We often spend so much time to think about how to succeed that we forget to think about how tofail. But knowing how to fail is just as important as knowing how to succeed because we can then learn about what NOT to do. It’s dangerous to fix our eyes on the destination without being aware of the pitfalls along the way. We may run fast to our destination only to find ourselves trapped in the pitfalls at the end.
One such pitfalls is trying to please everybody. Here are some of the dangers of trying to please everybody: ? You may waste a lot of time on the wrong people while investing too little time in the right people.
At the end, you could lose the right people since you do not invest enough in them. ? You may experience disappointment after disappointment. You may think that you have done badly due to the rejection and opposition you face, while actually you are just dealing with the wrong people.
? You won’t have strong principles since you try to be “acceptable” to everyone which is impossible to achieve. Knowing how to avoid this pitfall is a useful weapon in your “how to succeed” arsenal. Here are seven tips not to try to please everybody: 1. Identify your strengths to know your audience
First of all, you should identify what your strengths are. By identifying your strengths, you will know what kind of value you can provide and consequently what kind of people you should target. Read more about identifying your strengths in 12 Essential Lessons to Maximize Your Personal Strengths. 2. Recognize your personal characteristics to know your audience You are more likely to attract people who have similar characteristics as you. People who share similar interests, background, or point of view are more likely to respond well to you.
By recognizing your personal characteristics, you will get a better idea about who are the right people to target. 3. Accept that you can’t please everybody Of course, you should first try to target the right audience as described in point 1 and 2 above. But even if you do that, you still can’t please everybody. No matter how hard you try, there are always people who oppose you. Accepting this possibility will ease the burden and make the process much easier for you. 4. State your position in a way that is not ambiguous You should state your position clearly without being ambiguous.
One of the danger of trying to please everybody is polishing your position in such a way that it is acceptable to everyone. Most likely you can only do that through ambiguous message for which different persons have different interpretations. At the end it will do you more harm than good. 5. Keep an open mind Before discarding other people’s opinions as “coming from the wrong people”, you should have an open mind to seek truth in their opinions. While it is wrong to try to please everybody, it’s equally wrong to just discard opinions we don’t agree with. Try to find something you can learn from them.
Maybe it’s you who need to change. 6. Be polite but firm to your opposition After exercising an open mind and still can’t find a solution, it’s time to be firm about your position. Don’t try to please the wrong person. If you do so, you may compromise your principles. State clearly to her that though you appreciate her opinion, yours is different. 7. Let the rejection go from your mind After you face rejection, sometimes you still have it left in your mind. You may still think about it and feel bad about it. Doing so will just decrease your happiness and in turn your performance.
So let the rejection go from your mind. Forget it. Say goodbye, close the door, and move on. Don’t Take the Easy Way: A lesson from the History POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 15 COMMENTS I believe history can teach us a lot. Throughout history, there are those who made good decisions and those who made bad ones. The former reaped the rewards and the latter suffered the consequences. In any case, there are useful lessons that we can learn from their experiences. This time I’d like to share with you a lesson I learned from the story of Alexander Severus, a Roman emperor from 222 to 235.
While reading Roman history on Wikipedia a while ago, I got interested in this particular emperor because his assassination started the Crisis of the Third Century. As it turned out, he was assassinated by his own troops. But how could that happen? Why did the troops kill their own emperor? Well, the short answer is that the emperor chose the easy way and his troops didn’t like it. Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire during the time Severus was emperor. The emperor marched out his troops to meet the invaders. The troops were ready to fight and defend their land. But what happened?
When they were near the enemy, the emperor chose to bribe the enemy instead. He tried to buy them off using the empire’s wealth. Instead of facing the challenge, the emperor chose the easy way. The troops didn’t like it. In fact, they were angered by it. They looked down on him and eventually decided to kill him. It’s tragic, but it also contains a profound lesson: don’t take the easy way. Don’t take shortcuts when you face a problem. It may look easy and attractive, but it’s not without its danger. What you should do instead is face the challenge and do the right thing.
It might be painful and take a long time, but the reward makes it worth it. Here are two kinds of reward that you will get if you do the right thing: 1. Lasting success By taking the easy way, you might seem to achieve your goal (peace, in the case of the emperor), but it won’t last for long. Since taking the easy way means you never solve the root of the problem, the problem could resurface at any time. On the other hand, if you take the more difficult route and solve the root of the problem, you will get success that lasts. 2. The respect of others
When those around you see the way you handle your situation, they will respect you. They will look at you as someone to learn from. You might even become an inspiration to them. *** Doing the right thing is easier said than done, but it’s something we can all learn to do. Remember the story of the emperor: don’t take the easy way. March into your battles courageously and solve the root of each problem. How to break bad habits and develop good ones POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 30 COMMENTS There is no question that habits are important parts of our lives.
We do many things in our lives not from conscious decisions, but from habits. So understanding how habits work is essential. For that reason, I was excited when I learned that there was a new book on this topic titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I bought the book through Kobo and read it. As it turns out, the book covers not just personal habits, but also organizational and social habits. Here, however, I will focus only on personal habits. There are several things I learn from the book about how to break bad habits and develop good ones. Here they are: 1.
Every habit consists of three elements The three elements are cue, routine, and reward. Together they form a habit loop. Cue is the thing that triggers you to do the habit, routine is the activity part of the habit (the thing that you want to change if it’s a bad habit), and reward is what you want to get by doing the habit. Habit loop works like this: when the cue is there, you do the routine in order to get the reward. 2. To break a bad habit, you need to identify its elements and insert a new routine You can’t really eliminate a bad habit. Instead, you replace it with something else.
To do that, you need to keep the old cue and the old reward, but insert a new routine. Let’s say you want to stop a smoking habit. First you need to understand the elements of the habit. The routine part is easy (it’s the activity that you want to change, which is smoking in this example), so your job is to identify the cue and the reward. What is it that triggers the habit? Is it a certain time of the day, a certain emotional state, or something else? And what is it that you want to get by doing the routine? Relaxation perhaps? Identifying the cue and the reward isn’t easy, so take the time to identify them.
There is a detailed example in the book of how to do this. Once you identify the cue and the reward, you need to find a new routine that can give you a similar reward. You might need to experiment with several routines before you can find the right one for you. Then you need to make a specific plan about what you will do when the cue is there. It might seem simple, but studies show that making a plan does make a difference. 3. To develop a good habit, make a craving out of specific cue and reward Let’s say you want to develop an exercise habit.
What you need to do is choosing a specific cue (like a certain time of the day or putting your running shoes nearby) and a specific reward (like the sense of accomplishment from tracking your running miles). But that’s not enough. You also need to make a craving out of them because craving is what drives the habit loop. You do that by choosing a reward that appeals to you and allowing yourself to anticipate it. Think about that reward and how good it will be when you get it. Over time it will become a craving and the new habit will become automatic. 4.
Willpower is the most important habit for individual success There are some good habits that can start a chain reaction; once you master one such habits, it will affect other areas of your life as well. These habits are called keystone habits. Among them, studies show that willpower is the most important one. The ability to delay gratification for something better in the future will definitely have a positive impact on many areas of your life. You can train your willpower by forcing yourself to do something that is good for you but you don’t feel like doing.
For example, if you don’t have the habit of exercising than forcing yourself to exercise three times a week will train your willpower muscles. Over time, your willpower muscles will get stronger until willpower becomes a habit. *** These are some important ideas I learn from the book, but there are still many ideas there that I haven’t covered here. There are also stories in the book to illustrate the points it makes. All in all, I enjoyed reading the book. But of course, the most important thing is to apply the ideas. Understanding them is one thing but actually applying them is a different thing.
Building a willpower habit seems like a good start. What do you think? 3 reasons why failure is the key to success POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 18 COMMENTS Note: This is a guest post from Fred Tracy of FredTracy. com If you’re like most people, you probably have a bad relationship with failure. You see it as an ending, as proof that your plan didn’t succeed or your ideas weren’t good enough. The truth is, failure happens to everyone. The only thing that separates people who succeed from those who don’t is a proper understanding of the power of failure.
Success requires that you learn from mistakes and missteps along the way rather than falling into despair and giving up. Pay attention to the information here, especially if you’re at a place where failure isn’t your friend, and you will find that opportunity lies in every defeat. Here are 3 reasons why failure is the key to success. 1. Failure is a Function of Trying The best way to measure your progress at something is the number of setbacks and “failures” you’ve had. If you haven’t failed yet, chances are you aren’t trying very hard. Failure is the blacksmith’s hammer that tempers the sword of success.
If you want to get really good at something, you have to fail at least a few times. If you look at all the great men and women throughout history, you’ll notice that they had one main thing in common. They failed, and they failed often. Think of Thomas Edison. How many times did he fail to find the right filament for his light bulb? There are various estimates, but they all range in the ballpark of a whole heck of a lot. Henry Ford knew of failure intimately. So much so that he is quoted for saying the following: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. Clearly, failure represents opportunity and growth, not deficit and loss. 2. Success Lies in Seeing Failure as a Tool Just as all the greats have something in common, so too do the true “failures” of life: their inability to use failure as a tool. When you feel that sinking, desperate sensation known as failure and you take it to heart, you diminish yourself.
You give your power away to an external event. Success is about learning how to recognize why you failed, and how you’re going to compensate for it. I find it helpful to ask myself the following questions upon failures, big and small. What brought about the failure? ? How much of it is in my realm of influence? ? How can I use my influence to turn failure into success? ? What steps do I need to go through to try again? ? What can I do every day to ensure that my next try is done more intelligently? You may want to get out a piece of paper and go through that list. Be completely open and honest as you ask yourself each question. Analyze your answers carefully and implement them – don’t procrastinate! Remember, failure is an opportunity, not a burden. Be grateful for a chance to grow. 3. Failure Builds Character
If you look at the events leading up to any significant victory, you’ll often discover failure as the biggest motivator. Just as the Colorado River created the Grand Canyon over a period of millions of years, success can also come in small chunks, and they’re part of any winning strategy. On the other hand, waiting years upon years for something to happen isn’t effective when you can take action now. So what do you need to consistently test yourself and learn from failed attempts? Character. Success occurs in leaps and bounds for people who are ready for it.
To genuinely create value, day in and day out, requires determination, purpose, and most of all, that subtle yet all-important trait known as character. Failure is a far better character builder than any affirmation or fleeting goal. While each success will propel you by a small amount, failure will forge your career – and your personality – like nothing else will. It’s the difference between a natural lake being formed over thousands of years and a man-made lake coming into fruition in under a year. *** Success takes willpower, intelligence, determination, and grit. But more than anything else, it requires failure.
Use this is an opportunity to reassess your relationship to the true key to success that so many people fear. How to accept others when they don’t accept you POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 23 COMMENTS Note: This is a guest post from Lisa H of Getting to Zen If you intimidate someone or treat them with some other dramatic action, you are inviting trouble. Yes, it’s possible to affect change in another person this way; however, it is not advisable because the results can be undesirable and at times disastrous. For example, imagine an employee that has been forced to take a leave of absence after arriving at work late.
The relationship between the manager and that employee would likely be strained, especially if the leave of absence was delivered after the first offense. However, if the employee’s manager had expressed a little compassion, and asked why his employee had been late, the relationship between the two might have remained in tact. Everybody has a past We are more similar to each other than we are different. However, there will be those times in our life when we encounter someone who just rubs us the wrong way. Although it may be challenging at first, we must still treat those persons with dignity and respect.
Everybody has a past. You don’t know what another person has seen, heard or experienced that makes them behave the way they do–just like your experiences have shaped you. Take for example someone who has been in a relationship with a partner who was unkind to them. With that knowledge, you may be able to understand why they have trouble trusting others or are even unkind themselves. Or maybe they grew up being bullied for most of their childhood, and now they are a bully. Everyone wants to feel needed This is not to say that we have to condone or tolerate “bad” behavior, but we can have compassion in our dealings with them.
There is an important yet intangible thing that everybody wants, and that is acceptance. Being accepted and appreciated makes a person feel needed and wanted. Acceptance gives us a whole lot of reason to exist. A recent testament to this is the five boys that committed suicide as a result of their lifestyle choice not being accepted. On a primitive level, being accepted is an outward acknowledgement that we are one of the many human beings that is sharing the planet at this time. Compassion is everything Now I am not saying that you need to befriend someone who is causing you discomfort.
They may not even want to be your friend. I am talking about not judging them—not causing them any more pain than they are probably already in. If you think that it is hard for you to be around them, imagine how hard it is for them. They have to be with themselves for 24 hours a day. Avoid purposely doing things to sabotage or harm them in any way, including gossiping. If you need to vent, talk to a close friend. Communication leads to understanding Many times people come to an impasse because they don‘t know how to communicate with each other.
Friendship, family and work relationships all have been severed due to poor communication. Father’s no longer speaking to sons and sisters that have been estranged for so long that it would be hard for them to recognize each other. I remember a time when I tried to “clear the air” between I and a co-worker. And although I approached the situation calmly and with a spirit of resolution, it didn’t go well. My co-worker was unwilling to listen to how her actions were making me feel. What I realized then was that not everyone wants to “clear the air. ” Some people want drama and stress–and that is their right.
Now of course if you ask them, they would say that they don’t, but you would be able to see that their actions showed otherwise. Interacting is Learning You can learn from your perceived adversaries. Interacting or not interacting with them teaches you about you. Why do you have a problem with them? Do they remind you of someone else who behaves similarly? Maybe they remind you of yourself? Or are they just not your flavor of friend? Your adversaries can teach you much more about yourself than your friends. Don’t let these sort of opportunities go by without learning the lesson. Next Steps Hold your head high.
Focus on yourself. Move forward with confidence and humility. Be kind to others. Be honest with yourself. Trust in your goodness. Refrain from judgment or acting out behaviors that create negative experiences. The time that you have on this earth is limited and precious. Acknowledge that by spreading positivity and lightness wherever you go. 7 timeless principles of achievement POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 6 COMMENTS Note: This is a guest post from Daniel M. Wood of Looking to Business To get ahead today, you need constant improvement. Life is a race and if you aren’t running, you will fall behind.
The knowledge required today is vastly different than the knowledge you needed 20 years ago and in 5 years time most of what you know today will be obsolete. Through all this there is one thing that is constant. One thing we can trust. That is the principles that drive achievement. The keys of success never change because people don’t. Noah Bennet in the TV-series Heroes puts it well “Things change, but people do not. ” As long as people control the world, the principles that set the successful apart from the regular will remain the same. When playing baseball as a kid I noticed these principles at work.
We used to play a pickup game every day after school. As in every group some of the kids had a knack for baseball and others didn’t. What was interesting to watch was how the group evolved. Some of the kids would improve at a faster rate then the rest, they seemed to improve in everything quicker than average. Both in school and sports. I saw the same thing happen again and again when working in sales. Some of the salesmen hired just did better than others, even though at the outset they might have been much worse. The reason is that all these people either actively or instinctively followed these 7 principles. . It isn’t how much you work, but how you work that makes the difference Being at the office for 10 hours straight doesn’t mean you got the most done and, what is more important, it doesn’t mean that you brought the most value to your employer. If you are going to be successful it is important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Make sure you are always working on your highest value task, bringing value to your employer and yourself. Working on time management skills that make you able to produce more in less time is a shortcut that will boost you on your path. 2.
Hard work pays off With step one understood, hard work does pay off. Spending an hour more at the office than your colleagues does mean that you get more done. Working the whole day, instead of taking breaks by the coffee machine, makes you a lot more productive. And being the first into the office every morning so that you have time to plan your day will give you the ease of mind you need to produce. 3. The only thing holding you back is your imagination We can do anything, as long as we set our mind to it. I want to give you an example from the movie “A Knights Tale” with Heath Ledger.
When Heaths character, William, is a young boy he is apprenticed to a knight. His dream was to become a knight himself, something that should have been far out of reach as he wasn’t of noble birth, which was required to compete. His father tells him that he can, if he believes. If he believes it so strongly and works with all his might, it will happen. As it turns out, he becomes a knight and his dreams are realized. Of course this is a story, but the moral of the story is based on fact. If you believe something powerfully enough, you will find a way to make your dream reality. 4.
Leading a balanced life is the key A trap many fall into is that they don’t find balance in their life. You are not successful if you aren’t successful in all 4 major areas of your life: finance, career, family and health. Succeeding in one doesn’t compensate for failure in another. Spend time on all 4 areas and the synergy effect will help you become more successful in each area as well. 5. Improve every day Constant improvement is crucial to your success. If you are to become the best you have to continuously improve. Life is a race and if you aren’t running, someone else will pass you. 6.
It isn’t your genes that determine your level of success This was at first hard for me to grasp before I understood it. It isn’t what you are born with that determines how far you will go. It is your discipline, your motivation and your hunger that will make you successful. Just like I saw with my friends, the only one of us to make the minor leagues was the kid we used to stick out in right field because he could neither throw, catch or run. 7. Be proactive Always be in charge of your own life. Be in the driver’s seat. Don’t let the circumstances you find yourself in, the stimuli thrust upon you, control you.
Control the circumstances and create your own brakes. Conclusion By following these principles you have the basis on which you can form your success, the foundation on which to build and realize your dreams. Never give up because whatever and whoever you want to be, you can succeed, if you chose to. 17 unproductive Habits to let go POSTED BY DONALD LATUMAHINA 28 COMMENTS Note: This is a guest post from Timo Kiander of TimoKiander. com Our daily life is full of unproductive habits and rituals that we execute – whether on a conscious or unconscious level. This makes us less efficient and productive than we could potentially be.
Obviously, just listing some avoidable habits is not enough. Because of this, I encourage you to check out Donald’sarticle on how to break bad habits. It gives a good foundation on how to actually start changing your habits from bad to good. Here are 17 unproductive habits that you should let go: 1. Consuming the information you don’t need Unsubscribe from as many mailing lists as you can. This way you can cut down the amount of incoming e-mails and prevent distraction. Also, stop watching news. If there is an event that is newsworthy, it will catch you anyway (mostly by other people). . Letting others to run your life Steve Jobs said it right: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. ” You are the master of your life and it is a shame if you live your life by pleasing others. Naturally, it is wise to listen for advice from other people every now and then. However, ignore those people who say you can’t reach your dreams, it is impossible to do something or that your vision is foolish. In your heart you know that it is not true. 3. Reinventing the wheel Before you start working on your task or project, prevent reinventing the wheel.
Spend some time on research to find out if there are already solutions that help you to complete your task faster. 4. Being perfect Although striving for perfection may be a noble principle for some, it is still a huge time and energy waster. Instead of spending too much time on tweaking something, create a checklist to go through on your finalization phase. When you realize that all the items on your list are checked, you can finish your work and move on. Not only are you relieved of your accomplishment, you will also give room for your brain to focus on other things instead. 5. Letting television to overrun your passion
When television is preventing you to take action on your passion, maybe it is time to rethink your priorities. Save your TV show to your digital set-top box for later viewing instead. If you do this operation a couple of times you will form a new success habit – working on your passion first and watching television second. 6. Multitasking Stop working on multiple tasks at once. You are spreading your focus and effort on too many places at once. Although you might be able to proceed on many fronts at once, it is still a very slow and error-prone way of working. Instead, when you focus solely on one task, you get all the work done much faster.
You can put your mind fully to that task, complete it fully and move to the next task. 7. Neglecting your body You should take utmost care of your body. Feed it nutritious food, keep it fit by exercising on a regular basis and give it enough sleep. When doing these the quality of your life rises considerably, you feel good and in some cases you are able to prevent some diseases to break out. Also, your energy levels are higher and you are more productive. 8. Promising too much Control your “yeses”. If you feel you have too much on your plate, be selfish and just say no!
You have a right to decline from requests presented to you. Don’t feel bad about saying no. If another person has a right to ask something from you, you have an equal right to say no. 9. Reacting to every distraction that comes along The number of distractions has grown radically over the last few years. The main problem is that you are expected to be reachable all the time. When you are distracted, it causes unnecessary stress and makes you procrastinate on your work. Instead of being reachable, shut down the communication devices when you want to concentrate on your work.
If this means shutting down your phone or even taking the network cable out of your computer, then do it. This way you can cut down your temptations to be distracted too easily. 10. Thinking that the more the better More is not necessarily better. In fact, in many cases the quality beats the quantity. Strive for mastering or focusing just the few, but not everything. For example, this could be focusing on just a subset of your clients that bring most of your results or mastering one skill well rather than trying to be good on 12 different things.
Focusing on the things that bring the biggest rewards is a good strategy to be used your in life. 11. Being late on appointments Stop wasting time of other people. Not only are you giving a bad image out of yourself, you are also showing that you ignore the other person’s timetables completely. Adjust your own schedule to, for example, 15 minutes earlier, so that you keep the appointment without any delay. 12. Staying quiet when you should ask When you are stuck and you are not able to move forward with your task, speak up! It’s not silly to ask a question if you don’t know – rather, the person who doesn’t ask for help is silly. 3. Starting a task but not finishing Too many people start a task and never finish it. Understandably the task may get postponed sometimes because of the reasons that are not dependent of you. But in majority times this is not the case and it is your responsibility to finish the task. Make a plan on how to tackle the task: Break it into smaller pieces and execute your plan on a daily basis. Eventually you realize that the task is done and you feel very good about yourself! 14. Working tired When you work tired, you are not able to focus on your work as well as if you were fully refreshed.
If you feel tired, ponder yourself if you get enough sleep at night and adjust your sleeping time accordingly. Also, you can take a quick 15-20 minute nap to refresh yourself. Powernap is a great way to restart your day. 15. Waiting others to take action Sometimes the only way to get something done is to do it yourself. If you are waiting others to take action on your behalf, you get disappointed because most probably nothing gets done. Take initiative, put your ideas into action and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 16. Failing to admit mistakes and learning from them Everybody makes mistakes.
However, some people learn from their mistakes, while other people complain and never see any positive sides in those situations. Use mistakes as a feedback and learning mechanism to improve your action further. 17. Fixing the symptom instead of the root cause When you have a flat tire on your bicycle, you have two options to handle the situation. You can either pump air to the tire so that you can ride your bike for a while – until the tire is flat again. On the other hand, you can change the tire to an intact one once – and stop wasting time on pumping air to a flat one on a recurring basis.
Strive for fixing the root cause instead of just fixing the symptom. It may take more time, but fixing the symptoms will most likely to take even more time. Conclusion As you can see, there are lots of habits on our daily lives that could be improved or replaced with a better one. If there is a one single area to focus on this list, it is definitely the item #7. When you make your body feel good on all three levels (nutrition, exercise and sleep), it is much easier to change other parts of your life too. Just take one unproductive habit, crush it and then move on to the next one.
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