Are you Busy or Effective

In my experience the difference between being busy and being effective is about what you achieve at the end of the day.

Busy people are just that – busy doing lots of things, often together, but not actually achieving very much.

How busy and effective people deal with email is a perfect example. Busy people think that email is really important and they check it very frequently, often replying to emails as they come in. Effective people know that they need to focus on their most important activities and that email can wait – they generally check email less and deal with emails in batches at various points through their day.

I think the main difference between busy and productive people is how they decide to spend their time. Effective people prioritize their activities, limit distractions, and do their most important activities first. Busy people don’t prioritize activities, have frequent distractions, and do urgent activities first .

Check out this short comparison between busy people and effective people. It is useful and interesting:

13 differences between busy and effective people


What is Your Story





People often ask me about why I study personal development– ‘what does it have to offer’, they ask. What they really want to know is the magic 30 second short cut. Of course, like anything worthwhile, there is no magic short cut. We struggle. We learn. We forget. We try.

And that is what matters- we try to be better.  Better at what?  That’s different for every person in the world.  Better at whatever we, as individuals, want.   Because if we don’t try,  what the hell is the point?

If I did, however, have a magic 30 second short cut, it would have something to do with our thoughts– the thoughts we tell ourselves about– ourselves.  The thoughts that are the “story” we believe about who we are.

What is Your Story

What is an area of your life you are happy or pleased with? When your life conditions match the “Blue Print” or the “Story” about how you believe life is supposed to be.  You experience satisfaction.

What is an area of your life you are not happy or pleased with? When your life conditions do not match the “Blue Print” or “Story” about how you believe life is supposed to be. You experience pain.

When your “story” about life does not match your results and you feel you have no control to change it. You feel helpless. You experience suffering.

Three options:

  1. Blame something— an event, someone else, yourself. Very unhealthy and destructive.
  2. Change your life— change something– get a new career, relationship, place to live, etc.
  3. Change your Blue Print— Change the story you tell yourself. Make a shift!




How to Grow: Never Stop Learning

What would you say is the greatest benefit about living in the current time period in history?  Certainly there’s a lot of choices to choose from. Would you say it is the amazing advances in technology and the Internet? How about medical care advances and science? Perhaps it’s the ability to travel most anywhere relatively inexpensively and easily. How about the simplicity of communicating with almost anyone across the globe? Maybe it’s as simple as the ability to have safe shelter, security and plenty of food.
What is clear is that the current times we live in are really remarkable compared to past times. 

I am going to suggest that the greatest benefit we have living in the current times is the ability and access to learn absolutely anything we can think of. Think about that for a while. You can learn absolutely anything you can possibly think of, relatively easy and probably for free. Never before in history has this been available. Consider what that could mean for you.

Imagine your life in 10 years from now if you started learning a new skills or new subject every six months.  How much could the quality and depth of your life have if you did this? How much more success would you have- however you choose to define success. How much more valuable of a friend, or family member, or citizen, or volunteer, or employee would you be. How much more money would you have — yes- knowledge pays! 

But, you may ask, what should I learn? The great news is that post formal education, no one is going to force feed you. Learn about what excites you and makes you curious. Take a chance. Stretch yourself. Discover new worlds. You’ll likely find that as you start learning new things again (maybe for the first time in a while), that it gets easier and more ideas start developing in your mind.

Here are a few broad categories that might spark an idea. Perhaps history, mathematics, English literature, foreign languages, computer programming, sciences, social skills. How about, family and relationship skills, public speaking, writing, the arts, music appreciation, trade skills, communication skills? What if you deepened your understanding of your faith and religion?  What if you learned new software applications and technologies like artificial intelligence? How about new hobbies- wine tasting, photography, gourmet cooking, coin collecting, firearm training, to name but a small sampling. How about a new sport or fitness pursuit- Zumba anyone? Yoga? Tai chi? Fishing? Perhaps learning a new instrument- the piano, guitar, drums? How about investing knowledge, trading skills, business management skills?  

The list is endless. It only stops where your imagination stops. But think of the person you will become if you simply take advantage of the wonderful opportunity and good fortune of living and the current Times. You most likely can find anything you want to learn available for free on the Internet.  My challenge to you is to try learning something new right now. Have fun with this. Pick something that would surprise people who know you. Be careful to not just re-learn things you already have done. The key is to step out of your comfort zone. Just imagine how great your life will be in 10 years if you do! I promise you, it will exceed all expectations in satisfaction.

  “A life well lived is a life of growing and learning”   (Quote me, it’s an original)

Here are a several established online schools offering thousands of courses:

Edex (Harvard)
Class Central Top 50 Rated free Courses
Open Culture 1250 free online from top universities
Open Education Database 10k free courses (yes 10k!)

And if you still need more suggestions take a look at this article from the USA Today “45 free online classes you can take (and finish) by the end of the year”  It’s useful and interesting!

-Iron Mike Stone

Focus on things that fascinate and motivate you

 Eliminate things that irritate you.

I have written in the past about Warren Buffet’s strategy of making a list of 25 goals and then circling the five most important goals from the list. The “Oracle” recommends you eliminate the other 20 completely. This is an excellent approach. I certainly am guilty of working on too many goals at one time. His strategy will force you to  focus on your most important goals and you will likely experience better results.  It certainly seems to have worked for him.

There is a somewhat similar strategy that I recently learned from Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach. Dan is perhaps the number one business and entrepreneur coach around. Dan has developed a program that not only helps you focus on what is important to you (as he describes it, “things that fascinate and motivate you”), but goes beyond that by helping you eliminate what irritates you the most.   

Take a moment and think about that concept. Can you imagine eliminating things that irritate you and instead focus on things that fascinate and motivate you.  Imagine the fun you’d have. Imagine the satisfaction and joy of working you’d have if you could pull that off.

I think the combination of eliminating irritating things and focusing not necessarily on 5 important goals as Warren described, but rather on things that actually fascinate and motivate could be a breakthrough concept.

Take a listen and/or read the show notes of a recent podcast by Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish from 10X Talk. It’s useful and interesting.

Daily. As in Every Single Day!

This is from John Maxwell regarding daily routines- thought it was exceptional.

The first step in determining your daily routine is figuring out what really matters to you. You can’t prioritize if you don’t know your priorities. If you’re not certain of yours, you can look at these below and use them as a starting point:

1. Attitude: I will display the right outlook daily.
2. Priorities: I will act on the things most important to me daily.
3. Health: I will follow healthy guidelines daily.
4. Family: I will communicate with and care for my loved ones daily.
5. Thinking: I will practice good thoughts daily.
6. Commitment: I will make and keep proper promises daily.
7. Finances: I will properly manage dollars daily.
8. Faith: I will deepen and live out my faith daily.
9. Relationships: I will initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
10. Generosity: I will model kindness daily.
11. Values: I will embrace good standards daily.
12. Growth: I will seek improvements daily.

For more check out this article. It’s useful and interesting.


Are We as Open-Minded as We Think?

Question your own assumptions, conclusions and beliefs

I am fascinated by the how we think. For years I never questioned my thought and beliefs and feelings. With work and study I have become pretty good at recognizing that I do in fact control my thoughts, which in turn dictate my beliefs and feelings. (and then… my actions/reactions/inaction’s and eventually my results- but again… another that’s for another day.)

Recognizing I control how I think, however, does not mean I’m some kind of thought expert. Practicing and implementing awareness and actually manipulating my thoughts to useful and positive thoughts that help me reach my goals and even more those thoughts that make me a better person continues to be a challenge. Sometimes just remembering that a thought I’m thinking is not helpful to who and what I want to be is difficult. Plus, where do these thoughts come from anyway? 

One of the crucial first steps in understanding how to think differently, is to begin with questioning our own assumptions and the mental models we employ. Check out this blog post:

What is more important, process or outcome?

What is more important, process or outcome?

Obviously we all want positive outcomes. We want to win. We want to get a new or better  job. We want to trade or invest successfully. We want more sales. We want our business or other ventures to succeed. We want positive relationships. We want to reach any goal we set for ourselves.

It is easy to measure the outcomes of any process, just look at the results. It is also easy to blame ourselves or others when we fail to reach a successful outcome.  As a matter of fact, we often go beyond blame and attach our self worth to the outcome. “I’m a failure” or “I’m not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, etc”.  When we start to define our self worth by our outcomes, we will likely stop before we even get started. We actually  imprint limiting beliefs upon ourselves.  Instead, consider focusing on the process. If you don’t like your outcome change your process. 

Process is a system and every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.

Examine your process and develop evidence based best practices (rules) that represents your efforts to systematize your approach and to improve your efforts.  

When we begin to define our self worth by the sincere efforts we make and how well we followed our system, then the the process itself becomes satisfying and rewarding– no matter the outcome. In fact, we need not even concern ourselves much with the individual outcome. While we of course have goals, and certainly want to achieve our goals (winning), we are not focusing on the future end goal. Instead, we are focusing on the present moment. We are putting complete and total effort into the the present moment in time, executing the process, which in turn will define the outcome.

Your process is what will define your outcome.

Consider Coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. The story is often told of the enormous effort in practice and the boardroom perfecting each component of the game. No other team comes close to the development of a rules based systematized approach. Every play of every down is a process to be executed and perfected. The resulting outcome (winning) is defined by their process.

Check out this article on a guy who played a million hands of poker and consider how important the process is to him. “Are you trying to play great?  Or are you hoping to get lucky?”  

It’s useful and interesting.

We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth

“We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.”

-Vernor Vinge

The Road to Super-intelligence

You may not realize it, but we are living at a most remarkable time in history. The exponential leaps in technology that are upon us right now will rival anything seen in history. The technological change over the next 20-50 years will be greater than what had occurred in hundreds of years through the last several centuries. Imagine living at the point in time on the above chart. Now stop imagining, because that is where you are now living.  

What does it mean to you?  Whether you are an entrepreneur, employer, employee, investor, consumer, anyone– you owe it to yourself to understand where we are and whats coming at us fast. It might then be wise, to think about the threats and more importantly, the opportunities that are coming.

What Is AI?

If you’re like me, you used to think Artificial Intelligence was a silly sci-fi concept, but lately you’ve been hearing it mentioned by serious people, and you don’t really quite get it.

There are three reasons a lot of people are confused about the term AI:

1) We associate AI with movies. Star Wars. Terminator. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even the Jetsons. And those are fiction, as are the robot characters. So it makes AI sound a little fictional to us.

2) AI is a broad topic. It ranges from your phone’s calculator to self-driving cars to something in the future that might change the world dramatically. AI refers to all of these things, which is confusing.

3) We use AI all the time in our daily lives, but we often don’t realize it’s AI. John McCarthy, who coined the term “Artificial Intelligence” in 1956, complained that “as soon as it works, no one calls it AI anymore.” Because of this phenomenon, AI often sounds like a mythical future prediction more than a reality. At the same time, it makes it sound like a pop concept from the past that never came to fruition. Ray Kurzweil says he hears people say that AI withered in the 1980s, which he compares to “insisting that the Internet died in the dot-com bust of the early 2000s.”

So let’s clear things up. First, stop thinking of robots. A robot is a container for AI, sometimes mimicking the human form, sometimes not—but the AI itself is the computer inside the robot. AI is the brain, and the robot is its body—if it even has a body. For example, the software and data behind Siri is AI, the woman’s voice we hear is a personification of that AI, and there’s no robot involved at all.

Secondly, you’ve probably heard the term “singularity” or “technological singularity.” This term has been used in math to describe an asymptote-like situation where normal rules no longer apply. It’s been used in physics to describe a phenomenon like an infinitely small, dense black hole or the point we were all squished into right before the Big Bang. Again, situations where the usual rules don’t apply. In 1993, Vernor Vinge wrote a famous essay in which he applied the term to the moment in the future when our technology’s intelligence exceeds our own—a moment for him when life as we know it will be forever changed and normal rules will no longer apply. Ray Kurzweil then muddled things a bit by defining the singularity as the time when the Law of Accelerating Returns has reached such an extreme pace that technological progress is happening at a seemingly-infinite pace, and after which we’ll be living in a whole new world. I found that many of today’s AI thinkers have stopped using the term, and it’s confusing anyway, so I won’t use it much here (even though we’ll be focusing on that idea throughout).

Check out the full article here: It’s useful and interesting!

Coach/Consultant ~ Speaker ~ Writer/Author ~ Podcast Host ~ IronMan ~ MBA/RFC/29yr FinAdvisor ~ Entrepreneur #learning #trading #training #health #writing #triathlon