Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gent Motivation 101: Interaction for Motivation

Last week I test drove this....

470 Horsepower
V12 Engine
MSRP: $210,915.00
Now I don’t make anywhere near enough to afford such a vehicle but that’s not the point. I went on the test drive for one purpose; motivation.
Is it crazy that I test drove a car that’s well beyond my means? Not really, my aspiration of owning an Aston Martin is a long term goal.  Material goals are desired possessions, and like any material object, someone already has it. Of all the visualization and goal setting exercises there’s nothing like physically interacting with one’s goal for a boost in motivation.  So I stopped day dreaming and browsing Internet photos of the Rapide and took myself to the one place that has it, the dealership.
The end result? The test drive lit a fire under my ass and I’m motivated  more than ever to continue striving and grinding so that I may one day own it.
Let’s face it, we all have goals. Big and small, idealistic and materialistic, short and long term.  As the rapper Nas once put it “No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the Sun, it’s not what you do but how its done.”  This is especially true of goals  regardless if its something you dream of one day doing or owning. Chances are there is another human being who is living your dream or has acquired your desired object.
Of the few people who actually create  a goal and the fewer who’ve set a time frame and have begun working towards it, the number of those who’ve actually interacted with their desired outcome is minuscule.It comes as no surprise that goal abandonment is common as time elapses and conditions change. That “I can conquer all” spark is extinguished once time, money and life get in the way. That is why motivation through interaction is so critical.
Pictures will NEVER motivate you like sitting in the driver seat of your dream car. The same goes for all you entrepreneurs, athletes, and future moguls. Watching from the sidelines is cool in the beginning, but a conversation with an already established person in your desired field can provide insight and motivation you never knew existed.
As a Gent you should be building a network of individuals who inspire and motivate. You may not know a millionaire, astronaut or mogul but ask yourself this, have you ever bothered even trying to locate one? Dreams without action is just sleep. Get off the computer, go outside and start interacting with your goals. The motivation and insight provided will serve you well on your journey.
Be sure to send your questions to GentLifeMail@Gmail.com or @GentLife on Twitter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Putting in Work - The Follow-Up

Last weeks response to A Hard Days Work was overwhelming. The message of putting in work and having something to show for it resonated with a lot of readers.

In a day where the path of least resistance is often the first choice, I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many people like doing hard work. Anyone who has lifted weights for any period of time can tell you that the results really begin to show once you start pushing the really heavy weights. Your body rewards you by becoming stronger, bigger, and tougher as a result.  And while many products proclaim a shortcut, time and hard work are the most important variables in any workout regimen.

It comes as no shock that the path of least resistance is the path to least reward. The big bonus, promotion, corner office, recognition and accolades overwhelmingly go to the individuals who forego the easy projects and assignments in favor of the difficult ones.

That is not to say that doing hard work for the sake of just doing it is efficient. There is merit to the cliche "Work Smarter, Not Harder".  Think of it this way, difficult tasks shouldn't be avoided, but approached in a systematic/strategic way.

The most common forms of work, busy and boring, are misconstrued as difficult. Students and workers take on these tasks, knowing their difficulty is low but through mindless adherence fail to automate or delegate them so that they may focus on the difficult and more rewarding tasks.

A bunch of easy projects don't deliver the same satisfaction or reward that one big, hard project will. Using a framework like SMART keeps things in check and ensures that you aren't just running in circles. Choose your hard work wisely, prioritize what's important and reap the rewards.

I'll see you all in the winner's circle.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"These hands ain't never seen a hard day's work" my grandmother so eloquently remarked while examining my hands. As she studied the lines of my palm and fingers I wondered what exactly was she looking for. She's not a superstitiious woman by any means so I immediately dismissed the notion of her attempting to "read my palm''. The comment however did stick with me. I was only 12 at the time, and had climbed my fair share of trees, played quarters with my cousins until our knuckles bled and had fielded pop fly's bare handed. Sure, I had never actually worked with these hands but they were anything but soft.

Looking back, I now know what my grandmother had meant by saying hard days work. At that tender age of 12, I hadn't yet gripped the handle of a hammer and created something uniquely my own. Nor had I lifted a dumbell and completed countless reps until my arms and fingers ached with pain. My hands see, could tell my grandmother things that I couldn't. She could tell if I was as crafty as my father and grandfather from the nicks and scrapes on my fingers. Badges, if you will, earned through trial and error, time and patience, hardwork and dedication.

The callouses that have hardened where my fingers met my palm are evidence of me having toiled with an instrument of some kind. It may have been a bat.Gripped, choked up on and gripped even tighter in anticapation of a homerun. Or maybe it was the aformentioned barbell, whose textured iron rips away flesh from the hand with every unrelenting set. Whatever the method may be, my hands told a story that only those whose hands had experienced similar could appreciate.

The conversation between man and hand takes place in a matter of seconds during the initial handshake. That handshake, when exectuted properly (or poorly), lets others know what lies beneath your dapper appearance and immaculate grooming. You see, more than just a friendly gesture between strangers, the handshake is a power move. And aside from getting a firm grip, 2 second squeeze, while maintaing eye contact, the handshake from a gentleman's hands that can tell a story goes further than what any superficial conversation can hope to.

The hands are one of the only body parts that can communicate all on their own. A weak, soft, daintly hands suggests an individual shys at rolling their sleeves up and getting down and dirty. Such a person rather delegate the work to others. Contrast that with the strong, meaty yet limber fingers of my grandfather. A man who wouldn't hesitate to lend a helping hand, forearm or elbow. His hands told stories, of days long gone by, things built years ago and of work whose only reward was the satisfaction of completion.

So go outside and pick up something. Build something with your hands. Destroy something with your hands. Greet a hard days work as an oppurtunity to earn your mits their stripes. So that one day your hands too, can tell a story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New SMART Goals

Ahhh, the first week of a new year, a week filled with so much potential and many aspirations.  If you’re like most American’s one of this year’s goals likely involves your personal finances. Be it making more money, getting out of debt or just saving more, becoming financially fit should be a priority for everyone. Fortunately for you, there are a number of resources to achieve those goals.
If you haven’t already, try creating a SMART Goal.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
Get Specific!
Okay, so you want to get out of debt. Great, so how much debt do you have? You don’t know? Pull out those credit card statements and collection notices you’ve been avoiding and check the balances. Be sure to account for auto, personal and student loans. The grand total of these represents your debt load. The number may be shocking, but it makes a lot better sense than saying “I want to get out of debt”.
Taking control of your finances doesn’t have to be the migrane-inducing task it’s hyped up to be. Budgeting and analytic tools like Mint.com make creating a budget and tracking your spending a breeze. Knowing your spending habits and how it effects your goals is 50% of getting out debt. The other 50% is being disciplined enough to modify those habits to your advantage.

A common financial goal for the new year is to make more money. People making $30,000 will say they want to make 100,000.00 before the end of the year. These people are dreamers, not goal-setters. All goals, financial or not should be realistic. Sure, they should stretch and challenge you but keep them within reachable limits.
Having fleshed out the original statement “ I wanna get out of debt” into something specific, measurable and attainable, we must ask ourselves the all important why. Using the debt example there are a number of reasons for wanting to accomplish the goal.
-Less Stress
-Improved Credit Score
-More discretionary income
All your goals should have a WHY component. Without the likelihood of accomplishing it shrinks drastically.
With the what, how, and why of your goal figured out, let’s get to the when. Setting a target date for its completion helps keep you accountable and motivated. Tracking your progress with analytic tools like Mint ensures that you will know when to up the ante or dial back on your consumption or saving.

So there you have it, a SMART plan to aide you in achieving your goals.
The Premier Issue of American Gentleman Magazine will feature some additional financial tips and resources.
For those looking for additional resources on improving their finances check out the following.
Yes, the names sound like scams but I can personally attest to their validity and methods. Check them out.