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Success Advice

Success….And What It Really Takes To Achieve It

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So what does it really take to reach success? There are a lot of myths, the “he says”, “she says” out there but does anybody really have the answer? Success is subjective and has a different definition for each individual.

So let’s take a look through the ages at what is considered as “success”, and what is needed to reach a level of high achievement in various areas of our lives.

 

Geniuses Aren’t Born….They’re Made

Books like The Da Vinci Curse by Leonardo Lospennato does a good job of summing up a problem of our time: that anyone striving to be a universal genius will inevitably fail. Because today, unlike in Da Vinci’s time, there’s so much competition out there in every field that only people who devote themselves to one subject are successful. Anyone who wants to be a professional high flyer, the “Father of the Year,” a star violinist, a globetrotter and an art connoisseur all at once should either rethink his priorities or feel satisfied about being incredibly mediocre in each of these fields. After all, it’s rare for a genius to be an all-rounder.

 

The secret trick: lots of practice and even more mistakes.

Alleged geniuses like Mozart, Goethe and Picasso are not famous the world over for their unique inborn gifts: they were simply lucky enough to be born with a certain amount of talent that they could then cultivate with a whole lot of hard work and dedication.

Anyone who wants to emulate a genius should take note of the fact that neither Mozart nor Einstein changed his profession every couple of years. One reason why Steve Jobs was so successful was that he put all his energy into one thing – and in the process sacrificed his chance of ever winning the “Father of the Year” award. It’s not to say that this path doesn’t have potholes, traffic and detours, but instead that only people who experiment without fear of failure and accept that they can learn from it are bound to produce great things.

 

Napoleon and the light bulb: getting rich by thinking?

Over 100 years ago, Napoleon Hill asked himself whether the success of outstanding personalities could be explained by a formula. Did they all use the same toothpaste? Did they all follow the same traveling priest? Hill’s answer, which he used as the basis for his book Think and Grow Rich, was far more rudimentary: for him, success and wealth were the consequence of having a clear goal and a burning desire to achieve it. And so, we can reinforce what we already knew about Mozart, Einstein and Jobs:

They all worked hard and were ready to accept mistakes and failures.

Even after more than 10,000 failed experiments, Thomas Edison was not discouraged from achieving his goal of inventing an electric light source. He was driven by the desire to make his dream a reality. After years of hard work, he finally succeeded with the invention of the light bulb. Writer Fannie Hurst’s story is similar: she had to cope with over 36 rejections before a single short story was published in a newspaper. Once that happened, her career as a successful novelist and playwright took off. Her burning desire was stronger than the frustration she felt about various rejections – and she was ultimately rewarded with success.

 

How To achieve success - one bite at a time

 

But all this raises a new question: if the path to success is so obvious, why are there so few people who take it?

Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.

Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational talks broadly about why we human beings use our gift of rational thinking and decision-making so infrequently. Or, to give a concrete example, why we promise ourselves we’ll stop eating sweets so we can look good in a bathing suit, yet, as soon as we’ve filled our shopping carts with fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, we still break down and throw in a chocolate bar on our way to the cash register. Or why, once we’ve fulfilled our dream of having a Porsche, we want a Ferrari. Or, finally, why we put off making decisions and keep all other options open in the meantime, even if it means taking the road to mediocrity or, worse, to a state of constant dissatisfaction.

People are obsessed with keeping their options open, even when it hurts them in the long run. We humans try to keep our options open as much as possible: in our education, our careers and our choice of romantic partner. Some might say that, in an uncertain world, it makes sense to leave open as many avenues as possible, but not making a decision also carries consequences. A person indecisive between two career paths, say architecture and IT engineering, may not whole-heartedly pursue either, and hence end up a mediocre architect or programmer.

Which, in turn, raises the question of how to solve this dilemma. Although countless books have an answer to this question, at the moment we’d like to focus on one classic and one recent bestseller.

 

Efficiency vs. effectiveness: a small, but subtle difference.

Stephen R. Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a classic in the advice and productivity genre. Like Napoleon Hill, Covey investigated what it is that makes people who have made extraordinary achievements different from others. The book relies on mantras such as “first thing’s first” and “sharpen the saw,” i.e., it encourages readers to prioritize and keep themselves balanced. He argues that, in order to have enough time to do so, you have to understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness:

Many people work towards meaningless goals. They simply worry about being efficient rather than effective. Being efficient, i.e getting the maximum amount done in the shortest amount of time, is pointless if you don’t know why you’re doing it. Not knowing what’s really important to you and what you’re working towards is like climbing a ladder which is set against the wrong wall. To avoid this, it is important to first be clear about your long-term goals. To this end, it can be useful to ask yourself the Funeral-Questions:

What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? What sort of person do I want to be remembered as? What do I want to be remembered for?

That’s why answering these (admittedly somewhat morbid) questions shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone who wants to put Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less into practice.

 

Productive minimalism, or: why less is more

In just a few years, Babauta has become a guru of productive minimalism. Babauta – once an unhappy, overweight, chain-smoking “Jack of all trades, master of none” – is now a living paradigm of minimalism, practicing yoga, eating healthily, writing, and spending time with his family. His success speaks for itself, and happiness seems to literally ooze out of him. His advice sounds as simple as it does plausible:

Living without restrictions is like shopping without a credit limit. Because the only way we end up concentrating on what’s truly important is when we’re forced to budget. In short, budgeting helps us stop wasting time and energy on things that aren’t actually worth it. By consciously limiting ourselves, we create space for important things and get rid of the unimportant ones. For example, by not taking on unimportant projects, we give ourselves time to spend with our loved ones.

In summary, we recognize that people can only truly be geniuses or achieve success if they work hard and consciously choose certain options over others. Veering off the paths of mediocrity and taking drastic measures is worth it, as Ariely describes in his book Predictably Irrational:

In 210 BC, after the Chinese commander Xiang Yu had ferried his army across the Yangtze River, he set fire to his own ships. He did this to show his troops that retreat was not an option. In response, they fought so ferociously that they won nine battles consecutively.

 

Think about it, have you ever made such a gutsy, all-or-nothing decision or do you know someone who has?

If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. Your story just might inspire someone else to take action!

Sebastian Klein. Sebastian Klein is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Blinkist.com. He lives in Berlin and holds a Master degree in psychology with a focus on teaching psychology. Sebastian has invented "blinkist" - a made for mobile format to learn the most important insights from non-fiction books on-the-go and he's dedicating his time to think of new ways of presenting content that better fits into today's reading habits.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Arvind Bhakar

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This is truly an inspiring article. Right now i m struggling from this problem of not focusing on a single thing at a time. I am trying to do too much and end up doing nothing. I would love to follow this advice and get rid of unimportant projects.

  2. Joseph Mutori

    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Excellence speaks for itself, great article. Everybody needs to prioritise and get rid of everything else that does not take them to their dream.

  3. justo

    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    i packed my bag with a one way plane ticket to miami to do some acting work. one shirt one pare of pants. it was all or nothing to get my dream going.

    • Nandini

      Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

      hi, this is my all time fav website, seems like just out of my mind, persistence and hard work is all it is required to be successful in life,thanks! ..good work

  4. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Great post! I love recognition that success varies depending on who you ask. I also love the reoccurring theme of persistence and effort! Thanks !

  5. Ravi Makhija

    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Hi, m following ur articles from sometime now and it has made me more stronger and more go getter.Thans with due rispect Sir.

  6. Casey

    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this, and everything on this site! 4 years ago when I was 16 I left school, moved away from home in Australia to the UK and worked my butt off to achieve my dream of being an international dressage rider. The sacrifice was worth it and within a year I was representing Great Britain in Under 21s competitions 🙂
    That success doesn’t last though, I am constantly motivating myself to make more decisions to get to the next level, giving up everything that isn’t going to help me get to where I want to be.

    • Chris

      Mar 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Great article. As I read this, I have just sacked my boss (2 weeks ago) to start a letting agency. And I’m so happy. However I am scared too because I don’t know how things are going to pan out. Never been out of work and always had a pay cheque at the end of the month! I’m giving it my all because I will never go back! #mindtrepreneur.

  7. David Akomitipoju Onyendi

    Jan 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic article… Its clearer to me what I should drop. Less clutter this year 2014.

  8. JohnOvan

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Just, awesome. I finally feel like I am on the right path, and your article just helped me realize that. I burned a significant bridge behind myself, so to speak. Thanks for the good read!

  9. Naomi@startbizquitjob

    Jan 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Sebastian,

    This post is truly amazing for anyone wanting to progress at anything (so properly 99.9% of the worlds population!).

    I really enjoyed Efficiency vs. Effectiveness – This is where many new start-ups go wrong and the owner never feels like they have accomplished anything. Proper prioritizing changes everything.

    Thanks for mentioning some really interesting books too

    Naomi

  10. Keef (@KeithPMilburn)

    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I literally just stopped in my tracks when I read “Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.” That has really resonated with me. Thank you.

  11. arucker

    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    how funny….i decided a month or so ago that 2014 would be my yr to simplify my life…and here comes this article with resources to do just that….crazy cool….

  12. joe mulwa

    Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I have read this blog for 1 year now and I have never commented….

    But today, I just did because this is the realest article I have ever come across. It resonates with exactly where I am at in my life. Thank you for this great article!!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Dec 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks for leaving a comment Joe. Enjoy the site 🙂

  13. Michel

    Dec 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    It is true that I wanna keep my options open. But that is because I have old tasks, which I haven’t been able to finish and new ones waiting in line, which take the bigger chunk in my thoughts.

    Anyways life is a journey and I want to live without regret, even when that means to remain mediocre for a while.

    • Dominik

      Dec 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

      Because of the old tasks, left incomplete, we are forced to live a mediocre life. That is why we have to finish them or let them go, in order to have a clear mind. With this clear mind we are able to do great things and live a life beyond our thought capabilities. No excuses, everything is possible or how Bruce Lee said: ” Be water my friend.” ^^

      to Sebastian: Great idea of lettings things go. Minimalism rocks !!!

  14. tnybo24

    Dec 12, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I up and moved to CHina a month after graduating from college. It was a crazy decision now that I look back on it. I spoke no Chinese, I couldn’t use chopsticks and I had never even been farther than Mexico.

    Well here I am 4 years later and the owner of 2 international companies. But, it really comes down to patience and failing, being comfortable taking risks, and developing a clear mindset of what you are doing and where your going. The later is a really tricky thing to nail down.

    • Binyam

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:56 am

      I like that well explained.

    • Mike

      Dec 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

      What kind of companies do you own?

    • Eswar

      Mar 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Small but really nice, thanks for bringing the essence of having clear mindset and being comfortable taking risks.

  15. Sebastian

    Dec 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I like how you introduced the concept of minimalism.

    I can literally name every little single thing in my room. I hate clutter and I hate having anything I don’t use.

    If I haven’t touched it for a month it’s gone.

    I just donated more than a grand in clothes cause I haven’t used it in the last couple of months.

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

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

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Success Advice

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

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

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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young professional
Image Credit: Unsplash

Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it. (more…)

Brian Ford is a former Division 1 college soccer player and standout scholar-athlete at UC Davis.  Having studied neurobiology and psychology, Brian completed 2 years in medical device sales where he provided consultative support for spine surgeons in the operating room.  More interested in applying his scientific background in a business setting, Brian will soon begin working for an exciting Silicon Valley biotech startup as the Director of Marketing and Sales while earning his MBA from Santa Clara University.  Brian is the host and founder of the Top-Rated Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing “Self Improvement Daily”, and continues to manage a local community service organization he created in college.  Brian is motivated to have a large social impact with everything he does, and the best way to follow his progress is on LinkedIn.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Arvind Bhakar

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This is truly an inspiring article. Right now i m struggling from this problem of not focusing on a single thing at a time. I am trying to do too much and end up doing nothing. I would love to follow this advice and get rid of unimportant projects.

  2. Joseph Mutori

    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Excellence speaks for itself, great article. Everybody needs to prioritise and get rid of everything else that does not take them to their dream.

  3. justo

    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    i packed my bag with a one way plane ticket to miami to do some acting work. one shirt one pare of pants. it was all or nothing to get my dream going.

    • Nandini

      Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

      hi, this is my all time fav website, seems like just out of my mind, persistence and hard work is all it is required to be successful in life,thanks! ..good work

  4. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Great post! I love recognition that success varies depending on who you ask. I also love the reoccurring theme of persistence and effort! Thanks !

  5. Ravi Makhija

    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Hi, m following ur articles from sometime now and it has made me more stronger and more go getter.Thans with due rispect Sir.

  6. Casey

    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this, and everything on this site! 4 years ago when I was 16 I left school, moved away from home in Australia to the UK and worked my butt off to achieve my dream of being an international dressage rider. The sacrifice was worth it and within a year I was representing Great Britain in Under 21s competitions 🙂
    That success doesn’t last though, I am constantly motivating myself to make more decisions to get to the next level, giving up everything that isn’t going to help me get to where I want to be.

    • Chris

      Mar 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Great article. As I read this, I have just sacked my boss (2 weeks ago) to start a letting agency. And I’m so happy. However I am scared too because I don’t know how things are going to pan out. Never been out of work and always had a pay cheque at the end of the month! I’m giving it my all because I will never go back! #mindtrepreneur.

  7. David Akomitipoju Onyendi

    Jan 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic article… Its clearer to me what I should drop. Less clutter this year 2014.

  8. JohnOvan

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Just, awesome. I finally feel like I am on the right path, and your article just helped me realize that. I burned a significant bridge behind myself, so to speak. Thanks for the good read!

  9. Naomi@startbizquitjob

    Jan 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Sebastian,

    This post is truly amazing for anyone wanting to progress at anything (so properly 99.9% of the worlds population!).

    I really enjoyed Efficiency vs. Effectiveness – This is where many new start-ups go wrong and the owner never feels like they have accomplished anything. Proper prioritizing changes everything.

    Thanks for mentioning some really interesting books too

    Naomi

  10. Keef (@KeithPMilburn)

    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I literally just stopped in my tracks when I read “Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.” That has really resonated with me. Thank you.

  11. arucker

    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    how funny….i decided a month or so ago that 2014 would be my yr to simplify my life…and here comes this article with resources to do just that….crazy cool….

  12. joe mulwa

    Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I have read this blog for 1 year now and I have never commented….

    But today, I just did because this is the realest article I have ever come across. It resonates with exactly where I am at in my life. Thank you for this great article!!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Dec 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks for leaving a comment Joe. Enjoy the site 🙂

  13. Michel

    Dec 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    It is true that I wanna keep my options open. But that is because I have old tasks, which I haven’t been able to finish and new ones waiting in line, which take the bigger chunk in my thoughts.

    Anyways life is a journey and I want to live without regret, even when that means to remain mediocre for a while.

    • Dominik

      Dec 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

      Because of the old tasks, left incomplete, we are forced to live a mediocre life. That is why we have to finish them or let them go, in order to have a clear mind. With this clear mind we are able to do great things and live a life beyond our thought capabilities. No excuses, everything is possible or how Bruce Lee said: ” Be water my friend.” ^^

      to Sebastian: Great idea of lettings things go. Minimalism rocks !!!

  14. tnybo24

    Dec 12, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I up and moved to CHina a month after graduating from college. It was a crazy decision now that I look back on it. I spoke no Chinese, I couldn’t use chopsticks and I had never even been farther than Mexico.

    Well here I am 4 years later and the owner of 2 international companies. But, it really comes down to patience and failing, being comfortable taking risks, and developing a clear mindset of what you are doing and where your going. The later is a really tricky thing to nail down.

    • Binyam

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:56 am

      I like that well explained.

    • Mike

      Dec 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

      What kind of companies do you own?

    • Eswar

      Mar 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Small but really nice, thanks for bringing the essence of having clear mindset and being comfortable taking risks.

  15. Sebastian

    Dec 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I like how you introduced the concept of minimalism.

    I can literally name every little single thing in my room. I hate clutter and I hate having anything I don’t use.

    If I haven’t touched it for a month it’s gone.

    I just donated more than a grand in clothes cause I haven’t used it in the last couple of months.

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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young professional
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Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

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

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Success Advice

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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destructive habits
Image Credit: Unsplash

You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

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

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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