Life is short: Here’s what’s important to you today

Life is short:

You’ll often hear people talk about the importance of money in terms of living life in the modern age.

Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to live without money today, is it not? Certainly, it’s up there with oxygen and water for sustaining life.

Nevertheless, we must also remember that life is short. And sadly for some people, it’s very short indeed.

So, while money’s important, it’s not an ideal means for measuring success, is it? Not real success in life anyway.

Misplaced priorities:

In the modern age, it’s easy to become obsessed with money.

However, the accumulation of money for its own sake should never be the underlying motive that drives us, surely? That can only lead to a life of misplaced priorities, I think.

If your approach to life includes an obsession with money, then you’ll be doomed to disappointment, and I think you’ll realise that eventually.

One day you’ll look back and wish you’d spent a bit more time with family, friends, and loved ones, of that I’m quite sure.

So what would be an ideal measure of success?

A measure of success:

For me, a better measure of success is whether we’re feeling fulfilled by what we’re doing.

If our work is something we’d do as a hobby if we couldn’t get paid for it then that’s a better way of gauging success. As the legendary investor, Warren Buffett once said, “Look for a job that you’d take if you didn’t need a job.”

A sense of purpose and work that is fulfilling and truly absorbing is a much less stressful way of living.

Enjoy what you do:

Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy, if you possibly can.

If you enjoy what you do, you’ll do it well, and the money will follow anyway. If you do your work exceptionally well, then people will notice. And once you get noticed, you’re on your way to genuine success.

Never be driven by money alone.

Never accept a job simply because it’s well paid.

It’s nice to have a good salary, of course.

However, once you get used to the money, you still have to spend a third of your life doing the work for which you’re being paid well.

And doing work you don’t enjoy is a significant price to pay in terms of your emotions, stress levels, and the potential impact it will have on your health.

Time is precious:

If life’s short, then our time is very precious, surely?

What’s the point of working every hour you’ve got just to become rich, only to die suddenly of a heart attack having had no time to enjoy the fruits of your labour?

What a waste that would be. Being the richest man or woman in the graveyard is hardly a title worth having, is it?

So my underlying message to you today, dear reader, is to find work you enjoy doing and to make sure you leave a little time to enjoy life too. A little ‘me time‘ is essential for everyone.

No one’s life is perfect:

Don’t forget that everyone faces challenges, occasionally. No one’s life is perfect. We all have problems.

Inevitably, your life will have its ups and downs. However, make sure there are more ups than downs in your life, as far as you are able.

Take some time to smell the roses and have a laugh.

As the old Music Hall song used to say; “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

You wouldn’t want to live forever, but you should be living your life to the fullest today.

Life really is short and it’s definitely later than you think. And as we say where I come from, “you’ll be a long time dead.”

So go on, live life and live it now. And if you’ve yet to find work you enjoy doing, keep looking.

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Copyright © Mann Island Media Limited 2024. All rights reserved.

How to be happy and why you should be

How to be happy? Now, that’s a question I hear frequently.

Well, I believe that, if you’re going to be happy, then you need a sense of purpose.

Now just think about that for a minute. Your work takes up one-third of your life so surely it’s essential that you’re happy doing whatever you do?

So dear reader, if the question on your mind today is how to be happy in life then to find the answer it’s worth reflecting on your work for a moment and thinking about whether it’s right for you.

Does your work make you happy?

Do you believe your contribution to your job is something that only you can supply?

Would you say that your work is closely aligned with your natural talents?

If your job is a mismatch with their natural talents then you’re unlikely to do it as well as you might do otherwise. If you don’t do it well then it’s hard to feel a sense of pride in your work, surely? And, if you’re not doing it well, your boss is likely to be giving you a hard time too.

So in this scenario, you’re not going to be very happy, are you?

Let’s face it, spending your life doing something you don’t enjoy is such a waste, wouldn’t you agree?

You have so much natural talent that could be put to better use.

Yes, every job has its chores. Things you have to do which you hate but accept as part of the job. No job is perfect.

However, tedium should only be a small part of your whole work experience.

To feel happy and fulfilled doing the work you do means that you should enjoy at least 80% of your daily activity.

What happens if the job you do and your talents are mismatched?

Human beings are flexible and adaptable of course. So even in the worst job situations, people survive but at what cost to themselves?

How to be happy

The further you are from applying your natural talents and abilities, the less likely it is that you’ll enjoy your work in my experience. And being unhappy at work means you’re less likely to be happy in life. That’s a fact.

And if you’re not happy then it’s difficult to make a genuine contribution to life and the lives of other people. And this matters, particularly for those people who are your loved ones.

If your loved ones have to deal with someone who’s doing a job they don’t enjoy then it can make their lives miserable too. In fact, it can be no pleasure for anyone around you.

If you derive no pleasure from your work then life just becomes a grind. Also, it becomes stressful which is not very good for your health either.

The best and least stressful way to earn a living is by pursuing your interests and something which you both enjoy and which is compatible with your natural talents. This is the sweet spot and it’s how to be happy in life.

If society encouraged people to pursue their interests and work to their strengths, then we would not only be happier but we would become more productive.

And of course productive lives are happy lives too. We would all benefit and society would reap benefits too.

So think about what you enjoy doing and your natural talents, and then think about how you can best apply them.

It’s important to be happy doing what you do, but if you’ve yet to find work that makes you happy, then keep looking and don’t give up until you find it.

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Copyright © Mann Island Media Limited 2024. All rights reserved.

Some simple advice for young people

Advice for Young PeopleIf you’re looking for some simple advice for young people, then here are some of the things I wish I had known when I was 18.

Learn these lessons as soon as you can. As you travel along life’s highway, I think you’ll find them all useful.

1. Be kind

It’s easy to make judgements about people, and we’re all guilty of doing it, at least occasionally.

The problem is that none of us knows what challenges other people are facing in their lives at any given time. Some people can have very tough lives, and they may be struggling. It’s not always obvious to the rest of us.

So be kind to everyone you meet. It costs you nothing, but it can mean the world to someone who’s facing a particularly difficult time in their life.

2. Value friendship

Our friends and loved ones are our most precious possessions.

Work is important, of course, but it’s not as important as people. If you were to drop dead tomorrow, an employer would replace you in a heartbeat. However, you can’t be replaced by the people to whom you matter most.

So value friendships and family, and make sure you make time for them. Never be too busy working to miss out on spending some quality time with your friends and family.

If you’re ever seriously ill, it will be your friends and loved ones who take care of you, not your employer.

3. Value your time

Now, you’ll often hear someone say, “Oh, I would love to do that if only I had the time.”

And yet we all have exactly the same amount of time, i.e. 168 hours each week.

It all comes down to what we choose to do with our time and how we prioritise those things that matter to us most.

Time is simply a resource like money, although it’s more important than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time, can you? None of us can do that, can we?

So you must learn to use your time wisely. Time is a precious resource, so you must develop effective time management skills.

You must recognise that you can’t do everything, but you can be selective about what you choose to do, within reason.

High-value tasks should always take precedence over low-value tasks.

Remember this: the most effective time management tool is the word NO.

Just because people ask you for a piece of your time, it doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them. Be very selective about how you allocate your time.

Think of the word NO as a baseball bat.

Whenever someone makes a request that would not be the best use of your time, then NO is the means by which you can whack that request right out of the ballpark. Always be polite, of course, but be firm too.

Being busy is not the same as being productive. And your aim, always, should be to be productive.

Check out my Top 10 Tips for How to Manage Your Time.

4. Mindset matters

Whether you realize it or not, your mindset matters, and by that, I mean, it matters a lot. When I refer to mindset, I’m referring to how you think, your attitude, and whether you’re positive by nature or otherwise.

You’ll never experience a positive outcome with a negative attitude. And you’ll never, ever impress anyone with a negative attitude either. No one is impressed by negativity, trust me. And no one wants to spend much time around negative people either.

There’s an old saying, “Believe you can and you will!

This is true in my experience.

Succeeding at anything requires you to believe in yourself and believe you can achieve anything you set out to achieve.

Yes, you’ll have setbacks. Everyone does. It’s true; it won’t be easy. It never is. And it doesn’t matter what others think. There will always be negative people trying to rain on your parade.

As long as you believe you can and you’re determined and prepared to work hard, almost everything is possible. Other people succeed, and so can you.

So think positively and take every opportunity to reinforce your self-belief.

And take care of your mental well-being too, by avoiding negative people and all the exaggerated scare stories we see and hear constantly in the media.

5. Never fear making mistakes

The problem with classroom learning is that much of it depends on learning facts and figures and regurgitating everything you’ve memorized in an exam. At the end of it all, you get your certificate, diploma, or degree, but what have you learned? Probably not much, I would guess.

Remember this: memorizing is not the same as learning.

The other way we’re often misled when we‘re young is that we’re told that making mistakes is a bad thing. That’s rather sad because it’s not true.

What you will learn from the mistakes you make is far more important to you than anything anyone can tell you in a classroom. You’ll never forget those things you’ve had to learn the hard way.

Life isn’t called the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ for nothing.

If you believe in yourself and your ability to use your judgement and accept that you’ll make mistakes occasionally, then you can cope with just about everything life throws at you.

Just make decisions to the best of your ability and knowledge, and then, if they don’t work out, just look for the lesson and learn it well.

Despite anything people will tell you to the contrary, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes because that’s how you gain experience, and that’s how you’ll grow in character. Just don’t make the same mistakes too often.

Making mistakes is how you gain that valuable commodity known as experience, so they’re essential to your personal development.

6. Read more

In the modern age, a good education is essential. That doesn’t mean you must have a formal education, necessarily. Classroom learning doesn’t suit everyone, and there are many ways to learn.

One of the best ways to learn in my experience is to read.

Read all the critically acclaimed novels by the most respected authors. And not just authors from your own country. Read novels from writers around the world. Translations for the best novels are always available in many languages.

Read non-fiction too. The reading of non-fiction is the basis for self-improvement.

If there are subjects that you find interesting, then by reading, you can become an authority on those subjects over time. And becoming an authority is a great way to increase your earning potential.

In my experience, the most successful people are all readers. So make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes each day to read.

Read one book a week, and over the course of a year, you’ll have consumed an enormous amount of knowledge.

And remember, learning is a lifelong process. You must keep learning for as long as you have the energy to pick up a book.

And if personal time pressures limit your ability to consume books, then here are two alternatives to make the process a little bit easier:

     (a) Blinkist:

If you haven’t got enough time to read non-fiction books, you could try Blinkist.

Blinkist is a great way to consume book summaries to get core insights on relevant topics without all the details. And you can read or listen.

So you get all the key ideas from non-fiction bestsellers in minutes, rather than hours or days. And they have a library of over 5,000 non-fiction books

Not only that, Blinkist has teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from popular podcasts too.

So in as little as 15 minutes, you can gain an understanding of the content of a best-selling book or a popular podcast.

Blinkist is self-improvement done the smart way. So, turn your smartphone into a classroom and your commute to work into a learning experience.

Consume one book a day with Blinkist and in one year you’ll have consumed a PhD’s worth of knowledge and made yourself a much more valuable commodity.

And you can sign up for a FREE TRIAL. So you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by trying it. So go on, do it now.

DISCLOSURE: This website is a Blinkist Partner. Should you click on a link and then subscribe to Blinkist, the website owners will receive a small commission. Such commissions serve only to cover the cost of operating this site. There will be no additional cost to you. Your understanding and support are truly appreciated, dear reader. Thank you.

     (b) Audible:

Audible is another great way of consuming books. With Audible, you get the full book, but in audiobook form.

Essentially, Audible is an online audiobook and podcast service that allows users to purchase and stream audiobooks and other forms of spoken word content.

And there’s a FREE 30-day trial offer.

So you can try it for a month and see if you like it, with absolutely no commitment to extend beyond the trial period if it doesn’t suit you.

Listen to the world’s bestselling books and enjoy original podcasts too. You can choose from an incredible selection of Audible originals, podcasts, and audiobooks to download. It’s worth trying, surely?

Sign up for the FREE 30-day trial offer today.

Audible is another great way to turn your smartphone into a learning tool and turn your dead time into productive time. In your car and when you’re commuting to work on the bus or train, you can build your knowledge or enjoy bestselling novels in audiobook form.

So go on, sign up for the FREE 30-day trial offer today.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Audible affiliate. Should you click on a link and then subscribe to Audible, the website owners will receive a small commission. Such commissions serve only to cover the cost of operating this site. There will be no additional cost to you. Your understanding and support are truly appreciated, dear reader. Thank you.

7. Write more

As a younger man, I always had a problem with writing. I never quite knew what to say or how to say it.

It left me feeling slightly inadequate and believing that this was just something at which I was very bad.

As I progressed up the career ladder, I struggled with the written word for quite a while. I didn’t realise that my real problem was a lack of practice.

However, I’ve learned over the years that the more I practise writing, the better I get at it. I may not be perfect, but I’m a lot better at it now than I was, that’s for sure.

Being able to express yourself clearly and concisely in writing is an essential skill to develop, and the best way to develop it is to practise, practise and practice some more.

Writing is about communication, and communication is one of the most important skills for you to develop if you have any ambition for getting on in life.

Take every opportunity you have to write. Start a blog, write for a magazine, or write to a pen pal; just do whatever it takes.

The more you write, the better you’ll get, I promise you.

8. Practise public speaking

Speaking in front of a crowd, even a small one, can be daunting, especially for the first time.

However, this is another skill best developed with practice.

It’s also a skill that is essential the higher up the career ladder you progress.

So take every opportunity to practise. Read a lesson at your local church, join the Toastmasters, become an after-dinner speaker, or do whatever you can to get plenty of practice.

It’s another essential skill that is best developed early in life.

9. You’re not your job

advice-for-young-peopleWhenever we meet someone new, we’re often asked what we do for a living.

Our response to that question is that we’re a lawyer, an engineer, an accountant, or whatever. This can lead us to think that our identity is defined by what we do for a living at the present time.

And indeed, other people can often pigeonhole us in their perception of us based on what they think we actually do for a living.

However, we all have many dimensions to our personalities, and we’re not defined by our jobs alone.

I may be an engineer, but I’m also a businessman. Equally, I’m a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a cousin, a friend, a blogger, a Samaritan, et cetera.

And I’ve been many things in the past too, including a board director, a student, I’ve worked in retail, I’ve worked in the gaming industry, I was once a school caretaker, I’ve lived and worked in many countries, and so on.

I’m a multidimensional person, and so is everyone else.

We’re the sum of all the things we are, all the things we’ve done, and all the experiences we’ve had.

Our identities are not, and should not, be limited by the job we’re doing at any given time.

10. Learn to manage money

The problem with classroom learning is that very little of what you learn at school, college, or university is of much real use to you once you leave the formal education system.

They teach you about things you’ll never use, and yet they fail to teach you about things that will matter to you in the real world.

Things you’ll never learn at school include:

  • What constitutes a decent income?
  • How to earn a decent income?
  • How to budget to cover your outgoings
  • How to apply for a mortgage
  • What is insurance, what does it cost, and why do you need it?
  • The difference between saving and investing.
  • Asset classes and how to invest?
  • How to build wealth and financial independence.

You must learn how to manage money. And you must learn as much as you can about money as soon as you can.

Being young, it’s very easy for the money coming into your life to disappear as quickly as it arrives. However, I can tell you that mismanaging your money is the way to the poor house. Your primary aim should be learning to manage your money effectively and building wealth.

The building of wealth is the way to financial independence. And once you’re financially independent, you get to choose what you do and when you do it.

11. Know when to walk away

Sometimes things just don’t work out. You try hard to make them work, and you do your very best. However, at some point, you have to recognise that investing any more time and effort into a given activity is simply not the right thing to do.

If something just isn’t working for whatever reason, then it’s better for everyone if you just draw a line under it and move on.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a job or a bad relationship. If it’s making you unhappy, if you just can’t make it work, then you don’t need any other reason to decide that enough is enough.

Yes, your decision may cause some upset at the time, but everyone will be happier in the long term.

Never be afraid to move on when you think it’s necessary.

12. Find a mentor

When you’re young and starting your career, you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself.

It’s a legitimate strategy to learn as much as you can from the experience of others. I wish I’d found myself a decent mentor early on.

An experienced, non-judgmental, friendly ear with whom problems and their potential solutions can be explored regularly.

Find yourself a decent mentor as quickly as possible.

Having a mentor is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and a sign that you’re willing and able to learn from others.

Learning is a lifelong process. No one starts as the finished article. And anything you can learn from a wiser, older head can only help you navigate the choppy waters of life and work.

And don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor. If nothing else, they’ll be flattered you asked, and they’ll probably be keener to help you than you might imagine.

13. Trust your instincts

Your gut instinct is a better barometer than you might imagine, too.

If it feels wrong, it usually is wrong. Certainly, it’s likely to be wrong for you.

Then again, regardless of anything negative you’re getting from other people, if your instinct says you can do it, give it a go. Chances are you will succeed.

Your gut instinct is your friend.

14. Rise to the challenge

As we negotiate the stormy road that’s life, the challenges we face can often seem daunting. And we can often wish for something a little easier.

However, by rising to the challenges we face, we grow as people. We learn, and we build experience. And as suggested earlier, experience is a valuable commodity.

If we’re solving the hardest problems, we’ll be stretching ourselves as much as we can.

We add value to others and therefore increase our income by solving problems for them.

If you become the ‘go-to’ person for solving the hardest problems, then you can earn a very good living, I promise you.

Don’t be afraid to tackle the hardest problems. You can only gain from the experience.

15. Nurture your network

There’s an old saying that says, No man is an island. Human beings are social animals, and we need each other. Your network of friends and business contacts is important, and it can be beneficial to you.

However, it’s not about take, take, take.

A network must be nurtured, and you must give before you can reasonably expect to receive. By doing favours occasionally, you’ll always get help when you need it.

So value your network, help people when you can, socialise with people, and take the time to build lasting relationships.

16. Schedule some ‘me time’

Life can be all-consuming if you’re not careful. When you have a demanding job and a family, it can all be quite stressful at times.

You can burn out very quickly if you’re not careful.

Work and family are important, of course, but that shouldn’t mean you damage your health and well-being or your relationship with your family in the process.

So make sure you factor into your schedule a little ‘me time’ regularly. And make time for your loved ones, too.

It’s not just a good idea; it’s essential.

Please share this post with your friends

Did you find this article interesting and useful, dear reader?

If so, then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

So go on, please share it now. If you do, I’ll be forever grateful, and you’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

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The purpose of life: What’s it really all about?

THE PURPOSE OF LIFEToday, I want to explore the purpose of life. To me, life must have a purpose. Why are we here?

What’s life all about when it all comes down to it?

Should life just be a treadmill of meeting other people’s expectations, or should our aim simply be to lead lives that make us happy?

The purpose of life

What does life mean to you, dear reader?

Do you ever feel that you’re just living life on a treadmill, constantly running to meet the expectations of everyone around you?

Perhaps you worry about what other people think about you. If you do, you’re certainly not alone.

Too many people waste their time worrying about what others think of them.

If only they realised that other people spend little or no time thinking about them at all.

Your approach is just as valid as the next person’s

Most people are too busy trying to deal with their own lives. They don’t have the time to think much about anyone else’s life.

So why not just be yourself and lead your own life on your terms?  No law says you must lead the life others think you should lead.

Your approach to life is just as valid as the next person’s, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you’re free to choose how you live.

Don’t try to be something you’re not

You can only be the person you are. Anything else would be fake, wouldn’t it?

Just be yourself and accept yourself for the person you are. You’re a true original, and you can be truly proud of that.

Remind yourself frequently that you’re better than you think you are and that you’re as good as anyone.

Constantly reinforce your self-belief

If you haven’t got much self-belief right now, then a sensible strategy would be to fake it until it happens naturally. And that will come with the little successes you’ll achieve over time.

Never consciously try to impress anyone else. It doesn’t get you anywhere worth going. Just do what comes naturally to you.

You’re only going to have this one life, so live it on your terms. Enjoy your life for what it is and make the most of it.

Don’t let life happen, make it happen

Never, ever just let life happen to you; decide on the life you want and then make it happen.

It’s important to know what you want, and you should never give up until you get it.

Always be you, but make it the best version of you.

And remember this: an original is always more impressive than a copy. So don’t copy other people. Be original.

Life begins outside your comfort zone

And remember this too: life begins once you’ve stepped beyond your comfort zone. That’s where the real challenges are, and that’s where you will grow.

And you must never stop growing.

So step outside your comfort zone, look those challenges in the eye, and just give them a wink.

You’re more than a match for them all. They should be quaking in their boots.

Go on, live life! Now!

It’s later than you think.

Please share this post with your friends

THE PURPOSE OF LIFEIf you found this blog post interesting, then please share it on social media with your friends.

When you share, everyone wins.

Go on, please share it now, and I’ll be forever grateful.

You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you, dear reader.

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How to get along with people and make the world better

How to get along with peopleHow to get along with people? It’s a classic problem. We don’t have to like people, but life’s better if we can get along with them. But how?

Life’s great challenge:

Dear reader, do you have problems getting along with other people?

Do you find it difficult to deal with some people as you go about your daily routine?

Well, it’s true; some people can be challenging and quite difficult at times. I’m sure most readers will have had that experience occasionally.

However, in my experience, most people just want you to be nice to them. They want to be respected for who they are and treated with courtesy.

I’ve learned over the years that if you respect people and take a genuine interest in their lives, then generally they’ll respond warmly to you. Not all, perhaps, but certainly most people.

How to get along with people:

Think about it.

We all just want to be treated with courtesy and respect and appreciated for who we are and what we do, don’t we? Certainly, I do. Don’t you, dear reader?

If we accept that as true, then the way to get along with other people is not difficult, surely?

The trick is to treat people with courtesy and respect, regardless of who they are or what they do. Treat them as you would prefer to be treated.

Be kind and considerate to them as individuals, and there’s a good chance that they’ll treat you well too.

You don’t have to like people, but life’s better if you can get along with them. And if you can get along with them and get to know them, then you might just get to like them in time as well.

The world can be a better place:

If we can all get along, then it will make the world a better place.

If we can all be kind and considerate to our fellow human beings, then we could have a world free from strife and tension.

So go on, show people some respect, show them a little appreciation, take an interest in them for who they are and what they do, and above all, never underestimate the power of a thank you.

I always feel better if I think I’m appreciated, and I’m sure you do too. We all do.

So the trick to getting along with people is simply to treat them as you would prefer them to treat you. It works every time for me.

And I’m confident that it will work well for you too, dear reader.

So go on, make every effort to get along with people, and make the world a better place.

Please share this post with your friends:

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When you share, everyone wins.

Go on, please share it now, and I’ll be forever grateful.

You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you, dear reader.

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How to Build Character: 11 Steps to Success

How to build characterHow to build character is a question many people ask me frequently.

Whether it’s someone seeking to build their character or wanting to help improve someone else’s character, it’s a question that concerns many of us.

However, there is an obvious supplementary question. What do we mean by character?

There’s a difference between being a character and being a person of character.

The former expression just refers to someone being a little bit eccentric, perhaps a natural wit, or even a raconteur. However, that’s not the subject of this post, despite those being admirable qualities, of course.

The point being considered here is how to become a person of character.

So what does it mean to be a person of character?

First of all, people of character usually do what is right regardless of whether they’re being watched or not.

They also display traits such as honesty, integrity, courage, manners, self-reliance, commitment, and determination.

The comedian Will Rogers once jokingly observed that to be of character, people should “live in such a way that they wouldn’t be ashamed to sell their parrot to the town gossip.

So being of good character is an important thing to be, I think.

Developing good character:

If achieving sustained success is your aim, then talent alone isn’t enough. Talent might get you into the limelight briefly, but without strong character, you’re unlikely to remain there for too long.

The process of developing good character is one that is ongoing too. So you have to keep working on it.

Essentially, a person’s character is composed of three things:

  1. Values: having the right values and knowing what matters most.
  2. Doing what is right: even when no one is watching.
  3. Being a decent person: means showing wisdom, honesty, integrity, love, humility, loyalty, courage, compassion, empathy, self-awareness, and a willingness to recognize fair criticism.

We all have at least some work to do if we are to become and remain people of good character.

This is an area where constant improvement is necessary, however good you may be right now.

Some people may be well on the way to being of good character, while others may still have a lot of work to do.

However, those that are still some way off can change, and they can grow in character. You can be better if you want to be better, and you can practice the habits necessary. These include:-

How to build character:

How to build character1. Decide you’ll be better:

As mature adults, our first duty is to take care of ourselves and to be the best people we can be. To live lives worthy of respect. So decide to be the person you really could be.

2. Ask searching questions:

It is a fact that too many people go to their graves with their full potential unrealized.

They never quite develop their characters to the point where they leave a genuine legacy and an example for others to follow.

Ask yourself this question: If I were to die tomorrow, how would I be remembered at my funeral?

What would people say about you? What qualities would they use to describe you?

How would you prefer to be remembered?

What would you like people to say about you? And how can you change now to ensure they do?

Depending on the answers to those questions, you may well decide to make a few changes in your life.

3. Step out of your comfort zone:

We grow as people in that area beyond our comfort zone.

So, set yourself some challenges that stretch you.

Don’t fear failure. There’s no such thing. Just opportunities to learn and start again better prepared.

Conquering the challenges you set yourself will help you grow in character.

4. Life-long learning:

It doesn’t matter how good you are; there’s always room for improvement.

Improvement comes through education and learning, whether formal or informal.

That valuable commodity known as experience is gained by doing things, perhaps making some mistakes, and then learning the lessons from those mistakes.

Nothing is more valuable to us than the lessons we learn from the mistakes we make. Those are lessons we’ll never forget.

5. Work on yourself:

To quote the late, great Jim Rohn,Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.We’re all works in progress. Make sure you keep getting better.

Don’t leave them saying, She used to be really good. When they speak of you, make sure they say, “She just keeps getting better. She’s an example to us all. That applies equally to ‘He’ too, of course.

6. Never fear failure:

How often are we reluctant to try something for fear that we might fail?

But what is failure? It’s just an outcome we didn’t want and a lesson to be learned.

So we should embrace our failures. We can use them to our advantage.

If we’re willing to try again, we do so with more information and experience.

Failure is not something to fear; it’s something that allows us to learn.

So, never, ever fear failure.

7. Pursue excellence:

If anything is worth doing, then it’s worth doing properly. The way you live your life is no exception.

8. Add value:

Our contribution to society is in the value we add.

That might be in the example we set or the work that we produce.

We don’t get paid for the hour. What we actually get paid for is the value that we put into the hour. So make sure you leave every situation better than you found it.

9. Accept every challenge:

Never underestimate the importance of taking on a challenge.

A challenge provides us with experience through which we’ll learn powerful lessons.

It’s also the means through which character is developed in the process.

Not only will you learn more about your character, but you’ll also learn about your capacity to achieve.

10. Be determined:

If success is your aim, it won’t happen without hard work and determination.

Being good is not enough. You must be determined to get to where you want to go. That’s everything if success is your aim.

11. Be persistent:

Never accept an answer unless it’s the one you want.

And never accept any outcome as the final outcome unless it’s the one that you want.

Most importantly, never quit until you get to where you want to be or you’ve achieved the goal that you set for yourself.

Remember, winners never quit, and quitters never win.

You can be the winner you can be with determination and hard work.

Where to go from here?

If you recognize the need to change, start with your values.

What values will you live by from now until you are dead?

Now, of course, it’s not just about values, but value too. Be a person with values and of value.

So, what value will you add to the lives of others from now on?

Then think about challenges you could take on to build your character.

In taking on a challenge, we can often surprise ourselves in terms of just how far we can go.

Through a challenge, you can learn new skills, sharpen existing skills, and improve your self-confidence.

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10 very useful tips to be successful in life

TIPS TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFELooking for some useful tips to be successful in life, dear reader? What habits should you develop? Today I offer you my top 10 list.

What’s the key to success?

Well, I can tell you right now that there’s no one, single thing that on its own will ensure that you enjoy some personal success. There’s no silver bullet, I’m afraid.

However, there are things you can do and habits you can develop that will help you to become the successful person you really could be.

Dear reader, you can be successful and it’s never too late. Other people succeed, so why not you?

Know what you want and know why:

Essentially success comes from knowing what you want and knowing why.

If you establish some goals and take a disciplined approach towards achieving those goals then you’re on your way.

However, you’ll also need to adopt some good habits that will help you achieve those goals and help you to keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Adopting good habits will also mark you out as a role model for others too, which means you’ll be a leader.

Tips to be successful in life:

Here is my list of the top 10 tips to be successful in life.

These are good habits you really ought to consider developing from now on:-

1. Believe in yourself:

You must believe in yourself, dear reader. That’s a given if success is your aim. If you don’t believe in yourself then why would anyone else believe in you?

If you lack self-belief then you must start reinforcing a belief in yourself straightaway with a daily mantra.

Every morning and every evening go to your bathroom mirror and repeat the following to yourself 10 times each time:-

“I’m as good as anyone and I’m better than most. I will be a success.”

It is essential that you remind yourself of this constantly.

Self-belief is an essential ingredient if you’re going to succeed. Reminding yourself that you’re as good as anyone will help reinforce self-belief in both your conscious and subconscious minds.

Believing in yourself and your ability to succeed is more important than anything else. It is if success is your aim, I can tell you that from experience.

2. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else:

You are who you are and you can only be the person you are. Anything else would be a fake.

You have your own special qualities and no one else on earth is quite like you. You have your own strengths and of course, you have a few weaknesses too. Everyone does.

Other people have their own unique qualities too, of course. However, that doesn’t mean they’re better than you.

They’re just different. You can’t be them, so don’t try. And they can’t be you either. So concentrate on being yourself. Everyone else is taken.

If you want to be a star, then you must shine for being you and for the special magic that only you can bring to this world. You’re unique, so take pride in that and put your best foot forward.

Never compare yourself to anyone else and never fret if you feel that you can’t match someone else in some particular way. Remember, there will be ways in which they cannot match you either. 

3. Always keep the main thing the main thing:

Whether you like it or not you’ll be judged by what you deliver and the value you add.

If your job is to paint my house, then I will judge you on how well you’ve painted my house.

I don’t care how much help you might have given to my neighbour. If you’ve painted my house badly or the job hasn’t been done properly then you’ve failed as far as I’m concerned. Do the job badly and I will not be happy.

Often in the workplace, our inability to say “No” leads us to be completely distracted by a request to help someone else.

And that distraction can result in us failing to do something that would have moved us closer to the successful conclusion of one of the goals we’ve set for ourselves.

Losing sight of our own high-value tasks can make us less productive and less valuable in the eyes of our employers. Workplace distractions can lead to us helping other people achieve their objectives at the expense of our own if we’re not careful.

Being a team player is important of course and there will be occasions when providing assistance to a colleague is the right thing to do for the greater good of the team. However, it should never, ever be at the expense of you delivering what you will be expected to deliver regardless.

You’re judged by what you deliver, so never lose focus on what you’re expected to do.

Never be afraid to be assertive. You don’t have to be chippy, unpleasant or impolite. You just have to say something like, “Look I’m really sorry, I would love to help you but I have this to complete by 5 pm” or whatever.

Remember, appearing to be reasonable is much better, for you, than trying to be too reasonable.

Always, always keep the main thing the main thing.

Being too helpful may help others but it probably won’t help you.

It will however increase your stress levels if you’re not careful.

Focus on your own goals, ruthlessly. 

4. Accept that you will make mistakes occasionally:

No professional likes to make mistakes.

Nevertheless, they are inevitable occasionally. That’s a fact of life.

No one is so perfect they can avoid mistakes completely. And no one ever achieved anything without making a few mistakes along the way.

So it’s fine to make mistakes occasionally providing you don’t make too many and providing you don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.

When you’ve made a mistake, it’s important, to be honest, accept it, and above all learn from it.

Making mistakes is all part of us gaining that valuable commodity known as experience.

So just do your best and accept that, like everyone else, you’re not perfect nor will you ever be.

However remember this; just because you’re not perfect, it doesn’t mean you cannot be exceptional at what you do. As professionals, we always strive to get better at what we do.

Mastery of your craft is a worthy aim and one which requires constant study and practice, and occasionally making mistakes. 

5. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks:

Risk and reward go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

You’ll never achieve anything exceptional if you always play it safe. Well, not unless you’re very, very lucky anyway.

Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts and go for it.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t weigh up the pros and cons before you take action. It’s fine to consider the potential consequences before you take a risk. Equally, it’s fine to consider the odds of achieving a positive outcome and whether the potential reward merits the degree of risk involved.

Consider risk carefully but don’t dwell on it too long. Analysis shouldn’t replace action. You cannot get to second base unless you take your foot off first base and go for it.

And anytime you take a risk don’t panic if initially, things don’t go quite as you’d imagined.

If you’ve used your judgement with care then there’s every possibility that you’ll get the outcome you want.

So hold your nerve and just believe in yourself.

You may not get it right every time but you’ll get it right more than you get it wrong. And even when you’re wrong you’ll learn a lesson.

Get it right and you’ll be that much closer to achieving a goal.

So be willing to take a calculated risk when necessary. 

6. Learn from experience:

As suggested earlier, experience is a valuable commodity.

It’s the by-product of making mistakes and taking risks. It’s the invaluable benefit we derive when things don’t quite work out as we’d intended.

The most important thing about experience is that we learn from it.

And of course, we can learn from seeing others make mistakes too, as well as from anything we’ve done ourselves.

The lessons we get from real experience are far more valuable to us than anything anyone can tell us, or anything we can read in a book for that matter.

It’s the education we get at the University of Life and the School of Hard Knocks.

However, remember this; you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your mistakes.

When you make a mistake, it makes sense, to be honest with yourself and others of course. Beyond that, you should not feel the need to explain yourself in detail.

Mistakes happen and no one starts out with the intention of getting something wrong. If you get an outcome you didn’t want then just take it on the chin, learn the lesson and move on.

Everyone makes mistakes occasionally and you’re no different. To err is human. That’s life. 

7. Never take anything personally:

Apparently, the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once observed that “Hell is other people.

I’m sure there are times when we all feel that he may have had a point.

We’re all struggling to get through life as best we can and life’s never easy for anyone. Everyone wants what they believe to be their fair share of life’s ‘pie’. Some people want your share too.

Sometimes that can leave us feeling like everyone is giving us grief and deliberately making life more difficult than it needs to be.

However, mostly in our dealings with people, there’s nothing personal.

Life is just ‘dog-eat-dog’. People may be a little insensitive at times, as they pursue their own agenda, but generally, they’re not out to hurt us specifically.

So if it’s not personal, then never take it personally.

And on those rare occasions when it does prove to be personal, don’t give them the satisfaction of a reaction or showing that they’ve got to you.

Look them in the eye and show them that it doesn’t bother you. Your message has to be, I’m made of steel. You’ll have to try harder than that if you’re going to penetrate my shield. 

8. If you’re digging a hole for yourself, stop digging:

When you realise you’re digging a hole for yourself, you have two choices:-

  1. You can keep digging and the hole in which you find yourself will simply get bigger and more problematic; or
  2. You can recognize the situation for what it is and stop digging immediately.

It is always best to stop digging immediately, in my experience.

When you stop digging you might have a few fences to mend, of course.

Certainly, you’ll have to accept responsibility.

And you’ll probably have to apologize to some people, depending on the circumstances.

Regardless of what it all means, it’s always better to recognize a bad situation for what it is and take it on the chin, rather than making everything even worse.

On the positive side, having the ability to recognize when you’re digging a hole for yourself and having the maturity to deal with the consequences is a sign of self-confidence. That’s something for which you’ll gain other people’s respect.

In my experience, people will respect you if you’re prepared to say, “Hey, you know what, I’ve made a bit of a mess of this one, so I’ll stop right here and let’s try again. Sorry but like everyone else, I’m not perfect and I make mistakes occasionally.

Just because you didn’t quite get it right doesn’t mean you cannot show confidence in how you respond.

Respond in the right way and your confidence will be well placed. 

9. Let go of any anger:

We all get angry occasionally but anger never gets you any place worth going.

React in anger and almost certainly you’ll regret it.

That’s not to suggest that you should not react at all. However, before you react let the anger subside. Just let it go.

Leave it for 24 hours if necessary, until you’re better able to reflect with a calm head. There’s a lot to be said for ‘sleeping on it’ in my experience.

That way you’re better placed to use your judgement carefully and make rational decisions.

In making decisions, revenge should not form any part of how you plan to react.

Revenge won’t get you to any place worth going either and you’ll almost certainly regret that too.

10. Learn to switch off:

We all need a little ‘me time’ regularly, otherwise, we’ll burn out.

We all need time to relax and recharge our batteries.

That means switching off completely.

By doing that one of the great benefits is that we gain a fresh perspective on whatever’s happening in our lives.

Surprisingly perhaps we’ll also get plenty of new ideas in the process.

In fact, you’ll find you get some of your best ideas when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas. That’s ironic I know but it’s true, in my experience. 

Bonus tip:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.

If you can’t laugh at yourself occasionally you might just be missing out on the funniest thing happening at that moment. Why miss out on a good laugh?

When you’re working, take your job seriously, but never yourself.

Concluding remarks:

So there you have it. If you want to be successful, start by developing good habits.

This list of tips would be a good start but you will find that there are plenty of others too.

Above all else, make sure you’re adding value to everything you do. Our purpose in life should be to add value to the lives of others.

If you’re adding genuine value then you can’t go too far wrong.

So, dear reader, where do you add the most value and what are your goals?

You should know the answers to these questions and you should write them down.

If you don’t know, it’s time to find some answers.

Nothing ever happens by accident. You have to make it happen.

You can be successful, everyone can, but it requires you to know where you’re going; to know why you’re going there, and to be prepared to work very hard until you get there.

You can do it, dear reader. So, good luck!

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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, a bit defensive 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 is 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 feeling 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 from 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 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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4 cornerstones for how to speak so people will listen

How to speak so people will listenHow to speak so people will listen is a common challenge many of us face on a daily basis.

There’s an old saying that states that; it’s not just what you say but the way that you say it.

And it’s very true, how something is said is as important as the words being spoken.

Now just think about that for a second. We can use exactly the same words in different ways and we will deliver completely different messages.

How something is said also has an impact on whether people listen to us or not. We’ve all met engaging people who capture our attention and we’ve all met a few boring people too, I’m sure.

In the video included here, Julian Treasure offers some excellent insight into how to speak so people will listen to you.

His underlying message in the video is that we must learn to speak with power to get our messages across to other people.

Julian Treasure suggests that there are a number of habits we must avoid if we are to speak with power.

He says in his view there are Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking, albeit he does note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. His deadly seven are as follows:-

  1. Gossip: Speaking in an unkind way about other people.
  2. Judging: People are unlikely to listen if they feel they’re being judged.
  3. Negativity: It’s hard to listen to people with a negative attitude.
  4. Complaining: It’s hard to listen to a moaner too.
  5. Excuses: You won’t be taken seriously if blame is always elsewhere.
  6. Exaggeration: This can border on lying and who listens to a liar?
  7. Dogmatism: Where facts are confused with opinions.

So, can we change if we suffer from all or some of these deadly sins?

Yes, of course, but it does take a little work and a better understanding of how improvements can be achieved.

How to speak so people will listen:

In the video, Julian explains that there are four cornerstones to powerful speech. He uses the mnemonic HAIL to explain these as follows:-

  1. Honesty: Being clear and straight
  2. Authenticity: Being real and being yourself
  3. Integrity: Being true to your word
  4. Love: Wishing people well. And we all like to be appreciated, surely?

However understanding these cornerstones is only the beginning of the process because, as stated earlier, how you say what you’ve got to say is important too.

Julian then discusses aspects of speaking such as Register; Timbre; Prosody; Pace; Pitch; Volume; and the use of Silence. To address many of these issues you may need the help of a voice coach of course but knowing about them is a good start.

Julian also suggests some simple voice warm-up exercises for you to use before you give a speech. They’re so easy you can use them immediately.

Being a TEDTalk you’d expect this video to be both interesting and useful and it doesn’t disappoint. I found Julian Treasure’s ideas fascinating and if you’re someone who regularly speaks in front of an audience, large or small, then I am confident that you’ll find this video helpful.

This video has had over 22 million views on YouTube so clearly, Julian Treasure’s ideas have resonated with a significant audience already.

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