This is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening.
"To go anywhere you want you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived." - Jonathan Livingston
“Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight–how to get from shore to food and back again,” … “For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.” Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar.
The book follows a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness. This is a spirituality classic, and an especially engaging parable for adolescents.
Watch it on Netflix
Inspired by Richard Bach’s best-selling novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull, this live-action family drama follows the quest of a young seagull to transcend the boundaries of his flock.
Malcolm Gladwell delves into the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions. Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential?
Superstars don’t arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”
Successful people rise on a tide of advantages!
From Mozart to Bill Gates, Malcolm Gladwell builds a convincing case.. “some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.”
Bits of trivia from the book, Outliers:
Why most pro hockey players were born in January,
how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill – 10,000 Hours – Magic Number for Success?
why the descendants of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York,
how a pilots’ culture impacts their crash record,
how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math.
Anthony Robbins – Unleash The Power Within – Story
Outliers: The Story of Success book reminded me of Anthony Robbins – Unleash The Power Within, 2mm experience in golfing. How 2mm difference at the put makes a yards difference once the ball is in the air.
Jim Collins explores what makes a great company but looking at a list of 1,435 companies that made the leap and some that did now. Settling on 11–including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo — and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success.
Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy.At the heart was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.
The book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider.
Nuggets of insights
Managing your problems can only make you good, whereas building your opportunities is the only way to become great.
“Stop To-Do list” is more important then the To-Do list.
Greatness is a conscious choice.
Your people aren’t the most important asset, the “right” people are. These people are selected by character attributes and not on specific educational background.
It’s “who you pay” not how you pay. “Hire 5, work them like 10 and pay them like 8”.
Best people do not need to be managed.
Strong people are motivated by performance.
Put your best people on your best opportunities not problems.
I’m buzzing full of positive energy! Today (28th June 2009) I attended a seminar by Jairek Robbins on Creating Certainty in an Uncertain Time. Plenty of take home learning’s, life techniques and I even got to have a great conversation with Jairek.
About Jairek Robbins
JAIREK ROBBINS — http://www.jairekrobbins.com
Jairek offers his lifetime experience growing up in the Personal Development industry. From spending time in Denmark with John Grinder the Co-Founder of NLP to Leaderships Academy with the Anthony Robbins Companies.
At 20 years old Jairek was coaching individuals from around the globe, sharing with them the Jairek Robbinsuniversal tools, ideas and strategies it takes to create an extraordinary quality of life and Business.
As a speaker Jairek shares his unique view of what it takes to create an Extraordinary Quality of Life, define and achieve consistent lasting results in your profession, as well as clearly assists in creating a powerful vision for your overall success.
Jairek has his BA in Psychology from the University of San Diego and has spent his entire life immersed in the Personal Development Industry. In working towards his greatest passion of helping people achieve their peak potential Jairek was awarded in 2008, “The Congressional Award, Gold Medal”.
From 2006-2008 he served as a representative of Robbins Research International 1 of 11 organizations under the Anthony Robbins Companies. He advised and consulted with Fortune 500 companies, executives, managers and sales professionals in the areas of personal and professional achievement and sales mastery. During this time he traveled 48 weeks a year speaking to over 400 companies giving presentations and running training programs throughout the world.
By far the easiest way for an Australian Citizen to work in the USA is on an E3 Visa.
The E3 visa is a United States visa for which only citizens of Australia are eligible. It was created by an Act of the United States Congress as a result of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) for Australians going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a “specialty occupation”. A specialty occupation covers anyone with a Bachelor’s degree with a body of specialized knowledge. In my case this was a Bachelors in Computer Science, MBA and the specialty knowledge I held within the company which would ultimately help the International arm of the USA firm expand.
“The E3 visa allows for the temporary entry into the United States of individuals who are to perform services in a specialty occupation for a U.S. employer. It currently applies only to nationals of Australia, their spouses and children under the age of 21.”
A bit about the E3
Takes around 1-2 months to organise.
Costs you a non-refundable application fee of US$131 and your employer (sponsor) around $4,000.
E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in 2 increments) as long as your employer is willing to sponsor you.
Spouses may work in the United States without restrictions on what is called E3D (D is for Dependent) once they have successfully filed and received a work permit (form I-765).
Your intention is to depart the United States upon expiration your authorized E3 stay.
Not a path to a Green Card.
You can only apply for th E3 within Australia. Not U.S. This creates some headache when wanting to switch to an E-3 offboard from a student scholarship or Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
You need to have a job offer from the U.S. before you can apply for the E-3 visa.
Why not H-1B (at first)
Takes longer to acquire.
Spouse cannot work and needs to be on a H4 dependent visa. Unless your spouse gets sponsored by a USA company for a H1B Visa.
Subject to the 65,000 annual world-wide visa limit. E-3 annual quota is 10,500 E3 visas to Australian’s only.
What your sponsor (the employer / their immigration attorney) may ask you for
Your & your partners history in the USA and where you stayed,
Prior USA visa details (Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is not counted),
Any prior refusals / cancellations to the USA,
Any immediate family that is a U.S. permanent resident or U.S. citizen,
Past 10 year history of travel around the world – for security purposes,
Countries which have issued you passports,
Your Bachelor’s degree for an “education evaluation”. Australian degrees are typically 3 years while USA 4 years. Uncle Bill needs values education highly, wants to see are a not cheap labor and are professional – nothing to worry about,
Your resume to show work history which may also be used to obtain the equivalent 4 year degree pass for Uncle Bill,
Military service details (if applicable).
What you need to do in Australia to organise the E3
Once your employer (your sponsor) has successfully lodged a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US dept of Labor they advise you to organise an appointment with the US consulate. During this time while you wait for the LCA (green light), you should be doing your part to apply for the E3 visa.
Step 4: Pay the application fee of US$131. This can only be done at the Australian Post, you walk in and tell them what you want to pay for. No need for any special document. They act like a holding bank for the US consulate.
Step 5: Gather additional required documents – your employer / attorney will provide these to you in the 1 bundle. These will be the documents the employer would have asked you (see above). You will need these for Step 6.
Step 6: Personally appear at the U.S. Consulate with:
Job offer letter,
DS-160 confirmation page,
Original Australia Post receipt confirming the payment of the Visa application fee,
Pre-paid self-addressed envelope (registered post) – make sure it’s those tough plastic envelopes since your passports will be coming back in this,
2 passport sized photos for each required Visa
the bundle of documents your employer provided you.
and most importantly to get accepted in the interview, make sure you bring documents (evidence) which indicate you intend to return to Australia once employment ceases. This is done through documents like real estate investments, proof of a return airfare or financial ties. A statement is typically adequate. Don’t forget the intend of the E3 and your stay of 2 years.
It’s a bit of work from both sides but in the end it always pays off. Just don’t forget to communicate with your employer (sponsor) to speed up the process of organizing documents.
Can I apply for a Green Card on the E3?
There are risks. Since E3 is not a dual intent like the H visa’s, i.e. the intention to be here temporarily or to file for a green card. The way around this is to consular process for your green card. As a practical matter, when you have filed the second step of the green card process, you must disclose that on any immigration petition. An officer could decide not to renew the E3 even if you are going to consular process.
What other safer ways can I apply for a Green Card?
Ask your employer nicely if they can sponsor you on a H1B. You at maximum 5 months before the E3 expires. This is going to cost them a lot more than the E-3 but is definitely worth it if you and they value each others business.
What is the process of renewing the E-3
Start this process with your employer 5 months before your visa expires. You WILL have to leave USA to do this. You can either go back to Australia for a holiday or to Canada and apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes non-immigrant petition-based visas. Read this PDF on more detail about extending your E3 visa: http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/E3_010606PR.pdf
How long can I stay in the U.S. after I finish my job?
You can stay 10 days after you finish your job. This is NOT enough time to transfer your visa to a new employer (unless you started earlier) or apply for a different type of visa. You and your spouse (if under E3D) will be forced to leave the country. This is why you should carefully think about your intent in the USA before committing to anything long-term financially (house) or personally (starting a family).
Not many employers know what a E3, only H1B visa. If your company sponsored you then they know but if your spouse needs to find work on a E3D, make sure you can educate them on the whole E3 visa, how it works and it’s similarity to the H1B visa.
If you are interested in the journey my wife had with getting the paperwork and job organized under a E3D visa as an Occupational Therapist then click here to read her story.
Check here for a reliable moving company that can arrange your move to New Zealand or Australia fast and effortless.
To guarantee a safe and relaxed atmosphere while abroad, here is a bunch of things you should sort out before leaving Australia. This list is based on stuff I had to do. Note, the following is only after you have decided that you are going to become a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes. This you become automatically if you consider yourself “living” overseas and are not going on a limited short term contract or transitory fly in.
For me, I am a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes. But the help of companies such as the best local movers are still necessary.
Note: The following is NOT advise. It is what I did and I'm sharing
this with you. I highly recomment you seek expert advise from a
financial / tax specialist like http://smats.net who I use to take care
of all financial needs. Yes I searched long and hard to find these
guys since most financial / tax specialists I spoke to in America
were unsure how to best manage my international investments in
light of also being a full time tax resident in America.
Stuff to do before you leave Australia
Notify your banks and inform them that you are leaving Australia and thus are a non-resident for tax purposes. This will allow your banks to automatically deduct 10% from your interest when it is credited to your account. Also repay off any debts that you might have taken, for you wouldn’t want moorcroft debt recovery company to be tailing you all the way to Australia.
I left my Superannuation where it is. You now have the right to pull it out should you be in a financial hardship but it’s safer to leave it there in case you return. Also it’s not worth making any superannuation contributions whilst you are abroad since no tax deducation is available to make this a worthwhile excercise.
However it becomes a taxable income in Australia and must be reported to the ATO. However all costs related to the ownership are claimable and offset any tax. Basically your family home becomes an investment property and you will start accumulating tax credits should you return back to Australia. Tax credits can be used later to offset your taxable income once you start working in Australia potentially providing years of tax free income. Of course pending on the amount of investment property you have to do this.
If you have property investments and are they receiving an income you will need to file an Australian Tax return every year. Find a good real estate holding company and accountant who you can rely on to look after your investments and have the ability to communicate via email with them. You want to make sure your assets are well protected and you have a team of specialists who will look after your best interest.
HECS (if you still own it) will continue to be due should your taxable income in Australia be over the $36K mark. Else there is no requirement to repay the loan unless you wish to make voluntary payment. I’m lucky to have repaid mine a few years back. Before you leave, try to repay it if you can so you don’t have this cloud over your head while abroad.
Your Australian credit cards are worth keeping. If you have credit cards with annual payment just keep them running. There is nothing more damaging then to shut down your credit card and have your credit history erased. Also should you visit Australia (and you will) you will want to use one of those credit cards to make payments. Just make sure you have repaid your credit card dept before leaving Australia.
Finally, nominate someone you can trust to be your mail handler. You will still receive mail and will want to make sure that this person you trust can either scan the mail and email it to you. You can also check out http://www.earthclassmail.com/ which scan your postal mail and emails it to you automatically for a very reasonable fee.
Now your set to go and explore the new land of opportunity.
During one lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to make a change in our life. It had to be a large change. Enough to shake the foundation beneath us. Something which could give us amazing experiences and a wealth of education as we journeyed through it. And so it began.
I created an opportunity of a lifetime to leave the comfort of my home country, Sydney (Australia) and head out to Silicon Valley, California.
Silicon Valley is the region is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, HP, Intel, Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Agilent, Oracle, Yahoo, Netflix, and EA… and soon to be also my new home. More here if you want to read about Silicon Valley.
I do not have a set time-frame for how long I intend to stay in the USA. My main goal is to have the time of my life, an experience like no other. Only time will tell whether I return to Sydney or build on a new exciting life in a country where no Semerda has ever ventured before!
Why Silicon Valley?
So a few years back in Sydney (Australia) while doing my undergraduate Computer Science degree I always dreamed of working in Silicon Valley (California). Silicon Valley was seen as the Makkah in the world of science & technology. The place to be if you are into computers. Place where dreams are made. I wanted to experience this. Experience working in a leading edge tech company. Experience the culture, lifestyle, people and everything else it has to offer.
Global business in America is on a far greater scale than in Australia. I know that the knowledge gained will be invaluable to Australian employers should I return, earning power will be more aboard than in Australia, new friendships I make abroad will last and grow into business opportunities and the possibility of new trade of goods or services are endless if I keep my ears open to the sound of opportunity.
There is no other place like Silicon Valley anywhere in the world. Silicon Valley here I come!
Farewell dinner with friends
Before leaving Sydney, my wife & brother organized a farewell dinner for me with my close friends. Times like this make you realize who your true friends are. Those that care, want to spend the last few hours with you and send their best wishes before I venture into an unknown land with just a suitcase and a job. It gets harder because my wife of 4 years, unfortunately wont be joining me until we sort out her documents to work in California. So I will be alone, initially, in a country thousands of kilometers away starting a new life for the next few years.
Anyway, back to the dinner. It was a fun time! We ate plenty of good food, drank a lot of red vino (my favorite Bogan Shiraz) and partied till late in the back terrace of the restaurant.
Here’s a few snaps we took at our last supper:
My brother put together this (below) awesome last supper invite. Soooo nice of him to do that. How the heck did he get those old pics of me lol… definitely made my day. Thanks bro!
The restaurant we had my last supper at was Elio at Leichhardt (Sydney). Beautifully presented mouth-watering meals! If you want to go there speak to Tommy who runs the restaurant. He is a good friend and will look after you. Elio is online here: http://www.elio.com.au/
– Our drinking age is 18 throughout the country.
– We drive on the left hand side of the road.
– Seatbelts are compulsory for everyone in a car.
– Handguns are illegal without a permit and it’s very difficult to get one.
– Our cars are generally smaller than most cars in the US though larger ones are available
– Australia is completely metricated – we use Celcius instead of Farenheit for temperature, litres instead of gallons, kilograms instead of pounds, metres instead of yards etc.
– Our seasons are the opposite to yours, Summer is Dec-Feb, Autumn is Mar – May, Winter Jun – Aug, Spring Sep – Nov so it’s hot at Christmas time and many people spend Christmas Day on the beach.
– Most of our population lives within 100km (miles?) of the coast and the population density in the inland is very low.
– We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
– We have X public holidays per year.
– Workers in Australia receive 4 weeks paid holiday (vacation) every year.
– We have universal healthcare for citizens and PRs which is paid for out of our taxes.
– The cost of living in Australia is generally a bit higher than in the US. Cars x2, Gas/Petrol, Food, Accomodation.
– There is no need to tip in Australia. If you experience excellent service, a tip is appreciated but will never be demanded.
– Australia has a much smaller population than the USA.
Our population is just over 20 million where as the population of the USA is over 300 million.
– Voting age is 18, voting is compulsory in all elections.
– Our currency is multi colours (examples),
– We also spell some words differently to the US such as:
defence, jewellery, favourite, realise, colour, litre, metre and numerous other words.
– Best beaches in the world.
– Have you seen the traffic in Sydney ? It is like a 3rd world country when it comes to infrastructure. Roads have pot holes like in Moombasa. The tolls are the only way to screw the population who pay it and sit on the highway in traffic. None of the traffic lights are synchronized even on major roads. How long does it take on Queens Blvd to get to Manhattan from Flushing in NYC.
– Right hand side
– More variety in things to do. SV is x-hrs from Yosemite, Tahoe, Wine country, mountains for hiking, beach for surfing. (pics from my holidays).
– Wide open roads
1) Excellent environment for business – great place for business owners
2) Affordable housing, grocery, cars, general expenses
3) Affordable cost for contractors (eg. plumbing like sewer service, ac services such as ac installation services, etc.)
4) Big corporations have very good health & dental cares and pension plans
5) Low travel cost
1) Some salaries are higher but tax is also much higher – if you are on min. wages, better stay in Australia, but if you are middle manager / director type, US salary is actually higher and lower tax
2) Universal healthcare – service is getting less each year, and waiting time is longer and longer but it is still available
3) Slow pace – Australia in generally is quite slow paced – but this does not mean less stressful – but the overall lifestyle is slower.
4) Monopoly business – if you can come up with a good idea, you can have a monopoly business in Australia easier and enjoy ripping off customers at your will…such can not be achieved in USA due to competition.