Today’s show is brought to you by film students Connor and Annalise Tazz
EPISODE 51 – 5 OF THE BEST AND LOOKING FORWARD
I can hardly believe that I’m able to sit down, at last, to record this show because it’s been such a long tough journey this season. Today’s show not only marks the end of season 3 but it also celebrates the first 50 episodes and a NEW YEAR with new hopes and possibilities.
Albert Einstein said Learn from yesterday, live for today and so I will be looking back in this episode and choosing 5 of my favourite pieces of advice, tips and tricks from the first 50 shows to bring to you today and then looking forward to another year and another decade, which if we seize control of it, and utilise the skills and advice I offer in this podcast - will be a very successful and fulfilling one for all of us.
Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness. This is the way it's supposed to work. M. Russell Ballard UNQUOTE
Despite some ups and downs for me, this year has overall been a very positive one.
I should probably cover why I said I was going to release 18 x 10 minute episodes this season and then promptly went ahead with 18 shows which were about 20 minutes or considerably longer. Well, I have to admit that I got myself into a lot of trouble with that one and the truth is that the topics I have been tackling just didn’t fit into a 10-minute format. I quickly realised, and this is a topic for a future show perhaps, that I had underestimated my timings and the amount of work that I was taking on but as I am a man of my word, who had promised 18 episodes this season, I soldiered on. Season 3 contains just over 8 hours of original content, where I’d originally been aiming for 3. It’s put a real strain on my time and resources but in the end, I feel that it’s been worthwhile. With all that said though – lessons have been learned!
The other thing that went well off target this year was my own plans. I had used Jinny Ditzler’s BEST YEAR YET book to STRATEGISE my year ahead and set out at the start of the year with a ten-point plan to achieve things. By the time I got to my 3rd deadline I had unfortunately been derailed though – I talk about that in my EST LAID PLANS episode though so I won't go into detail. Jinny says that “The principal value of our mistakes and failures is our ability to learn from them”. This is backed up by Napoleon Hill in my LAW OF SUCCESS MINI-SERIES when he says that we should reframe failures, in our minds, as TEMPORARY SETBACKS. As I covered in detail during episode 34 - BEST LAID PLANS, I made a lot of mistakes this year, but learn from them I did. The title of the book YOUR BEST YEAR YET is very clever though as using Jinny’s system every year can be BETTER THAN THE ONE BEFORE. I can now move past and learn from my mistakes and make a new plan to achieve things in the year ahead. 2020 will be my best year yet, and when 2021 comes around I’ll give it the same focused effort as the last. My objectives will change as I move forward but EVERY NEW YEAR that arrives WILL BE MY BEST and I will continue to adapt and develop to achieve great things. I fully expect to be making more mistakes but I will build on them and likely report on them here, as they occur.
BTW this is exactly the time of year you should check it out too so go to episode 16 to listen to last year’s NEW YEAR SPECIAL - YOUR BEST YEAR YET to find out more.
There are many other factors that have contributed to the overall success if 2019 and I’ve had a few great wins along the way. Hitting 50 episodes was a tremendous landmark with this show, but I also had great developments in my personal and family life and have had great times with my dog Angus. I’ve directed fights on 4 feature films, a few theatre productions too, maybe 3 or 4 of them and a couple of short films and on I think 41 episodes of various high-level television shows. Despite a few hard knocks financially and spiritually that resulted in my giving up on making films I have come out the other side with a year I can call a success!
All great achievements require time. Maya Angelou UNQUOTE
Well passing the 50 episode point certainly feels like a milestone and no mistake, and today I want to bring to you 5 of my favourite tips for productivity from those first 50 episodes. These are in a kind of rough order for the sake of an exciting (ahem – or at least informative) episode, but to my mind, they are all valuable. I’ll call them my favourites but in truth, I have many many more that if I had time I would list here.
The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. Albert Ellis UNQUOTE
1st on my list is what I talk about in episode 1 of this show and it’s a switch in your head that needs to get flipped if you are to get yourself out of the mundane rut of directionless uncertainty that you find yourself in. What I am talking about is developing a HIGHER LEVEL OF THINKING which some call INTELLIGENT THOUGHT and getting yourself into a headspace where you can work ON your life and career at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it. I’ll say that again -
Getting yourself into a headspace where you can work ON your life and career at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it.
This realisation - that WE CAN DIRECTLY ASSESS AND TAKE CONTROL OF OUR LIVES AND CAREERS instead of just floating along through life like a passenger was the kick-off point I had into this whole world of productivity. I don’t know where I first heard that phrasing but it’s not really my words, or maybe it is a little, but as I always try to credit where it is due I must say that I’m pilfering someone else’s ideas here.
If up until now you have just been FOLLOWING THE RANDOM FLOW OF YOUR LIfe and doing your best to make sense of it, without actually realising that you may have to STOP AND STEP OUT OF YOUR OWN LIFE AND WORK even just briefly on occasion to assess what you have been doing, and HOW THINGS ARE WORKING OUT FOR YOU, then you are not getting the best out of life. Stopping every now and again and looking at your levels of success or failure, what you may have learned from those failures and what might be the next steps to take on your journey through life is absolutely possible, but only if you flick that switch and decide to take back control.
I invite you now, and if you are listening already to this podcast you are already likely on this wavelength, but I invite you that aren’t to step up and join us. Join those of us who have engaged the process of HIGH-LEVEL THINKING IN THEIR LIFE AND CAREER AND TAKE BACK CONTROL. HIGH-LEVEL THINKING will help you to avoid the skirmishes, stop wasting your time and mental energy on the unimportant and focus on the bigger picture and the bigger win.
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Emma Stone UNQUOTE
And so the 2nd on my list for today is an extension of this. It is a topic I’ve covered in a number of my episodes but most recently in episode 40 THE LAW OF SUCCESS part 1, and that’s the lesson specifically relating to having A DEFINITE CHIEF AIM IN LIFE. I talk about this quite regularly as in productivity terms it’s important.
Let’s not take forever to cover this, you can just listen or re-listen to episodes 40-45 for the very full and incredibly valuable LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS miniseries to discover more - BUT the point in HAVING A PLAN AND A STRATEGY, is simply that if you don’t know where you are going, you are possibly never going to get there. If you do know what you want out of life, you will know what to say NO to and what to prioritise in what lies ahead. With a sense of purpose comes focus and certainty.
Now I fully understand that it may take you a bit of time to decide what you want to do with your life, but you can still make plans for 5 years from now, 1 year from now or even just to achieve something you want by the end of next week or today. It’s also perfectly possible, that as your life proceeds and your priorities change, that you will intelligently choose to change your direction in life somewhere down the line, and that’s okay too. If you know what you want to achieve though, you can get to it far more easily and more directly, WITHOUT DISTRACTION, and without finding out that you’re actually working to achieve someone else’s life dreams and goals instead of your own. That way leads to MISERY.
Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. Napoleon Hill UNQUOTE
3rd on today’s list is a really simple anti-procrastination rule that I use every day. It’s from episode 9 FOUR GREAT HACKS TO AVOID PROCRASTINATION and it’s the ONE-TOUCH RULE.
The one-touch rule is simply that YOU MUST PROCESS AND COMPLETE A TASK THE FIRST TIME YOU TOUCH IT.
It was formalised by Productivity consultant Ann Gomez who explains that “It's a simple trick to help you batch your work into scheduled, focus blocks: you won't open an email until you're ready to give it your full attention, or you'll decline to accept your co-worker’s rough draft until later when you know you'll have the time to sit down and do it.”
I have a difficulty on occasion with overwhelm, which was talked about in the November mailbag episode. Sometimes I just can’t handle all of the communications and problems that come my way as they come in, so I have to prioritise what I do tackle. See episode 3 for more on PRIORITISING btw.
Once they are prioritised I won’t even look at or consider the non-pertinent stuff – actually sometimes I will if I am NOT FEELING OVERWHELMED and they are very quick to deal with, and that is the TWO MINUTE RULE also covered in episode 9.
The reason I don’t open non-pertinent stuff though is because I have systemised myself to use the ONE TOUCH RULE. If I can’t complete a communication in one sitting, if I am about to start a task that I know I cannot finish right there and then, I WON’T START IT. Sometimes, if it’s urgent, I will reschedule my day to ensure I CAN finish things in one sitting, or I’ll split tasks into two or three sections so that I can at least complete a defined bit of it, but generally speaking, I don’t like to have what I call OPEN DOORS in my life. Those are unfinished pieces of work or communications or personal matters that I will have to pick up the pieces of later on. That just clogs up my brain and messes me up. If you find you have a task to do that you know you can’t complete in the time you have or that isn’t urgent then don’t touch it until you know you will have time to complete it. The ONE TOUCH RULE is a very powerful weapon in the productivity-ists arsenal.
4th in my list of favourites is PROTECTING YOUR MENTAL ENERGY – that’s all of episode 18. It’s something I first heard discussed by one of my favourite productivity experts ISAIAH HANKEL. In his awesome book, THE SCIENCE OF INTELLIGENT ACHIEVEMENT he says that “Mental energy is the world’s hottest commodity. People are going to try to steal it, drain it, and suck it up every second you’re awake. Yet very few of us protect it. Few of us know how.”
Mental energy is what I was thinking about protecting with the ONE TOUCH RULE when I talked about not opening too many doors. My brain simply can’t adequately cover all the bases if it is constantly getting pulled from pillar to post by too many worries, too many commitments and too many open or unfinished tasks. When you are trying to remember dates and special occasions, and loading all of the commitments of a busy modern life and work onto your brain, you will find that you very quickly begin to drop the ball. You must PROTECT YOUR MENTAL ENERGY AT ALL COSTS though as you only have a finite amount of it to use each day.
“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie UNQUOTE And that fatigue he talks about is a waning of your day's supply of mental energy.
I regularly utilise brain dumps, that’s getting all of the stuff that’s in your head out and onto a piece of paper or a whiteboard so that you can sort through it. You can then eliminate the unimportant and the non-priority junk that’s in there and focus on the important and the urgent stuff instead.
You can also use CALENDARS and SCHEDULING SOFTWARE to remember dates etc and just take the burden of remembering all of that stuff off your mind. When you do this you’ll find yourself functioning more EFFECTIVELY and EFFICIENTLY and with FAR LESS STRESS and ANXIETY. Protecting your mental energy is one of my favourite shows so if you haven’t yet had a listen, then get in there.
Accuracy is the twin brother to honesty and inaccuracy to dishonesty. Nathaniel Hawthorne UNQUOTE
My final choice for today is ACCURATE THOUGHT. This is lesson 11 in my LAW OF SUCCESS mini-series and I’ve flipped over to this as time and again I see problems arise and great swathes of time wasted by woolly, unclear, lazy, or just mistaken thought.
The lesson on ACCURATE THOUGHT teaches us that we must separate facts from MERE INFORMATION. It goes on to say that we must then separate our FACTS into TWO CLASSES just as I talked about a minute ago. These classes are the IMPORTANT and the UNIMPORTANT, or, the RELEVANT and the IRRELEVANT.
Napoleon Hill explains that FACTS WHICH WILL AID YOU to any extent whatsoever in THE ATTAINMENT OF YOUR DEFINITE CHIEF AIM are IMPORTANT and RELEVANT; and that all that you cannot use is UNIMPORTANT and IRRELEVANT.
Developing a habit of accurate thought I believe is essential if we are to be productive and here is why.
Peter Drucker says “It is fundamentally the confusion between effectiveness and efficiency that stands between DOING THE RIGHT THINGS and DOING THINGS RIGHT. There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.”
It’s a quote I’ve used several times before, but
In the lesson Hill talks of “the law of evidence” and “the object of this law is to get at the facts. Any judge can proceed with justice to all concerned if they have the facts upon which to base their judgment, but they may play havoc with innocent people if they circumvent the law of evidence and reach a conclusion or judgment that is based upon hearsay information.”
This world that we live and especially data gleaned from the internet is a minefield of misinformation. It affects me in several ways: For example - If I put up a quote and I have the time, I will investigate whether it is correctly attributed or not. I’d say that one in every 20 or so quotes that I put up IS INCORRECTLY attributed in my online reference materials. This might be regarded as a small thing but at the other end of the scale we have, I think a bigger problem, and that it’s what is known as SPONSORED CONTENT.
It is amazing how many people there are who are "honest" when it is profitable to them but find myriads of facts to justify themselves in following a dishonest course when that course seems to be more profitable or advantageous. Napoleon Hill UNQUOTE
Paid sponsorship is making it near impossible to find a balanced opinion out there. Reviews that represent themselves at a glance as TRUTH, are very very often in fact just commercial content that is designed to dupe us. South Park does a great skit on this where they describe marketing in terms of SkyNet in the Terminator Universe where the commercials adapt and become more intelligent in order to infiltrate our lives.
Sorting THE TRUTH from THE LIES in today’s world is increasingly difficult. The trouble is if you believe the hype and the misinformation which we are manipulated to understand as truth, that you will find yourself wasting time and money and energy on stuff that later proves to be a waste of all of that. You may also find too that you have unknowingly have fallen into a marketing funnel and been deliberately led away from the truth which you are seeking.
Getting to the facts in today’s society is just immensely difficult, but is worth the effort.
There’s another side to accuracy of thought - and that is being ACCURATE AND TRUTHFUL TO YOURSELF. I see people faking their way through their lives, and I don’t actually have a problem with a FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT STRATEGY if it works for you, but what I see sometimes is someone starting to believe the bullsh*t they have been inflicting on other people and that is when this becomes a problem.
If, as you move forward with a FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT STRATEGY, you lose your ACCURACY OF THOUGHT and START TO BELIEVE YOUR OWN HYPE, then you are getting yourself into no end of trouble.
I’ve seen actors telling people they are in a movie, for it to be released later on and seen just as liars or fakes when they are clearly not in it. I’ve seen writers convincing themselves that they have relationships with high flying Hollywood producers only for their work never to get made, because they missed the real opportunities that were passing them by as they imagined themselves to be “better than that” and I’ve seen filmmakers who will tell you that they have a definite financier for their film crumble under my questions about it, when I discover that they don’t have anything in writing and they have just convinced themselves that it is true.
Napoleon Hill helps us to get to the facts when we are faced by things like this, by asking one simple question. How do you know this? Under scrutiny, those who believe their own hype, but who have exaggerated their position, fall heavily on their own swords. Difficult though it may be, occasionally you have to ask that awkward question, in order that you do not get drawn into a world of false hope. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted my time and energy on something that later proves to be someone’s fantasy. Even this year I pushed for a hard guarantee on something I had doubt was going to happen, and that despite many assurances just didn’t come to be.
As an ACCURATE THINKER, it becomes your DUTY to avail yourself of the facts, even though you must go out of your way to get them and ask those difficult questions. If however, you permit yourself to be swayed to and fro by all manner of information that comes to your way, you will never become an accurate thinker and you will be duped time and again by some seemingly credible peoples woolly brained fantasies or downright lies and manipulation tactics.
ACCURACY OF THOUGHT combined with HIGH-LEVEL THINKING allows you to intelligently assess virtually any situation you find yourself in. IF YOU DO NOT THINK ACCURATELY though will be constantly distracted and likely NEVER attain your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life.
So that’s all 5 of my for want of a better word “favourites” from the first 50 shows but if truth be told I embrace far more than this in my day today.
*STEVE MARABOLIS said “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.
We stand now at the precipice of a new beginning. At least it always feels that way when a new year comes about, but our NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTIONS are fleeting and very quickly begin to slip away as life starts to disrupt them.
If you truly want to achieve things in the year ahead, then you need to know where you want to be and you need to plan for how to get there. Achieving your EVENTUAL DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life will involve strategising and working hard to make it all happen. Last year’s NEW YEAR SPECIAL goes into great detail about this so if you want to learn about Jinny Ditzler's system for achieving things in the year ahead and achieving you own BEST YEAR YET then please go back to episode 16 and have a listen.
Alan Watts once said that No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen so if you have fears and anxieties about what lies ahead don’t allow them to disrupt your flow or your focus in life and work and family. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written and I say that the pen for writing it sits firmly in your grasp.
Call To Action
This season I spent a lot of time creating a six-part series called the LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS based on the book by Napoleon Hill. In it, you will find a system so powerful that it cannot be understated. It’s not a short listen though, it’s a full 3 hours of content spread over the 6 episodes that will involve you really engaging your mind in what it teaches. Your call to action is to go back and listen or re-listen to that series which is covered in episodes 40 through 45. This will give you a very powerful start on the road to achieving success, in whatever form that might take, in the year ahead.
“If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.” John Wooden
I wish you the very best for 2020 and I hope that this podcast will continue to aid you on your journey. Take control of your destiny and use that higher level of thinking which I talk about. With that, you will be able to move forward with a certainty of purpose that will propel you towards your dreams and goals.
REMEMBER TOO, THAT A NEW YEAR CAN START FOR YOU AT ANY TIME OF YOUR CHOOSING. If you are listening to this at another point in the year and decide you need to make a change for a better life and start again, whether it’s January the 1st or July the 22nd, you can do it.
I said a few weeks ago that this show will be back at the start of March. I had miscalculated that actually. It will be back at the end of March, roughly 3 months from today with a new 12 part series which is possibly going to consist of 6 interview shows and 6 standard episodes. I’ll put out a couple of inbetweenisodes to keep you sweet in the interim too.
In the meantime, I can highly recommend a few shows for you to check out during the offseason hiatus. There’s great filmmaking interview shows like THE FILMMAKER’S PODCAST, HOW THEY DID IT FILMMAKING, THE REEL FILTHY PODCAST and of course INDIE FILM HUSTLE with Alex Ferrari. If you are interested in learning more about podcasting AND WANT TO START YOUR OWN PERHAPS then please try Scotland based PODCRAFT or the US-based shows THE AUDACITY TO PODCAST or THE SCHOOL OF PODCASTING. I can also highly recommend THE STEPHEN ROWN SHOW which is a great listen and if you need a productivity fix please check out Julian’s show PRODUCTIVITY MATTERS. He started his at the same time mine did and he’s already got a load of content over there.
For now though - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next season on Film Pro Productivity.
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