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The 1 %

August 12th, 2013

15 Comments »

If you watch any political or financial news, or news in general, you’ll often hear about “The One Percent”.

“The 1 %” is a relatively new and very popular term to refer to the richest 1% of the people in society. So, for example, if you had a small town of 1000 people, “the 1 %” of that town would be the richest 10 people.

This term is used a lot when talking about “rich people” in general, or people who should be paying more in taxes, or when talking about the “wealth gap”. That is, the large and growing difference between rich and poor people.

A “gap” is a space. I could say, “She went to the dentist to fix the large gap between her two front teeth. She looks much prettier now”.

So when we hear something like, “The wealth gap is getting a lot bigger.” That means that the rich people are getting richer and the poor people are getting poorer.

“The one percent” are the rich people. They also want to stay rich. Many of them will influence politicians (law makers) to make laws that help them keep their money (low taxes) and help them keep earning more of it easily.

They have been very successful in the USA over the last 30 years. The top 1% of the people in the US now own about 25% of all of the money. (In the 1970′s, the top 1% had only 9% of the money.)

The situation is getting more and more severe as well. Life is amazingly easy financially for the top 1% of the people, and it’s very hard for the bottom 25% of the people. Those people have a hard time buying enough healthy food for their families and clothes for their kids.

Many, but not all, people in the 1% make the argument that poor people are lazy and shouldn’t get any help from the government. They believe they already pay more than enough money in taxes. They believe that if the poor people want more money, they can just work harder for it. No one is stopping them.

I am personally somewhere in the middle. I do believe that people who work hard should be allowed to have a much better stuff than people who sit around doing nothing. I also believe that many poor people are in fact very lazy and believe that they should get free stuff for doing nothing.

But I don’t believe that the rules of the game are reasonable. It’s possible to work for 60 hours a week (ie. not lazy) and still not be able to feed your family healthy food and pay for health care and pay for your kids to play sports and have an education. I think that’s a bit ridiculous.

An economic system that allows for rich people to have their own private air planes and also allow for millions of poor people to not be able to afford a tomato sandwich and a visit to the doctor seems stupid.

I’d like to see economists work towards a new system that allows for a very large and healthy middle class. There would still be some rich and poor people, but the difference wouldn’t be as insane as it is now.

BUT…… Guess what. I really can’t imagine that happening. It seems like we’re in a world where greed is #1. The richest people have so much control of everything and they will do anything to make it stay that way.

So, no matter what you think or hope is true, we’re living in a world where it is important to try to get ahead and earn money. No one is going to take care of you, you need to take care of yourself. The difference between rich and poor is huge, and it is getting bigger every year. Having a good job will pay a lot of money, and getting a terrible job will pay almost nothing, even if you are working hard in both jobs. You need to be more competitive. You need to improve your chances to get a high paying job by doing anything you can. Your hard work now will make your life much better in the future, and your family’s as well.

If that isn’t an amazing reason to start getting more serious about learning English right now (so you can be more competitive and earn more money) I really don’t know what is.

Love to hear your thoughts below.

For the best ways to improve your English fast, join us in the VIP, AND in our high level community. These places are for people who really want to get ahead in life.

Putting in an “Honest Effort”

July 23rd, 2013

17 Comments »

Even though you are not a native speaker and you have possibly never heard this term, I’m guessing you can guess what an honest effort means.

An honest effort, is when you actually try your best at something.  Only YOU know when you are trying your best, so only YOU know if you are putting in an honest effort.

When I was a young kid, my parents, teachers, and coaches were always telling us how important it is to try our best at whatever we do.  I’ll have to admit, I never realized how truly important this was until pretty recently.  I believe that part of the reason was that I was afraid to believe this.  I didn’t want it to be true.  For me personally, I almost fantasize about a successful and happy life without needing to put in a full effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want or expect success with no effort.  I guess it’s just that I hoped that hard work wasn’t so important for success.  I somehow wish that intelligence and great ideas were more important than they are.

I kind of hoped that hard work was something that was just for the “stupid” or the “average” people.  I wanted to be more creative, more thoughtful, and attain success from simply having better ideas than the ideas of the typical “hard workers”.

But the truth is that when I think about all the people I know in my own life who are successful at anything, hard and consistent work is almost always the biggest reason.  The most successful people I know are not the smartest people, and they aren’t the most talented either.  But they are the hardest working people.  Even if their ideas and plans aren’t that amazing, they end up succeeding at almost anything they do because they keep working hard no matter what the situation looks like, and they never give up.  If their first plan doesn’t work, they try something else and work even harder.

This is true for people who are successful in business, in relationships, in learning a new language, in fitness, in pretty much anything. Hard work is insanely important for success.  You can make all the excuses you want, and many of your excuses might even make sense, but the real truth is pretty simple; if you want more success in your life, then you need to work harder than you are now.

This blog is supposed to be a little “kick in the pants” for anyone reading this.  It’s a wake up call.  I know you’d like to improve many areas of your life, and your English level is just one of them; and it’s a very important one too.  Even if you already know a lot of what I’m saying, I just hope this wakes you up a little bit.  You need to study harder.  You need to be more consistent with your studying. You know that you need to improve your English, and I hope this blog helps you realize that you shouldn’t waste even one more day procrastinating and making excuses.  Life is short, and we have no time to waste.

For a great way (the best way) to improve your English, try our VIP community.  I’ve been uploading awesome documentaries, books, and now some full length awesome audio books.  When I was in Canada, I read a lot of really great books, and I’m sharing the best ones with you guys in this VIP community.  I’ll keep them there and keep adding more stuff I know you’ll love.  I just uploaded one of the best and most famous books ever about psychology and improvement.  This will absolutely help your English and your life. It’s in there now :)

Of course, the China232 VIP room is pretty sick as well.  Do you know that Add and I already have more than 211 VIP podcasts in there?  If you study all those lessons, you’ll have unbelievable English in less than 90 days.  Just sayin…

Love to hear your thoughts and comments as usual :)  Did this post help motivate you to get off your butt and start working harder?

Elite Clubs – Do They Make Sense?

May 8th, 2013

23 Comments »

When I was a kid, I always wondered why rich people would pay SO MUCH money to play golf at a private golf course.  It didn’t seem to make any sense to me.  Ok, sure, they are rich, I know that.  But even most rich people don’t like throwing money into the garbage for no reason at all.  A lot of them are surprisingly careful with their money.

In Canada, you can play golf at a VERY nice golf course for under $200 per time.  Sometimes it’s much less than $100.  And I’m talking about really beautiful golf courses, not just average ones.

So why then, would any reasonable person pay $100 000 per year for a membership?  It made no sense to me before.  Now it makes perfect sense.

These guys aren’t paying for how nice the golf course is.  That is only part of it.  It’s a small part actually.  What they are really paying for is the community.  Think about the other people who go to those courses.  Most of them are also successful business people.  They pay for status and ability to meet these people.  They talk and do business together.  They make friends and get their children in this rich group of successful people.  In some ways, the whole thing makes me sick.  I wish the world were a more fair place.  But the reality is that it’s not.  It does make sense for these people to stay together, meet each other, and network together.

It’s MUCH more likely that you will meet someone worth doing business with on one of these super expensive golf courses than if you were to try to meet these types of people at other places where “regular” people can go.

I was thinking about this because I was thinking about a social networking website for English learning.  These aren’t the exact same thing, but you’ll see what I mean in a minute…

People who speak English as a second language and are actually serious about improving their English, their business, their lives, etc, don’t have anywhere to go to meet each other online.  There are a lot of garbage websites that allow anyone on there.  If you want to speak with someone to “practice your English”, you can absolutely find a partner on a million free sites.

But the problem with this is HUGE.  These sites that allow anyone to join, attract people who aren’t really serious about learning English or really serious about anything at all.  Why?  Because most people in the world are not serious about anything they are doing.

If you want to meet a partner to speak English with, share ideas, share stories, share culture, you will want to meet someone who is at or above your level.  You want someone who can challenge you and you can learn from.  It’s not easy to find these people, but they exist.

Imagine for a second that you wrote on your Facebook page, “I am looking for someone to learn from, talk about business and life, and really challenge each other to improve our English skills”.  I can’t imagine you will find anyone.  Maybe, if you are lucky, someone will say “Yes” to your offer, but they probably won’t be the type of person you are hoping for.

As you probably know, Add and I have been making a new free video EVERY DAY at www.LearnEnglish232.com  

We are hoping to get people to get in the habit of going there every day for the new lessons.  We want to grow that site to 50 000 visitors per day.

But many of the people who find this site or that site aren’t super serious about learning English.  We also want to find the SUPER SERIOUS people and provide an opportunity for amazing English, business, and life learning that does not exist anywhere else on the internet.  That’s our goal.

The people who are not serious will not pay a small monthly fee to join the membership part.  And that’s great.  Our plan is to build a membership site for serious learners.  Everyone will have a great profile with an awesome photo, bio, linkedIn page, Skype number, where they are from…  A lot of stuff.  Then these people will be able to search through the other serious members and we can all have a really high level and private conversation.  Also, the members will be able to contact each other and set up high level language exchanges and other things.  It will be a real community.  I’ll be on there providing reading material, movie talk, technology stuff, and a bunch of interesting and high level topics for group discussion.  We’ll all push ourselves to get better and better in not only English, but in life too.

I want to have a lot of great free English learning content for everyone to enjoy, and a high level SUPER VIP program that is connected to this one and also adds a lot more.  We’re still talking about how we want the site to be.  And since some of you guys who are reading this right now will be interested in joining it, it would be great to hear your ideas now.  We are building it for you and other high level people like you.

What do you think of this idea?  What would you like to see in that program?

Help us design it with your ideas and then it will be much better that way!

And by the way, don’t worry, it won’t be expensive like an elite golf course!  It doesn’t need to be.  The only reason I used that example was to try to make a point.

Love to hear your thoughts guys.  By the way, does anyone here already have the great habit of going to www.LearnEnglish232.com everyday yet?  What do you think?  Have you shared it with your friends, students, or teachers?  What do they think?  We’re still in the beginning stages of developing this, and we’re sure this will be the best yet!

It will be connected in some way with China232.com VIP membership, so don’t worry about that.  We’ll take care of you guys and make it kick ass!  There will be tons of amazing free stuff for everyone and an insanely awesome high level private English learning VIP club.

Sounds like a win/win to me!  What are your thoughts on this whole topic?  Even the part about rich people paying so much for golf.  Does it make sense to you too?

Your comments are always appreciated.  You guys have been great lately with that.  Keep it up.  I read EVERY one!!

Learning English On Twitter

April 23rd, 2013

15 Comments »

I’ve never been a “Twitter guy”, but I’d love to start using it properly to give you another way to learn English.  I always hear “check us out on Twitter” or “Follow us on Facebook”.

Up until now, we’ve relied on sending you emails, and Facebook posts to get you guys back to visit the website.  There are so many websites and so many distractions both online and offline.  If we remind you guys to come back to this site through an email or a Facebook post, we get A LOT more people on this site everyday.  Even if you like to use some particular website, you probably don’t go visit it everyday.  (Unless it’s Facebook or your email).  I’m almost positive that there are no more than 5 websites in the whole world that you visit everyday.  Am I right?  Is this because you don’t like many websites?  No way.  We just often forget about them because most websites aren’t a habit ,even if they are useful sites.  We’re trying to change that by making our websites a part of your daily habit (Of course, if you want that to be true).  We don’t want to send 10 emails per day and annoy you guys, but we want to make sure you know about anything new so that you at least have the option of checking it out if you want to.

Now, as you probably know, we’re getting into making daily English Learning Videos on LearnEnglish232.com.  It’s hard work, and the point of making them every day, is to get people in the habit of going directly there everyday, because they KNOW that there will be a new lesson.  If people come back over and over again to the same website and use it often, we say that the website is “sticky”.  It’s a useful marketing term.  It sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly hard to make a “sticky” website, even if you put stuff on there everyday, and even if it’s stuff that people like!  That can be stressful, but it’s ok, that’s part of the fun.

Besides making the site “sticky” with useful new content everyday, we need to both help many new people find the site, and stay in communication with you guys.  Email is great, but we can’t go crazy on that.  Facebook is pretty good.  Subscribing on Youtube or Itunes is pretty good too.  But TWITTER?  It should be good, but I STILL don’t know what I’m doing on there.

Well…..  I don’t want to give up and be a quitter, but I do have to admit that I have a lot to learn on there.  Our new Twitter feed only has 16 followers!  HA!  Here it is:  Learn English On Twitter

I’d love your advice and suggestions.  I know that at least some English learners are using Twitter.  Why am I such an idiot?  I seriously get jealous and go crazy when I see other Twitter feeds with tens of thousands of followers.  What are they doing right?  If I tweet our new videos, does anyone care?  What makes people push the “retweet” button?

I don’t want to just beg for Twitter followers.  That is embarrassing and it won’t work.  But I am very curious as to what a good Twitter strategy would be for the new video site.  I want to start using Twitter to connect with fans and find new fans, but I SUCK at it.

I’m kind of laughing while I write this, but it’s true.  If you are reading this blog and you use Twitter, I’d love to hear from you!  Ok.  I’m begging for advice… :(  Embarrassing I know!

Thanks for all your support on both this site and the new video site too guys.  Both sites are growing and Add and I are getting ready to make VIP lesson 200!  It’s going to be a surprise!  I think you’ll really like it.

By the way, if there are any terms, phrases, phrasal verbs, or anything you want to learn, please let me know in the comments section.  I’ll try to make a video lesson on that.  And of course, your comments about Twitter will be a huge help, hopefully not just for me, but for you as well.  I don’t want to keep sucking at it!  You guys deserve better!  LOL.

 

Learn English Fast – Make it a Habit

March 12th, 2013

21 Comments »

Today in our continued series on learning English fast, I want to talk about the importance of HABITS.

We already spoke about the need to make learning a MUST, and also the need to maintain your motivation by figuring out the WHY.

This blog is going to talk about the importance of making learning English a habit; like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

Think about it, when you were a little kid, your parents taught you to do certain habits.  Maybe you brush your teeth before bed.  Maybe you take your shoes off when you come in your house.   Maybe you turn the TV off every time you leave the room.

These are good habits.  We do them everyday.  They are good for us.   And we don’t think about them.  We just do it almost like a machine.

We need to make English learning a habit too.  I’m sure aren’t passionate about brushing your teeth or taking your shoes off, but you do it as a habit.  You don’t need to think about it.  It happens almost naturally.   That’s awesome!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had the same type of habit with your English learning?  You can do it.  You already have the passion and the reasons why you want to.  You just need to know HOW to make it a habit.

So, what can you do?

1.  Do it at the same time every day.  Choose 15-30 minutes each and everyday where you will study English; NO EXCUSES.  Maybe you will study from 5:00 to 5:30 pm everyday.  Maybe you will study from 8:00 to 8:15 every morning after breakfast.  Whatever.  Just pick a time and make sure you study at that EXACT time every day.  This is part of forming a habit.  It makes it easier to do consistently and not forget.  It helps your brain make a little rule.  If it’s 8:00pm, I will study English.  It’s just like the rule, “If I walk in the house, I will take off my shoes”.  These are rules we don’t think about, but we follow them if we do them enough.

2.  Use your iphone, android, and set a “Study alarm”.  Put the alarm on “Repeat” every day so that you will hear that reminder to study English.  It will help you big time in the early stages of forming your study habit.  I recommend setting the alarm exactly 10 minutes before you will start studying.  This will give you time to prepare your iphone, computer, books, or whatever.  These 10 minutes are for preparation.  You will be able to concentrate much better if you prepare well.  Then you won’t need to waste any time once you start studying.

3.  Study EVERY DAY.  You might think, “Well, I can just study 3 times a week but longer”.  Again, that thinking is true, but it will get you in trouble.  The point of studying everyday NOT only so you will learn more.  It is to MAKE IT A HABIT.  If you do something only a few times per week, it’s not a proper habit.  If you study more than the 15-30 minutes in a day, GREAT.  BUT… Don’t make the mistake of taking a day off.  Don’t make the mistake of doing it an hour later either.  MAKE SURE you can choose at least 15 minutes per day to study and make sure it’s the same time every day.  Don’t worry how much you learn in these 15 minutes.  Just see if you can control yourself to actually do what you plan.  Most people fail in most things because they can’t follow their own plans.  If you make a plan, stick to it, no excuses.

If you can make learning English a habit, you will have amazing results after a few short months instead of a lot of guilt and a million and one excuses.

Try it!  Tell us in the comments when you will study each day and let us know if you can do this everyday for a week with no excuses.  15 minutes isn’t a big deal.  See if you can follow this simple exercise.  Don’t let your mind play tricks on you.  No excuses.  The same 15 minutes EVERY DAY!

That was once again a simple sounding idea, but an important one!  Good Luck!