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The human brain is very much like a hard drive. If you stop to think of it, they are both filled with billions of tiny bits of information, stored in the memory cells just waiting to be accessed. They both use electrical energy to find those bits and put them together to recreate something that we have placed there. They work on demand, and we expect them to instantly give us what we want.
And frankly, many people abuse both their hard drives and their brains! They fill them up with information and expect them to perform at top efficiency without the benefit of good maintenance. There are some basic support tasks that are essential to the well being of both. If you do not take proper care of both of them, they will fail you.
Both brains and hard drives need to be de-fragged on a regular basis! De-fragment means that you allow the machine (brain or hard drive) to rearrange the information that has been stored in it, so that it can find what you need more quickly and efficiently. When bits of information get stored all over the place, with no logical order to it, then it takes a lot longer for the machine to find and reassemble what you need quickly.
Probably, you have your hard drive set up to de-frag itself on a regular basis. It is done automatically, maybe while you sleep. Well, your brain does not have a task-scheduler to take care of this for you! It is busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It can not reset itself while you sleep. That is because it is still working on the things that your subconscious is trying to sort out. It is dreaming and remembering and stressing all the while.
So how do you de-frag your brain? Well, it takes three things: rest, relaxation and meditation. If you are a type A personality, then these three things may be altogether foreign territory for you! You may be in a high-stress job, or always be taking care of others but never yourself, or you may somehow think that taking care of yourself first is something that you do not deserve. Wrong! If you do not take care of this, it will force the issue. You may get sick, depressed or worse.
Meditation is an excellent way of maintaining your brain. It forces you to sit, relax and do "nothing" for a bit. You clear your poor brain of the clutter and the chatter and just let it run free. You do not have to do anything special, really, to meditate; you just find something that transports you! Music works for a lot of people. You can dance if it helps you, or do some drumming. You could get a good meditation tape or CD and listen to that. You could even sign up for a Tai Chi course, or try some yoga. Whatever you decide to do, do it regularly. At least once a week is necessary for the proper de-fragging of the average hard drive and the average brain.
At the very least you should be setting aside some time every week to just do something relaxing. Take a long bubble bath with some candles lit and some soothing music playing. Go sit outside in nature. The trick here is to just DO it, to take the time for yourself no matter what. See that you deserve it and that it is just as important as going to a doctor when you are sick. In fact, it can help keep those doctor visits to a minimum!
And while you are at it, consider getting a good anti-virus too. Your hard drive needs it to protect your information, and your body needs it to keep healthy. Anti-virus for the body means taking better care of you. Eat something healthy, go out and take a walk, and get more sleep! You can find the time to do this if you make it a priority.
If you take care of your hard drive, both the computer type and the body type, your life will improve significantly. Both will run smoothly and have a lot less crashes!
Many websites unwittingly ignore ‘The Iron Law’ of Marketing. They begin by explaining features about the company, e.g. how long they’ve been in business, what their premises look like, etc. The truth is that most visitors to your website couldn’t give a hoot about the features of your company! What they primarily care about is WIIFM.
WIIFM stands for ‘What’s In It For Me’. It’s ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’. Unless visitors to your website can quickly see what your business can do for them, the chances are that they’ll be gone quickly, typically in seconds. Once they’re gone, they’re gone – probably never to return.
WIIFM – ‘What’s in it for me’. Are we really so self-centred? Well, yes, I’m afraid that we are. Please don’t feel guilty – it’s just the way we’re hard-wired. Sure, farther down the line, we care about others. But, first and foremost, we’re concerned about how we survive and thrive. That’s simple evolutionary common sense.
If you want your visitor to stay on your website, you need to heed ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’. You need to give your visitors WIIFM – ‘What’s in it for me’. But the paradox is this: the ‘me’ shouldn’t be you (i.e. your premises, etc). It should be them – your visitors.
You need to put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and address what they’re interested in, what they might want, how you may be able to help them.
Most companies are concerned to get ‘targeted traffic’ (i.e. potential clients to their sites) through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and other clever stuff. And this is important – very important indeed.
But if most of your prospective clients leave your website in a few seconds, isn’t that just a little bit silly? (And we’ve all done it, me too!) Isn’t that rather like filling a bucket with water… which just runs out of all the holes in the bottom?
It’s not rocket science! We simply need to show visitors to our websites the benefits of doing business with us. And we need to do it in a fun, interesting manner.
If possible, we should pack our websites with ‘FREE gifts’, so that visitors derive immediate benefit. One of the most valued gifts is FREE information which you give to your visitors and which will help them.
I’m amazed when I see websites created and run by people ten times more clever than me… yet doomed to failure because they broke ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’ – WIIFM, ‘What’s In It For Me’.
Often it just needs a change in focus and some alterations for your website to be much more successful. If you disregard WIIFM, it will become your worst enemy. If you take heed, it will become your best friend.
In order to really answer that, we need to define what we mean by personal development. In my opinion, personal development is:
- Growth as a conscious human being
- Activities that improve self-knowledge and identity
- Development of talents and potential
- Development in different areas of life
- Building of human capital and employability
- Enhancing the quality of life
- Contributing to the realization of dreams and aspirations
- Is not limited to self-development but includes formal and informal activities for developing others
- In the context of institutions, it reflects to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations
- (hard) work that requires discipline, determination, consistency, patience, time, courage, forgiveness
Let's then take a closer look at some of these bullet points in correlation to success.
Improving your self-knowledge and identity means, among other things, that you become more aware of who you are and what you want. Knowing what you want and where you need to improve yourself in order to achieve what you want are essential parts of success.
If you have already achieved success you can not stay put if you want to remain successful. The world and other people around you are constantly evolving; therefore you need to keep on developing your talents and potential further. Otherwise your success will remain short term.
Depending on your goals, you need constant development in different areas of your life, not just in one. Some of these areas may include health, finances, relationships, emotions, habits and beliefs, to mention a few. A good health will ensure that you are able to do what you want to do. It is obvious that you can do a lot more as a healthy person than you would lying sick on a bed. It is obvious, in most cases, that you can achieve more and free yourself from some of the worries when your financial situation is stable. It is obvious that you can achieve more when you have sound relationships with supporting and loving people to back you up. And so on.
Having activities for developing others, in addition to developing yourself, is really what gives you the final boost for success. The old saying "what goes around, comes around" applies here quite well. Helping other people succeed will ensure that they will willingly help you in return. It is much, much more difficult – and in most cases even impossible – to achieve success just by yourself. You can not be the master of everything. And you should not even try to be. Concentrate on doing well what you love doing and let other people help you in the areas that they love doing. Help others develop themselves and they will help you develop yourself. That is for everyone's benefit.
Finally, understand that long lasting success requires work. At times, it can even seem to require hard work. But once you have found what it is that you really love doing, the work does not seem that hard anymore. But it will require discipline, so that you keep your focus on your goals. It will require determination because there will be a lot of people who'll try to talk you out of your dream. It will require consistency because you will encounter many obstacles along the way and you'll have to be consistent to work your way through and around them. It will require patience because the bigger your dream, the more it will take time. It will require courage because you will move toward something that is unknown to you. And, maybe most of all, it will require forgiveness because you will have to forgive yourself for all the mistakes you have made, and will make, and you must also forgive others who have hurt you, so you can move into the future with a clean slate.
And that is all part of the road to success.
Written by Hannu Pirila, CEO and Founder of HPA Consulting, one of the leading Personal Development and NLP Coaches in Finland.