How to love the life you live and live the life you love

How to love the life you liveDo you love the life you live? Do you enjoy your work? Life should never be just about work, but it’s a big part of our lives, so it affects how we feel about ourselves.

Do you get up each morning feeling inspired by what you’ll be doing during the day ahead?

A good question to ask yourself is the one Steve Jobs asks in the video below, “If you knew that today was the last day of your life would you still be happy doing what you have to do today?”

Knowing we will die one day reminds us that our time is precious and we should use it wisely.

Life is short and none of us knows when our final moment will arrive. So we must follow our heart and focus our energy on work that really matters to us.

If your work matters to you then you’ll do it well. And if you do it well you’ll make a difference. Make a difference and you’ll leave a legacy. Do this and you’ll love the life you live.

How to love the life you lifeAll of this is easier said than done, of course.

Many people experience life without any real sense of satisfaction. Far too many people experience a lifetime of disappointment and regret too. This all adds up to people living lives they don’t love.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to accept a less than satisfactory life.

If your life is unsatisfactory then you need to change. And change is possible.

A good place to start is by listening to the inspiring observations from the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, contained in the video ‘If today were the last day of my life’ included below. His words are thought-provoking and powerful. I found this video truly inspirational and I recommend it to you.

How to love the life you live:

Before you watch the video, ask yourself this question. Between now and dead would you be happy to continue with the life you have right now?

No?

Then you must change and keep changing until you love the life you live.

Never accept second best because life’s far too short.

Remember: Whilst you have to make a living, you also have to make a life as well. So, have no regrets. Start making the life you want to live as quickly as possible. It’s later than you think.

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The advantages of work: Why you should take it seriously

Advantages of workThe advantages of work are many but often people fail to appreciate the importance of their work. So my question to you today dear reader is, how do you regard your work?

Perhaps for you, work is just a source of income but by no means your passion?

Maybe it’s something you must do simply because you desperately need an income but it doesn’t leave you feeling energized and motivated to do the best job you possibly could do?

Perhaps mostly you’re just going through the motions, doing the minimum you can get away with each day and longing for the weekend and time off?

Maybe you’re the sort of person who prefers to spend your time in the office chatting and drinking coffee with your workmates?

Does any of this sound like you dear reader or possibly a slightly exaggerated version of you?

If that’s not you and your work is your passion, or at least you take it seriously, then this article is not really for you.

This article is for readers who feel less than energised by the work they’re currently doing and those who need a timely reminder that there are good reasons for taking your work seriously.

Work is your livelihood:

If you’re not pulling your weight in your current job then you should know that it won’t have gone unnoticed. Just because your boss has yet to say anything doesn’t mean he or she hasn’t noticed.

And if you’re building a reputation for being a slacker then it’s only a matter of time before the company will find a reason to get rid of you, if you’re not careful.

You must appreciate that a business cannot carry costs that add little or no value to that business. That is, it can’t if its aim is to survive, at least.

Commercial reality will very quickly kick any business in the butt should its management fail to keep tight control on costs.

Companies are not registered charities.

Any costs must be covered by the prices charged. If a business bears unnecessary costs for long then the result will be pricing that is simply uncompetitive. And if the business isn’t competitive then it will lose out to the competition.

Think about that for a second. As a consumer, if Company A is selling a product at a lower price than Company B, where will you buy it? You’ll go for the best price every time. No customer loyalty will survive even a small saving in price. To believe otherwise would be naïve.

So if you’re not adding value then potentially you’re at risk of losing your job.

Your work is your livelihood, so losing your job could actually hurt you. In fact, the best way to appreciate your job is to imagine your life without it.

Work provides you with a sense of purpose:

The very essence of what work is all about is simple. Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money. It gives us an income but it also gives us a sense of purpose.

Through work, we apply our skills and know-how to deliver an output or an outcome for someone else. That may be an individual or an organisation but either way we are paid for what we actually deliver.

Essentially that’s the psychological contract we enter into when we agree to do work for someone else.

If we’re not delivering what we’re paid to deliver then we’re not doing our job properly. We are not fulfilling the psychological contract that is work.

Taking pride in our work is important too. Our sense of purpose should drive us to do the best we can with the skills we have and we should be constantly seeking to improve.

If we don’t love what we do at any given time then we should be looking for ways to change our mindset to take a more positive view.

If we view our work positively then we’re more likely to be energised by it and if we’re energised by it then we’re more likely to do it well.

Work is how we make a difference:

You must also recognise that there’s a big difference between being busy and delivering real results. Never confuse industry with effectiveness. The two are very different things.

If I’m paying you to paint houses then the only measure I will use to judge you on is how well and how efficiently you paint houses. I don’t really care how helpful you might have been to the electrician or the refuse collector.

Being busy doesn’t count for anything unless you’re busy doing the right things. Doing the right things is how we make a real difference. And surely we’d all like to make a difference?

Other benefits:

Having a job actually provides us with many benefits.

For a start with the income it generates, it allows us to put a roof over our head and food on our table.

Managed carefully, the money we earn will put clothes on our backs and allow us to heat our homes.

And of course, it provides so much more too.

Having a job gives us status and our own income gives us a degree of independence and freedom.

All these things together improve our self-esteem.

And of course, work gives us a reason to get you out of bed each day.

Work is how we make a contribution to the society around us. Not just in what we actually do but also in the taxes we pay. That’s how we pull our weight and justify membership in the society in which we live.

However, let us not forget the camaraderie we enjoy with work colleagues. People are social animals and we need the company of others.

Yes, some of them will drive us nuts at times but mostly they’re good people just like us, with lives just like ours and with whom we can relate.

We share their laughs and we share their tears too at times; the good times and the bad times; it all makes life worth living.

Work allows us to engage with other people and that’s very important.

Your work can be your legacy too:

Work is what we do for other people and what we’ve done for other people is how we’ll be remembered long after we’re gone. So potentially your work is your legacy.

On that basis, whatever you do strive to do it well.

It might not seem much to you but it will matter to other people.

Have a sense of pride in your work whatever it is. It doesn’t matter whether you sweep roads or you’re a skilled heart surgeon we all have our place in society and we all have our contribution to make.

And whatever role you play, no one is better than anyone else.

Enjoy your work or keep looking:

It’s important you find a way to enjoy your work because you spend a third of each day doing it.

Sometimes it’s just a case of looking at your work in a different way in order to appreciate what you have. However sometimes even then for whatever reason, you’ll feel unhappy.

If you can’t find a way to enjoy your work then find another job. One more suited to your natural talent perhaps. However until you find the right thing, you must grit your teeth and do your current work to the best of your ability.

And never, ever just walk away from a job without having another one to go to.

It is ironic perhaps but it’s always much easier to find another job when you already have one.

Without a job, a potential employer might wonder whether you’re unlucky or just a loser. And usually, employers will be reluctant to take a chance on you if they’re unsure.

Conclusion:

The importance of work to our lives and our self-esteem should not be underestimated. So do the work you’re paid to do and do it well. Do that and success can be yours.

Don’t do your job properly and you’ll struggle to hold on to it for very long. Lose it and almost certainly you’ll regret it.

That’s the nature of work, it always has been and it always will be.

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How to become rich through your work

How to become richHow to become rich through your work? A question many people ask. Some people get rich but somehow you don’t dear reader. Why? You work hard but you’ve got very little to show for it, right?

How is it that other people succeed and get rich but you never seem to make any progress at all?

Perhaps the question you’ve been asking yourself is, what’s the real link between working hard and getting rich?

Well give me a couple of minutes of your time dear reader and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about work over the years and how it’s linked to the generation of real wealth.

First off, as I’ve said many times before; work is simply doing stuff for other people in return for money.

If you enjoy your work and it comes naturally to you then you’ll do it well. If you do it well then people will notice. And once people start to notice then increasingly you’ll be in demand.

The greater the demand for your services the more you’ll get paid. In short, your value will increase.

If you truly enjoy your work and it becomes your passion then it won’t seem like work at all.

However, if you work for a single employer then essentially you’re trading your time for money, regardless of whether you enjoy your work or otherwise.

Even if you work for multiple employers one at a time, the effect is the same. You’re simply trading your time for money. It cannot be scalable because, as an individual, there’s only so much you can do in a given period of time.

There’s nothing wrong with trading your time for money of course and it’s the way that most people earn a living. However, you’re unlikely to get seriously rich that way.

Working for an employer will certainly make you a living of course but, unless you work on Wall Street or in the City of London, that’s about all.

To earn serious money you need to be doing stuff for many people simultaneously. The more people you can serve simultaneously the more money you can make.

The obvious question in your mind now will be, how’s that be done?

Well, creative people serve many people simultaneously don’t they?

For instance, if you write a bestselling book, record a bestselling song or produce a bestselling DVD these would all add value to the lives of many people simultaneously.

When people buy the book, the song or the DVD in their millions then you can make millions of dollars in the process. Just ask JK Rowling, Paul McCartney or Ricky Gervais. They’ve all become rich through their creative work.

Then again not everyone can write, sing or perform. Perhaps you’re a designer?

Suppose you design furniture, say a chair perhaps?

You produce a fabulous design and offer it to a furniture manufacturer. They really like it and they want to use it but you hold the intellectual property rights (IPR) because it’s your design. So the manufacturer must pay you a royalty when the design is used for every unit sold.

If that chair becomes very popular and sells in the millions, your ongoing royalty payments can add up to something quite substantial. Replicate that with many designs and you could get very rich indeed.

In this case, the example is furniture but the same would apply if you design anything. For instance, the man who designed the retroreflective safety device known as cat’s eyes in Britain got very rich through his design. Fashion design is another area where serious money can be made from your designs if they become popular.

The trick with creative work is to understand the law around copyright and IPR and make sure you’re rewarded for your work through royalties.

The advantage of creative work is that the series of royalty payments can have a very long tail. Your work can be the gift that keeps on giving for years and years.

Take a song like Imagine by John Lennon.

John Lennon wrote that song around 1971 but we still hear it regularly on radio and television to this day. So despite the fact that it’s almost 40 years since Lennon’s tragic death, the song still earns money for his estate, i.e. his family. Now that’s a real legacy for them.

Starting a business and selling products by the thousand is another way to serve many people simultaneously.

If your business can produce products that provide your customers with genuine solutions to their problems then there really is serious money to be made. Problems are an opportunity to make money if you can offer suitable solutions.

How to become richYour business will employ people who are trading their time for money but through your business, you’ll be serving the many simultaneously and you can enrich yourself in the process.

The takeaway message for you today is that if you work one-to-one you’ll make a living but if you can work one-to-many you’ll make a fortune.

Whether it’s becoming a creative person, a performing artist, or starting a business, serving the many is the real route to riches.

It’s not easy of course but it can be done and people do. With a little self-belief and a lot of hard work, you can too.

So when are you going to get started?

Go on, have a go! Serve the many not the few.

Remember; it’s better to try and fail than to spend your life wondering what might have been.

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Have the courage to step out of your comfort zone

step out of your comfort zoneIf your aim is growth and achievement then playing it safe is unlikely to be the right strategy for you. You must face your fears dear reader. You must have the courage to step out of your comfort zone because we grow by taking on challenges throughout our lives. Overcoming challenges is always at the heart of any achievement worthy of note.

A life worth living is a life where you feel fully engaged.

And to feel truly energized and engaged with life you must stretch yourself to the limit of your potential.

Needless to say, you can only find the limit of your potential if you step out of your comfort zone.

Sadly many people, if not most, never have the courage to step outside their comfort zone. They prefer to live where they feel safe.

Staying within your comfort zone is fine of course, if that’s what you want, but you can’t really call it living, can you? It’s existing perhaps but not really living, in my opinion.

You cannot grow from within the safety of your comfort zone. That’s simply a fact.

You’ll find that life begins to have a real buzz when you take the first step beyond your comfort zone. That’s what you might call living on the edge. Inevitably it’s scary of course but you really do begin to feel energised. It’s where you’ll feel a real sense of exhilaration.

Yes, of course, it involves risk, that’s true. However, risk and reward go hand in hand. No risk; not reward.

Stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t guarantee success and of course, you might fail. In fact, you’ll certainly experience some failures along the way, because everyone does.

Experiencing failures is an inevitable part of chasing success because success lies on the far side of failure. However to get to second base and beyond, you must be prepared to take your foot off first base.

Successful people don’t always make the right decisions. However, they’re willing to challenge themselves and they’re willing to persist long after everyone else has given up. They may fail but they learn from failure and they use what they’ve learned to work towards achieving their goals.

Dear reader, let me tell you something. You have enormous potential and you can achieve anything if you want it badly enough and you’re prepared to work hard for it.

Certainly, you’re capable of achieving great things.

However, you must set yourself challenging goals and you must be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. If you can face that discomfort and keep on going then you really can become the person you’re destined to be.

It’s easier to stay within your comfort zone of course and you’ll feel safe that way but nothing beats the feeling of winning and achieving those challenging goals you’ve set yourself. A life of safety first can be really dull.

If every obstacle must first be overcome before you start then you’ll never achieve anything.

Playing it safe is actually a bigger risk than stepping beyond your comfort zone.

By playing it safe you take the risk that you’ll never experience the satisfaction of real achievement. And it’s always better to try and fail than it is to spend your life wondering what might have been.

Stepping beyond your comfort zone means embracing uncertainty, of course. However, the quality of your life will depend on the amount of uncertainty you can bear.

So go on, live a little.

Step out of your comfort zone right now and take that tiger for a ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Building the courage to step out of your comfort zone:

To reinforce the message in this theme, you might find the embedded video from Brian Tracy inspiring.

In it, Brian offers some wise words on building the courage to break out of your comfort zone. It’s well worth your time and I recommend it to you.

Further listening:

If you found the video inspiring then you might be keen to hear more from Brian Tracy.

I think he’s a fantastic motivational speaker and I listen to his audio programmes all the time.

One I can highly recommend is:-

Eat that Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

I bought my own personal copy of this one about two years ago and I’ve found it extremely inspiring and useful. I still listen to it frequently when I’m driving and every time I listen I learn something new.

It is definitely worth adding to your own personal development library. Click on the link above to check it out.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on the link included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. However, there will be no additional charge to you in making that purchase. Nevertheless, these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers. Your understanding is truly appreciated, dear reader. Thank you.

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11 wise sayings about life lessons and what they mean

11 wise sayings about life lessonsToday dear reader, I offer you 11 wise sayings about life lessons and some observations about what I think they really mean for your life.

I hope you find this interesting.

Wise sayings about life lessons:

1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. ~English Proverb

If you visit a foreign country, with a different culture to that found in your own, then the best way to get along with local people is to respect their culture and their way of doing things.

Essentially it’s all about respecting and adhering to their way of life, as far as reasonably possible.

Respect people and they’ll appreciate it.

Learn a little bit of their language and you’ll really connect with them. They won’t mind if you don’t get all the words and pronunciation completely correct. It’ll probably make them smile a little and they’ll really appreciate you making the effort.

Treat people with respect and they’ll treat you with respect. It’s that simple.

2. Be contrary and be known. ~Arab Proverb

If you want to get yourself noticed then a ‘me too’ approach to life is unlikely to get you very far. When you’re just like everyone else then how can you stand out in the crowd?

If you really want to get noticed then you need to offer something a bit different, surely?

To stand out in the crowd then you’ll need to dress differently, have an unusual hairstyle or offer something new.

Go against the accepted thinking of the day and you’ll get noticed.

Suggest something which goes against the received wisdom of the day and people might just listen if you back up your observation with a reasoned argument.

Be different, be contrary and you’ll get noticed.

Back it up with real substance and you will make a permanent impression on public consciousness.

Elvis Presley was like nothing that went before him; neither were The Beatles.

These were people who had a look, style and approach all of their own. They made a genuine impact and they changed peoples’ outlook on life permanently.

In other words, they made their mark and you can too.

3. A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~Egyptian Proverb

There’s no such thing as perfect; certainly not when we are talking about people.

We’re all imperfect in some way.

However, that’s what makes us interesting as individuals. And it’s also what makes it easier for other people to live with us because no matter how good we are in some way, there are also ways in which we are not quite so good.

So accept your imperfections. Work to your strengths and minimise your weaknesses and do the best you can with whatever you have at your disposal. If you do that you can succeed.

4. There’s no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out. ~Russian Proverb

How often do people refrain from asking a question for fear that they might look a little stupid? Does that ring a bell with you dear reader?

We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives, wouldn’t you agree?

However, it’s rather silly if you think about it.

None of us can know everything, can we? There will always be gaps in our knowledge, that’s for sure.

So if you don’t know something, surely it’s better to find out? Better to ask a question, even if you appear foolish momentarily.

People might laugh but so what?

Intelligent people ask questions and it’s better to look a fool momentarily than proceed in ignorance. You may look a fool for not knowing but you’ll look an even bigger fool if you screw up because you didn’t ask.

Never, ever be afraid to ask a question if you don’t know.

That way you’ll learn. Any other way and you’ll never learn.

5. Experience is not always the kindest of teachers but it’s surely the best. ~Spanish Proverb

Education is a wonderful thing, I’m sure you’ll agree.

However, the best teacher by a country mile is the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life.

Making mistakes and getting your fingers burned teaches you lessons you’ll never forget. And those lessons are invaluable.

That’s what they call experience and experience is a valuable commodity indeed.

Experience is the basis of all wisdom.

It’s also an essential element in finding out what you’re good at and what you enjoy.

And if you can find that sweet spot where what you’re good at coincides with what you enjoy doing then you really will begin to shine. So shine on my friend.

6. Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak. ~Turkish Proverb

How often are we so keen to get our point across that we don’t really listen to what the other person has to say? That’s a mistake.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop.

To quote Stephen R. Covey, Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

In order to understand someone else’s point, you must listen first.

Listening is not the same as hearing.

Hearing is simply being aware of sounds going on around you.

Listening is absorbing what is being said and considering it carefully.

Listening requires both your ears and your brain to be engaged in the process simultaneously.

Naturally, you want to feel that your point of view matters.

If you listen to people first not only will they appreciate it but they’ll also start listening to you. If you’re showing them respect then they’ll do the same to you.

By listening to each other we can begin to understand each other.

And if we understand each other we have the basis for getting along together.

So listen more and talk less.

In this way, the world might just become a better place. Let’s hope so anyway.

7. Better to die than to live on with a bad reputation. ~Vietnamese Proverb

Some time ago, a friend of mine was working for a retailer and foolishly did something dishonest. The result was that he lost his job and damaged his reputation in the process.

Only when he began to realise how much damage he’d done to his reputation did he begin to realise how foolish he’d been.

Damaging your reputation can have serious consequences and you can often feel the impact of that for many years after the original indiscretion.

So, protect and value your reputation.

It’s one of the most important commodities you have to offer.

Whether you’re in employment or self-employed you’ll always be judged on your reputation. Gain a bad reputation and you’ll be judged harshly.

8. A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. ~Greek Proverb

Your legacy in life will be based on what you’ve done for other people, regardless of whether you’ve benefitted from it yourself.

That’s how you’ll be remembered.

A civilised society depends on each of us making a contribution towards the greater good. We cannot just leave it all to someone else.

If you want your grandchildren and their children to enjoy a well-ordered and civilised society then you must be prepared to do something the result of which you may never see. The payoff for you will simply be the knowledge that future generations will benefit from your altruism.

Leaving something that enriches the lives of future generations would be a real and genuine legacy, wouldn’t you agree?

9. God gives the nuts but he doesn’t crack them. ~German proverb

You can’t expect everything to be done for you.

At some point, you have to do something for yourself.

If everything is done for you, you’ll never learn; you’ll never develop new skills, and you’ll never be able to deal with life.

So don’t try to avoid the chore, embrace it with enthusiasm and recognise that it’s in your own best interests to act.

10. A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion. ~Chinese Proverb

Criticism can be uncomfortable, so it’s easy to be swayed by the majority view. However, how can we be sure that the majority view is correct? Perhaps they’re all wrong.

Just because a lot of people think something is so, it doesn’t mean that they have a monopoly on knowledge and common sense.

Rather than simply following the herd, it’s much better to consider a situation carefully, weighing up the various possibilities, and then forming your own opinion or making your own decision.

Think for yourself; don’t allow the herd to impose their thinking on you.

11. Every ass loves to hear himself bray. ~Proverb of Unknown Origin

As the old saying goes, empty vessels make the most sound.

However just because someone can talk a good game doesn’t mean they can play a good game.

People who are really good at something will demonstrate it by their actions not by their words. They’ll leave the talking to other people.

You’ll never impress anyone by singing your own praises.

However, you’ll win them over if you can demonstrate how good you are by the results you deliver.

So go on, start showing people what you can do.

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When you share, everyone wins.

So go on, please share this post now. If can you do that for me, I’ll be ever so grateful and you’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

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How to handle criticism at work effectively

How to handle criticism at workHow to handle criticism at work? That’s a question most of us ask ourselves, at least occasionally.

Think about it. You’ve been working hard and trying to do your best but someone still thinks it’s necessary, with a critical tone, to offer you some words of advice about the work you’ve just done.

Not a thank you; no recognition of the effort you’ve put in; just some caustic words about why they think your work is less than perfect.

Naturally, that makes you feel a little unloved and probably slightly irritated too.

Perhaps your critic lacks sensitivity?

Perhaps he or she fails to appreciate the value you’ve been adding to whatever you were doing at the time?

And of course, your critic may not have had visibility of the constraints you were working under or the pressures you faced at the time?

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s natural if you feel hurt when all people can do is point to something they believe is wrong, incomplete or not as good as it could have been. If it doesn’t actually hurt, certainly it is irritating. It can also seem overly harsh at times.

The importance of criticism:

The problem when hearing criticism is that our defensive barriers tend to go up immediately. And once we’re on the defensive we don’t tend to listen to the feedback we’re getting. We just concentrate on how we’ll respond in order to dismiss whatever’s being said.

This is unfortunate because if we did listen and reflect on what is being said, it’s just possible that our critic may have a valid point.

The importance of criticism is that it provides us with valuable feedback.

And how we react to any feedback depends on our attitude and how we choose to look at it.

We can get all hurt and defensive or we can choose to give our critic the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re genuinely trying to be constructive.

In other words, we can embrace criticism positively and seek to use it to our own advantage. Certainly, this is the mature and grown-up way of dealing with any criticism we receive.

Honing our skills:

We must recognize that none of us are perfect and we’re all prone to making the occasional mistake. That’s human nature.

However, if our aim is to succeed then we have to become masters of our chosen craft or profession. We have to be very good at whatever we’ve chosen to do if we’re going to stand out in the crowd. In fact we have to be the best.

Being the best requires the constant honing of our skills. That means we must learn from our mistakes and any inability that might prevent us from delivering the results required of us.

Learning is a lifelong process and we should be constantly practising and developing our skills and improving on the results we deliver.

In order to do that then we must learn from our mistakes.

Some mistakes will be obvious to us of course but sometimes we’ll fail to recognize them. Fortunately, others won’t.

Criticism is feedback:

The underlying point here is that criticism is simply feedback and feedback is essential if we’re to improve our skills and become masters of our craft or profession.

That’s why it’s important to listen. If we know where we fall short then we can do something about it.

How to handle criticism at work:

If you find yourself on the receiving end of criticism, the first thing to do is to remind yourself that to feel hurt is quite natural. That’s simply an emotional response to a negative situation.

However, don’t take anything personally. Criticism is rarely groundless, though it’s often exaggerated.

Give your critic the benefit of the doubt and assume their intention is simply to provide you with some valuable feedback.

Welcome that feedback. Don’t interrupt your critic with excuses. That will just make you look defensive. Don’t glower at them either because you might stop them sharing that crucial insight with you.

The truth may hurt, but the sooner you hear it, the sooner you can fix whatever it is you’re doing wrong, assuming you are doing something wrong.

Listen and focus on hearing everything being said. When your critic has made his or her point, say thank you. That will show confidence, dedication and grace too.

Then ask yourself honestly, is the point being made by your critic a fair one?

And you really do need to be honest with yourself here.

If your conclusion is that your critic has a fair point then you must embrace the lesson. Learn from it; resolve to do better next time, and be determined to improve.

That way you’ll go from strength to strength. You’ll gain the respect of other people too for your willingness to listen and learn.

However, remember this also, critics are not always right.

If honest reflection leads you to the conclusion that your critic is being unfair or is just plain wrong then just ignore the criticism.

Smile and move on. Never take it personally and never let anyone discourage you from the pursuit of your aims.

Conclusion:

Criticism is just feedback. Feedback is your friend. Embrace it; learn from it; use it to your advantage, but never take it personally. And if following honest reflection you think they’re wrong then it’s perfectly reasonable to ignore it and move on.

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33 life lessons learned that are best learned early

Life Lessons LearnedLife lessons learned for most of us are learned the hard way. Here are 33 of those lessons that are best learned at early as possible, ideally in your teens or early 20s.

Life lessons learned:

1. On experiencing life:

Wherever you are, be there. Be present and experience the moment. You’ll remember moments with friends and family all your life, whereas you’re unlikely to remember social media posts moments after you’ve read them. No experience beats having a good laugh with your friends and family.

2. On making choices:

As an adult, you’re free to make your own choices but you must accept any consequences that follow. A wise adult learns to make good choices because the choices you make will dictate the quality of the life you lead. Your choices really matter. Make too many bad ones and your life experiences won’t be very good at all.

3. On the future (1):

Where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been. The past was a series of lessons to be learned. The future is where you’ll spend the rest of your life. You can’t change the past but your future has yet to be written, and you’ve got the pen.

4. On the future (2):

The future is an endless stream of opportunities that you can choose to seize, or not. However poor your past may have been, that doesn’t mean you can’t seize new opportunities and exploit them to your own advantage. You can, with determination and hard work. And, never let anyone discourage you from having a go. Better to try and fail than to spend your life wondering what might have been

5. On asking questions:

Intelligent people ask questions. So, never be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something, or when you need clarification. Better to appear a fool momentarily than remain a fool permanently.

6. On attitude:

The greatest disability in life is a bad attitude. If you’ve got one you’d better change it, if you want your life to improve. Attitude matters. An average person with a positive attitude makes a much better employee than a genius with a chip on his or her shoulder.

7. On fairness:

Life isn’t fair. It never has been and it never will be. We’re all dealt a set of cards in life, and all we can do is to play that hand as best as we can. We could get angry about the unfairness of it all or we can just get on and make the best of what we have. The latter approach is much easier on our nerves, in my experience.

8. On bullying:

When you’re having fun at someone else’s expense, remember it may be fun to you, and you may not mean any harm, but for the other person the impact of such an experience can be humiliating, upsetting and it can cause significant, lasting and often permanent psychological damage to that person. So remember, it isn’t fun at all, if it isn’t fun for the other person. If it isn’t fun for them, it’s actually just bullying. And if you’re bullying, you’re not being cool, you’re being nasty.

9. On judging others (1):

You’re free to judge others if you’re absolutely sure that you’re perfect in every way. If your conclusion is that you’re not quite perfect then why would you expect others to be?

10. On judging others (2):

For everyone life is a struggle. No one is without problems, despite any external signs to the contrary. We just have to keep going for it’s the only way. Life goes on and we must too. If you’ve not walked two miles in someone else’s shoes, you’re not in a position to judge them. So, don’t.

11. On authenticity:

Authenticity is simply being who you are and not trying to be who you think you should be or who you think you’re expected to be. People will respect you for being who you are. An original is always better than a fake.

12. On trust:

Trust takes years to build and seconds to break. And once broken the way you’re seen by others will never be quite the same again. Trust is a valuable and precious commodity. Protect it.

13. On reputation:

Never underestimate the importance of your personal reputation. And if you wouldn’t be happy to read something about yourself on the front pages, don’t do it.

14. On communication:

If you want to tell anyone anything, speak softly and you’ll find that they’re much more likely to listen to you.

15. On success:

No one can ever be a failure but everyone can be a success. Failure is not a person it’s just an outcome you didn’t want. It’s also an opportunity to try again with greater knowledge and experience. Everyone can achieve some degree of success, if they believe in themselves, they’re determined and they’re willing to work hard.

16. On priorities:

We all have the same amount of time. 168 hours a week. It’s how we choose to use it that dictates whether we achieve anything significant or not. Time is a resource, pure and simple. So, decide on your priorities and allocate your time accordingly. And just because someone wants a piece of your time, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them. If it’s not a priority, nor an obligation, just say NO.

17. On watching television:

Few people seem to recognise this but there’s a significant cost to watching television. Not the cost of purchasing the television set or any cable or satellite subscriptions you may have. The real cost is the opportunity cost of your time. That is the time you spend watching television. Time is money and you could be doing something more profitable with your time. Learning something new perhaps or running your own little income-generating side-hustle.

18. On qualifications (1):

Most of the work done by most people in life doesn’t require a college degree at all. If you have one that’s great, but stay humble. A motivated individual with common sense and decent reading, writing and arithmetic skills can succeed in life without one.

19. On qualifications (2):

You may need a college degree to work for an employer but you don’t need one to work for yourself. If it’s your business, you make the rules.

20. On qualifications (3):

Plenty of people graduating from Harvard will end up working for people who didn’t. So, stay humble. Studying at a top university is no guarantee for career success, nor does it guarantee wealth. A Harvard, Oxford, or Cambridge degree may look good on your CV but five years after graduation the only thing that will really matter is what you’ve actually achieved in the workplace since.

21. On experience:

Doing is by far the best way to learn. The classroom is useful, of course, but nothing beats doing and learning from your mistakes. Making mistakes will teach you lessons that you’ll never forget. And learning from your mistakes will give you that valuable commodity known as experience. Knowing the theory is useful, whereas having experience is essential.

22. On employability:

You don’t sell who you are. You sell what you can do and the value you can add. Every job is about doing stuff for other people and delivering results. What is it you can do and what can you confidently deliver? Before you go for any job interview, make sure you have answers to these questions and make sure you can give examples of stuff you’ve actually delivered on previous occasions.

23. On work (1):

Employers can quickly replace you with someone just like you and you’ll be forgotten quickly. So be professional in carrying out your duties, of course, but not at the expense of your own interests or those of your loved ones.

24. On work (2):

Make sure you take good care of yourself. Employers will take everything you give and a bit more besides but if you died tomorrow your job would be posted online before your obituary. You’ll be replaced within days and the memory of your presence won’t last long.

25. On making money:

To make money you have to be doing stuff for other people. To make a serious amount of money you have to be doing stuff for multiple people simultaneously, even when you’re asleep. Sounds impossible but it can be done. For instance, serving the many with your own digital products, sold online, can lead to great wealth.

26. On sales:

Successful selling is not about tricking people into buying something they don’t need. The art of selling is in proactively finding customers who’ve got problems for which your products can provide the ideal solution. If you can offer solutions to problems, you’ll find customers in need of what you have to sell. Find the right customers and a good product will sell itself.

27. On change (1):

It’s easier to remain as you are than it is to change but unless you change your life will not improve. Embracing change is hard but it is well worth the effort.

28. On change (2):

For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better you have to get better. You can become more than you are but it won’t happen by accident. It all starts with you saying, I can; I will; and I won’t stop until I get there. And you must make any changes necessary.

29. On finding a life partner:

You’ll find, as you go through life, that Mr or Miss Perfect doesn’t exist. If you’re looking for a life partner, find someone whose faults you can live with. Yes, you’ll need to enjoy each other’s company. And yes, you’ll need to have things in common. However, everyone you meet will have faults of their own, even if they’re not immediately apparent.

30. On children (1):

When you have young children they need your attention much more than your mobile phone does. Your children should be your priority, particularly in the early years. You’re their role model. Be a positive role model and give them all the attention they deserve. The years pass quickly and your children, good or bad, are your legacy to the world.  Social media can wait. Anything less is simply a disservice to your child.

31. On children (2):

Children need continuity and they need boundaries. They need to be brought up with a set of values too. Fail to give them those things and you fail as a parent. Materialism is no substitute for the things that really matter most.

32. On your social life:

You’ll never fit into every social group, nor should you try. Just focus on finding a group of people that are right for you. In other words, find your tribe. People that are welcoming to you, with interests like yours and personalities that appeal to you. It’s better to be in the company of people that appreciate your company, rather than trying to fit into groups that don’t really want you there at all.

33. On experts:

There are plenty of people referred to as experts whose ideas and recommendations can prove to be stupid beyond belief. Listen to experts by all means but then use your own judgement. Don’t be fooled by people, just because they’ve got an impressive job title. If your instinct says they’re wrong, have the courage of your own convictions and act accordingly. Just because an ‘expert’ said it, doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

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Brian Tracy: Habits of success anyone can learn

Habits of SuccessIf you want to be successful, then you must develop good habits. That’s a reasonable statement, don’t you think dear reader?

However what habits should they be? That’s not quite so easy to answer, I hear you say.

Well fear not in the video included here Brian Tracy presents some interesting ideas on the habits of success.

I admire Brian Tracy and I listen to his audio programs in my car all the time.

In my opinion, Brian Tracy is always excellent and always full of wise words and good advice.

And I can tell you that this video is well worth your time.

So let Brian tell you more about habits which he believes are consistent with achieving success. Take a few minutes out of your schedule because you will find it well worth a little piece of your time.

Habits of Success:

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Self-promotion and why it matters if you want success

Self-promotionThe idea of self-promotion is something with which many readers will feel slightly uncomfortable.

Perhaps it leaves you feeling a slight sense of unease dear reader; the idea of ‘blowing your own trumpet’ and making sure that others know all about what you have to offer?

By self-promotion, I am referring to personal visibility, particularly in the office or workplace.

Visibility matters:

Does personal visibility really matter that much, you may ask?

Well, that depends on how you think about it really.

If you’re happy to plod along and just accept whatever life decides you should have then it probably doesn’t matter much at all.

However, if success is your aim or if you want to enjoy more of what life can offer then personal visibility is essential.

Think about it. If I don’t know you exist, how can you be a solution to my problem?

How can I possibly know what you have to offer unless I have some visibility of you in action?

And then, if you hide your light under a bushel, how can you build a reputation?

Let’s face it, if I don’t know you exist, then to me you don’t exist at all.

Essential ingredient for success:

If success is your aim, then you have to be seen by people who matter and you must make an impression on them too. That’s important, like it or not.

People need a reason to remember you. So make sure you give them a reason to remember you.

Ideally, you want them to like and respect you. Even if people just love to hate you then that’s better than them being totally indifferent to you.

At least you’ll be known. You have to be visible. As the saying goes, ability without visibility is a liability. It is to you anyway.

The product YOU:

The product that is ‘You’ will only sell if people are aware it exists.

So self-promotion and personal public relations initiatives play an important role in building your reputation and creating a demand for what only you have to offer.

Humility is all very well but diffidence is at best unwise.

You’ll never get anywhere unless you have visibility with the people that matter.

Think about the most successful people; people such as Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Sadly some are no longer with us. Nevertheless, these examples are still valid.

They all make or made an impression on you.

You may not like them but you cannot or could not ignore them. They all have or had that special quality known as presence. You couldn’t fail to notice them. They all have or had self-belief too.

So make sure you get yourself noticed. Stand out in the crowd and give people a reason to remember you.

And remember this old Arab Proverb; Be contrary, Be known.

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Here’s why the only disability in life is a bad attitude

the only disability in life is a bad attitudeHave you experienced a lot of adversity in your life dear reader?

Maybe you’re feeling a little bit sorry for yourself?

Life hasn’t been fair to you today, possibly?

If life’s being unfair, you might feel that you’re entitled to have a bad attitude. Everyone’s doing fine but you, so why shouldn’t you let the world know that you’re not happy, right? We all feel that way occasionally, don’t we?

Well, maybe. However if you’re trying to get people on your side with a negative attitude then you really should think again. No one will be joining you at the pity party. You won’t find anyone that is sympathetic to a bad attitude, trust me.

If there’s one genuine disability in life it’s a bad attitude.

It’s a fact that negativity never impresses anyone, ever.

It doesn’t get people on your side, it will simply alienate them. You’ll be pushing them away rather than gathering their support.

Life isn’t fair. If never has been and it never will be. That’s a fact too.

You’ll find that life doesn’t care about what you want. It doesn’t care about what anyone wants.

It doesn’t care about any sense of entitlement you may have.

Nor does life care that you feel that you should have a bigger piece of the pie.

In my experience, life is what you make it. Nothing happens by accident, unless you’re very, very lucky. And no one is that lucky consistently.

The life you enjoy, or don’t enjoy, will be defined by your attitude.

It’s not about what happens to you. Stuff happens to us all.

Yes, it’s true, some people bear a greater share of life’s challenges than others. However, ultimately, your life will be defined by how you respond to everything that happens to you.

No matter how tough life gets, a positive attitude will take you further than a negative one ever will.

A positive attitude is the most powerful response to life’s misfortunes.

It says, you can knock me down as many times as you like but you won’t keep me down. I will get up and I will keep getting up until I get to where I’m going.

Now that sort of attitude really does impress people.

Life responds positively to those with a positive attitude. I can tell you that from personal experience.

You’ll find that a positive attitude will always get people on your side. Show them that you can rise above everything life throws at you and you’ll have their respect.

In the embedded video included below, Matthew Jeffers, a senior acting major at Towson University in Maryland, provides us all with an inspiring message with the letter he wrote to the Baltimore Ravens, his favourite NFL team.

The letter was entitled “A Reason to Win” and it’s all the more impressive when considered against Matthew’s own struggles with Skeletal Dysplasia.

The ultimate lesson is that life’s not going to cut you any slack just because you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

Attitude is everything. If you believe you can, you will; if you believe you can’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.

Many people experience tough lives and however hard your life is there’ll be plenty of people out there whose lives are far tougher than yours. Many people experience disabilities of varying degrees of severity but actually, as Matthew Jeffers observes, the only real disability in life is a bad attitude.

So if you’re feeling a bit dispirited right now, take a good hard look at yourself and think about the positives you have in your life, rather than constantly focusing on the negatives.

This video will inspire you, so take a look at it now. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time.

The only disability in life is a bad attitude:

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