How to Work Harder at Being Smarter

How to Work Harder at Being Smarter

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This article is an excerpt from DIRB IT UP (Do It Real Big) by Brad Smith

MY ENTREPRENEURIAL CAREER STARTED EARLY, SELLING VEGGIES FROM OUR HOME ON THE FRONT NATURE STRIP. My Dad had a great veggie garden and when the harvest came in my sister and I would bundle up the goodies and set up a table out the front of our home. We would have a bowl of coins and once everything sold we would halve the takings and reap the reward for our efforts.

This was a great life lesson for us: add your own value. From this early age we were unknowingly learning to make our own way, learning the value of making a living and the value of a dollar. If we ever wanted an extra $10 in our home we would have to say, “Hey Mum, I need $10 extra for school this week, what can I do to earn it?” We were never given a free ride. Our family believes that one sentence is a game changer, not can I have $10 but rather how can I earn $10? Different question, different outcome.

Growing up we were taught, and lived by, the three R’s: Respect, Respect, Respect.

Respect things, respect people and respect yourself.

"But I believe the most important thing our parents taught us was to do whatever we did with passion! We were expected to give 110 per cent all the time, whether it was BMX racing or cleaning my bedroom. It didn’t matter – whatever you do, you do it with passion. Mum would say, “I don’t mind if you win or lose, but if you don’t do it with passion and give it 100 per cent then we are not doing it.” It was never about the outcome, but it was about the effort. We grew up by Mum’s favourite saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

Of course, motocross has been my passion forever. It started before I could ride a BMX. My Dad was a motorcyclist and I remember him and his mates meeting at our house to load their dirt bikes onto the trailers before they would go off on a day-long ride. They would come back covered in mud, all excited and telling tales from their ride. I couldn’t wait to be a part of the action. I’d nag, “when can I learn to ride? When can I learn to ride?” Dad said to me that as soon as I had mastered the BMX I could learn to ride a motorcycle. So my goal for the year was to master my BMX.

Goal setting was a huge part of our upbringing. Ticking off our goals was exciting. Every New Year’s Day we would sit down and review our year then write out our list of goals for the year ahead. I finally proved to Dad I had mastered the BMX the day I convinced my little sister and cousins to lay down and let me jump over them. None of my cousins were harmed in performing the jump!

I learned to ride a dirt bike and motocross became my obsession. Everything I learned growing up somehow related to motocross. As I got older and a better rider I became aware of the financial pressure motocross was putting on my family. Once a month we would travel somewhere in the state so that I could participate in the moto state titles. Four times a year my Dad and I would travel across the Tasman to mainland Australia to compete in the Victorian state titles as well. With this travel and accommodation, plus the cost of the bikes and the maintenance and all of the safety gear, my sport was quite expensive. Our family wasn’t rich, but Mum and Dad worked hard so my sister and I could have a great life.

One year Mum and Dad decided we would go on an adventure; a family holiday to the Australian Junior Motocross titles, which were held just out of Sydney. We had a little white Ford van and we packed all our stuff in; my sister and I were so excited. That particular year the Aussie Junior titles had 800 entries. I’d only ever been to races with 25 riders in a race. It was a huge eye opener to line up with 40 riders on the gate and then have to qualify out of four heats.

I remember driving into the track with our van packed to the roof with my bike, racing gear, our holiday luggage and us four jammed in there, all I could think about was how much effort Mum and Dad put into this trip, how hard they had worked so we could have this adventure.

We drove into our pit area, and were parked next to a kid with a 40-foot truck trailer, four brand new dirt bikes and all the bling on them, this kid had a mechanic and a coach and all the coolest gear, everything! As I’m walking through the pit drooling over all the bling these kids have I asked Mum, “How the hell do these people have what they have?” I knew my parents couldn’t physically work any harder; there wasn’t a spare hour in the week. They busted their guts just so we could make it, yet the kid next to us seemed to have everything (materially) and they didn’t look like they had worked anywhere near as hard as our family. Mum said, “Brad, these people don’t have what they have because they worked harder than us, these people have what they have because they worked smarter than us.”

I decided I was going to work harder at being smarter. I was only 12 years old, yet I knew I wanted to be in a position to make a difference, starting with my family.

1. Time
Time is our most valuable asset, the great equaliser: no one has more and no one has less. 24 hours. Seven days in the week. Invest it however you like. How valuable is your time? Time invested wisely is powerful. Time wasted is devastating. Protect your time, guard your time. Invest it and make it count. Remember as a growth person your to-do list will never end. You are never going to have enough time to do what could be done. Time is worth more than money.

2. Desperation
Desperation is more powerful than money. The hungry mother will always find a way to feed her kids. Desperation says “I must”. Hunger is the achiever’s word for desperate. When you’re hungry to learn, to grow, to achieve, to win then you are ready. Desperation creates desire.

3. Determination
While desperation says I must, determination says I will. Determination is your willingness to take action. Determination creates persistence.

4. Courage
Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is being scared as hell and going for it anyway. If you’ve only got $1 and a lot of courage, I’m telling you, you’ve got a good future ahead of you. Humans can do the most incredible things when they act with courage. As growth people the courage to trust your preparation, your product, your team and yourself and go for it is the difference between an entrepreneur and a “wantrepreneur”.

5. Ambition
Ambition is vision in motion. If I can sell one, ambition says I can sell 1,000. Ambition is the cornerstone of momentum; momentum is power as a growth person. The ambitious man attracts opportunity.

6. Faith
Faith in yourself, your product, your timing, faith in your team. Once your ambition finds momentum you begin to believe you’ve got a good product. You start to see that this is a good idea. You start to believe in yourself. Your faith grows, your self-esteem starts to soar. What if you had $1 million and no faith? You’d be poor. Faith is the difference between success and failure as a growth person.

7. Intelligence
Get smart. Education is the foundation of growth. Learn what you need to learn in order to become the person you want to become. Desperation, determination, courage, ambition and faith rely on intelligence to guide them.

8. Heart and Soul
Show me a man with $1 million but no heart and soul and I’ll show you a man with no life. Heart and soul is the magic that moves people. It drives people. Heart and soul creates authenticity; it aligns our actions with our nature.

9. Personality
Personality is more powerful than money. You’ve got to sharpen up your own personality, develop it to where it is effective every day, no matter who you talk to. A unique personality that is at home anywhere, comfortable in any room. Personality has the power to move a room; it’s the ability to inspire through your words. Personality is more powerful than money to a growth person.

10. Character
Where personality creates chemistry, personality is only as good as its next remark, its next action. Charisma and personality wear out without character. Character is how people remember you.

Character is what is left when everything is stripped away. Character is power.

11. Questions
The quality of our questions is directly proportional to the quality of our lives. Ask better questions get better answers. Instead of asking “why me?”, ask, “how can I make this better?” Instead of asking for it to be easier, ask how can you be better.

12. Proximity
We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. The people around us make us better or worse. The fastest way to get anywhere is to find someone who has done what you want to do, learn what they did, then do it.

13. Role Models
Who do you look up to? What do they do that inspires you? What character traits do they have that you could borrow? Channel your role models. What would Richard Branson do? Or, how would Richard Branson do it?

14. Energy
Energy is the fountain of life; energy is an element to growth. The average wake-up time on the Business Review Weekly rich list is 6.30am; the average bedtime was midnight. Success leaves clues. Energy creates more energy.

15. Momentum
Momentum is when vision meets activity. The ball is rolling. Momentum is power. Momentum is more powerful than circumstance. Momentum is the first sign of progress. Progress makes us feel alive. If you’re on a weight loss plan, you feel good as soon as you start seeing kilos drop. If you’re launching a product you feel good as soon as you start making progress and selling.

16. Accuracy
As growth people we fantasise about what is possible. But we have to take time to think with accuracy. To put accurate action steps in place. Accuracy is crucial: in our planning, in our management. We need to ensure our strategy is accurate, our assumptions are accurate and the effort required is accurate. To a growth person, accuracy is power.

17. Leverage
Leverage is the corner stone to growth and you can’t do it alone. We need to master other people’s money, other people’s time, other people’s ideas and other people’s assets. Leverage requires us to turn what we do into a system that has scalability.

18. Go the extra mile
More than you’re expected to do. You never know who is watching. It’s the ultimate investment in your future. The person who does more than they are paid to do, will eventually get paid for more than they do.

19. Initiative
Think for yourself, question things. Think outside the box. Do things differently.

20. Discipline
Do what you have to do, even when you don’t want to do it. Should walk the block, could walk the block, don’t walk the block. DIFFERENT story, different person, different result. Could cold call, should cold call, picks up the phone and cold calls!

This entire list is more valuable than money. With just a dollar and the list I gave you, the world is yours. It’s for you to create, whatever piece of it you desire, whatever development you wish for your life. The secret “capital” is resourcefulness. That’s the kind of capital that is more valuable than money and that can secure your future and fortune.
Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource.

DIRB IT UP (Do It Real Big)
by Brad Smith. RRP $22.99
This excerpt has been edited for publishing purposes within Men’s Muscle & Health

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