Three Hacks and the Cost of Boredom

Nate Crosby |

I love life hacks because they help me achieve a desired outcome more efficiently.  Today I want to share three life hacks that will positively affect your day, week and year.  

The first is a simple cure for improving your mood.  Momentum is key for make the day a success.  Have you ever got something done and the next task just comes easy?  You may have even said, “I’m on a roll today!”.  That is because once you get yourself moving in a positive direction, the mind and bond want to keep moving. You’ll recall from your sixth grade science class, objects in motion, tend to stay in motion.  Objects at rest, tend to stay at rest.  We want motion.  Momentum is key.  One way to build momentum is through your outlook. If you expect positive things to happen chances are they will  If you are looking for the next huge disappointment, chances are you’ll find one.  The world mysteriously rewards positive, happy people. Here is a life hack to improve your mood or keep your mood positive throughout the day no matter what happens. Warning: this sounds a bit silly, but try it, I guarantee it will work.  

Life hack: Smile more. It is nearly impossible to feel blue with a smile on your face.  Try it.  Hold a smile for 30 seconds.  You may even feel the weight lift off your shoulders.  You may get that feeling in your stomach that good things are happening.  Set an alarm on your phone for twice a day and when it goes off, smile for 30 seconds.  There is actually science behind this.

  • Researchers at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress, lower blood pressure and even increase longevity of life.  

  • Dr Sivan Finkel, (Finkel) said “Forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate.” They found people who were unable to frown because of botox injections were happier on average than people who could frown.  

  • Dr. Murray Grossman, an ENT doctor in Los Angeles said the physical act of smiling helps boost the body’s immune system.  

Bottom line: Smile more, it literally will make your life better. 

Life Hack number #2.  For better mental recall, sit up as if you are about to hear the most amazing information that will change your life.  I want you to think about the class you struggled in the most.  Picture yourself in that class.  How were you sitting?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say you were slumped over in your chair.  Perhaps your head was leaning on your hand.  What your body was telling your mind was, this information is boring and unimportant.  

  • Researchers from Indiana University found that posture is critical in the early stages of acquiring new knowledge.  

If you are having a hard time focusing or remaining on task, take a look at your posture. Chances are your shoulders are slumped forward, your spine is curved forward.  Sit or stand up straight, chest out, shoulders back...and while you are at it, smile!

Our third life hack can be found at the end of your index finger and is the key to a simple hack to increase your reading speed literally overnight.  Remember when you were learning how to read as a kid and you’d use your finger to focus your eyes on the words you were reading in the sentence?  Your teacher may have even said, train your eyes to read without using your finger.  Well, it turns out that your first instinct was right.  

Give this a try.  The next time you read, use your index finger or a pen to run under the sentence that you are reading.  This does two things: 1) it focuses your eyes on the words which allows your brain to process their meaning faster 2) it allows you to read longer because your eyes are less strained and don’t get tired as quickly.  Work to gradually increase the speed at which you move your finger to find a pace that allows you to process the words while still maintaining comprehension.  Don’t try to sound the words out in your head as you read.  You don’t need to say the words in your head for your brain to understand them.  If you see a picture of a fox, you don’t have to say the word fox for your brain to know it is a fox.  It just knows; it;s seen a fox before.  Additionally, many words in a sentence are filler and connecting words like a, the, at, for, or, and.  While these words are critical for proper grammar, they are not critical for interpreting the meaning of a sentence.  Give it a try.  I bet you’ll find that you can double your normal reading speed very quickly with equal comprehension.  The ability to process and read quickly is a real advantage.  There are many speed reading classes out there. The one that I would recommend is by mentalist Jim Kwik. 

Our fourth concept today is not a life hack but a costly lesson we want to avoid.  I admit I have fallen victim to this pillager of wealth several times.  Crosby Advisory Group and its staff is right now going through a process to help make sure we avoid this pitfall.  

It's not uncommon for entrepreneurs, creative people and go-getters to have short attention spans.  Most of you listening likely have a short attention span because you are driven by passion, which means you get excited easily.  That is a good thing.  Consider yourself lucky.  Imagine being a person who is unmoved by anything.  No thanks.  I tend to wear my passions and emotions on my sleeve but there is a danger to that.  The danger is boredom.  Lack of a problem to solve, lack of stimulation can be costly.  In these situations we can fall prey to the next shiny object.  The shiny object is that idea or concept that is new and exciting.  If we are not careful we can jump from one shiny object to the next, wasting precious time and resources on activities that draw us away from what we do best.  

For example, Crosby Advisory operates in the financial industry, which is huge.  It’s like saying we operate in the manufacturing industry.  Over the years we have grown  in wealth management, created proprietary investment models,provided personalized  liability, property and asset protection, created distribution strategies and along the way we’ve talked about expanding into physical real estate and creating our own fund.  Each time we have allowed ourselves to derail, we have slowed the growth of our company.  

Here’s an exercise that we just went through that I’d recommend for anyone who is self employed, executive or influencer within their business to do. . 

  1.  Define what it is you do.  Believe it or not if you walk into most businesses and you interview each employee and ask what the business does, you are not likely to get the same answer.  I know because we’ve done it with our own employees.  

In one sentence CAG helps its clients have more money and protect it. The answers I got ranged from we invest money to we reduce insurance costs. Define what you do .  So that everyone on your team can say it without having to think about it. 

  1. Define how you do what you do.  CAG helps clients have more money and protect it through tailored wealth accumulation strategies, retirement income plans and personalized insurance protection. That is our bread and butter.  That is what we excel in and as a result that is how we grow. Any shiny object outside of those processes need to be ignored.  Remember when Michael Jordan took time off from basketball to play baseball in his prime? Keep the main thing the main thing. 

  2. What makes you unique? What separates you from your competitors?  You can’t say customer service because in today’s highly competitive environment that is the minimum criteria for being in business.  I’d also shy away from price because if price is the only moat you have as a competitive advantage that can erode quickly. Why do you customers choose you?  Write it down.  Make it part of all of your marketing.  Make sure you clearly define these unique differences in your interactions with your clients. Here is another gem I came across the other day.  “Never tell something to someone that you can show instead.” A picture really is worth a 1,000 words.  Demonstrate it visually.  

  3. What is your sales process?  How do you acquire customers?  What is your system for servicing existing customers?   Write it down. Systematize it. Give it a name so that every client and prospect is treated equally.  Ordering a hamburger at a McDonalds in Columbus Ohio is the same as ordering a hamburger in Atlanta, Georgia. The customer knows exactly what they are getting, how it will look and what it will taste like. If you can replicate your sales and service process you will constantly tweak it to make it better.  Happy clients refer friends and family. 

  4. Define your core values.  CAG has 10 core values that it has written down. These core values are used in our interactions with clients, in our hiring practices, in our relationships with our carriers, custodians and vendors.  A company that knows what it stands for has a platform for making decisions.  This also helps avoid chasing shiny objects.  

We all know someone who every time we talk to them they are doing something different.  They have a new scheme, a new job, a new way of doing things.  There is a fine line between remaining dynamic and relevant and chasing time wasters.  Knowing what you do, who you are , how you do it and why you do it will help you avoid falling prey to distractions and the next shiny object.