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24 Lessons I Have Learnt In The Past 24 Years Of My Life

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Joel Brown


Hi Guys, I’m Joel Brown, the owner of Addicted2Success.com and I have been working on this article for some time now. I have had a lot of people asking me for advice, what have I learned so far, pointers for running a blog and how I find my Inspiration. So I decided to create this article – 24 Lessons I Have Learnt In The Past 24 Years Of My Life. I try my hardest to live by these, I hope you can take on some of these pointers for guidance in your life. Thanks!

 

Life Lessons

1. Everybody wants something. Almost everyone acts out of self interest (especially when they claim they don’t.) In fact, the people most eager to volunteer advice or help tend to want the most in return. Assume all career or business assistance is part of an expected exchange, either now or in the future. Then you won’t be disappointed. But keep in mind that occasionally…

2. What a few people want is just to feel good about helping others. Rarely, but it does happen, someone likes to help simply because it makes them feel good. Those people are hard to find, though, because their names aren’t listed as sponsors on event programs or plastered on the sides of b-school buildings. When you find one, make them a permanent part of your life.

3. Your mind will not change unless you exercise it. It wasn’t too long ago I remember you could not pay me to read a book. Reading a book for me was this painful task which I considered a waste of time and boring. I don’t know why, maybe I was at the point in my life where the light came on and I became this knowledge hungry human, like my mind decided “okay it’s time to mature now Joel, you will never know enough, now learn, learn, learn” so I make it my mission now to read everyday, and I swear by it. I read website articles, magazines,  watch Videos, I discuss subjects with my girl and  my friends and I can say that my overall knowledge in the past 2 years has expanded ten fold all because of reading and wanting to learn more. If reading a paper back book is a little  too old school for you then do what I do and save some bookmarks of your Top 5 websites in different areas of interest and make it  a “must do” to read a new article each and every day of the working week. A week or so In you will understand why reading is so important.

4. Don’t have a Plan B. Having a fallback plan means accepting beforehand that your plan will fail. Having a Plan B is telling the universe that the failure of your plan is a solid possibility. Don’t do that! Stick with your plan. Don’t focus on the possibility of failure even for a moment. If you fail, you’ll know in the end what next step to take or find out the right thing to do. Having a single plan gives your work a smarter edge. From the wise words of Jordan Belfort – “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

5. Everything before “but” is bullsh!t. “I don’t meant to be critical, but…” “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but…” “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but…” Yes you do, yes you are, and yes I will. Disclaimers are anything but, indicating the true meaning behind what is said.

6. Boring people win. The people who achieve the most do a lot more of the boring stuff. Routine, rigor, attention to detail, churning away day after day… that is how you will succeed. Every elite athlete, entertainer, and successful business person you will someday know has put in thousands of hours of practice and effort. They are successful mainly because they are willing to do what other people won’t. Learn to enjoy the mundane and you will quickly outdistance the pack. The poor, the unsuccessful, the unhappy, the unhealthy are the ones who use the word tomorrow the most!

7. Stop brainstorming and start borrowing. Most people try to be original — and want to be perceived as original — primarily out of ego. Results are all that matter. Stop trying to think of something new. Why try and re-invent the wheel? All you really need to be planning for is adaptations. The world is forever changing and so are peoples interests, use your time and energy to focus on how you are going to carry your business or ideas to an establishment of longevity. The store, the restaurant, the factory, the school… ideas you can borrow — ideas that you can see actually work — are everywhere. Borrow freely and often, just don’t forget to grow and make it a thing to always improve. That way you and your ideas will never be left behind.

8. The women you really want to meet don’t care about the kind of car you drive. Plain and simple, a bus pass will do, just don’t be bumming off her for lifts. Something that will get your from A-B should suffice.

9. Learn to say ‘no’ even at the risk of being labeled as arrogant, selfish or mean. Say ‘no’ when you feel you want to say ‘no’. Say it!

10. People aren’t always going to be there for you. This is why it is good to learn to fend for yourself, travel the world, put your self in high risk situations, go for a job interview that will make you shit your pants. These are the things that make you confident and ready for the hard knocks in life.

11. Training is great; advice is not. Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t. Always ask, “How do I…?” because “how” leads to training and knowledge. Ask, “Should I…” and you get opinions often colored by individual perspectives. Always ask to be shown or taught. When you know how you can decide for yourself whether youshould.

12. Spend most of your time on your priorities. Don’t keep talking about them without taking action. Stop making one list after another. Just spend more time working on them. Literally. Every single day.

13. Visibility is everything. The people who get promotions and opportunities are the people who are seen and noticed. Spend the majority of your time doing great things, but spend at least 10% of your time getting the attention of the people who matter. Customers, partners, media… no one will discover you on their own.  You absolutely must help them find you.

14. Always take out something. Initiatives, projects, decisions… you’ll constantly be tempted to add one more thing to make them even better. Addition almost always results in subtraction. The more you eliminate the more you can focus on what remains, so the stuff you leave out is as important as the stuff you leave in.

15. Shit happens. Learn to stay cool. Learn breathing techniques to calm down fast. Learn how to deal with panic, fear and anxiety. Like Ari Gold from Entourage says “When shit happens, just wipe, flush and move on”.

16. The people who say the least have the most to say. Bragging is a mask for insecurity. Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming. Hang around the humble ones. When they do speak you’ll be glad you were listening.

17. Your parents are a lot smarter than you think. And they only want the best for you. And they’ll always be there for you. And they won’t be around forever. So will it hurt you to call once in a while?

18. Always learn on the fly. Waiting until you’re ready means waiting forever. When you’re “preparing” there are millions of reasons to delay a little longer. Trust yourself. Learn a little and then jump in. Make mistakes, adjust, adapt, and develop greater skill by doing. You’ll save time and achieve more.

19. Hang on to the people you click with. Let go of the emotional leachers who feed on your energy. Point them down the safest road and move on from their complaints and tortures of me me me’s and keep in mind that your true family is not always connected through blood. Let as much positive energy come from you that if negative people, places or things show up.. They’ll get lost like a needle in a hay stack.

20. Don’t expect to get back what you give. Most of the time favors will not be returned. Sacrifices you make for others will not be rewarded. All the people you mentor, develop, promote, and work with will not call to see how you’re doing when you are suddenly let go years from now. When you give, give because you want to give; then you’ll never be disappointed.

21. You will only regret what you decide not do. You won’t regret broken bones from motorcycle racing; you will regret not taking a shot at a higher level of the sport. You won’t regret taking a particularly crappy job; you will regret turning down what was probably a great job. When you look back you will only regret a few of the things you did. (The rest, even if they were mistakes, will help make you the person you become.) What you will regret are things you decide not to do due to lack of confidence or fear of the unknown — like the businesses you should have started and the joint venture you turned down. Safe, in your life, will almost always equal sorry. Take intelligent business risks and trust you will be able to work through any challenges. If nothing else, you’ll have more fun.

 22. Problems aren’t always bad.

“On the other side of fear lies success”. That quote is and always will be one of my favorites. I have learnt that as frustrating as problems can be, they are really just another hurdle that you need to get over to reach your goal. Problems are just challenges really. When you change your frame of mind and look at problems as just another hurdle, you will reap the benefits for holding out and going that extra mile. Each hurdle you overcome will take you one step ahead of the man that decided that there is no way over and it’s all too hard. This is an advantage for you and your ventures.

23. Underpromise, overprepare, overdeliver. Not just in business, but in every portion of your life. Not just for others but for yourself, too.

24. Develop a strong handshake, look people in the eye, and smile when answering the phone. Body Language is everything, in life and in business. This one needs no further explanation.

 

What are your lessons? E-Mail them through and we will create a Lessons Learned article by our Readers here at Addicted2Success.com. E-Mail some of your best lessons learnt in life to info@addicted2success.com and we will post the article next week. Thanks!

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 200 million lives in the last 10 years.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. salomi

    Sep 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

    really nice article!!! almost agree with all life lessons some are really remarkable like 3,20 & 22 …………. sometime its better to hear something from someone instead telling all the time….. thanks!!!

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

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