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10 Life Lessons I Have Learnt That Have Made Me Successful

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Last week I embarked on one of the biggest challenges of my life, which is to cure myself of chronic illness. Thanks to Addicted2Success, I now have all the knowledge I need from the interviews I have been posting on this site.

While I am going through this journey of fasting, cleansing, juicing and detoxifying, I wanted to share with you lessons that could change your perspective. When we attempt to embark on a road less travelled, we know there are going to be challenges ahead.

It’s in these difficult times that the people around you will support you and your beliefs will be required to get your mind through the mental barriers. Whether it’s doing your first startup, healing yourself from sickness or attempting an expedition to Antarctica, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t be successful!

Don’t ever let anyone stop you from following your passion and achieving your goals. Only you know what motivates you and only you have the power to bring change to the world. Stand up! Get inspired! Focus! Breathe! You have the power! Anything is possible!

To help you along your life journey, here are the ten lessons that have made me successful and I want you to have them.

1. Always be humble

There are going to be times when you get what everyone else wants. It’s during these times that you need to stay humble and never forget where you came from. I have achieved financial goals and career goals that most people have only dreamt of. I don’t tell you this to impress you; I tell you because I want you to understand how important being humble is.

Instead of being cocky when you reach a goal, use the result to inspire or teach someone else to do the same. It will feel much better than any amount of money and it will give you fulfilment. There is nothing more ugly in a person than arrogance and that’s not you – that’s not me either.

As quick as you can make a million dollars you can lose it too. Those who are humble are able to fail and still get back up and start again. Those who are arrogant have a much harder time because the people around them remember how they were when they had the million dollars.

It’s for this reason that I write these posts, rather than keep what I know to myself. I want you to do the same from now on – plain and simple.

2. Keep An Open Mind At All Times

If I could only teach you one lesson and nothing else then it would be this; the number one attribute that successful people have is an open mind. They are open to change and to think differently. This is why they see opportunities that normal people do not.

Remember that everything you know is only true if you believe it is. Question everything you have ever known and remember that there is no one answer to any question. People that fail do so because they think they have all the answers and they do not have an open mind.

You’re not a failure and that’s why you’re here. If there is someone who has totally different views to you then take them out to lunch, you might learn something. The greatest life lessons are learnt from your foes, not from people that just agree with everything you say.

3. Don’t be in love with yourself

Let’s face it, some people just love themselves. Have you ever met the person that has what sounds like a very polished script about their life and what they have been up to? Have you ever seen someone’s Instagram account that is full of photos of themselves?

Again, this is not you. Of course, it’s okay to have some photos of yourself, but don’t make everything all about you. If you want to attract amazing people into your life then do the reverse and focus on other people – it’s much more powerful and you know it.

4. The season will always change

I am sure you have heard of this by now, but if you haven’t, then I will introduce you to this concept; life is made up of seasons. There are times when you are in winter and everything is not going your way. Everything that can go wrong does.

Then there are other times where everything goes right and you can’t believe how much you have grown (summer). As long as you tell yourself that the season will change and your struggle won’t last forever, the universe will work in your favour.

Remember that during the winter moments of your life, the greatest lessons are being learnt and your personal resilience is being built. You’ll look back someday and be grateful for all those cold blizzards because it will have shaped who you are and what you can do for others.

Also, keep in mind that while some may be complaining about the cold weather, people like you will decide to go skiing instead – it’s all a matter of perspective.

5. People have their own reasons for their decisions

A lot of people spend their valuable time on this earth trying to figure out what people’s reasons are for making certain decisions. The life lesson I want you to get from these situations is that people have their own reasons for doing things.

Humans are not logical and no matter how hard you try you will never really know why someone did something. For example, your startup might be turned down for a major business deal and you automatically think that it’s because of your product or your experience.

In reality, you might have been turned down for something stupid like you may resemble a character from a horror film and the person making the decision is reminded of this every time they meet you. My point is that there could be lots of reasons that a decision is made but all of your focus should not be on why they made the decision, but how you can learn from it and continue with your vision.

6. Give value as much as you take value

A rule of the universe that always works (I have seen this in my own life a lot) is that you need to give as much value as you take. In a relationship, if all you do is take and you never give anything in return, it’s guaranteed that the relationship will eventually fail.

I know what you’re thinking, “but Tim how do I know what to give someone else?”

The answer is you don’t, you just give them something that you think is valuable to them and do so with all of yourself. Even if your act creates no value for the other person, they will be so humbled that you tried and you will get a great outcome.

In a business context, for a partnership to work there has to be value exchanged on both sides. Instead of thinking about how much profit you are making and how you can extract more money from the other side, reframe your thinking to “how can I give more value?”

I guarantee you that if you give the other side of a business partnership more value than they expect, they will try and outdo you any way they can. This process creates disruption, innovation and a great people culture.

7. Be optimistic at all times (the universe is in your favour)

If you look at people who achieve the impossible, you will notice that they all seem to have an unwavering sense of optimism. The reality is that negative people end up nowhere, buying lottery tickets and hoping that someone is going to knock on their door with a pile of cash.

You wouldn’t be on this site if you believed that myth and so I want you to know that the best thing you can do for your mental toughness is work on being more optimistic. Every time someones says something that is overly negative and not constructive, be bold, and call it out.

Don’t let other people bring you down with them. If you find that these negative people are having this affect on you all the time, then change your environment. Work somewhere else, start your own business, find a new group of friends, etc.

“By working on the art that is optimism, you will reconstruct your neural pathways to point yourself in the direction of greatness and global success” – Tim Denning

8. Take a break from your passion

Some of you on here are dedicated and work on your passion every single day. While I applaud you for your hard work, I want you to take a break once in a while. It’s on these breaks that your moments of clarity will come.

It’s on these breaks that you will pivot your vision and expand it further than it was before. Being in the same environment every day will limit your knowledge and block you from innovating. My suggestion would be to go as far away from your passion as possible, at least every 3-6 months for a couple of days.

Unwind, take a break and relax. Life is an adventure and it’s meant to be fun. Yes, you need to do some hard work to achieve your goals but heck, just smell the roses once in a while and let yourself be grateful for who you are and what you’re becoming.

In the not so distant future, you are going to achieve amazing things with your passion and all the hard work will pay off – trust me.

9. Reevaluate where you are at regularly

Nothing stays the same ever! I tell you this because it means that you need to constantly reevaluate yourself and the direction you are heading. To be on an optimal path to greatness you should be checking your major goals monthly if not weekly.

Ensure that your time is not being wasted and that the small steps you are taking are leading you down the path you want to go. There will be times when you will veer off a little bit but that’s okay. If you don’t check your human GPS once in a while, you could end up on the other side of the planet thousands of miles away from your destination.

How do you revaluate things? You take a simple approach. Life is already complicated enough so keep this part of your life simple. Ask yourself:

Am I on track to achieving some or all of my goal?
Am I happy each day doing what I am doing?
What small changes could I make to better my results if any?
Have I asked other people who have achieved a similar goal, how I am tracking?

If you answer these questions on a regular basis, you will compound your results beyond what you thought was possible. Other people will be left scratching their head while you will be off in the distance doing the impossible.

10. Don’t be afraid to do the opposite of what people expect

I’m not sure what it is but I have always loved doing the opposite of what other people expect. By following other people’s expectations all you will ever do is achieve mediocre results that don’t align with what drives you and fulfils you.

Veering off track and doing your own thing requires you to be bold. When you don’t conform to how others want you to be and what others want you to achieve, you could get some negative feedback. That’s okay and if anything it usually proves to me that I am on the right track.

Even if you meet people that do what others expect, don’t judge them, it just means they haven’t found themselves yet or haven’t discovered their true passion and that’s okay – you were like that once before too.

***Final Thought***

I hope you learnt something from my mad rant and that you never forget these lessons. This advice has taken me many years to realise and I value it greatly. These truths have been echoed by many greats that I have been fortunate to meet. By sharing them with you I get immense fulfilment and I thank you for spending your time to read them.

Wish me luck with my life-changing journey to cure myself of chronic illness. Never settle for second best and always remember how important your energy is, without it you have nothing and can’t motivate others.

What life lessons have I forgotten? What can you share with me and teach me? Hit me up in the comments section below or on Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Ruby

    Apr 10, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Thank you for I believe my prayer has been answered or my call for help I am so grateful for you have lit up my mind my life and I know exactly what I’m doing! Where to turn and who to trust wholly I feel like celebrating I’m so excited LOL! I’ve written my plans down here and there I got to write down everything. I know the man I’m asking to be my business partner! Amazing Thank You and I’m going to Smuge and pray for you right now my friend in spirit Tim Denning Peace and Health be with you In Jesus’s Name Amen!

  2. Audrey Power

    Nov 11, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Wonderful words, simple stuff really. We all know the tune(s) but just don’t sing the song!
    Tim has just defined our inner, often long forgotten knowledge, wisdom. Wise man, practiful and proactive.
    Now, if only we can put it into practice, the SKY’S the limit.

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 12, 2015 at 2:55 am

      Thanks Audrey. Most good advice I find is actually really simple. The important thing is to have references to back up the advice.

  3. Tayeb

    Nov 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Hi Tim,
    I really enjoyed your topic which I believe it came from the heart too deeper the roots!
    I will remember you in my prayers to get well soon Tim.

    May blessings descend on you and your family as well.

    Thank you!

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 12, 2015 at 2:55 am

      Thanks Tayeb for thinking of me and for your very kind words. Everything will be fine so I am not worried.

  4. Jerry Castillo

    Nov 10, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Thank you for writing and sharing this wonderful article it really helps. Hope to read more articles like this.

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 11, 2015 at 9:52 am

      No problems Jerry glad you enjoyed it and there is plenty more to come.

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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productivity tips
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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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how to be happy and successful
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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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