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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How to love your job when you hate it

How to love your job when you hate itHow to love your job when you hate it? A question I’ve been asked numerous times. My response is always the same. The best way to appreciate the job you have is to imagine your life without it.

That starts with taking a closer look at what’s good about it.

Life’s too short to hate your job:

Do you hate your job, dear reader?

Do you tell everyone, at every opportunity, that you hate your job?

By telling everyone you hate your job, do you imagine they’ll be impressed or, in some way, feel sympathy for you?

Maybe you think that by doing this, your fellow workers will regard you as someone unafraid to speak their mind.

Perhaps you think that in the eyes of your fellow workers, this approach will make you look good.

Hold that thought, and then consider this question. How do you feel about working with someone else who’s always moaning about how unhappy they are at their job?

Do you admire that person?

Do they impress you with their negativity?

I guess that your response to my question will be negative. I’m sure you’ll be unimpressed with such people. After all, most of us are.

Everyone hates a moaner:

If you imagined that moaning about how unhappy you are was the best way to get people on your side, then seriously, you need to think again. Everyone hates a moaner, whatever indications you’ve heard to the contrary. Let me tell you this: no one’s impressed.

Your colleagues may not say so, but they’ll find your negativity irritating at the very least. It’s probably driving them all nuts.

Life’s short, and it’s hard enough for most people. So having some moaning Minnie constantly bringing them down just makes life harder.

Constant negativity is just a pain in the rear for most people.

Imagine your life without your job:

If your current mindset means you hate your job right now, then the first thing to do is start changing that mindset. Start by looking at your job differently.

How?

Well, imagine your life without your current job. What would that be like? Think about that question carefully, and be honest with yourself.

Without your job, you’d have nothing to do; no reason to get out of bed; nowhere to go; no sense of purpose; nothing to challenge you; no money; and you’d be without the camaraderie of your fellow workers. You’d probably feel lonely and lack any real social life too.

How would that make you feel?

Would you feel better about yourself without those things?

I’m sure if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realise that work gives us far more than we realise. I don’t think you’d be happy without all those things mentioned above.

So the best way to begin appreciating your job is to imagine your life without it.

No job is perfect:

Most jobs come with an element of frustration and a spoonful of tedium. That’s life.

No job is perfect, but no job is all bad either.

It’s just a matter of how you choose to look at things.

If you focus on the bad things, then everything will seem bad. However, if you focus on the good bits, then your job can begin to look very different, and you’ll start to feel more positive about your work.

The fact is, we all need to do something with our time, surely?

Even millionaires need something to fill their time.

There are only so many holidays you can take and so much shopping you can do.

Eventually, everyone needs a sense of purpose, and we all want to feel that we’re making a contribution to the world around us.

Life’s a short movie:

Life’s far too short to be unhappy.

So if you hate your job, then you have two choices:

  1. You find another job, or
  2. You start looking differently at your current job.

And before you start searching the vacancy columns or the job websites, think carefully about what you might be throwing away should you leave your current job.

Moving to another job doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be any happier.

Neither will it guarantee that you’ll find the perfect job for you.

So it’s worth thinking seriously about your current job first. At least it’s the devil you know.

Can you begin to look at your current job differently? Perhaps you need a little help.

I really hate my job:

Here’s a great motivational speech from the one and only Zig Ziglar that you might find very useful.

It’s full of great advice and well worth a few minutes of your time.

If you don’t like your job right now, then you really should watch it.

Even if you do like your job, watch it anyway. I found it truly inspirational. So take a look at it now.

Further Listening:

I’m a huge fan of Zig Ziglar but I recognize that he had an evangelical presentation style that’s not to everyone’s taste.

However, if you can get beyond that presentation style, then his words are inspirational and informative.

I particularly like his audiobooks, which I listen to constantly when I’m driving.

One audiobook I can recommend is:

The Born to Win Seminar

Listen to this, and I promise you it will help you discover your untapped greatness and guide you towards greater success in life.

I bought my own copy of this audio program for my own personal library, and it was well worth the price. I listen to it over and over again, and I always find something new in his words.

You can check this audio program if you just CLICK HERE.

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How to get motivated and achieve big things

How-to-get-motivatedHow to get motivated and achieve big things is a common question I’m asked. Coming up with ideas is easy, but getting motivated can be much harder.

Do you have a problem getting motivated? You know what you’d like to do, but you just can’t seem to get going.

Many people feel this way, and, if I’m honest, I can be like that too. So whenever I struggle to get going, I like to watch a motivational video or listen to a motivational podcast or audiobook.

When I need a little push, I listen to people who inspire me. People like Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy.

And here’s another inspiring speaker from TEDxVirginiaTech. In this video, Scott Geller talks about the psychology of self-motivation. I found this very useful, and I hope you will too.  Certainly, it’s worth your time to listen to it.

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How to stop worrying and start living

How-to-stop-worrying.webpWe all tend to worry a bit more than we should.

Worrying is natural, but it is rarely helpful. It just adds to our stress levels. And what’s the worst thing that can happen anyway?

And even if it did happen, would worrying have stopped it from happening?

Life’s too short to stress ourselves out with worry.

The question is, how do we stop ourselves from worrying? Well, consider this idea.

Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a very useful guide. This book is a great personal development text and it’s well worth reading. I can strongly recommend it to you.

How to stop worrying:

However, until you have the chance to read it this animated video provides a useful summary of the key ideas in the book.

So I can recommend you watch this video now and then read the book whenever you get the chance.

Further reading:

Readers serious about their own personal development will be keen to establish their own small library of motivational resources I’m sure.

Dale Carnegie’s book would be an essential addition to any personal development library and it can be purchased HERE.

Go on, check it out now whilst it’s fresh in your mind.

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How to find and do work you love, now and forever

How to find and do work you loveHow to find and do work you love? A great question for all you very intelligent readers to contemplate today.

Now not everyone will find the answer of course but most people frequently ask this question in my experience.

Job satisfaction:

How many people would say they get job satisfaction from their work, in percentage terms?

Apparently, it’s only around 20%.

That would suggest that 80% of all people hate their jobs.

If true, I think that matters and it’s especially relevant to society if you think about it. Why?

Quite simply because it suggests that most people will not be quite as productive as they might otherwise be. Let’s face it, you can’t really be at your most productive if you’re not happy in your job.

A sense of purpose:

So dear reader, which side are you on?

Does your workplace you in the 20% who enjoy job satisfaction or are you one of the 80%?

Essentially job satisfaction comes as a result of doing work that gives us a sense of purpose.

If we have a genuine sense of purpose, we’ll have a strong desire to do our work well. And we can only do it to the best of our ability if it really matters to us.

Doing our work well matters because that’s how we make a difference.

Hence that’s how we make a contribution and leave a legacy behind us.

So in that sense job satisfaction certainly matters.

Consider your work:

Does your work really matter to you?

And does it give you a sense of purpose? Perhaps it’s simply the means for paying your bills?

Do you get out of bed each morning looking forward to the day ahead?

No job is ever perfect but, given work takes up a third of our lives, it’s essential that we enjoy what we do and derive at least some job satisfaction from it.

Maybe there’ll be some elements of a given job we dislike but mostly we should enjoy our work because that way we’re better placed to do it well.

In the inspirational TEDx Talk video embedded below, Scott Dinsmore explains how in the early part of his career he was encouraged to do any job just to build up his resumé.

However, he very quickly realized that this approach was unwise and resulted in no job satisfaction.

He makes his point with an excellent quote from Warren Buffett who said, “Taking any job just to build your resumé is like putting off sex until your old age.”

Now, why would that make sense?

Experience is important of course but work should not just be about building your resumé.

Work should be about adding value and making a meaningful contribution to society.

It should be about using your skills and natural talent to make a difference to the lives of others.

So, if success is your aim then the work you do must matter to you.

If you find work you enjoy then job satisfaction will follow.

Put simply, if you like the work you do you’ll do it well. And if you do it well people will notice. And once people begin to notice you then you’re on your way to achieving real success.

Knowledge required:

The trick is to find work that you can’t not do.

Something you’d happily do for nothing if you couldn’t find someone to pay you to do it.

That’s the basis for real job satisfaction.

All of this is more easily said than done of course.

Perhaps you’ve no idea about what matters to you in terms of work.

If you’re relatively young and new to the world of work how could you possibly know? In that case, you need to start improving your basic knowledge and awareness.

1. Know yourself:

A good starting point for improving your knowledge is becoming a self-expert. Knowing just what you have in your arsenal.

  • What are your unique strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What fills you with enthusiasm?
  • What fills you with dread?
  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you hate doing?

If I asked someone you knew well to tell me what you’re good at what would they say?

  • For what activity do they regard you as the ‘go to’ person?
  • What do they regularly thank you for?
  • What would you do for fun if you couldn’t do it for a living?
  • On what activity can you lose yourself for hours at a time?

By answering these questions and others like them you’ll get a better idea of what you’re looking for. And let’s face it, if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’ll never find it.

2. Know your values:

What do you regard as your set of values? What moral framework matters to you when you’re making decisions?

What would you not do simply because you wouldn’t want to disappoint your family? What would make you feel proud if you were to tell your family that’s what you’re doing?

Anything you choose to do should be congruent with your own set of values.

3. Know your experiences:

The most powerful lessons in life come from the mistakes we make. The lessons we learn from our own mistakes and the things we’ve done are collectively known as experience. And experience is a valuable commodity.

Pay attention to your experience. Think about the things you’ve done right. Think about the things you’ve done wrong.

When have you felt completely in control of a situation regardless of the challenges you face?

When have you felt completely out of your depth?

Think about the things you’ve enjoyed doing. Think about those activities you really hated.

4. Know what matters to you:

In crude but simple language the underlying question here is, “What is it that you actually DO ‘give a shit’ about?

We tend to do stuff because other people suggest it’s what we should be doing. However, it really should be about what actually matters to us.

Identify what it is that makes you come alive and makes you feel energized.

John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi famously said, “Playing the guitar is all very well John but you’ll never make a living at it.

Fortunately, John didn’t listen to her and his guitar helped him to make a very lucrative living because he really enjoyed writing songs and playing music.

In fact, his creative output continues to generate millions of dollars for his estate 40 years after his death.

John Lennon did well because he did something he enjoyed doing and he didn’t allow himself to be influenced by those who thought he should pursue a different line of work.

Confidence compounds:

By working to your strengths your confidence will grow.

Each success you have will improve your confidence. And as your confidence grows, one success will lead to another. It’s a virtuous circle.

Environment matters too:

Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Personally, I think this is true.

The people around you really do matter.

They influence you and their attitude rubs off on you.

Human beings are social animals and we exist within groups. We also have to fit into the group otherwise we’re very quickly ostracized by other group members.

Hang around with people who inspire possibility. People who lift you up and not pull you down. Mix with people who will influence you in a positive way. Find role models from whom you can learn.

How to find and do work you love:

Scott Dinsmore’s mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing.

If you can find the work you are compelled to do then you can add real value to your fellow human beings.

Discover what you’re really meant to do and you’ll be on to a winner.

You’ll also get maximum job satisfaction.

Therefore in conclusion, if you’ve yet to find what you’re looking for then keep looking until you do.

In the meantime, I recommend that you watch the video. It is thought-provoking and compelling and it will be a good use of your time.

Recommended Reading:

There are plenty of good books that will help you identify your true strengths, as well as help you home in on the work you should be doing.

In the video, Scott Dinsmore suggests Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath as a good book to help you in your quest.

Certainly, it is worth your time, it’s very useful and I have a copy of it in my own personal reference library.

However, allow me to recommend another three excellent texts you might also consider. They are as follows:-

The Life You Were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose Dan Millman

The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore

Find what you were born for: Discover your strengths, forge your own path and live the life you want by Zoe McKey

I have all of these books in my personal library and I’ve found them all extremely useful and helpful and I use them as reference texts all the time.

You can check them out by clicking on the links.

I strongly recommend you take a closer look at them all. You won’t regret it if you do decide to buy your own copies. Check them out now whilst it’s all fresh in your mind.

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This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and 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 for 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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How will your life be measured? Here’s what matters most

How-will-your-life-be-measuredHow will your life be measured? A philosophical question perhaps but an interesting one nevertheless.

Some time ago, I attended the funeral of someone whom I’d known quite well professionally but not at all socially. Someone I liked and respected but I wouldn’t claim to have known them well. Nevertheless, funerals are a time to reflect on someone’s life. A time to consider the impact they’ve had on other people throughout their lives.

The funeral service was held at a large, traditional church in London and it was absolutely crowded.

Listening to the eulogy and associated readings I began to appreciate just how much my late colleague had meant to so many people. It’s fair to say that she meant a lot to many people. The lives of so many people had clearly been blessed by her presence in them.

This experience really made me think.

So in life, what really matters most?

As human beings, we’re all driven to achieve and leave our mark on life before we pass on.

However, we do tend to measure our impact on life in terms of careers and money. With those things it’s fairly easy to keep score, wouldn’t you agree dear reader?

Obviously, careers provide tangible evidence of achievement, or so it seems.

So climbing the greasy pole and increasing our wealth tend to be the measures we use when we consider the idea of success. Nevertheless, as I sat there listening that day I had to ask myself, are these things the most appropriate measure of the lives we lead?

Anything we do that only has a long-term payoff we tend not to measure because there’s no immediate evidence of achievement. We can’t see the immediate impact of the small things we do, so we don’t believe they matter much.

However, I realised that day that they do matter. In fact, they matter a great deal.

It’s all in the little things we do:

A random act of kindness might not mean much to us but to the recipient of our action, it could mean the world. It could have had a profound effect on that individual. And it might prove to be a life-changing experience for that person.

So, how will any of us be remembered?

When our lives have passed, how will they talk about us at our funerals?

People won’t talk about the size of our house or our car but they will talk about how we made them feel. They won’t talk about the importance of our jobs but they will mention how we helped them at a difficult time in their lives.

Perhaps they’ll talk about how we mentored them and how they’re a better person because of the impact we had on their lives. Maybe they’ll say they enjoyed our company and they’ll talk about how they looked forward to seeing us whenever we were around. Perhaps they’ll just mention how we made them smile.

When you think about it, why would we want to be remembered in any other way?

Material possessions are meaningless:

Let’s face it material possessions are meaningless. Equally successful careers are as much a reflection of good fortune as they are of anything we actually did to justify them.

That’s not the case when it comes to the impact we have on the lives of others.

The help we give; the kindness we show; that’s all down to us and our own actions day-to-day.

So how many people we’ve helped seems to me like a much better measure of success than the size of the car we drive or the size of the house in which we live.

Real success in life comes down to the difference we make. How we’ve touched the lives of other people.

Certainly, that’s how I think we’ll be remembered by those who knew us, however much we’re focused on careers, money and material possessions.

How great would it be to be remembered fondly and with respect by all who crossed our paths during our lives?

How will your life be measured?

I remembered my thoughts that day at the funeral when I stumbled upon this video of a presentation given by Clay Christensen at TEDxBoston.

It offers a great perspective on how your life will be measured.

I recommend you watch this video as it’s well worth a little bit of your time.

And after you’ve watched it, I would suggest you reflect on this question, “Should the measure of our lives be just about money and achievement or should it be more about the lives we’ve touched and the people whose lives are better for us having been in them?”

How do you want to be remembered, dear reader?

For me, life’s measure should be in terms of how I’ve touched the lives of other people and not money, career and the size of my house.

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11 wise sayings about life lessons and what they mean

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 useful and 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 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 that 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. 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, 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? It’s 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 like a fool momentarily than proceed in ignorance. You may look like a fool for not knowing but you’ll look like 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. It’s 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 toward 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 form your own opinion or make 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 through the results you deliver.

So go on, show people what you can do.

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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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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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27 Quotes by Steve Jobs to fire your imagination

Quotes-by-Steve-JobsSteve Jobs was an American entrepreneur best known as the driving force behind the success of Apple Inc. Together with Steve Wozniak, he was a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Famously he dropped out of college and proved, if proof were needed, that you don’t necessarily need qualifications or a college degree to make an impact and leave a genuine legacy to the world.

What you need is passion and a desire to do something well and to do it better than everyone else. And Steve Jobs had that in spades.

Sadly Steve Jobs died, far too early, at age 56 on October 5, 2011. His death was due to respiratory arrest related to the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour for which he was being treated at the time.

However, his influence on business and technology was enormous and his ideas resonate with people to this day.

In my opinion, he was one of life’s great thinkers and I think his views on life and work are worth reflecting on.

So here are 27 quotes by Steve Jobs which I think are worth a few minutes of your time.

Read them; reflect on them. And then consider your life and where you’re going. Are you living your life with passion or are you just going through the motions?

As Steve Jobs implied, our time is precious. We must live our own lives in our own way. And we cannot be defined by how other people think we should be. We must be ourselves.

Quotes by Steve Jobs in Video:

Quotes by Steve Jobs (1-10):

  1. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
  2. I want to put a ding in the universe.
  3. We’re just enthusiastic about what we do.
  4. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
  5. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
  6. I believe life is an intelligent thing; that things aren’t random.
  7. We hire people who want to make the best things in the world.
  8. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
  9. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
  10. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Quotes by Steve Jobs (11-20):

  1. Older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?’
  2. Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.
  3. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
  4. Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.
  5. My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
  6. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  7. You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
  8. I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things. It enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback.
  9. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.
  10. We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life.

Quotes by Steve Jobs (21-23):

  1. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
  2. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
  3. That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

Quotes by Steve Jobs (24-27):

  1. Quotes-by-Steve-JobsFor the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
  2. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
  3. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
  4. As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what’s happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don’t seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids.

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