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Do You Have To Be Ruthless To Be Unbelievably Successful?

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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I had  a discussion a couple of weeks ago with a group of friends, where the question of “Do you have to be ruthless to be successful?” was raised.

Just before writing this article I personally believed that you don’t have to be ruthless at all, but you may have to step over or around some people along the way to get to your end goal. It just depends on what you do in the process to get there. I also thought about it a little deeper and began to think, well, what does it really mean to be ruthless? And do successful people who have faced the battles and adversities in the business world see this definition in a different light?

Let’s check it out…..

The definition of Ruthless is:

ruth·less
ˈro͞oTHləs/
adjective
  1. Having or showing no pity or compassion for others.

Some synonyms of ruthless are “cold-hearted”, “merciless”, “pitiless” or “manipulator”. Do successful people look at manipulation differently to those who are unsuccessful?

In a survey run by “Business Brilliant” author Lewis Schiff, 9 out of 10 self-made millionaires agreed that “it’s important in negotiations to exploit the weaknesses in others.” Only 1 in 4 middle-class people took the same view.

What about being taken advantage of?

1 in 3 middle-class people agreed that “in negotiations, I expect people to try and take advantage of me.” 2 out of 3 self-made millionaires, on the other hand, expect others to try taking advantage.

This extends to their behavior, too. Half of the middle-class people in one survey agreed that “when making business decisions, it’s important to consider how the other side will view me.” On the other hand, only 2 in 10 self-made millionaires agreed with the same proposition.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. This same survey also broke down respondents by how rich they were. After all, there’s a difference multimillionaires and simple millionaires in their bank accounts — and it also looks like there’s a difference in their thinking.

97 percent of self-made multimillionaires believe that “in business dealings, it’s not my responsibility to ‘look out’ for the other person’s interest.” On the other hand, only 85 percent of self-made millionaires agree… and among the middle class? A mere 25 percent.

Now, we could go on and on with this. Questions about Machiavellianism, gaining advantages over others, and the like all produced similar results. This does not, however, mean that successful people are actively out to screw others. They understand better than anyone that reciprocation and sticking to their word is key to building trust and long-term relationships — the most profitable kind, after all.

Still, it is possible to be successful without being ruthless. After all, even among multimillionaires, there were a few percent (very few) who did not agree with ruthlessness in business dealings. Looking at some well-known examples, we can see there’s clearly a range of personalities at work. The degree to which ruthlessness is necessary for success varies.

Donald Trump Ruthless To Be SuccessfulBusinessmen like Donald Trump occupy one side of the scale. They make careers — and images — out of their ruthlessness. “Be brutal,” Trump has said:

“Be tough, and just go get them.”

Why is this? For one thing, real estate is a notoriously ruthless business. There is a finite supply of valuable land. Indeed, the limited supply of land is what allows men like Trump to make their millions. With the “you must lose for me to win” aspect so clearly visible, it’s no surprise that a Trump attitude rises to the top.

 

Richard Branson smile to be successful entrepreneurThen we have the Richard Branson’s of the world. In a column for Entrepreneur Magazine titled “Nice Guys Can Finish First,” Branson explains he finds it counterproductive to be ruthless. When people feel they’ve done well dealing with you, they tend to come back, and give you more business later.

Sure, some people have observed that even Branson has a ruthless streak, which he chalks up to having to make “tough calls.” But just as important is a look at what Branson does — his Virgin empire is highly innovative, and customer service- and image-oriented. Branson makes his money by creating a positive atmosphere where creativity thrives… a far cry from Trump’s land deals.

 

But…. there is one thing to keep in mind..

Even when looking at ‘nice guys‘ like Branson. While Branson is less aggressive at the negotiating table, he’s still competitive, and highly determined. Where he ‘looks out’ for the other person’s interest, he’s still doing it to help himself. He wants the other person to come back and do business again in the future.

Therefore, rather than saying you have to be ruthless to be successful, it might be more accurate to say you have to be energetic and extremely determined. Unless you’re in real estate, it seems like the ruthlessness (which is indeed a very common component of success) isn’t about aggression or ‘screwing over’ the other guy. Rather, it’s a by-product of going after your business goals with single-minded determination.

People who are ruthless for the sake of being ruthless tend to leave behind a trail of burned bridges, and sometimes end up in court (or even in prison). Both Trump and Branson have survived dozens, probably hundreds of lawsuits against them.

On the other hand, there are plenty of successful people who make the “tough calls” without necessarily hurting others. That’s what Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord did when she fired a third of the company’s 120 employees so the company could keep going — yet she still hears from many of them, and considers them good friends.

What is your opinion on being ruthless to get to the top? Please share your views in the comment section below.

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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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Georgy

    Oct 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The main concern for me would be how others would feel after doing business with me. I wouldn’t want to burn bridges that could be needed at a point in the future.
    However, the need to make tough decisions come into play and i believe it can be done graciously without making enemies.
    People can be ruthless and when it comes to a point where push comes to shove ; its important to hold your ground and see that a fair deal is made. i would pick the Branson Style anyday

  2. Mark

    Feb 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I Once had a competitor who initially appoached me as an ally but later u turned, renaged on our agreement and tried to steal my customers, But I did not get angry or try to retalliate, My business was built on trust and customer loyalty and I was confident I could just keep serving my customers the way I always had and they would stick with me, He closed a couple of months later, My business is still thriving and that was 10 years ago. Branson style honesty and customer service is the way forward for many business sectors. + the money you m,ake you can take home with your head held high!!

  3. Enzo

    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

    It really comes down to whether, metaphorically, you would break someone’s arm to make money. Or have someone do it for you. I have no doubt that greed is the worst sin one can commit.

  4. Rohan

    Jul 2, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I think being ruthless means that you don’t care about the other people not that you want to hurt them.

  5. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I don’t believe you have to be a jerk to be tremendously successful. However, I do believe that you have to be focused, determined and have conviction. At times, that can be taken as being a jerk; but it’s very different than intentionally trying to harm someone emotionally, physically or financially.

  6. ed

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    it also depends with ones temperaments you wont just do things simply because it calls for it or rather because someone had his/her way thorough such means, the inner being dictates a lot wit respect to whats outside

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am a bit of both ‘Trump’ and ‘Branson’. I think you need to know when to allow which personality trait over rule the other during different situations.

    But personally the ‘Trump’ way is so common. ‘Branson’ illustrates a new type of business man which more people can relate and respect.

    A lot people think if they can’t become a ruthless, bridge burning, step over anyone kind of business person then you won’t be a success.

    Branson proves different

    Thanks Naomi

  8. Thomas K.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    My boss can sometimes be one of these types of people. However, his bark is worse than his bite. I think it does take some bit of ruthlessness to obtain the best possible outcome. In my opinion, it is the art of knowing how much to push and when to not be so stringent.

  9. Jason White

    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’m driven, passionate, and believe I related to the “millionaires” viewpoints expressed in the survey, however feel that Branson’s philosophy of doing business resonates with me more-so than Trumps. Well I just recently accepted a position in Denver to make a career change to Commercial Real Estate. According to this article, I just might not have what it takes to make it! Here’s to hoping the good-to-great qualities prevail!!

  10. Troy in Las Vegas

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I was trying to think of other highly successful people and all the thoughts, well almost all, where people I would not want to hang out with because they just seem like A-Holes which, to me, goes hand in hand with being ruthless. Marc Cuban. Robert Irvine. That guy married to the Kardasian girl. Murdoch. Wynn
    There are the exceptions… Bono, Branson, Tony Robbins. These are the people we should strive be be like.

  11. Rafael Aziz

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Its a tough world out there, Your surrounded by others who will take from you without thinking twice. So you must be able to do the same. But never hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it. But also that doesn’t mean not to wipe out your competition.

  12. Mathyou

    Mar 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    A quote from my favorite movie, A Bronx Tale: “At the end of the day, nobody cares.” It is not comforting, but it’s true. When all is said and done, everybody is going to do something to help themselves out, instead of helping you, if they have the choice.

    So be ruthless. It may sound rude and uncaring but in business there are not many real friends, all that matters is money so if you are in position to better yourself or someone else, choose to better yourself because that is what the guy next to you would do.

    I don’t believe “good guys finish last”, “bad guys finish first”, or vice versa. I believe “the ruthless guy finishes first.”

  13. carol thornton

    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I am of the Branson line. Sometimes ruthlessness is required, but the way one portrays it is important. I want people to come back to me so I am going to be careful in how I use it and how often. If I can get what I want by others means, I will do that first.

  14. Nikola Gjakovski

    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Well, being ruthless can lead you somewhere. I think as soon as there is truth in the agreement (no aside mambo jumbo) there can be ruthlessness included. We are all selfish and we need to be ruthless sometimes. However, it has no clear formula of (how to be a millionaire), but to execute our vision, one way or another.

  15. sian

    Mar 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

    If one were to propose that being ruthless has no place in the pursuit of success and continued growth, then such belief would reciprocate a belief that the sun does not illuminate the moon. Totally fallacious. Moreover at times we have to be ruthless even with ourselves, pushing ourselves to go the extra mile to make the inches count. So being ruthless in my view is a must; nonetheless it has its place.

  16. lordvito9

    Mar 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I personally you must walk the line carefully. Give to much you will have nothing,too soft you will be ripped apart. But too harsh there is no trust,and how long can that last?

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Lack of vision

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

2. Lack of goals

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

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

3. You don’t believe you can get there

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

4. You are lazy

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

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

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

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4 Character Traits Blocking Success From Entering Your Life

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Some days you wake up full of energy and ready to face the day. The challenges you gave yourself the day before seems almost too easy. However, there are also other days where you find yourself without the desire and energy to move forward. Operating from this mindset, you lose productive time, counted first in minutes, then hours. Sometimes your loss of productivity can be measured in days, weeks and months of missed opportunities.   

Since you will not wake up every day bursting with excitement, you must find a way to summon the energy necessary to pound out another story for a publication, work on your social media content plan and write new copy for your website.

To understand why you are unable to take the actions required for success, you must first identify what blocks you. You can’t overcome challenges you aren’t aware of, and this is the juncture separating those who succeed from those who don’t.

Here are the four main character defects that block success:

1. Apathy

Apathy is exhibited as a lack of concern. It shows up when you are tired or stretched too thin. Many entrepreneurs work one or more jobs while attempting to launch a business, whether online or brick and mortar. When progress can’t be seen, it is easy to stop caring and give up.

2. Procrastination

Procrastination can occur when you get up ready to give all you’ve got to your endeavor, but first you check out an episode of your favorite Netflix show while you have coffee. After eight hours of binge-watching, your productive mindset is gone which leaves you demoralized. This in turn brings you back to apathy, triggers fear and causes more procrastinating.

3. Fear

Fear is a corrosive emotion everyone struggles with, and if you are not careful, it will absolutely stop you in your tracks. Fear will say you cannot obtain your dreams. The most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders grapple with anxiety, worry and apprehension, yet you rarely see them paralyzed by their fearfulness. Like them, you can’t defeat your fear unless you identify it. With an insightful mentor, you can easily determine what you are afraid of. Once it is recognized, you’ll find the strength to walk through it.   

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Stephens

4. Overwhelm

Overwhelm occurs when you commit to more than you are capable of doing. Balance and giving the appropriate amount of time to all aspects of life is a tremendous challenge. Have you found yourself overwhelmed when a friend asks a favor of you while you are trying to meet a deadline at work and maintain focus on your entrepreneurial side project? Do you worry how you’ll ever find the time to get it all done? Often when this occurs, we may mentally shut down and accomplish nothing.

To counter the deficits listed above, you must identify, then develop the opposite, positive traits necessary for success. It’s important to understand the “why” of each attribute because only then can you fully tap into the power they offer to help you accomplish your goals.

Here are the four traits to counter the above traits with:

1. Purpose

Purpose gives voice to why you are alive. It tells you and others what you are working toward and why. Living out your purpose is the single greatest weapon against apathy. Knowing your purpose gives you a standard with which you can measure your progress. It motivates you to think, act and ultimately, to succeed.

2. Action

Action is the opposite of procrastination. When your effort is focused on achieving an objective, action propels you forward. Breaking a large project down into small, manageable steps, you’ll gain the needed traction to successfully reach your goal!

3. Courage

Courage is built by first facing, then walking through your fears. Courage gives you strength to do what you think is impossible. Developing a relationship with a mentor, someone willing to tell you the truth about what they see, is crucial to success in this area. With help, you can first identify, then make the adjustments necessary to identify and release the fear blocking you.

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

4. Focus

Focus is the final attribute. What you give your attention to is the single most important factor influencing your success. You become what you focus on. When you focus on your purpose, take the necessary actions and develop the courage to bust through, you win!

This is not an all-inclusive list, it’s simply a starting point. As you tackle and overcome your grosser defects, the subtler ones will begin to surface. Slowly, with help from your trusted mentor, you will work and grow through these challenges.  

As you become stronger, you’ll be able to withstand additional demands. You meet them head-on with the new skill set you’ll develop as you let your old ones go. You will be more effective, positive and energetic along with ready to take any action necessary. You are a winner!

Which one of the character traits above do you need to focus on most in order to achieve success? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Important Decisions to Make to Have a Successful Career

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Would you rather paint your bedroom blue or beige? What is your usual coffee go-to order: a mocha or a macchiato? Should you take the bus or the train to work today? Decisions are everywhere. They are the ones behind our choices and the ones behind all consequences that we face for those choices.

Life is riddled with decisions at every intersection, and some say that those who are the best decision-makers can actually make the most of their time on this planet. Sure, inspirational and spiritual speakers have a lot to say when it comes to the matters of fate, luck or destiny, but only the successful know that a man is truly capable of shaping their own as per their choices.

From choosing on whom to delegate that difficult task to knowing when to bring up a tricky topic during a meeting with shareholders, decisions have the potential to shape your careers as well. If you have been wondering about the ways that you can improve your career, you can consider bringing in some smart decisions in your life right now.

What are the decisions that can help you have a successful career? Since decisions play such a huge role in shaping our lives and careers, you may wish to pick up a few that help you scale higher in your career as well.

Here are 6 of the most important decisions to bring into your life today so that you can take your career to newer heights:

1. Put your goals on paper

Sure, it’s great to have goals for your career, but simply letting them wander about in your mind is not going to help you achieve them, you know. That is why you need to have a list of goals that you have set for yourself – on paper.

Maintain a journal (virtual or offline, whichever works for you) that enlists your career objectives and goals according to short-term and long-term ones. For example, you can put upskilling in short-term goals and moving to a higher managerial position by the end of three years as a long-term goal.

Establish parity in the short-term and long-term goals so that you can synthesise them when the time comes. Jotting down the objectives will help you have a clear idea of where you stand and the way that you should go to bring about the positive changes in your career.

2. Bring in a daily dose of positivity

Let’s face it, all of us have encountered setbacks in our professional lives. The most important lesson to take from those setbacks is to never become pessimistic about what you can achieve. Positivity has helped many to soar the skies when it comes to their careers, and with a conscious decision to eliminate all sorts of negative thoughts from your mind can help you in doing the same too.

You will find a bunch of success stories that all start and end with how important it is to persevere in the face of adversities and letting your positive aura shine through in dark times. One of the smartest things that you can thus do for your career is to decide to chuck all negativity (as well as toxic acquaintances) that make you doubt your abilities and pull you down.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

3. Hone your writing skills

No matter which industry you belong to, an impressive writing style in this fast-paced age of digital communication truly has the power to take you places when it comes to becoming more successful in your career.

The blessing that is the web has brought on a range of online tools and resources that you can put to good use for improving your writing skills. If you need to review your official documents and emails, then try online tools to edit and proofread your documents efficiently. You can also use online tools and tutorials to pick up tricks that help you sharpen your writing and make it devoid of common mistakes we all prone to making.

4. Upskill yourself proactively

Whether it is learning to code or taking up creative writing classes, you should decide to upskill proactively throughout your career. Upskilling has benefited more than one, and when the time comes for a job switch to move on to better prospects, you can always leverage the additional skills picked up earlier. As we move towards a faster and more digitised work sphere, it is best to attune oneself to the latest trends and in-demand skills of your industry and beyond to make sure that you are prepared when it is time to take the plunge.

5. Reflect on each day

When you are at work, the days seem to go by in a dizzying blur, leaving you breathless from the sheer pressure of work and tasks that you have to manage throughout the day. Deciding to spare time for yourself despite your busy schedule ensures both personal and professional growth, as leading psychologists opine.

Treat each day as a lesson, and you will end up with a long list of things that you learnt from each of them as they went by. An excellent way to do this is to keep a journal, but if you do not feel up to writing at the end of the busy day, you can always unwind while listening to your favourite music and reflect on the day that was.

6. Pick up a healthy lifestyle

Lastly, it is important to decide to be healthy and fit for only by that will you be at your productive peak to help you achieve all that you want to in your professional sphere. Devote some time to exercise every day and have a healthy diet.

You are sure to find many benefits of having a healthy lifestyle when you rise and shine to go to work with renewed vigour every day that helps you create innovative designs or brainstorm for killer marketing tactics. You never know which hidden potential of yours gets unlocked by facing work with a positive and beaming attitude every day, so why not take a leap of faith?

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

Staying ahead of the competition, working overtime, managing piles of emails and getting stuck in the daily conundrums of work may sometimes leave you wondering as to where it is that you are headed when it comes to your career. Cruise through your career like a pro as these six decisions present a world of benefits for your personal and professional growth.

What decisions have you made that have helped you grow professionally? Comment below!

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4 of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Share Their Secrets to Living the Good Life

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It takes a lot of effort, dedication, and open-mindedness to lead a good life of excellent health, wealth, love and happiness. As a personal trainer, and a human being, part of my life revolves around understanding how the human mind works and how to help myself, and the people around me, make decisions that put their lives on the right track.

We only live once thus we have to make the best out of our journey. One of the greatest ways to learn how to live is by learning from those who have lead the good life themselves.

Here are four of the greatest thinkers secrets to live a good life:

1. Jordan Peterson: Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping

Ever heard of the term, ‘Treat yourself like you treat your best friend?” As corny as it sounds, this tip holds water. You need to be kind to yourself, and you must be compassionate. In fact, studies suggest that self-compassion is more critical to your well being than self-esteem.

If this is true, why is it hard for many people to make friends with themselves? The answer, according to Jordan Peterson, lies in the fact that you`ve been around your imperfect self for so long that all you can see is a flawed human being.

A person, still according to Peterson, will deride his whole existence just because, in his eyes, he’s the ugly, ashamed, frightened, worthless, inadequate, insignificant, resentful, defensive descendant of Adam. Peterson suggests you will gain inner peace when you see yourself through the eyes of a loving coach trying to lead their imperfect mentee to the best possible results.

2. Leonardo da Vinci: Understand how your mind works

Michael J. Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every day, believes Dimostrazione – the Italian translation of demonstration – is one of Da Vinci`s seven principles to his unmatched intelligence. The Italian sculpture, inventor, musician, geologist, and mathematician had a special knack for examining how things work, including his mind, and he made sure to document his musings on paper so he could understand himself better. Before he died, Da Vinci left one of his trustees a 10,000-paper journal full of notes, questions, designs and even jokes and fables.

To reap the benefits of dimonstrazione, you need to regularly detach yourself from the digital world for a few minutes of ruminating and journaling. Question your thoughts, beliefs, and why you/people do things in specific ways. Doing this will spark your creativity and help you solve deeply-rooted problems much easier.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

3. Richard Dawkins: Avoid the trial/error trap

Some may think making lots of mistakes is the best way to learn how to do something. According to Richard Dawkins, making so many mistakes is a waste of time and can sometimes be fatal. In his opinion, most of what you learn should come from “simulation.” He believes one should study the best and worst types of people, emulate their good and avoid their bad.

Most of the time, all you need is to follow someone else`s wheel instead of trying to invent your own – at least until you`re strong enough to lead your way. Additional tip: Get coaching or a mentor who`s 20 years older than you. A good one will save you lots of time, effort and money.

4. Carl Sagan: The universe is not required to be in harmony with ambition

Be flexible and formless, then adapt to the universe instead of trying to bend it to your will – which may not happen. To Carl Sagan, a man should understand that life won’t always give him what he wants, but he must use what life gives him for his better good. If life throws you a  tomato, make a soup of it. Many successful people spent decent parts of their lives drifting between careers only to realize later that they wouldn’t have made it without those career wanderings.

You must also understand that the purpose of a goal isn’t to hit the target but to evolve into the type of person who can achieve his goals. You won’t always win if you swing for the fences with every shot, but your track record will be far better than someone who plays it safe not because of your extraordinary genes but because the type of goal you chose for yourself forced you to step out of your shell and grow.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

Take great care of your mind. Read good books, understand your cognitive biases and take courses in lateral thinking and problem solving. Your mind is your most important asset and it’s a great shame if you fail to use it well.

What is your secret to living the good life? Let us know your secrets in the comments below!

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One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Georgy

    Oct 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The main concern for me would be how others would feel after doing business with me. I wouldn’t want to burn bridges that could be needed at a point in the future.
    However, the need to make tough decisions come into play and i believe it can be done graciously without making enemies.
    People can be ruthless and when it comes to a point where push comes to shove ; its important to hold your ground and see that a fair deal is made. i would pick the Branson Style anyday

  2. Mark

    Feb 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I Once had a competitor who initially appoached me as an ally but later u turned, renaged on our agreement and tried to steal my customers, But I did not get angry or try to retalliate, My business was built on trust and customer loyalty and I was confident I could just keep serving my customers the way I always had and they would stick with me, He closed a couple of months later, My business is still thriving and that was 10 years ago. Branson style honesty and customer service is the way forward for many business sectors. + the money you m,ake you can take home with your head held high!!

  3. Enzo

    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

    It really comes down to whether, metaphorically, you would break someone’s arm to make money. Or have someone do it for you. I have no doubt that greed is the worst sin one can commit.

  4. Rohan

    Jul 2, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I think being ruthless means that you don’t care about the other people not that you want to hurt them.

  5. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I don’t believe you have to be a jerk to be tremendously successful. However, I do believe that you have to be focused, determined and have conviction. At times, that can be taken as being a jerk; but it’s very different than intentionally trying to harm someone emotionally, physically or financially.

  6. ed

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    it also depends with ones temperaments you wont just do things simply because it calls for it or rather because someone had his/her way thorough such means, the inner being dictates a lot wit respect to whats outside

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am a bit of both ‘Trump’ and ‘Branson’. I think you need to know when to allow which personality trait over rule the other during different situations.

    But personally the ‘Trump’ way is so common. ‘Branson’ illustrates a new type of business man which more people can relate and respect.

    A lot people think if they can’t become a ruthless, bridge burning, step over anyone kind of business person then you won’t be a success.

    Branson proves different

    Thanks Naomi

  8. Thomas K.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    My boss can sometimes be one of these types of people. However, his bark is worse than his bite. I think it does take some bit of ruthlessness to obtain the best possible outcome. In my opinion, it is the art of knowing how much to push and when to not be so stringent.

  9. Jason White

    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’m driven, passionate, and believe I related to the “millionaires” viewpoints expressed in the survey, however feel that Branson’s philosophy of doing business resonates with me more-so than Trumps. Well I just recently accepted a position in Denver to make a career change to Commercial Real Estate. According to this article, I just might not have what it takes to make it! Here’s to hoping the good-to-great qualities prevail!!

  10. Troy in Las Vegas

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I was trying to think of other highly successful people and all the thoughts, well almost all, where people I would not want to hang out with because they just seem like A-Holes which, to me, goes hand in hand with being ruthless. Marc Cuban. Robert Irvine. That guy married to the Kardasian girl. Murdoch. Wynn
    There are the exceptions… Bono, Branson, Tony Robbins. These are the people we should strive be be like.

  11. Rafael Aziz

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Its a tough world out there, Your surrounded by others who will take from you without thinking twice. So you must be able to do the same. But never hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it. But also that doesn’t mean not to wipe out your competition.

  12. Mathyou

    Mar 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    A quote from my favorite movie, A Bronx Tale: “At the end of the day, nobody cares.” It is not comforting, but it’s true. When all is said and done, everybody is going to do something to help themselves out, instead of helping you, if they have the choice.

    So be ruthless. It may sound rude and uncaring but in business there are not many real friends, all that matters is money so if you are in position to better yourself or someone else, choose to better yourself because that is what the guy next to you would do.

    I don’t believe “good guys finish last”, “bad guys finish first”, or vice versa. I believe “the ruthless guy finishes first.”

  13. carol thornton

    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I am of the Branson line. Sometimes ruthlessness is required, but the way one portrays it is important. I want people to come back to me so I am going to be careful in how I use it and how often. If I can get what I want by others means, I will do that first.

  14. Nikola Gjakovski

    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Well, being ruthless can lead you somewhere. I think as soon as there is truth in the agreement (no aside mambo jumbo) there can be ruthlessness included. We are all selfish and we need to be ruthless sometimes. However, it has no clear formula of (how to be a millionaire), but to execute our vision, one way or another.

  15. sian

    Mar 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

    If one were to propose that being ruthless has no place in the pursuit of success and continued growth, then such belief would reciprocate a belief that the sun does not illuminate the moon. Totally fallacious. Moreover at times we have to be ruthless even with ourselves, pushing ourselves to go the extra mile to make the inches count. So being ruthless in my view is a must; nonetheless it has its place.

  16. lordvito9

    Mar 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I personally you must walk the line carefully. Give to much you will have nothing,too soft you will be ripped apart. But too harsh there is no trust,and how long can that last?

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Lack of vision

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

2. Lack of goals

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

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

3. You don’t believe you can get there

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

4. You are lazy

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

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

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

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Success Advice

4 Character Traits Blocking Success From Entering Your Life

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Some days you wake up full of energy and ready to face the day. The challenges you gave yourself the day before seems almost too easy. However, there are also other days where you find yourself without the desire and energy to move forward. Operating from this mindset, you lose productive time, counted first in minutes, then hours. Sometimes your loss of productivity can be measured in days, weeks and months of missed opportunities.   

Since you will not wake up every day bursting with excitement, you must find a way to summon the energy necessary to pound out another story for a publication, work on your social media content plan and write new copy for your website.

To understand why you are unable to take the actions required for success, you must first identify what blocks you. You can’t overcome challenges you aren’t aware of, and this is the juncture separating those who succeed from those who don’t.

Here are the four main character defects that block success:

1. Apathy

Apathy is exhibited as a lack of concern. It shows up when you are tired or stretched too thin. Many entrepreneurs work one or more jobs while attempting to launch a business, whether online or brick and mortar. When progress can’t be seen, it is easy to stop caring and give up.

2. Procrastination

Procrastination can occur when you get up ready to give all you’ve got to your endeavor, but first you check out an episode of your favorite Netflix show while you have coffee. After eight hours of binge-watching, your productive mindset is gone which leaves you demoralized. This in turn brings you back to apathy, triggers fear and causes more procrastinating.

3. Fear

Fear is a corrosive emotion everyone struggles with, and if you are not careful, it will absolutely stop you in your tracks. Fear will say you cannot obtain your dreams. The most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders grapple with anxiety, worry and apprehension, yet you rarely see them paralyzed by their fearfulness. Like them, you can’t defeat your fear unless you identify it. With an insightful mentor, you can easily determine what you are afraid of. Once it is recognized, you’ll find the strength to walk through it.   

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Stephens

4. Overwhelm

Overwhelm occurs when you commit to more than you are capable of doing. Balance and giving the appropriate amount of time to all aspects of life is a tremendous challenge. Have you found yourself overwhelmed when a friend asks a favor of you while you are trying to meet a deadline at work and maintain focus on your entrepreneurial side project? Do you worry how you’ll ever find the time to get it all done? Often when this occurs, we may mentally shut down and accomplish nothing.

To counter the deficits listed above, you must identify, then develop the opposite, positive traits necessary for success. It’s important to understand the “why” of each attribute because only then can you fully tap into the power they offer to help you accomplish your goals.

Here are the four traits to counter the above traits with:

1. Purpose

Purpose gives voice to why you are alive. It tells you and others what you are working toward and why. Living out your purpose is the single greatest weapon against apathy. Knowing your purpose gives you a standard with which you can measure your progress. It motivates you to think, act and ultimately, to succeed.

2. Action

Action is the opposite of procrastination. When your effort is focused on achieving an objective, action propels you forward. Breaking a large project down into small, manageable steps, you’ll gain the needed traction to successfully reach your goal!

3. Courage

Courage is built by first facing, then walking through your fears. Courage gives you strength to do what you think is impossible. Developing a relationship with a mentor, someone willing to tell you the truth about what they see, is crucial to success in this area. With help, you can first identify, then make the adjustments necessary to identify and release the fear blocking you.

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

4. Focus

Focus is the final attribute. What you give your attention to is the single most important factor influencing your success. You become what you focus on. When you focus on your purpose, take the necessary actions and develop the courage to bust through, you win!

This is not an all-inclusive list, it’s simply a starting point. As you tackle and overcome your grosser defects, the subtler ones will begin to surface. Slowly, with help from your trusted mentor, you will work and grow through these challenges.  

As you become stronger, you’ll be able to withstand additional demands. You meet them head-on with the new skill set you’ll develop as you let your old ones go. You will be more effective, positive and energetic along with ready to take any action necessary. You are a winner!

Which one of the character traits above do you need to focus on most in order to achieve success? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Important Decisions to Make to Have a Successful Career

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Would you rather paint your bedroom blue or beige? What is your usual coffee go-to order: a mocha or a macchiato? Should you take the bus or the train to work today? Decisions are everywhere. They are the ones behind our choices and the ones behind all consequences that we face for those choices.

Life is riddled with decisions at every intersection, and some say that those who are the best decision-makers can actually make the most of their time on this planet. Sure, inspirational and spiritual speakers have a lot to say when it comes to the matters of fate, luck or destiny, but only the successful know that a man is truly capable of shaping their own as per their choices.

From choosing on whom to delegate that difficult task to knowing when to bring up a tricky topic during a meeting with shareholders, decisions have the potential to shape your careers as well. If you have been wondering about the ways that you can improve your career, you can consider bringing in some smart decisions in your life right now.

What are the decisions that can help you have a successful career? Since decisions play such a huge role in shaping our lives and careers, you may wish to pick up a few that help you scale higher in your career as well.

Here are 6 of the most important decisions to bring into your life today so that you can take your career to newer heights:

1. Put your goals on paper

Sure, it’s great to have goals for your career, but simply letting them wander about in your mind is not going to help you achieve them, you know. That is why you need to have a list of goals that you have set for yourself – on paper.

Maintain a journal (virtual or offline, whichever works for you) that enlists your career objectives and goals according to short-term and long-term ones. For example, you can put upskilling in short-term goals and moving to a higher managerial position by the end of three years as a long-term goal.

Establish parity in the short-term and long-term goals so that you can synthesise them when the time comes. Jotting down the objectives will help you have a clear idea of where you stand and the way that you should go to bring about the positive changes in your career.

2. Bring in a daily dose of positivity

Let’s face it, all of us have encountered setbacks in our professional lives. The most important lesson to take from those setbacks is to never become pessimistic about what you can achieve. Positivity has helped many to soar the skies when it comes to their careers, and with a conscious decision to eliminate all sorts of negative thoughts from your mind can help you in doing the same too.

You will find a bunch of success stories that all start and end with how important it is to persevere in the face of adversities and letting your positive aura shine through in dark times. One of the smartest things that you can thus do for your career is to decide to chuck all negativity (as well as toxic acquaintances) that make you doubt your abilities and pull you down.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

3. Hone your writing skills

No matter which industry you belong to, an impressive writing style in this fast-paced age of digital communication truly has the power to take you places when it comes to becoming more successful in your career.

The blessing that is the web has brought on a range of online tools and resources that you can put to good use for improving your writing skills. If you need to review your official documents and emails, then try online tools to edit and proofread your documents efficiently. You can also use online tools and tutorials to pick up tricks that help you sharpen your writing and make it devoid of common mistakes we all prone to making.

4. Upskill yourself proactively

Whether it is learning to code or taking up creative writing classes, you should decide to upskill proactively throughout your career. Upskilling has benefited more than one, and when the time comes for a job switch to move on to better prospects, you can always leverage the additional skills picked up earlier. As we move towards a faster and more digitised work sphere, it is best to attune oneself to the latest trends and in-demand skills of your industry and beyond to make sure that you are prepared when it is time to take the plunge.

5. Reflect on each day

When you are at work, the days seem to go by in a dizzying blur, leaving you breathless from the sheer pressure of work and tasks that you have to manage throughout the day. Deciding to spare time for yourself despite your busy schedule ensures both personal and professional growth, as leading psychologists opine.

Treat each day as a lesson, and you will end up with a long list of things that you learnt from each of them as they went by. An excellent way to do this is to keep a journal, but if you do not feel up to writing at the end of the busy day, you can always unwind while listening to your favourite music and reflect on the day that was.

6. Pick up a healthy lifestyle

Lastly, it is important to decide to be healthy and fit for only by that will you be at your productive peak to help you achieve all that you want to in your professional sphere. Devote some time to exercise every day and have a healthy diet.

You are sure to find many benefits of having a healthy lifestyle when you rise and shine to go to work with renewed vigour every day that helps you create innovative designs or brainstorm for killer marketing tactics. You never know which hidden potential of yours gets unlocked by facing work with a positive and beaming attitude every day, so why not take a leap of faith?

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

Staying ahead of the competition, working overtime, managing piles of emails and getting stuck in the daily conundrums of work may sometimes leave you wondering as to where it is that you are headed when it comes to your career. Cruise through your career like a pro as these six decisions present a world of benefits for your personal and professional growth.

What decisions have you made that have helped you grow professionally? Comment below!

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Success Advice

4 of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Share Their Secrets to Living the Good Life

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It takes a lot of effort, dedication, and open-mindedness to lead a good life of excellent health, wealth, love and happiness. As a personal trainer, and a human being, part of my life revolves around understanding how the human mind works and how to help myself, and the people around me, make decisions that put their lives on the right track.

We only live once thus we have to make the best out of our journey. One of the greatest ways to learn how to live is by learning from those who have lead the good life themselves.

Here are four of the greatest thinkers secrets to live a good life:

1. Jordan Peterson: Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping

Ever heard of the term, ‘Treat yourself like you treat your best friend?” As corny as it sounds, this tip holds water. You need to be kind to yourself, and you must be compassionate. In fact, studies suggest that self-compassion is more critical to your well being than self-esteem.

If this is true, why is it hard for many people to make friends with themselves? The answer, according to Jordan Peterson, lies in the fact that you`ve been around your imperfect self for so long that all you can see is a flawed human being.

A person, still according to Peterson, will deride his whole existence just because, in his eyes, he’s the ugly, ashamed, frightened, worthless, inadequate, insignificant, resentful, defensive descendant of Adam. Peterson suggests you will gain inner peace when you see yourself through the eyes of a loving coach trying to lead their imperfect mentee to the best possible results.

2. Leonardo da Vinci: Understand how your mind works

Michael J. Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every day, believes Dimostrazione – the Italian translation of demonstration – is one of Da Vinci`s seven principles to his unmatched intelligence. The Italian sculpture, inventor, musician, geologist, and mathematician had a special knack for examining how things work, including his mind, and he made sure to document his musings on paper so he could understand himself better. Before he died, Da Vinci left one of his trustees a 10,000-paper journal full of notes, questions, designs and even jokes and fables.

To reap the benefits of dimonstrazione, you need to regularly detach yourself from the digital world for a few minutes of ruminating and journaling. Question your thoughts, beliefs, and why you/people do things in specific ways. Doing this will spark your creativity and help you solve deeply-rooted problems much easier.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

3. Richard Dawkins: Avoid the trial/error trap

Some may think making lots of mistakes is the best way to learn how to do something. According to Richard Dawkins, making so many mistakes is a waste of time and can sometimes be fatal. In his opinion, most of what you learn should come from “simulation.” He believes one should study the best and worst types of people, emulate their good and avoid their bad.

Most of the time, all you need is to follow someone else`s wheel instead of trying to invent your own – at least until you`re strong enough to lead your way. Additional tip: Get coaching or a mentor who`s 20 years older than you. A good one will save you lots of time, effort and money.

4. Carl Sagan: The universe is not required to be in harmony with ambition

Be flexible and formless, then adapt to the universe instead of trying to bend it to your will – which may not happen. To Carl Sagan, a man should understand that life won’t always give him what he wants, but he must use what life gives him for his better good. If life throws you a  tomato, make a soup of it. Many successful people spent decent parts of their lives drifting between careers only to realize later that they wouldn’t have made it without those career wanderings.

You must also understand that the purpose of a goal isn’t to hit the target but to evolve into the type of person who can achieve his goals. You won’t always win if you swing for the fences with every shot, but your track record will be far better than someone who plays it safe not because of your extraordinary genes but because the type of goal you chose for yourself forced you to step out of your shell and grow.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

Take great care of your mind. Read good books, understand your cognitive biases and take courses in lateral thinking and problem solving. Your mind is your most important asset and it’s a great shame if you fail to use it well.

What is your secret to living the good life? Let us know your secrets in the comments below!

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