by Dale Shumaker
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, by Ryan Blair, is about someone who spent a lot of his juvenile life being arrested and in and out of jail. With his experience on the street, he developed a "nothing to lose" mindset. This mindset then became the critical factor for later developing several multimillion dollar businesses. He changed of course to find what honor and keeping our word meant when applying it to business. He kept his word to God to not go back to how he lived in his youth.
When going into business, he attended numerous personal development seminars. Many reminded him of his old gang life... a lot of hustlers, charlatans and people out to bilk others out of money. From this he created his credo... work your tail off, don't ever give up, when defeated get back up, keep angling to find your angle, sacrifice, you will survive no matter how bad it is, shake off mistakes, be grateful, go big and have fun... if you don't you will either quit, die unhappy, or blow your success.
In the chapter "Philosophies from the Jail to the Boardroom," Blair draws some interesting analogies and principles that make business work in the trenches. Some of Blair's Golden Rules:
Communication and management rules.
Life is a theater. everyone is an actor, some with the lead and some with a supporting role. Never ask a question you don't already know what your answer will be.
If you don't have an answer say "I don't know," but I will get an answer for you.
If you feel you have failed, ask yourself a series of questions. Why did this happen, what could I have done differently, how can I do it better next time, what changes should I make in my strategies, what can I do to improve my planning and preparation?
Master taking action.
Never express negative emotion in an email or text message.
Praise in public and reprimand in private.
Marketing exists to create sales.
The ones most responsive to change will survive.
Service is the greatest opportunity to differentiate; being people oriented is not an acquired skill. Fear your customer.
An army everywhere is an army nowhere.
One thing at a time, and all things in succession... slow growth will endure.
Draw your customer to you with compelling offers to take action.
Keep your distance from people who belittle your ambition.
When you look for the bad in people you will always find it.
There is no finish line.
You are not a businessman, but in business, man.
Don't buy stocks, make stocks.
Honor your deals with God.
Efforts don't pay the rent, your results do; be a person who makes money, it doesn't make you.
The difference between now and a year from now will be the people you know and what you have learned.
Seize the day... you only get them one at a time. Life is a summary of actions taken. Blair declares that if he can come from the life he had, and build several multimillion dollar ventures, so can you.
Two of Blair's prized books are Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People. Watch your wallet and be as proud of things you do as you don't do. Sometimes you must say no, or scrap a project. Listen to yourself. Know your motivation. Choose a business you would do without pay, and it wakes you up in the middle of the night. Even if you have the money, use other peoples money too. Spread your risks. Hold on to as many assets as possible.
Blair declares that the principles in his book, from his business, street knowledge, is essential. If you are not willing to make sacrifices in business you will not succeed. Keep your business plan simple. Summarize it on one page, and no more than 3 pages long... three pages of clear, concise business objectives, expected results, and the strategy to get there. Situations are constantly changing and you are constantly re-creating.
More on Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain...
Why is prayer so vital?
Prayer is about entering the very presence of God and hearing what He has to say on a matter. When we sense the plans He has for us and we follow them, we are assured of Him being there. Add to that sharing those plans with someone else, we put a real punch behind it. Here's what the great Christians of old say about prayer.
E. M. Bounds in Power through Prayer, a widely read classic by those seeking the great value of prayer, made these points.
There's just so much Power in Spirit that God Wants to release on us. It's about going into a greater depth of His Presence, His Essence, we can live in it. These saints of old had insight. But there is so much more if we would just dig deeper.
The power within prayer is becoming co-dependent of God's Spirit to do all things through us. "His inner being has never felt its thorough spiritual bankruptcy, its utter powerlessness; he has never learned to cry out with an ineffable cry of self-despair and self-helplessness till God’s power and God’s fire comes in and fills, purifies, empowers. Self-esteem, self-ability in some pernicious shape has defamed and violated the temple which should be held sacred for God."
The Olympian practices 4 hours plus per day. Do we want to see miracles in our lives, in our relationships, health, happiness. The Apostle Paul suggests we train as the Olympian. Prayer is our preparation to run to win.
"All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (! Corinthians 9:25, Philippians 3:14, NLT)
"Prayer is so much about taking time. When we take the time to allow God's Presence to saturate us, we see His Power when we call out to him in the short bursts of the day."
"Much with God alone is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him. He yields to the persistency of a faith that knows him. He bestows his richest gifts upon those who declare their desire for and appreciation of those gifts by the constancy as well as earnestness of their persistence. Christ spent many whole nights in prayer. His custom was to pray much."
Brainerd lived the life of holiness and prayer. His diary is full and monotonous with the record of his seasons of fasting, meditation, and retirement. The time he spent in private prayer amounted to many hours daily. “When I return home,” he said, “and give myself to meditation, prayer, and fasting, my soul longs for mortification, self-denial, humility, and divorcement from all things of the world.”
“I have nothing to do,” he said, “with earth but only to labor in it honestly for God. I do not desire to live one minute for anything which earth can afford.” The men of mighty prayer are men of Spiritual might. Prayers never die. Brainerd’s whole life was a life of prayer. By day and by night he prayed."
In Isaiah 43, God says He has called us by name. Each person is uniquely special in His eyes. He begins by saying His Spirit will be with us through every thing and then later on re-enforce us by making "rivers in a dry wasteland." Conversing with God is essential. Even if the economy worsens again, the Spirit will provide you/us rivers (ideas, people, ways) to accomplish His will. Meditate on Isaiah 43... What's His Spirit saying to you?