11 wise sayings about life lessons and what they mean

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

I hope you find this interesting.

Wise sayings about life lessons:

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

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

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

Respect people and they’ll appreciate it.

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

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

2. Be contrary and be known. ~Arab Proverb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re all imperfect in some way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People might laugh but so what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experience is the basis of all wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listening is not the same as hearing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So listen more and talk less.

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

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

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

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

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

So, protect and value your reputation.

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

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

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

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

That’s how you’ll be remembered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 powerful quotes along with words of wisdom to inspire you

Powerful quotesToday I offer you 5 powerful quotes, along with some words of wisdom to inspire you. This inspiration will get you thinking and, hopefully, propel you towards success.

Powerful Quotes:

1. Formula for living:

Do you want to know my formula for living? I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I do the very best I can with what I’ve got and I never, ever give up. ~Roy Sutton

Life doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you’re waiting for the perfect moment to get started, then the perfect moment is always right now.

Just get started and do what you can with whatever you’ve got.

No one gets dealt a perfect hand in life.

So just play the cards you’ve been dealt and play them as well as you can. Always play to your strengths and just keep going.

You’ll get there in the end.

If you can achieve your full potential and leave a legacy behind you, then that will be a life well-lived.

2. Good health:

To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha

Some time ago, I was given a reminder of the importance of looking after my own health. I was struck down with a kidney infection and I spent a week in hospital receiving treatment to help me get over it.

It felt like a week of my life lost. Not being able to do all the things I’d taken for granted proved very frustrating for me.

Generally, I do try to look after myself but I still got caught out. So I’ll try a lot harder in future.

Never again do I want to feel that unwell.

My time is precious, so above all, I don’t want to feel that I’ve lost any more of it. That would seem such a waste to me.

If you don’t have your health then you don’t have very much at all.

3. Happiness:

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present. ~Jim Rohn

Postponing your happiness until some unspecified future date would be like putting off having fun until your old age.

Why would that make sense to anyone?

We have to be happy in the here and now.

Life isn’t perfect and for almost everyone, it’s full of challenges but it’s not all bad.

Happiness is a state of mind.

It’s a willingness to enjoy whatever it is that you have now and a determination not to worry about anything you don’t have.

You look for the positives in your life and try to forget about the negatives.

People often fret about things they don’t have and yet they fail to appreciate the good things in their lives.

We worry about stuff we don’t have and yet we fail to appreciate the people in our lives.

In reality, we can live without most stuff, despite what we might think.

It’s people who matter most; family, friends, workmates and ordinary people we meet each and every day during the course of our lives.

So enjoy what you have and forget about what you don’t have. You’ll be happier that way.

Powerful quotes4. Attitude:

The choice to have a great attitude is something that nobody or no circumstance can take from you. ~Zig Ziglar

Let me tell you, nothing makes a better impression on me than someone with a great attitude.

And nothing makes a worse impression on me than someone with a bad attitude.

Your attitude defines you and it will define your life experiences too. That’s a fact, in my experience.

If you’re a Rock star or a Gangsta Rapper then perhaps a little attitude goes with the territory, if your aim is to appeal to a teenage constituency.

Occasionally, even in the real world, a little attitude might secure you an outcome you wouldn’t otherwise have got simply because whoever you’re annoying just wants to get rid of you.

However, mostly a bad attitude will not get you any place worth going. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

You can choose to have a great attitude or not. That choice is yours and so will be the consequences of your choice.

Take a tip from me; a positive attitude will beat a negative attitude every day of every week of every month of every year. Simple!

5. Never, ever give up:

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. ~Thomas A. Edison

If you want to succeed at anything then you must never, ever give up.

Yes, it’s hard, of course. It’s meant to be.

Nothing worth having ever came easy.

You have to keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Yes, you’ll make mistakes. Yes, you’ll stumble from time to time. However, you must keep your eye on the prize.

If you really want it, it can be yours. If you don’t you’ll just give up and then make excuses.

You need to be driven by the desire to get what you want.

Winners never quit and quitters never win. Which one are you?

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What matters most in life? People or money?

What matters most in lifeWhat matters most in life? People or money? Think about that for a second or two.

Occasionally I’m sure we all think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be rich and financially secure?

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Money, money, money!

You’d be able to do whatever you want; travel anywhere; and buy anything. Whether it’s a nice house, a fabulous car, the best clothes, the latest fashions or the latest gadgets, you could have them all.

No more searching for cheap flights and even cheaper holidays.

And you wouldn’t have to worry about a job anymore, would you?

Wealth would mean the end to all your problems, surely?

Wealth is not a life without problems:

If only it were that easy, dear reader. Wealth, if you had it, might eliminate some of your problems but it would also present you with lots of new ones too.

Remember, riches may be chains of gold but they’re still chains.

Everyone has problems, regardless of any wealth and privileges they may enjoy. They’ll just have different problems.

Caretaker of your own possessions:

If wealth is something you’ve yet to experience, then it may not be obvious to you but once you’ve got plenty of money, you become the caretaker of your own possessions.

You worry about losing your wealth. And you worry about the volatility of financial markets and how your wealth will be affected, both now and in the longer-term.

When you’ve got money, plenty of people will be hoping they can separate you from at least some of it. It seems like everyone is trying to sell you something and/or give you advice.

Others will resent your wealth:

And don’t forget, many people will resent you for your wealth. Not everyone will be happy for you, that’s for sure.

Then you become a magnet for criminals and con artists, and indeed politicians, who want a piece of your wealth.

You don’t know who you can trust anymore. Do people become your friends because they like you or are they simply after your money? Once you’ve got wealth, it’s virtually impossible to know.

The impact of instant wealth:

However much you may dream of winning the lottery, for instance, it would have an impact on your life in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine. It wouldn’t solve all your problems, it would present you with many more.

If you’ve suddenly got wealth and your friends haven’t, then your relationship with them is unlikely ever to be the same again. Even if you share some of your sudden wealth with them, it’s unlikely to help.

Whatever you share with people from your winnings, it will just create tensions within your friendship group. Why did you give her X and I only got Y, will be one accusation you’ll hear frequently, for instance.

What matters most in life? 

If you are wealthy, dear reader, I’m pleased for you. Enjoy it all.

For those people working hard to become rich; good luck to you. I hope you achieve your goals and enjoy your wealth when you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

However whatever your financial circumstances, never ever forget this; only people matter.

You can have all the money in the world but without your family and close friends, you would have absolutely nothing at all.

It’s the people in our lives that make life worth living.

They make us laugh, they make us cry. They’re there for us when we need someone to listen; someone to put an arm around our shoulder and tell us that everything will be fine; and someone to give us a pat on the back when we’ve done well.

Money might make life comfortable but does it make you rich? I don’t think it does.

If your life is blessed with good people who care about you then that’s when you’re truly rich. If you also have a sense of purpose and a hobby then you have all you need. Anything else is a bonus.

Money is nice to have of course and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from seeking to build wealth. Quite the contrary, you should always be trying to build your little nest egg for the future.

However, money alone will not make you happy. To be happy, your life needs people, purpose and a pastime.

These are the things that really matter.

Money is simply the icing on the cake. Nice to have but not essential to your happiness. Whereas having people in your life is essential to your happiness.

If you could only have either money or family and friends, which would you choose? Personally, I’d choose the people every time.

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Goal-setting and how they’re achieved for a life well-lived

How to set goals and achieve themWhat’s life all about, really? Do you ever ask yourself that question? Do you ever think seriously about goal-setting?

Paying bills and drifting aimlessly through life is not living, it is merely existing, surely?

Personally, I don’t want to live forever but I do want to live life to the full whilst I have the chance. Don’t you?

A life well-lived should include some notable achievements if you are to realize your full potential and leave a legacy behind you. And leaving a legacy does matter too, in my opinion.

However, achievements require proper goal setting if they are to be accomplished.

This article explores goal setting and how goal setting can be translated into achievement. It’s by accomplishing goals that you’ll get a genuine sense of achievement and you’ll feel your life has meaning.

Successful people:

Why are some people successful and others not so?

Successful people generally are no more intelligent than unsuccessful people. In fact, many highly intelligent people remain unsuccessful throughout their lives. It’s not about whether you’re clever or not.

Successful people know what they want and they’re determined to get it. Successful people set goals for themselves based on what they want and they pursue those goals with determination and persistence.

You cannot hit a target you cannot see.

You cannot turn your dreams into achievements without goal setting.

However goals don’t set themselves, nor do they accomplish themselves. It requires effort from you.

So get started, identify what matters to you, set goals, keep going, and achieve your aspirations.

Goals must really, really matter:

The act of goal setting alone does not in itself guarantee success. Many people set goals which they fail to achieve.

Why do you think that might be?

The simple answer is that goals often fail because the goal setter didn’t want the potential prize badly enough. They didn’t fully know their ‘Why?’

For a goal to be achieved, accomplishing the outcome must matter to you. If you don’t regard the outcome as being sufficiently worthwhile then you won’t have the motivation to see your goal through to a conclusion.

The goal must mean enough to you if the extra effort required to achieve it is to seem sufficiently worthwhile.

Make no mistake any goal worth achieving will require a lot of determination, persistence and hard work. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, that’s for sure.

To quote Napoleon Hill, “Desire is the beginning of achievement.” You must have the desire and the outcome must matter to you.

Change your thinking; change your life:

How we think matters too. You can’t achieve much with negative thinking.

A positive mind with a genuine sense of direction will take you as far as you really want to go.

There are no limits for anyone with enough self-belief and a real sense of what they really want from life. Believe you can and you will. Believe you can’t and you won’t.

The way your mind is currently programmed may be getting in the way of you getting what you want but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change your thinking and, if you do, it will change your life.

Dream lofty dreams:

Don’t be afraid to have a vision for yourself that is truly inspiring. Don’t be afraid to have dreams big enough to be just a little bit frightening. It is on the edge of your comfort zone that you’ll begin to feel you’re really living life to the full.

And your goals should be big enough to stretch you and inspire the desire within you. Be realistic of course but don’t make goals too easy.

Anything easy will not give you a sense of achievement, that’s for sure.

Revisit your inner child:

Children have no limits to their dreams. Most children believe they can achieve anything they want in life. They’ll tell you they want to be an astronaut or an Olympic gold medalist or whatever.

As children, we all had grandiose ideas about what we might be in life. Certainly, I did. Perhaps you did too dear reader?

The problem is, as we get older, life takes its toll and we all got a little bit more cautious and a lot less ambitious, don’t we? We fear losing face if we are seen to try and then fail.

Self-doubt creeps in and before long we’re adjusting our ambitions downwards. Perhaps we won’t become an astronaut, maybe we’ll settle for being a bus driver instead.

As human beings, often we fear failure and the perception of any resulting embarrassment much more than we genuinely desire success.

We don’t fully appreciate that any minor embarrassment that might result from getting an outcome we didn’t want is actually a lot less painful than spending the rest of our lives wondering what might have been.

We fear failure and yet there’s no such thing as failure, just opportunities to learn and start again.

So goal setting starts with pretending you’re a kid again and believing that anything’s possible.

Just sit down with a notebook and a pen or possibly your tablet computer and start brainstorming right now.

Write down your list of your 101 biggest dreams and goals.

Now don’t think about whether or not they can be achieved, just write them down.

Then from that list you’ve written, identify the items that really, really matter to you.

And remember this; if the goal really, really matters to you then you will find a way to achieve it. Goals only fail when they don’t matter enough.

Remember life needs balance:

Knowing what you want and why it matters to you will help you achieve your goals.

However never forget your goals should promote balance in your life too.

In setting your goals they should benefit you but they should also benefit your loved ones too.

If your loved ones can understand the benefits to them as well as you then they’re much more likely to support you in the achievement of your goals.

And you will need their support. No one ever achieves anything in complete isolation.

Never, ever lose sight of your loved ones when you’re making decisions and setting goals.

The art of goal-setting:

Start by deciding exactly what you want to achieve and then make a firm commitment to it. You must feel genuinely motivated by your goals.

Your goals should be:-

        • Specific
        • Measurable
        • Attainable
        • Relevant
        • Time-limited

This is the so-called SMART technique.

Once you have goals you must write them down. This will make them feel much more tangible.

You must share them with other people too, especially your loved ones.

This approach will have a subliminal effect on you and help in the process of achieving your goals.

Then you must plan the steps you will need to take if you are to realize specific goals.

The planning process will almost certainly result in a big goal being broken down into a series of smaller goals and activities.

Then once you have a plan you can cross off each activity as it’s completed.

6 Steps to Goal Setting:

To summarize the goal-setting process, a goal must be:-

        • Specific
        • Time-limited
        • Written down
        • Include a plan
        • Accept a price is to be paid
        • In your thoughts every day

11 reasons why goals fail:

If goal setting is something you’ve tried with little or no success then you might feel it would help you if you had a better idea of why goals fail. Fear not dear reader help is at hand.

In the embedded video Vic Johnson from Goals2Go.com provides some interesting insight into motivation and goal setting. His words are wise and they’ll make you think.

It’s a fairly short video but well worth your time if your aim is to improve your goal setting technique and set goals that will result in achievements for which you can be truly very proud.

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The secret to being a successful entrepreneur

The secret to being a successful entrepreneurHow often do you hear people say that they’d love to start their own business and become an entrepreneur?

People will tell you that they’d love to be a success in business, making a difference in peoples’ lives with great products and services.

Then they’ll add the caveat that unfortunately, the time’s not right for them at this moment. One day they’ll have a go but their circumstances won’t allow it at present.

However very few of those who say they’ll have a go, will ever actually have a go. They don’t really have the desire and they probably don’t understand the secret to being a successful entrepreneur anyway.

The only way to get rich:

As an entrepreneur, success is measured by the money you make. Let’s face it starting any business is all about making money for the owners. Otherwise, why would anyone bother?

And starting your own business can be a fantastic thing to do and, for most people, it’s the only way you’ll ever have the chance to make some serious money.

Certainly, you’re unlikely to get seriously rich working for someone else.

However, to succeed in business, first, you must get started.

The critical ingredient to success in business is getting off your butt and actually doing something about it.

And the best time to do it is now. Last year or the year before might have been better but otherwise now is always the best possible time. It’s simple really.

The secret to making money:

Getting off your butt is one thing but how do you make money as an entrepreneur? Well, dear reader pull up a chair and listen carefully for the secret is very simple.

The secret to making money as an entrepreneur is to solve problems for people. To make their lives easier in some way.

Solve problems; make money:

Every product you sell must solve a problem for the customer.

So if you can identify problems for which people need a solution and if you can offer those solutions, otherwise known as products, at value for money prices then you can make money and you can be successful.

Remember this too; you don’t necessarily have to be the first with a solution either. If you can improve on an existing solution in some way then you can still make some serious money. If you can ‘build a better mousetrap‘ then people will buy it.

For instance, Steve Jobs and Apple were not the first to offer cellular mobile phone handsets, and nor were Samsung. Yet these two companies both dominate the market for smartphones right now.

The secret to being a successful entrepreneurMake a difference:

Has your appetite for business been whetted, dear reader?

Do you have any ideas you think might make a difference?

You do?

Then you have to be prepared to take action. Having ideas means nothing unless you take action.

Ideas are ten-a-penny. Plenty of people have good ideas that never see the light of day.

Occasionally people will have good ideas but just leave it all too long and then someone else comes along with the same idea and makes serious money from it. That’s happened to me. I came up with a great idea for a teeshirt slogan. Failed to act and someone else came along with the same idea and it’s currently a best seller on Amazon. My loss; their gain.

Having ideas is easy. Implementation is the tough bit and there are too few people with the drive and determination to turn a good idea into a business opportunity and then make money from it.

So you must take action if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.

Not tomorrow; not next week; not next year; but right now.

Become a ‘doer’:

In my experience, true entrepreneurs are doers, they’re not dreamers.

So go on, get started right now.

Solve people’s problems and you’ll be on your way down the road to riches. It can be done and people do. And so can you! Go for it.

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How to handle criticism at work effectively

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

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

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

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

Perhaps your critic lacks sensitivity?

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

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

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

The importance of criticism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honing our skills:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criticism is feedback:

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

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

How to handle criticism at work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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This is the key to success in one lesson

key to success in one lessonDear reader, would you like to know the key to success? It’s simple really.

Success starts with making a decision. You decide what you want to achieve; then you decide that you will go out and get it.

Once your decision has been made you pursue your objective with determination and tenacity and you don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you.

In 1960 the US President John Kennedy made a speech in which he said that by the end of that decade the United States would put a man on the moon. And in 1969 the United States fulfilled that promise made by Kennedy.

Now Kennedy didn’t know how they would achieve the goal he articulated in 1960.

However, he believed in their ability to do it; he believed they could develop the technology to do it, and he made a decision that they would do it. However, ultimately, in making his promise there was an element of risk.

Now there’s risk in everything we do, of course, and nothing exceptional will ever be achieved without some degree of risk along the way.

Lesser men and women may allow the fear of risk to stop them. However, men and women destined for great things will feel the fear and they’ll do it anyway.

Greatness cannot be achieved without paying your dues along the way. That’s a fact.

Be fearless:

Anything worth having comes with a price tag, namely blood, sweat and tears. So be bold, be strong and pursue your dream with passion.

Yes, it will be challenging mentally and emotionally. And yes, plenty of people will tell you that it’s not possible or that you’re not quite good enough.

Well, don’t listen to the naysayers and negative Nellies. It matters not what they think, only what you think. If you believe you can do it, then that’s all that matters.

If you really want it, whatever it is, just keep pushing and never, ever give up until you get to where it is you want to be.

Greatness can be achieved by anyone with sufficient determination. People do succeed and so can you.

So whatever it is you really want to do, just go out there and do the damn thing. Do it now. Believe you can and you will.

If you’re still not convinced then take a look at this video which I think is a really fantastic motivational speech.

Watch it now and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. And the bottom line is; you’ve got to be fearless.

Key to Success:

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5 inspirational quotes on things that really matter

Inspirational QuotesIf a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ~Martin Luther King

The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is neither likely to make money nor find much fun in life. ~Charles M. Schwab

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. ~Norman MacEwan

If life be short, then moderate your worldly cares and projects. Do not cumber yourselves with too much provision for a short voyage. ~Author Unknown

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. ~Pearl S. Buck

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8 Top Business Tips for Success Today

Business Tips for SuccessBusiness tips for success:

I read an article recently about a guy with a college degree who was feeling disillusioned because he couldn’t find a job. At least not one that met his expectations relative to the type of job and income he felt his degree merited.

Well, it’s a tough world out there, as I’m sure you know only too well dear reader, and despite what some people may think, the world doesn’t owe us a living. The world owes us nothing and it’s down to us to make a life for ourselves.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money and there will always be people with stuff that needs doing. So rather than seeking a job, perhaps we’d all be better off if we focused on seeking customers for the services we could provide.

That’s at the heart of what business is all about, providing people with solutions to their problems for profit, and there’s much to be said for becoming an entrepreneur.

So today let’s explore some business tips for success for entrepreneurs.

The advantages of self-employment:

There are many advantages to being self-employed.

For instance, not having to deal with office politics is a big advantage for a start.

And of course, being the beneficiary of all of the proceeds of your hard work is another good reason.

Instead of making a lot of money for other people, you could be making it all for yourself. The harder you work the more you make for yourself too.

Unless you’re a lawyer or an investment banker, the chances are the only way you’ll ever make serious money is through building your own business. Building a business that one day you’ll be able to sell for a lot of money.

However, remember this; you might think that if you’re self-employed then you’re your own boss. Well, that’s not true. The customer is the boss, always.

Serve customers badly and you won’t be serving them for very long, that’s for sure.

The first rule of business is that you must know thy customer.

You must gain a deep understanding of the products, services and marketing that will appeal to your target customer.

One size will not fit all and each market will require a different approach.

Now going into business is not for the faint-hearted. You must be prepared to work very hard, at least in the early days, when you’re trying to establish your business.

However, if you can provide your target customers with real solutions to real problems then you can make serious money.

If someone else is already offering a solution to the target problem then your solution must be better or cheaper than theirs in some way if it is to sell.

Creating great products and offering great customer service is the route to business success.

However never forget your reputation and image. These things matter too.

Make sure you create an image that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Running your own business will be a challenge but it can also be extremely rewarding, both financially and in terms of a sense of achievement.

Remember also that running a small business is not a whole lot different to running a large business. The only real difference is one of scale. The key issues are always the same.

So here are some top business tips for success for would-be entrepreneurs:-

Top business tips for success today:

1. Control your costs:

Of the many business tips for success I could suggest, none can be more important than keeping an eye on the money.

Money comes into your business and money goes out. It’s that simple.

However, if you fail to ensure that the former is always greater than the latter, at least for most of the time, then trouble will follow at some point, whatever the size of your business.

A bigger business might be able to weather the storm a bit longer but the consequences of expenditure consistently exceeding income will be the same. Keep losing money and eventually, your business will go bust.

Take every opportunity to maximize your revenue and always keep your costs as low as you can. And never, ever lose sight of cash flow.

Don’t spend money unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ask yourself, do I really need to spend this money? What will I get in return? Can I achieve the same result at less or even no cost?

It might surprise you to learn how frequently it is possible to avoid cost, whilst still doing all the things big businesses do.

The key message here is that you must keep an iron-grip on costs and you must manage cash flow carefully.

2. Do your own market research:

Every product should solve a problem for your customer and you should have some idea of what that problem is and how your product will solve it relative to other products offered by your competition.

Just because you think you’ve got a great product, doesn’t mean customers will see it that way. Your opinion means nothing if there are not enough people willing to buy your product at the price you’re trying to charge for it.

If your product won’t sell then potentially your business could be in trouble.

Perhaps you think you’ve spotted a gap in the market?

If it’s a genuine gap then you might be on to a winner. However, a gap in the market doesn’t always guarantee that there is a market within that gap. Maybe there’s a reason for the gap which you’ve yet to understand.

In business, the trick is to find out what people really want and then offer it to them.

How do you find that out?

One very good way is simply to ask them yourself.

I’m not referring to your family and friends here. They’ll be far too polite to give you any meaningful feedback.

You must talk to real customers, if and when you have them, and potential customers.

You can conduct some of your own market research in your local shopping mall or wherever you think your target customers might congregate. And don’t be shy. Only by actually talking to people can you confirm whether your ideas have real potential.

So, identify some basic questions, stand there with a clipboard and just start asking people, as politely as possible.

Often they’ll be far more helpful than you might expect.

And don’t forget you can always use the Internet too.

Search engines like Google have keyword search tools that are free to use. These tools allow you to get a ‘rough and ready’ measure of what people are searching for and how frequently.

And don’t forget social media. Facebook and Twitter, for instance, can be great channels for asking questions, so you can gauge what people think.

Market research doesn’t have to be expensive. As a small business entrepreneur, it is possible to do it yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this activity but it’s essential that you do it.

Your results might not be quite as scientific as those produced by the professional market research people, but they will provide you with a rough guide and that’ll probably be good enough in the first instance.

3. Advertising costs money: is there a better way?

Another of the most important business tips for success has to be visibility. I cannot stress highly enough that visibility matters, both for your business and your products. It’s absolutely crucial.

Your products might be the best in the world but they won’t sell at all if potential customers have no idea they exist. Surely that much is obvious.

The question is, how does any business ensure that customers have visibility of its products? The obvious answer is advertising of course.

However, media advertising can be costly, and it’s a cost that new businesses often cannot afford.

One small advert in the back of a glossy magazine can cost you a lot of money and yet you have to ask yourself whether that would be money well spent?

How often do you notice the small advertisements in the back of a magazine? In my case, the answer is not very often.

With so many advertisements competing for my attention, I tend to filter them all out. I’m willing to bet that you do too dear reader.

So, if you’re not careful, money spent on advertising can be money wasted in my experience.

A better approach might be to use some creative thinking with a focus on public relations.

Smart entrepreneurs know that business is show business. It’s all about getting noticed.

For example, the entrepreneur Richard Branson is a brilliant exponent at getting media attention at little or no financial cost to his business.

It helps that he’s a likeable guy of course but he’s also clever and creative in his approach.

If you have an interesting back story perhaps the local press, local radio or even television might be willing to run a story on you and your business and the products you have to offer?

Social media can be a powerful medium for gaining attention for your business too.

Social media is also a useful way of driving traffic to your company’s website, particularly Pinterest which is an incredible tool.

Then there’s using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques on your website content to ensure you drive traffic to your site from the search engines.

Let’s face it, you do need to appear on the first page of a Google search if there’s to be any chance of anyone noticing you and your business through search queries. So, if you can optimize your website for SEO, then you can get enormous amounts of traffic from Google and other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.

Make sure you offer visitors to your company website the opportunity for signing up for a regular email newsletter. And give them an incentive to sign up.

This could be a free report or perhaps a discount code for one of your products.

How about running a competition using your company’s fan page on Facebook or your company website?

The price of say a smartphone or a Kindle or other desirable electronic device as a prize would be cheaper than the cost of a small advert in a glossy magazine but it’s more likely to get noticed and it’ll probably generate a lot more excitement.

If you have a car or van; don’t forget that it can be emblazoned with your company logo, your website details and product information on the back, sides and front. Even on the roof.

It would be free advertising as you’re driving around.

Park your vehicle at a big event attended by thousands of people and you’re beginning to master the art of guerrilla marketing.

The bottom line is that creative thinking and public relations can produce powerful results in your quest for visibility at a fraction of the cost of advertising. The key message is; be creative.

4. Don’t make yourself indispensable:

The biggest mistake any entrepreneur or business manager can make is to think that every decision should be made by them.

If you’ve started a business from scratch you tend to form an emotional bond with it. It becomes your baby and you become very protective of it.

That’s natural of course but as the business grows you’ll have so many things to do that you couldn’t possibly do them all.

You could try, of course. However, if you try to do everything you’ll find yourself falling behind in key areas like product sourcing, sales and keeping your accounts up to date.

Fall behind, and it becomes very hard to catch up. Potentially it is also very damaging for the business.

So you have to learn the art of delegation.

A good start would be to document every task and process within the business and then create an Operations Manual. This can include everything from the preferred method for answering the phone to completing invoices and dealing with complaints.

It can also include the degree of flexibility which you are delegating to staff, so they can get on with basic tasks allowing you to get on with those activities which are much more important for achieving business success.

No business should be dependent solely on one person.

If it is and that person gets seriously ill or has an accident then obviously the business would be in trouble very quickly and it would struggle.

Delegate basic activities to your staff and you can be sure that the business will continue to function even when you’re not around.

It will also give you a bit more thinking time for steering the company towards bigger and better things.

The key message here is that you must delegate. Never delude yourself into thinking that only you can do a particular task.

5. Charge sensible prices:

If you’re to earn a decent income then any list of business tips for success must stress the importance of knowing the value you can add and know your worth too.

It’s easy when you’re a small business to undervalue your products and your time. The result is that you undercharge for what you have to offer.

This is particularly true when professionals are selling their expertise and time on the basis of a consultancy arrangement.

It’s common for first-timers to lack the confidence to charge what they might perceive to be a high rate for their services.

The problem is that selling things cheaply can be counter-productive because customers then think they’re getting an inferior product or service and can be put off.

It is a fact that price can often be used as a proxy measure for quality when your business is being judged.

You have to be very business-like when considering the pricing of your products and services.

So look at what your competitors are charging and then analyse where you think your products and services fit into the market.

If you struggle with that idea then you can always seek guidance from someone else, like a fellow business owner or your accountant.

However, you must always remember that you must believe in your products and services. If you don’t then why should anyone else?

You must project confidence.

If you don’t have the courage of your convictions then the chances are that your business will never succeed.

Believe in yourself and charge what you’re really worth. Sell yourself on the basis of the value you bring and the value you can add.

6. Make the best use of technology:

Sometimes small business owners think that because they are small they can only act in a small way. However, that can be a mistake.

Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. For instance, investing in up-to-date technology like the right phone system and websites do not have to be expensive but they can be the difference between a customer contacting you or not.

These days no business, large or small, can operate without a website.

And that website needs to be as user-friendly as it possibly can be.

Make sure your website provides customers and potential customers with the opportunity to sign up for a regular email newsletter. And as suggested earlier, offer them an incentive so they do sign up.

Ensure also that your telephone system allows customers to reach you at their first attempt. Certainly, customers won’t make too many attempts to call you before they’ll simply go elsewhere.

If you don’t know how to do all this yourself then go on a course or seek guidance from someone with the right expertise.

Good communications will pay handsome dividends over time.

7. Set goals:

Another in this list of business tips for success, that I want to really stress here, is the importance of goal-setting.

You have to know what it is you’re trying to achieve if you’re to have any chance of successfully achieving it.

Never set your sights too low either. Set yourself a challenge and then put all your energy into achieving it.

Once you’ve set a goal then you need to establish a plan as to how it is going to be achieved.

For instance, if your goal is to achieve a certain level of turnover over the next year, you have to break that down into the small steps you will need to take for it to be achieved.

How many sales will you need to achieve each day, each week and each month?

What implications will those sales targets have for production?

Do you have enough sales staff to generate that amount of business?

And so on.

Always create a plan and review it regularly making adjustments as and when necessary.

8. If you got a great idea then do something with it:

How many great ideas never see the light of day because the person with the idea fails to do anything about it?

And how many times does someone with an idea see someone else come along with the same idea and beat them to market?

Let me give you an example. Two years ago I thought up a great idea for a teeshirt slogan. However, I was busy and so in the end I didn’t do anything about it. Fast forward two years, and the other day I noticed one of the best selling teeshirts on Amazon was one bearing the slogan that I’d thought up.

Someone else had the idea too, but they actually did something about it. And they’re now benefitting from the income generated. From my standpoint, great opportunity missed.

Procrastination stops many entrepreneurs from cashing in on a great idea. Don’t let this be you.

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do anything you will be waiting for the rest of your life.

Now is always the perfect time to start.

Don’t wait until you think the economy will be better or your children have left home or some other arbitrary barrier.

The right time to start your business is right now.

So go for it. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. You won’t get everything right the first time. You won’t become an instant millionaire either.

However, by getting started you’ll be heading in the right direction and you’ll learn along the way.

Hard work combined with implementing good ideas will get you there eventually.

Business Tips for SuccessConcluding Remarks:

I hope these business tips for success prove useful to you dear reader.

However please note, this blog post was not intended to be a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs.

You’ll find many excellent books on the subject and I recommend that you make a point of reading as many of them as you can because educating yourself is always a good idea. It doesn’t have to be formal education. Self-education can be just as good in practice. And then, of course, you can start creating your own list of business tips for success.

And the best form of education in my experience is to learn by doing. You will make mistakes but the lessons learned from those mistakes will be far more valuable to you than anything anyone can teach you in a classroom.

Being an entrepreneur can be a roller coaster ride but it can be a fantastic and enriching experience too. So if you fancy it, go for it.

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Brian Tracy: Habits of success anyone can learn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Habits of Success:

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And you’ll be helping your friends too. So you really can make a difference in the lives of others.

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