Inspiration

Do you listen to music when you are working?

Those that know me well know that I listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books for education, but there are a lot of times when I just love to crank up my car music system, or plug my headphones in and listen to music purely for entertainment.

I’ve played guitar for over 15 years and music is a big part of my life, so it gets me fired up and keeps me motivated.

In particular, I love watching interviews and live and studio performances of my favourite b ands and musicians on YouTube.

These are the 5 b ands that I’ve been listening to the most so far in 2015, and if you don’t know me so well, this will give you a good insight into the music I listen to.

All That Remains – The Order of Things

All That Remains - The Order Of ThingsThis b and have had a huge influence on me – everything from the guitars I own to the style of music I love to play on the guitar.

I’d safely say that they are one of my favourite b ands of all time.

One of the things I like the most about All That Remains is that they write really good songs, and they like to mix it up. Some of their songs could be classed as ‘heavy rock’ and not heavy metal. But I really like that about the b and.

Click here, or below, to watch This Probably Won’t End Well from their 2015 album The Order of Things.

Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

Architects 2015I’ve been a fan of this British b and since the very early days of their career and followed them avidly. A lot of my close friends are big fans too.

Lost Forever // Lost Together has been played in my car consistently for most of 2015. It’s a fantastic album.

Click here, or below, to watch the promotional video for Naysayer by Architects on YouTube.

Lamb Of God – VII: Strum Und Drang

Lamb Of GodI simply love everything that Lamb Of God produce.

Each member of the b and is at the top of their game and they continually produce high quality records.

When the drums, guitar riffs and vocals come together you can’t mistake a Lamb Of God track for another b and.

Click here, or below, to watch one of the newest tracks from Lamb Of God, 512, on YouTube.

Parkway Drive – IRE

Parkway Drive - IRE - 2015Parkway Drive is an Australian b and and I’ve been listening to their music since they l anded in the UK.

They consistently deliver high quality music, and one thing that really makes them st and out from the crowd is that for every album they produce they do something very different. They are testing their own musical boundaries. I personally think it’s a brave and bold move, and they seem to be able to pull it off flawlessly.

Click here, or below, to watch the promotional video for Crushed from IRE – one of my favourites on the new album.

The Ghost Inside – Dear Youth

The Ghost Inside 2015The Ghost Inside are one of the b ands I listen to for fun. The rhythms and the beat from the way they write and structure their songs really gets me moving.

There’s nothing musically complex about the songs but I really like that. Some of their songs and lyrics have really struck a chord with me in my own story, which is probably why I relate to the b and a lot.

Click here, or below, to watch Dear Youth from their 2014 album (I didn’t download it until 2015).

I didn’t plan on writing a conclusion, but I realised when I was pulling this together that I’ve been listening to 4/5 of these b ands for about 10 years!

It just shows you that consistently practicing  and honing your craft, and working really hard over a long period of time, creates loyal fans. A lot of people in successful b ands agree that you’ve got more chance of being successful if you can stay the path.

DFTBA!

Chris.

Introduction

Because this is a slightly longer blog than normal – here’s a short summary about what’s included.

I put this together to inspire you to build your library, consistently read books and educate yourself. The sole purpose of reading is to advance your self-education and continue to improve yourself. For example, I make sure that I read for 30 minutes a day, and I think it’s one of the best habits I have, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you here.

This topic heavily influenced by Jim Rohn (1930 – 2009), and I listen to him almost everyday. I’ve said it before, he’s a very wise man and some of the most successful people have learned from and implemented his practices and lessons of life. If you don’t already have some of his books or audio I highly recommed you make that your first task…directly after reading my blog of course!

I hope you find some value here. As always, thanks for reading.

Collections

I’ve always been good at collecting things. From graphic novels to guitar magazines, from Lego Technics to Corgi cars, from Baseball and Ice Hockey cards to UK and EU Stamps! I just love to collect things that I find interesting and important. If you are anything like me you’ll get annoyed when you’re missing a part of your collection…you just want to have the complete collection and have it sitting on your shelf…it’s a great feeling when it’s complete!! You’re probably a collector too, if so I’m sure you can relate. Btw, it’s cool to collect stuff, it’s a little nerdy, but it’s cool in my book.

As I’ve grown I’ve slipped away from the collections of my childhood into collecting books and building a library, which, I’d like to admit, still includes comic books and guitar magazines!

In the last year I’ve really concentrated on finding the best books in the subjects that I want to study, which include marketing, business development and living a better life/philosophy.

Where To Start Reading

In a previous blog, I wrote about becoming an expert, and one of the first things the list advised us to do is read the top 10 books in our industry, or we could read the top 20 or 50 if we wanted to. I think one of the toughest things to do is find out what the top 10 or 50 books actually are; you don’t want to waste your time reading the mediocre books or the trash. I’m sure you’d rather skip past that stuff and head straight to the good stuff…the books that’ll really make a difference to what you do. So where’s the best place to start?

Perhaps one way to find a good place to start is to speak to those who inspire you, or whom you view as a mentor or a leader in your particular field or industry. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to give you a reading list, here are the books I recommend. One other option is a Google search! Have a think about other ways to get the correct recommendations.

Balancing Your Library

Getting balance into your library is very important. As an example, it’s like going to the gym and only working on your upper body…you’ll end up all out of proportion – big arms and chest, but skinny spindly legs! You need to get a balance across the major subjects in order to have a balanced education.

Jim Rohn really stresses how important a library is to your future wealth and well-being, and also that of your friends and family. Here are the major subjects to think about in order to strike the balance: –

  1. Philosophy & Attitude
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Finance & Accounting
  4. Leadership & Management
  5. History
  6. …think about what else would you add in here?

Studying the Books

As you’re most likely aware, there’s a major difference between reading the books and studying the books. If you want to get the most out of them you have to study them. Here’s a tip: For each book I’ve got a ‘one-use’ bookmark that I can write on (to take note of recommended books in the text), along with a sharp pencil. I write notes all over the pages, underline and circle key words, phrases, and sentences. At the end of each section or chapter I write down everything I remember along with any ideas that have come to mind. Doing these little things makes it easy for me to flick back through and pick out the main parts and nuggets from the book. Perhaps you do something similar or you have your own technique? I would be interested to find out what you do when studying books. My advice would be to not be afraid to write on the pages and mess the book up a little, just get stuck in!

Don’t give your books away!

It doesn’t matter if you rip the pages out or write and draw all over them, because you aren’t going to give them away or sell them, are you? My advice would be to never give anyone a book from your library. There have been too many times that I have let someone borrow a book that contains all my notes… and it’s never returned! So bloody frustrating! It is especially annoying when the book isn’t at h and for you to grab when you need it for reference. Here’s my advice for those whom express an interest in what you’re reading: –

  1. Either buy them the book as a gift, OR
  2. Get them to buy it for themselves – they’ll be more inclined to read it if they buy it.

Remember, these books are your investment in your library, your education, your future and your family’s future.

Planing Your Reading

A Daily Habit

Try to build in a habit of reading for 30 minutes per day. Just for benchmarking purposes, I can get through about 20 pages in 30 minutes and I’m not particularly slow or fast. Therefore, a book of around 250 pages takes me about 2 weeks. I also try to get in an additional 20 minutes before bed, which is usually a positive thinking book, and typically a repeat read which doesn’t require too much thinking, but keeps my brain ticking over while I’m sleeping.

Perhaps you think that’s slow progress but I take pride in the ability to get through a book in 2 weeks; I read it from cover to cover and, at the end, I know exactly what I got from the book and I can apply the concepts almost immediately.

This is what works for me, you just have to find what works for you. Just try something until you find your flow.

Thinking about what book is next

Make sure you’ve got a book lined up for after you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading, and one for after that too. This will encourage you to keep the habit going, and through planning you can make sure you’re getting the right balance into your reading.

Taking Action

I know a lot of people who fly through books…sometimes 2 a week! OK, they might be speed readers but I still struggle to figure out how they’d get the most out of it. 30 minutes per day over 2 weeks gives me time to synthesise the material and figure out how it applies to what I do. Again, you just have to find what works for you. I’m a bit of a thinker…so it suits me to take in small sections at a time.

Whatever your technique is, it is important that you actually take something from the books you are reading and apply the ideas and concepts, otherwise what’s the point? There’s no point in just being inspired, you have to be educated, you have to take action and you should be implementing your lessons.

Book Lists & Recommendations

Here’s a great list – the top 25 books for success published on the Success.com blog. I’ve read some of the books on the list and I’m sure you have too. This looks to me like a fantastic place to start building your library…these are the success classics!

Why not pick a book from the list and buy it from Amazon today? Just do it…what’s £10 or £12 invested in your education? It’s certainly not a barrier.

Here are the top 5 Books that are continually recommended by super successful people: –

  1. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  2. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  3. Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
  4. Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson
  5. The Yes! Attitude – Jeffrey Gitomer

If you were going to do any reading at all you should really read these 5.

Have fun building your library and have a great time learning and educating yourself! Invest the money in your self-education and start building your library today. Remember, you’ve got to put something in before you get anything out!

Have you got any Recommendations?

If you could recommend a book to me, something that has had an impact on your life, that would be greatly appreciated! I’d like to find out what books are important to you.

Thanks and all the best!

Chris.

Comments and Feedback

Jim Rohn says that “Everything affects everything” and what he means by this is that if you slack on one of your goals, the likelihood is that you will slack on other things too. His advice is to start with the easy stuff and build it into your life over time. Mr Rohn is a very wise and intelligent man and I recommend The Art of Exceptional Living as a starting point.

Over the past 3 months I have been concentrating on building new habits into my life. My main reasons for this are to be: –

  • Healthier
  • More Productive
  • More Positive
  • More Intelligent
  • More Successful

I figured out what I want my life to look like, then I disaggregated that vision into what kind of person I need to be in order to achieve that lifestyle, and then topped that off by working towards becoming that person by introducing new habits and disciplines.

Building in a New Habit

What I have realised is that you cannot do everything at once. You can take a few approaches to make sure you are achieving your goals: –

  1. Either build many habits up slowly over time, increasing the exposure incrementally, OR
  2. Take one new habit and build it into your life, then once you have it nailed, move on to the next.

There is various advice out there on how long it takes to build up a daily habit. Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect says that it takes 21 days to build the foundations of a habit, but a further 300 positive reinforcements to secure it into your life.

What is working for me is nailing one habit and then moving on to build in another. You then repeat this cycle until you have built in all the habits you need, in order to be the person you need to become. If you take the 21 days principle, by the end of one year you will have changed your life completely and built in approximately 17 habits! That’s pretty amazing for just making one change per day for a year.

I’ve had a few challenges along the way. For example, I tried to do too many things at once and ended up feeling a little disappointed with my progress. I then realised that if I just concentrate on only one or two at a time it was far easier to achieve my goals, which made me feel a little better about my progress.

Monitoring your Habits

One of the main things for me was having the ability to record my daily routine. I wanted to have a note of my habits, the targets to meet every week and the ability to record my progress on a daily basis. I’m quite anal this way…I like to have lists and spreadsheets! If you are anything like me then here are three methods that I use to record my progress, that you will probably like too: –

  1. Using the Achievement Management System in Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year Ever – This works very well and I use this everyday, week and month to review my targets. I have been using this method for approximately 3 months and it is by far the most complete personal goal setting programme I have ever used.
  2. Commit application for the iPhone (£1.99) – This is a great way to keep on top of your commitments. It allows you to track your daily progress and adds up how many days in a row you have done something. If you miss a day, then the counter will resent to zero, which gives you the motivation to make sure you complete the task and tick the box.
  3. Lift application for the iPhone (£FREE) – This is a fantastic application that allows you to enter in your daily disciplines and then monitor your activity each day. The advantage that this app has over the other two methods is that you can leave a comment on each activity everyday, allowing you take further notes regarding your activity and progress.

Commit

Commit

Lift

Lift

Goals

Living Your Best Year Ever


The iPhone applications are great because you can do things on the move, and the book I have mentioned above is very much worth looking into if you would like a complete programme to follow.

Action

If you feel strongly enough about changing your life, your habits or routines then please look at the books and audio I have recommended in this blog. You will find them very informative and helpful.

Also, please feel free to contact me if you want to chat about things. Email me me or use the multitude of social media platforms to get in touch.

Comments

As normal, comments and feedback are very much welcomed.

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below or scroll down further to comment directly on the website.

All the best,

Chris.

I’m sitting in Starbucks in Dunfermline reflecting on my day of shopping so far, and thinking about all the things I want to get done later today. I picked up on one thing today that really restored my faith in customer service.

Last year at the same time I was really surprised how great the customer service was in the high street shops; everyone was happy and full of cheer.

The retail assistant in the Body Shop today took it to the next level, and it’s so small and subtle that most people probably won’t pick it up.

Normally when a shop assistant approaches you, he or she will ask “Can I help you?“. If you are like me, your immediate reaction is “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Blam! No sale today!!

Now what’s interesting about the assistant in Body Shop, who might actually be the Manager, is that he asked “Are you aware of what we have going on in the store today?“. Now, this is still a closed question except there is a huge difference, he just engaged in conversation with us. It wouldn’t have mattered what I said next, either “yes” or “no”, I bet he had a way to follow up. Blam! Sale!! This small change throws us, the consumer, off from our normal response and immediately the shop assistant is engaging with us. The likelihood of a sale has just been increased all because of the very small and subtle change in words.

This reminded me of what I read in E-Myth Revisited recently. Gerber highlighted that by just doing something as simple as changing a few words, you can increase your sales by a marked percentage. His example is almost identical, he advises shop assistants to ask “Have you been in the store before?“. If you reply with either “yes” or “no” the shop assistant will have a follow up ready for you, instantly engaging in conversation.

It’s great to see people doing things a little differently.

Oh, we popped back to the Body Shop on the way out and bought more stuff…!

Enjoy your day.

Chris.

Buy the book:  E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber.

Mobile Classroom

My car doesn’t move unless two things are in place…diesel and personal development CD’s!

When I’m driving I could choose to listen to the radio, but I don’t want to be influenced by all the bad news and BS, so I listen to personal development and business audio books.

I drive, on average, for approximately 45 mins to 1 hour per day. I can get around 5 to 7 hours worth reading in that time, which is a fantastic use of ‘dead’ time in the car.

I can ‘read’ a book in almost a week, and most of the time I listen to the book more than once.

If you multiply this time over a month, that’s anything between 20 and 35 hours worth of positively influenced reading. And over a year that adds up to anything between 240 and 420 hours of reading. Imagine how much of a positive influence this is having on me.

As a result of this, I no longer listen to the news or daytime radio and I can easily achieve my goal of reading something positive everyday for 30 minutes.

The next thing is to get my iPod hooked up to my car so I don’t have to worry about putting my audio in to CD.

Try and add in this great habit into your life, you will start to se the difference in your personal life and your business life.

If you already do this it would be great hear about what you are listening to. Leave a comment and promote this great idea!

Thanks,

Chris.

Possibly over a year ago now I used to send out a daily Lunch Time Question, or #LTQ, via twitter, not only to generate interaction, but to also get people thinking about their life and for a little bit of fun too. Sometimes the questions did not require an answer as such, but were there to prompt thought.

It has been a while since I did it and I have now decided to re-introduce the question on a Monday morning. I am re-br anding it as the  Monday Morning Motivator (or #MoMoMo2012) and I will send it out via my TwitterFacebook  and LinkedIn pages every Monday at 8:30am. It would be great to see you all get involved with the questions by RT’ing and commenting, etc.

The first question is going out on Monday 9th July. Here is a Twitter feed for the hashtag #MoMoMo2012 so you can review all the previous questions.

What is Learning Everyday™?

I wanted to have a catchphrase or a trademark to br and my website and blog and Learning Everyday™ was one of the first ideas I thought of.

For me, Learning Everyday™ signifies the following: –

  • I am aware that I don’t know everything
  • I am willing to listen and learn from others
  • I want to learn as much as I possibly can
  • I am approachable and willing to take on new ideas and concepts
  • Learning is progressive and incremental, i.e. you get better at something the more practice

I feel that Learning Everyday™ ties up nicely with the popular saying, “everyday is a school day”.

Email me or comment below with your thoughts about what you think Learning Everyday™ signifies.

Thanks,

Chris.

I am studying for my 3rd year exams at the moment and I need to make sure I stay positive and motivated, so I am going to tweet a positive and thoughtful quote everyday leading up to my exams ( @chrismarr101).

I have blogged about Don Miguel Ruiz in the past, very early on when discussing gossip in the work place ( read here). I plan to send out a quote from his publication, The Four Agreements.

I have placed a twitter widget below that should collect all the tweets in one place. I will mostly use the hashtag #DonMiguelRuiz along with #TheFourAgreements and a hashtag for the one of the four agreements the quote applies to, but only if there is still space in the 140 character limit.

Please retweet and get involved if you have time, also, if you haven’t read his book, go grab a copy from Amazon, for your Kindle or from iTunes.

Twitter users, please follow @donMiguelRuizSr.

Comments welcome!

Chris.