Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Information or Misinformation

The Misinformation Age



We left the information age and are living in the misinformation age. Misinformation is available everywhere and few of us can even recognize it. The right information is extremely valuable and the key not only to success but also to leaving a lasting legacy. Everything worthwhile pursuing starts with getting the right information. Misinformation is full of untruths, keeping us in dark places and struggling to make ends meet. The right information will always lead us to the right destination. If the right information is so critical, then how does one go about acquiring it and applying it in our day to day lives? Here is the process, the sequence for going from the right information to leaving a lasting legacy.


Information>Thinking>Actions>Results>Habits>Character>Legacy

1.      Right information. The best investment we can make is in acquiring the right information. Yes, the right information is not an expense, it is an investment. There is no other investment that provides as high a return as an investment in the right information. The right information can only come from the right sources; proven and tested sources. The right information leads to the right thinking.

2.      Right thinking. The right thinking comes from studying and fully understanding the value of the right information. Take the time to reflect, the time to process the information and its implications in everything you are involved with. Learn to think like great and successful thinkers. Faulty thinking comes from using misinformation. Right thinking is absolutely critical to taking the right actions.

3.      Right actions. The right actions come from the application of the knowledge gained from studying and analyzing the right information and thinking. The right actions are the responses to the right thinking. The wrong actions are the reactions to the wrong thinking. The word of advice here is that it requires faith and courage to take the right course of actions. The right actions can only lead to the right results.

4.      Right results. The right actions can only lead to the right results. There is a delay in seeing the right results from the right actions due to the time delay and the compounding effect from the right actions. The right results boost our self-esteem, build confidence and start to build our competence and capabilities. A string of great results is habit forming, and it becomes is critical to building our character and our reputation. As we fully comprehend the impact of the right results, coming from the application of a proven process, we start forming the right habits.

5.      Right habits. Good habits are hard to make and easy to break. Bad habits are easy to make and hard to break. Habits either make us or they break us. Bad habits are natural to us while good habits must be intentional. We have the natural propensity towards the wrong habits. The world provides all we need to acquire the wrong habits. It take discipline to stay the course, to follow the right principles, take the right actions, recognize and value the right results, if we have a shot at creating the right habits. We become known for the results we produce, the fruits of our labor. The right habits create our character and our reputation.

6.      Right character. Character is who we really are and reputation is who the world thinks we are. Focus on your character and the reputation will take care of itself. Reputation is fragile and that is why the right character is critical. We live in a negative and misinformed world. People of character are expected to be believed, and when they are not, they let time prove them right. People with the right character and so few and that is why they leave lasting legacies. Abe Lincoln and Gandhi are two that come to mind.

7.      Lasting legacy. Who does not want to leave a legacy for centuries to come? We all do. Yet, few understand the process to get to a rich legacy. Few are willing to get the right information, few are willing to take the time to think properly, few  have the courage to take the right actions even if unpopular, few are willing to act long enough to get the right results, even fewer are willing to build a great character, and the very few that do, end up leaving a lasting legacy. I hope you are one to those individuals who will leave a lasting legacy. The world needs more people like you.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"
“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”



Sunday, March 5, 2017

We can never have enough of Toscana

7 Days in Toscana – Italy

Toscana is fascinating, exhilarating, exciting, energizing, rejuvenating, motivating, and inspiring. Toscana is truly PRICELESS to anyone who takes the time to enjoy one of the greatest treasures Italy offers to the world!


If you want to create not 7, but 70 times 7 memories, then visit Toscana. Spending these 7 days in Toscana was just a preamble for spending the month of October there in the future.


Here are the 7 highlights from the unforgettable 7 days in Toscana:


1.    People
You can find all kinds of people in Italy, just like in any other part of the world. Yes, you can find from nice and polite young people to grumpy old men sitting around the parks complaining about life and government. Italians are very friendly and helpful in providing information to strangers. I love to hear and pronounce their names. The names in Italians sound really sweet to our ears. Here are some of the names of people I met: Giulio, Alessandro, Irene, Paolo, Pietro, Giovanni, i Roberta.


2.    Food
Italy is at the top of the world when it comes to enjoying a meal. I am bias towards the foods starting with p:  Paste, Pizze, Pomodori, Presciutti, Pane, Polente i Polli. My favorite this time was the polenta con cinghiale. Black olives gave a special touch to this typical northern Italian food. Eating in Italy is truly a Priceless experience. Of course, everything tastes better with a glad of red wine.


3.    Land
The lands and landscapes are fascinating and high quality nourishment for the eyes, the mind and the soul. Montagne, valli i pianure, pieni di vigneti, olive, pini, rosmarino i alloro. On a walk down the mountain to the city, I stopped to talk with a 90 year old man, pruning his olive trees. Exchanging words with the Nonno reminded of my own grandfather pruning grapevines. The views from those mountains are breathtaking and the air is fresh with the aroma the abundant bay leaf trees. I could not help, and often stop to pluck an alloro leaf, crush it with my fingers and smell it.

4.    Language
Italians don’t just speak, they also sing while talking. There is so much beauty in this romantic language. If you know Italian you can notice not only the different accents but also the different dialects spoken by Italians from different provinces of Italy. Of course, I had to buy 7 books in Italian so I can further improve this beautiful language.


5.      Cities
The 7 cities visited were: Milano, Montecatini Terme, Firenze, Cinque Terre, Lucca, San Gimigniano i Siena. My two favorites were Siena and Firenze. Historical cities are full of stores for all kinds of shoppers. It is amazing how one can quickly fall into the buying mood and spend euros like it is a cheap currency. By the way, I found Italy to be inexpensive to Americans at this time in history. With the price of Starbucks coffee in USA one can get 3 coffees just about anywhere in Toscana. All the coffees and gelati are great. Seems like the Italians know how to keep the best for themselves and export the remaining to the world.


6.      History
If there is something for everyone in Toscana, can you imagine in the whole country of Italy? From architecture to art, and that includes food, it is a daily fascinating adventure to visit so many places with so much history visible to the common eye. Walking on those narrow streets, on stones that have been laid there for thousands years, gives one a sense of wonder on whom may have walked on those iron stones before. The chiese and cattedrali or duomi makes one think how shallow, or even ignorant, we have become over the course of history.

7.      Automobiles
Italians also love their automobiles. The range goes from the Fiat 500, the little car that brought more freedom to the Italian donne in the 1960’s. Home of the great auto brands that end with the letter i: Maserati, Ferrari, Bugatti i Lamborghini. Guess all the clunkers are taken out of circulation and recycled since I only saw a few roaming the streets.


Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Failure does NOT have to be final

Failure does NOT have to be final

Quitting is final; improving and learning goes on forever. Failing our way to success is a truism. Failure is only final when we quit. We will be attempted to quit anything worthwhile pursuing. Quitters never win and winners never quit. 
Why do so many people fail and then quit? The chief reason dabblers fail and quit is that they do not have a clear purpose, vision, and mission to get their goals and dreams in life. Now more than ever, we are bombarded with one liners and messages of instant success. This microwave thinking is poisoning our minds and leading to final failures. It doesn't have to be that way. 
Success is simple and predictable, but it is not easy. Success only comes to those that are willing to do the hard work, the smart work, and to let the time compound their small victories into massive success. Success requires mental fitness and fortitude to endure what the average person is not willing to endure. Never forget that if you follow the crowd, if you do what the average person does, by following the crowd, you will get what they get, and that is not much, a survival state at best. 
One of the greatest businessmen of the last century, Sam Walton, is the perfect role model for us to learn from. Sam swam against the current. He found out where the competition was going and ran the other way, and boy he ran fast. No wonder he built what became the largest company in the world.
Let’s take a closer look at why winners win.

1.    Information.
Winners place great value in getting the right information.
Winners are always in search of better information from better sources.
Winners get their information from the right sources, other proven winners.

2.    Thinking
Winners learn proper thinking from those that think correctly.
Winners develop their correct thinking by plugging in the right information.
Winners know how critical it is to make the right decisions and stay the course.

3.    Advice
Winners value and follow the advice from their mentors.
Winners place urgency in the right learning and application of learning.
Winners get advice from those that have the results they are looking for.

4.    Process
Winners follow a proven and duplicatable process.
Winners develop the right habits that compound over time.
Winners consistently follow the pursuit of their goals and dreams.
5.    Practice
Winners have laser focus on improving the right skills.
Winners know that practicing the right skills leads to excellence.
Winners master their craft by relentlessly practicing the right skills.

6.    Adversity
Winners expect and deal with adversity head on.
Winners have strong mental fitness to deal with a negative world.
Winners swim against the current long enough until the current turns in their favor.
7.    System
Winners know the power of leveraging the correct system.
Winners become champions by mastering the right routines.
Winners know that the magic is in the system, not in themselves.
Winners know the compounding effect produced by the right system.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"

“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”

Monday, February 13, 2017

WHY I NEED TO INVEST IN MYSELF?

WHY I NEED TO INVEST IN MYSELF?



We don’t lack time and/or money, we lack priorities
We don’t lack intelligence, we lack is faith

Correct thinking: Believe>See>Do>Improve>Succeed

Faulty thinking: Succeed>Improve>Do>See>Believe

Why aren’t we listening to Warren Buffet, the greatest investor of all time? Buffet said - the more we learn the more we earn. Playing defense is not enough to win the game of life; we must learn to play offense and the rules of the game. What is not explicit in this simple truth is the why, what, how, who, where, and when of learning. 

Learning for the sake of learning does not contribute to our earnings. The big difference maker in the game starts with why – the learning must be intentional, deliberate and purposeful, leading to the application of knowledge. The problem with the information age is the excess of useless information.  What – getting the right information from the right sources, from those who have the results in life we are looking for. What – what community of learners can I belong to so I can be part of the right mastermind group? Now more than ever we must play in a great team. How – the how always comes after the why; the multiple ways of learning. As Henry Ford said, those who know how will work for those who know why. Who – who do I need to become? Be>Do>Have, not Have>Do>Be. The world will tell you go the wrong way. We must rise above the average if we want a shot to play and win the game. Where – where can I find a proven system filled with practical and applicable tools, principles, methods and techniques to live they life I have always wanted? Just like Buffet’s holding period for a financial investment, when or how long to learn, is forever, so start now

Fall in love with learning and applying what you learn and you can reap a 100 fold return on the investment in yourself. How can you find a financial investment that will be a 100 bagger during your lifetime? The more we know from the application of knowledge, the greater our capability to solve problems and the better our chance to outscore the competitors. Applied knowledge compounds faster than money. The future belongs to the voracious practical learners and doers. Now, more than ever before, the future belongs to the self-learners, the self-educated entrepreneurs. The marketplace rewards results coming from the right set of skills and not the right diplomas and certificates that so many people are still chasing. Start looking forward, through your windshield, instead of looking through your rear-view mirror, so you too can see a brighter future ahead. Start playing offense in the game of life. Stop getting advice from your past and start getting advice from your future if you want to live that life you have always wanted.

Let me give you a perspective on why I decided a decade ago to invest heavily in myself. I have said here before about investing three times more time and money to feed my brain than spending them into feeding my stomach. Let me break MYSELF into 42 powerful questions. At first these questions will be greater than your answers. Take the most important step, the first step, and answer the first question today. Then, answer one question per day and in 42 days you will be a different, better you. If you are an overachiever, go ahead and answer all the questions. Be patient as you dig in deep into yourself. Perfection kills production. Perfection is another word for procrastination. The exercise will introduce you to you. 

Keep in mind you don’t want balance in your life; you want abundance. Abundance only comes from mastering the offense in the game. Build yourself and your success will come. Prepare and your chance will come. Don’t dwell or spend too much time in your past, dwell and focus instead on your future. The exercise will help start decluttering the things that are distracting you. Answer these questions and you will start your transformation journey immediately. This will put some pressure on you and self-imposed pressure is good. Self-imposed pressure will lead to some drama and it will stir your emotions. Stirring emotions stir your soul and lead to massive action. Stop being a spectator in life and start leading you. Spectator pay and leaders get paid.  Warning!!! Thinking will be required. And, you will be criticized for going against the grain. True wealth follows excellence; it always has, it always will. Only the disciplined are free! May 217 be your best year yet!

1.      M = ME
Who am I?
What is my identity?
Why I need to believe in myself?
Why do I deserve to be successful?
Why do I need to grow and evolve?
Why do I need to learn from others?
Why do I need to become a better me?

2.      Y = YES
What do I want to have in my live?
What do I see for myself in 5-10 years?
What human being do I need to become?
What is the legacy I need to leave behind?
Why do I need to commit to my own vision?
Why do I need to say YES to my dreams and my purpose?
Why do I need to say YES to self-knowledge and self-education?

3.      S = SERVE
How can I be a role model to others?
Why do I need to serve other people?
Why do I need to care about other people?
Why do I need to be productive and positive?
Why do I need to become a great public speaker?
Why do I need to become a better communicator?
What is the value of me being a master communicator?

4.      E = EXECUTE
What do I need to practice?
When do I feel most energized?
Why do I need to get into action?
Why do I need to produce results?
How can I be effective at prioritizing?
Why do I need to be a problem solver?
Why do I need to pay attention to my scorecard?
                       
5.      L = LEAD
What do I know about leadership?
Why is my character so important?
What does leadership mean to me?
What do I bring to the table as a leader?
When do I the leader achieve the best results?
Why do I need to build relationships with people?
Why do I always need to work on my foundational qualities?

6.      F = FOCUS
Why do I need to be consistent?
Why do I need to have laser focus?
Why do I need a sense of urgency?
Why do I need to master self-discipline?
Why do I need to practice the right tasks?
Why do I need to be tenacious and persistent?
Why do I need to PDCA (plan, do, check, adjust)?
                       

I cannot change others but I can change MYSELF and that is way more than good enough! Let me know how you enjoyed the exercise.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."

Monday, December 26, 2016

What Will 2017 Be Like?

What Will 2017 Be Like?


Before you write your New Year resolutions, read to the end, take action on these 7 steps, and maybe this year your resolutions will stick. What will the New Year be like for you? It will be up to you to determine what kind of year 2017 will be like. One year from now you will look back again and realize 2017 was another average year or it was the best year you have ever had. For another average year you don’t need to do much just keep on doing what you have been doing, keep on going with the same kind of thinking that has taken you to today. The world will tell you that being average is better than being obsessed. I am here to tell you that it is another big lie so you can continue to be part of someone else’s plan. Choose to live life instead of allowing life to live you. However, if you want a great year, you will have to change a few things in your life. What is easy to do, it is even easier not to do. Never forget that you will have as much time to accomplish anything as you allow yourself the time to complete anything. 

Here are some thoughts to make 2017 your best year yet:

1.    Clear purpose and mission in life.
Make sure your subconscious mind has the right programming. The HOWS always become obvious and easier once the WHYS are clear and strongly pursued.

2.    Crystal clear vision to the destination.
See the path to where you are going. Create strong mental images of the finish line. Mentally live and relive the emotions of crossing the finish line.

3.    Achievable dreams and goals.
Keep the goals in front of you and date your dreams on a daily basis.

4.    The burning desire to possess the wants.
Let the positive strong tension inside you drive your actions.

5.    Solid plan to get to your destination.
Execute the plan and drive doubt out of your routine.

6.    Stellar attitude and professional work ethic.
Have a positive uplifting attitude backed by an exemplary work ethic. Kill procrastination and get the little things done well consistently.

7.    Keep eyes on the scorecard.
The scorecard is critical to track progress and make appropriate adjustments.

                        Pray like it all depends on God, work like it all depends on you.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."