What a year of contradictions and confusion 2016 has been! We started off January with a stock market that was possibly facing Armageddon where great companies such as BHP Billiton saw its share price drop to around $14 after being $32 a year before. It’s now closer to $26.
We’ve seen the Poms vote to dump the European Union with its infamous Brexit poll, which made pollsters look like second-rate guess merchants. This also threatened stock market Armageddon but the FTSE market index for UK stocks is up 16% since the decision.
Then along comes the shock of the century that The Simpsons comically predicted in 2000 – 16 years ago! – that there would be a President Donald Trump!
I know I do overuse exclamation points but this has been a year to go long on them!!!!
On the economic front our economic growth surprised the doomsday merchants by growing at 3.1% but then in September we got a surprise bad number of minus 0.5%, which took our annual growth rate down to 1.8%. This prompted those addicted to negativity to bring out the R-word. I won’t use the word ‘recession’ in case it unnecessarily spooks Aussies who I want to spend, employ and invest so we have a better economy, but that’s just me and is my point of difference with a lot of my media mates.
It was a year when Malcolm Turnbull became a legitimate Prime Minister but only just and we created a crazy Parliament where Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch hold the balance of power! The Simpsons missed that one.
It was a year for underdogs with the Cronulla Sharks winning their first NRL premiership ever and the Western Bulldogs collecting their first AFL flag in 62 years.
It was a year when my 2GB colleague Alan Jones was well-received on Q&A for his anti-coal stance and he teamed up with ex-Labor leader, Mark Latham on Sky News with Jones & Co. The Simpsons also missed that weird one.
As someone who gets up every morning around 5am to help people plot their way to greater wealth via my daily blogs on www.switzer.com.au and in the Switzer Super Report, I have to say seeing the stock market dive to a low of 4,706.7 and to be now around 5,600 was something that has really made my year. As someone who kept telling my readers, viewers and listeners that this was a buying opportunity, seeing the market up 19% makes me a very happy assistant wealth-builder.
But despite all of these great economic and hip pocket developments, my greatest wins came out of my commitment to search for the great stuff of life that explains success, which I’ve been covering in Weekend Switzer.
And behind this treasure trove of discoveries was a decision to stop listening to my beloved radio for 21 minutes a day – the time it takes to get from my Sky Business TV show to my home each night.
Instead I searched for inspirational, positive, educational insights and many of these revelations I shared with you in my Weekend Switzer columns.
Spurring me to take my positivity to steroid-like heights was checking out Tony Robbins when he appeared in Sydney via hologram. I went to see his technology as I’ve been a casual fan for a long time but once again, even via hologram, he made me reach higher for great success and self-improvement.
He didn’t say this, I think Jim Rohn did many years ago, but he effectively suggested: “Work out what you want. Work out the price. Pay the price.”
What do I want? That’s easy. I want success and happiness for my family, friends, my 50 or so employees, my readers, my subscribers, viewers and listeners.
What’s the price? Time looking for the great stuff but it’s time well spent and it’s a delightful experience.
So what have been the big pay-off discoveries from this new search for greater insights into success?
Let me recap:
· Simon Senek argues we buy from people and businesses because of what they believe and not because of what they say. “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it,” he says. Brilliant! Think Apple.
· Tony Robbins in his Netflix doco I’m Not Your Guru explained that people run away from the truth and that leads to frustration, bad life habits, addictions and broken relationships. Anyone wanting to be a success has to beat these obstacles and it’s done by him when he makes individuals face their demons, the gutlessness or the lies they live with.
· Mark Bouris on Donald Trump underlined one of the President-elect’s better characteristics, aside from understanding his potential customers/voters. “Trump is always on song and plays Trump 24/7,” he observed. History has shown he has built one of the biggest personal brands of all time and it got bigger after November 8!
· Daniel H. Pink says the strongest and most pervasive driver for anyone is for them to see what they’re doing as satisfying, even fun, and worthwhile. He calls it “enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation”. Pink sees the following as critical to getting the best out of people: “By creating conditions for people to make progress, shining a light on that progress, recognising and celebrating progress, organisations can help their own cause and enrich people’s lives.”
· Harvard University’s Shawn Anchor and his best-selling book The Happy Secret to Better Work, gave us the “happiness advantage” concept. “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around,” Forbes’ Kathy Caprino says she discovered when she caught up with Anchor. “When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.”
This is the program he recommended to get the happiness advantage:
1) Bring gratitude to mind: write down three NEW things that you are grateful for each day
2) Journal: about a positive experience you’ve had recently for two minutes once a day
3) Exercise: engage in 15 minutes of mindful cardio activity
4) Meditate: watch your breath go in and out for two minutes a day and
5) Engage in a random, conscious act of kindness: write a two-minute positive email thanking a friend or colleague, or compliment someone you admire on social media.
· Another one from Tony Robbins was a ripper. He says we often think we can’t succeed because we lack resources – money, support, expertise – but he says in actual fact it is a lacking of resourcefulness that explains failure.
· Some of the world’s greatest success stories have come from people who started with virtually nothing apart from a drive and a determination to win.
· My US mate and worldwide recognised leadership speaker/author, John Maxwell insists that says we’re all getting good at communication but not enough of us are great at connecting. “If you want to help people, first get what they want and they will help you get everything you want!”
· I’ve been offering at my speeches to give innovative stuff I discover each week to anyone who wants it, if they say they want it using firstname.lastname@example.org and over a thousand aspirational business- and wealth-builders have signed up!
· Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants book I often thought about how “attitude determines altitude” as the old saying goes but I also thought about something I picked up from an expert on innovation who explained to me that with great business ideas people often ask the question: “What if the opposite is true?”
· People before Uber might have thought the law would stop you creating a rival taxi business because of the law but as we have seen the opposite was true!
· Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, told me how he created his own a personal board of directors, where some might be real advisers or mentors but some could be virtual! Many were advisors and he got their advice by reading their books and listening to their podcasts.
I could go on and I’m staggered about what I learnt from my Weekend Switzer efforts. The whole exercise has been like a course of self-leadership and self-improvement.
Many years John Maxwell told me that when he was young his mentor asked him: “John what is your plan for self-improvement?”
He admitted he did not have one but that question was something that made this guy become one of the world’s best speakers and thinkers on leadership.
Thanks for coming along on my journey of self-improvement and I will be doing it all again but better next year. Have a great Christmas and holiday time and remember what the great tennis player Chris Evert once said: “There were times when deep down I wanted to win so badly I could actually will it to happen. I think most of my career was based on DESIRE.”
Wayne Dyer wrote a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It and I’d add you have more chance seeing it when you really deep down desire it.
Oh yes, here’s my Christmas present for you. If you want to revisit my 50 Shades of Great here is the link.