Photos of Conan in Movies

Lessons From Mentors

Monday, 06 February 2012

This is a collection of sayings and wisdom from those I have spoken to, listened to or have known that have stuck with me and have helped guide my life.

Some of these come from business people, some from friends, one even from a random drunk on a bus. If you are alert you can learn a lesson from almost anyone, especially older or more experienced people.

"Most people don't know when they have had a good night out and stay out until it becomes a bad night out."

This also applies to other areas of life. You have a good job, when you got it it was a great step up and made you feel great - too many people stop and stay there until it becomes a bad job. A 2 week holiday in a tropical paradise can be great, moving there to live long term is often a recipe for massive failure as you realise the true difficulties of living in a foreign culture and the lost career prospects that you cannot follow in your new home.

Relationships can sometimes fall into this catagory too.

There will come a time when it is time to move on or go home. Don't stay somewhere because it was once good. I have also heard this called the "Prior investment trap", sometimes it is time to stop flogging a dead horse - it won't go any further.


 "In business all you have is your word, if your word means nothing no one will want to deal with you"

Again not just in business but in all aspects of your life. If you tell someone you are going to do something you should always live up to your word. Once trust is lost they will never believe you again, they won't do business with you again or your partner won't be able to trust or love you fully - it'll be the start of the end.

I have given my word before when I have been drunk and regretted it next day. Times like this I have offered a alternative solution that is still in my friends favour to a similar degree and explained why I'd like to change the original offer. Good will is maintained and you keep trust that you'll do the right thing.

Another time someone was trying to bad mouth me, he even claimed I was a liar and was trying to hurt a close friend with my lies. My close friend turned to this fellow and said he trusted me not to do that as it was not my way. I'd say some 'stupid' truthful things to his face but I didn't go around speaking behind his back.

Your reputation will proceed you, people will learn if you are trustworthy and if you live up to your word or not.


"Don't burn bridges"

In future you never know if someone you worked with before may need to be worked with again. If they did the wrong thing by you before and you find yourself in this position you can take appropriate precautions, get a water tight contract drawn up by your lawyer, accept the relationship as business only and treat it as such, don't get emotional and make problems worse.

There is no need and it takes a lot of your energy to go after someone to "get back at them" better to minimise your losses as best you can, learn from the experience and move on. Devote your new knowledge/experience into moving further ahead in your goals.

Don't throw bad energy after wasted energy.


"Don't buy stuff, at the end you end up with stuff all."

Don't waste your money buying the latest gadgets, toys and cool stuff that you are being constantly bombarded into buying.

Save your money and spend it on income producing assets. The book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kyosaki explains this well in easy to understand terms.

Rather than buy the latest sports car why not buy a taxi?

Rather than buy a new big house in a prestigious suburb to live in why not buy a house in a good rental area and put the rent to good use?

Rather than buy that new 82" plasma 3D TV whey not buy some shares in the company that makes them, cash in on the latest craze?

Look at all the toys you have bought in the last few years. If you had a garage sale to get rid of them all how much would you make back on it all? 20%-40% if you're lucky, less if you bought electronic gadgets.


"I prefer to write my own story"

In reference to the way a long term traveller lives his life. Why do things the 'accepted' way when you can do it your own way, maybe you can do it better for you, maybe you like to live in a different manner than is the 'accepted norm' for where you are from. Then do it. Don't listen to people who are afraid to go out and live thier lives to the fullest, don't listen to those well wishers who believe you will fail and get emotionally hurt (hint: this is how you grow up emotionally), have a go and have an interesting story to tell at the end.


"Why do people rush out the door at 5pm to sit in peak hour traffic for 2 hours?"

A friend in response to why he always works back an extra hour or more each day. Everyone noticed it, especially his entrepreneur boss who was also always early to work and late to leave. And as he says I still get home just 30 minutes after they do, but I put the peak hour traffic jam time to good use. Something to think about.

Planning your time more wisely can bring in much greater productivity results.


"Leap frog when you can"

Why 'climb the ladder' when you can see an opportunity to leap frog several steps ahead.

Using creative thinking, implementing new techniques (like self promotion on the internet for an actor), stealing techniques from other industries and using them in your own, looking for a deal above your current 'status' or position and bringing it home.

There is no need to sit in your job day after day, month after month, year after year waiting for your seniority to improve (ie wait until you get old) to get that small step advancement.

Increasingly entrepreneurs and bosses are looking for people who perform well to advance them, in your own business you reap the benefits directly so why wait and slowly crawl upwards when you can see a fast track forward.

But you need to be ready, need to be prepared and to be confident. You need to be up to the job, you cannot use bulldust to baffle to advance long term. Competant people will see right through you anyway.


"You need to change your environment"

Said to me twice in my life by people who cared enough to point out some self destructive issues I had.

Both times in question it came down to me having put myself in an environment that brought out and highlighted bad parts of my personality as I was defensive against the negative stuff going on around me.

Another outstanding example was a time I recognised it myself and made a massive change by moving to Asia. I was going out drinking alcohol 4 nights a week before the move - I knew that showed me that I wasn't really happy with my life. After the move I drank a couple of beers socially once a week with friends.

A simple change of work, friends, a change in suburb can be enough to help you bring out your best.

As a friend said to me one time "All the energy you put into just getting your daily living done, how far would that time and energy take you if you could apply it to your career?". When it is that obvious it is time to move.

If you are in a negative, energy sapping, motivation depleting environment or career you need to find somewhere that is better for you.

My original move to Bondi Beach, Australia from Newcastle, Australia took me away from a bunch of people telling my I could not be an actor to living amongst a bunch of people who were trying to become successful actors - which do you think was the more productive environment for me?


"If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well."

I proverb I heard many times as a child. Why do a job you don't enjoy?(For what you can earn - another aspect to getting ahead.)

Take pride in your workmanship and it will be noticed by your boss, your customers, maybe even your competitors boss.

If I try out for a movie I'll try to read any background information even before the audition. For "The Hobbit" I read the J.R.R.Tolkein book twice before I went to audition. For "Game Of Thrones" I did not have time to read 4 massive books before the audition so I read all the relevant parts in the first book with the help of one of the fans of the book series (whom then went on to also get a job in the production). Before filming I had read all the books to completion. For Spartacus I watched the previous season in one weekend (again I had little time for this).

Do your best, put in some extra effort to do a good job. It will be noticed.\


"Plan the work, work the plan"

Says it all in itself. If you don't have a plan for life, you do not know where you are heading then you'll not end up where you would like.

You need to know at least in which direction you are going and what you'd like to achieve along the way so when it is time to make a decision you can make the choices that lead you closer to your goals.

You wouldn't play a game of football without keeping score, in life you need to set your goals to know if you are winning in your own personal way.



All these things stick in my mind and help to shape my decisions in life. Often there is a cheat or a short term gain that can be made by going against these sayings but it'll catch you later. You cannot cheat or lie and expect to win in the long term as it is your long term relationships (personal and business) that help you get to the top.

I see too many people putting monetary gain first and they attempt to "steal" a short term win, in the end they come undone. This is not just moralising, it is fact, I have seen it too many times. What sort of life do you have when all your associates (because you don't have any real friends) are trying to steal from and backstab each other? And most of all they are living a lie, they are not proud of themselves, they are not living as the best person that they could be.

Even worse is as soon as they 'steal' one small win, they are left with nothing to build on, they have to go out and start a new scam to try to steal one more small win. Compare this with business where a good friend of mine has consolidated his small wins and customer relationships over time into a multimillion dollar per year business - and it is still growing with some of the same customers he originally started with. This is a true win. He is now in the process of setting up the business so that a manager can take over and he can step out and still recieve profits from his previous work.

Big difference isn't there?

Many 'well to do' scammers externally seem to have it all together, to have a veneer of success, but how many of these fall apart in the coming years.

It is up to you to find mentors that can give you advice that you believe in, people whose advice you can trust, sometimes this advice can spring from the most unlikely places.

Often it will come from an intelligent outsider who can see things about you that you cannot see as you are too involved (cannot see the forest for the trees type of situation).

If you are not happy with your life you can change it, easily, but it takes a bit of effort and sometimes that change can be a scary move, in the end though it will cause you to grow, make new acquaintances and in the long run you'll end up better for it.

If you make a mistake and 'fail'  you will pretty much just end back up where you were with more experience. Short term it might set you back, but long term it'll likely do you good.

I would highly recommend reading books from successful people, read about thier challenges and set backs and how in the end they won through, how these setbacks often formed the basis of a new approach that worked. Take it all in stride and learn from these mistakes but most importantly look for the advantages in the new circumstances.

Often your greatest setbacks turn into your greatest blessings over time.

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