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10 Everyday Things Successful Entrepreneurs Say ‘No’ To That Skyrocket Success

10 Everyday Things Successful Entrepreneurs Say ‘No’ To That Skyrocket Success

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

This might surprise you: Successful entrepreneurs say “no” a lot. We’re taught that we should say “yes” to almost everything in our society, yet the most successful among us say “no”. Everyone from Warren Buffett, to Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs reportedly say “no” to several everyday things. Most importantly, those no’s skyrocket their success.

Here are ten things successful entrepreneurs say “no” to.

1. They Say “No” To Opportunities for Opportunity’s Sake

Entrepreneurs are constantly being approached with opportunities. Business opportunities, networking opportunities, opportunities to get their products or services in front of new eyes, opportunities to take on new projects and partnerships, etc. However, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to almost all of the opportunities presented to them, because saying “yes” to an opportunity you aren’t excited by carries an “opportunity cost”. We have a limited amount of time and resources to spread around. If you’re not excited by an opportunity, it’s not an opportunity — it’s a responsibility.

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best”. – John C. Maxwell

2. They Say “No” To Networking

This might come as a surprise. You’ve heard that you’re only as powerful as your network in school before. You’ve seen networking events in your community and online where you are told over and over that networking is the king of your career. So how can successful entrepreneurs say “no” to networking?

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Well, networking is superficial. When you are “networking”, you’re not doing much more than swapping business cards. When the people you’re “networking” with walk away, they hardly remember you until you follow up with them. It’s very much a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality. However, successful entrepreneurs don’t network. They build relationships.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Unfortunately, you don’t necessarily trust some person you met in your “network”. You trust people you have relationships with.

3. They Say “No” To People Who Don’t Energize Them

Have you ever heard the Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”?

Well, it’s true. In fact, studies have shown that you are actually far more likely to be overweight if your best friend is overweight — even if they live hundreds of miles away. That’s why successful entrepreneurs say “no” to spending time with anybody who doesn’t inspire, challenge, or energize them. Life’s too short – and business is too important – for people who drag you down.

4. They Say “No” To Being a Workaholic

Have you ever laughed and called yourself a “workaholic”? I know I have. And it was completely accurate. I worked so much and so hard that my marriage almost shattered into pieces.

Working yourself to the bone is no way to run your business or your life. That’s why successful entrepreneurs say “no” to workaholic-ism. Most of them started off working themselves silly, and didn’t see their businesses take off until after they’d taken a step back. Why? Because self care is so important. You can’t be a workaholic and take care of yourself and your family properly at the same time.

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5. They Say “No” To Laziness

What does Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, and Anna Wintour all have in common?

Besides being among North America’s most successful, they all work out. See, fitness provides a healthy dose of antioxidants and feel-good hormones to your brain. This increases creativity and focus. As a huge bonus, working out also helps you sleep better at night. Successful entrepreneurs are all highly creative, focused, and (of course) well rested. They understand the impact their physical health has on their mental and business health. They say “no” to laziness (most of the time).

6. They Say “No” To Unhealthy Food

Someone once said, “You are what you eat”.

However, the reality is that the quality of the energy you put in your body determines the quality of energy your body outputs. Successful entrepreneurs understand this, and nourish their bodies (and brains) with healthy whole foods instead of fast food and junk. Successful entrepreneurs say “no” to junk-food, and “yes” to diets full of healthy, whole carbohydrates, proteins, and especially healthy fats.

As Tim Ferris said, “A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats, robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.”

7. They Say “No” To Doing the Work

“Do the work!”

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You hear that over and over again, especially as an entrepreneur. We entrepreneurs like to maintain maximum control over our businesses, so we end up wearing many hats. But to say “yes” to being everything to your business is like saying “yes” to mediocrity. When there’s somebody else who can do a job more efficiently than you can, and who enjoys it more than you, saying “no” to that work allows you to focus on what only you can do for your business. Successful entrepreneurs say “no” to doing the work that they can outsource or delegate.

8. They Say “No” To Priorities

How many priorities do you have on your plate right now? 2? 4? 6?

It may be time to review those priorities. After all, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to priorities. They say “yes” to one priority — singular, not plural.

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.” – Greg McKeown in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Prioritizing more than one thing in your business means that you prioritize nothing. You shouldn’t have priorities. You need a priority.

9. They Say “No” To Motivation

Do you rely on motivation to get things done? Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who are always motivated. Or more likely, you get a lot done when you have a lot of energy or a new idea. However, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to relying on motivation. Instead, they build habits around the important tasks they need to get done every single day. Once you say “no” to motivation and “yes” to habits, you get important work done on autopilot. And your work never suffers from demotivation again.

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Build habits instead.

10. They Say “No” To Everything…

…Except their one focus.

Successful entrepreneurs know what they need to get done, and say no to everything else.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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