I like reading personal and business motivational books. They help me to keep some focus and balance in my life. Within each book I read or CD I listen to, I always find at least one inspirational part that fills me with energy and ideas. To stay afloat in the business world today, and particularly in the bookselling world, you have to constantly be on the lookout for possible trends and new ideas that will help you stay competitive and sometimes even profitable. All of the following books are a little dated but I still recommend them as worthwhile reads.
My idea for this article was inspired by story #100 from a book of collected stories called The 100 Simple Secrets Of Successful People, by David Niven, Ph.D. The book consists of two-page stories demonstrating “the traits, beliefs and practices of successful people”. Each article is backed up by some sort of relevant research study. The short stories make it especially good bathroom reading, which is how I found the time to read this particular book. The following is the excerpt from story #100 that got my attention:
Only You Can Say If This Is a World You Can Succeed In:
What is the main difference between people who have confidence they will succeed and people who don’t? Is it that they live in essentially different worlds – the confident in an easier place where everyone supports their efforts at success and the less confident in a harsher world where it is harder to succeed? No.
The difference is not the world itself. The difference is how they view the world.
The confident construct a reality out of the world around them, a reality in which success is possible because they pay special attention to those who have succeeded and have carefully studied the path to success. Those who lack confidence, meanwhile, pay more attention to those who have failed and the obstacles that exist to thwart their efforts.
It is much like two people walking next to each other on a busy city street, one looking up and the other looking down. The reality of the city is the same, but the view is very different.
Some writers tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket, advising diversification over specialization. Barbara Winter’s Making A Living Without A Job does a good job of addressing the concept of diversification using “Multiple Profit Centers”.
These profit centers start as small experimental operations. Some stay small while others can really take off and grow like crazy, and still others just sort of wither away and die. The good thing is that (hopefully) only one piece of your income goes sour without bankrupting you. The down side is that you get to juggle many different things at the same time. Winter does a good job of explaining her method for self-employment.
Robert G. Allen is another of my favorite authors. He is interesting because he advocates in his earlier book Creating Wealth how to get rich in real estate by “putting all your eggs in one basket, then watching and nurturing that basket very carefully”.
But in a later book, Multiple Streams Of Income, he gives some great advice and good examples of how to produce a good living with diverse sources of income. The first half of the book is basically a rewrite of his “get rich in real estate” principles but the second half deals with network marketing, “infopreneuring”, licensing of intellectual property and using the internet. Hint: The second half is the interesting half!
Both of these writers bring home the fact that in today’s world you have to be alert to new trends and ideas, and be willing to try new things. To stay the same will lead to failure. Barbara Winter and Robert G. Allen have a great attitude toward entrepreneurship and self-employment.
My mom sums up this entrepreneurial attitude with her own earthy native-Vermonter saying: “If you throw enough crap against the wall, some of it is bound to stick”.
Keep picking it up and throwing it, my friend. You never know what, where and how much of it will stick!