Deliberate Practice: Your Key to Mastery

Deliberate practice is a skill that allows you to make the most of your time. It’s a path to mastery that we all can follow.And yet, it may come as news to many… as it did for Performance Psychologist Noa Kageyama, Ph.D., who’s written an excellent essay titled “The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned from Playing the Violin.” He shares his experience as an aspiring violinist and his interest in learning how much he needed to practice in order to become a master of his craft.You’ve all heard the expression “Practice makes perfect.” There is truth to this, as repetition trains the body and mind, transforming the new and unfamiliar into something known – something you can do in your sleep. But do you really want to be doing things in your sleep? Is rote repetition truly the way to go?


Here’s what Dr. Kageyama learned as he searched for the answer to his guilt-provoking childhood question, “Am I practicing enough?”…I scoured books and interviews with great artists, looking for a consensus on practice time that would ease my conscience. I read an interview with Rubinstein, in which he stated that nobody should have to practice more than four hours a day. He explained that if you needed that much time, you probably weren’t doing it right.And then there was violinist Nathan Milstein who once asked his teacher Leopold Auer how many hours a day he should be practicing. Auer responded by saying “Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 1/2 hours.”Deliberate Practice: It’s About Focus… But More
In order to engage in deliberate practice and move toward mastery, finding focus is vital. But I would argue that it takes something more.It takes a quality of attention that brings your presence as fully and completely as possible to your practice. This quality I would call Mindfulness.Deliberate, mindful practice is efficient and effective. The irony is, however, that in order to do it, you need to even put the benefits out of your mind and simply bring yourself fully into the moment. Whatever is a barrier – worries, resistance, distractions, even goals – is set aside and you are simply present to what you are doing.


This is mindful and deliberate practice, and you reap powerful rewards when you engage in it.Mindless practice is the opposite and has the opposite effect, eating up lots of your time and fielding few benefits (and sometimes even leaving you worse off). When you engage in any activity mindlessly you are that much more likely to make mistakes; and when you are repeating those mistakes in mindless practice, you are developing unhelpful habits.So, if you are looking to learn a skill, how do you go about it?I highly recommend mindful, deliberate practice as a powerful path to finding time and finding mastery.

Strategies To Position Yourself As An Expert, Create Wealth And Fame Through Book Writing

Introduction
Books represent one of the most lucrative products you can develop to position yourself as an expert both on and offline, more so, online. Your book can get to the White House, Kremlin or Buckingham Palace, some of the most secured places in the planet, which you may not be able to get to. But a book is a low value product, selling at about $10 to $20 so you need to sell thousands of books to really make money. Here I’m talking about really good books, well researched and written with a good storyline. An average book rarely sells more than a few thousand copies so you need to put in your best effort to ensure your book makes it to the best seller list. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

There are many schools of thought on how one should approach the issue of book writing. Should you write a book after you have achieved fame or write a book to achieve fame? I believe it’s an egg and chicken story. I strongly believe any person who has a story to tell should write a book to bring his or her story alive. Fame is secondary but it may as well follow if you pursue the right strategies before, during and after your book is published.

A book should be at the centre of your strategy to becoming an expert. With your book, you can launch courses, mount seminars, join the speaking circuit as a motivational speaker, turn your book into a film, turn it into several formats like eBook, and audio book. So writing a book is very pivotal to your quest to building an expert empire. Indeed the easiest, fastest and boldest way to position yourself as an expert is to write a book. If you look closely, the fame legendary personalities such as Tom Peters, Simon Sinek, and Peter Diamandis, to mention just three, have achieved was aided by their books. Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence (written with Bob Waterman) propelled him to stardom. So did Start With Why and Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Simon Sinek and Peter Diamandis respectively.

Why You Should Write a Book
As I indicated above, you don’t write a book to achieve fame. If you do it well, fame will come. You write a book to share a compelling message. John Kremer is a well known authority in the book business. He is the author of the best-selling book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. Here are his top 10 reasons why you should write a book:
1. Become an expert
2. Support a cause
3. Share a message
4. Change lives
5. Attract better customers
6. Build your list
7. Establish an institute
8. Build a tribe
9. Create wealth
10. Sell rights

There is no feeling more exhilarating than stumbling on the world’s most iconic airports, libraries, shops and websites and finding your book displayed alongside those of the planet’s most revered authors like Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss. Books capture our imagination. Emily Dickinson said “there is no frigate like a book”, and an unknown author said, “if you drop a book and three pounds of gold, pick the book first before the gold”, while Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “of all the things in this world, only two will have the greatest impact on your life, the books you read, and the people you meet.” Nothing else comes close to giving you inner peace and satisfaction that exceeds all understanding than a book. So get up and start writing your first book.

Writing Your Book
A book is basically a story about yourself, others, events, phenomena, situations and the like that you pick up the threads and convey to others in the most poignant way that instructs, informs, motivates, inspires, entertains and educates. A book is at the intersection of ideas, information and knowledge packaged as a story. You package your story by exploring questions such as the following, first suggested by Brendon Burchard, the best-selling author of several books, including The Charge, Life Golden Tickets, and The Millionaire Messenger:
• Who are you and what have you been through in life that others can relate to in their own life?”
• What have you overcome and how?
• What did you figure out along the way?
• What did you succeed at-what results did you get?
• What are you going to teach me that I can apply now to make my life better?

Arising from the above questions, Brendon suggests asking secondary questions that will enable you flesh out your ideas, such as:
• A story of struggle from my past that my audience might relate to is…
• Something I have overcome in my life that others might find inspiring or feel a connection with is…
• The main lessons I have learned from my journey include…
• Accomplishments and affiliations I have in my life that help further my credibility include…
• Lessons I can teach people that will help them in my topic area and their life situation include…

Your Keys to Success
John Locke, who sold 1 million eBooks within five months and then wrote a book about it suggests the following:
1. Have a plan
2. Know your target audience
3. Take a business approach
4. Use the right tools and use them properly

The Three Ps That Bring Your Plan Alive
According to Brendon Burchard, one of the top 100 most followed online trainers on Facebook, you need the following – without going into details:
• Positioning
• Packaging
• Promotion

Three Cs That Show You Are Out There Only For Your Audience
Brendon further recommends the following, again without going into details:
• Care
• Compassion
• Consistency

The Six Simple Steps to Writing Your Book
In my interaction with friends, BWC (Book Writing Clinic – which I founded) alumni members and a host of others, the top question that usually crops up is “where do I start?” Briefly you can follow this seven-step sequence:
• Step 1: Decide What You Wish To Write About
• Step 2: Decide The Title & Sub-title of your Book
• Step 3: Decide The Content
• Step 4: Research Your Book
• Step 5: Decide Who Will Write The Book
• Step 6: Write, Proof Read & Edit Your Book
• Step 7: Publish & Release Your Book To The World

The Six Sections of a Typical Book
A typical book will have the following sections but note that nothing is caste on stone:
1. Acknowledgement
2. Introduction
3. Foreword
4. Preface
5. Contents
6. Index

Six Simple Steps to Structuring the Book or the main contents
According to information from BWC alumni members, this is the section most would be authors struggle the most with. Indeed, other than a book, you can use this approach for any product. If you’re a beginner, it requires limiting your book to five or seven chapters. This is how it’s done. Pick a notebook and divide it into five or seven sections (corresponding to the number of chapters you wish to write) and write the section or chapter headings and then follow that up with the five points you wish to make per chapter. Then begin writing. As a beginner, it’s important you don’t stretch beyond five major points per chapter to avoid repeating yourself. If you follow the sequence above, your notebook will look something like this:
Chapter 1: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 2: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 3: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 4: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 5: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.

The Three-Step Formula To Writing Each Chapter and sub-headings
This is nothing more than the basic tool we use in every conceivable endeavour to generate ideas, which goes by the fearful name brainstorming. Brainstorming is a simple process for thinking about, listing ideas and grouping similar ideas together into buckets. This is how it is done:

Step 1: Draw a circle and write the main idea you wish to brainstorm on in the center of the circle, example, “how to cook mouthwatering coconut rice.”

Step 2: Write or list everything you know about coconut rice, with each idea sticking out from the circumference of the circle as legs. For coconut rice for instance, it will include rice, coconut, fish, and so on.

Step 3: Start brainstorming.

In reality, 5 – 7 people should participate in a typical brainstorming exercise. Follow brainstorming rules, which I suppose you know. If you don’t know read it up. Typically, avoid criticizing any idea, just keep bringing out the ideas no matter how outlandish. At this point we are looking at quantity, not the quality of ideas. The rule is, the more the ideas the better. After you have exhausted all the ideas, start eliminating repeated, unworkable and impracticable ideas, and then group related ideas into buckets. With your brainstormed ideas at hand, you’re ready to write your first book.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Becoming an Expert Author
Book writing is a creative endeavour so the tendency as a beginner is to start doubting yourself. You start asking, what credentials do I have? You start fearing that people will laugh at you when your book comes at. My advice is to think of the opposites. Think of the applause you’ll get. Think of the new opportunities that will open up for you. Brendon Burchard, the founder of the now defunct Expert Industry Association, has the following advice for new writers trying to hammer out their first book. He says, don’t:
1. Let your inner critic take over.
2. Fail to keep your readers engaged.
3. Write and edit at the same time.
4. Forget to track your results.
5. Add too much irrelevant details.
6. Publish before you’re ready.
7. Stop learning when you know enough.

The Fastest Way to Get Your Book Published
As a beginner, your chances of landing an agent and getting you book published by one of the top three global publishers are slim. However, you can enlist Amazon’s vast resources to release your book to a global audience by using one or all of the following:
• Amazon Create Space (for physical books)
• Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) (for eBooks)
• Amazon ACX (for audio books)

Publish on Demand Service Providers Other Than Amazon
Other than Amazon, the following independent publishers will gladly publish your book for as low as $500 depending on the contract you choose:
• Author House
• Greenleaf Book Group Press
• Telemachus Press
• Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
• Trafford

Formats to Consider Other Than the Physical Book
To gain enough traction, you need to publish your book in a format that people can access anywhere in the world. Without going into details, here are the main formats:
• PDF
• Epub
• Mobi (Kindle)
• Audio Books
• Book Turned Into A Movie

Pricing Your Book
Pricing is one of the most difficult and tricky aspects of selling books. Book prices range from 99cents for eBooks to $25 for hard covers, with the average for paper backs being about $10. While the default price for Amazon eBooks is $2.99, on your website you can sell at any price, indeed, for as low as 99cents. As a self published author you control how you price your book but as a general rule of thumb, the cheaper your book, the more you’ll sell. Unless you have deep pockets and a huge marketing machinery to engage in massive promotion, my best advice is to price your book at a single digit.

Platforms to Market Your Book
Here are the platforms in order of accessibility and control for selling eBooks and audio books:
• Your website
• Amazon
• Audible
• Lulu
• Indie Books
• Goodreads
• CD Baby
• Sound Cloud
• iTunes

Your Book Marketing Strategies
If you recall, under the keys to success, we quoted John Locke as recommending, have a plan, know your target audience, take a business approach and use the right tools and use them properly. We also mentioned the three Ps that bring your plan alive as positioning, packaging and promotion. If you did you job well at the beginning, you’ll reap bountiful dividends. Your blog and your website should be the command posts or home bases to bring your book marketing strategies alive. The subsidiary channels will be your Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, LinkedIn Page, YouTube and Vimeo channels. All the channels should work to drive prospects to your website to buy your book and position you as an authority and an expert in your own neck of the wood.

Jeremy Jones in a blog post “How to Write and Publish a Book to Become a Bestselling Author in Less than 30 Days”, wrote, “Writing a book is the most powerful way imaginable to market and promote yourself. The big picture is that you can rapidly create content and be seen, read, and heard on any Internet-capable device anywhere in the world and be promoted by the biggest brands in the world, namely iTunes, Amazon, and Google.” Jeremy suggests:
1. Create your content only once by answering questions in the form of a livecast.
2. Capture the video and promote it through Google Hangouts or YouTube Live.
3. Take the same content and repurpose it into a podcast and post it on iTunes.
4. Take the same content and convert it into a book cast.

Conclusion
Start writing to impact the world. Tell the world your story today, tomorrow may be too late. What I have said may seem daunting for a beginner but it’s not. That’s why you need help. The specific or exact steps to execute the strategies and ideas I have highlighted are sadly outside the scope of this article. If you wish to learn more, enlist in my Expert Empire Program, Book Writing Clinic or book a direct coaching session with me and you will be on your way to writing your first book, which may become a New York Times best-seller. You will never know until you take the first bold step to write your book. Paul Sweeney once said, “you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

Cleaning Out The Clutter – 7 Steps To Sell Or Donate Used Books

It’s a good feeling to get your house cleaned up and the clutter removed, disposing of things you don’t need or don’t use any longer. And books — those dusty relics taking up space on your bookshelves or squirreled away in boxes in the attic — often become the target of most house de-cluttering campaigns. How long has it been that you’ve read that book? Do you really need it any longer? Why not get rid of it?

But, before you haul those used books off to the dump, take a little time learning about how to sell or donate used books to help local charities raise money, to recycle resources, and even earn some extra cash for your family.

Used books are hot sellers online. Websites like Amazon.com, eBay.com and CraigsList.org are filled with listings of used books. Some popular titles are no longer in print, so their value keeps skyrocketing. Some niche titles are collectible or hard-to-find. Some titles contain in-depth ‘how-to’ information people are searching for online. And, some titles simply help people save money by buying used over pricier new books.

In any case, take the time to follow these 7 steps to check typical pricing of used books before you dispose of them.

Step 1 – Gather your books you want to get rid of in one space, preferably one that has a large table for your to work. Your dining room table will do just fine.

Step 2 – Separate out fiction from non-fiction. The best titles to sell online are non-fiction, ‘how-to’ titles.

Step 3 – Sort the fiction titles into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put early or first editions of famous writers like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. In the “Yard Sale” box, I would put popular fiction by authors like Dan Brown, Nora Roberts, Stephen King or Sandra Brown, plus anything from book clubs, slightly damaged books, recipe and cooking books, weight loss books and the stacks of magazines you want to get rid of fast.

Step 4 – Sort the non-fiction into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put biographies, history, how-to, pet, religious, UFO alien and crop circle books (big sellers!), relationship books, travel books, homeschooling topics, and any other books which look to be of a limited press run or contain unique content. Sometimes even small booklets on health topics sell very well online. In the “Yard Sale” box, put in Time-Life, Rodale Press, or Reader’s Digest books (these seldom sell online for enough to cover your shipping costs), books that are heavily marked up with writing or highlighting, outdated college textbooks, and heavily used children’s books, dictionaries, or self-help reference books.

Any damaged books, moldy books, or those titles that have torn, crinkled covers or are missing pages, throw them away now.

Step 5 – Sit down in front of your computer. Log onto Amazon.com with your “Keep” box on one side of you, and your “Yard Sale” box on the other side of your chair. Take the first book from the “Keep” box and set it next to your computer keyboard, face down. Somewhere on the back cover you should see an ISBN (“ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number,” which since the mid-1960s has helped the publishing industry keep track of millions of books).

Type that book’s unique 10-digit (sometimes a 13-digit) ISBN into the search bar at the top of the Amazon.com webpage. If you cannot locate the ISBN on the back cover or on the book publisher info page, then simply type in the title of the book, as you might very well find it that way too. Scan through the results until you find the book that matches the front cover of your book.

Now, click on the image or the book title, find the correct format (hardcover or paperback) and then select “Used” pricing. Your used book results page should deliver several pages of book listings for sale right now.

Don’t be surprised if the first few books are priced a $.01. Scroll down the page. If by the 5th or 6th listing you start to see pricing rise up to $6, $7, $10 dollars, keep it and list it for sale later. You’ll earn anywhere from $3 to $7 each when these sell. If you see the first two pages containing nothing but $.01 books, then place your book in the “Yard Sale” box to the side of your chair. Click back to the Amazon homepage. Pick up the next book. Repeat until you’re finished.

Step 6 – When you’re done, your “Keep” box stack will be quite small compared with your “Yard Sale” boxes (yes, you will have more than one by now!). Pack those boxes tightly, tape them up well with packing tape, and store them in a closet or corner of a room in your home that is dry, out of the sun, and has low humidity. When springtime comes and you hold a big yard sale to dispose of unwanted items, unpack all your “Yard Sale” fiction and non-fiction book boxes, set them out on a long table, spine facing up, and sell them for 25 cents to $1 each. On the final day of your sale, offer up a “bag sale” — that is, let people stuff a shopping bag full of books into a bag for $2. You’ll be amazed how many books will fly off that table!

Step 7 – When the yard sale is done, take the remaining fiction and non-fiction books to your favorite local non-profit thrift store or church charity shop to donate them. These old books often have a long lifespan, kept alive by browsers who frequent these stores looking for bargains and wanting to help support the non-profit. Ask the store manager if you can get a donation tax receipt before the books get unloaded. I have done this in the past, and I’ve gotten a generous tax deduction on books I would otherwise have had to haul off to the recycling center. Remember first to dispose of any soiled, moldy books, otherwise you’ll be burdening the charity shop instead of helping them.

Now, somewhere in the steps between when you checked the online price for your used books and you haul the unwanted old books off the charity shop, you’ll want to keep busy in your spare time by listing the books left over in your “Keep” boxes at online websites to raise extra cash.

I recommend listing on the Amazon Marketplace, then expand to other websites if you need to. Start slow, learning how the system works, and price your books competitively to move them quickly.

By considering the sales rank of your book, you’ll have a fairly decent idea of how quickly it will sell. If it is in the top 100,000 of Amazon sales, it should sell within 1-3 months. If a title is selling used for $7.50, price yours at $6.99. If a title is selling used at $20 or more, drop yours to $12-$15 for a quick sale.

My advice is that you not list your “Keep” books at less than $5.99, as you won’t earn much more than $2 each, and you’ll be running yourself ragged running back and forth to the Post Office. Likewise, I would not bother posting a book that has a sales rank above 5 million, as this book likely will add to your clutter forever, instead of leaving your home more open and less crowded — your ultimate goal in your home improvement housecleaning exercise in the first place.