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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 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What If You Never Took Another Selfie Again?

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That’s the question I want you to ponder right now.

What if taking a selfie only made the world ignore you?
What if life is not all about you?
What if no one cares who you took a photo with?

And finally, how did we ever live without selfies before the front-facing camera got invented?

Instead of taking a selfie do this:

Try focusing on other people.
Try not to document every moment.
Try to think about life before selfies.

We all take selfies because that’s what we were told to do.
And that’s exactly why we need to question this habitual flaw that we’re now indulging in.

 

I have A/B tested selfies vs. no selfies.

The result? When I took photos of cool stuff like mountains in Japan and shared a profound thought, people liked that more than a selfie with my overly large head in it. I’ve done this test multiple times over the last few years.

The result is always the same. People are over you and your selfies.

 

It’s not about “I” it’s about “We.”

Sounds cliché, and that’s because most brilliant advice is.

Selfies have deluded us into thinking that life is about us and our big audacious goals. Where life will change for you is when you focus on the “We.”

Everything I write is for the audience I want to inspire. It’s not to show off or to share dumb selfies of me in a weak attempt to appear superior.

 

Selfies cause your followers to compare themselves to you.

And that’s not fair. If each of us tried to be the same, then society would be pretty dull.

“We don’t need a selfie to teach us how to copy each other and be jealous little so-and-sos who want to win a beauty pagan of nothingness”

You’re so much better than a selfie.

I believe you care about your followers so let’s stop drowning them in selfies. Selfies are proving nothing to no one. Selfies stop you from standing out in the crowd and inspiring others.

 

The time you spend “selfieing” could be used for…..

Enjoying this current moment and the breath you have in your lungs. One day that breath is going to stop and all that time selfieing won’t matter. You’re literally using up magical moments trying to take a hundred selfies that you filter and post, hoping for perfection.

Perfection is ugly.

“Right now, is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen if you’ll only stop selfieing and notice it”

 

Life before selfies….

Life was much the same. The selfie didn’t put us on Cloud 9 with a bunch of our fantasies and an unlimited amount of cash being shot up into the sky via an air cannon.

Life before selfies was fun.
We ate our food instead of looking at it with our phones and letting it get cold.
We had phenomenal conversations with our friends instead of taking endless, mindless selfies.

Life before selfies was not about one’s self.
You took photos of other people. Often, you took two photos max instead of fifty in a row.

I’d like you to imagine a life without selfies.

What does the selfie really mean to you and can you live without it?

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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3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

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startup failure

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years. (more…)

Louise Taylor manages online content for Tomedes, a translation company. As well as running the company’s blog she also looks after the Tomedes Business translation center. Louise is a native English speaker, but also has a varied level of skill in Portuguese, Latin, French, German and Spanish.

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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 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What If You Never Took Another Selfie Again?

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That’s the question I want you to ponder right now.

What if taking a selfie only made the world ignore you?
What if life is not all about you?
What if no one cares who you took a photo with?

And finally, how did we ever live without selfies before the front-facing camera got invented?

Instead of taking a selfie do this:

Try focusing on other people.
Try not to document every moment.
Try to think about life before selfies.

We all take selfies because that’s what we were told to do.
And that’s exactly why we need to question this habitual flaw that we’re now indulging in.

 

I have A/B tested selfies vs. no selfies.

The result? When I took photos of cool stuff like mountains in Japan and shared a profound thought, people liked that more than a selfie with my overly large head in it. I’ve done this test multiple times over the last few years.

The result is always the same. People are over you and your selfies.

 

It’s not about “I” it’s about “We.”

Sounds cliché, and that’s because most brilliant advice is.

Selfies have deluded us into thinking that life is about us and our big audacious goals. Where life will change for you is when you focus on the “We.”

Everything I write is for the audience I want to inspire. It’s not to show off or to share dumb selfies of me in a weak attempt to appear superior.

 

Selfies cause your followers to compare themselves to you.

And that’s not fair. If each of us tried to be the same, then society would be pretty dull.

“We don’t need a selfie to teach us how to copy each other and be jealous little so-and-sos who want to win a beauty pagan of nothingness”

You’re so much better than a selfie.

I believe you care about your followers so let’s stop drowning them in selfies. Selfies are proving nothing to no one. Selfies stop you from standing out in the crowd and inspiring others.

 

The time you spend “selfieing” could be used for…..

Enjoying this current moment and the breath you have in your lungs. One day that breath is going to stop and all that time selfieing won’t matter. You’re literally using up magical moments trying to take a hundred selfies that you filter and post, hoping for perfection.

Perfection is ugly.

“Right now, is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen if you’ll only stop selfieing and notice it”

 

Life before selfies….

Life was much the same. The selfie didn’t put us on Cloud 9 with a bunch of our fantasies and an unlimited amount of cash being shot up into the sky via an air cannon.

Life before selfies was fun.
We ate our food instead of looking at it with our phones and letting it get cold.
We had phenomenal conversations with our friends instead of taking endless, mindless selfies.

Life before selfies was not about one’s self.
You took photos of other people. Often, you took two photos max instead of fifty in a row.

I’d like you to imagine a life without selfies.

What does the selfie really mean to you and can you live without it?

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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