I never imagined I’d have to learn a new language just to talk to my kids and my younger colleagues.
I already knew what ASAP meant. And I’ve finally figured out the meaning of certain terms like “IMHO” and “FOMO.” (And after trailing a pickup with a customized plate, I even figured out the meaning of “L8” on my own the other day.)
But who would have guessed that MCM means “man candy Monday”? And WCW translates to “woman crush Wednesday”? What the heck do those even mean? And why do people abbreviate these things?
“When I was a boy, I had to walk three miles to school in waist deep snow. Uphill both ways.”
Oh wait, that was my grandfather’s line.
Well, anyway, life is getting confusing for those of us over 50.
But when I look around at those half my age, I wonder if many of them are confused about some business and life basics that were taken for granted in decades past. My goal here is to share a few life lessons that have been critical to my success. I’m hoping they’ll help you on your journey as well.
5 Lessons From a Baby Boomer Every Millennial Investor Should Read
Lesson #1: You’re already in training for your ultimate assignment. So be a man or woman of integrity today.
Whatever you are doing right now, whatever you’ve been doing and will do until the day you reach your destiny, is training you for your success.
The small disciplines you’re forming in your life—the podcasts you’re listening to, the books you’re reading, the way you’re serving your employer, and the friends you’re keeping—are training you for success or failure.
I’m encouraging you to live a life of integrity at work, at home, and in every relationship you have. Integrity means your internal life matches your external life. It means you act the same at home and in public.
Quantum physics and its related applications are teaching us that people know much more about us then we present, and who we are in private comes through more than we think.
I heard Rabbi Daniel Lapin speak recently. He’s a brilliant businessman and teacher. He talked about the perils of profanity. He teaches that swearing is bad for business. A young sales professional came up to him, sneering, and said, “Ha! I’m not stupid enough to drop the F bomb in front of my clients! I just do that on my own time.”
Lapin said, “Ha! The joke’s on you. Our hearers’ brains do billions of calculations per second. If you typically drop F bombs left and right, you can be sure that there will be imperceptibly tiny pauses in your phraseology.”
While the conscious brain thinks nothing of it, the subconscious brain reads these pauses as insincerity. Listeners in studies judge these people as untrustworthy. Like they’re hiding something.
Integrity means that who you are when you’re alone is who you really are.
Lesson #2: Grow a network of people you serve and care about.
You need a growing list of people who will return your call. You need a metric, so make a list. And don’t list those who won’t take your call or won’t call back. There is a tight correlation between the number of folks on this list and how much money you make.
Write this list down today, and plan to add one person per week to this list (about four or five per month). That is about 50 new people per year who know and like you. We must truly like people and connect with and serve them to get there.
We do this with our body’s most useful money-making organ: our mouth. This is where you express yourself. You must speak to people.
Don’t think you can build the best website and communicate only through email and social media. You need a personal touch. For most real estate businesses, it’s not OK to only work 100 percent online. (Sure, I know there are exceptions.)
Personal is the way we were created to function. We were designed to interact and communicate with people.
When I look around a restaurant or coffee shop and see half the folks on their phones, not even communicating, it makes me sad. And I’m sad to think of the times I’ve done that to my own dear wife. But there’s a communication killer that’s even more deadly than smartphones. It’s a box that sits in the corner of most of our homes and even many restaurants and bars we frequent.
The greatest non-communicator is the television. TV trains us not to communicate. And it trains us to serve ourselves, which is not a service to others or to humanity.
Andrew Syrios wrote a great post last month on why we should unplug our TVs permanently. I agree wholeheartedly. My family got rid of ours well over a decade ago, and our kids didn’t grow up too abnormal. (But they do like semi-boneless ham, oddly enough.)
Lesson #3: You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
“It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” —Bob Dylan
Consider yourself a servant. Whoever is faithful with little will be given much more. Whoever is unfaithful with little may have even that taken from him.
Consider who you are serving, and serve them with all your heart.
Even if you’re still in a J.O.B. now—working for the man and dreaming of being a passive income mogul—whatever you do, start thinking of yourself as a service provider to your employer and all of these “customers.”
If you are a Starbucks employee, you have one major customer: Starbucks. You need to diligently serve them and give them your knowledge and enthusiasm and efforts. Doing the “small” things today will lead to big things tomorrow.
And you have no idea who’s watching. Not only your managers who will be giving you job references. But a host of others.
I was once deeply impressed with the service provided by a college-aged hotel clerk. He stood out among his peers. When I was looking for someone to fill a new position, I went back there and sought him out.
Life has funny ways of working that way. You’ll be amazed when it happens to you. And it will.
Lesson #4: After getting to know more people, learn to communicate effectively with them.
How do you learn to communicate more effectively? It takes about 10 weeks and it’s simple. It’s so simple that you may not believe it will work. Here it is.
Read aloud from a great book three times weekly for 30 minutes.
Choose a great book that sounds like you want to sound—say, Winston Churchill speeches. Shut off the TV. In 10 weeks, you will be talking differently.
This is similar to how I learned to be a persuasive writer. I found many examples of well-written marketing materials (those long letters we hate to get in the mail), and I hand copied them over and over and over for months.
I filled up notebooks with them. Why did I do this? It was not because I thought it up. I did because my writing mentor told me to.
Before long, I realized I could write like they did. And I made $53,000 from the first letter I wrote as a marketing copywriter.
Lesson #5: Learn to be an authentic storyteller. Admit when you were wrong and talk about it.
If you want to build a business, get investors, and generally persuade people, you’ll need to learn to be a good storyteller. An authentic storyteller.
We think that people need detailed numbers and statistics to make a decision to invest with us, but their brains generally zone out when they hear this stuff.
Numbers tell. Stories sell.
We are all aware of our own failures, and alarm bells go off when we hear someone who only trumpets their successes. Someone who admits their mistakes is far more credible.
I’ve had a few people turn down guest interviews for our podcast. They fear how others will see them if they admit defeat and failures.
But we’ve had an overwhelmingly great response to the show. And I’ve had a wonderful response when I talk to investors and tell them my failure stories. It’s part of who we are, and it’s common to all humans.
For some people it’s a deeper issue. Their issue is not just about telling about their mistakes. Their issue is refusing to admit they were wrong in the first place.
And if you don’t admit you’re wrong when needed, you’ll repeat the same mistake over and over.
Saving face is dumb.
The more I own something as my fault, the more power I have to fix it. If I’m most of the problem, that’s great news because it means I have the power to provide the cure.
Great business people admit when they’re wrong, and they let go of things they realize won’t work. And they blame themselves, not others.
So whatever you’re doing now—whether you’re still in college or still in a nine-to-five, whether you’re doing your first flip or already succeeding wildly—I hope these thoughts are helpful in your journey.
I’d love to hear your reactions, and if you disagree, that’s great. I’ve been wrong before. Like the time I told someone I was mistaken but I really wasn’t. JK. LOL.
Weigh in with a comment!