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“Business volume to our new targeted market increased by 300% in just 3 MONTHS! ”

~ Dave Brandt, Divisional Vice President, GE Financial Advisors, Genworth

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Doing Persuasion Right

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Doing Persuasion Right - Bob BurgWe often see people say and do things when attempting to persuade that bring them the very opposite results they desire. They’ll argue, plead, beg or scream before finally walking away in anger and frustration.

It’s much more fun to watch someone really doing it right.

Even better, through observation we can use their example to more effectively handle our own similar potentially difficult situations.

It was about 8:00 a.m. as I brought my cup of coffee and a book into the lobby of the hotel. My program wasn’t until late afternoon and it seemed like a great opportunity to relax and do some reading. Sitting across from me, unaware of my presence, with a cell phone to her ear and jotting notes, was a woman with a pleasant smile on her face.

If I hadn’t been eavesdropping…er, uh, I mean sitting in a place where I couldn’t help but overhear her talking :-) I’d have thought by the look on her face that she was on a call with her spouse or best friend. She wasn’t. She was trying very diligently to straighten out an issue that left someone without some important documentation.

She pleasantly (that word again) hung up and went to the front desk to ask if they would send a fax for her. Granted, this was a wonderful, service-driven hotel, but even if not they wouldn’t have turned down her request.

She came back to the chair opposite me and, for the first time realizing I was there, very sweetly apologized for bothering me by “talking while I was reading.” I told her it was quite alright, absolutely no bother at all, and that I was enjoying watching her so excellently handle this obviously difficult situation. With a genuine sense of peace she explained that it would all be handled and that everyone involved was being very patient with her.

Influence and Persuasion Lesson: People tend to reflect your attitude right back to you. Or, “As water reflects a face back to a face, so one’s heart is reflected back to him/her by another.” (Mishlei/Proverbs 27:19)

The process included several more trips to the front desk and calls to various people. She apologized when she had to, encouraged when she needed to and smiled genuinely the entire time. Her mission — whatever it actually was — was accomplished.

Of course, before she left, I had to ask her the secret to her great attitude and way with people. She summed it up in two phrases: “I live in gratitude,” and “Most people are nice if you treat them as such.”

Simple, elegant, influential, and persuasive.

Human Nature, Happiness and Adam Smith

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

How Adam Smith Can Change Your LifeIt’s his “other classic”…the one that few in our modern times have ever read. Including most economists!

After all, how could Adam Smith, the “Patron Saint of Capitalism” have written a book dealing not with economics but with…self-help!?

Yet, the author of The Wealth of Nations did indeed write The Theory of Moral Sentiments. That book looked deeply into the connection between understanding human nature and how one can live a happy, peaceful and fulfilling life.

Fortunately, in Russ Roberts newest book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide To Human Nature And Happiness we are provided with insights into the brilliance of the 18th century Scottish philosopher. However, these have little to do with economics and everything to do with understanding life, ourselves, and others.

Roberts’ writing style is warm and friendly. He helps us understand these principles by combining Smith’s timeless wisdom with compelling, modern-day examples.

As shared previously, human nature is that we all seek happiness as we individually understand it, and within the available choices we perceive. Successful people do not deny human nature but rather respect and work within it. This means we must also take other people’s desires into consideration.

What are some of the many lessons we learn in this book that can help us to live a happier life based on Smith’s insights? Just a few include:

  • While we are inherently self-interested, “we also care about other people’s happiness.”
  • “Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be {worthy of being loved}.”
  • Exactly why pursuing money for its own sake is much more likely to bring about sadness than one might even imagine.
  • Why “Self-delusion is the source of half the disorders of human life.” And, how to most effectively guard against this.
  • “Emotional interaction is a duet in which we are constantly fine-tuning our volume to match that of our fellow.” Yes, it turns out Smith was also a master of what today we would call Emotional Intelligence.
  • The VERY counter-intuitive way to make the world a better place.

The author, Russ Roberts, hosts the very popular and award-winning weekly podcast, EconTalk. A Stanford University Hoover Institution Research Fellow, he has also written three economics novels. And, he co-created the amazing Keynes-Hayek rap videos which have been viewed over seven million times on YouTube.

My concern with writing book review posts for books I’ve fallen in love with is that I cannot possibly include everything deserved in this short a space. After all, there’s a reason it’s an entire book. So, if I may, let me just suggest that, if your goal is to learn about happiness, and from two of the brightest men I’ve had the pleasure of learning from, get this book.

I love books and love wisdom — rarely have I been touched this deeply by both!!

Happiness & Prosperity – Insights from Randy Gage

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Randy Gage and Bob BurgFor all that I travel, I rarely have the pleasure of seeing one of my speaking colleagues at an airport. Even less so, being on the same flight.

So, it was awesome seeing my great friend, Prosperity Authority and New York Times Bestselling Author, Randy Gage right before a flight…and finding out he was on the same one; at least for the first leg.

Of course, being the opportunist I am I had to ask if I could get a quick video regarding his thoughts on how happiness and prosperity align.

And, he knows his topic. Randy is a true Horatio Alger story, going from poor, down-and-out, drug addicted, prison-serving youth, to a man who has become extremely financially prosperous, donates massive amounts of money to charity, and has friendships all over the world. And, has the time to attend 50 San Diego Padres home games in one season! :-)

You’ll also see that he uses a very politically incorrect word…the “s” word (it’s 11 letters). Please don’t let that upset you or throw you off. Listen until the end. And, then ask yourself how that works within the overall bigger picture.

You can also click here to the view video

Of course, in terms of financial prosperity, in order to “take care of yourself first” you must provide exceptional value to the marketplace. Giving such value — and to lots of people — is what begins the process of receiving.

And, Randy has become hugely prosperous by doing exactly that.

Be sure and tune into Randy’s Prosperity Chat tonight on Twitter. It’s at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. And, knowing him, it will be enlightening!

First, See It The Way It Is. Only Then…

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

First See It The Way It Is - Bob BurgThere are certain natural laws of life. They are not necessarily good or bad. They just are. They are immutable; unchangeable.

With those laws, you have two choices: acknowledge them, or deny/ignore them.

What you cannot do is change them.

They are what they are.

Let’s take the oft-used example of gravity. At least, oft-used by me. :-)

Gravity works everywhere on earth. No exceptions; no excuses. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. I guess it can be considered good in that it keeps us from floating helplessly into space. It could be considered bad when falling off a seven-story building.

The Law of Gravity cannot be changed. And, you know what? It doesn’t matter how much you’d like it to not be true, how much positive thinking you apply (“I can fly…I can fly…I can fly!”), or even how unfair you think it is that gravity works the way it does.

Human beings cannot fly!

Or…can we?

Actually, we can. Most of us have done so. We’ve traveled great distances at high speeds in a tubular-shaped hunk of metal called an airplane. Lately, we can even check our email and post and converse on Facebook and Twitter while doing so.

However, for the airplane to have been created, its developers first had to understand and acknowledge the Universal Law of Gravity and how it works. Only by tapping into the truth of gravity (and aerodynamics) could they work within its principles and actually use them to create the opposite effect, resulting in flight.

First accept how something IS. Then rather than trying to change it, look for ways to work with it in order to obtain the results you want.

It’s exactly the same with people.

There are certain universal laws of human nature that — while not necessarily convenient — simply are. And, only after we first acknowledge them can we work within them. This, in order to effectively influence others in a way that results in a win for everyone involved.

In the next post, we’ll look at some of these immutable laws of humankind and how to create our own “airplanes” with them. :-)


Do you live in South Florida? If so, you won’t want to miss this powerful, interactive, One-Day Ultimate Influence Mastery Intensive on Wednesday, October 1st. In this fun, but very intense day-long session, I’m going to work with just 50 people max so we can keep it personal and interactive.

Lead better, sell more, negotiate powerfully, have stronger relationships with friends, family members, coworkers and associates. Create the environment where people are much more likely to buy into you and your ideas.  If this sounds like something that could make a powerful difference in your life, visit www.Ultimate-Influence.com.

The CBA’s of Life And Business

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Cost Benefit Analysis - Bob BurgOur main motivation is happiness. Defined by Harry Brown as “the mental feeling of well-being” it is understood differently by each individual. People make decisions based on what they believe has the best chances of bringing them happiness… within the limited choices they have.

What are those limits? Five biggies are time, energy, knowledge, talent and money. Not to mention, some choices that might bring us an immediate sense of happiness are likely to cause its opposite in the future. Other choices might bring us more happiness in the future but less so near-term.

And, I’m not necessarily referring to choices of immediate or long-term pleasure. Yes, if you enjoy sweets, you’ll choose whether or not to eat that piece of cake now or delay your gratification. Which choice will bring you more happiness? Only you can decide that.

But there are lots of other choices we must make throughout the day, each one based on the desire for happiness. This doesn’t mean we’ll always choose correctly. As Harry says, “individuals make mistakes. But every act is aimed at bringing happiness.”

Decisions, Decisions

This is where the “Cost-Benefit Analysis” (CBA in the title) comes into play.

Just as a CEO must constantly make decisions whether a choice will be more beneficial than harmful, we must continually make these analyses with regards to our own happiness.

In his classic, How I Found Freedom in An Unfree World the above-mentioned Mr. Brown taught a brilliant lesson in this regard. For example, let’s say you did something wrong. Not illegal or unethical, of course, but extremely embarrassing. It’s not something you’d ever want anyone to know. It might get found out. It might not. And, you constantly worry about it. If you “come clean” and admit it, you might be disparaged or in some other way have to “take some heat” that will be a source of pain. However, the consequences will be significantly less than if it is discovered by someone else.

On the other hand, it might never be discovered, no one will be hurt, no harm – no foul.

So, what do you do? Obviously, I’m using a very general example. If you really want to make it difficult you can imagine a scenario that leaves for what might be a very difficult choice.

However, it’s a choice you will make. Even deciding to do nothing is still a decision.

The CBA is Unavoidable

The point is that in order to make this decision in a way intended to bring you happiness, as you understand happiness, and within the limitations of available choices, you will have to do a serious cost-benefit analysis.

Hopefully we don’t have too many serious ones too often. But, even the much smaller ones still take that cost-benefit analysis.

Eat out (have to get dressed, drive, sit around and wait, take a chance on food and service being good, pay more money, etc. but not have to put in a lot of personal effort and clean up afterwards) or eat in (easier physically in some ways, save money, don’t have to battle crowd, but must make dinner, clean up, etc.)

Fire Pat (difficult and stressful conversation, feel bad for Pat, lose an already-trained employee but one who is rather lazy with a lousy attitude) or keep Pat (won’t have to have uncomfortable conversation or feel bad for his family, but you’re still stuck with Pat and cannot bring on someone else who might — or might not be — more productive)

Decisions. Big ones, medium ones, small ones. We are constantly doing cost-benefit analyses intended to make us happier, as we understand happiness, and within lots and lots of limited choices.

And, that’s okay. It’s part of life. It keeps us thinking. It keeps us growing. And, if we pay attention and act out of conscious awareness we can consistently make better choices.

And, we’ll be happier.

Do you have any systems or methodologies when it comes to your cost-benefit analyses? Please feel free to share.