And it may lead you to uncover the simple things you need to change to transform your world to heaven-on-Earth... And how to do that...
Or it might only just be interesting and amusing - with a little useful science thrown in. I am betting it is the first one.
What's The Story?
Have you ever had a cold sore? Or know someone that did? It can be pretty miserable dealing with it. So I began to consider, with the target of alleviating or possibly preventing, cold sores. Yes, there are may be other things I could think about - but just as some people like crosswords or Game of Thrones - I like to consider and discover what obvious things are hidden in front of me.
This is what led me to the breathing method that completely removed my asthma symptoms over 20 years ago, and my first bestseller. More on that later. What is obvious about cold sores?
You notice that they usually (not always) grow on "border" areas - like the area between inside your mouth and outside. With oral herpes - on your lips. Right on the border between outside and in. Sometimes they move from there - but not far - and nearly always it needs to be "wettish".
Why is that you ask? That is our first adventurous clue in the puzzle. If you have done high school chemistry - you have a slight advantage here - because you will have heard of pH. But you don't need much chemistry to follow this.
Did you know that your skin is acidic? This means that if measured - the pH of your skin is LOW. On pH scale, NEUTRAL is 7. Below 7 is acidic. Above 7 is called basic. Water is pretty close to 7. There you go - you pass first semester of chemistry. This may not seem important, but this info may change the way you wash your body and hair forever.
Chemistry for "Antiaging" and Looking Great
We will come back to cold sores in a moment - but this is one of those tangents worth following. Your skin has LOW pH, which means it is a little acidic. How acidic it is depends on where you measure it. Your scalp and skin are about 5 to 5.5 on the pH scale. Your hair is even lower - at about 4.5.
Now you know your skin is acidic, but so what?
Well - guess what pH soap usually is? Obviously it varies - but is usually close to pH of 9 to 10. Why is it so high? The best cleaners are alkali (another word for basic or pH higher than 7). It means that fat and oil are broken down better as the pH goes higher. It is why your clothes detergents are alkaline (9 or higher). This allows it to "strip" oils and soils off your clothing.
And soap "strips" the oil off your skin, and off your hair. But you don't use soap on your hair - do you?
Because if you did - it would quickly become dull, and then brittle, as you removed all the oil from the shafts. Split ends, flyaway, dandruff. Instead you likely use a concoction made up by the pharmaceutical industry and then copied by the industrial industry called "Shampoo". And what is the pH of "good" shampoo, you ask (because you now know it is important!)
pH of Shampoo is different to soap! The better shampoos are closer to the pH of your skin, scalp and hair shafts. Most are between pH 5 to 7. The closer the pH is to the area you are "cleansing" the less damage to that area. It also means less "cleaning" is happening. Remember higher pH will be (in the simplest model) a better cleaner. BUT, cleaning too well will strip all the natural oils from your skin and hair.
Soon I am going to talk about an experiment I did with washing my whole body with shampoo, not soap...
But first we have to take another geeky side road - so that we can wind back to the really good stuff.
Your human body has a process called "homeostasis". This is wanky word of Greek origin because scientists like to make it hard for civilians to understand things - so that people just do what they suggest and not even try to understand what is going on. It just means that our bodies like to keep things at a consistent level. For example, it likes to keep our skin at the right level of oils and hydration - because if our skin cannot do its job properly, the outside world gets into our inside world - and it gets messy.
And back to soap. What happens when we clean our skins too much?
First it gets dry. We have stripped all the oils out. And - despite what we might have been told by a well meaning person or ten - that is not good. What happens next is that our super-intelligent, highly controlled skin organ senses this ATTACK. And it then tries to REPAIR the changes - usually by increasing the amount of oil it produces. Our millions of little oil pumps go into overtime and pump, pump, pump. Much more than we really want. And what happens - we get "oily skin". It is pretty clear that our skin is oily. So we go to an "expert" or we just let our brains fart a little - and we go and buy some "soap for oily skin" (or shampoo if it has happened to our hair.) And then we ATTACK our skin organ again.
Notice that I call the skin an "organ". That is what it is. It is there with a main job to do. Just like our kidneys clean all the fluids in our system (and other things), our skin is a specialised organ - and it is intelligent.
When we attack it with "cleaning" chemicals - even if they are called "organic" or have cool French names - it will try to repair itself, and if this continues - it will try to DEFEND itself.
Seriously. Let's have an example.
A month or so ago, I began this pH and skin consideration. For decades I have had some small growths on my face. Just near my left eyelash outer edge. The skin would peel and flake, sometime a bit itchy. And it looks a bit red. Obviously I have been to my GP, who puts on her big eye scopey thing - looks at it, with a serious voice says "Mmmm" and then burns it away with dry ice held by tweezers (because it looks similar to skin cancers of various sorts). Hurts for a few days, then heals. Over time it returns. And we repeat every 18 months or so.
Well, it was nearly time to go and get burnt again, and I thought: "What if there is something I am doing to make my skin DEFEND itself by growing more skin faster? What if it is to do with pH of my soap, shaving cream or something else?"
Pretty good thing to test - because it bloody hurts for days to get your skin dry-iced. The logic: my skin likes to be low pH (acidic). Soap is alkaline (high pH). So is shaving cream. Shampoo is acidic. What if I simply use my shampoo for face washing and shaving? In theory - if it is to do with pH - then my skin will respond by calming down, repairing - and perhaps stop DEFENDING with fast skin growth?
Obviously something changed - because we are talking about it now. And yes this does eventually rotate back to cold sores - but now we understand more about our skin. So the "possible" skin cancer simply shrunk and disappeared. It took about 4 days to be completely gone. This is NOT saying to stop getting your skin checked for skin cancers!!! It IS saying to think about your skin as an organ, an intelligent one.
The growth on my face remains gone. There was another spot - which remained. I have caused it to now disappear with some cosmetics I will talk about later - which have a viable theory (to me anyway) for how it works - related to homeostasis.
Back to our main story. Cold sores.
And let's add a little more to your knowledge. Did you know that ONE of the reasons that are skin ideally keeps itself at a lower pH (ie acidic) - is because lower pH KILLS bacteria, virus and other things that might kill us. Our intelligent skin somehow knows that low pH will reduce infections. Let's look at what you buy from the shops. If you buy almost anything that says "kills 99.9% of anything" - chances are that it lists citric acid as an ingredient. And that is the same for hand washes and for surface sprays for your kitchen. Other acids are also used - but citric acid is safe and cheap. Some people use vinegar - which is ascetic acid. Notice the "acid" part. Lowered pH is not where bacteria, virus or fungus usually like to live.
From our earlier discussion on skin - you are now more likely to ensure that you wash your body with something with a lower pH for TWO reasons. First is that it preserves your skin's preferred pH, and does not strip the oils out causing your skin to react defensively (making you look old). And now second - lower pH means less infection.
When I started thinking about cold sores and border regions - I already knew about the pH of skin. I also knew that our mouths have important pH levels. That is - the pH of our saliva. The saliva of a healthy person is SLIGHTLY alkaline at 7.1 to 7.5. But it does range from 6.2 to 7.6. For our teeth to be in great shape - more alkaline is better than acid. (Acid dissolves our tooth enamel once the pH drops below 6.7. PLUS there are bacteria that thrive in a lower pH which then cause caries.).
So - inside our mouth is (usually) very slightly alkaline - but our outside skin (including our lips) are much more acidic. So why should cold sore virus prefer to be on our lips? Not fully inside our mouth? Nor fully on our skin (although sometimes it does). And does this preference have anything to do with the different pH of those areas?
In turns out that perhaps pH IS a big factor
A carefully worded search in Google produced a very clear study that showed that HSV (the virus for cold sores) is INACTIVATED when pH drops to 4.5 - with infection reduce approximately 100x. If pH is dropped to 3.5 - the effect is far greater and much faster. So cold sore virus does not like acidic environments
Remember from above that pH of our skin and hair ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. Perhaps that is why we do not usually see cold sores on our limbs and trunk? The study also showed that the effect of reducing the pH only to 5.0 did not result in a reduced number of infections. (ie you have to reduce the pH BELOW 5.0 according to this to have the antiviral effect.) Diagram below.
The scale on the left of the chart above shows that pH 4.5 reduced infections by 100x (from over 10 million down to 10 thousand.). pH 3.5 took it down to about 30 (from over 10 million). This was in test tubes - not in bodies - but the results are very clear. Herpes virus prefers higher pH - between 4.5 and 7.0. If we extrapolate - that is why we do not usually find cold sores on healthy skin - there is a suppressing effect at the lower pH of skin.
Near our mouth - the pH is higher. And that is mostly where we suffer our cold sores. It would be great if the answer were as simple as this. Unfortunately we have to account for pH INSIDE our various cells, as well as the fluids that wash around them. In fact with some viruses, lowered pH inside the cell increases their infectivity.
But in this special case, I believe we have a usable insight. But before we nail that down - there was another geeky gem in that study. First look at this figure, and notice the column called "pH 3.5 + PMSF" which is third from the right.
In this figure, where the columns instead show the viable viral cells remaining after exposure to different pH, you can see that pH again smashed the viability of the virus. That is nice - but what I want to point out is that the column with a compound called PMSF was also added to the pH 3.5 sample.
It may seem like this just makes it more confusing - which is why you get bonus points for getting to the end. It will give you another potential insight that may boost your health (and also minimise your future cold sores.) So stay with me just a little longer.
This PMSF allowed more virus to survive the lowered pH. The authors of the study suggest that the PMSF inhibits (don't worry about these terms) serine proteases like trypsin and chymotrypsin, plus cycteine proteases and acetylcholinesterase. You can go and look all these things up - and get really confused - or just go with the fact that our body needs these chemicals to function properly. And when we have anything like PMSF in our system - lots of things get disrupted. The most obvious chemical (underlined) to be concerned with is anything that inhibits acetyl-cholinesterase.
To make a simple summary: If something inhibits our enzymes including acetylcholinesterase, the cold sore virus is far more resilient and able to thrive. What if we were eating or exposed to a variant of PMSF every day? Could that increase our chances of cold sores?
When I started this little geek adventure - I was simply following the lead that it may be a good idea to put vinegar on your cold sores. That is still a very good thing to test. It WILL sting for a few minutes. I will also seek out an ointment with low pH that may also be worth testing. And this process may be worth testing on both oral and genital herpes. The virus is slightly different - and this main study is for genital herpes. But it is very strong data, and the likelihood of success with the closely related oral version is as good. The virus IS affected by pH. And vinegar is relatively safe to pour onto your skin and mouth - as it is technically "food". But still only do a small area first. And if you get it in your mouth - brush your teeth a while after (the stinging stops).
The latter barb in the hook?
So what the heck is PMSF? It is Phenylmethanesulfonyl FLUORIDE.
I am not big fan of fluoride addition to water. And the use in toothpaste perhaps is less abhorent because we do not usually swallow. But there is still ingestion. It is not a safe chemical. It is not a vitamin. Our body has no use for it - and indeed is affected by it in unknown ways. In known ways is does affect our enzymes - the ones we need to work our bodies. In this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6007454 it was proven that the action of fluoride on our enzymes is immediate and dramatic. My opinion? I live in a town with fluoride added to the drinking water (Townsville, Australia).
I also own a reverse osmosis water filtering system to remove the flouride from the water. It also remove chlorides - which if you look at a periodic table is directly below Fluorine. This means it has very similar chemistry - and likely also similar effects on our bodies.
So - is this information worth changing your behaviour over? I am going to say YES. On the first count - you now know about the pH of your skin, hair and mouth - you need to learn more about the danger of soap.
Second - if you suffer Herpes virus - then I would test the use of vinegar on the infection. If it stings too much - dilute it with water. That test is up to you - let me know what happens if your test.
Third - Acetylcholine is THE major neurotransmitter for many of our bodily organs. It controls both our autonomic nervous system - both the sympathetic (fight, fight and freeze) and parasympathetic (rest and repair including digestion and procreation). It controls our sweat glands. It is the transmitter at the neuromuscular junction between motor nerves and skeletal muscle. In our nervous system it is found at interneurons and has many important pathways. One of these is in the forebrain neocortex - the degeneration of which is associated with Alzheimers Disease.
This chemical is VERY important. The enzyme which controls it's levels is called Acetylcholinesterase. The one that is affected by fluoride. This stuff is NOT a vitamin. It is used as rat killer. Get a water filter.
Hope you enjoyed V1 of Geeky Sunday.
Think about it. We run almost 99% on automatic programming (our habitual behaviour). Most of us have habits that we did not choose – we just adopted them from our parents, teachers, priests, coaches, and so on. It is a safety/survival mechanism to be like those around us.
A habit is simply a decision, repeated until our brains “just do it” for us. Each repetition increases the “size” of the brain channel that does it for us. Let me repeat that:
A Habit Is a Decision You Repeat. That is All…
A metaphor is that each of your habits is the river that flows along your path of least mental resistance. To change the flow direction of flow of the river – or to remove it – there is nothing to do but divert the flow into other (chosen) river-paths. Not “dam” but “divert”.
As you think about the river metaphor – you will realize that the earlier in the river you intervene – the less water there is to divert. It easier with a little stream than with a Amazonian flow that happens downstream. So go upstream. In this example – when you get the slightest urge/trigger to desire a smoke – overlay that trigger with a preferred action – STEAL it. When it fires – do some “air squats” or a “60 second meditation” or 5 pushups or some stretches or a make a list of 5 things you are grateful for or brush your teeth or give someone a real compliment.
With enough repetitions – the new decision will OWN the old have-a-smoke trigger.
The decision to repeat your past decisions is yours. You can dominate the process if you can describe it clearly. In business I suggest process maps – what happens, then what happens, and so on. Each step has a “necessary condition” – without which the step cannot proceed. You cannot smoke a cigarette you do not have any, or if you cannot light it. You cannot smoke a cigarette without taking the rubber band of the pack. And you cannot smoke a cigarette if you have truly decided not to, and you prevent yourself doing it “automatically”.
This final perspective can have super powers. My father stopped smoking the instant he coughed up blood. A very strong motivation – reasons why – can alter the flow of your rivers instantly.
But many people still smoke while undergoing chemo or suffering emphysema. The “habit” decision is yours. Again and again and again.
The pathway to establishing new habits is the same – but you are feeding your river once you have created it. You can use triggers – like putting your work out clothes and shoes ready to go the night before. You grease the process – so your new decision just slips into place. Adapt your environment to support your new river flow. Borrow water from a friend (or personal trainer) to feed your own river.
Here are some potential habits to make decisions on:
Dude – Business Sucess is Innovation and Marketing + Delivery (that is valued and done to “standard”)
Sometimes I like to sit and think. Other times to just sit.
What recurs are simple ideas.
If your business is not growing, bro, it is stagnating. And by growing I mean in the biological sense.
Throw out a little sprout on the tree. No new shoots means you are made of old, dead wood. And decay is coming.
And when you get a nice sprout going on – unless the right people know about it, understand it as much as they need to, value it, desire it or need it – it will not draw the “sunshine of the money” to sustain it.
There are the extra shoots on your existing branches – product improvements, variations, extra options colours and flavours. And there are the new branches. And there the seeds that your success sperms across into new markets.
In my yard I have nutgrass. It is by definition a “weed”. But is has my admiration. It has the goal of total domination of my yard. It defends the areas where it is market leader, and it sends continual military forays into the areas it does not dominate. It is ruthless. It is focused. Is is winning.
My insight today is that unless your business has the clear, no fuss, no doubt, no choice mission that it is to ultimately DOMINATE whatever sandpit you define as yours – your strategic choices will be underwhelming in their success. Not matter what squishy guff you write on your documents about visions and missions and blahblahbabldioo – you have missed the point unless you the apply the Nutgrass Turbo.
It is only by deciding to DOMINATE – that the full power of strategy is able to be used.
Why nutgrass? Nutgrass is there to dominate. Everything it does is designed to ensure domination. It has these little “nuts” that it creates relentlessly. They are underground. If you pull this plant out – and miss just ONE little nut – it will come back at you. Again and again, until you give up.
Then – as well as these nuts – it has designed itself to quickly produce a missive number of seeds on a glorious stem. Hmm. Force Multiplier effect? Bring a second powerful tactic into your domination arseonal and you more than double your expansion power.
Lately I have been re-reading a lot of Deming. And thinking about processes and systems. And how there is a “code”, a set of programming under each of the experiences in our circumstances. And one of the key insights is that what happens at the beginning of a process – has a greater weight on the results. Deming said of systems to “define the first 15% of each level, 3 levels deep. Others say that this first 15% delivers up to 85% of the potential value of the sysem. I would love to see some data on this claim – but it seems a good theory to test the hell out of.
Let’s pretend just for now that the underlying programming that creates the success of your business – let’s call it your “strategic plan” – is turned on.
Sport can be a wonderful teacher, and often games DO reflect our circumstances and rules. First, let's think what happens when playing football on a nasty, cold, rainy field. The ball is wet and slippery, hard to hold onto. The ground is also hard to navigate with boots either slipping or bogging on the sometimes muddy turf.
There is no margin for error in the throwing or timing of a pass to your team, as this will lead to lost possession and a period of tough, draining defense.
But there is an upside.
Both teams are playing the same conditions. And it is here that tactical choices determine the winner in most cases. You CAN still win at sport, and in business in tough conditions.
When playing rugby (of any kind) in challenging weather - what must you do? And what does that mean to your business tactics?
1. You must cherish possession of the ball. Every pass must be secure. Every hit up and run must be arranged and implemented to both gain ground AND retain possession.
2. You must keep territory position in mind. Play the game in your oppositions half, where an error from them has most benefit for you. And a touch of genius or luck from your team rewards you most. This means tactical kicking, but not predictable kicking.
3. You must make best use of your assets. Your big men can run hard at the line at angles that allow the conditions to make it harder to stop them. And in ways that drain the energy of the opposing team. Your play-makers must avoid becoming exhausted by the conditions, and set up others more than run themselves. To do this, your team must be ORGANIZED and know what the plays and tactics for this game are.
4. Every advantage must be fully utilized. Half-gaps must be hit with full power and enthusiasm. Extra effort for bursts of speed results in either line breaks or extra exhaustion of the opposition. Your strong men must refuse to fall, every step counts. Mental toughness must supplement physical conditioning.
Your business CAN success in tough times. Business is still there to be won, although you may have to evolve and adapt to become the team whose value overpowers the desperate competition. First you must choose to accept there is a market for you that is worth dominating. It is the same as choosing to play to your hardest on a sporting field - you must decide to win. Or there is little hope of winning.
That decision - for YOUR business to dominate - is the key strategic lever to you then defining your market, creating the processes and messages that will give you advantage, and then executing in a calm, organized and ruthlessly focused program.
Bucky Fuller said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
I have spent decades fighting existing reality. I am sure you have too. What do I mean?
How long have you been “doing battle” with things already in existence? Like storing too much fat on your belly or butt? Or having a bank balance that is too small? Or my sales are too low…
In past posts I have spoken about “choosing to struggle” – and in simple terms this is explained by my learning to swim process. When I swam I tensed every muscle, I strained every nerve and concentrated on every part of my body. Naturally I was exhausted after about 15 seconds, and then tended to gasp and sink.
After a few decades of struggle I concluded that something was wrong with my process. The answer was not to try harder or for longer. It was the opposite. I experimented with doing nothing but ‘relaxing’ and the water. Just lay there, being calm. Not try at all. I could have used a modelling strategy – you know – had lessons? But no. I was addicted to “figuring things out” – a strategy which still both rewards and punishes me.
After some floating – I found that I could make movements without tensing every muscle. Eventually that led me to realising that the key to swimming is reducing resistance in the water. Splashing is waste. And now I can swim and remain relaxed and move well through the water. So – it was when I stopped doing the things that did not work or help that I benefitted. I made the old model obsolete.
The process was to discover the process and then strategically evolve it for a clear purpose. And to enjoy the experiences as much as you can. Does that sound like your business? Your health? Or are you “working” to retain the resistance and no-purpose tension? And yes – it is like an onion (tastes great when properly cooked!)
Do we “break” habits?
No. We either replace them or disconnect them.
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Well – the new year has begun again. Like it did last year. Following the same pattern. And the pattern is the clue to the power contained in a new word I created just now in the attempt to get the concept clear enough in my own head to be able to share it with sane people.
That may be you – but it is not really me. Yesterday I was perturbed when the hairdresser who had just cut my hair described the result as “respectable”. What the hell is that? My hair now deserves respect? Perhaps it is common for people to have a goal appear respectable?
So – in the closing stages of 2016, there were a couple of different concepts about behaviour that were attempting to “mash” inside my mind. I had been working on a project that trains people to be able to greatly improve their probability of setting goals and actually achieving them.
There is a missing component to almost all goal (or target or objective) creations. Without knowing and applying this component within your goal setting process – you will likely have an almost perfect history of Goal NON-Achievement. You may even have decided that goal setting does not work (which would be true for most people).
If you are a serial goal achiever you either are doing this component by luck, or you have been applying that fictional power created in the 19th Century – called “Willpower” to brutally pound your way through your action steps.
The 3 Main Ingredients Attempting to Blend Together:
You may be wondering WHY this is important to anyone? It is important because the mashing of these concepts will give you a clear, simple process you can apply to many different levels to take your goal achievement skills to a place where you laugh out loud at your previous attempts.
Over the centuries there has been a ton of metaphysics or religious symbolism that has touched on the process. More recently the “Law of Attraction” magic was spread over the globe. It has a great story. And some people claim to have made it work for them. Probably the same people who actually set goals and achieve them. Certainly not the majority. Or we would all have won the lottery and be perfect physical specimens.
The Bible has some very potent symbolism that carries a clue to what the LawofAttractioners missed. And it has to do with the “Kingdom of Heaven”. Yep – I said it. You may not know that I am not religious at all. There has been some great content created by the original authors of each religion – which was in stated symbolically – that has been converted by vested interests into multi-layered fiction. In the Christian religion practically everything after 100 AD, is gibberish. And much before then as well.
That is fodder for a different post. The reason I raise the kingdom of heaven here and now is to do with the term “coherence”. It is the meaning in physics that is relevant. Google it if you want to go down a rabbit hole. For now – just pretend that it means getting all the “waves” that you generate in your mind (as thoughts and feelings for example) to have the same wavelength, and to be travelling the same path.
If you spout out all kinds of different thoughts at once, and bounce all over the place from your business to your sex life to the weather to a barking dog to feeling hungry to feeling annoyed at feeling hungry because you are on special supplements – you have no coherence. You are channel flicking.
Your ability to stay on one topic is minimal, and your mental power is diminished. You have trouble making decisions because your thinking is handicapped. You experience fear and probably have developed a habit or procrastinating or avoiding important actions. And with each procrastination you reinforce that particular “habit” – until you are completely oblivious to what you are doing with your thoughts.
I will break this post into different segments as it is likely your ability to follow is already shaking.
Let’s tie it up a little for today. The “Kingdom of Heaven” is the place INSIDE yourself where you have calmed your thoughts and thinking. Usually entered via a meditation process or self hypnosis – you calm yourself physically and then mentally. As you get closer and closer to the “KoH” your thoughts slow down, and you can observe them. You realize that you are NOT thinking your thoughts – you are only observing them.
As you observe them – you can, if you choose, contemplate each thought, and then choose to keep it or let it go away. Each thought (according to the theory – has an effect on the physical world – the basis of the Law of Attractionists). You can see that even just slowing your thoughts and choosing to let them take root (or not) – will have a drastic affect on how you feel and act in the world.
Your stress levels drop because you are not in constant channel flicking mental mode. And you can think for long enough to make decisions with confidence. And your FEAR is reduced because you are not constantly in emergency mode. You have time to respond to the world, and add your creation-ability to each event you experience instead of being in automatic mode. (If you want to change the results you achieve in your life and business or career – this is where you must begin. The same programming (the rules or habits in your head) as you used last year will give you the same results you got this year, and forever after barring accidents.
That is enough for today. Your job is to visit the Kingdom of Heaven – the place where you can observe your thoughts and wonder where you are that you can do that. Next we will see the fractal nature of this in your life – and experience how just changing thinking affects everything else.
Ps – the secret sauce of successful goal achievement can be turned into a mechanical process that will allow you to predictably hit your chosen targets. Accessing the KoH (which has many other names) – makes the process much more SIMPLE and more enjoyable.
Well done to Victor Makurov from Perm in Russia.
First the story (briefly).
This morning I decided I needed a haircut. I only have so much hair now, so recently I have been going to a convenient barber, that is near the coffee shop I visit sometimes. The benefit of a barber is you can usually not make an appointment, and can get a tidy up that suits my time frame rather than my hairdressers.
I used to go to hairdressers, but the event usually required a special trip, which added to the time needed. And often even with an appointment, I would be asked to wait. So, with the decreasing amount of hair, and less difference between a great haircut and a haircut – I decided to go to a barber shop.
And it was ok.
Anyway, this morning I went to the barber shop at Fairfield Shopping Centre. There was a sprout of hair on my head at a gawky angle – so I made a special trip (it is 5 mins away).
As I approach the barber shop, I see that the gate is still mostly across their shop, and the manager and apprentice are standing around chatting. “Great!” I think – I will be first. As I reach the gate the managers asks “Can I help you?”. I say “Yes, hi, I am in a hurry and would like a trim.”
“No, we are not open. We open at 9, and it is only 5 to 9. Can you come back in 5 minutes?”
“Um, No. I won’t. Good bye.” And left to walk to the hairdresser at the other end of the shopping centre.
Now this particular barber shop has cut my hair before twice. It takes only minutes to cut my hair, and on the previous occasion the junior employee did the job, and the time before that the manager did it.
Pretty riveting story, ay?
Now, about YOUR business. How certain are you that your team is not spilling clients out of your revenue by doing similar things? How is your standard greeting quality when your clients or customers visit? Do you have a PROCESS that brings a new customer into your herd by systematically encouraging the first three purchases?
Do you know the average lifetime value of your customers? Do you know that number for each of the categories of your business? If a barber shop customer is worth $700 over two years, how much is he worth if you keep him for four years? Or if you bribe him to bring his teenage son?
If you have not made these fundamental calculations – you are flying blind with your strategy. You cannot effectively budget for marketing. You are relying on intuition and luck. That can be ok for a while, but over time MATHS is what drives your profits. And the eventual value of your business when sold. (most businesses do not “sell”, they close.)
Education has the greatest leverage. Investment in learning is the most efficient way to change our lives and the world (for the better).
People choosing to invest in solar panels, inverters, storage and so on have a few fundamental things to understand before they can make a prudent decision. Because of the nature of the industry, you cannot always rely on the commission based sales people.
When purchasing anything – there are basically two groups. Those who believe they ARE ready to buy, and those who are GETTING READY. Sometimes those who believe they are ready – are just kidding themselves and would benefit from more of the actions that the GETTING READY crew take.
We will go into the significance of this for all business owners in a later post – because it can be the basis of making your entire marketing program 5 to 10 times more effective. In a nutshell:
“If you attempt to use NOW READY tactics on people who are only GETTING READY your conversion rate will be dismal.”
The example of this solar power company (who I recommend personally as being the most knowledgeable for the info you need, and trustworthy in terms of the value they deliver with solar power systems and storage) is that they know that it is different strokes for different levels of readiness. I love their course – it made my transition from GETTING READY to NOW READY short and enjoyable.
Just four words.
Deming spoke about the massive waste in the world due to our continued struggling under “wrong theory”. You know, like when your business is stuck – and your answer is to “work harder and longer”.
Just like talking louder and louder to people who do not understand your words.
My strength is in helping people move between levels. Check purpose and strategy at 30,000 feet, then deliver precise action at ground level, then review from 30.000 feet. Use power effectively.
A system cannot adjust itself, it must have external intervention. And the “power” of every system is determined by the process with which it is created.
Your coach can help you step outside, analyse, determine what to change, then step back in and move ahead.
This post is the replaced Summary on my LinkedIn Page. Join me there.
You will have heard the term “Cannot see the forest for the trees”.
For me, this means that it is very difficult to see the detail when looking at the big picture. And, it is very difficult to see the big picture when closely studying the detail.
Many business owners I meet are amazed with this simply analogy is applied to marketing and growth.
Consider – you have a brilliant strategy – you have nailed the big picture. It is clear and you can see precisely how the segments all fit together. You are ready to ROCK!
And then comes time to take action. The details that were not so clear in the big picture are not clear. What EXACTLY will our adverts say? When EXACTLY will we schedule our radio ads, or adwords spends or webinars or TV or ReLaunching Celebration?
We enter a state of marketing hell.
The other variation – which may be more common in our part of the world – is that we get deeply entranced in the DETAIL, without having the big picture even partially outlined.
This is where we organize the channels (media like radio, web, adwords, TV, press, instore colour schemes, and even the artwork on our vehicles – BEFORE we have established the VALUE content that is the message that will educate and attract our targeted groups.
There is a clear order in making your marketing work for you. And the biggest mistake made here in Townsville, or in any part of the world – is NOT getting the powerful content that will attract and retain your leads generated FIRST!
And then you can use this information while considering your ideal prospects – to choose the most potent, most predictable, most profitable methods to get that message out (ie the “media”).
A summary version of your Marketing Message might be your “elevator pitch”. Some people ignore this concept because they believe it is only of use in “networking” – and they don’t “do” networking so avoid the powerful thinking needed to create this tool.
The reality is that this tool is a short version of your marketing message. And it needs to be applied consistently to ALL your marketing efforts. Your website, for example, is lame and ineffective if you do not communicate your marekting message clearly.
For 99% of the sites I see in Townsville, you could easily just swap the names and contact details for you and your closest competition – and no one would even notice, not even YOUR team…
In the coming month, I am launching a new Marketing Business Development Course designed to first educate you on exactly WHAT to do, and guides you to take simple, step by step actions that gets that done for your business.
If is perfectly designed for businesses who have room for growth – who could double, triple or 10x their revenue without having to turn off the leads tap so they can build new systems so they can “keep up”.
You know that in business, the constraint to explosive growth is either in the marketing, or in the ability to deliver the product or service to your standards. You get really (too) busy, then you have to focus on building up capacity. Then you have extra capacity, and can turn up your marketing again. And over the top – is the need to remember that if you deliver poor quality experiences – your marketing is doomed anyway…
So – this new program is designed for micro, mini, small and medium businesses who at this time have the constraint of no growth.
I am still crafting the guarantee for this program – but it will be extreme. Right now my guarantee stands at
“With use of this program you will increase your revenue by 5 times it’s cost or get your money back or I work with you until you it does.”
The program will sell out – there are limited numbers available – because I am serious about the guarantee. I have set up levels that allow any business owner to participate – no matter how restricted your cashflow. In fact the first part of the education has the ability to focus first on getting some money in the bank quickly.
Please use the contact form (click here) to make initial contact.
Ps the process will be for you to make initial contact, then we will organize a 14 minute phone call to talk about it. There is no sales pressure, the aim of the call is to find out if you and your business suits this amazing program.
Attention Ambitious Townsville Business Owners
Are you ready? Ok.
First we are going to simplify exactly what you are doing. There are two components to your marketing:
When I ask Townsville business owners about their marketing plan – the answer is always about tactical marketing – “doing” websites, sending mail or email, running radio ads, all that stuff. (often depending on which media sales rep visited).
Here is your first COMMANDMENT: Master Strategic Marketing FIRST!
What you say in your marketing and how you say it – is usually far more important than the medium where you say it. And when your campaign BOMBS – there is a tendency to blame the tactical part of the plan eg media (radio, press, web, FB) rather than the strategy behind the marketing piece.
Once you get your marketing strategy planning skills out of the storage cupboard that is way down the back, past the perilous swamp, over the scary swinging rope bridge behind the door with the “Beware of the Leopard” sign – your business revenue will rocket.
There are some fundamentals that EVERY business can use to fire up a scramjet on their profits.
I was going to fully describe exactly what you need to know in detail, but I decided that unless you give this your full attention, and be fully committed to finding out how to stop wasting at least 90% of your marketing budget (if you even have one calculated) – you are just wasting your time. Go to Facebook and look at cats if that is what you are doing now. Don’t pretend you are “working” – unless you fully intend to apply this business revolution creating knowledge. Is that fair?
What I am going to give you here is a summary of points to get your brain out of neutral and into “turbo-profit mode”.
That is why people are so jaded with marketing, and resist it. Prospective buyers want and need to be educated so they can feel confident when making their purchase decision, and rarely do they receive this education.
The good news is that the first marketers to deliver this WINS very profitable customers.
When Your Marketing Is Done Wrong…
The end result is predictable – you start to feel INTENSE pricing pressure from your prospects and leads – and you usually have to cave, drop your prices, destroy your margins and make much less money. You get to spend more time at work. Yay…
2. If you are competing on price – it is your own fault. It means your lack of marketing strategy has given your prospects no other criteria to separate you from your competition. You have not educated, or guided with knowledge or info.
(Luckily I know how to fix this. I have a step-by-step system that will innovate and then strategically market your business. You become the obvious choice for your prospects to smile and say YES to.)
3. Even if you provide Super, Duper, Hooper-level service that unmatched in your market, and your customers smile widely every time they think of you – THAT DOES NOT MATTER TO YOUR PROSPECTS IF:
A. They do not know you exist as an option or
B. If they do see your marketing and advertising – your ability to market your business is so inept – that THEIR perception is that you are no different, no better, no worse than your competitors.
I believe that over 9 out of 10 businesses are in this “inept” marketers category created by the tidal wave of ignorance of the fundamentals. Dan Kennedy shares the idea of “Do the opposite” based on this statistic. If 90% of the operators in YOUR marketplace are ignorantly inept marketing – then just by NOT doing what they do you are in a better lane on the business highway.
If you can learn the process to make your marking strategic – you get to create a pipeline that delivers eager, qualified prospects into your funnel.
More Bad News…
Right now is the time to change your marketing thinking – the internet has made your marketing ignorance even worse. Everyone is focusing on wasting their time and money going nuts for online marketing. Splashing money around on adwords and social marketing?
And this makes decent sense because prospects these days usually begin their buying process by researching online.
And thousands of Townsville businesses are “investing” to get leads from Adwords or FB to come to their websites. And when they get to these sites – they see the same rubbish marketing they used to see in brochures before the interweb existed. “Service, Quality, Price”, “Commercial, Industrial, Domestic”. And your new lead just goes back to the Google Search and picks the next choice… (This is called “bounce rate” – it is people who visit and then just bounce away. Google knows your bounce rate – and charges you more per click if it is high.) So you lose the lead, AND pay more.
And if you even look at your bounce rate – it is likely you look at tactical ways to get more “qualified” visitors. Rather than notice it is your low converting “Lame” website that is the real problem.
The internet for most is simply another medium to stuff up their marketing with bland messages. If you are going to fix your website – the only way to do fix your strategic messaging that we spoke about above.
That is enough for today, but with one last little drill to tighten your thinking.
If you now take your website, and the website of your closest competitor – and you changed the business names on the pages – would a new prospect know who was who?
Note: I have an educational program that you can use become a strategic marketer and learn how to rake in the gigantic piles of cash that you used to dream about…
And then the nice looking sales rep from the local radio station “drops in”. They have an “incredible” deal on a 12 month package – that seems “perfect for your business” according to the rep.
It is only $2,000 per month, and has spots on the most popular shows. So – how do you decide what to do?
Firstly – it is evident that your “marketing plan” needs some attention. Because you think you need more leads, and because you think it is fate that a wandering sales rep has a “nice” package. If your marketing plan was in place you would already know what works best for your business – and do more of that.
Secondly – selection of marketing tactics based on “rep visit” is very high risk. Your choice of what choice will depend to a great deal on your own marketing education, and in some cases “mis-education”.
Most of what is taught to business owners is simply wrong, and will not predictably work well.
To illustrate this – let’s pretend you have a budget of $2,000 per month to “grow your business”…
And with that money you MUST get great results or a nasty man will come with a giant Bowie knife and chops bits off you. (ie – you HAVE to make it work!)
From that perspective – will you review everything you have been told about getting new business? You can “gamble” to one degree or another.
Me – I like to minimise the risk of any marketing not paying for itself. I know that the probability of different tactics working – varies immensely.
So – I would consider that getting a 10% increase in my average sale value (the total of sales divided by the number of sales events) has the same impact on my bottom line as 10% increase in the number of customers.
Or that if I can get my current customers to come back to my business just 10% more often – that has the same impact as well.
I might even consider that many people come to my business, get a price or quote, and then buy from somewhere else. If I can increase that “conversion rate” – it also helps with my sales.
The point is – each of the three tactics just mentioned are much more predictable ways to increase your profits – if you already have customers. And you can do it (in many cases) for free!
Some finer tactics include contacting your old customers and “resurrecting” them with a great offer and a good reason for them to return. (I call them Zombies – and just contacting them will often bring them back to life.)
Lead Generation Has Many Components To Master
I know about 130 different ways to increase your sales and profits off the top of my head. But the category which requires the most clear thinking, creative writing of emotional copy, and precision in scheduling and testing – is lead generation!
With a gun to my head – I would look to other strategies first.
And at the same time – I would begin to create and test lead generation activities to discover what works – and I would know because I would ensure it was measurable.
With $2,000 per month available – you could do radio. Or you could put that cash in to a referral system. Eg Refer a person to my business this month to go into the draw for “something”. Perhaps $1,000 cash? An accommodation deal that costs you $500 that is valued at $2500? Or simply buy 2 cars with your $24,000 and use them to get your current customers to buy more…
Or any number of different approaches.
And how do you know which approach is best for your business? Well – it depends…
This post was just to get it into your head that you have many different choices available, and they all have different probabilities of success. STOP doing your marketing based on what rep walks into your business. Get a marketing plan so you know all your marketing events for the coming year.
Or contact me for a Marketing Audit. It may be the difference between you getting really rich from your business, or not.
☁ Instant Improvement Tip ☁ November 2015
☛☛☛ Basic Fractals To Rock Your Business Life…
Sitting on a plane this week, some wave of bizarre-dom rolled in and I found myself in a discussion about fractals, strategic business development and the role of progesterone in slowing the aging process. Yep. And before your eyes glaze over and you slip into a coma – how this turns out may surprise you…
Usually I use “plane” time to smash some concepts together and get some different ideas. For some reason travelling at height softens my resistance to new thoughts. Anyway – the process is called “mashing” – and it is a bit like when musicians “mash” 2 or 3 different songs to make a new one…
So – there I was manically shuffling my index cards and making notes in my ideas books, and I notice the woman next me is kind of doing the same thing. That is different – hardly ever happens.
Conversation ensues and for some reason my mission of ‘making complex things simple to follow’ comes up while talking about her corporate strategic planning process. She says “I hated physics at school and uni – fractals are wasted on me…”
A red flag to a bull perhaps – but fractals are intrinsically useful, and are about maths!
One way to understand part of fractals is that part of it is about positive feedback loops, that feed back on the new versions, over and over. Eyes glazed over!
So – a long time ago, there was a slight indentation in some land in Nevada. Because of the indentation, when it rained water first sat in the indentation and then ran a little. The flow of the water caused the indentation to become a little deeper (positive feedback) – and because it was a little deeper, MORE water came into this gully. This extra water made the little gully deeper again – making it more attractive for more water to enter with the next rain. That is a positive feedback loop. And each rainfall is called an “iteration”.
A fractal is simply a process that continually works again and again ON it’s output. In this example the increasingly deeper gully – eventually became the Grand Canyon.
Oh – that kind of makes sense, she says. Cool.
And then conversation moves to Deming ( you know – the statistician/consultant who helped Japan become a manufacturing superpower). It moved to Deming because we spoke of processes and systems (fractal!), and Deming was HUGE on ensuring that the FIRST parts of the processes were correctly set up (to three levels deep).
Deming maintained that up to 85% of the value generated in a process was determined by the accurate and decisive planning of the first 15% of the process (again 3 levels deep).
For the Grand Canyon – right at the very beginning – the slope of the ground had to be right or there would be no positive feedback to feed the fractal. If the slope was not set up properly – there would be no Grand Canyon like the current one.
This led to discussion about the general confusion in the world about the “missions, visions, values and so on” that must exist BEFORE an organization can generate an effective strategic plan. Unless you know the purpose of a system – and what it will >>ideally<< produce – you cannot design the drive mechanisms that will create those outcomes.
In the corporate world the leaders often do not even have a common vocabulary – so they do not even have the same definitions of visions and mission statement.
As part of this discussion the term BHAG rose – which was new to her – but possibly might be the key to getting a far better result from her “Strategy Session” the next day.
A BHAG is a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”. The term was coined by Jim Collins – and in my planning process, the BHAG is a goal that would indicate HUGE levels of success in a timeframe 10 to 20 years out. From your BHAG, you can then more effectively generate 3 to 5 year milestones, strategies, focus points and key numbers. Then from your 3 -5 year clarity – you can complete your 1 year program of priorities. And down the chain to your Quarterly priorities, key numbers and focus.
And only then can you generate weekly and daily schedules for each division or department or person that can guide them congruently and with inherent accountability.
This “plane” discussion happened only in a 40 minute period as we commuted from Mackay to Townsville – it was just a little dense and condensed!
And how did we get to progesterone?
Simple. We both had backgrounds in both science and business. And the overlay of science (fractals, processes, positive feedback loops) made the insights to business far more simply explainable. Our bodies are the result of the interaction of dozens of different systems – and the outcome is strongly affected by the environment the systems operate in. Same as in business – which is why simple things like lean manufacturing and 5S can radically transform both the appearance of a business and its success levels.
Our bodies (both male and female) essentially have a balance of many different hormones. Two of the most misunderstood are Estrogen and Progesterone. Despite what you likely believe – these are not just “sex” hormones. Male and female require both of them, and importantly they are ANTAGONISTIC. This means they cancel out each others effects.
As we age, both male and female produce LESS progesterone. This means we become ESTROGEN DOMINANT. In men this means that not only do we get the inflammatory effects of too much estrogen (swelling, autoimmune disease), but we also get “man-boobs”. PLUS – the excess estrogen stuffs up our also decreasing supply of testosterone – making us less manly!
In women, the estrogen dominance can have a lot of symptoms from menopausal to a wide variety of other inflammatory disease.
I mention this here because this post is about systems. If a variable is wrong at the beginning of a process – it has massive effects on the outcomes. And the outcomes then change the environment to allow the error to iterate repeatedly until all other systems must adapt to try to keep us (or our businesses) alive.
In our bodies, an estrogen dominance will result in us getting fat, our blood pressure goes up, our arteries get clogged, our limbs swelling, our brains become foggy, our energy systems function less efficiently which changes our chemical systems which feedback and affect our other hormones. If we try to lose weight – we are trying to make alterations DOWNSTREAM of the unbalanced variable. We can take blood pressure tablets – but we are DOWNSTREAM again.
In our businesses we can do some TV adverts to try to overcome falling sales, or renew our stationery and signage, or get some sales training or increase our adwords spending. BUT – if the unbalanced variable is in your vision and mission statement not matching your environment – then all those changes are also DOWNSTREAM.
In essence, things that are at the beginning of a process that iterates are the difference between a little creek and the Grand Canyon.
I really do enjoy science and business MASH-UPs!!
Ps if you believe you have estrogen dominance – there are steps you can take. One is to reduce your own production of estrogen – which is affected by your diet. There other is to take supplemental progesterone. This is for both men and women. There is strong evidence that progesterone shortage in men may be a major factor in the epidemic of prostate misery that is sweeping the world. Progesterone is cheap as it is not protected by patents – and can be bought over the counter as a skin cream. Be sure to get your levels checked before you do anything )- just as you would review your business before making radical changes.) When you change an environmental variable it has more fractal power!
Thanks for still being with us. And for opening and reading these Bites. This week has a tool that is guaranteed to change your world.
You are really busy these days, right?
And everyone wants a piece of your time. There is always more to do. Something to be finished, or started. So many things to think about and remember…
What if there was a way to create a whole bunch of new energy, time and potency (what a great word!) – in your day?
A way that was free, could be applied any time, and could be repeated any time you like?
Oh God. “Another fricking time management process!” I hear your mind yell out. That wont work. The last dozen didn’t…
But this is not about time management.
“Oh – well what is it then? Goal setting?” Nope.
“Focus?” Nope. “Priority management?” Nope.
“All right, I give up. What?
Well, before I get to that, I want to tell you a story about computers. And it will make massive sense soon...
You know how in computers – sometimes they get so full of data in short term memory that they just “freeze”?
It is called RAM [Random Access Memory]. And if you turn on too many different programs at once – you use it all up – and the computer dies. Then when you turn it off and back on again – that clears all the RAM so it can be used again – and the computer works. (Yay!)
Yeah, yeah, I know..
You already know what I am going to say. You think I am going to say that your mind is like the RAM on a computer – and that we should just do one thing at a time – or something like that. Right?
Almost. What I am saying is to consider all those other little programs that start themselves up when you turn on your computer. You know – the reason why it take so long for the bloody thing to start? They check for updates, create buzzing noises and they also put little logos on the bottom of the screen that no one actually knows are for but are not game to cancel – you know them.
Well – those little “background programs” don’t usually do anything at all to make your computer more productive – and they take up chunks of RAM – and they actually slow your main tasks down.
And – if you now consider that our brains have a kind of RAM that they use to “do” our thinking – then you will start to get a sniff of what I am saying.
And here it is. There is a horde of attention “leeches” that live in your head. They consist of lists. Lists of things that you must, should and would like to remember. Things that are not written anywhere easy to find – so you keep them in the forefront of your brain.
Remember the milk. The address of the new house. The days that Sally is away and you need to organize a replacement for her. Call Steve today between 2 and 3pm. That great idea for an article. Get fuel for the BMW. Undivert the phone. Transfer cash to the tax account. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Now – while keeping all those things in your mind – start your actual “work”. Create that proposal – or whatever you do. The amazing thing is that you CAN actually do some work – with all those lists still intact. A bit like juggling three balls and saying the alphabet backwards. Our brains are awesome!
And the business building, life changing, [SUPER BITE] from awesome James is?
Take One Pencil Daily – With Coffee (if you want)
Before you start the day, take a piece of paper (or type if you need the practice) – and simply write all that stuff in your head down. Yep. Get the list/s out of your head and onto some paper.
It is like turning off all the little vampire leech programs that run on your computer. Your computer runs faster, better and wont crash. Your brain is the same. Writing it all down – frees up your mental RAM.
This is first part of what I sometimes call “James’s Amazing, Life Changing, One Page, Productivity Multiplying, Goal Obliterating Yet Blindingly Simple in Hindsight Guaranteed (if you do it) Success System” (TM Pending!). My clients know about it. It works 100% of the time when clients commit to it. And now you have the first step to this system.
But for starters – do just this step once per day in the morning – and feel the boost in your productivity (and confidence) instantly. You can do it after lunch as well. Imagine what might happen in your business if your own productivity increased even 10%? Start with yourself – share later when you see results. [Send me an email with your results and insights!]
Next Bite I will show you how to supercharge this effect with another part of the system. You wont believe how simple and powerful it is. I will also add a list of ways to get FAST CASH into your business.
Another BITE about this effect is to consider that 99% of the people you meet have these lists sucking their brainpower as well. No wonder people often appear like zombies as the marketing world smashes message after message at them.
This is why we need to get ATTENTION before we start to communicate with them.
They wander around, eyes glazed, mumbling silently “Remember the milk, charge the iphone, the car needs 10W40 oil not 20W40…” We have to INTERRUPT their chant before we can ENGAGE with them.
Expect more from yourself,
Ps Have you been to joined our Members List and downloaded the Cashflow Forecasting Tool and the Impact of Price Increases & Discounts Effect Tool yet?
Pps have you forwarded any BITES to your friends yet? Remember it is part of the deal – – and send it to everyone who needs some more productivity… (Or any Zombies you know…)
☛☛☛ Do The Opposite of The People That Fail…
Welcome to March. You are almost one quarter through your year – and if your starting activity has been a little lame – there is still time to recover and have the best year ever. But start now.
Yeah, sure James. Start doing what exactly?
Well, maybe just start with the obvious. You know that about 95% of businesses fail, right. Most in their early years. Then more in their later years. Some truly achieve, and others are only still open because of either the obstinacy or the cash resources of the owners.
Well, in any industry – statistically – most of the businesses are either going to fail, or at least fail to thrive. And therefore…
Therefore if you do what the herd is doing – you are in the group where 95% fail. So don’t do that.
Look at other industries – see what they do that your industry does not do to get more business. Get some “hybrid vigour” happening. Cross pollinate. But DON’T be the guys that are driven by “expected” margins or “industry averages” or “norms”. Because most of your industry competitors will not be around all that long…
Yes – it really is March. And if you are like the majority of your industry – whichever that is – chances are that you have wasted months paddling around in circles because your strategic plan is either “do the same as last year”, or that making your plan is “one of those things you meant to do”?
You do have a strategic plan? Right?
Perhaps a 1-page version like I use? That includes all the important elements, timeframes from 20 years to 90 days, includes the big rock actions and who is responsible for them? Used daily and updated each quarter? No? Better call me then, and be prepared for more progress than you have made in years.
Oh – I wonder what percentage “un-thriving” businesses have one of my strategic plans? And if you have thrived without one? Dude! Think about the concept of “turbo”.