The Price Tags of Life

PriceTags of Life

Price tags

Everything in this life has a price tag. It’s up to you to read it correctly and decide whether you want to invest in it or not. You are the one who does the buying and selling. There are no special bargains or half-off sales. You reap all the profit or loss. Nature never fails. It always has and always will reward you for your right choices and punish you for your wrong choices.

What I’m talking about are The Price Tags of Life. What this means is that everything we do, every habit that we have, every action we perform, has a price tag attached to it. If you think about it and examine your actions and habits closely you will discover what their price tags are. We need to examine the price tags of life and see what it really costs us to do the things that we do. After we count what it costs and add up what we gain and then strike a balance, we can see if we are coming out ahead or not.

Smoking Example

There are many different examples. Let’s look at smoking. Let’s suppose you smoke. To determine whether you should or shouldn’t you need to determine what it is costing you. You take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. In the left column write down all the benefits that you gain by performing this habit. Then in the right column write down what doing this habit is costing you.

You could do this with any number of habits or behaviors. One would be getting up every day and running. One could be the improper use of drugs such as painkillers. It could be an addiction to pornography. You can take any of these things and examine them closely and write the benefits and the costs and strike a balance. It helps you see clearly the price you are paying for that particular action or habit. Then you can determine whether or not it’s worth it. Some may be obvious but it’s still good to look at it because we may not realize what it’s actually costing us.

Drug Abuse Example

For example, let’s suppose you were a person who uses painkillers improperly. So you would write on the left-hand side of the page the benefits of using the painkillers. The benefits may be that whenever you use painkillers it gives you a sense of wellbeing. It just makes you feel good all over. You feel calm inside. It takes away the pain, not only physically but emotionally. That’s what a painkiller does – it removes pain. Other benefits perhaps are when you don’t feel good or are tired or don’t feel like doing something you could take a painkiller and after a while you feel pretty good. I can’t think of any other benefits of taking painkillers but if there were more you could list them.

Now on the right side of the page you start writing down what it cost to use painkillers. First of all you jeopardize your health, knowing that the painkillers are not good for your body. They’re not good for your heart. Every time you indulge in this habit it is damaging your body. Of course there are the actual costs. Somehow or another you are either buying these painkillers or are obtaining them in some other illegal way. So you have the actual costs in money. Another cost would be the risk that you take because what you’re doing is illegal. So you’re taking a legal risk every time that you take these painkillers. Another cost is that it impairs your judgment. When you think you are thinking clearly and you think you are acting rationally you may not be because the painkillers are affecting your mental state. They are impairing your ability to reason. Another cost is that you’re putting yourself in danger when you drive a car or operate any equipment because your reaction time is impaired. Another cost is that after a while you need more of the painkillers to get the same effect. So you need something more or harder to get the same effect. It becomes an addiction and you need to increase the dosage. Another cost is that usually this kind of a habit is done in secret. Your children, your spouse and the other people around you don’t know because you go to great lengths to hide it and conceal it from them and you always have the worry of being found out. This costs you two things: one is the constant worry of being found out and two is the real cost of being found out and losing the trust and respect of those who are close to you – your loved ones, your children, your spouse, your friends.

As you go through this and add up the benefits and add up the costs and then strike a balance you can see if what you’re doing is really worth what it’s costing you. You may want to put a value or weight on each of the costs and benefits such as a scale from one to ten. Some costs may be small and some may be great. Same with the benefits, some are small in value and some are large. So put a value on it so you can more accurately see what your habit or behavior is costing you in relation to its benefits.

Exercise Example

You could do this same thing with exercising each day. The benefits would be increased health, more energy and stamina, living longer and so on. The costs would be that you have to get up early in the morning. It requires effort. It’s not enjoyable. It takes time. You list the costs and benefits and determine if it’s worth it.

Relationship Example

Another example would be a relationship that you’re in and what it’s costing you. I’ve worked with people who are in relationships that are very damaging to them, to their whole wellbeing, to their future, and yet they stay in that relationship. They give reasons like, “he’s such a good friend, he’s always there for me, he’s so understanding.” Yet this supposed good friend, this understanding friend, is using them and taking advantage of them and in some ways abusing them and yet they don’t see it. They see the small benefit they gain and yet they fail to see what it’s really costing them such as their future opportunities in life or their future happiness.

Pornography Example

Another example is when I work with individuals who have a problem with pornography. On the left side of the paper you list the benefits such as the ecstasy, the pleasure, the release of stress they get when they view pornography. Then you start adding up the costs on the right side such as the warping their sense of what a true, loving relationship should be. They risk their job. They risk going to jail if they are into child pornography. They risk losing the love and respect of their spouse, their children, their community or their church. They risk losing the things they hold dear as far as the spiritual aspects of their life such as their relationship with God, knowing that they are offending God and distancing themselves from Him. They risk affecting their ability to commune with their creator by indulging in these things that are clearly offensive to God. Other prices they pay are stealing time from work if they indulge at work. There is the cost of simply wasting hours and hours of time looking at pornography and wasting what you cold have accomplished with that time. Those are the prices you are pay.

Review the Price Tags Every Day

Once you have done this little exercise then read these two lists every night. Don’t just read it over but review and think about each item on the list. See what it’s costing you and determine in your mind if it’s worth it. Do this on a daily basis. I am aware of people who have done this and within three weeks have made startling changes. They experienced no more desire to indulge in their habit. By bringing to their mind every day what it was costing them they were able to make that mental adjustment. They gradually gained self-mastery over their habit.

So my message today is to examine your life and look at the things that you may be struggling with and examine the price tags attached to them. Count the costs and determine if the benefits are really worth it. You may be surprised what you find out. Resolutions seldom work. Promises to never do it again are rarely kept. But reading The Price Tags of Life can help you gain intelligent self –mastery and thus change the course of your life.

Thank you.

Master Yourself, Master Your Life

Copyright © 2013 Gary N. Larson

6 Secrets to Creating a Powerful First Impression

First Impressions

Whether you like it or not you are judged by the first impression you make on others. From the moment you first meet someone you have about sixty seconds to make a good impression. This article will show you six secrets to creating a powerful first impression.

Regardless of whether it’s fair or whether it’s correct, it’s a true fact that the first impression is how we judge each other. There is an old saying that goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” After that you’re done. Your chance is over. If you make a bad first impression then you are constantly working on damage control. You will always be remembered for that first impression, good or bad. Therefore it’s extremely important that you learn how to make a powerful and positive first impression.

Think for a moment about the different people you have met in your life. Wasn’t it something about your first meeting with them that drew you to them? Isn’t it true that those people who have made the most powerful impact on your life are the ones that presented a powerful and positive first impression? What was it about that meeting that had such an impact on you? If you think about it you will realize that there are certain things these people did that impressed you. They knew the secrets of making a powerful first impression. No you will know the secrets too.

Secret Number 1: Take the Lead

What this means is to be outgoing. Don’t wait for the other person to step forward and greet you. You take the initiative. You be the one to step forward, shake hands, greet the other person and initiate the conversation. By doing this you are taking control of the situation and you are establishing a first impression as a leader; a person who is not fearful, timid or shy. You can’t help but be impressed when someone comes up to you, shakes your hand, introduces himself and initiates a conversation. Your goal is to be that person.

Secret Number 2: Smile

Okay, this is going to seem obvious yet it’s amazing how many people don’t do this. It is to SMILE!

Think about when another person greets you. Think about the difference in how you feel about the other person when they greet you with a cheerful smile or when they greet you coolly with a scowl on their face. What a difference between the two types of greetings.

It’s just common sense that we like to be greeted with a smile. It makes us feel more comfortable. It makes us like the other person more. We feel non-threatened. We feel accepted. We feel like it’s a safe place to be when the other person is smiling and in a good mood. We trust someone more when they are cheerful. A side benefit is that we just simply look better with a smile on our face than without one. So smile when you greet others.

Secret Number 3: Exchange Names

Whole books have been written on this subject. Countless articles have covered this subject. We all should know by now that the sweetest sound in the human language is a person’s own name. Secret number 3 is about exchanging names.

You need to get the other person’s name if you don’t have it. If you already have their name then you need to use it. Knowing their name and using their name is an excellent way to make a good first impression. You don’t always have the chance of knowing the names of who you will be meeting. If you already know their name, then use their name in greeting them. If you don’t know their name this is where you get their name.

To get their name, you can say “Hi, I’m James Walker. I don’t believe I’ve met you before.” They will generally give their name at this point. The other person says, “Hi, I’m Natasha Stevenson.” You say, “Natasha Stevenson, that’s an interesting name. Where did it come from?” By repeating it back you do two things. First it helps you remember their name and they like to hear their name. It also helps you to know that you heard it correctly and are pronouncing it correctly. One of the biggest social blunders is to mispronounce someone’s name.

If you are being introduced to a group of people, then one by one go up to each person and smile, shake their hand, give your name and then get their name. Repeat their name back to them. Do this greeting for each one, making a mental note of each name. There are many techniques for remembering names but that’s beyond the scope of this article. The point is to use one of the common name-remembering techniques to remember their names.

Secret Number 4: Dress the Part

Dress for success – we’ve all heard that term. Some people say, “People shouldn’t judge me by how I look. They should judge me for who I am.” That’s nice to say but that’s not reality. People do judge you by how you look. We do judge books by their cover. We wouldn’t even look in a book, let alone buy one, if we weren’t impressed with the cover. So, just like a book, you have to sell yourself on the outside.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to dress nice in my opinion. Maybe some people can tell the difference between a $90 shirt and a $20 shirt. A nice dress shirt that is pressed and in good condition or a nice dress that fits well and looks good on you will make a big difference. It’s really not so much the price of the clothes but the choice of the style and the fit and that it complements you. The way you dress has an impact on other people. If your shoes are scuffed and dirty, people notice those things about you. It tells them a little bit about who you are, your personality, your character. If you look nice, that makes a difference.

Some people can overdo it. They can be very overdressed with their Rolex watches and Armani suites and it’s obvious that that person may have a self-image problem and is trying to over-compensate or over-impress and in most cases it accomplishes exactly the opposite effect. Think about it. When was the last time a Rolex watch really impressed you? These days, for all you know, it was bought in Mexico for $15.00.

I think, within reason, you dress the part. In most situations there are different levels of dress. Obviously there is everything from a jogging outfit consisting of sweats and a t-shirt all the way up to formal wear. You have to judge what is the appropriate dress for the situation, whether it’s formal, nice business casual, casual or whatever.

It has always been my feeling that you should dress slightly one notch above how you think everyone else will dress. The idea is not that you will look ridiculously out of place but that you will simply stand out slightly. It’s much better to be one notch above than one notch below how other people are dressing. It can be very embarrassing to be in a situation where you are obviously underdressed. If everyone else is in a suit and you are in an open-collared shirt, you will feel very out of place and others will notice it too.

Secret Number 5: Show Interest

Secret number 5 is to show interest in the other person. People can’t help but be impressed with someone who is interested in them. It’s human nature. It’s irresistible. We all have an innate, natural, desire built into us to want to feel important. It’s part of being human. When someone shows interest in us it elevates our impression of them. Just like stroking a cat, she’ll hang around for more.

The way you do it is simple. Just notice things about them. If their name is of an obvious ethnic decent or they have an accent or there is something about them that is interesting to you, ask them about it. Be inquisitive.

Yesterday I had a business lunch with three people. Two of them I had never met before. One of them was a woman. She epitomized a lot of what I am saying here. She was very outgoing and friendly. She dressed very nice but wasn’t overdressed for the situation. I noticed she had an accent. It was very intriguing. I couldn’t quite place where the accent was from. So I asked her where she was from. She said, “You mean where I live now or originally?” I said, “Originally. I noticed you have an accent.” She told me she was from Moscow, Russia. So that brought up a conversation where she told me a lot about Moscow and what it was like. She went on to tell me about St. Petersburg and many other things about Russia. All this came from just one little observation and me showing interest in her.

Secret Number 6: Establish Your Credentials

This is the tricky one. Nobody likes “a brag.” We are all turned off by someone who boasts and talks about themselves incessantly. However, there is a point in a conversation where you need to establish who you are and what your credentials are. When I say “credentials” I mean what you do and what your title is. The other person does need to know who they are dealing with. This is something that should be done quickly and without a lot of glorification or fanfare. It should be done in an unpretentious and modest way.

For example, you might say, “Hello, I’m Mark Jones. I’m the IT Manager of XYZ Corporation. It’s my job to see that all the computer systems are running smoothly and efficiently.” A quick establishment of your credentials.

Maybe your credentials aren’t too impressive. “I’m Fred Smith. I’m a sanitation engineer for Waste Management. My job is to collect the excess refuge from each dwelling in the Smithville region.” You’re a garbage collector! You don’t have to glorify what you do. Yes, you want to present who you are in the best light possible but not with an absurdly overblown or embellished description.

Perhaps you don’t have any credentials. Maybe you’re just starting out. You wouldn’t say, “I’m currently unemployed. Nobody wants to hire me because I’m a loser.” You probably don’t want to say that. You should approach it in a better way such as, “I’m currently working on a business opportunity to teach and train individuals in the area of positive persuasion. That’s my specialty, my expertise. That’s what gets me up in the morning. I’m very passionate about this and that’s who I am.”

So find some way of presenting your credentials of who you are and what you do.

Become the Master of Powerful First Impressions

By following these 6 simple secrets you will be able to master and create powerful first impressions. You will see that people respond to powerful first impressions by giving you the respect and attention due any effective leader. You will be able to step out in a bold, confident manner and begin to positively influence and persuade others to your way of thinking.

Remember, if you blow your first impression it may be your last. So take charge of that first sixty seconds and leave a great first impression.

Give a Person a Reputation to Live Up To

You Rock!

“I have found that the best way to get another to acquire a virtue, is to impute it to him” – Winston Churchill

Do you want to get your husband to lose weight? Do you want your mechanic to do the best repair job possible on your car and for the best price? Do you want your employees to work extra hard to try and please you? One simple technique can accomplish this. It is the technique of giving the other person a reputation to live up to. Let me share with you a story and some examples:

 California Adventure Story

A number of years ago I took my family on a trip to California to visit my relatives and see some of the sights. Sorry to say, our car had other plans. When we arrived at my aunt’s house the car began overheating. Steam was pouring out from under the hood.

My aunt knew what to do. You see, she was a master at the technique I’m about to teach you today. She told us she had a mechanic that would take care of us. Unfortunately it was a Saturday and her mechanic shop was closed. Somehow she got the mechanic’s home phone number and called him. I remember very clearly how she talked with her mechanic. She talked about what a fantastic mechanic he was and how he had never let her down and how she loved to take her business to him because of his great service. Somehow, someway, she ended up persuading him to meet us at his shop to take a look at our car.

We went to the shop and she again talked with her mechanic like she had before, but did it in front of me and my wife. Then, in front of the mechanic, she told me and my wife what a great mechanic he was and that he will for sure take care of us and that he always charges a fair price. She went on and on about it.

I was amazed to watch this mechanic bend over backwards for us after that. He dropped his Saturday plans and went to work on our car. He found that our car needed a new radiator. So he made several phone calls and got one delivered right away. He worked very hard to install it and got our car running again. It was truly amazing how this all happened.

If my aunt had used the usual approach, the mechanic would have simply told us they were closed on Saturday and to bring the car in on Monday and they would look at it then. Instead, my aunt persuaded her mechanic in a positive way by using the technique of giving him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 1:

Let’s suppose you are the head of the software development department of your company and the company president has an important project he wants done. You decide you will assign your employee Bob to handle the project. However, you’re worried that Bob may not do the best job possible. So you decide to use this great persuasion technique.

You arrange a meeting with the company president where you and Bob go over the details of the project with him. As the meeting is about to conclude you say to the company president, “You don’t have to worry about a thing. There is nobody better than Bob at being able to take on a challenge like this. He’s one of my best programmers and I know he will be able to complete this project quickly and efficiently.” You go on and on with the company president about what a great programmer Bob is.

Now, do think for one minute that Bob is going to mess up on this project? Here he was praised and built up right in front of the company president. If this is how his boss thinks of him there is no way he is going to let him down. He now has a reputation to live up to, and he will!

 Example 2:

Let’s explore dealing with your children. Suppose your son is being mean to his sister and you need to correct him. Instead of beating him up verbally and telling him what a bad person he is, try this:

“Son, I just don’t understand it. You are normally one of the kindest boys I’ve known. It’s just not like you to act this way. I’m so surprised. I’m sure you won’t do this again because you’re just not that way.”

So now your son thinks, “Wow, my dad thinks that about me and now look what I’ve done, I’ve let him down.” He’s going to try extra hard to not let you down in the future because now you’ve given him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 3:

Let’s suppose that your husband has gained a little weight and he isn’t in quite the shape that you know he could be. You could say:

“Gee honey, you’ve put on a few pounds lately. Maybe you shouldn’t eat so much. You know you really ought to get out and get some exercise.”

How is that going to make him feel? Is it going to make him want to go right out and start exercising and eating right? Not hardly. It’s going to make him feel horrible! First of all he is going to justify why he is the way he is. And then he’s going to fight against it. It’s human nature.

Or you could use the other approach of giving him a reputation to live up to. When he comes home from work you give him a big hug and say:

“Gosh, you look so good today! Have you lost weight? You’ve been working out, haven’t you? I’m so glad you’re not like all my friend’s husbands. They just let themselves go and are so huge. Thanks for working so hard at keeping yourself fit and trim.”

Now, I’m not advocating lying. What I’m advocating is looking for the positive and accentuating it.

 Try it!

You can imagine which approach you would prefer if you were on the receiving end? Which would motivate you more to change? As you can see, giving the other person a reputation to live up to is an excellent tool for positive persuasion. I challenge you to try this technique over the next week and see what results you get.

Let me know how it goes by sharing your comments below.