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6 Things I Would Do Differently


Expert Author Azizi Ali
A participant in a talk that I gave recently asked an interesting question during the Q&A session: Now that I know what I know, would have I done things differently? And if yes, what are they?
Those of you who have read my books will know that I made many mistakes, particularly when it came to money, in my younger days. So, unlike the people who proudly claim that they would not change a thing about their lives, I have plenty of things that I would change if I had the opportunity. There are also plenty of words I wouldn't have said and plenty of actions I would have done differently.
The following are six things that I would have done differently:

1. I would read more self-help books earlier
I did not read self-help books until I was in my mid-20s because I did not know such a genre existed. No one I knew read them or even spoke about them. So although I loved to read, the idea that I could use them to improve myself did not cross my mind. At that time, I read for entertainment - basically novels, fiction and comics.
However, once I discovered self-help books, my whole world was turned. It was like a light being turned on in my life. As a result of reading those books, I became a better investor and entrepreneur. I also became healthier, happier and more fulfilled.
I now know that you must read self-help books. The reason is because (1) the education system do not teach you everything (2) parents and elders do not know everything either. So, you have to read these books to complement the formal education bit.

2. I would stop listening to non-experts
I used to ask people about money matters before, thinking that they would help point me in the right direction. Unfortunately, their advice often led me astray. While I'm sure that many of them meant well, their advice took me south of where I wanted to go.
Now that I know what I know, I stopped asking or listening to non-experts. In fact, I refuse to even listen to them giving opinions! The truth is that people always have opinions about everything. And when that something involves money, they will have even more opinions about it. Even when they are broke, bankrupt or being hounded by loan sharks, they still have strong opinions (though incorrect) about money.
So I would only listen to experts, which means paying them money for their expertise. I find this to be a better, more efficient and effective way of getting results.

3. I would learn about finances earlier
As the quality of my life is very much dependent of the amount of money that I have, I want to have a lot of money. And as the amount of money that I have is directly related to financial education, I want to know as much as I can about it. So I would read as many financial books as I can, I would attend more talks and seminars and I would learn from true experts.

4. I would have saved money earlier
I was busy enjoying myself as a young man. So I spent a lot of money on entertainment which meant I had very little money left over for investments for the first four years of my working life. This meant I gave up four years of investments which equaled throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not very nice.
So while I would still go out and party, I would also save part of my income and invest my money earlier.

5. I would spend time improving my human relation skills
I did not realize the critical importance of human relations in my younger days.
I thought that other people were as objective as me. So I gave straight answers and told things as they were, thinking it would be better than beating around the bush. As a result of this brashness, I occasionally winded up annoying some people.
Today, I never tell people that they are wrong - even when they are wrong! I keep my mouth shut, leave them alone and let them discover the error for themselves.
As politically incorrect that may read, I wish I had done this years ago for it would have saved everyone a lot of uncomfortable moments.

6. I would learn how to sell earlier
I did not realize the importance of being a master salesman until in my 30s. I thought that my knowledge, experience, hard work and brilliance would be enough to dazzle everyone and customers would beat the door down to seek my products and services. I was wrong. So as a result, I did poorly in my early days as an entrepreneur.
It was only after I learned how to become a better salesman that my income shot up.
So I would learn how to become a great salesman as soon as I can.
Oh by the way, and to make things clear, these things are the ones that I would have done differently if I were to start my career all over again. I'm happy to report that I've been doing them for the past 15 years. As they are bringing the desired results, I would not change a thing about them now.
Azizi Ali is Malaysia's premier writer, speaker and coach on money matters. He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and holds an MBA from University of Bath, UK.
Log on to http://www.beahappymillionaire.com to find out more about Azizi and how he can help you lead happier prosperous lives.


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