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The memes for the current economic recession have been "income inequality" and "the 99 percent versus the 1 percent" as the 106 million Americans earning $45,000 or less each year feel the most pain from job loss, foreclosure, underwater mortgages and inflation.
Some say the solution is for the government to redistribute the wealth, perhaps by taxing the top money-makers at a higher rate. Real estate businessman Trevor Bolin, author of Take Charge and Change Your Life Today (www.bolininternational.com), says there's a better way and it's one that will make more people happier - and wealthier.
"I went from the bottom 10 percent at age 17 to the top 2 percent at 28 by making some changes in my life," says Bolin, who owns three realty companies in British Columbia. "The system is very simple, but not all of the steps are easy. It requires self-discipline and changing bad habits, but it's all possible if you follow the steps. And I promise, following through on just one will dramatically affect your life."
Some of Bolin's strategies:
* Commit. Vow right now that you will follow through 100 percent on every step you take toward changing your life, whether it's making more money, losing weight or becoming a better parent. Commit to succeeding, not just surviving. Know that luck has nothing to do with it - it's hard work, attitude and giving back. Committing 100 percent means that, if you decide to read a book on investing, you won't quit after three chapters. If your goal is to drop 20 pounds, don't stop after 10.
* Change your attitude. Just as negative thoughts have the power to negatively affect outcomes, so do positive thoughts. Start each day with positive thoughts, and change negative thoughts to positive ones throughout the day. This may be hard at first, but the more you work at it, the easier it gets. Rather than wake up cursing the rainy day, be grateful for it. Water is one of our most valuable natural resources, and rain is cleansing. Remind yourself each morning of all the good things in your life - your health, your home, your spouse. Tell yourself that your meeting today is going to be engaging and productive, or your job interview is going to go well.
* Figure out your "Y." Your Y is your reason for everything. It's shaped by the past, formatted for the present and goal-formatted for the future. It's reflected in every decision you make. If you don't know your Y, your decisions will be made on the basis of habit, what you learned growing up, and what your immediate needs are. But if you've decided your Y is that you want the peace and security of financial success, you'll be guided by that every time you make a choice.
* Set goals. On a piece of paper write down all of your goals, short-term and long-term. Next, number them 1, 3, 5, 10 or 20 based on how many years it should take to achieve them. Losing 20 pounds? That might be a 1. Buying a new car? That could be a 3. Now, take your top five 1 goals and write down why you want them and how you plan to achieve them. Do the same thing for each set of goals. Having goals is vital and keeping them in front of you will help keep you on track toward achieving them.
Most important - be sure to cross each one off as you achieve it. Take it from me, there's no better feeling.
Paying yourself first - saving a portion of every check - and giving back to society, whether through service or philanthropy, are also key to Bolin's roadmap for changing your life.
"It's all about having a plan," he says. "You can create success as long as you're putting a plan into motion."
Trevor Bolin owns three realty companies in British Columbia, including one in his hometown of Fort St. John, which was named the No. 1 Re/Max small-density office in the world. He's also chairman of Bolin & Co. International Training, which offers coaching and seminars for business people. He has served three terms on the Fort St. John City Council.
Published: March 29, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 50