Tips for building your power in any field
Power. We all crave it. But actually getting it? That’s another story. Allow these power personalities to give you a helping hand…
1. Financial power
We all know we need to save more every month. Not just for the long-term future but for our hopes of early financial independence. Entrepreneur and retailer John Timpson explains how you can run your finances like a business.
Begin a cost-cutting campaign
“We do it every three years, but you can do it more often. As time goes, you’ll gather new overheads and things you don’t need. Look at everything you’re spending on and be ruthless. Pick out what you can do without. Think of it as spring-cleaning.”
Keep cash on hand
“I’m not that bothered about profit – I’m more interested in cash. If there’s been a profit drop, it’s generally the year after we’ve made an acquisition – we’re always growing. I measure the strength of our business by how much money’s in the bank. What’s in your wallet and current account is more valuable than credit cards and savings accounts.”
“One of the biggest mistakes that a business makes is that they stop running it the way they did when they were small and successful. They get too big and waste money on unnecessary things and luxuries and fail when tough times hit. Always keep the mentality of a small business – keep spending small even when you’re doing okay financially.”
“If you’re struggling before payday, get a piece of paper and write down why you’re doing so badly. If you come up with an idea of how to save money, put reasons why it’s a good idea and reasons why it’s a bad idea, and see which has the longest list. A 15-year forecast is good, too – a dream of where you’ll be. It has an uncanny way of coming true.”
Keys To Success: 50 Secrets From A Business Maverick by John Timpson is out now.
2. Persuasion power
Everybody wants the ability to influence other people, whether it’s your boss or your best mate. Mind-reader and magician Chris Cox shares some secrets on how to be more persuasive.
Influence your friends
“Say you want to go on holiday somewhere and your mate wants to go somewhere else. Imagine what their arguments will be and think like a barrister by picking holes in them before you meet. That’s the start. A technique I used in a show with chef Heston Blumenthal was to anchor the feeling of happiness to a smell. Give your friend a packet of his favourite crisps and ask him to talk about his favourite holiday. Next time, do the same and ask him to talk about another happy memory. Soon, simply opening the crisps will evoke feelings of happiness which you can then exploit to convince him to go where you want with your well-planned, persuasive arguments. It is all about preparation. And crisps.”
Control your boss
“Body language can influence behaviour. A fun pub experiment is to make eye contact with your mate whenever either of you sip your pints. It feels weird but soon you’ll ‘take over’ their system and you’ll see they automatically drink when you drink. At work, try nodding every time your client nods. It’s a positive affirmation which seeps into their subconscious and makes them more likely to agree with you. If I want someone to say ‘yes’ on stage, I just nod and they’ll say yes. It won’t convince your boss to give you a huge pay rise, but it can influence how they think of you.”
Play mind games
“If you’re playing a game and want someone to mess up, ask how they’re doing so well. They’ll overthink things and that opens up more of their brain so they lose focus. As soon as you overthink something, you get worse at it. The best thing a goalkeeper can say to a player before a penalty is: ‘Think about how you’re going to kick this, mate.’”
Follow Chris on Twitter @BigCox.
3. Brain power
That gelatinous blob of grey matter in your skull is like a muscle, says World Scrabble Champion Brett Smitheram – train it regularly and thoroughly and it will become more powerful than you can imagine.
“Intelligence is partly the ability to express yourself, and an improved vocabulary will make you a better communicator. Be a word sponge. Read, listen and absorb as much as you can. But be sure to check the quality of what you’re absorbing: like eating the wrong foods, learning the wrong meanings of words can be damaging to your health.”
Stop, look and listen
“Everyone learns and retains information differently. I used to write lists of what I was trying to recall – words for Scrabble or revision for exams. Others prefer to record themselves reading word lists and play them back in the car on the way to work. Figure out what works for you.”
“Maintaining focus can be difficult in an era of five-second social-media clips and instant gratification. Concentration is a mental muscle: if yours has atrophied, train it back into shape. Concentrate for short periods on a book or project, but plan breaks and have something to look forward to after – a worthy goal makes it easier to remain engaged.”
Open your mind
“Whether it’s mastering an instrument, learning a language or understanding science, all are forms of intellect. To ramp up intelligence, try new things. Travel, read, speak to people. Like practising catching with your left hand when right-handed, this won’t change your natural preferences but it’ll enable you to hold your own where you’re weaker.”
Brett Smitheram is an ambassador for the Mindsports Academy.
4. Staying power
Joggers who use the GPS tracking app Strava run an average distance of 8.4km. Jules Mountain, survivor of the 2015 Nepal earthquake who went from being buried alive under snow to summiting Everest last year, gives tips to boost endurance.
Break it down
“My goal seemed impossible, so I focused on something achievable. From Base Camp, my task was to climb the 700 metres up to Camp 1 – worry about the summit later. Break it into steps. Don’t overthink things. I only decided three weeks before that I’d do Everest. I met someone there who’d been preparing for 14 years. Decide your objectives, then do them.”
Use past experiences
“I survived cancer. I knew that if I could do that, I could summit Everest. Like any endurance feat, it was half physical, half mental. It’s extremely interesting to me that young, fit people rarely summit Everest and that’s because they don’t have the mental fitness to get there. Use past experiences to your advantage and keep a mental reward. Mine was making my daughters proud.”
Build a rhythm
“Going up a mountain face at a 70-degree ascent was awful. I thought, ‘How am I going to climb that?!’ I tackled it by going one step every four breaths. I focused only on the next step. I’d only look up on the count of 100. I formed a rhythm. Once I saw real progress I felt like I was on the home straight.”
“I was pushing hard for us to keep going after the earthquake. I was buried under an avalanche but, once I knew I was okay, I was on to the next task. It’s about setting yourself hard, achievable goals that push you outside your comfort zone. If you quit, you’ve just made excuses for not giving it a go. And if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know.”
Aftershock: One Man’s Quest And The Quake On Everest is out now.
5. Will power
According to polls, 41 per cent of new year’s resolutions made this year were health-related – and nearly two-thirds of people admit to having broken one in the past. Self-help guru and mind-trainer Paul McKenna explains how you can conquer your cravings.
“All your cravings – whether it’s for chocolate or a cigarette – take place in the mind. But the mind is like a computer: you can easily reprogram it. It’s all about interrupting patterns. If you smoke by the computer, move the computer to a different place. Do you light up after a cup of coffee? Drink it somewhere else. Break the association. Use your imagination, too – it’s a powerful tool. To kill a craving, mix what you’re compelled and repulsed by – then ramp up the repulsion in your head. So next time you want a sweet, think of a food with a horrid texture, like an oyster. Imagine biting into the sweet but there’s an oyster inside and you’re tasting it. Do that a few times and your desire for sugar will weaken – that’s your brain reprogramming under your guidance.
“Another good method: if you’re feeling stressed and want a cigarette or sweet to cure it, stop. Place your hand on your heart, close your eyes, take a deep breath and think of something nice, like someone you love or a holiday. That changes your feelings very quickly. The US military use that technique.
“Jotting something down intensifies whatever you do. If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, begin each day by writing down five things you’re grateful for. I know a life coach who says that if you just tell a lamp post your plans every day, they’re more likely to occur.”
Get Control Of Sugar Now! is out now.