t matter if a success formula make sense to you – all that matter is that it is a Proven Success Formula and that it produces results.

It doesn’t matter if a success formula fits in with your current beliefs – all that matters is that it is a Proven Success Formula and that it produces results.

It doesn’t matter if a success formula fits in with your current habits (of thinking and acting) – all that matters is that it is a Proven Success Formula and that it produces results.

Back in 2011, I learned the Success Formula for success that I have been using since and it has been an amazing experience to see how it has been transforming my life.

I learned this formula as part of my training and decided to give it a try in my life to see how it compares to other strategies I’ve followed in the past.

The results have been amazing to me and things are just getting better as I implement the formula more and more in my life.

There are five main components to the Formula for Success and I’ll share them with you right now.

#1 – Reading the Right Books

The first component that a person must do in order to achieve success is to always be reading the right books.

All leaders are readers.

Reading develops very specific neural pathways in the brain that help you to attract success.

When I first started reading personal development books over 17 years ago, I was NOT a reader. I got through high school reading the absolute minimum number of books that I could.

I did not enjoy reading. It just wasn’t really my thing.

But then one day I picked up a personal development book that I really enjoyed and it really helped me out in my life.

So then I picked up another and started reading that. Then another, and another and I slowly built up a habit of reading books.

Now, 17 years later I’ve read well over 1,000 personal development books.

The Success Formula states that in order for us to achieve success we must be reading the right books.

If you look at any ultra successful people in life, who have achieved great things – they are all readers.

For example, here’s a picture of the Skywalker Ranch Library that George Lucas built.

Study any person that has achieved great success – whether that be George Lucas, Bruce Lee, Will Smith, Oprah, President Obama or Mike Tyson – and you will discover that they all have one thing in common… they were all well read prior to their success.

If you want to achieve success in your life, start reading the right books.

What are the right books to read?

I’ll get to that later on in the post, but for now just realize that reading the right books is the first component to the Proven Success Formula.

#2 – Listening to Audios

The next component to achieving success is listening to inspirational audio based training courses.

For centuries, successful people attended regular lectures where they listened to the right people teaching them success principles.

These lectures were typically put on by affluent people, for affluent people. The average middle income person did not have access to this type of training.

Today, success lectures can be recorded and distributed through digital formats such as CDs, MP3s etc.

Listening to audio training is different than reading books, because it develops different neural pathways in the brain.

Both are needed.

Some people enjoy listening to audios (such as audio books) and prefer to listen to audios rather than read.

Both are needed.

Successful people listen to audios in addition to reading. They don’t do one or the other – they do both.

What kind of audios should we be listening to? I’ll get to that later on in the post as well, but for now lets talk about the next component in the Success Formula.

#3 – Attending Events

Successful people attend live events that are specifically designed to help them achieve success.

These events are designed to do three things:

Help You Learn from Other Successful People
Help You Build Relationships with Other Successful People
Help You Participate in Giving and Receiving Recognition

Attending events that focus on one – or ideally all three – of these areas of focus, is imperative to success.

Successful people attend events (such as training seminars) where they learn from other successful people, in a live environment.

There is a form of “energy transfer” that happens when you are present live, in a room with another successful person – that just doesn’t happen when reading books and/or listening to audios by that same person.

For years and years I thought that reading books on a specific topic was the same thing as going to a live seminar.

For example, when I first wanted to learn about I purchased the book. It was an interesting book to read, but honestly I didn’t really understand how worked by reading the book.

The book was great for providing the fundamental theory behind the modality, but it didn’t really teach me how to do it properly.

I also purchased the CD Audio program. That was great to listen to and I learned a lot more about from there as well.

However, it was not until I attended the live event – the Seminar – that I learned how to do properly. By being in the same room with and experiencing his energy and actually DOING and PRACTICING live, in person, in the same room as him with the other students – only then did I actually learn what is all about.

Successful people attend live training seminars and events. They learn from people one-on-one, or in group settings at live events.

Secondly, these events are also designed to help people get around other successful people, and to build relationships with them. More on this shortly.

Thirdly, successful people also attend events where they participate in GIVING and RECEIVING recognition.

Think about the Oscars, or the Academy Awards. These are televised recognition events that most of us are familiar with, but there are millions of other recognition based events all around the world that successful people attend that most middle-income people don’t even know about.

Attending events where you participate in giving and receiving recognition to other people is a success habit.

It is incredibly important to participate and attend events where you can recognize other successful people for their achievements and to also be recognized for your achievements as well.

Most middle income people only experience this type of thing during their graduation ceremonies in high school, or college / university, and when they attend a wedding.

Those are typically the only things that most people get recognized for – getting educated and getting married.

Successful people are always attending events where they give and receive recognition for achieving success in their lives. For reaching various milestones in their lives. This is a HUGE key to success.

Giving recognition to others who have achieved success builds certain neural pathways in your brain and attracts success into your life. When you recognize others for their successes, it becomes easier for you to achieve success as well.

Now, you may be asking — where do I find events like this?

There are many places where you can find teaching seminars that teach a variety of different topics. As I mentioned before, when I wanted to learn I didn’t just purchase the $10 book and the $50 audio. I also attended the $500 live seminar where I learned the technology in person from the creator himself.

As far as building relationships and participating in recognition, successful people are virtually all members of success clubs and organizations where they meet other successful people, build relationships with them and participate in giving and receiving recognition.

Not everyone can afford to join some of these success clubs as most of them are specifically designed to keep out “poor people” by having initiation fees of $25,000 or $50,000 or even millions of dollars just to join the club.

If you have the money to join, the benefits of being part of these clubs far outweighs the costs of getting in, however most people typically don’t have that kind of money prior to achieving success.

There are some clubs you can join that put together events where you can meet other successful people and build relationships, which don’t cost $25,000 to join — so don’t let that discourage you.

There are also events which you can attend that will allow you to give and receive recognition, without being part of a country club for wealthy people.

Ideally though, what you want to do is to become part of an organization or club that puts together regular events (at least quarterly, and ideally monthly) where you can do all three things at the same time during these events — learn success principles for other successful people, meet and build relationships with other successful people, and participate in giving and receiving recognition.

Some clubs and organizations put together such events on a regular bases and the events are specifically engineered and planned to provide these three benefits at the same time.

I’ll cover how I was able to participate in such events myself shortly, but first let’s talk about the next component to the formula.

#4 – Build Relationships with Other Successful People

The next component to the Proven Success Formula is building relationships with other successful, like-minded people.

Most people develop their circle of friends and acquaintances based on the friends their parents introduced them to, or by the friends they made in school or at work.

Successful people don’t just build relationships with the people their parents introduced them to or with people they happened to sit next to in school or at work.

Successful people consciously develop relationships, and build friendships with other successful, like-minded people who they seek out and meet at the events I referred to in the previous section.

The reality is that most of your friends that you met growing up or that you went to school with or that you work with might not be interested in success. They might not be into the same things that you are into. You have to go beyond the circle of friends you currently have and get around other successful people.

This is another reason why it’s so important to attend events. That is usually where you will meet other like-minded people and develop relationships with them.

There is an old saying that says that your income will be average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Well, if your five best friends that you spend the most time with are broke, in debt, sick and miserable, then what do you think your chances are of achieving success? You must build relationships with successful people.

And finally, the last component to the Success Formula is…

#5 – Participate in Recognition

I’ve already mentioned a little bit of this earlier, but this is a HUGE component to being successful.

Successful people are constantly participating in events where they GIVE and RECEIVE recognition to and from others for their achievements.

Most middle-income and poor people NEVER participate in recognition of any kind. The only time they ever get recognized for anything is when they screw something up at work, and their boss yells at them — or when they screw something up at home, and their spouse points out what they did wrong.

Successful people are part of organizations or clubs that make it easy for them to participate in recognition.

When you attend an event where you recognize other people for achieving success, it attracts more success into your life.

You engage a part of yourself that also wants to be recognized, and so you end up becoming more successful so that you can be recognized for your accomplishments.

This is why you see Hollywood actors attending the Oscars and recognizing their colleagues for their achievements during the year.

By giving recognition to their colleagues they also attract more success in their lives. All successful people do this in their field of endeavor, it’s just that most of us don’t ever see this outside of the Oscars because 99.9999% of these types of events are not televised.

Unsuccessful people don’t attend these types of events and they don’t even realize that such events exist.

Ask any wealthy person and they will tell you that they are always attending recognition events where they are either going to recognize someone for their achievements, or they are being recognized themselves (or both).

This is a regular thing that they do. It’s normal.

For unsuccessful people this is a rare thing that happens. As I mentioned before, the only experience most unsuccessful people have with such events is when they graduate from highschool, college/university, and/or if they get married. That is the only time in their lives when they hear “congratulations”.

The Secret to Making the Success Formula Work

The Proven Success Formula works virtually 100% of the time for anyone that applies it.

Also, virtually anyone that has built success in their lives is following this formula.

The only challenge with this formula is that for the average person it is not very easy to implement it in their lives.

Firstly, when it comes to reading books – one of the secrets is that you must know which are the right books to read. Successful people are part of clubs or organizations or have mentors who guide them towards reading the right books to help them achieve success in the shortest amount of time possible.

Secondly, when it comes to listening to audios – you must have access to the right types of training audios. They must be put together by people who have actually achieved success in their area of expertise, and not by “gurus” who simply put out audio content that sounds good and makes logical sense, but that is all theory and that is unproven.

You must listen to people who have achieved success in the area that you are wanting to learn about, and who have been in the position that you are in right now.

If, for example, you are broke and want to be a multi-millionaire – then you must listen to audios that are put together by someone who started out broke and who then became a multi-millionaire. You won’t learn much about being a multi-millionaire by listening to audios put together by guru’s who make money selling audio courses on success, but who never achieved their goal of being a multi-millionaire prior to becoming a “guru”.

If you want to learn about Acupuncture, or Homeopathic Medicine, then you need to learn from people who are experts in those fields with real experience under their belt — not just theory.

Thirdly, when it comes to attending events, building relationships with like-minded successful people and participating in recognition, you have to be a part of some kind of organization that puts together these types of carefully engineered events.

It’s not really something that you can do yourself, by yourself.

So how do you make it easy to apply this formula?


The Pomodoro Method

A couple of days ago I learned what has to be the wackiest, simplest and surprisingly really effective time management process called the pomodoro method.

Now, before you freak out and run away thinking that I’m going to talk about some new $30 – 300 page time management book, let me assure you of two things…

(1) I will show you how you can get everything you need to apply the pomodoro method absolutely free in this Blog post.

(2) You will not have to read a 300 page book to learn this process. You won’t even have to read a 50 page book. You can learn this process in a matter of minutes.

Where Does the pomodoro method Originate?

the pomodoro method was created by Francesco Cirillo – an entrepreneur, innovator in process-improvement techniques, author, coach and mentor.

Francesco originally created the pomodoro method in the 1980′s while attending University in Rome. Finding it difficult to stay on task and concentrate on his studies he began utilizing a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato to challenge his concentration skills.

That tomato shaped kitchen timer is where the technique gets it’s name – pomodoro being tomato in Italian.
What is the pomodoro method

In it’s simplest form, the pomodoro method is a simple – yet effective time management technique that helps you get stuff done.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1- You decide to work on a specific task.

Step 2 – You start a 25 minute timer.

Step 3 – For 25 minutes straight you concentrate and work on that single, specific task, uninterrupted.

Step 4 – At the 25 minute mark, the timer goes off and you stop working on that task.

Step 5 – You now take a minimum 5 minute break. You have now completed “one pomodoro”.

Step 6 – You either start another pomodoro for the same task, or you work on something else.
What’s So Revolutionary About That?!

I know what you’re thinking – “What’s so revolutionary about splitting your tasks into 25 minute chunks?”

Well, here’s the truth… there is nothing revolutionary about this method. It’s dead simple, and it almost sounds too easy to produce any kind of results.

But here’s the thing. I’ve been playing with this thing for the last few days and I can’t believe how much more productive I’ve been!

It’s like this thing turns you into productivity Ninja or something!

My Experience With the pomodoro method So Far

Thirty seconds left on my pomodoro timer as I’m writing this sentence, so I have to take my break now.

Be right back.

(5 mins later)

Alrighty, I’m back for another Blog writing pomodoro.

So, for the last few days I’ve been testing this thing out. Essentially what I do is I pick a project to work on, I turn off ALL distractions like email or MSN messenger or Facebook or Twitter or anything like that and I set a timer for 25 minutes and I start working.

I use a desktop timer which I’ll talk about in a few minutes which sits on my computer desktop and counts down from 25 minutes so at any point in time I can glance over and see how many minutes are left.

So I set my timer and I concentrate on doing just that one single project for the entire 25 minutes.

See, that’s one of the “rules” of the pomodoro method – you must complete a full 25 minute session in order for it to be considered a completed “pomodoro”.

Yesterday I helped my wife clean our deck outside, sweeping and vacuuming up some leaves and cleaning the BBQ – 2 pomodoros.

Today I worked on a new Blog I’m building – 3 pomodoros.

Then I watched some Frank Kern Internet marketing videos – 1 pomodoro.

I also gave my dog Kobe a brushing to get rid of his winter undercoat – 1 pomodoro.

Now I’m back to working on my Blog, writing this Blog post and publishing it. By the time it’s done I would imagine it will be 3 pomodoros.

Now, what is it exactly about this simple process that makes it so effective?

Well, so far I have noticed the following…

First of all, I am notoriously easily distracted so when I have my email, Twitter, Facebook, MSN, cell phone and the Interwebz at my fingertips I find it really difficult to work on one single thing for more than a few minutes.

I’ll start working on a Blog post and then I’ll see a Twitter message pop up – five seconds later I’m watching a video on YouTube of some guy doing something ridiculously stupid involving him, a skateboard, a metal beam, and his inability to have children after that “accident”. Meanwhile, his friends are laughing. Why do I click on such things!?

Anyway, it’ll either be that or some email will come in offering me a chance to get 50% off something super awesome if I just sign up for it right this second. How can I not click the link? It’s just so tempting!

Well, things are different now. Now I’ve got my pomodoro timer and it’s my gatekeeper.

When the timer is running, I’m focused.

If someone wants my attention – they can talk to the hand… at least for another 10 minutes and 36 seconds.

That’s the beauty of this system, the time intervals are perfect! I don’t know why, but 25 minutes is the perfect time interval. He explains it in the eBook (I’ll show you how to get it free in a minute), but I was too excited to try it out to read the book in that much detail.

A 25 minute interval means that if you get interrupted by something “urgent” half-way through, like a phone call or someone wanting something from you – you can just tell them you’ll call them back in 12 minutes. Unless it’s a real emergency like your kid choking on something, people can wait 12 minutes.

An email can wait 12 minutes.

An MSN message can wait 12 minutes.

A phone call can be returned in 12 minutes.

Do you see what I mean?

The other thing that I’ve really noticed since following the pomodoro method is that it is INCREDIBLE as to how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes if you just focus and only work on one thing at a time.

I mean WOW… it’s really crazy.

Try it out, you’ll see what I mean.

Tools for the pomodoro method

There is a very cool, and free tool I downloaded for the pomodoro method called the “Focus Booster”.

Here’s what it looks like…

Essentially, it’s just a very simple 25 minute timer. You click “Play” and it starts counting down from 25 minutes down to zero. When it reaches zero, the buzzer goes off and your 5 minute break starts.

Then, if you want to start another 25 minute session, you just click play again.

You can dowload the Focus Booster for free here.

It works on both PC and Mac.

Since I spend a lot of my time working on projects on my computer, I find this tool very useful. It minimizes into a smaller sized bar as well if you want. You can even make it “tick” if you like.

When I’m not working on my PC, I also use the count down timer on my iPhone to do the same thing.

Ohp, break time!

Alrighty, back for another 25 minute stretch.

Where was I? Right, iPhone countdown timer. You can use any kind of timer, but since I’m almost always either at my computer or I have my iPhone near me, the Focus Booster app and my iPhone countdown timer is all I need.

If you visit the pomodoro method official website you will see that he also sells the authentic tomato shaped kitchen timers, but those are way too analog for me.
Where to Get the pomodoro method eBook for Free

As promised, if you want to learn about the pomodoro method, I will show you how you can get access to the eBook version for free – no opt-in or anything like that required.

You have to do is click on this link here…

And then scroll down until you see the “Download the Book Free in PDF” section and download it for free.

You can also get the “Cheat Sheet”, “To Do Today Worksheet” and “Activity Inventory Worksheets” for free as well.

The eBook explains how to use all of those.

Test Out the pomodoro method

I don’t recommend trying to use the pomodoro method for everything. In fact, Francesco talks about that in his book as well.

Life isn’t about being super productive 100% of the time.

When it’s time to be fun, spontaneous or relaxed – don’t bother with this technique.

However, if you have a project or a set of projects that you’ve been meaning to put some time and energy into – why not try out the pomodoro method on those projects?

That’s what I did. I picked a couple of projects that I have been meaning to work on and I turned on the timer and tested the system out.

As I mentioned before, I was actually really surprised as to how productive I was during those short 25-minute intervals.

I think there is a whole world of effectiveness bundled into this little technique.

It takes advantage of Parkinson’s Law – which basically states that tasks will generally stretch to take up the amount of time that you allocate to them. By keeping the time frames short – just 25 minutes long – you become more efficient at getting things done faster.

Instead of my mind thinking “I need to finish this Blog post” it thinks “I need to finish this Blog post in the next 4 minutes”.

You’d think that this might create a lot of pressure and potential anxiety when doing things, but it actually does the opposite.

Try it out, you’ll see what I mean!