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How to Stop Using a Crutch Word

crutches Merriam – Webster knows a little something about words. They just released the word of the year for 2008 … beg.

No, wait a minute, that’s our word for their word! Their word is … bailout.

Oxford University also recently released their own list – the most irritating phrases of 2008.

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Among them:

  • "24/7" finished ninth on the list. Can we add 365 to it?
  • "With all due respect" came in fifth. It made us think of one that irritates us. Why do people say, “I’m not trying to be rude” when they are getting ready to say something rude?
  • And the phrase that the wonderful people at Oxford found most irritating – “at the end of the day.”

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marylynnI love The Apprentice, but have you ever noticed how many contestants use that phrase over and over again?

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georgeI think I just figured out my New Year’s Resolution for 2009. I’m going to start using the phrase, “at the beginning of the day” because I’m an optimist!

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These phrases are crutches gone mainstream. They made us think about our own crutches.

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georgeI say “that’s right” a lot which is similar to “absolutely” which finished sixth on the Oxford list.

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marylynnI find myself saying “you know” more often than I would like. That’s definitely my crutch.

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Getting off crutches

  • Record yourself. In order to stop using crutch words, you have to become aware of them. Record yourself and listen to the words you’re using as a crutch.
  • Create substitutes. Come up with two or three alternates to the word or phrase you use over and over. When you feel yourself ready to rely on your crutch, or you know you’ve already said it, force yourself to use a different word or phrase.

So let’s look at “you know.” Why not lead with …

“You’re probably aware of this.”
“You may find this interesting.”
“I bet you can relate to this.”

Don’t those phrases sound better if you’re going to use one?

“That’s right” could be “Good point” or “You’re dead on.”

  • Pause to think. We won’t speak for you, but sometimes when we talk, our mouths seem to get ahead of our brains! So we lean on our crutches to fill the space. That’s because, as humans, we’re uncomfortable with … silence.

There’s no reason to be. A second of silence gives you time to fully digest what has been said. It actually improves communication.

What’s your crutch? What alternatives could you use? And, while we’re at it, what word or phrase drives you crazy?

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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

scratch_beginnings

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued our discussion with Adam Shepard. Adam is the author of the book Scratch Beginnings, which describes his year-long real-life experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive. Last time, Adam told us about the initial stages of his experiment and what it took to begin his path toward independence. Let’s get back to the conversation …

georgeAdam, have you ever thought about becoming a Wall Street investment banker, losing all your money and turning to the government for help?

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adam_shepard
I have not.

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Read more

Who Gets Your Leftovers?

leftoversYesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. So today, many American families are eating leftovers.

That’s the motivation for our post. Only we’re not thinking about leftover food. We want to talk about YOU – your time, your attention, and your love.

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A time trap
This is an easy trap to fall into. See if you can relate to this:

You get up and get ready for work. You grab a cup of coffee for the road and get into your car to drive to the office. Finally, you get to work. Next thing you know, it’s time for lunch. You eat at your desk while you keep working. You look at the clock. Where did the day go? Time to go home. You rush out to your car and hit the road.

At home, you grab a quick dinner. Then you’re off for that committee meeting for your favorite charity where you volunteer. You drive home again and sit down at your computer to check your e-mail. You read that report for tomorrow’s meeting.

It’s late. You’re tired. Better get to bed.

Leftovers and scraps

You may have a different scenario, but is the net result the same? We unintentionally take for granted the people who are closest to us.

Our family often gets our final burst of energy, if we have any energy left at all. They get our leftovers.

But there’s yet another party that we haven’t considered. We may only have scraps left for this party. It’s …

You.

3 tips to give your best to the best in your life

Put it on your schedule
Treat family time like any other important activity – put it on your schedule. When you put it on your schedule, it becomes a priority. If it’s not on your schedule, it’s likely that it will get pushed aside to more urgent, but perhaps less important, activities.

Plan an activity
Now it’s on your schedule. But if you don’t have anything planned, it is easier to push it off to another date and time. So plan to do something, anything. Go to the movies. Play games. Attend a concert. Go to a museum. It doesn’t matter – if you have an activity planned, you’ll be less likely to let the day’s events get in the way of this important time together.

Make it a regular event
Now schedule a regular event every week. For example, a couple could schedule a “date night.” You and your spouse may decide that you’re going to go out on a date every Thursday evening. It may not always happen on Thursday. So “make it up” on Friday. By having it planned regularly, it’s more likely to happen sometime during the week.

We don’t intentionally neglect our loves ones or ourselves. The problem is that we don’t intentionally make time for them. The result ends up being the same.

Instead of giving our leftovers to the most important people in our lives, we should give them the main course by planning time with them just like we do everything else that’s important to us.

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We really appreciate that you stopped by today! Join us next time as we offer up a great reality check for your spending decisions. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Thanksgetting

giving Do you:

  • have trouble accepting a compliment?
  • struggle when others offer you sympathy?
  • feel anxious when you get a gift? resist signs of friendship and love?

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“It’s better to give than to receive.” Our parents teach us this from the time we’re young and society reinforces it.

We wondered about the origin of this quote. It turns out that it comes from the Bible.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Do you notice the subtle difference?

The statement has evolved into an absolute. It started out as a relative statement. Receiving is a blessing in and of itself. We’re even more blessed when we give.

But notice that it’s not bad to be the receiver!

Completing the circle
Think about it – there can’t be a giver without a receiver. If we can’t graciously receive, we deny the giver the full joy that should come from giving.

Unselfish people feel empty if they always “get.” Giving completes the circle. So it’s important to be a good receiver as well as a good giver.

Ask yourself “Why?”
At its most extreme, not being able to graciously receive may be a sign of an underlying problem. For example, it may mean that there is a lack of self-esteem. Someone may feel unworthy of the gift or the compliment.

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marylynnI think women may have more of a problem with this than men. We often get a compliment and immediately diminish it with a negative statement.

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Some people feel that they gain power by giving. If they receive something, they owe the giver. Others may give to impress others. Some people give to try to earn friendship.

If you really have trouble receiving, ask yourself why. It’s important to find the underlying reason so you can live your life more fully as a giver and a receiver.

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georgeMy mom was one of the most giving people you could have ever met. She seemed to struggle with receiving. One example – she always tried to buy when we went out for lunch or dinner. If I grabbed the check, she protested and protested. I finally told her that I couldn’t feel any joy in her buying for me if she never let me buy for her. After that, she let me take my turns!

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How to be a good receiver

  • Start by giving without condition or expectation. In order for you to experience the full circle, you have to participate on both sides. Start by giving.
  • Recognize that receiving is part of giving. You bring joy to the giver when you willingly accept their gift. 
  • Be grateful, not objectionable. Some people are so busy objecting to the gift that they take away all the pleasure the giver feels. Don’t immediately bring up all the reasons why you don’t deserve the compliment or the gift. Just say thanks!
  • Receive generously. If you learn to receive as generously as you give, the givers in your life will live more fully. Don’t hold back your appreciation!

Receiving graciously is a gift in itself – to you and to the giver. That’s what thanksgetting is all about!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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So today is Thanksgiving and we’re so thankful that you joined us! Check in on us next time as we ask, “Who gets your leftovers?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00274-112708.mp3

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Mania in the Market and Rising Above the Crowd

buy_sell If you listen to our leaders, be they in business or government, it seems there’s a competition to frame our financial situation in the direst terms. Our media hypes the times so that we stay tuned in. We hear terms like meltdown, nose-dive, crash, collapse, and Great Depression.

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We found a great white paper by Marvin Bolt of Alpha Plus Advisors [PDF]. It’s well worth your time to read the full paper to understand historical mutual fund flows and market performance.

Specifically, he looks specifically at what individual investors did with their money during four recent periods:

Stock market crash

In the first quarter of 1987, individual investors placed a then-record amount into the market as stock prices rose. Of course, in October of that year, the stock market crashed. Individual investors responded by withdrawing record amounts of money as the market hit a low we haven’t seen since.

Gulf War & recession

In the second quarter of 1990, there was a huge inflow of funds as the market hit its high for the period. By the third quarter, investors were pulling money out just as the market hit another low point.

Dot.com bubble and 9/11

At the height of the dot.com bubble, investors poured a new record amount of money into the market in the first quarter of 2000. The S&P 500 hit a high in that same quarter. Things soon changed as the market began falling, reaching a low in the third quarter of 2002, just when individual investors were withdrawing record amounts of money.

Housing bubble & mortgage crisis
The market hit its high in 2007 as investors poured money in again amidst the euphoria. While all the data is not yet in, it appears that in October of this year, a new record amount of money was pulled out of the stock market.

Rising above the crowd
We want to buy low and sell high. History shows that the crowds tend to do the opposite – they buy high and sell low. They invest heavily during the bubble and get out during what we’ll call the crater.

Think about what’s happening right now. Stock prices have been falling. But for every seller, there has to be a buyer! Who’s buying and who’s selling? Morningstar has a great video that’s well worth your time to gain the proper perspective on this crucial point.

To rise above the crowd, you can’t think like the crowd. You have to do the opposite.

So take a deep breath. If you don’t need the money for five to seven years, the odds are heavily in your favor. If you need the money sooner than that, stocks probably aren’t the best investment for that money. Because we’ve relearned just how risky stocks can be in the short-run.

Educate yourself to maintain the proper perspective.
We can’t count on our media or our leaders to do this for us. Knight Kiplinger wrote a fantastic piece explaining all of the differences between today’s situation and the Great Depression. We highly recommend that you read this article to see why he thinks we’re not ready to jump over the cliff.

Market timing is a risky game. Since the crowd tends to get it wrong, perhaps the best way to get it right is to keep investing through the whole cycle. You’ll buy fewer shares when the market is up. You’ll get some great deals when the market is down like it is now. Over time, you’ll end up with a decent return.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time as we discuss overcoming guilt about how you choose to spend your time. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00271-112408.mp3

 

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