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13 Tips To Create A Viral Blog – Joshua Becker

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Joshua Becker blogger minimalist

One of my favourite types of people to interview is other bloggers who have had a worldwide impact. A person who fits this category perfectly is Joshua Becker from the blog Becoming Minimalist. His blog gets more than 2.2 million views a month, and he has gone on to be a best-selling author.

Before getting into the topic for our interview, I asked Joshua if he started out thinking of himself as a writer or blogger. His reply to me was “definitely not Tim.” He started his blog because he wanted to journal his family’s transition from middle class America into minimalism.

It’s this very distinction, that I believe after talking with Joshua, made him so successful at blogging. Many people start a blog to become millionaires or attract lots of people, but like Joshua, my reason and his reason for blogging are totally different to the traditional approach.

Both of us believe the following statement about successful blogging; if you’re starting a blog to have lots of social media followers and make heaps of money then quit now – you will fail!

The following thirteen tips are what Joshua told me you need to start a viral blog just like his.

 

1. Add viral elements to every post

It’s no secret that lists posts (like this very article) are a key element to viral blogs. List posts tell the reader what to look for, what to expect and allow them to skim to the points of post that are most relevant to them.

The other element is that your headlines must engage the reader right from the start. Joshua told me that your headline needs to offer a promise of some sort. What can you guarantee by the end of the article to the reader if they invest the time in reading what you have to say? Titles that offer this promise and then deliver on it by the end of the post are the ones that are most shareable.

Having said all of that, Joshua says that often the posts you write at the last minute with the least amount of planning, end up being the most successful – this has been true for me as well.

 

2. Flip the perspective of your writing

If there was another defining moment in my interview with Joshua it was this one; if you want people to start reading your articles then flip the perspective of your writing from being about you, to being about helpful advice that can help your audience.

For the first two years, Joshua blogged in relative obscurity. At the start Joshua was writing what he calls very “me centred content” about what he was doing each day in his niche of minimalism. About two years in Joshua decided to change his blogging and write articles that could help another person.

As an example, a simple article about how he was getting rid of his clothes, turned into how someone else could get rid of some of their clothes – same topic, different perspective.

 

3. Destroy the belief that blogging is dead

When Joshua was starting his WordPress blog everyone was saying that blogging was dead. Even now, seven years on, he says that people are still saying that blogging is dead. According to Joshua, the truth is that blogging is more relevant than ever.

The common misconception is that social media has replaced the need for blogs. In reality, blogging provides a totally different opportunity that social media does not. With social media sites like Facebook, you can’t have longer form conversations with readers.

Most users on these sites are scrolling through on their mobile phone and are not interested in sitting down and reading something. On social media, the behaviour is more about reading the first paragraph of something and then scrolling onto the next post.

With a social media platform it’s not your space whereas with a blog you can set the tone, theme, culture and design of everything from the buttons to the sidebar.  If you look at Joshua’s blog, it’s all about minimalism and the layout of his blog follows the same theme. It would be impossible to try and replicate this format on social media from scratch.

Joshua Becker Social Media Blog Quote
 

4. Define the success of your blog early

Another successful attribute of Joshua’s blog is that he defined what success looked like early on. As I said earlier, you can’t just tell yourself you want to build a following and then start blogging. The outcome of Joshua’s blog was to journal about his family so this kept him motivated.

For your own blog, success might be, achieving a goal that you are working hard for, or documenting your life’s work (this is one of mine). These are real goals and they are very achievable. If you define success as something like money or the number of followers, then you won’t be able to stay motivated.

In Joshua’s case, he blogged for almost 18 months with no one reading. Is your blogging goal strong enough to do the same? If not, then now’s your chance to redefine it.

 

5. Use some beginner tools to attract readers

One of the most common questions that all successful bloggers like Joshua get asked is “how do I build traffic from nothing?” I asked the same question to Joshua and he told me that it’s about the little things.

When you create a blog post on wordpress you get the option to add tags. This simple tool is how people found him in the early days. Once Joshua had a few posts on the site, he then shared new posts on Facebook with family and friends

He then began leaving comments on other people’s blogs that were in the same niche so that people could click his name and find his blog. The next step was to email other bloggers and let them know that he was writing in a similar field to them. After that, he began sharing their work on his blog.

When he wrote an article that was relevant to something on another bloggers site, he would link out to it in his post. Surprise, surprise, other bloggers started returning the favour and doing the same for him.

The final step he took was to have a few guest posts a couple of times a month from other bloggers. That meant that the guest blogger got exposure to Joshua’s audience and vice versa. So that’s how Joshua built traffic early on. It’s pretty simple and something that anyone could do right?

 

6. Blog 2-3 times per week (it’s been tested)

At the start of Joshua’s blogging career he tried to write posts every single day.  By trying to achieve this difficult goal Joshua found that his posts were very short and rushed because he was trying to write something new every single day.

He ended up cutting back and writing three times a week instead. In reality, no one is coming to your website every single day so you shouldn’t feel like you need to publish something new every day. By cutting back to three times a week Joshua found that he had longer, better quality posts.

These posts were being enjoyed more and better still, they were being shared a lot more than before. After a year of blogging three times a week, Joshua cut down to writing two times per week. The level of quality in his posts got even better and they begun getting shared even more.

Joshua did try blogging only once per week but he found that his blog numbers started to decrease and that once per week was not enough. So there you have it, the blogging frequency myth has been demystified for you and you now know how many times per week you need to write to have success.

 

7. Find the time away from distractions

I asked Joshua during our interview what the basics were that someone needed to blog. His reply was that you need a topic you are passionate about, a platform to publish your writing on and the time to write.

Joshua said to me that the last one (time) is the most important because finding the time to blog and making the commitment to do it is the real challenge. The easiest way to find time is to stop watching TV and write instead!

Distractions are another part of the time component. Try writing in 45-60 minute blocks and you will find that you can write for longer. If social media is another distraction for you then do what Joshua does and use some software, like Ommwriter to block out distractions.

Having the time is one thing but consider what time of the day you write best. For Joshua and I, we both write best in the morning. Ask yourself, what time do you write best?

 

8. Think carefully about the number of words

Word count is all about training your audience to expect a certain number of words. For Joshua, he typically writes 600-900 works, which works best for his site’s audience. Bloggers like Seth Godin write very short posts of 200 words or less, but the quality of the content is very high and his audience are trained for his short bursts of brilliance

Other well-known bloggers like James Clear tend to write longer posts and again, the audience have come to expect this from him.  If you can combine the way you write with how long your audience want to read you will have the optimal word count.

 

9. Find a relevant photo

Given the type of blog that Joshua has, photos are not as relevant as maybe some other sites. Needless to say, Joshua still thinks that the photo matters. He says that you need to find a photo that loosely represents what you’re talking about and is inviting.

The other point to consider is what photographers call “eye-flow.” Joshua typically looks for photos where your eyes tend to scan down as you look at it, which will lead reader’s eyes to the post text. Some websites that Joshua uses to find photos are Unsplashed, Pixabay and Minimography.

 

10. Mailing lists are about conversions – nothing else

Mailing lists are something that every blog has but Joshua has an interesting view on how to use one. He says that a lot of people offer a free eBook or free course to capture readers email addresses. The problem Joshua has with this method is that you attract hundreds of email addresses but the conversion rates on any emails you send to them in the future are crummy.

The reason for this result is quite obvious; these methods will only get you a one-time subscriber who just wanted your free product. What Joshua does is have a subscribe button at the bottom of every page and then that way he is only capturing people that have enjoyed his writing and want to know when there is new content.

The other point that Joshua raised was that you should avoid having annoying pop-ups on your site trying to force people to subscribe. His view is that you put a subscribe box where it can be found, but don’t jam it down the readers throat.

 

11. Be patient your tipping point will come

As you can see from Joshua’s story so far, patience is a big part of blogging. If you do it for the right reasons and you’re patient, your tipping point will come. There were two very clear tipping points for Joshua where his blog traffic started dramatically increasing.

The first one was when Leo Babauta from Zen Habits wrote a blog about minimalism and referenced Joshua’s site as a good blog to read on the subject – this sent a lot of traffic his way. As you can see the law of reciprocity is at work again (there is a reason we harp on about this on Addicted2Success).

The second part of Joshua’s tipping point was when he made the clever decision two years in to take all the major posts from his blog and turn them into an eBook. This eBook became a way for Joshua to reach out to other blogs and say, “hey I just wrote this eBook, if you want to check it out or send people to it then here it is.”

After both of these events occurred, Joshua discovered that Facebook was well suited to his theme and he began sharing his posts on there, which saw his numbers increase further.

 

12. Monetise your blog (Joshua’s formula)

Before I go into this point I need to make it clear that this is Joshua’s formula so it doesn’t mean you need to follow this exact method. So what you’re all wondering is how did he quit he job and make money fro his blogging?

Your beliefs form a big part of your monetisation strategy. For Joshua, he has never had any advertising or Google Adsense on his blog. He believes that advertising on a website is merely selling a readers attention and he wants his readers attention on what he is writing, not on ads.

All of Joshua’s income comes from book sales and Amazon affiliate links for books he has recommended to his readers. Even though Joshua makes a lot of his money from book sales, he says “it’s easy for people to see a book on the New York Times bestseller list and think wow I wish I could be that lucky.”

This thought often occurs without really understanding how many late nights, early mornings and vacations were sacrificed to write the book.  For this monetisation model to work, he has learnt that the only way is to self-publish his books because traditional publishers will pay fairly small royalties.

The places he recommends to self-publish books are Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, iBooks and Kobo Books (good for international sales). To publish your book on these sites you will need to have your Word Document converted into the various file formats. Joshua uses 5JDesign to do this process.

Once you have the different file formats, you can just go to each website yourself and upload the book, write a description, upload your cover and set price. These tasks will take you an afternoon to do yourself.

While PDF books are not as common anymore, there are sites like eJunkie where you can set up affiliates to help sell your book. Joshua sold one of his early books for $10 and gave the affiliate a very generous $5 for each sale they helped him make.

The other reason to have a PDF version of your book is so you can send it to other bloggers who might be interested in it for free. To be successful at this, you have to have the mindset that you will lose one sale, but that the blogger who gets your book will help you make many more sales.

Some other sites that Joshua has used to sell PDF books through are Smash Words and Gumroad.

Joshua Becker - Author Quote - Becoming Minimalist
 

13. Build more traffic by promoting your book

Just publishing a book will help your blog traffic a bit, but Joshua recommends that you take it further by promoting your book using some of the simple tips he has used.

As I mentioned in the previous tip, offer the book free to bloggers but make sure you insist on a review from them that they put on their own site.  You should also find yourself a team of readers to read your book in exchange for leaving a review on Amazon (the reviews are honest so you don’t know what you will get).

Get into the mindset that the more free books you send out, the more reviews you will get, and the more people you will have talking about your book.

To find the team of readers Joshua suggests you do a blog post and say, “hey I’m looking for 50 people to read my book, leave your email address here if you’re keen.” You can then use a simple WordPress contact form to capture the email addresses or use something like Mailchimp to link to your WordPress blog.

If you’re mailing list is big enough, you could send an email out to your database with the same message instead of doing a blog post or do both.

If you’re blog has a very small audience then websites like GoodReads are another great place to post your book. Experimenting with “Sponsored Facebook Posts” is another way you could promote your book. Don’t be afraid to also jump on Twitter and let people know and ask them to retweet it for you.

“The marketing of a book doesn’t start the week before it comes out or even months in advance. Ideally, it should start years in advance where you have been helping other writers, promoting other people’s books, and being a cheerleader and supporter for them. If you have done this then, you will have some strong supporters at the start of the book launch”

***Final Thought***

 So you now have all the tips you need to go off and start your own blog. I hope that you’re inspired and please share your blog creation with me once you get going.

Joshua’s Favourite Book – More Or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

Joshua’s Favourite Quote – “In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.” – Brennan Manning

If you got value from Joshua’s blogging advice, then I strongly encourage you to check out his new not for profit organisation The Hope Effect that is going to change orphan care around the world.

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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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Evan

    Dec 24, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Hey Tim!

    Great article, studying someone who’s got in-depth experience from supplementing his income with blogging and gathering the most valuable lessons from it.

    This post has been super helpful for me since I’m writing for the benefit of other people too and growing an audience of success-chasers. There are great tips for lifting other people up and supporting their movements while you build your own!

    Thanks!

    – Evan

    • Tim Denning

      Dec 30, 2015 at 2:22 am

      Thanks Evan. I also learnt a lot of Joshua and his tips were really clear and simple for any blogger to follow. I hope you use them to grow the reach you are looking for on your own site. Cheers

  2. Doug

    Nov 1, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Great article Tim! A theme I picked up on throughout was that of patience and persistence… necessary things to hear for a new blogger such as myself. Thanks for the good read!

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks so much Doug. When talking to Joshua I also got the same theme which is that you just need patience. If your writing is good then even if you’re niche is done to death it doesn’t matter because you can provide a fresh take on what already exists. Best of luck with your blogging Doug.

  3. Ifeanyichukwu Miracle

    Oct 31, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks so much. Am inspired by this article to start off. Please Joshua i will need more help, more on step by step involved. To blog has been my hunger and dreams. I’m very excited to meet this post this night. God bless you.

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. My advice and Joshua’s advice is just go for it and write about your passion. Let us know how you go.

  4. Esther Mellar

    Oct 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you for advising me to read this article, it is very helpful. I also heard saying that writing a blog today without readers is like talking in an empty room, therefore it is advised to have some followers already before staring a blog. What are your thoughts about this?

    Cheers,

    Esther

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Esther, I personally don’t think you need any followers to start a blog. Organically through Google and WordPress you will pickup a few by tagging topics in your post. Once you have even one person reading your posts, all it takes is for you to write amazing content and that one person will share it with everybody else. The focus should never be how many followers you have, it always should be about the quality of the content. I would also argue that everybody has an audience already. People like yourself have at least 100 friends on Facebook and Twitter right? So you have followers already. You have to be prepared to do what Joshua did and write because you love it not because you are trying to get followers. If the content is good, the followers will come. Tim

  5. Stephen Osoko

    Oct 30, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    This was a truly helpful article for me.

    I also have a personal development blog and am very passionate about it.

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 31, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Thanks Stephen for reading. Best of luck with your blog and I hope we can give you some inspiration.

  6. Brad DeVore

    Oct 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Great article Tim! A solid checklist to determine why a blog isn’t thriving. This post also delivered all the sources to cut research time in half for publishing a book. Thanks for the value! -Brad

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Brad and glad you liked the article. Joshua is very switched on and gave me so many tips that I hadn’t thought of before.

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Success Advice

The 4 D’s to Guaranteed Success From Maglite Founder Anthony Maglica

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Anthony Maglica
Image Credit: Alchetron

I caught an inspiring story online recently about an incredible gentleman with a unstoppable work ethic. His name is Anthony (Tony) Maglica and he’s the inventor of the famous Maglite, i.e. a flashlight that revolutionized the industry. With it’s variable-focus beam light, varying sizes to fit the job and an array of accessories, the Maglite has been at the top of the heap for a long time. And widely preferred by law enforcement. Talk about servicing a large, niche market!

Tony, an 87-year-old entrepreneur, came from humble Croatian beginnings to build a thriving, worldwide business in America. He insists his success is due to using only quality American labor and resources in a time when most people outsource to improve their bottom lines. But that’s not the story. The story is Tony’s mantra. Tony Maglica lives by the 4 D’s: Desire, Determination, Dedication and  Discipline.

So let’s dissect that and see how much of Tony’s 4 D’s principle you live by in your life and business:

1. Desire

What are your talents, interests, capabilities? The dictionary says desire is: “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen”. Are you in a career or business that you enjoy? Do you take your ideas to fruition or teeter off distracted by your next venture or a shiny object? Perhaps you’ve gone to school, learned a profession, only to figure along the way it’s not really what you want.

Without a strong desire to do something, you may have created for yourself just a “job”. So whether you have a strong desire in a particular field or knowing the money makes it all worthwhile, what gets you pumped and jumping out of bed in the morning? In other words, what’s your “why”?

“If you have a burning ambition and desire, absolutely anything can be achieved.” – Jahangir Khan

2. Determination

Tony’s staff says when he has an idea for a product to enhance his line, he stops at nothing to create it. Even if he has to create the machinery to create that extra component, he’s all in. Determination is what drives him. At 87, most think of retirement. Not Tony. He lives for this business he built from scratch.

The dictionary says determination is “firmness of purpose; resoluteness”. So what are you resolved in doing? Are you resolved to be successful? Are you resolved to do whatever needs to be done? To have a standard of excellence?

Are you determined to win? To get training; to stop at nothing; to course correct when needed? Have you thought of a mission statement? What kind of “company” culture would you like to build? Even solo-preneurs benefit from mission statements and company cultures just as much as a Fortune 500 corp.

3. Dedication

How committed are you to your success? And how does that commitment show up? The dictionary says dedication is: “the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose”. If you’re on a deadline but it’s a beautiful day to surf, which would you choose? Honestly, the answer could be both. Figure out the time that the surf is best and do whatever you have to do to work around that to meet your deadline. With deadlines, i.e., commitments, taking priority, of course.

Dedication often goes hand-in-hand with passion. It’s easy to be committed to something when you’re passionate about it. In contrast, if you’re heart’s not in it, you may not be happy. Master marketer Seth Godin, committed to write a blog post each day. And he’s done so, religiously, for something like the past couple of decades. He also says he never commits to a project unless he’s determined to complete it. He’s very cautious of where he puts his time and effort. His motto: “Ship or it doesn’t count”.

“I have not idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.” – Ayrton Senna

4. Discipline

Tony Maglica starts each day at 5:00 a.m. and doesn’t stop until his body tells him to. Similarly,  “Rambo” star Sly Stallone, says he wakes up at 4:00 a.m., readies himself for his daily morning regimen of writing (from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.) before jumping into other endeavors. He says he approaches writing with the same discipline as working out.

Even Shark Tank’s Daymond John, boasts he starts his day at around 6:00 a.m., gets in some form of exercise, and keeps his calendar booked with meetings and shows until evening.

Tony Maglica, inventor, entrepreneur, employer and success role-model maintains: “If you have that (the 4 D’s), you have everything you want to succeed. Doesn’t matter if you use it in your job, your home, your family. Anything you want to achieve. Use this recipe for anything in life and you will make it. Guaranteed!”

  • So I wonder: what’s your success regimen look like?
  • What time do you hop out of bed? (And in what condition?)
  • What are your convictions? Are your actions true to your dreams?

Success isn’t created in a vacuum, it comes from motion. Forward-motion gets us closer to our goals. Stagnation causes atrophy – in our body, and in our business. So whatever you’re going through, whatever level of “stuck” you may be at at any given moment, take a deep breath, maybe a walk to clear the cobwebs in the brain and recall Tony’s Four D’s: Desire, Determination, Dedication and Discipline.

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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perseverance
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience. Nine times out of 10 (if not more) the answer is going to be no.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Success Advice

Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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dress for success
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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creativity
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Weiss

All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals tooWhat makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed upThings you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about itHave some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect


Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.

Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

We don’t need more; we need less to destress

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Evan

    Dec 24, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Hey Tim!

    Great article, studying someone who’s got in-depth experience from supplementing his income with blogging and gathering the most valuable lessons from it.

    This post has been super helpful for me since I’m writing for the benefit of other people too and growing an audience of success-chasers. There are great tips for lifting other people up and supporting their movements while you build your own!

    Thanks!

    – Evan

    • Tim Denning

      Dec 30, 2015 at 2:22 am

      Thanks Evan. I also learnt a lot of Joshua and his tips were really clear and simple for any blogger to follow. I hope you use them to grow the reach you are looking for on your own site. Cheers

  2. Doug

    Nov 1, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Great article Tim! A theme I picked up on throughout was that of patience and persistence… necessary things to hear for a new blogger such as myself. Thanks for the good read!

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks so much Doug. When talking to Joshua I also got the same theme which is that you just need patience. If your writing is good then even if you’re niche is done to death it doesn’t matter because you can provide a fresh take on what already exists. Best of luck with your blogging Doug.

  3. Ifeanyichukwu Miracle

    Oct 31, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks so much. Am inspired by this article to start off. Please Joshua i will need more help, more on step by step involved. To blog has been my hunger and dreams. I’m very excited to meet this post this night. God bless you.

    • Tim Denning

      Nov 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. My advice and Joshua’s advice is just go for it and write about your passion. Let us know how you go.

  4. Esther Mellar

    Oct 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you for advising me to read this article, it is very helpful. I also heard saying that writing a blog today without readers is like talking in an empty room, therefore it is advised to have some followers already before staring a blog. What are your thoughts about this?

    Cheers,

    Esther

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Esther, I personally don’t think you need any followers to start a blog. Organically through Google and WordPress you will pickup a few by tagging topics in your post. Once you have even one person reading your posts, all it takes is for you to write amazing content and that one person will share it with everybody else. The focus should never be how many followers you have, it always should be about the quality of the content. I would also argue that everybody has an audience already. People like yourself have at least 100 friends on Facebook and Twitter right? So you have followers already. You have to be prepared to do what Joshua did and write because you love it not because you are trying to get followers. If the content is good, the followers will come. Tim

  5. Stephen Osoko

    Oct 30, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    This was a truly helpful article for me.

    I also have a personal development blog and am very passionate about it.

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 31, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Thanks Stephen for reading. Best of luck with your blog and I hope we can give you some inspiration.

  6. Brad DeVore

    Oct 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Great article Tim! A solid checklist to determine why a blog isn’t thriving. This post also delivered all the sources to cut research time in half for publishing a book. Thanks for the value! -Brad

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Brad and glad you liked the article. Joshua is very switched on and gave me so many tips that I hadn’t thought of before.

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Success Advice

The 4 D’s to Guaranteed Success From Maglite Founder Anthony Maglica

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Anthony Maglica
Image Credit: Alchetron

I caught an inspiring story online recently about an incredible gentleman with a unstoppable work ethic. His name is Anthony (Tony) Maglica and he’s the inventor of the famous Maglite, i.e. a flashlight that revolutionized the industry. With it’s variable-focus beam light, varying sizes to fit the job and an array of accessories, the Maglite has been at the top of the heap for a long time. And widely preferred by law enforcement. Talk about servicing a large, niche market!

Tony, an 87-year-old entrepreneur, came from humble Croatian beginnings to build a thriving, worldwide business in America. He insists his success is due to using only quality American labor and resources in a time when most people outsource to improve their bottom lines. But that’s not the story. The story is Tony’s mantra. Tony Maglica lives by the 4 D’s: Desire, Determination, Dedication and  Discipline.

So let’s dissect that and see how much of Tony’s 4 D’s principle you live by in your life and business:

1. Desire

What are your talents, interests, capabilities? The dictionary says desire is: “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen”. Are you in a career or business that you enjoy? Do you take your ideas to fruition or teeter off distracted by your next venture or a shiny object? Perhaps you’ve gone to school, learned a profession, only to figure along the way it’s not really what you want.

Without a strong desire to do something, you may have created for yourself just a “job”. So whether you have a strong desire in a particular field or knowing the money makes it all worthwhile, what gets you pumped and jumping out of bed in the morning? In other words, what’s your “why”?

“If you have a burning ambition and desire, absolutely anything can be achieved.” – Jahangir Khan

2. Determination

Tony’s staff says when he has an idea for a product to enhance his line, he stops at nothing to create it. Even if he has to create the machinery to create that extra component, he’s all in. Determination is what drives him. At 87, most think of retirement. Not Tony. He lives for this business he built from scratch.

The dictionary says determination is “firmness of purpose; resoluteness”. So what are you resolved in doing? Are you resolved to be successful? Are you resolved to do whatever needs to be done? To have a standard of excellence?

Are you determined to win? To get training; to stop at nothing; to course correct when needed? Have you thought of a mission statement? What kind of “company” culture would you like to build? Even solo-preneurs benefit from mission statements and company cultures just as much as a Fortune 500 corp.

3. Dedication

How committed are you to your success? And how does that commitment show up? The dictionary says dedication is: “the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose”. If you’re on a deadline but it’s a beautiful day to surf, which would you choose? Honestly, the answer could be both. Figure out the time that the surf is best and do whatever you have to do to work around that to meet your deadline. With deadlines, i.e., commitments, taking priority, of course.

Dedication often goes hand-in-hand with passion. It’s easy to be committed to something when you’re passionate about it. In contrast, if you’re heart’s not in it, you may not be happy. Master marketer Seth Godin, committed to write a blog post each day. And he’s done so, religiously, for something like the past couple of decades. He also says he never commits to a project unless he’s determined to complete it. He’s very cautious of where he puts his time and effort. His motto: “Ship or it doesn’t count”.

“I have not idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.” – Ayrton Senna

4. Discipline

Tony Maglica starts each day at 5:00 a.m. and doesn’t stop until his body tells him to. Similarly,  “Rambo” star Sly Stallone, says he wakes up at 4:00 a.m., readies himself for his daily morning regimen of writing (from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.) before jumping into other endeavors. He says he approaches writing with the same discipline as working out.

Even Shark Tank’s Daymond John, boasts he starts his day at around 6:00 a.m., gets in some form of exercise, and keeps his calendar booked with meetings and shows until evening.

Tony Maglica, inventor, entrepreneur, employer and success role-model maintains: “If you have that (the 4 D’s), you have everything you want to succeed. Doesn’t matter if you use it in your job, your home, your family. Anything you want to achieve. Use this recipe for anything in life and you will make it. Guaranteed!”

  • So I wonder: what’s your success regimen look like?
  • What time do you hop out of bed? (And in what condition?)
  • What are your convictions? Are your actions true to your dreams?

Success isn’t created in a vacuum, it comes from motion. Forward-motion gets us closer to our goals. Stagnation causes atrophy – in our body, and in our business. So whatever you’re going through, whatever level of “stuck” you may be at at any given moment, take a deep breath, maybe a walk to clear the cobwebs in the brain and recall Tony’s Four D’s: Desire, Determination, Dedication and Discipline.

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3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience. Nine times out of 10 (if not more) the answer is going to be no.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

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