Category Archives: Success

Gary Vaynerchuk Speech

Richard St. John talks about success. He delivers a very simple but absolutely meaningful message on how you can reach success and then hold on to it. His message is:
if you stop trying to reach for success, failure will come and hit you hard sooner than you think.

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How Can I Motivate Myself to Work Hard?

  • Get clear on what your fire is and what energizes you. (if you’re on Quora I wouldn’t be surprised if learning, personal development, seeking excellence, and giving back aren’t part of your core driving motivation.)
  • Create a life mantra (or at least a mantra for your next month, project, or year)
  • Ask friends if they have suggestions about what your passion (and/or strengths are).
  • Write down goals and commit to them.
  • Think about your purpose and your end goal.
  • It may be helpful to celebrate small wins. (I got a shake and played my favorite video games after all my chem tests as a freshman in college.  If it was today, I might get a smoothie and perhaps find another reward that fits my personality & characteristics)
  • Commit to refreshment and re-charging your batteries (hobbies, relaxation, social activities, etc.).  There is very good research around this issue in the positive psychology literature.
  • Keep track of your progress.  Hold yourself accountable.
  • Get started.  This is the hardest part often.  (I’ve heard about committing to doing 5 minutes of running…but actually doing 20 or more)
  • Post visual reminders in places you think would be helpful which remind you in words or visuals of your goals & priorities (and possibly even your rewards).
  • Get a buddy.  Get someone to do it with your and/or to hold you accountable.
  • Find a champion.  (someone who believes in your and/or your goals)
  • Go on a quest to find what motivates other people in their work and life.
  • Listening to music helps a lot.  (ie iTunes and Pandora are quite helpful).  This helps me lock into a task.  I think CDs can actually be most helpful if you like most of the songs because it means you are working in 45 to 1.25 hour intervals generally (and you don’t have to mess with changing the track).  Although, you can certainly create playlists which help you work more effectively and focused.
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Muhammad Ali Philosophy

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How do you stay Hungry for Success?

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Answer from a man who lost everything when he entered prison:
 me hunger is doing 2 years in prison for a fight I got into when I was young, losing every single business, car, condo, girlfriend, life, I poured my blood, sweat and tears into. While getting out and figuring how to rebuild my empire starting with absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, nothing- not even a single pair of jeans. 

Figuring out how to pay rent every month, with no car, and wondering where my next meal is going to come from. Being bold enough to figure out how to balance long term visions, dreams and goals, with everyday struggles and demands. 

Delaying all gratification but staying afloat by any means necessary in the day to day, while searching for something that provides the flexibility to grow into these long term stretch goals. Dealing with a broken grill because you can’t get dental treatment in prison, 2 root canals and over $10k worth needed in dental treatments. Saddled with $150k in restitution because the judge felt 2 years wasn’t enough. Constantly figuring out how to keep my background out of the lime light, but not lose the edge that makes me, me. How to get my book published that took me 2 years to write and continue to brand myself an expert with no capital to put towards the cause. 

How to live and accomplish the dream and life I’ve always envisioned, without ever settling. 

For me, I never have a problem trying to figure out how to stay hungry, because I stay fucking starving. 

Thank you for the question.

This is a great depiction of the burning ambition that fuels my drive:

 

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Michael Jordan – Reason for Success

 Michael Jordan - Reason for Success

His Intensity, Passion, Performance under pressure made this mentality possible. There is a significant theme from all the successful people I have posted about on this blog: passion, love for what you do, and commitment.
Take these values to heart, because success buds from values.

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Richard Branson – Necker Island Interview

Sir Richard Branson answers questions about the entrepreneurial spirit, social causes, and business as a concept.

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What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

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What do you want to do with your life? It’s a question almost everyone asks themselves. It’s also a question I don’t believe you should bother asking in the first place.

“I don’t know what I want to do in life, all I know is that it isn’t this.”

That was the sentiment a friend reflected to me. She’s in her mid-twenties, smart, savvy and hard working. But she is still stuck working jobs that don’t hover much beyond minimum wage. Every year, she tells me, that she applies for Universities, but never goes through with it. Why? Because she can’t answer that question.

Passion Evolves

I worry a lot of people fall into the same trap. The trap of believing that they need to make big life decisions before they can start doing anything. The trap that you need to be born with a passion. And the lie that being able to combine your interests with a profession is easy.

When people ask me what I’m going to be doing in five or ten years, I usually tell them I’m going to be an entrepreneur. “Oh. What’s your business going to be?” I have reason to believe this internet business could be it. Between revenues and freelance work I’m expecting to make about ten thousand dollars this year. Concentrated effort for the next four or five years could definitely make this a livable income.

But I don’t usually say that. Because it isn’t the point. In all honesty, I have no idea where I am going to be in a decade. My track record shows that my passions have evolved considerably, even over the last couple years.

Ben Casnocha, the 19-year old CEO of Comcate, shows how his passion didn’t start with a flash of insight, in the book My Start Up Life:

“It didn’t start with a dream. It didn’t start with in a garage. It didn’t even start with an innovative epiphany, which are perhaps entrepreneurs’ most overplayed recollections.” He continues, relating the story of Jerry Kaplan’s epiphany moment in Kaplan’s book, Start Up. To which Ben adds, “I wish my epiphany were as primal. It wasn’t, and most aren’t.” [emphasis mine]

As Ben shares his story of being a teenage CEO, it becomes clear that his passion evolved. There were interests in entrepreneurship and making a difference. But from these interests, he made smaller steps, each building a passion. I don’t believe his journey ever started with deciding what he wanted to do with his life.

Replace Decision with Curiosity

Instead of making definite decisions about a career path, I believe you should get curious. Get curious about the way the world works. Notice your own interests and find small ways you can exercise passion in something. Even if you can’t find a way to make money off of it yet.

The bridge from passion to money-maker can’t be made hastily. Interests often get discarded because they cannot be immediately relayed into a source of income. And therefore aren’t as important as work that does.

Blogging is a great example. I know many bloggers who want to go pro. They want to take the interest they have and turn it into a passionate source of income. But blogging isn’t easy. Even the most rapid successes I’ve seen, took over a year before the author could claim blogging as more than a hobby. And those were due to writing talent, luck and an incredible amount of work.

Patience is a necessary ingredient in evolving a passion. But even more, you need to be open to other possibilities.

Interest to Income Isn’t a Straight Path

80% of new businesses fail in the first five years. But more interesting, is that of the 20% that succeeded, most didn’t do so in the way they had expected to.

Before setting up his immensely popular website, Steve Pavlina believed he would make most his revenue through products and workshops. But close to five years later, he makes all of it from advertising and affiliate sales. A revenue prospect he downplayed when making his business plan.

Similarly, I don’t believe that most people’s passions follow a straight path. Scott Adams began with a degree in economics and a position in a bank and now he is the successful cartoonist who created Dilbert.

Seven Steps to Evolving a Passion… and Making it Work

Step One – Gather Sparks of Curiosity

Don’t have an inferno of passion driving your actions yet? Don’t worry about it. Most people I know don’t. And if you are under thirty, you are probably in the overwhelming majority.

The first steps is to simply invest your energy into whims. Those little sparks of interest where you don’t know enough to make them a passion. Ben Casnocha calls this seeking randomness. For me, it has been a process of finding my intuition and using it to make small investments in things that are potentially interesting.

This means reading different books, taking on different activities and meeting different people. Broad associations gives a lot of chances to stumble on a passion that can work.

Step Two: Fan the Flames of Interest

After exposing yourself to a lot of randomness, you need to cultivate the successes. Build upon the little sparks of interest that come by your life. If you read a book about physics and like the subject, try taking a physics class. If you enjoy some basic programming try a small software project.

Step Three: Cut Out Distractions

Cultivating whims and exploring new passions requires time. One of the reasons I’ve placed such an emphasis on productivity with myself, is that without it I couldn’t explore these options.

If your interests are genuine and worth exploring, it shouldn’t be too difficult to eliminate the non-essentials. Distractions such as television, excess internet usage and video games only take a bit of conditioning to free up. The hard part is reallocating time you don’t believe is yours.

Step Four: Living Minimally

If you already have a job you aren’t passionate about, work only as much as you need to keep going. Valid passions need time to grow into income generating skills.

I don’t suggest becoming a starving artist and racking up huge debts. But avoid expanding your life to fit a bigger and bigger paycheck if you aren’t living your passion. Otherwise you simply trap yourself into a life that is comfortable, but otherwise dead.

Leo Babauta, author of ZenHabits is a great example of this. With six kids, freelancing work and another job to help support his family he found ways to cut expenses and focus on his passion. His website has quickly grown to become incredibly popular, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a stable source of income for him in a few years. Live minimally, and avoid getting trapped into a comfortable, but unsatisfying, life.

Step Five: Make a Passion that Creates Value

If you have a skill that creates social value, you can make money through almost any medium. Monetizing a passion takes skill, as any entrepreneur can tell you, but without providing legitimate value it is impossible.

You need to transform your developing passions into a skill that can fill human needs. Some passions are easy to translate. An interest in computers could allow you to become a software designer. Others are more difficult. A passion for poetry, may be more difficult to meet a specific human need.

Step Six: Find a Way to Monetize That Value

Once you have the ability to create social value, you need to turn that into a repeatable process for gaining income. This could be in the form of a job. As a programmer you could get hired by Google. Or, it could lead to becoming a freelancer or an entrepreneur.

Monetizing value isn’t easy. It requires that you learn how to market, sell yourself, and find ways to connect human needs. Whether you intend to work in a job or own a business makes no difference. You are the CEO of your life, so you need to know how to connect your passions with serving other people.

Step Seven: Go Back to Step One

Describing this process in steps is misleading. It implies that there is a destination. There is no destination. The process of following whims, cultivating passions, turning them into valuable skills and then finally earning revenue from them is lifelong. I have some passions that are in steps one and two. This blog is in the midst of step six. In ten years I may have gone through them all with a completely different passion.

Not all your passions will or can finish the sixth step. But as persistent as the myth you need to decide what you want to do with your life, is the myth you can only have one passion. I’m at a point where cultivating passions has meant I have too many options. Too many possible paths that could lead to enjoyable and fulfilling careers. Don’t obsess over one failed attempt.

What do you want to do with your life?

Your life doesn’t need to go through a predictable story arc. It doesn’t have to start with a dream, follow through hard work and end up in a nice home with four bedrooms. Instead it can twist and travel. You don’t have to know the final answer, you just need to act on the next step.

Read more stuff like this: here.

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Steve Jobs – Stanford Commencement Speech – Three Stories About his Life

Steve Jobs inspires a whole class of students at Stanford University. He tells three stories that captivate the audience. Listen to this man!

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The Spartan Way = Success

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