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10 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs SHOULD Enroll in College

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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It’s easy for young entrepreneurs struggling to break through to blame college for their delayed success. After all, they wouldn’t have this problem had they not wasted years earning a useless piece of paper, right? They can become fully equipped to run their own business without it, right?

Jason Smith seems to think so, according to his “10 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Enroll in College.” Well, here I am to play devil’s advocate; let’s take a look at why college is still worth it for entrepreneurs.

 

The 10 Reasons Why College Is Good For Entrepreneurs

 

1. It will build your professional network and open doors for you

Networking is perhaps the most important benefit of college and a must-have for entrepreneurs. If your main competition for that new contract is someone who went to college with the potential client, who do you think has the edge? College will also teach you how to work with people from all walks of life, allowing you to be confident and personable no matter what the situation.

 

2. You will learn to think critically

College is a great learning opportunity in many ways – not the least of these is the fact that you will often question what you learn. This is a place for you to develop critical thinking skills. A truly well-rounded individual can clearly address any question and think about both sides of the argument. Finding your own answers and explanations in a collegiate setting will help you to deftly handle assessing a multitude of situations in the future.

 

3. You gain a fall back plan

Everyone wants to be the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, or Steve Jobs. They never finished college; why do you need to? Hate to break it to you, they’re the outliers. For every one Steve Jobs, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who were confident in their business, only to realize that they didn’t understand their market, their customer, their financials, etc. Those people had a few options: fail, or learn and succeed. Throughout college you probably failed a few times and if absolute worse comes to worse, you have a degree to go out and get a steady job to give you a safety net while you work on your business.

 

4. You earn credibility

Besides showing mastery in a subject, a degree shows that you were committed enough to spend 4+ years studying, and are thus a far more reliable individual than someone who spent their post-high school years in their basement. When your company bio proudly displays your picture, what credibility will stand out next to it? The next time you look at a successful venture, check and see if (and where) the owner went to college. You’ll notice most of them did.

 

5. The experience is irreplaceable

They say it’s the best four years of your life… well, it’s a great start. Without college, you miss out on the great times that your peers are having, the lessons they learn, and the experiences they have: living on your own, meeting friends, the Greek system, sleeping through an exam, joining an organization you never thought you would like and much more. Much is made of college’s academic benefits, but it’s truly an intriguing time in all other areas.

 

6. You will learn diverse subjects

College gets a bad rap for its “traditional” educational style. Traditions are still used for good reasons too. The seemingly useless courses will show you how to handle different subjects, no matter what you encounter in life. You may wonder why you have to take environmental science as an aspiring tech entrepreneur, but five years down the line when you are trying to establish greener energy to run your company this class might suddenly seem a lot more important. The traditional education experience creates a person prepared for many challenges in life.

 

7. You will develop and appreciate more individualism

All you need to do is watch College Game Day on any given weekend to see that there are no two people on a campus that are alike. College is an opportunity to become you. For most, it’s their first opportunity. College is (or, should be) based on you pursuing your passion for the first time. You pick your major. You pick your classes. Everything is up to YOU. This time of your life gives you the opportunity to explore what makes you tick, which may play a big part in the company culture you want to have within your startup.

 

8. Diversification is everywhere

Up until the end of high school, you’re surrounded with the same people. These people usually come from very similar socio-economic and demographic backgrounds. How boring! From the second you get to college, you meet a whole new potential market that may be completely different than you. You meet international students, inner-city kids, rednecks, redheads – everyone. Democrats? Meet Republicans. Republicans? Well… hopefully you’ll meet a few Democrats. But overall, guess what? Everyone lives differently. They all approach problems differently. It’s definitely beneficial to experience firsthand the global village that exists outside of our hometown. How will this help your company? Diversification will give you the chance to see what skills you need to look for when hiring your first employees, who your ideal clients will be, and how they think.

 

9. You will take on the challenge of risk-taking

In College, mom and dad are no longer there to watch you. Take advantage of that. Mix your red laundry with whites – who’s going to stop you? Join clubs you never thought about. Spelunking? There’s a club for that. Nonpartisan politics? There’s a club for that. College campuses pride themselves in having everything available. Almost every campus now has entrepreneurship clubs; why not run your idea by the members and advisors of the organization? There is your temporary Board of Advisors! Entrepreneurship is about taking (calculated) risks. College will teach you how. You build confidence in a relatively safe – not to mention less embarrassing and less costly – environment.

 

10. It’s okay to let loose

Traditionally, college is a transition point from adolescence to adulthood. In many ways, it’s an opportunity to “get it all out of your system.” Partying, late nights, all sorts of things – these are learning experiences. Once you leave college, it’s time to buckle down and be serious. College is good for getting a little bit of the party animal out of the way before you start your own business.

 

It may seem as though college is an unneeded expense, but believe you me; when you get out into the real world, you will be ten steps ahead at every turn. Beyond that, you will be happier having had the experience of those four years. Your degree is your friend. Without it, you’ll end up lost in a world in which college is becoming more and more necessary to have the skills to start your own business.

 

 

Dr. Greg BierAuthor Bio: Dr. Greg Bier is a Professor of Management at the University of Missouri. He leads the newly formed Entrepreneurship Alliance at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business.

He is also a partner with Entrepreneur MO (www.mo.com). Follow Greg on Twitter at @gregbier.

 

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Rich

    Mar 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hi. Liked reading both points of view and there’s one aspect that was “forgotten” and that is, if you leave college before graduating, and down the road, you discover that you need some of information/skills that a college course or degree will give you, you can always go back!! I did. I left a Biology masters program, worked part-time as a self-employed musician for almost 15 years, and then got tired of that and returned to the 9-5 work force, and eventually got my PhD – started back part-time and then transitioned to full-time w/ teaching assistant. The point is, in today’s world, you can move in and out of any system, pretty much at will, and get what you need when you need it!

    There was one backhand stab at teachers in the “Don’t need College” article though that has always irritated me and it comes from that old mentality of “those who can, do, those who can’t, teach”. BS through and through. Many teachers I have had both in and out of college teach because they love to teach and have lots to offer to those who are ready to receive. And their accomplishments in the varied fields of research they pursue have shaped the world we live in and saved millions upon millions of lives. Like on any Bell curve, there are always outliers but to denigrate a whole profession because of a few bad apples is ignorant, unfeeling and unprofessional. Teachers deserve better.

    Having said that, thanks for the chance to voice an opinion and for two good debates on the issue!

  2. Cristóbal Gutiérrez

    Dec 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Hi. I just liked this post. But i think that people in college sometimes doesn’ t understand that reality, ’cause they are inmature and they just Wanna have fun. You have to be clear about your future and the things you Wanna achieve, and at that age sometimes it’s very difficult.
    Anyway, great article.

    Regards

  3. Richard

    Dec 5, 2012 at 5:32 am

    When I started student magazine, we had no intention of becoming entrepreneurs or starting a business but we had to sell magazines too keep the business running.

    It wasn’t a difficult decision to make although my parents were hoping I would become a lawyer like my father. However I struggled in school and decided that a ‘higher education’ wouldn’t be beneficial.

    I have been very lucky and successful all thanks to the great people in my businesses. I now advocate rather than entrepreneurs go to college or university, they start their own business and use those years to build something great!

    Richard

    • Pam F

      Dec 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Great stuff! I love your site. I will frequent it often for motivation and empowerment. This article confirmed what I know school(college) is beneficial!

  4. Bob

    Dec 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I agree with everything but have one more very important reason. You will make friends and business contacts that will stay with you forever. In addition to the people you will meet, is just the fact that alumni stick together. In most large schools, especially the ones with football teams, the alumni still refer to themselves by the team name. For example, everyone who attends the U of Florida refers to themselves as “gators”. You can look up other “gators” in any town in the country and have an instant friend who will help if they can.

    • Greg Bier

      Dec 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Bob, you are so right! I have many friends and contacts from my years in school that I still keep in contact with on a personal and professional level. I have also kept in contact with many of my students, providing references and recommendations it’s great to see where the world takes them after they leave my classroom. Mizzou definitely has a similar almuni base, the “Tigers” are always willing to help another Tiger in need!

      • Ronnie

        Dec 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I thinks its very personal which way to go. Either way its will take focus and hard work. Even if you don’t go to college a person can improve there networking ability by being more sociable. They can go to SBAs seminars. I think a person has to have the time to put into their business. I don’t think Bill, Mark or any other guy dropped out because school sucked. I think they realize that they only needed to focus on that one goal, without studying for a Math test. Mark Zukerberg parent had him taking computer courses a young kid. College is a great achievement But no one should every think they would fail if they didn’t go. If its really a dream from the heart then you will give your all and stay motivated on either journey. You have to know in your heart that thats would you want to do. I never been to college but I have a local graphic company and doing well. Everyone is unique in their own way. Putting GOD first and going in like a champ you never fail but no trying you will.

  5. Gabriel

    Dec 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Neil,

    Great comment! I agree with everything you mentioned. I’m currently in the crossroads of staying in college, or stopping it to use more free time to devote to business and just enjoying life. I think life is too short to spend lots of time on things you don’t want to do. I would hate to lose the social aspect of it and that’s whats bothering me the most. As for self education, yes you always have to keep learning and growing. “Don’t let school get in the way of your good education,” is something I apply on the daily.

    Did you dropout to start a business? If so let me know how its going, what its about, etc.

    Thanks for sharing that comment

    • Greg Bier

      Dec 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Gabriel,

      Thanks for reading! That’s definitely a tough decision, and I’m glad I was able to give you some perspective on the pros of staying in school. I wish you the best of luck with whichever path you choose to take.

  6. Neil Pepito

    Dec 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with both opinions of Joel and Greg.

    Entrepreneurs must make their own choice. Whether they should enroll in college or not. It must be their own decision.

    Take the first step.The most important thing is you need to keep learning. In fact, I myself was a student in a University, but not until I decided to stop schooling to follow my dreams and passion. It took me 2 years before I took the decision. Yes, I was 2 years in college and I was a good student with good grades(Dean’s list) and having a great time socializing with different types of people. I’ve been in different organizations. I was even a varsity player of football since I am an athletic kind of person. I believe in traditional education, it is GOOD. But self-education is BETTER. If you decide going to college just to secure a job and you don’t know any other purpose, then you’re absolutely going to fail. And if you decide not to enroll in college just because you’re lazy and don’t want to interact with people, you’re also going to fail. The lesson here I want to point out is that regardless of which way you want to walk, you must know yourself and keep learning. You must know where you stand and act on it.

    Experience is the key here. Take risks. Double your rate of failure to succeed. I understand the fear, just take the first step and act on your specific goal. Entrepreneurs must have a core value of an entrepreneur. Keep educating yourself even if you’re in college or not, in a classroom or in your mom’r basement, that’s the key. Never stop learning.

    • Mike

      Dec 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Exactly Neil! I’m tired of this back & forth argument about college or no college (ironically most are made by people who haven’t founded anything). People are confusing our entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs should shut the noise and follow their hearts. It’s a cat & box problem. You drop out, it will work out somehow, because you dropped out. If you go to college, it will work out in a way that makes it look like it wouldn’t had you not dropped out of college.

      • Greg Bier

        Dec 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        Mike and Niel, Thanks for reading and starting the conversation! You are right, the decision of whether or not to go to college is very personal. Everyone’s situation is different and it is definitely a situation that each entrepreneur must make for themselves. With that being said, although college may set you back a few years it will also provide you with experiences and opportunities that you can’t get elsewhere. The key is making the most of your time and using this to your advantage.

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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Success Advice

3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

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

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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4 Ways of Handling a Mental Illness for the Optimists

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Not everyone is accepting of mental illnesses, especially when it’s people they don’t know. However, it’s important to understand how to better handle mental illness in order to get ahead in life. Below, are the four best ways to better handle mental illness conditions if you consider yourself an optimistic person: (more…)

Alex Moore is a psychology blogger and keen observer of human nature. Through his work, he tries to appeal to people of all types and help them realize that they can all change for the better.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Rich

    Mar 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hi. Liked reading both points of view and there’s one aspect that was “forgotten” and that is, if you leave college before graduating, and down the road, you discover that you need some of information/skills that a college course or degree will give you, you can always go back!! I did. I left a Biology masters program, worked part-time as a self-employed musician for almost 15 years, and then got tired of that and returned to the 9-5 work force, and eventually got my PhD – started back part-time and then transitioned to full-time w/ teaching assistant. The point is, in today’s world, you can move in and out of any system, pretty much at will, and get what you need when you need it!

    There was one backhand stab at teachers in the “Don’t need College” article though that has always irritated me and it comes from that old mentality of “those who can, do, those who can’t, teach”. BS through and through. Many teachers I have had both in and out of college teach because they love to teach and have lots to offer to those who are ready to receive. And their accomplishments in the varied fields of research they pursue have shaped the world we live in and saved millions upon millions of lives. Like on any Bell curve, there are always outliers but to denigrate a whole profession because of a few bad apples is ignorant, unfeeling and unprofessional. Teachers deserve better.

    Having said that, thanks for the chance to voice an opinion and for two good debates on the issue!

  2. Cristóbal Gutiérrez

    Dec 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Hi. I just liked this post. But i think that people in college sometimes doesn’ t understand that reality, ’cause they are inmature and they just Wanna have fun. You have to be clear about your future and the things you Wanna achieve, and at that age sometimes it’s very difficult.
    Anyway, great article.

    Regards

  3. Richard

    Dec 5, 2012 at 5:32 am

    When I started student magazine, we had no intention of becoming entrepreneurs or starting a business but we had to sell magazines too keep the business running.

    It wasn’t a difficult decision to make although my parents were hoping I would become a lawyer like my father. However I struggled in school and decided that a ‘higher education’ wouldn’t be beneficial.

    I have been very lucky and successful all thanks to the great people in my businesses. I now advocate rather than entrepreneurs go to college or university, they start their own business and use those years to build something great!

    Richard

    • Pam F

      Dec 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Great stuff! I love your site. I will frequent it often for motivation and empowerment. This article confirmed what I know school(college) is beneficial!

  4. Bob

    Dec 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I agree with everything but have one more very important reason. You will make friends and business contacts that will stay with you forever. In addition to the people you will meet, is just the fact that alumni stick together. In most large schools, especially the ones with football teams, the alumni still refer to themselves by the team name. For example, everyone who attends the U of Florida refers to themselves as “gators”. You can look up other “gators” in any town in the country and have an instant friend who will help if they can.

    • Greg Bier

      Dec 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Bob, you are so right! I have many friends and contacts from my years in school that I still keep in contact with on a personal and professional level. I have also kept in contact with many of my students, providing references and recommendations it’s great to see where the world takes them after they leave my classroom. Mizzou definitely has a similar almuni base, the “Tigers” are always willing to help another Tiger in need!

      • Ronnie

        Dec 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I thinks its very personal which way to go. Either way its will take focus and hard work. Even if you don’t go to college a person can improve there networking ability by being more sociable. They can go to SBAs seminars. I think a person has to have the time to put into their business. I don’t think Bill, Mark or any other guy dropped out because school sucked. I think they realize that they only needed to focus on that one goal, without studying for a Math test. Mark Zukerberg parent had him taking computer courses a young kid. College is a great achievement But no one should every think they would fail if they didn’t go. If its really a dream from the heart then you will give your all and stay motivated on either journey. You have to know in your heart that thats would you want to do. I never been to college but I have a local graphic company and doing well. Everyone is unique in their own way. Putting GOD first and going in like a champ you never fail but no trying you will.

  5. Gabriel

    Dec 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Neil,

    Great comment! I agree with everything you mentioned. I’m currently in the crossroads of staying in college, or stopping it to use more free time to devote to business and just enjoying life. I think life is too short to spend lots of time on things you don’t want to do. I would hate to lose the social aspect of it and that’s whats bothering me the most. As for self education, yes you always have to keep learning and growing. “Don’t let school get in the way of your good education,” is something I apply on the daily.

    Did you dropout to start a business? If so let me know how its going, what its about, etc.

    Thanks for sharing that comment

    • Greg Bier

      Dec 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Gabriel,

      Thanks for reading! That’s definitely a tough decision, and I’m glad I was able to give you some perspective on the pros of staying in school. I wish you the best of luck with whichever path you choose to take.

  6. Neil Pepito

    Dec 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with both opinions of Joel and Greg.

    Entrepreneurs must make their own choice. Whether they should enroll in college or not. It must be their own decision.

    Take the first step.The most important thing is you need to keep learning. In fact, I myself was a student in a University, but not until I decided to stop schooling to follow my dreams and passion. It took me 2 years before I took the decision. Yes, I was 2 years in college and I was a good student with good grades(Dean’s list) and having a great time socializing with different types of people. I’ve been in different organizations. I was even a varsity player of football since I am an athletic kind of person. I believe in traditional education, it is GOOD. But self-education is BETTER. If you decide going to college just to secure a job and you don’t know any other purpose, then you’re absolutely going to fail. And if you decide not to enroll in college just because you’re lazy and don’t want to interact with people, you’re also going to fail. The lesson here I want to point out is that regardless of which way you want to walk, you must know yourself and keep learning. You must know where you stand and act on it.

    Experience is the key here. Take risks. Double your rate of failure to succeed. I understand the fear, just take the first step and act on your specific goal. Entrepreneurs must have a core value of an entrepreneur. Keep educating yourself even if you’re in college or not, in a classroom or in your mom’r basement, that’s the key. Never stop learning.

    • Mike

      Dec 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Exactly Neil! I’m tired of this back & forth argument about college or no college (ironically most are made by people who haven’t founded anything). People are confusing our entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs should shut the noise and follow their hearts. It’s a cat & box problem. You drop out, it will work out somehow, because you dropped out. If you go to college, it will work out in a way that makes it look like it wouldn’t had you not dropped out of college.

      • Greg Bier

        Dec 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        Mike and Niel, Thanks for reading and starting the conversation! You are right, the decision of whether or not to go to college is very personal. Everyone’s situation is different and it is definitely a situation that each entrepreneur must make for themselves. With that being said, although college may set you back a few years it will also provide you with experiences and opportunities that you can’t get elsewhere. The key is making the most of your time and using this to your advantage.

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

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

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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