Poverty Alleviation: An Aim Of Islamic Economics

Poverty is treated as WMD (weapon of mass destruction) of modern world. Eradication of it bears very importance. The economic systems like capitalism and communism have presented number of instruments for the alleviation of the poverty from the world. But, these extreme ideologies failed to satisfy the need of the people. Private ownership of property, laissez-faire policy of capitalism and class war, dialectical materialism, state ownership of property of communism did not touch the real cause of poverty. This situation necessitates seeking the possibilities of Islamic economics in alleviating poverty. The aim of poverty alleviation can be attained, in an Islamic Economic system through reducing the inequality. It never means attaining equality but equity and justice in the income and wealth distribution. Islam eliminates the absolute inequality which arises from unequal distribution of income, but relative inequality emerges from equitable distribution of income and wealth.

First part of this article has given a small introduction to both conventional economics and Islamic economics. Then it provides a picture of poverty of current world and Islamic perspective of poverty. Then Islamic economics instruments to alleviate poverty such as zakat, sadaqa, qard hasan, ganima, khums, fay, jizya, mudaraba, musharaka, prohibition of interest, abolition of extravaganza, prohibition of speculation and hoarding have been mentioned in briefly. Influence of Islamic economic instruments on marginal propensity to consume, multiplier, price investment and production have been dealt with.

The books and articles I referred for this article are Dr. Dr.Sabahuddin Azmi's Islamic Economics, SM Hasanuzzaman's Economic function of an Islamic state (The early experience), Towards understanding the economic system of Islam written by Dr.P Ibrahim and Introduction to the economic system by Moulavi.MVSaleem.

Introduction

Nobody can undermine the importance of economics which is a social science that studies the production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services. This very importance of economics resulted in emergence of different economic systems in the world and all of those economic systems claim that they will fetch economic welfare. Those dominating and prominent economic system's failure to accomplish economic justice, prosperity, the eradiation of the inequality and poverty make necessary an alternative economic system which can successfully make a starvation free and poverty free world.

Definition of Economics

Social scientists have developed various definitions of economics. Lionel Robinson's scarcity definition of economics is most accepted amongst them. According to Robinson "economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses" This definition is based on two points which are scarcity of resources and the never ending needs. But in reality former is a myth. The survey conducted by UNO shows that are enough resources for 20000 million people on earth we have only 6000 million people on earth residing now. Latter point 'never ending needs' is also incorrect as the desire and greed of the man is unlimited but the need is countable and controllable.

Definition of Islamic Economics

As a system of life Islam has not left any area of ​​human life without guidance. Whether it is spiritual, individual, social, economical or political Islam gives clear cut guidelines. By considering the economic guidelines of Islamic sources, Islamic economists have developed plethora of definitions. Derivation of each definition of Islamic economics is based on guidance given in the basic sources of Islamic shariah which are Quran and hadith.

According to Yusuf Ibrahim, professor of Islamic economics, Qatar University "Islamic economics is a science studying the guidance of the human behavior towards the use of resources to satisfy the needs". This definition is based upon the following facts.

1. The resources are enough for satisfying the needs.

2. But the resources should be protected from the waste, and improper use.

3. The human behavior towards the resources should be controlled by divine injunctions.

4. Only legal needs, needs that build life on the earth, should be satisfied.

5. Illegal needs (desires), which destroy life on earth, should not be satisfied; they are never ending and never satisfied.

Islamic economic system, a normative economic system, has been built upon certain fundamental Islamic philosophies. According to Quranic teachings real and absolute ownership of the wealth belongs to the creator of the same, Almighty God. Quran says "To Allah belongs to everything in the sky and on the earth" (2: 284) .Role of the man is considered as trustee who is to manage the trust, ie wealth according to the directives of the real owner; God. Quran clearly states "And spend of that where of hath made you trustees" (57: 7). So man has been granted

conditioned and limited ownership.

Another Islamic philosophy is universal brotherhood and equality of men as their creator is one and parents are same. Hence distinction based on color, caste, creed, races do not suffer at any cost. This concept induces the people for cooperation and participation in their all efforts instead of cheating, exploiting and making fraud each other. Another aspect of Islamic philosophy is the faith in the Day of Judgment after death. In the life after death man is accountable for his deeds on earth. The implication of this faith is that economic choices one makes in world are to be judged according to the norms Allah has laid down.

These are the revolutionary points which differentiate Islamic economics from the liberal, capitalistic, imperialistic, mainstream, usurious economic system and communist, class war, state dictatorship economic system. Islam constructs a just world on the spirit of everlasting divine concepts.
Poverty

Evil of any economy is poverty. The presence of begging hands in an economy pulls that economy into decades back. Poverty midst plenty is the challenge faced in the modern world. Impact of the poverty can not confine into starvation only, but poor people, apart from starvation, suffering limited income which leads to inaccessibility of good education it disables them for challenging careers which requires number of years long education. Absence of nutritious food results in more child morality among deprived sections. Since limited access for information and knowledge those are prevented from market and opportunities.

Every country and international organizations like World Trade Organization, World Bank and Asian Development Bank hard work to construct the countries and world on the foots of self sufficiency respectively. Mission of the World Bank is described as global poverty reduction and improvement of living standards. General Council of UN has declared October 17 as International day for the eradication of poverty. It shows how seriously they took poverty as a problem

But, it is wondering that out of 6.1 billion world population more than 1 billion are finding their livelihood in less than $ 1 per day and almost 3 billion on less than $ 2 per day. You might be provoked that 74% of total income of world is shared by the 20% of the elite class of the world. It is heartening you that there are countries whose national income is less $ 800 and morality of below five years age children is about 26% .It is worrying that 110 million primary school age children are out of school and 60 percent of them are girls.
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Poverty and Islamic Economics

Below Poverty Line (BPL) fixes in Islamic economics system on the basis of ownership of nisab, which limit makes one eligible for the payment of zakat Whosoever wealth on or over the nisab is responsible for the payment of zakat. Those wealth is below nisab are zakat recipients and they are treated as poor. Hence, in Islamic economics, the size of deprived come under BPL will be large. Starvation and inaccessibility of food, shelter, cloths and education could not suffer in an Islamic economy which aims human falah, ie human welfare. It does not support any economic instrument that leads to the deprivation of the man. Since poverty emerges in an economy as a result of various causes so wiping out of these causes is primarily important.

Limited income, unequal distribution of income and wealth, misdistribution of resources, regional disparities, unemployment, social injustice, and decreased investments … etc are some of the obstacles in the way of attainment of self-sufficiency and welfare. Islam considers the fulfillment of basic needs of every member of society is economic, moral as well as religious obligation of the ruler. List of the basic goods extends from traditional food, clothing and shelter to seasonal clothing, personal attendant to disabled person, and expenditure on marriage of poor and expenditure on entire family of poor, which are intensified by scholars from time to time and likely to extend the list time to time for the welfare of the citizen. Islamic economic system introduces a bunch of divinely guided instruments which bring to an end of poverty and build
poverty less world.

Islamic Economic Instruments to eliminate poverty

It is advised to Muslim citizens in an Islamic county, as the part of believe, to practice certain things in their life, some of them are compulsory nature and the rest are voluntary nature. The practice of these will have vast economic implications apart from the reward of God. Non Muslim citizens also have to make certain compulsory payments, which have economic impacts, as the part of their citizenship in the Islamic country. Compulsory duties and agreements of citizens are governed by the Islamic country and violation of any part would not suffer Islamic state. In addition to these functions there are other things the Islamic state has to carry out similar to any nation does for the welfare of citizens. Both positive and negative measures have recommended by Islam for wiping out the reason of poverty.

Positive Measures

There are numerous Islamic orders and injunction to perform certain things which have immense influence on economies justice, prosperity and growth. Important divine injunctions amongst them and their influence upon the economy are briefed below.

Zakat

Zakat is the yearly obligation of wealthy Muslims to poor and it is the share of have-nots in the property and wealth of the rich. Quran commends "establish worship and pay the poor his due (zakat) and obey the messenger". Technically we can call it as spiritual tax. It is imposed on those forms of wealth which have the capacity to grow in value or otherwise produce further, is having the custody of whole year and have exceed a certain minimum value called 'nisab'. Quran has stated the eight specific heads for the distribution of zakat.
Due to the divine spirit for the performance of zakat, chances for evasion are less. The imposition of zakat on idle wealth urges the owners for the productive and profitable employment of idle wealth which increases the wealth of economy and again the share of zakat.

Donations

Sadaqa is the one of the voluntary economic instrument. No limit and eligibility criteria for performing contributions to needy. It can be divert, apart from the eight heads mentioned for the distribution of zakat, to any needy. and it will strengthen what economic implications emerged by zakat.

Qard hasan

It is an arrangement of interest free loans for unproductive purposes or for the needy to meet the expenses like hospital expenses, home expenses and education expenses etc which are do not make any earnings. So it is not able to charge any material benefit, like profit share, from qurd hasan. These are provided as the part of kindness to human beings. In an Islamic economy individuals and institutions like Islamic banks will offer this type of loans expecting the reward of Allah. Availability of qard hasan reduces the financial burdens like interest, of deprived.

Profit and loss sharing

Islam formulates profit and loss sharing as the tool of trade contracts instesd of interest. The motivation behind it is the cooperation amongst the people. In profit sharing there are different types of financing such as mudaraba (profit and loss sharing) and musharaka (participation) … etc
Mudaraba is the agreement between both capital owner and entrepreneur to share the profit arises from the business and in case of loss capital owner's capital reduces and entrepreneur's time and effort loose. Musharaka is the agreement to share profit and loss where all contributors participate in management of business. Both mudaraba and musharaka help the people, who have inadequacy of capital, to engage in business, production and contribute their share into the welfare nation and earn for their own.

Ganima (war booty), Khums (one fifth) and Fay

Ganima is the property Muslims seize from the enemy. Four fifth of the ganima is divided among the fighting army and one fifth (khums) of the entire ganima move to state fund, which is earmarked for the special beneficiaries mentioned in Quran. Fay is the property receives from the enemy without actual fighting. This source of state revenue is generalized for the common good of the entire population and public welfare.

Kharaj (Land- Tax)

Land-Tax, a source of revenue of state, is the levy imposed on land produce. This is actually the rent for the use of value of agricultural land. The rate of kharaj and method of collection can be declared by state from time to time as there is no direction of Quran and tradition of prophet in this regard.

Jizya (Poll tax)

Jizya (poll-tax) imposed on the non-Muslim citizens of Islamic country for securing their wealth, property and lives from damage. It helps them to contribute their skill, talent, health, wealth and property for the prosperity of the country

Waqf (Endowment)

Waqf (endowment) is regular source of revenue which is earmarked and dedicated fund of Muslim for supporting charitable and welfare activities
State ownership on uncultivated land:
Any economic instrument that hinders productivity is harmful to economies prosperous. According to Islamic shariah, if a land is remained uncultivated three consecutive years lead to moving of ownership of that land from current owner to other who is ready for cultivate the land and produce. Prophet (pbuh) said "The original rights of ownership in land are God's and the prophets and then yours afterwards. But he who revives any dead land acquires the right of ownership to it". There is an another institution, iqta, boost the circulation and tax revenue of the state by transferring the uncultivated / dead land to someone in return for ushr or khraj.

Combined ownership of natural resources:

Individual ownership of natural resources like fire, water, pasture and salt are restricted by the Islamic shariah. People have combined ownership in these natural resources which should be accessible to anyone. This rule allow anyone to use the benefit derives from the natural goods and ensure that nobody is away from the natural goods which are easy to get to without any hard work .. List of natural goods, in addition to mentioned goods, can be extended into more goods in time to time. Prophet (pbuh) said "people are joint owners in water, pasture and fire".
There are other sources of revenues like property of deceased with no legal heir, lost and found with no claimants and additional taxations.

Negative Measures

There are some prohibitions of God which has influence on the economies prosperity and welfare of every men of country.
Prohibition of interest
Interest, whatever form, has been contemned by Allah and His messenger. Quran says "Allah has permitted trade and hath prohibited riba" (interest). Islam does not support interest but profit and loss sharing. Every financial transactions of Islamic economy should be free of Interest. But absence of interest in an Islamic economy does not create any hindrance to prosperity but flourish the prosperity.

Prohibition of speculative instruments

Instruments which do not have any advantage to real economy such as futures and option are not permitted in Islamic economy. Stock market instruments like day trading, marginal trading are prohibited, either. Absence of these instruments in the economy reduces speculation which is harm to the entire economy.
Implications

The implementation of shariah guidelines we discussed above in an economy lead to number of positive fruits which make the state free from every form of poverty.
Increased redistribution of income and wealth will result in, when the people perform the religious obligations like zakat, donation, waqf, inheritances, fithr zakat and kaffarath etc … It leads to flow of wealth and money from rich to poor. Thus the concentration and accumulation of wealth in a few hands come down. Poor and needy spend approximately eighty percent of their earnings to fulfill their basic needs. Economically Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) of the poor is larger than middle and high class. A large portion of whatever comes into handy of poor will flow to economy for consumption of basic goods; it lead to more demand for primary goods and then it result in the increased production of basic goods. It is difficult to restrict luxurious consumption and production completely by law and force. But the increased rate of redistribution of wealth and income increase the demand for basic goods and decrease the demand for luxurious goods. Automatically it reduces the utilization of resources for the production of luxuries. Consequently, natural resources use for the production of basic goods and for the benefit of public welfare
This increased redistribution of wealth to poor enables them to get the accessibility of good education and nutritious food. Increased knowledge and skills help the poor to get good jobs and earn. This raises the entire poor family and dependence to heights. In turn, increase of income more than a certain limit make them capable for performing zakat and other voluntary donations for the sake of the benefit of have-nots. Rise in the redistribution help to reduce the gap between haves and have-nots and bring economic justice to all citizens.

Increased MPC of poor as the redistribution of income results in more multiplier effect in economy that fuels more income to the overall income of economy that help the poor section of people to raise their per capita income and living standards.

According to Professor Keynes, investment depends on two variables which are current rare of interest and the marginal efficiency of capital or expected profit rate. Investment would take place only if the expected rate of profit exceeds of interest. Due to the absence of interest, in an Islamic economy, only the size of expected rate of profit of profit will be the determinant of investment.

Speculative motive of money and liquidity theory of money will have no place in an interest free economy which reduces investment. But the presence of only expected rate of profit will result in investments, even in low rate of expected rate of profit to increase their principle amount and to avoid the deterioration of principal through zakat. The increased investment raises the production, employment, wages and overall national income of economy. It flows wealth to poor and raises their economic status.

Fisher's quantity theory which states that quantity of money affects the price and value of money. It means that increase in the supply of money will proportionately increase the price in economy but the output will not increase. But in the case of Islamic economy money should not be supplied without making increase in the output. The central bank and commercial banks of Islamic state increase the money supply through making investment contracts on the basis of profit and loss sharing. So every flow of money into economy results in output growth without making proportionate hike in price. It is helpful to the poor to get need things at reasonable price

Conclusion

Way of eliminating poverty in Islamic economy is simple. Faith in the oneness of God (tawheed) motivates to the performance of zakat and profit and loss sharing and avoiding interest and extravaganza. Increased redistribution and productivity are the outcome of these instruments which helps finally to attain alleviation of poverty.
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How Coach Phil Jackson And Michael Jordan Used Motivation And Self Development To Be Their Best

Motivation is a natural part of human nature. Everyone has a natural drive to achieve and express one's self. The interesting thing about human nature though is that in spite of the fact that the human being is the highest order of creation in this material world people can regress and willfully self destruct.

Your natural drive must be supported with self-development in order for it to be strong and functional. Human nature is like a plant in many fundamental ways. A plant has the nature to grow and blossom. In order to do that it needs cultivation from the external environment. A plant's nature and the environment work together to enable the plant to mature to its full potential.

In human nature natural drive and cultivation work fundamentally the same way to enable the human person to mature and achieve its full potential. In people, unlike plants, we have the ability to consciously choose our goals and the potential we want to develop.

Coach Phil Jackson assumed head coaching duties of the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1989. Coach Jackson was motivated to be a coach from the beginning. It was his program of self-development that helped him achieve his dreams of coaching greatness.

In his book, SACRED HOOPS, in the Introduction he says, "When I was named head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989, my dream was not to just win championships, but to do it in a way that wove together my two greatest passions : basketball and spiritual exploration. " Coach Jackson has, to date, 11 NBA championships, more than any other NBA coach in history.

The drive to succeed as an NBA coach was supported by his passion in spiritual exploration, a path of development and cultivation. Many of his players questioned his methods and resisted his cultivation practices, but the results achieved by those methods tell a story of their own. Even Michael Jordan, a chief beneficiary of Coach Jackson's methods was of the opinion that he "did not need all that Zen stuff."

Player, Michael Jordan was motivated to be the best NBA player of his time, and win NBA championships. He outperformed most of his peers game-in and game-out for the seven years of his NBA career before he won his first championship with Coach Jackson. There is no question that Coach Jackson's cultivating influences helped Michael achieve the success he chased for so many years.

Michael Jordan had to grow and development to become a member of a functioning organizational unit before he won his first championship. Before he won his first championship to his credit he approached Coach Jackson and told him that he could be a star performer every game, but that was not producing championships. When he performed his "magic" the other players on the team would stand around and watch which hurt the team's overall productivity.

Together Coach Jackson and Michael Jordan set out on a developmental course to change the culture of individualism that saturated the Chicago Bulls team, and replace it with a culture of team unity and cooperation among its members to maximize the team's full potential. In that new culture every member of the team, including Michael Jordan, would be responsible and accountable for performing their respective assignments and roles. No longer would individual statistics be the measuring stick by which each player's performance was judged.

Michael Jordan, as well as the other players on the Bulls team, had to learn new ways of thinking and behaving. That took development and growing. It was not easy. It was hard work, but it paid off in the results that Coach Jackson, Michael, and the rest of the team wanted.

What would have happened to the motivation to excel if no championships were one by Coach Jackson and Michael in particular? What would have happened without a consistent program of self-development and cultivation for the entire team? There is one thing for sure, and that is that failure breeds failure. And, when failure becomes the norm, motivation to excel declines.

Hopefully you see the connection between human drive and cultivation. One without the other is an island standing alone, unable to maximize its potential. If you see the connection you can apply these principles to achieve your dreams in business, marketing, sports, and in any area of ​​human life.

Angels – The 10 Types of Angels and the Roles They Play in Our Lives

Our angels play a very important role in our lives.

They're assigned to us at birth and stay by our side, loving and guiding us, until we return home. There are many different types of angels, each with their own unique role to play in our lives.

Everyone loves angels and for good reason. They signify love, courage, strength and guidance. It's no wonder that people get angel tattoos, adorn their homes with Christmas angels during the holidays and make snow angels in winter. Some people think that angels only exist in heaven and do not interact with us at all.

Well, I'm here to tell you that they sure do!

First of all, did you know an angel's wings are not used to fly, but rather to denote which phylum, or level, they're from? Each phylum has a different color wing tip. So you can always tell which angel is present by the color of their wing tips.

There are ten different phylum of angels, all with their own personality and area of ​​specialty. You can call upon them at any time, depending on your needs. They all exist to help you while you're here.

Guardian Angels

The Guardians are the first phylum. They radiate with love and glory and appear with a beautiful white light surrounding them. The color of their wing tips is silver. The guardians are our protectors and are here to keep us safe. They assist us with our fears and phobias.

The Archangels

The Archangels are the second phylum. The four main archangels are:

1. Archangel Michael (Archangel of the South, Essence: Fire) 2. Archangel Raphael (Archangel of the East, Essence: Air) 3. Archangel Uriel (Archangel of the North: Essence: Earth) 4. Archangel Gabriel (Archangel of the West: Essence: Water)

Archangels have white wings with blue tips. Their primary purpose is healing and they're also messengers of hope.

The Archangels use a scepter to heal by touching us with it in the area of ​​our body that needs healing.

Their totem is the wolf and their element is rain. Their stone is aquamarine.

The Cherubim and Seraphim

The third and fourth level of angels are the Cherubim and Seraphim. They're known for their beautiful singing abilities. The difference between the two is that the Cherubim have beautiful singing voice and the Seraphim possess a vibrational / tonal ability.

Together their music is indescribable and beyond words.

They are truly the most joyous phylum of angels. They have white wings with rose colored tips.

Their totem is the canary.

The Powers

The fifth phylum of angels are The Powers. Their primary purpose is healing. While the Archangels use a scepter to heal, the Powers use their wings by sheltering you within them.

The Powers use their energy to heal. The electrical force that comes from them enters your body and heals you cell by cell. They're quite large in size.

Their totem is the falcon, known for swiftness and perseverance. Their element is the moon. Their stone is the emerald, which possesses the healing color of green.

Their wings are white with greenish white tips.

The Carrions

The sixth phylum of angels are The Carrions. Their primary purpose is to escort away dark entities when they die. Their sole mission is to stand back until a dark entity passes into death.

The Carrions protect our world and The Other Side from darkness. They are the reason dead dark entities do not exist on earth.

Their totem is the raven and their element is the wind. Their stone is the opal.

The Virtues

The seventh phylum of angels are The Virtues.

The Virtues assist us with our life charts. They help us to make changes to our charts whenever needed. They also help us with our life and charts on The Other Side before we come here to Earth to live another life. They're an incredible phylum of angels that help to guide us before we begin our journeys here on earth.

Their totem is the dove, the symbol of peace. Their stone is silver and their element is water.

They have white wings with pale blue tips and a silvery blue luminescence.

The Dominions

The eighth phylum of angels are The Dominions. They watch over us and permanently record our actions and good deeds in the Akaschic Records. They typically do not assist us on the earth plane but do their work for us on The Other Side.

When we need assistance, our spirit guides will sometimes go to The Dominions instead of The Council because of The Dominions' thorough knowledge of our charts

Their totem is the cougar, which represents strength and dignity. Their element is earth, which signifies grounding and the lives they record. Their stone is the bloodstone.

They have white wings with maroon tips.

The Thrones and Principalities

The ninth and tenth phylum are The Thrones and Principalities and are considered the highest phylum of angels. They represent Mother and Father God's armies.

The Thrones and Principalities come to us when we're in any type of danger. The Thrones are Mother God's army and The Principalities are Father God's army.

You can call upon these phylums of angels to protect you or your loved ones when in a difficult or troublesome situation.

The Thrones are more active than The Principalities, who act more as guardians-at-the-gate. The Principalities are in charge of cities and nations and are the protectors of spirituality and religion. They have incredible power and grace and are the highest phylum of all angels.

Angels encompass every area of ​​our lives and you I'll be happy to show you how you can harness their gifts. Take one more step toward changing your life in wonderfully profound ways.

Using the Switchword Pair CRYSTAL-HORSE to Increase Self-Confidence and Self-Worth

Switchwords are powerful poignant words used to connect directly to the subconscious mind, giving it direction for drawing the essence of the Switchword to you. The more a Switchword is repeated, the more it affects your energy. The more it affects your energy, the more you draw the experience, condition or response the Switchword represents to you.

CRYSTAL-HORSE – increases self-confidence and self-worth

When you need a boost in self-confidence or self-worth, try chanting CRYSTAL-HORSE.

CRYSTAL helps to clarify the situation, connect to Universal Knowledge; HORSE connects you to your strengths, your power. Together this can be a very empowering Switchword combination.

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CRYSTAL-HORSE can be added as a prefix to other Switchwords to enhance your ability to connect with the essence of those Switchwords.

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  • CRYSTAL-HORSE-ACT – increase self -confidence in speech. Need to lead a discussion? Have a meeting with a superior at work? When you wish to present yourself well to others, chant a few times before (or just as you are) entering the situation.
  • CRYSTAL-HORSE-CHUCKLE – increase self -confidence and turn on personality. Want to be the life of the party? Want people to gravitate to you? Want to make friends? When you wish to turn on the charisma and increase your popularity in a group, chan as you are about to enter a situation with other people.
  • CRYSTAL-HORSE-LISTEN – increase self -confidence and self-worth by listening to (and following) Inner Guidance. Feel disconnected from yourself, your world? Having difficulty finding your way? Decisions and choices seem impossible? Always second-guessing yourself? Chant for 2-3 minutes first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed, and allow yourself to connect. Then through the day, as you find yourself wavering, not knowing, chant a few times and connect to your Inner Guidance, self-confidence and self-worth.

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CRYSTAL-HORSE can be used as a suffix to other Switchwords to be enhanced by them.

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  • VIBRANT-CRYSTAL-HORSE – be a strong presence with increased self-confidence and self-worth. Want to stand out in a crowd, and feel confident while doing so? Want to stand up for yourself? Want to bring power and confidence to a situation? Chant to come into your power, stand up for yourself and stand out in a crowd.
  • WHIMSICAL-CRYSTAL-HORSE – be innovative with confidence. Looking to bring new things into your life? Want to come up with unique ideas in your work? Want to create an event to remember? Chant to bring you to a creative space and give you the confidence to follow through on it.
  • YES! -CRYSTAL-HORSE – be enthusiastic , energized and full of self-confidence. Need a shot of enthusiasm? Life been a bit too boring lately? Chant to help bring enthusiasm back and energize yourself and bring yourself to a space of self-confidence.
  • ELATE-CRYSTAL-HORSE – turn setbacks into uplifts, build self-confidence and self-worth. Been having a lot of setbacks affecting your self-confidence? Feel like everything is going wrong? Life seem to be pushing you around? Chant to find a way to turn those setbacks into uplifts and to help restore your self-confidence.

Take these for a spin. See how they work for you. Let us know your experiences.

Top Five Reasons Why You Should Choose To Go To College

Life is about opportunities and options. The more opportunities you create for yourself in life, the more options you'll have at any given point in time. Gaining control of your options and opportunities is the key to personal and professional success. Simply put, if you want to become master of your own destiny, then you need to go to college.

Here are the top five Reasons why should choose to go to college:

1. The undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma
There was once a time when college was entirely optional. Even today, smart, hard working people can develop excellent careers and stable lives without the aid of a university education. College is by no means mandatory, but when you're ready to start building a career for yourself, you will increasingly discover that a college degree is a prerequisite for many entry-level employment opportunities.

Companies and organizations want to hire employees who illustrate commitment and perseverance. A college degree will show your future employer that you're dedicated to achieving your goals in life. Whether it's justified or not, a job applicant with a degree is going to be more valuable to an organization than an applicant who chose to forgo college. If you want to possess marketable job skills, higher wages and the stigma of being smart and qualified, then choosing college is the way to go.

2. College will satisfy and expand your curiosity
If you possess a general curiosity about how and why the world works the way it does, then you owe it to yourself to attend college. Education is a personal project. If you want to develop your mental faculties and increase your knowledge base, then you have to college. If you feel that you've learned all you possibly can in high school, if you think that there's nothing else that you need to absorb, then do not go to college. If you have a passion for improved understanding, then college is mandatory.

3. College is a process of continual maturation
College is freedom. When you attend college, you are free to live on your own, according to your own priorities. As you carve out your own custom tailored living and learning experience, you can not help but grow as a person. College is a time for self-improvement and development, so if you want to grow and mature as an individual, college is the perfect playground for self-progress.

4. College is all about networking
In college, you have the unique ability to create life-long associations in a structured environment. Networking is important, but it can also be difficult. If you want to build relations with students and faculty members, you have to put forth effort. Unlike the real world, in college, it's easy to combine your individual interests with supportive allies who subscribe to those same interests. Take advantage of this environment and build up relationships that will help you in the future.

5. College exposes you to things you would not normally experience
When you set about choosing your path through life, it's important to remember that finding yourself is as much a process of elimination as it is a process of discovery. Just as you seek out interests and identities, you need to rule out certain life-options and mental frameworks that you do not agree with. College exposes you to new risks, rewards, people, places, ideas, lifestyles, eating habits and career choices. Exposure is critical. You can not form a genuine opinion on something if you've never been exposed to it.

College is a place for you to improve yourself, to satiate your curiosities, to mature, to network, and to be exposed to new things. College is an important, irreplaceable experience in life. Going to college is highly recommended.

Tony Robbins CANI! System Explained

"CANI" stands for Constant And Never-ending Improvement. It's an acronym that Tony developed more than a decade ago and he was influenced by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Dr. Deming is credited as one of the leaders who brought one of the first quality movements to the Japanese. His basic premise was that the secret to help the Japanese achieve world power and economic success was if every single person and organization commit to constant improvement.

The Japanese have a single word for "constant and never-ending improvement" and it's called "Kaizen." Kaizen is from the Japanese words Kai and Zen where "kai" means change and "zen" means good. Yes folks, change is good.

According to Robbins from his Lessons in Mastery series, he did not want to embrace the word "Kaizen" because it was a Japanese word and after-all, Dr. Deming was an "American …" therefore it was only proper to create an American word that meant the same as Kaizen. Transformational vocabulary is an important component to the tenets that Robbins teaches, so you can probably understand why Tony wanted to create a brand or a name for the association.

It is very easy to get caught up in your goals and desired end-outcomes … to the point of becoming overwhelmed. CANI offers a solution and a point of reference to focus your attention on. If all you did was improve one tiny aspect of your life every single day, you would achieve mastery in uncommon time.

Benefits of CANI include:

  • Creates a personal and business momentum that will be hard for your competitors to catch up with.
  • Personal satisfaction and fulfillment because it will cause you to grow personally.
  • Leads to innovation. Innovation creates leverage.

Tony Robbins once said, "We only learn our limits by going beyond them." CANI! is a principle designed to encourage you to make small incremental improvements daily … and in doing so, you will be forced to find a way to go beyond your current set of self-imposed limitations.

Which areas of your life do you want to apply the principles of CANI! The Today?

o Prosperity & Financial

o Family Relationships

o Friendship Building

o Health & Fitness

o Spirituality

o Recreation & Pleasure / Joy

o Education & Career Advancement

o Public Service / Volunteering

If you define your success as a "journey" rather than an end-destination, you can take comfort in the fact that personal growth and satisfaction can come from constant and never-ending improvement (CANI!).

6 Effective Tips On How To Read Faster And Comprehend More

It takes dedication and steadfastness to be a fast reader and assimilator. Every average student has a lot to read and comprehend. In order to cover up your work load for the semester or academic session and have a good grade in your exams, you need to abide by the rules and techniques you will learn after reading this article.

To equally help yourself read faster, you can equally acquire reading software that will help you to practice any technique you must have leant online or offline about reading faster and comprehension.

The best way to succeed is for you to always remember the gains of reading faster and understanding. This will help to motivate you towards building your reading abilities.

Knowing how to read faster and comprehension is not only good for students alone, researchers, office workers, lecturers, etc need to know the skills of fast reading because it will help in making your work finish on time and you will also have more time for family and friends.

WAYS TO READ FASTER AND COMPREHEND MORE

STOP WORD VOCALIZATION

Some people vocalize words as they read along. Vocalization slows down your reading speed. Research has proven that vocalization retards the assimilation capabilities of your brain. So, if your still in the category of readers that are still vocalizing, stop it right away.

IDENTIFY YOUR SPEED.

Identifying your reading speed will definitely help you to know how you have progressed in your endeavor to read faster. Therefore, take write ups with specified word count and try to know your speed via quantity of words read per hour.

LEARN HOW TO FOCUS.

Focusing on the content and subject matter you are reading will help you understand it faster. Therefore, stop thinking about unnecessary things like the romance date you had the previous day, financial problems, family problems and other things that will distract you from what you are doing at that particular time. It has been proven that most people do not understand or assimilate what they are reading just because of unnecessary distraction.

To also increase your ability to focus, you have to go to a quiet environment to read. Most especially if you have a great volume of work to do.

HAVE A GOAL.

You should have a goal on the quantity of material you need to read per day. Set a goal you are sure to achieve per day and try to increase the goal as time goes on. Within a short time, you will identify that your reading speed has increased.

LEARN READING SUMMARIZATION.

This technique should be applied when you have really improved in your speed of reading and comprehension. And you should also apply this technique when reading a material that is so large. Reading summarization is reading the topics and sub topics of pages, paragraphs and chapters.

Some authors call this technique skim reading. You just scan key words ad try to determine the contents through experience.

GROUP READING

Do not read words one after the other, rather read the words by groups. It's all about training yourself to be reading words in groups. Once you start it, you will see how easy it is.

The strategies stated in this article should be applied mildly when you are reading complex materials. Such materials are mathematics and engineering and other professional materials. You have to try and understand the what the complex material is all about because you will be solving some problems.

8 Steps to Raise Your Self Esteem – Improve Your Self Esteem With a Proper Action Plan

This article aims to help you raise self-esteem to levels that will enhance your life. To improve your self esteem it helps to have a proper action plan with specific exercises. Try these action steps to raise your self esteem and your self confidence.

Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately (to 'know thyself') and still be able to accept and value ourselves unconditionally. This means being able to realistically acknowledge we have strengths, but importantly, to understand that we also have limitations. We are humans after all. It is impossible to be perfect.

People with no self esteem:

– Consider themselves to be unworthy of being loved or cared for
– Are often unassertive and allow themselves to be pushovers
– Are always on the look out for happiness gurus (eg fortune tellers) and 'magic pills' (ie quick fix solutions)
– Are afraid of conflict
– Seek constant approval from others
– Have a fear of rejection
– Have all kinds of fears, many irrational
– Find it difficult to accept compliments
– Have low self confidence
– Are vulnerable to mental health problems
– May use addictive behavior and habits to mask their inner pain. This includes excessive gambling, smoking, drinking, shopping and drugs

Do you relate to any of these statements? Do not feel alone. Try these self esteem exercises to raise your self confidence and happiness. Put these into action steps into practice today.

EXERCISE 1: SAY ALOUD THESE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS EVERY DAY

Positive affirmations are healing, positive words that help to counter your negative inner voice. Pick at least three of these statements to stand up and say aloud to the mirror every morning. Say it like you mean it.

I am intelligent
I am beautiful
I am a good person
I am forgiving
I am energetic
I am talented
I am responsible for my own feelings, my life and how I live it
I can lose weight
I can stop smoking
I can handle my children
I can gain self-confidence
I can heal
I can let go of fear
I can be a winner
I can be strong
I will gain emotional strength each day
I will like myself better every day
I will smile more today
I will take care of me today and put myself first
I will handle my finances wisely

EXERCISE 2: THINK OF SOMETHING YOU REALLY ENJOY AND DO IT TODAY

Think of something you really enjoy doing. Something that is not bad for your body (so that rules out drinking, smoking, gambling, eating fast food … you know the stuff) It would be great to pick something you have not done in ages, maybe an activity you loved as a child. Skipping, going for a hike, ice-skating, playing Monopoly, dancing. It may be something as simple as calling up your best friend for a chat. Make sure you pick an activity that truly engages you: perhaps an exercise you have to concentrate at, such as table tennis. Do not wait. Make a plan to do it today.

EXERCISE 3: ACT CONFIDENTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY

People will respond to your self-confidence and act positively towards you, strengthening your image and your self-esteem all at once.

EXERCISE 4: STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF

Self-absorption can make you feel worse. If you find yourself focusing inwards, go and do exercise 2, or find some other (healthy) distraction.

EXERCISE 5: TIDY UP

Clearing out your physical junk helps to clear out your mental junk. Clean up your desk and home. Just start with a small section at a time such as a kitchen drawer, and as the weeks go by you will gradually find your whole environment, including your headspace has gotten a lot clearer.

EXERCISE 6: WRITE DOWN YOUR INSECURITIES, THEN BURN THEM

Write down all the negative beliefs you have about yourself (I'm fat, I'm stupid, I'm poor, I'm never good enough …). Then take that piece of paper and burn it. Turn it into a mini-ceremony. And move on.

EXERCISE 7: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Consider all the things you take for granted such as shelter, enough food to eat, shoes on your feet, clothes to wear, access to a computer, ability to go out for a nice meal.

EXERCISE 8: WRITE DOWN ONE THING YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO DO

Then write down the next immediate action step. Do not worry about the steps required after that..just achieve the first step today.

These self esteem exercises might feel trivial and even stupid in some cases. But in just a few days, your self confidence, happiness levels and esteem will begin to grow and you can watch them work wonders in your life. Become the happy, confident person you are fully capable of being. You deserve it.

50 Ideas For Increasing Profits and Cost Reduction

Do you want to know 50 great profit building ideas that you can put to immediate use in your business to increase profits and reduce costs?

If yes, read all these ideas that have been implemented by clients and have benefited them giving their businesses dramatic boost in profitability. Most ideas can be put to action immediately. Each idea has the potential to give you many% points increase in net profits.

Research shows profits increase by 4% -56% and costs reduce by 18% -37% within 2 years using the simple 5 step process called the Profit Maps Model. Usually a 5% reduction in cost is adequate to turnaround most loss making businesses.

Businesses can calculate the value of the savings by these 2 simple formulas

If the business made a loss

Total Costs and Expenses = sales + absolute value of net loss +/- income tax = say X

Minimum Savings you will make in 2 years = 5% of X (which was calculated above)

If the business made a profit

Total Costs and Expenses = sales + net profit +/- income tax = say Y

Minimum Savings you will make in 2 years = 5% of Y (which was calculated above)

So how much can you save? Improve your profits by?

Revenue

This category typically contains inflows of resources into the business generated through operations.

Needless to say the profit building process can be used to generate marketing and sales ideas. The following ideas were generated with the objective of increasing revenue with little or no impact on the cost structure.

Revenue Increasing Ideas

1. If your company has facilities located over a multi-geographical area you may be able to rent antenna space to cellular phone companies. Typically these companies will pay for the use of rooftops as a place to erect their antennas. Another option is for billboards as advertising if you occupy a central location with a high visibility building. This enhances your revenue without any additional cost you. The point here is to explore alternative uses for your facilities. Remember they are assets that can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are numerous opportunities available for increased revenue if you look for them. Training room and function room facilities can be rented out in the evening or weekends. How about spare land or excess slots you own for public car parking?

2. Determine whether your business can market commission and non-commissioned products as add-on sales. Look for opportunities to sell products to your existing customer base at no additional cost. Examples are catalogue sales to airline passengers and the sale of miscellaneous products to credit card customers. You may have the opportunity to do something similar. Your customers have more value than you realise.

3. Is there any additional value in your customer database? Perhaps your business could generate additional revenue by selling the data. Alternatively consider starting a telemarketing department to market another line of products or services. Depending on your business and the nature of your customer base you may have something great here.

4. Explore the advantages of an effective e-strategy including e-commerce, e-business, e- people and e-technology. There is no question that the new opportunities available through the Internet offer new and innovative ways to increase profits and reduce costs. Consult with an expert in this area including a cross-section of your employees and magic will happen.

5. Segment your customers into heavy user and light user categories and determine the difference between these two groups. What needs to be done to generate another sale from both categories? All customers are critical. What can you learn about the different types of customers to determine whether more selling occasions possible? Make the most of these customers; you already have them.

6. Develop retention strategies as well as growth strategies. In today's markets, it is as important to hold on to your existing customer base as it to grow your business. It took you a certain amount of resources to attract your customers: you may want to explore ways to retain a high percentage. What is your cost to acquire a customer? What is your cost to retain a customer? Do your employees know?

7. Continue to look for augmented products and / or services that would add value without adding expense.

8. Explore opportunities to licence or franchise your business products or services for additional market share or penetration

9. Explore merger and acquisition scenarios where efficiencies would be gained for all businesses concerned.

10. Develop a relationship with a long-distance carrier whereby your company will distribute phone cards to your customer base in return for a fee or residual commission.

Salaries

This category typically contains charges associated with

· Management Pay
· Non-management Pay
· Hourly Wages
· Training Labour
· Overtime Pay
· All Other Pay, Wages and Salary items

Cost Saving Ideas

11. Establish a 45 to 60 hour per week work environment among the managers. Cost structures among your competitors are basically similar to your cost structure so you will obtain an advantage because your managers are working more hours. This assumes that your managers are productive. Managers who have responsibility for a workforce of hourly employees are usually at the facility, a retail outlet, restaurant or office at least this amount of time. Sometimes business volume is extremely low at early or closing hours. During the slow hours managers can save substantially by scheduling fewer employees and filling it themselves. In addition to the Labour savings, managers will become more knowledgeable about operations and will find ways to improve customer service, training and operations. I have put this procedure in place in several places. At the beginning there will always be resistance, but once managers get beyond the initial hump things will run smoothly. I also find that certain incentive programmes work well here. Get the manager's incentives based on Labour dollar saved and they come to understand the process.

12. Effectively manage your salary administration programs. Many companies pay lip service to this principle but failed to obtain true levels of success in salary administration and management. To start, make sure you have a salary range for every position in the company. Salaries should be structured so that the midpoint is 100, the minimum is 80% and the maximum is 120%. The basic philosophy is that the candidate should be hired into a position between the minimum and the midpoint on the basis of his or her level of experience. The employees are then moved higher in the range on the basis of performance. This philosophy is based on the premise that mid-point is the amount the position is worth to the company. Employees can obtain an additional 20% through stellar performance. Few employees should be paid over the 120% range. Each job is worth a specific amount to the organisation. If a new hire needs training to become efficient in a particular job, that employee is working at a level below the worth of the position and therefore should be paid at the minimum salary range. When the employee's performance rises at successful completion of training and can perform 100% of the job duties move the employee quickly toward the midpoint of the salary range.

13. Insist that a salary survey be done every year to ensure that you have achieved the desired community position relative to your competition. In this case the competition is those companies that would recruit your employees. You need to make sure that if you survey 10 competitors; you have a salary range higher than 75% of these companies for your key positions and higher than 50% of these companies for lower-level positions. Implementing this strategy will help you reduce turnover and will also ensure that you are not overpaying for positions.

14. Make sure your salary administration program allows for regular salary review. Typically, this is done once a year for salaried employees and every six months for hourly employees. The review should include a performance appraisal form and the employee's performance levels should correspond with established pay increases. In other words, establish the pay for your performance review system.

15. Establish a bell curve of salary increases. Let's say that approximately 8% of your employees are superior performers, 12% are above average, 60% are average, 12% are fair, and 8% are poor. Create a salary increase guideline that mirrors this curve, with the better performing employees receiving higher increases. For example superior employees are given 6% to 7%, above average employees 4% to 5%, average employees 3%, fair employees 2%, and poor employees 0%. This allows the organisation to check and reward performance whilst still meeting its salary increase budget. Obviously, your goal is to continue to train and develop your workforce. Occasionally, low performing employees have to be replaced with those most suited to the position. The Bell curve is just a process to ensure that star performers are recognised and rewarded for their work.

16. Establish the salary increase guideline budget and stick to it. Plan salary increases for the coming year by using the Bell curve mentioned in the above idea. Department managers should budget salary increases for employees assuming that the next year's performance will be at the same level as this year's. Please be aware that some performance ratings will change. There will always be exceptions. This process will help ensure that your organisation will remain within the new salary increase budget.

17. The salary increase guideline budget should be preapproved. When a different rating is submitted during the year, treat it as an exception and make sure to justify it because performances can change- it may go up or down. A strict salary administration program will ensure that budgets are achieved.

18. Establish a training rate for all appropriate positions. This is crucial when your organisation experiences higher levels of turnover during the first and second months of employment. The training rate is lower than the standard pay rate and is applicable only during the training period. Employees are given a raise once the training has been completed satisfactorily. Determine whether the training rate could be established for other positions in the organisation.

19. Where the training rate is not appropriate, establish a probationary rate for the standard 90 day period. This rate is lower than the standard pay rate and is applicable only during the first 90 days of employment. If performance is satisfactory, the employee will receive a raise to the standard pay rate. Determine whether a probationary rate could be established for all positions in the organisation.

20. Develop a labour-management system whereby a computer predicts daily or hourly volume and the amount of labour needs on the basis of seasonality. Most businesses have a trend cycle that can be measured with 15 minute increments. First, you must find a way to get past the notion that your business can not be tracked this way. There is a pattern to your business. Discovering your business pattern is the first step toward determining how to manage your Labour cost. Management will give you many reasons why the business can not be tracked. Once you work through all their concerns, you and your team can identify those trend items, aspects of your customer behaviour that, in fact, can be tracked and schedule Labour accordingly.

21. Determine whether your new hires would qualify for the targeted job tax credit program whereby a percentage of training dollars is refunded by the government.

22. Determine whether your organisation would qualify for tax benefits for providing employee childcare services.

23. If your employees handle cash transactions, install software driven cash reconciliation process to save time at shift changes and at closing. This will also reduce cash shortages. This type of procedure also saves time in the cash out process.

24. Constantly look for software modifications that can reduce labour. Seconds saved could also mean dollars earned. Using technology is a natural approach to the whole effort of productivity improvement. If your business has not recently explored this area, effective tools that currently exist may surprise you.

25. Have an industrial engineer evaluate your business in terms of time and motion studies to determine whether additional efficiencies can be achieved in areas where high throughput is important. This approach can still work today. Some managers run their businesses the same way they did 10 or 20 years ago. Time and motion studies can have an impact on cost savings, productivity, customer service, and employee morale.

26. Establish a self-regulating team with the specific responsibility of improving productivity and reducing costs in a particular department or area of ​​the organisation.

27. Develop an incentive to reduce absenteeism. This incentive should be linked to productivity improvement goals and to the availability of the workforce. It should be based on reducing absenteeism from previous period. The incentives could be a vacation bonus based on a 1% reduction in absenteeism

28. Develop a variable pay program whereby management salaries are reduced 5% to 10% across the board and these dollars are set aside into a bonus pool. When there is goal achievement, managers have the potential to earn even higher levels of compensation. However, these dollars will be at risk if managers do not achieve profit objectives. The potential to earn even higher levels of compensation will help sell this item.

29. Controlling your staff turnover is another way to reduce operating costs. Implementing strategies throughout the entire human resources cycle to ensure that all systems, procedures, policies, and practices are tight preventing employees from falling through the cracks. I refer to this as the human resources closed loop. If you think about it you will see that there is a cycle to the human resources process. It starts with recruitment, interviewing, selection and placement and continues to orientation, training, salary administration, performance appraisal, development, promotion, and finally termination. Then the cycle begins again. Make sure that all of the areas mentioned are employee friendly and are designed to retain employees. Identify any areas where improvements would reduce the number of employees leaving.

30. In order to determine where are to place additional controls, measure your labour costs in terms of cost per unit, cost per test, cost per guest check, etc. Breaking your labour costs down to the lowest unit will help you better identify cost saving ideas. It will also make it easier to affect and control.

Other Personnel Costs

This category would typically contains charges associated with

· Applied Payroll Burden
· Superannuation Employers Portion
· Vacation
· Paid Holidays
· Sick Leave
· Bonuses
· Short / Long term disability
· Group medical

Cost Saving Ideas

31. Make sure your company has a program that offers all full-time employees the opportunity to receive a higher salary in lieu of accepting certain benefits (such as medical, dental and life-insurance). Today many employees are being carried on a spouse's plan. Why not let these employees choose a higher salary instead of benefits? As long as salary increases less than the cost of benefits, the company will save money and employees will increase their income.

32. Evaluate the cost of your superannuation administration. There are competitive programs that can reduce administrative costs. A simple evaluation of three different companies will determine whether you have an opportunity to realise savings. Even if you do not want to change the current superannuation administration you may still be able to negotiate better terms by showing your evaluation.

33. Reduce workers compensation insurance by aggressively reducing accidents. Evaluate your workers compensation actual to determine your claims history. Most companies set an actual rate and never re-evaluate them even though their experiences change. Depending on your business you may be surprised at the potential savings here.

34. Using the Internet conduct benefit surveys to comply your cost with those of similar organisations.

35. Challenge third-party providers to reduce administration costs by using the Profit Maps Model and passing those savings along to you.

36. Continue to monitor workers compensation costs and develop action plans to reduce them.

37. Develop a back to work programme that puts injured employees in alternative positions. There are times when injured employees want to remain active in the organisation and appropriate positions are available.

38. Negotiate settlements when long-term workers compensation situations dictate.

39. Eliminate alcohol at all company sponsored activities. This approach can prevent accidents, cut beverage costs at functions and reduce risks.

Communications

This category typically contains charges associated with

· Long-Distance Telephone
· Cellular Phone
· Pagers
· Data lines
· Fax lines

Cost Saving Ideas

40. Authorise a telecommunications consultant to analyse all your communication costs in terms of rates charged, equipment used, and programmes offered, promotions available, usage, cellular phone options, long-distance carrier performance and pricing, fax and security line combinations, past bills , and so on. Structure the contract so that the consultant bills on the basis of percentage of cost saved or refunds received. In this way, there will be no cost to you if the consultant is not successful in improving your bottom line. Review all areas of communication to ferret out these pockets of expense that often go unnoticed. Pagers and cell phones are usually ordered and distributed without the benefit of an organised plan. There are real and meaningful discounts if you shop around.

41. Continue to renegotiate rates and terms with the vendors who provide services. Set up an ongoing procedure for constantly renegotiating rates and terms.

42. Monitor and control your communications cost on the basis of the cost per unit test (guests check, or that like) in order to determine locations for exerting any additional control.

Utilities

In this category typically charges associated are

· Gas and Electricity Usage
· Water

Cost Saving Ideas

43. Authorise a utility consultant to analyse your utility costs. Such consultants would know how to deal effectively with the local public service companies in order to discover advantages or missed opportunities associated with gas and electric services. They should be fully authorised to check existing equipment and records. They should be experienced in developing an index and analyses and creating demand graphs to spot situations where you may have been overcharged. They would also represent your issues to the public utility commission.

44. Pay your consultant on the basis of a percentage of the savings associated with his or her action steps. The typical rate is 25% to 30% of the demonstrated savings and refunds over a specific period of time. There should be no charge if savings are not demonstrated.

45. Take energy conservation action steps including setting thermostats at 72 ° F. Automatic controls should be put in place to control temperature during off hours.

46. ​​Turn off lights in conference rooms, restrooms and officers when they are not in use.

47. Turn off all lights not related to security at the close of business.

Professional fees

This category typically includes charges associated with professional services such as

· Legal and Human Resources Related Fees
· Proposals (domestic and international)
· Fees for Technical Services
· Other professional fees

Cost saving ideas

48. Talk about fees. If your lawyer does not bring up the subject of fees, you should. Do not be shy. In business, lawyers are free to set their own fees. The best time to discuss is at the beginning of a new legal matter.

49. Try to settle cases rather than litigate.

50. Have lawyers design standard forms you can use in routine transactions.

Conclusion

If You Want to Communicate Brilliantly, You Must Master the Golden Triangle of Communications

Because the three communication skills that generate win-win solutions, and build trust and respect, are:

* LISTENING to the answers generated by,
* ASKING many questions, and
* SUMMARISING periodically, as a means of feedback.

Do you want to be a brilliant communicator? Do you want to influence others easily? Is it part of your self improvement programme? If so, learn to listen, ask and summarise.

Let's look a bit more closely at each of them.

Listening is the single most important and effective of the communication skills. If you want to be a great conversationalist or you want to be great at establishing rapport, and building relationships with others, or you want to be in control, and influence people, learn to listen. This is not the same as hearing though. It is defined as: making a deliberate effort to understand the significance of what is heard

This means that when you register a sound (hear it) you do some work inside your minds and body – you put in some effort (you listen to it). For example, you interpret the sound to determine, does it matter? You question what the meanings of the sound might be. You associate the sound with other experiences in your internal mental and emotional databases. You ask if the sound needs a response and, if so, what? You think about the implications of the sound for you and others and, internally, you ask many questions about it. In this way, you are making a deliberate effort to understand the significance of what you heard – you are listening. To listen is hard work, as it requires high levels of mental energy and concentration.

In any communication between people there are two things going on at the same time (at least). On one level, there is the content of the communication – what are they communicating about? On another level, there is the process and the relationship – how and why are they communicating? This may include, for example: are they communicating in ways that are building trust or suspicion? Are they creating mutual respect or disdain? Are they enjoying the experience? Will their relationship be stronger or weaker as a result of this communication? Listening can be geared to either one or both of these levels. There is also another language that needs "listening" to – body language – with skillful observation and interpretation.

Asking means questioning, of course, and there are different types of questions and they achieve different things. Listed below are seven really useful types of question:

1. specific, precise, closed questions – very useful for getting accurate, factual information (provided the person answering tells the truth). This type of question will usually get you the facts but that may be all you get. If you want to get things flowing a bit more, you will need to use open-ended questions.

2. open-ended questions – very useful for getting the other person to talk and share opinions.
Great when you are not sure what you're looking for or when you want to build relationships and establish rapport or when you want to be in the receiver mode.

3. if you combine 2. and 1. above, in that order, you will create funnel questions. Funnel questions work like a funnel in the sense that they start very wide (open-ended questions); you listen to the answers and select something to ask a question about in more detail (your questions are getting narrower); you listen to the answers you get now and ask even more focused questions to funnel in (ie specific, precise, closed questions).

4. comparative questions – ask a person to think about a situation, think about a different situation and compare them. Comparative questions are very good for revealing what matters to someone and what they value

5. summarising questions – great for checking out that the messages that are being communicated are being understood as they were intended. They also help you to stay in control and to ensure that you, and others, do not drift off all over the place (unless you want to, of course).

6. short questions – intended to keep you , the receiver, receiving, and the other person talking, as well as making progress on whatever the communication is about. Short questions are most typically the six words: "what ?; who ?; when ?; how ?; where ?; and why?". The most probing of these questions is, "why?". Depending on the situation, handle this question with consideration for the other person as it may come across as aggressive or cause the other person to feel inadequate.

7. the seventh type of question is the absence of a spoken question – it is a pause or silence.
In some situations, especially if your communication with another person has reached a sensitive point, the approach that will get the best response is to shut up, maintain supportive eye contact and body language, and wait. Most people do not like the silence that ensues and the other person may well speak out revealing more information. There is, of course, a judgement to be made here as pauses or silences that go on too long may be embarrassing and weaken rapport. The judgement is, how long is too long?

Summarising means accurately repeating back the message that has been transmitted. It is time and effort very well spent because it will:

* Ensure understanding
* Demonstrate that active listening is taking place
* Build relationships (eg trust, respect, mutual support)
* Confirm or clarify key points
* Explore any perceived contradictions
* Explore any new information
* Reinforce openness and honesty
* Confirm common ground
* Create opportunities to correct any errors in the communication process.

Summarising is really valuable but is too often rarely seen in communications. It is a great test of listening, of course. If you can not summarise accurately what has been said, you probably were not listening in the first place (which is pretty insulting to the others, is not it?).

In summary, it is the golden triangle of communication skills – listening, asking and summarising – that is the key to achieving great solutions and building trust and respect with others.