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Success Advice

15 Rich & Famous People Who Were Fired Before They Became Successful

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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In recent years, the economy has suffered and a lot of us have fallen on hard times. So how can ‘getting fired’ be the best thing that could ever happen to someone? Well, a lot of successful people were handed the pink slip before they found their place in the world.

Read on and find out why losing your job can be the most unlikely stepping stone to greater things just like these rich and famous people found:

Rich & Famous People Who Where Fired Before They Made It

 

1. Lee Iacocca: Trailblazing Pioneer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His journey to the top was not without roadblocks, one of the being fired from Ford Motor Company after butting heads with no less than Henry Ford II. As early as the 40s, he already had a flourishing career in sales and marketing and even became the company’s president by the late 70s.

After getting fired from Ford in 1978, Iacocca quickly moved on to Chrysler, whom he saved from bankruptcy by asking the United States Congress to bail them out. Eloquently describing the loan guarantee as a “safety net”, he was able to save Chrysler from certain doom. He then went on to release the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant as well as re-invented the Imperial which had features ahead of its time.

 

2. J.K. Rowling: The Daydreaming Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a famous rags-to-riches figure in the literary world, millions of teenage (as well as adult) readers have gobbled up her seven-volume saga of the boy wizard who also came from humble beginnings like JK. Rowling.

But what you probably didn’t know was that she got fired from her job as a secretary in Amnesty International before she hit it big. Back then, she was already forming the foundations of Harry Potter in her mind, along with the characters and situations he would be faced with. Soon enough, all that daydreaming led to her getting fired, which put her on the path to becoming one of the world’s most celebrated authors.

 

3. Steve Jobs: The Comeback King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recently departed technocrat didn’t just get the boot back in the day – he got fired from his own company. That’s right: the co-founder of Apple was actually exiled from the very empire that he helped build from the ground up.

But as everyone knows, it worked out pretty well for Steve Jobs and his legacy. Getting fired gave him the opportunity to work on other things, such as creating NeXT, a computer company that catered to the business crowd as well as a division of Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division which later became Pixar. His triumphant return to Apple several years later heralded the creation of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

 

4. Lady Gaga: Getting Back On The Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dropping out of Collaborative Arts Project 21 (a New York-based musical school), the unconventional singer did some small gigs around town until she gained a loyal following in the downtown Lower East Side club scene. She finally caught the eye of Rob Fusari, a music producer who then collaborated with her to cut some tracks in the studio that they shopped to other people in the music industry.

Things took a nasty turn when Lady Gaga was suddenly dropped only after three months of being signed onto a major label. Not content to wallow in misery, she soon picked herself up and continued using her previous material with Fusari for performances, particularly one at Lollapalooza where she gained critical fame.

By 2008, she was already signed onto another label and released her debut album “The Fame” which has become one of the most successful albums in pop history.

 

5. Walt Disney: Father Of The World’s Most Loveable Rodent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The revolutionary animator went through a string of failures before he created one of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet. He had a short-lived career as a newspaper artist, drawing political cartoons and comic strips. Soon after, Walt Disney hopped from one job to another until he put up Laugh-O-Gram Studio, which gained popularity but went bankrupt.

After setting up another company called Disney Brothers Studio, Walt finally struck animated gold after creating the classic short called “Steamboat Willie” which catapulted Mickey Mouse as one of the most recognized cartoon characters in the world.

 

6. Truman Capote: Literary Rebel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the famous author wrote classics such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood”, Capote worked at The New Yorker as a copyboy who sorted cartoons and clipped newspapers. He held this unassuming job for a full two years until he was fired, thanks to an angry whim by Robert Frost who convinced the magazine to let him go.

Fortunately for Capote, this planted the seeds for what was to become a prolific writing career. After writing a series of short stories, he managed to sign a deal with Random House who published his first novel, “Other Voices, Other Rooms” which put him on the path to becoming one of America’s most memorable cultural icons.

 

7. Annabelle Gurwitch: Bouncing Back From Insult and Inury

 

 

 

 

 

 

The comic actress and hostess of the famous cooking show “Dinner and a Movie” had to endure verbal abuse from none other than her idol Woody Allen who fired her for not living up to his expectations. Allen even went so far as calling Gurwitch “retarded” before kicking her to the curb.

But she went on embark on a successful career in showbiz, playing various parts in TV and movies. Ironically, she was responsible for the 2007 documentary “Fired!” which featured a number of people (including herself) who were axed from their respective jobs before becoming successful.

 

8. Jerry Seinfeld: The Creator of The Show About “Nothing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unhappy with Seinfeld’s performance, the bosses behind the sitcom Benson decided to cut the comic genius from the show – he was the last to know about it. After showing up for rehearsal, he found that his character had been erased from existence without any warning.

No matter – he sucked it up and returned to doing stand-up gigs at local venues. Eventually, his hilarious performances impressed the likes of Johnny Carson and David Letterman. In time, his career took off to incredible heights, having starred in nine solid seasons of his hit show “Seinfeld” for almost a full decade.

 

9. James Hetfield: Sticker Printer Turned Metal God

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before becoming the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for one of the most epic rock bands of the 20th century, James Hetfield worked in a sticker printing factory. Ultimately, he lost his job but he went on to collaborate with drummer Lars ulrich to form the face-melting, ear-shattering heavy metal act known as Metallica.

Since Hetfield joined the band in 1981, his band has created a total of nine studio albums featuring classic rock anthems that their countless fans headbang to until today. That sure beats printing stickers!

 

10. Oprah Winfrey: The Media Juggernaut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s easily recognized as one of America’s most successful media figures, having been a talk show host, actress, and producer throughout her career. But no one gave her any hand-outs during her journey to success. Oprah Winfrey’s turbulent family life led her to carve out a self-made career as a television personality, even when she was let go as a news reporter for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.

The good thing about getting fired though was that Winfrey moved to Chicago which was a pivotal move for her professional life. This was where she became host of AM Chicago, an unremarkable talk show which quickly climbed TV ratings. It was later renamed as the “Oprah Winfrey Show” which ran for 25 seasons over the course of 25 years.

After 4,561 episodes, Oprah Winfrey has not only become the wealthiest black person in the last century, she’s also one of the country’s leading black philanthropists.

 

11. Anna Wintour: Fashion Icon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This edgy fashion journalist first got her feet wet at Harper’s & Queen, a magazine where she served as one of its very first editorial assistants. Thanks to her work, the publication came out with groundbreaking photo shoots with the likes of Helmut Newton and other innovative photographers in the industry.

Anna Wintour often clashed with another editor, and she moved on to work as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Unfortunately, her shoots were deemed too much by the editors and got subsequently kicked out in less than a year. However, Wintour eventually became the editor-in-chief of Vogue and has occupied that position for a running total of 23 years.

She continues to be an influential force, not just within the fashion world, but also beyond the industry. Wintour reportedly even talked Donald Trump into letting Marc Jacobs to use the Plaza Hotel as a venue for one of his shows!

 

12. Bill Belichick: Coaching Prodigy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Belichick had been a defensive assistant, special teams coach and defensive coordinator for the New York Giants for 12 years. It was in 1991 when he became head coach for the first time for the Cleveland Browns until he was fired from his position four years later. After that however, Belichick was named head coach of the New England Patriots in 2000 and was responsible for the team’s five appearances at the Super Bowl. Since his removal from the Browns back in 1995, he was also designated as the AP NFL Coach of the Year three times.

 

13. Dave Mustaine: Rising From The Ashes

The former Metallica guitarist got kicked out of the band in 1983 for excessive partying and alcoholism, and Mustaine used the anger from this incident to form his own metal act called Megadeth. In the same year, he created enough material which Mustaine then used for his new band, giving birth to their debut album “Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!”

His career soon took off, with Megadeth extensively touring the U.S. and Canada. On one occasion, they even played at the same venue as Dave Mustaine’s former band. To date, they’ve released 13 albums and have a worldwide fan base as fiercely loyal as that of Metallica’s.

 

14. Howard Stern: Terrorizing The Airwaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Widely known as a “Shock Jock”, Howard Stern gained notoriety as a radio talk show host in the 90s because of his blunt style and controversial topics. He particularly gained fame during his time as a host for both WWDC and WNBC and greatly increased their respective ratings during his time there. However, Stern found himself fired by both stations because of the raunchiness of his material, touching on sensitive topics such as sexuality and religion.

Getting the suits worked up over his unorthodox style proved to be a beneficial career move for Stern since it opened the door to bigger things. In fact, he was named, Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year from 1994 until 2002. Since 2006, he’s switched to satellite radio where he’s free of FCC regulations and continues to entertain his millions of devoted followers.

 

15. Madonna: The Queen Of Pop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone who’s even remotely knowledgeable about music knows who Madonna is, and to date she’s sold over 300 million records as the top female pop performer of all time. On Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, she’s right up there with the likes of The Beatles and her influence in the world of music is second to none.

Before she achieved any of that however, Madonna first worked in various diners and fast food joints while she was starting out. In one particular job, she quickly got fired for dousing a customer with donut jelly on purpose. Although her potential career in the food industry crashed and burned, this paved the way for her to become one of the most recognized faces in the history of music.

 

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. Excel Igwe

    Jan 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

    So inspiring, I hope to have my own story told one day………

    Thanks to the writer…

  2. bright acheampong

    May 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

    inspired and motivated to do more…tanx

  3. Pook

    Nov 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    For Stern, there were a LOT of years between being fired from WNBC and becoming TRULY nationally syndicated. Stern was fired from WNBC in 1985 and went to WXRK (K-Rock) two months later. He would be at K-Rock for a year before becoming syndicated, but only at WYSP in Philadelphia. Two other markets were added (Detroit and Hartford, I believe), but it was only in 1991 when he really took off by adding KLSX in Los Angeles to the roster. That catapulted him to national “morning” stardom, as stations across the country jumped on board one right after the other.

  4. Kumar Gauraw

    Aug 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Wow! This is so inspiring. Enjoyed the minutes spent reading about these 15 people. Failure is most definitely the stepping stone to success. They all exemplified. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. angela grace dantes

    Jun 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

    GREAT LIfE

  6. Kaniz Fathima Sinthiya

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    J.K Rowling has tried her best!

  7. patti

    Aug 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Very inspiring as always, love this site!
    thank you for sharing, patti

  8. Susan Ekins

    Aug 18, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Success is the best revenge!

  9. Amandah

    Jul 10, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Great list!

    I’m glad to see artists and writers on the list. Metallica is one of my favorite bands. J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to writers who want to become best-selling authors. She never gave up and kept writing and it paid off.

    Please share your dreams with people who’ll support and cheer you on. Don’t share your dreams with people who are pessimists. Sadly, your family and friends may think you’re nuts for wanting to pursue something they may feel is out of reach. You may hear things like, “Do you know how tough (fill in the blank) is?” If you listen to the naysayers, you may talk yourself out of your dreams.

  10. Pauline

    Jun 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I love this list! Very inspiring to know that these successful people dealt with rejection in a positive way.

  11. Ton Lopes

    Apr 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Hey what a beautifull message going there!That´s the reason why i love this website.
    I´ve thinking if there cold be an article about filmmakers who have been enterpreneur in creating their carrers(IM thinking walt disney,and guys like George lucas,Spielberg)it would be nice!

  12. Stevie Stevenz

    Apr 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Great to see people who can fight against the odds, the failures who succeed. This inspires us all to lose and win confidently, thanks!

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Success Advice

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work.

What do you do when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated? Do you lash out or disengage from those around you? If you’re like me, you struggle to hold back your strong reactions when you experience a setback or a challenge.

Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help slow down your reactive brain and assess your current situation so that you can respond more effectively to challenging situations:

1. Why do I feel triggered by this situation?

Start by asking yourself a broad question to assess the current situation. Why do you feel the way you do about this situation? This question allows you to take a brief pause to examine why you feel the way you do about a specific situation. Asking why is powerful because it forces you to consider your own feelings and emotions more closely. Sometimes, you may not even be fully aware that you are feeling stressed, angry, or threatened by a particular situation. Take the time to recognise those feelings and ask yourself why you are feeling them.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

2. What would I be thinking if I was in the other person’s shoes right now?

Often times, emotional stress or strain comes from an interaction with someone else – be it a work colleague, a client, or a loved one. Most of our lives we live in a bubble of “me”. We constantly think about our situation as it relates to ourselves, rather than those around us. Ask yourself what the other person is thinking in this situation, and why they might be acting the way they are. Maybe they aren’t lashing out at you because they’re rude, rather, they may be worried about their own job or career.

3. How would an outsider look at what is going on right now?

Take one more step back and look at the situation from the perspective of an outsider. If the situation is too close to your heart, chances are that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes may prove impossible. Instead, consider how an outsider would react to this situation if they were in the room with you. The outsider’s point of view will be more well rounded, and you will have the opportunity to judge whether your reactions are being influenced by the situation itself or by unconscious biases, thoughts, worries or concerns.

4. If I wasn’t tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, how would I react to this same experience?

Chances are, if you still feel the need to react or lash out in a forceful way, you may be experiencing a weakened mental state brought on by being tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, etc. By asking yourself how you might react if you were well rested and clear headed, you will give yourself a few much needed seconds to slow down and cool off before reacting emotionally. Just by realising that your mental state may be compromised, you will give yourself valuable insight before overreacting to a situation.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

5. In a week’s time, what would your best self think about this situation?

By thinking about how your “best self” would react to a certain situation in a week’s time, you are doing two things. First, you are shifting your perspective to think about the problem through the lens of your “best self”. This means understanding that you are coming to this situation from a state that is less than perfect, and you must adjust your expectations. Second, you are distancing yourself from the situation by forcing your mind to consider what things would look like in a week’s time. By doing both of these things, you are ensuring you react in a balanced way.

The more you practice asking yourself these questions in times of stress, the better you will be at reacting to any challenges that come your way.

Are there any questions you ask yourself to frame problems or challenges differently?

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Success Advice

3 Ways to Uncover Your Blind Spots and Live Life on Your Terms

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Do you ever start to say something you know you shouldn’t, but cannot help to say it anyway? How about a specific relationship breaking down again, despite employing an array of differing strategies? I’m talking about the times where it seems no matter what you do, history has no choice but to repeat itself.

This, ladies and gentlemen, can be attributed to our blind spots. The areas where our ways of thinking hide the key to unlocking our full potential. We assert we’ve looked everywhere, but we cannot look where we cannot see. These barriers to awareness cannot be distinguished with the same thinking that got us there. A new mind and a new heart must be fashioned to break old, embedded patterns. For a life we truly love, we must take to the hills for a new vantage point.

Here are three essentials to uncovering your blind spots and living life on your terms:

1. Deal With Your Ego

Your ego, more than anything, is a protective device. Fashioned from the most primitive parts of your brain, such as the amygdala, your ego puts up a wall as you make mistakes or fall victim to your weaknesses. This component of your psyche, essentially your false self, makes it increasingly difficult for you to address your shortcomings logically and riddle them with emotion.

Because your survival and safety is paramount, responsibility is dodged and allocated elsewhere. Worse off, these areas of the brain are not accessible to our conscious awareness.

The saving grace however, is the part of the brain responsible for logic and reason. This higher-level, non-reactive consciousness can guide you in the right direction if you allow it. Understanding you have a war going on in your mind is the first step — with the second being, who you allow to win.

Your ego is insecure, underdeveloped, irrational, and painfully selfish. Calling it out when it attempts to run wild is up to you. Ironically, because it will stop at nothing to ensure your superficial needs — attention, love, praise, connection, etc. — are met, it typically jeopardizes them by being too attached. It’s a question of what you want the most versus what you want right now. You’ve got Jekyll and Hyde at odds in your head — who are you going to give the hammer to?

“Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Question Everything

Success is not final. What works in producing results may not work for as long as we want to believe. With certain approaches having produced results for us in the past, we’re naturally inclined to lean into a sunk-cost bias and ride them out ignorantly. No one wants to give up their beliefs. Where we are in our lives right now is because of a sum of the choices we’ve made based on those beliefs.

Of the same token, what got you here won’t get you there. This is where many people struggle to stay in the game and begin to suffer — helplessness sets in when it appears all you know won’t make any difference. The only way to keep the door open to possibility is through inquiry.

By constantly questioning the approach, the mindset, the attitude and the focus on which you employ, you sift through the options objectively until you land on what you choose to try. Even if you’re wrong the first time, you simply go back to the drawing board and try something else. It gets messy when we over-identify with what we think. You can have strong opinions, but go easy on the Kung Fu grip.

3. Seek Feedback From Thoughtful People

This step is listed last for obvious reasons — it’s the most difficult. Putting yourself out there in the open for potential harm is no easy feat. When you realize the reward far outweighs the risk however, you’ll act every time.

Find a few close confidants whose opinions you value. Maybe they’ve accomplished some success in their lives or maybe they just know how to strike a chord with you. Set up regular conversations with them to provide feedback on what you’re up to in life, assuring them your feelings are suspended throughout the sit-down. Create a safe space for them to provide honest, thoughtful feedback for you to look at from a third person perspective and make a decision on whether or not you’re going to add it to your arsenal. Remember, they can see what you cannot.

This isn’t an open forum for someone to trash you. It’s simply a training ground for you to be with the perceptions that you’ve created for yourself through your attitudes and actions. By honoring and valuing others’ opinions, you’ll be one step closer to getting in the minds and hearts of the people you wish to influence most — as well as one step further away from your ego.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell

People can’t appreciate what they don’t know is there. There’s more than one lens in life and you just happen to possess one of the billions. Life isn’t the way you see it, but merely the way it is. Staying grounded in situations and seeing your emotions for what they are (i.e. a cry for help) will allow you to continue to heighten your perspective and gain a panoramic view.

You don’t access your peripherals without stretching your sight. Try these three techniques today to take a break from informational learning and discover for yourself what’s been in your way this whole time.

How do you discover what’s holding you back from achieving success in your life? Do you have any techniques? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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7 of the Best Time Management Tips From the Master of Success, Jim Rohn

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Becoming a master at time management will allow you to design and improve every aspect of your life. Jim Rohn was one of the most influential speakers when it came to this. His tips and tricks are very actionable and revive a sense of motivation in millions of people to date. Managing your time meticulously is easier said than done but just like anything great you will ever accomplish, the hardest step is to begin. Try not to just read through these steps but to put them into action.

Here are 7 time management tips from Jim Rohn:

1. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan

Designing your life is a nice way of saying ‘don’t let life happen to you, make your life happen’. A ship that leaves its dock without a planned destination will wonder the seas aimlessly and guess what, it will never get to where it was meant to be. Every day is an accumulation of time, therefore, managing your time is managing your day. This will lead to having your life planned out, day by day until you realize you have achieved most, if not all, of your goals.

2. Think on paper

Write down your goals and dreams. This might be a document, app, or the old-fashioned pen to paper, but this is not an option. There is something special that happens when we jot down our goals, because the mind begins to see them as actionable steps not just dreams.

Most people say they want to be successful and dream about being great, but have never written it out the steps to get there. Meticulously plan and schedule your life in real time on paper. This will lead to the next step which is planning out how you will achieve your goals.

3. When you don’t control your time, your time will control you

Have you ever experienced a day in which you did not plan out your time and before you knew it, you had gotten nothing done? This is how most people’s lives go by. They have no specific plan for their time and therefore for their lives. Your choices determine the person you end up being. See every moment as an opportunity to savor the time and make the most of it.. If you control how you spend your time, you can control your successes and failures.

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” – Jim Rohn

4. If it’s easy to do, it’s easy to NOT do

We kid ourselves, ‘Ah, that’s simple, why should I plan it out, I’ll just do it!’ This has proven not to work time and time again. Simply because if it’s easy to do, it is easy not to do. We are a product of the things we continuously do.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is structured around a simple principle. Every single action, no matter how small, if done over and over again will compound to a much larger product. The small things we ignore and don’t do because we never plan for them will eventually accumulate to some big action we now have to take which will be much harder.

5. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value

If you don’t plan out your time you are not putting a timeline on your goals. Having deadlines creates a sense of urgency. This is why we start to work on a month-long project around the last week to the deadline. The pressure makes it seem dire and will act as a type of motivator to completing and accomplishing our goals. Put a deadline on your dreams, otherwise they are just that, dreams.

6. Study the art of setting goals

Every day, write your goals fresh without focusing on yesterday. This is a good way to weed out non-priorities and refocus on your true goals. Focus is something lacking in today’s society. Don’t fall ‘victim’ to this, so review your goals on a daily basis to reinforce them and make realizing them practical. Derek Mills suggests a Daily Standards system where we don’t necessarily work towards a long time goal but focus on daily goals which eventually turn into long-term successes.

Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

7. We all have the same amount of time in a day  

Start where you are, it doesn’t matter where you are now. 90% of millionaires started out broke. The key to success is taking a lot of action on a great idea and the only way to do this is to manage your time. Plan around every single action, no matter how simple. You can turn your life around at any given moment. The best way to do this is by time management.

Start simple by having a notebook where you write down how you spend every hour of your time. If you surf the web for 2 hours, write it down. If it takes you 30 minutes to stalk your favourite celebrity, write it down. Everything you do, for one week, write it down. In the end, you will see where most of your time goes.

You will also start to resent having to write down that you spent one hour looking at pictures of a car you could only afford if you actually used that time wisely. This is a great place to start, from there you can follow the many time management tips available to you and see what works best for you.

How do you manage your time to get the best results? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

8 Ways to Help You Stay Productive Even When You Think You Can’t

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To succeed big, you must work your butt off. I just read a book about the routines of billionaires and some of history]s most successful figures, and every single one of them were super productive…and you should be too. If you want better things in your life, then you must stay productive regardless of how lazy you feel or how hard a task seems to you.  

Here are 8 ways to help you stay productive even when you think you can’t:

1. Calm the HALT down

HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These four moments are when you`re emotionally at your lowest, and all you can think of is bad food and a bed. Ever notice that you eat more on the days you feel tired or lonely? A great productivity tip is to take notice of when you’re at the HALT, and take some time to cool down before getting back to work. Take some time off, call a friend, take a nap, see a movie or eat something refreshing. The key is to realize that what you’re feeling is normal and to be okay with it. Once you feel better, you can get back to work.

2. Take tasks to their simplest form

“Open Gmail + type client’s email address.” This is a task I scheduled on my calendar yesterday. I was negotiating new rates with a client and because asking for a raise will always be intimidating, no matter how often you do it, I chose only to schedule the first step (Open my Gmail, then type in the client`s email), and let the ball roll from there.

I’ve been using this anti-procrastination trick for a decade, and it has never failed me. And in case you`re wondering, I wrote the email and scheduled a Zoom meeting. He said no, and we broke off. But I’m overbooked and happy.

Whenever I’m intimidated by a task, I look for the easiest thing I can do about it, and I do it. Then I look for the new “easiest” thing to do, and again I do it. Then again and again until I`m invested in the task that I no longer want to quit until I finish it.

“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano

3. Put everything on a calendar

I couldn`t believe how much working with a calendar was awesome until I tried it. The best thing about using a calendar is that it puts time constraints on everything you do. Each task has its start and end time which makes you feel like a player before a scheduled game; you can`t reschedule the game or delay it, so you`d better pull your things together and get back to work.

4. Take no emails when you feel bad

Avoid taking emails early in the morning or when you feel bad. It`s part of the anti-HALT process discussed shortly. Emails usually come with an unexpected change in plans and sometimes worse —take an angry customer for example. So, it makes sense that you schedule emails two or three hours after you wake up to stay in a perfect mood for productivity. It`s what many productivity experts do, including Tim Ferris.

5. Eat your frog first

Eat the frog is a term made by Brian Tracy, the Steph Curry of productivity. The frog is the most significant, most difficult and the most important task on your calendar and to Tracy, that should be the first thing you do every morning. Guess what? Eating the frog does work, and if you make a habit of it, you`ll be extraordinarily productive because of the amount of motivation it will give you. It`s like passing the first exam of the semester, which happens to be the toughest. All the following will be pieces of cake to you.

6. Try the power pose

Anytime you feel unproductive, stand up, breathe deeply and take the power pose or do some stretches. Changing your physiology can improve your mood, that`s what science discovered many years ago. If your time allows, you can hit the gym or go for a run. The pump you feel, and the accomplishment will regulate your mood and motivate you to take more action.

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

7. Work from the most boring place you can find

A tiny mean room with just a bed, a bible and a deck of cards – that`s where Maya Angelou, the great poet, did her daily writing. “I can’t work in a pretty surrounding. It throws me,” she said in an interview. Maybe this can work for you too. My first ever writing coach gave this tip in my quest to make writing a daily habit. He told me the reason why most writers, including Angelou, love to write in dull environments is that it rushes them to get things done. It makes sense because if you can`t stand the place, then you`d do anything to get out.

8. Every now and then, Work only when you feel like working

When it comes to productivity, Georges Simenon is the man. He lived 86 years and wrote over 425 novels while only working two weeks every other month. As Mason Currey wrote about him in his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, “The Belgian-French novelist worked in intense bursts of literary activity, each lasting two or three weeks, separated by weeks or months of no writing at all. Even during his productive weeks, Simenon didn’t write for very long each day” writes Currey.

Realizing that all you need is three hours of hard work before calling it a day may motivate you.  It`s bizarre, uncommon, and may not work for you, but maybe it does. So, why not give it a try? Pick a day this week, or the next, and set to work for only three, undistracted, hours then try to squeeze out every ounce of creativity and work in those hours. Once the clock ticks, take the rest of the day off.

How do you stay productive? Comment below!

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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how to stay calm
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Excel Igwe

    Jan 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

    So inspiring, I hope to have my own story told one day………

    Thanks to the writer…

  2. bright acheampong

    May 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

    inspired and motivated to do more…tanx

  3. Pook

    Nov 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    For Stern, there were a LOT of years between being fired from WNBC and becoming TRULY nationally syndicated. Stern was fired from WNBC in 1985 and went to WXRK (K-Rock) two months later. He would be at K-Rock for a year before becoming syndicated, but only at WYSP in Philadelphia. Two other markets were added (Detroit and Hartford, I believe), but it was only in 1991 when he really took off by adding KLSX in Los Angeles to the roster. That catapulted him to national “morning” stardom, as stations across the country jumped on board one right after the other.

  4. Kumar Gauraw

    Aug 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Wow! This is so inspiring. Enjoyed the minutes spent reading about these 15 people. Failure is most definitely the stepping stone to success. They all exemplified. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. angela grace dantes

    Jun 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

    GREAT LIfE

  6. Kaniz Fathima Sinthiya

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    J.K Rowling has tried her best!

  7. patti

    Aug 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Very inspiring as always, love this site!
    thank you for sharing, patti

  8. Susan Ekins

    Aug 18, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Success is the best revenge!

  9. Amandah

    Jul 10, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Great list!

    I’m glad to see artists and writers on the list. Metallica is one of my favorite bands. J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to writers who want to become best-selling authors. She never gave up and kept writing and it paid off.

    Please share your dreams with people who’ll support and cheer you on. Don’t share your dreams with people who are pessimists. Sadly, your family and friends may think you’re nuts for wanting to pursue something they may feel is out of reach. You may hear things like, “Do you know how tough (fill in the blank) is?” If you listen to the naysayers, you may talk yourself out of your dreams.

  10. Pauline

    Jun 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I love this list! Very inspiring to know that these successful people dealt with rejection in a positive way.

  11. Ton Lopes

    Apr 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Hey what a beautifull message going there!That´s the reason why i love this website.
    I´ve thinking if there cold be an article about filmmakers who have been enterpreneur in creating their carrers(IM thinking walt disney,and guys like George lucas,Spielberg)it would be nice!

  12. Stevie Stevenz

    Apr 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Great to see people who can fight against the odds, the failures who succeed. This inspires us all to lose and win confidently, thanks!

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Success Advice

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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how to stay calm
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work.

What do you do when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated? Do you lash out or disengage from those around you? If you’re like me, you struggle to hold back your strong reactions when you experience a setback or a challenge.

Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help slow down your reactive brain and assess your current situation so that you can respond more effectively to challenging situations:

1. Why do I feel triggered by this situation?

Start by asking yourself a broad question to assess the current situation. Why do you feel the way you do about this situation? This question allows you to take a brief pause to examine why you feel the way you do about a specific situation. Asking why is powerful because it forces you to consider your own feelings and emotions more closely. Sometimes, you may not even be fully aware that you are feeling stressed, angry, or threatened by a particular situation. Take the time to recognise those feelings and ask yourself why you are feeling them.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

2. What would I be thinking if I was in the other person’s shoes right now?

Often times, emotional stress or strain comes from an interaction with someone else – be it a work colleague, a client, or a loved one. Most of our lives we live in a bubble of “me”. We constantly think about our situation as it relates to ourselves, rather than those around us. Ask yourself what the other person is thinking in this situation, and why they might be acting the way they are. Maybe they aren’t lashing out at you because they’re rude, rather, they may be worried about their own job or career.

3. How would an outsider look at what is going on right now?

Take one more step back and look at the situation from the perspective of an outsider. If the situation is too close to your heart, chances are that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes may prove impossible. Instead, consider how an outsider would react to this situation if they were in the room with you. The outsider’s point of view will be more well rounded, and you will have the opportunity to judge whether your reactions are being influenced by the situation itself or by unconscious biases, thoughts, worries or concerns.

4. If I wasn’t tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, how would I react to this same experience?

Chances are, if you still feel the need to react or lash out in a forceful way, you may be experiencing a weakened mental state brought on by being tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, etc. By asking yourself how you might react if you were well rested and clear headed, you will give yourself a few much needed seconds to slow down and cool off before reacting emotionally. Just by realising that your mental state may be compromised, you will give yourself valuable insight before overreacting to a situation.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

5. In a week’s time, what would your best self think about this situation?

By thinking about how your “best self” would react to a certain situation in a week’s time, you are doing two things. First, you are shifting your perspective to think about the problem through the lens of your “best self”. This means understanding that you are coming to this situation from a state that is less than perfect, and you must adjust your expectations. Second, you are distancing yourself from the situation by forcing your mind to consider what things would look like in a week’s time. By doing both of these things, you are ensuring you react in a balanced way.

The more you practice asking yourself these questions in times of stress, the better you will be at reacting to any challenges that come your way.

Are there any questions you ask yourself to frame problems or challenges differently?

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3 Ways to Uncover Your Blind Spots and Live Life on Your Terms

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Do you ever start to say something you know you shouldn’t, but cannot help to say it anyway? How about a specific relationship breaking down again, despite employing an array of differing strategies? I’m talking about the times where it seems no matter what you do, history has no choice but to repeat itself.

This, ladies and gentlemen, can be attributed to our blind spots. The areas where our ways of thinking hide the key to unlocking our full potential. We assert we’ve looked everywhere, but we cannot look where we cannot see. These barriers to awareness cannot be distinguished with the same thinking that got us there. A new mind and a new heart must be fashioned to break old, embedded patterns. For a life we truly love, we must take to the hills for a new vantage point.

Here are three essentials to uncovering your blind spots and living life on your terms:

1. Deal With Your Ego

Your ego, more than anything, is a protective device. Fashioned from the most primitive parts of your brain, such as the amygdala, your ego puts up a wall as you make mistakes or fall victim to your weaknesses. This component of your psyche, essentially your false self, makes it increasingly difficult for you to address your shortcomings logically and riddle them with emotion.

Because your survival and safety is paramount, responsibility is dodged and allocated elsewhere. Worse off, these areas of the brain are not accessible to our conscious awareness.

The saving grace however, is the part of the brain responsible for logic and reason. This higher-level, non-reactive consciousness can guide you in the right direction if you allow it. Understanding you have a war going on in your mind is the first step — with the second being, who you allow to win.

Your ego is insecure, underdeveloped, irrational, and painfully selfish. Calling it out when it attempts to run wild is up to you. Ironically, because it will stop at nothing to ensure your superficial needs — attention, love, praise, connection, etc. — are met, it typically jeopardizes them by being too attached. It’s a question of what you want the most versus what you want right now. You’ve got Jekyll and Hyde at odds in your head — who are you going to give the hammer to?

“Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Question Everything

Success is not final. What works in producing results may not work for as long as we want to believe. With certain approaches having produced results for us in the past, we’re naturally inclined to lean into a sunk-cost bias and ride them out ignorantly. No one wants to give up their beliefs. Where we are in our lives right now is because of a sum of the choices we’ve made based on those beliefs.

Of the same token, what got you here won’t get you there. This is where many people struggle to stay in the game and begin to suffer — helplessness sets in when it appears all you know won’t make any difference. The only way to keep the door open to possibility is through inquiry.

By constantly questioning the approach, the mindset, the attitude and the focus on which you employ, you sift through the options objectively until you land on what you choose to try. Even if you’re wrong the first time, you simply go back to the drawing board and try something else. It gets messy when we over-identify with what we think. You can have strong opinions, but go easy on the Kung Fu grip.

3. Seek Feedback From Thoughtful People

This step is listed last for obvious reasons — it’s the most difficult. Putting yourself out there in the open for potential harm is no easy feat. When you realize the reward far outweighs the risk however, you’ll act every time.

Find a few close confidants whose opinions you value. Maybe they’ve accomplished some success in their lives or maybe they just know how to strike a chord with you. Set up regular conversations with them to provide feedback on what you’re up to in life, assuring them your feelings are suspended throughout the sit-down. Create a safe space for them to provide honest, thoughtful feedback for you to look at from a third person perspective and make a decision on whether or not you’re going to add it to your arsenal. Remember, they can see what you cannot.

This isn’t an open forum for someone to trash you. It’s simply a training ground for you to be with the perceptions that you’ve created for yourself through your attitudes and actions. By honoring and valuing others’ opinions, you’ll be one step closer to getting in the minds and hearts of the people you wish to influence most — as well as one step further away from your ego.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell

People can’t appreciate what they don’t know is there. There’s more than one lens in life and you just happen to possess one of the billions. Life isn’t the way you see it, but merely the way it is. Staying grounded in situations and seeing your emotions for what they are (i.e. a cry for help) will allow you to continue to heighten your perspective and gain a panoramic view.

You don’t access your peripherals without stretching your sight. Try these three techniques today to take a break from informational learning and discover for yourself what’s been in your way this whole time.

How do you discover what’s holding you back from achieving success in your life? Do you have any techniques? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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7 of the Best Time Management Tips From the Master of Success, Jim Rohn

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Becoming a master at time management will allow you to design and improve every aspect of your life. Jim Rohn was one of the most influential speakers when it came to this. His tips and tricks are very actionable and revive a sense of motivation in millions of people to date. Managing your time meticulously is easier said than done but just like anything great you will ever accomplish, the hardest step is to begin. Try not to just read through these steps but to put them into action.

Here are 7 time management tips from Jim Rohn:

1. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan

Designing your life is a nice way of saying ‘don’t let life happen to you, make your life happen’. A ship that leaves its dock without a planned destination will wonder the seas aimlessly and guess what, it will never get to where it was meant to be. Every day is an accumulation of time, therefore, managing your time is managing your day. This will lead to having your life planned out, day by day until you realize you have achieved most, if not all, of your goals.

2. Think on paper

Write down your goals and dreams. This might be a document, app, or the old-fashioned pen to paper, but this is not an option. There is something special that happens when we jot down our goals, because the mind begins to see them as actionable steps not just dreams.

Most people say they want to be successful and dream about being great, but have never written it out the steps to get there. Meticulously plan and schedule your life in real time on paper. This will lead to the next step which is planning out how you will achieve your goals.

3. When you don’t control your time, your time will control you

Have you ever experienced a day in which you did not plan out your time and before you knew it, you had gotten nothing done? This is how most people’s lives go by. They have no specific plan for their time and therefore for their lives. Your choices determine the person you end up being. See every moment as an opportunity to savor the time and make the most of it.. If you control how you spend your time, you can control your successes and failures.

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” – Jim Rohn

4. If it’s easy to do, it’s easy to NOT do

We kid ourselves, ‘Ah, that’s simple, why should I plan it out, I’ll just do it!’ This has proven not to work time and time again. Simply because if it’s easy to do, it is easy not to do. We are a product of the things we continuously do.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is structured around a simple principle. Every single action, no matter how small, if done over and over again will compound to a much larger product. The small things we ignore and don’t do because we never plan for them will eventually accumulate to some big action we now have to take which will be much harder.

5. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value

If you don’t plan out your time you are not putting a timeline on your goals. Having deadlines creates a sense of urgency. This is why we start to work on a month-long project around the last week to the deadline. The pressure makes it seem dire and will act as a type of motivator to completing and accomplishing our goals. Put a deadline on your dreams, otherwise they are just that, dreams.

6. Study the art of setting goals

Every day, write your goals fresh without focusing on yesterday. This is a good way to weed out non-priorities and refocus on your true goals. Focus is something lacking in today’s society. Don’t fall ‘victim’ to this, so review your goals on a daily basis to reinforce them and make realizing them practical. Derek Mills suggests a Daily Standards system where we don’t necessarily work towards a long time goal but focus on daily goals which eventually turn into long-term successes.

Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

7. We all have the same amount of time in a day  

Start where you are, it doesn’t matter where you are now. 90% of millionaires started out broke. The key to success is taking a lot of action on a great idea and the only way to do this is to manage your time. Plan around every single action, no matter how simple. You can turn your life around at any given moment. The best way to do this is by time management.

Start simple by having a notebook where you write down how you spend every hour of your time. If you surf the web for 2 hours, write it down. If it takes you 30 minutes to stalk your favourite celebrity, write it down. Everything you do, for one week, write it down. In the end, you will see where most of your time goes.

You will also start to resent having to write down that you spent one hour looking at pictures of a car you could only afford if you actually used that time wisely. This is a great place to start, from there you can follow the many time management tips available to you and see what works best for you.

How do you manage your time to get the best results? Let us know in the comments below!

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8 Ways to Help You Stay Productive Even When You Think You Can’t

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To succeed big, you must work your butt off. I just read a book about the routines of billionaires and some of history]s most successful figures, and every single one of them were super productive…and you should be too. If you want better things in your life, then you must stay productive regardless of how lazy you feel or how hard a task seems to you.  

Here are 8 ways to help you stay productive even when you think you can’t:

1. Calm the HALT down

HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These four moments are when you`re emotionally at your lowest, and all you can think of is bad food and a bed. Ever notice that you eat more on the days you feel tired or lonely? A great productivity tip is to take notice of when you’re at the HALT, and take some time to cool down before getting back to work. Take some time off, call a friend, take a nap, see a movie or eat something refreshing. The key is to realize that what you’re feeling is normal and to be okay with it. Once you feel better, you can get back to work.

2. Take tasks to their simplest form

“Open Gmail + type client’s email address.” This is a task I scheduled on my calendar yesterday. I was negotiating new rates with a client and because asking for a raise will always be intimidating, no matter how often you do it, I chose only to schedule the first step (Open my Gmail, then type in the client`s email), and let the ball roll from there.

I’ve been using this anti-procrastination trick for a decade, and it has never failed me. And in case you`re wondering, I wrote the email and scheduled a Zoom meeting. He said no, and we broke off. But I’m overbooked and happy.

Whenever I’m intimidated by a task, I look for the easiest thing I can do about it, and I do it. Then I look for the new “easiest” thing to do, and again I do it. Then again and again until I`m invested in the task that I no longer want to quit until I finish it.

“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano

3. Put everything on a calendar

I couldn`t believe how much working with a calendar was awesome until I tried it. The best thing about using a calendar is that it puts time constraints on everything you do. Each task has its start and end time which makes you feel like a player before a scheduled game; you can`t reschedule the game or delay it, so you`d better pull your things together and get back to work.

4. Take no emails when you feel bad

Avoid taking emails early in the morning or when you feel bad. It`s part of the anti-HALT process discussed shortly. Emails usually come with an unexpected change in plans and sometimes worse —take an angry customer for example. So, it makes sense that you schedule emails two or three hours after you wake up to stay in a perfect mood for productivity. It`s what many productivity experts do, including Tim Ferris.

5. Eat your frog first

Eat the frog is a term made by Brian Tracy, the Steph Curry of productivity. The frog is the most significant, most difficult and the most important task on your calendar and to Tracy, that should be the first thing you do every morning. Guess what? Eating the frog does work, and if you make a habit of it, you`ll be extraordinarily productive because of the amount of motivation it will give you. It`s like passing the first exam of the semester, which happens to be the toughest. All the following will be pieces of cake to you.

6. Try the power pose

Anytime you feel unproductive, stand up, breathe deeply and take the power pose or do some stretches. Changing your physiology can improve your mood, that`s what science discovered many years ago. If your time allows, you can hit the gym or go for a run. The pump you feel, and the accomplishment will regulate your mood and motivate you to take more action.

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

7. Work from the most boring place you can find

A tiny mean room with just a bed, a bible and a deck of cards – that`s where Maya Angelou, the great poet, did her daily writing. “I can’t work in a pretty surrounding. It throws me,” she said in an interview. Maybe this can work for you too. My first ever writing coach gave this tip in my quest to make writing a daily habit. He told me the reason why most writers, including Angelou, love to write in dull environments is that it rushes them to get things done. It makes sense because if you can`t stand the place, then you`d do anything to get out.

8. Every now and then, Work only when you feel like working

When it comes to productivity, Georges Simenon is the man. He lived 86 years and wrote over 425 novels while only working two weeks every other month. As Mason Currey wrote about him in his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, “The Belgian-French novelist worked in intense bursts of literary activity, each lasting two or three weeks, separated by weeks or months of no writing at all. Even during his productive weeks, Simenon didn’t write for very long each day” writes Currey.

Realizing that all you need is three hours of hard work before calling it a day may motivate you.  It`s bizarre, uncommon, and may not work for you, but maybe it does. So, why not give it a try? Pick a day this week, or the next, and set to work for only three, undistracted, hours then try to squeeze out every ounce of creativity and work in those hours. Once the clock ticks, take the rest of the day off.

How do you stay productive? Comment below!

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