Wow. That makes a lot of sense 😅

(Life) Starbucks Analogy

In 2008, the US economy came under enormous stress. Latest in the long list of economic recession.

And.

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, did what most other executives did and that means he cut costs. He also did something most other executives did not, he traveled around the United States to meet his company’s customers. Schultz set out to discover how Starbucks could do a better job of satisfying its customers.

His actions exemplify extraordinary massive action. Starbucks sells something customers want but don’t need, especially in tough times. But because it satisfies its clientele, Starbucks thrives. Clue, it’s in the simple details, on how the customer service works, how fast the service are, it’s location. So, people might ignore the fact that don’t actually need it, ignore the so called the ‘latte factor’, which makes millions of us never reaches the millionaire status. (maybe more into that later).

In order to achieve excellence, consider this. Most workers in the United States read about one book a year (lots of them didn’t even bother to read at all) and work fewer than 40 hours a week, Elon Musk claimed he works over 100+ hours per week, now consider that. Therefore, as the stats would suggest, they make about 300% less than senior executives who read more than 60 books a year.

Most people often criticize the salaries of highly paid executives, but such critics discount how hard a well-paid CEO must work.

“Disciplined, consistent, and persistent actions are more of a determining factor in the creation of success than any other combination of things.”

“Fear is actually a sign that you are doing what’s needed to move in the right direction.”


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“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


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(Life) Take 100% Responsibility

Take Responsibility

In order to decide your direction in life, we need to accept responsibility. People who shirk responsibility don’t reach their highest potential level of achievement. High achievers accept responsibility for their success or failure. By accepting responsibility, we would be able to take action either for correction or replicate whats work for more results.

They don’t blame other people. They take charge of what happens. Those who think of themselves as victims tend to hand control of their lives over to someone else.

They never understand their own capacities.


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(Success) Potential

Embrace Your Potential

Most people don’t consider success all that important, or they think that only other people can achieve it. Or they want only a little success, believing that would tide them over.

These attitudes explain why most people don’t get anywhere.

How much of your potential do you use?

You might feel uncomfortable with the answer. If you don’t think success is imperative, you won’t live up to your potential. People may spend their lives explaining why they didn’t succeed. This could happen to you if you regard success as just another option rather than as something you must attain.

As the saying goes, the grave is where all the untapped potential lies. Where dreams, great inventions and arts goes to slumber in death, in which the world would never see.


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(Life) Meaning of Success

Meaning of Success

Each person conceives of success differently. No matter how you define it, you must value success highly and strive to attain it. Success shapes the welfare of individuals, families and groups.

Without it, societies can’t prosper and survive.

Success means growth. History provides lessons of the consequences of an end of growth. Ancient Rome and Communist Russia, for example, both crumbled when they stalled. Success and the pursuit of success ensure societal survival.


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(Book Review) Heartland; A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

I would rate the book by Sarah Smarsh at 8/10★. I love a good memoir. It kind of remind me of a Ted Talk by Alain de Botton on “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success.”

The idea that “You got what you worked for, we believed. There was some truth to that. But it was not the whole truth.” It awful idea since we would label those who lacked success as a loser, although the ‘loser’ really did put in a tremendous amount of effort. That’s the reason in Islam, Allah SWAT rewards us for out efforts more than for the results, since results are in most cases not in our control. So, the much more accurate words to describe lack of success is ‘unfortunate’ rather than a ‘loser’. Since, ‘unfortunate’ would implies, the person is not blessed with fortune.

A Little Bit About the Book

Sarah Smarsh grew up in a family of working poor people in Wichita and rural Kansas in a country known for affluence and opportunity. Her mother and grandmother were both teenage moms, her father was a small-time carpenter and her grandfather was a farmer.

She explores the cultural forces driving America’s socioeconomic, drawing from her experiences and those of her extended family. She discusses the ‘unfortunate’ events of ill health, addiction, depression, social stigmatization and lack of opportunity that America’s working poor suffer. She writes with warmth, clarity, soul and remarkably little self-pity, though her contempt for cultural forces that punish poor people comes through with force. Hers is a candid look at the myth of the American Dream, the hard facts of economic inequality and society’s disdain for the poor.

The American Dream ignores class inequality and perpetuates the belief that people can succeed through hard work. Transience, driven by poverty, was a way of life for Sarah’s mother and grandmother, exacerbated by her great-grandmother’s poorly treated mental illness.  

Society places less value on those who live by physical labor, particularly minorities and women. Many of the adults in Sarah’s life used pills, cigarettes and alcohol to cope with stress. People of all socioeconomic groups have such addictions, but the economic and health consequences are most severe for poor people. Some might even suggest that poor people makes poor decision because they’re poor, not lack of ability to think. But rather an outcome of desperation and limited choices. It could even be a choice of lesser evil, rather than the greater good.

Sarah’s childhood coincided with the farm crisis of the 1980s. Farm debt, high interest rates and public policy favoring “Big Ag” over small family farms contributed to the 1980’s farm crisis. Industrialized agriculture put thousands of small Midwestern farmers out of business.Among all types of American households, single mothers with child dependents are the poorest.America’s welfare programs reflect national contempt for anyone struggling or in need.

Buy the Book ($17.10)

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(Book) Take the Stairs – 7 Steps to Achieving True Success Review & Summary

“Create a clear picture of what you want in the long run and…your endurance for pain and strife, discipline and hard work will naturally increase.”

Book Title:

Take the Stairs, 7 Steps to Achieving True Success (Perigee, 2012)

A little bit about the author:

Rory Vaden is the New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs. His insights on taking action and overcoming procrastination have been featured in the Wall St. Journal, Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, Inc, and several other major media outlets. As a world-renowned speaker, His Tedx talk on “How to Multiply Time” has been viewed nearly 2 million times and he was recently named as one of the top 100 leadership speakers in the world by Inc Magazine.

Summary on some key reading points:

The Hidden Cost of the Easy Way

Do you live in “ProcrastiNation?” I used to live there myself.

It’s the place where the people put off tough things until later which typically means never. In ProcrastiNation, people always take the escalator, not the stairs. Hence, the book title, “Take the stairs”.

Statistically some 95% of the world’s people would opt for the escalator, which is an analogy of seeking the easy way out. Everybody wants to succeed, to have good things and to live rewarding lives. But without much effort and work. Malays would term it as “hangat-hangat tahi ayam”.

Ironically, in the quest for the easiest path, people often make things harder for themselves. Most would lost a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money. These are the people who are targeted for a get-rich-quick scheme.

For example, last year I worked hard to get $20,000 plus from my online business, that don’t magical happened, it took a lot of blood and sweet and time to turn a dream into a possibility. And even after all the efforts, we still need luck. Because in the end, it’s our commitment to our dreams and to one another is ultimately responsible for shaping the world in which we all live.

A lack of “self-discipline” is the main reason people take the wrong path. They assume they can achieve what they want without a struggle. They believe that they can “get rich quick.” They can “lose weight fast.” They seek a “magic pill” for every medical problem. The prevailing attitude often is that no one needs to work hard, nothing requires sacrifice and “instant success” awaits.

Therefore, the truth is success isn’t a matter of circumstance; it’s a matter of choice. Finding new circumstances won’t make you successful, but making new choices will.

Mr. Mediocrity

The primary ethos behind today’s “escalator mentality” is that you can always find a shortcut. People seem unable to accept that achieving any worthy goal comes at the end of an arduous process. An insidious little internal voice tells them to stay comfortable and take the easy way out. It says mediocrity is the best policy. That little voice belongs to Mr. Mediocrity, who “was programmed from birth with one objective: to ruin your positive momentum.”

“Self-discipline is the simplest and fastest way to make life as easy as possible. It is the key to everything you’ve ever dreamed of.”

Many people pay attention to Mr. Mediocrity and his whining, complaining and negativity. They plan their daily actions and activities based on his determination to make them live “a life of average or a life of mediocrity.” Successful people don’t make this mistake. They use “positive self-talk” or “positive affirmations” to drown out Mr. Mediocrity. Positive self-talk means repeating to yourself again and again, “I can, I will, I’m going to.” This builds positive feelings. The more positive you are, the more disciplined you can become.

“I can, I will, I’m going to.”

“When you embrace self-discipline as a conscious choice, it’s not a source of sacrifice at all, but one of satisfaction.”

“Take the Stairs”  

Self-discipline is at the center of the take-the-stairs philosophy. Mr. Mediocrity’s easy way out is a fantasy. Shortcuts are “self-serving, short-term facades.” An easy-out “escalator mentality” robs you of self-confidence.

It saps your willpower, kills your spirit and steals your accountability. It demotivates you to finish what you start. To begin taking the stairs, heed four basic truths:

  1. “Success isn’t easy.”
  2. “Success isn’t ordinary.”
  3. Success means hard work.
  4. Success requires doing what you “don’t want to do.”

However, you might need to make sure that you really wanted this. It’s sad to be successful in something you hate.

Successful People

In order to achieve success, follow a simple but not effortless plan: Learn how “successful people think,” and think like them; learn what “successful people do,” and act like them. Please keep this in your mind, the route to success might be SIMPLE but it’s rarely EASY. Hence, the hard work requirement.

Change how you think and act to achieve a winner’s high level of achievement.

“Making decisions based on what feels good in the short term is often a deceiving shortcut that requires more work in the end.”

Gary Vee usually called it avoiding short term gratification for a long term success.

Attaining your hopes and dreams is within your reach if you work hard, stay disciplined, but you need to make the necessary sacrifices, take charge of your life and commit to success.

Once you start your journey of self-discipline and self-discovery, don’t stop. Don’t give up. Keep climbing. Extend your limits. Turn your challenges into opportunities. Remember that life isn’t easy. The hard way is always best. You will have to do some things you don’t feel like doing. Cherish your challenges until you “learn to fall in love with the daily grind.”

“Create a clear picture of what you want in the long run and…your endurance for pain and strife, discipline and hard work will naturally increase.”

Success That’s “Virtually Guaranteed”

With self-discipline, you can accomplish virtually anything. To build self-discipline, promise yourself that you will take a specific action that means attaining a goal, whatever it may be.

Self-discipline requires making smart decisions and following the most “disciplined choices.” Making these decisions requires focus and an enlightened understanding of what you’re up against. Direct your attention to the issues that matter and the circumstances you can control. Turn away from peripheral matters, like the texts, emails, songs on your phone and the shows on your TV.

“There will never be a perfect time, there will never be a perfect person [and] there will never be a perfect situation to start doing the things we need to get us where we want to go.”

Seven Strategies

As the title mention, the route to success centered on 7 steps or strategies or principles that guide the lives of successful people. As you pursue them, don’t take the escalator. Remember that the temptations that compelled you to take shortcuts in the past no longer can seduce you. The seven strategies are:

“The choices that are easy in the short term are very often in direct conflict with what makes life easy in the long term.”

1. Sacrifice: The Paradox Principle

How do you handle decision making? Do you make choices based on emotions or logic?

For example, you are satisfying your emotions when you decide to sit in your easy chair with potato chips in your lap and watch TV because you think it’s fun to zone out. Or perhaps you get up and go to the gym because you logically believe that exercise is good for your health.

Successful people make decisions based on logic, not emotions. When you choose the easy path in the short term, things will turn out worse in the long term because this short term decision would have long term affect. When you choose the hard path in the short term, the long-term results will be better. To put this idea into practice, describe in writing what you want your life to be like in five years.

2. Commitment: The Buy-In Principle

A man at a urinal notices a semi-wet $5 bill in the bowl. He wonders if he should retrieve it. To motivate himself, he throws a $50 bill from his wallet into the urinal and then reaches down and gets both bills. While removing the $5 bill isn’t worth getting dirty, retrieving $55 is.

This logical but flawed application embodies the buy-in principle: If you increase your investment in something, your commitment to it will also increase. Take time to write down your “should-do’s.” Choose the ones important enough to transform into “how will I do’s.” 

“Success is the aggregate sum total of small, seemingly insignificant choices that…compounded over time create the trajectory of our lives.”

So, get your list of ‘Should-do’s” and fine-tune it into “How will I do’s” list now.

3. Focus: The Magnification Principle

Focus your efforts or concentrated effort.

Analogy : Put a piece of paper in the middle of the street at high noon on a sunny day. Nothing will happen. Place a magnifying glass at the right distance between the paper and the sun. If you are patient and do this properly, the paper will burst into flame.

This demonstrates the magnification principle in action: Focus the light, and you create enough energy to start a fire. This same principle applies when you pressurize water and shoot it out a tiny nozzle. If you do it with sufficient pressure, your focused stream of water will cut heavy steel. If you focus yourself and your activities, you will become far more effective.

“Focus is power.”

Remember that Mr. Mediocrity is your deadly enemy. Develop 10 positive affirmations to motivate yourself when Mr. Mediocrity tries to pull you down.

“Success is never owned; it is only rented and the rent is due every day.”

4. Integrity: The Creation Principle

Words have power and they can either made or break you. They can have a tremendous impact on the people who hear them and on the people who use them. The words you choose can determine the life you live, but you must do as you say. The creation principle of integrity states, “You think it, you speak it, you act it, it happens.” Words put “actions into motion.”

Your words form the bedrock of your self-discipline. Use words to make commitments to yourself affirming the positive actions you will take to change your life. Create a “vision board” is a display of inspiring collected images.  

Words have tremendous impact, especially those words when you said it to yourself.

5. Schedule: The Harvest Principle

Farmers work about 18 hours a day from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. during harvest time. If they don’t work long hours, they can’t get their crops in on time. A successful harvest requires a rigorous combination of planning and scheduling.

That’s the “farmer’s law of the harvest,” and it demonstrates how “appropriate timing and regimented routine” amplify targeted hard work. Develop a perfect schedule for yourself, one for right now and one for five years from now.

“Emotional commitment intensifies as we pursue any activity. It starts out easy and gets more challenging, culminating in a peak or ‘pivot point’…It’s when we’re faced with the decision to keep going or to turn back.”

6. Faith: The Perspective Principle

Your daily troubles may seem monumental, but measured against the total balance of your life, your problems become insignificant. You need to regard your problems that way at the moment you face them. The good news is that you can. Simply change your perspective and your narrative. Stop measuring your challenges “against the shortness of today” and have faith in the future. You can achieve satisfaction if you maintain the proper perspective. Action item: Approach someone facing a major problem. Let this person vent to you about his or her problem. Listen respectfully. Be sensitive. Try to help him or her develop a broader perspective.

Now, from a much more personal note, make sure both your perspective and narrative are constructive, since, if goes unchecked, they have unlimited destructive potential.

“We are all going to face that pivot point hundreds, if not thousands, of times in various areas of our lives.”

7. Action: The Pendulum Principle

“Being a successful person requires that you take action.”

When you release a pendulum, it can’t swing to a point higher than where you let it go. That is a basic principle of physics. Here’s another immutable principle: No matter what you say or what you profess to believe, your actions are what counts and people judge you by what you do since we all know that action speaks louder than words.

This is the “law of action”: How you spend your time and where you invest your money demonstrate what matters to you.

Are you investing in both as you should?

If not, reorder your life so what you do lines up with what you should do and the results you want. List five actions big or small that will move you along your path to fulfilling your life’s dreams.

Invisible Finish Lines

Think about the primary insight you’ve developed and share it with someone else to start your accountability journey. Stop chasing invisible finish lines, like, “After I get that promotion…” or “When I retire…” Every day, focus on your journey – not your destination – and do the things you know you should do. The only guaranteed path to success comes down to “one simple word…discipline.”    

On a personal note, I would end 2019 with a minimum of 10,000 posts on my blog and made progress on my affiliate and improve on my earning from blogging.

Rating & Should you read the book:

The book is a great read on success. The 7 steps are both clearly illustrated and simple to follow. But please remember that, just because it’s simple it doesn’t mean it easy.

Put in the works and dream on.

I would rate the book at 9/10 ★

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