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10 Novels That Will Help You Perform Better In This Business World

10 Novels That Will Help You Perform Better In This Business World

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to forge ahead in life is to be around those who have walked the journey you would like to travel.

Commonly referred to as mentors, these are the people who will guide you. They have learned from their errors and ideally, it is their wisdom that you would like to leverage to avoid common mistakes and get to your own destination quicker. These are the people who will help you

But we know that not all mentors are great. We also know that those who are really awesome have time limitations. They can only be at one place at a time. As a result of their demand, their time is expensive. To get their time and attention, you will need to pay big bucks.

Having said the above, there is one way of getting the best in a cost-effective way. That is through reading novels written by these esteemed men and women. As Lailah Gifty Akita put it: “Great mentorship is priceless.”

Here are 10 books you can read to enable you to forge ahead in life in your leadership, career, and entrepreneurship endeavours.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carneige

People are the most important resource in life. Ideas come from people. People consume your products and services. People produce the products and services you sell. In a world that has advanced in leaps and bounds technologically, we should never forget that people trump technology on any given day.

This book will teach you how to express your ideas, assume leadership, and make people enthusiastic. Equally important, it teaches you how to make people feel valued and appreciated. First published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide. Clearly, there’s no going wrong with this book.

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2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

Often called America’s number leadership authority, Maxwell was identified as the most popular leadership expert in the world by Inc. magazine in 2014, and he has been voted the top leadership professional six years in a row on LeadershipGurus.net.

This book focuses on aspects of your life that are irrefutable: constant and timeless. Whether you are in New York or Johannesburg, in the 18th or 21st century, these are laws you can entrench into your life eternally.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey has been instrumental in shifting my paradigms in life.

While it is awesome to read and have knowledge, what really matters is application. Not only application, but consistent and permanent application of knowledge that will change your life. In this book Steve Covey focuses on how to change for good through changed habits, a struggle faced by millions of people who know the right thing but who never really master the willpower to realize that change over a long and sustained period in their life.

4. Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

This book depicts the true personification of selflessness, a quality possessed by one of the greatest leaders of all time.

I honestly don’t know how I would have responded after 27 years of imprisonment under a regime that oppressed every ounce of my humanity. I don’t know how I would have responded to a system that cost me two marriages and segregated me from my family, passion, and life course.

In this book, Mandela teaches us how we can respond to the most trying of circumstances and come out victorious.

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5. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

We often get told to “embrace our weaknesses” and turn them into opportunities.

While that is true, it is half the story. The reality is that you become less effective in life if you spend most of your time working against your natural talents and gifts. Yet we are often quick to apply for jobs that have very little to do with our natural abilities. And then we spend most of our lives collecting salaries that bring complete frustration and stagnation to our lives.

This book helps you tap into your strong points. It then encourages you to focus most of your time working on your strengths and enhancing. It comes with a fantastic online assessment tool that has been completed by more than 2 million people.

6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Oftentimes, it seems like the work place is geared at those who are vocal and assertive. “They speak their minds” is one phrase you’ll hear often, coupled with “that’s why they get what they want”.

It seems too easy for the extrovert to get ahead in the workplace. But, in this highly vocal and noisy world, the workplace needs introverts. There is an incredibly important role for those who are ‘quiet’. This book, in an engaging and easy-to-read fashion, explores introversion and its value in modern day society. It also highlights the inter-dependent relation between introverts and extroverts.

7. ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems. All products and services that customers buy are bought on the premise that the product or service will solve a problem. On the back-end of solving a problem is a solution. Some solutions are rocket science while others are very basic.

When you think of Groupon, the magnitude of simplicity cannot be further highlighted. According to a December 2010 report conducted by Groupon’s marketing association and reported in Forbes magazine and the Wall Street Journal, Groupon was “projecting that the company is on pace to make $1 billion in sales faster than any other business, ever.”

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They are the fastest company to make $1 billion in sales from a simple solution — giving discounts. ThinkerToys taps into this ability to develop and improve our creative flair.

8. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Ever been told “you need money to make money”?

I’ve come across entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas, but crushed spirits because they ‘did not have enough money to start the business’. This book highlights the importance of entrepreneurs finding their passion. Once that’s done, they need to work on that passion in a creative way that has the potential to solve problems in a profitable way.

Passion and problem-solving attract support, including monetary support. In other words, even though money is need to fire up ideas, you don’t need to have the money upfront. In a world where entrepreneurs chase overnight riches, the book highlights the need to start small and grow humble beginnings organically and authentically.

9. “The Obstacle Is the Way” by Ryan Holiday

To be a successful entrepreneur, you’ve got to be positive, driven and a visionary. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

But, that’s the nice and rosy side to entrepreneurship. The flipside of that is that you WILL fail.

Where’s there’s creativity and ideas, there’ll be testing and failing. Where there’s passion, there’ll be plenty of frustration. Where there’s monetary resources required, you’ll have many a door shut in your face. Sadly, most entrepreneurs freak out when they come across obstacles that lead to temporary failure. Yet, failing is all part and parcel of the journey to success. Failing simply means you are coming across obstacles that will inspire you to be creative and a problem-solver.

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As such, failing is NOT failure. This book will teach you how to turn your obstacles into opportunities, thereby turning your failing points into success stories.

10. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

We live in a world of convention. We get told to study hard, get a well-paying job, or start a business that pays us well. Then we’ll enjoy the sweet taste of success, they say. In all this, we seldom get told about the power of time freedom over financial freedom. As a result, many people get to the pinnacle of their success and still feel a void. One that feels like a trap. A trap that often robs you of your time.

In this book, Timothy Ferriss highlights tools you can use as an entrepreneur to create and run automated businesses that give you time freedom.

Conclusion

As an entrepreneur who has worked eight years in the corporate world, I’ve experienced the power of these books manifest in my life.

Mentors are vital. We all need them to get ahead in life and contribute meaningfully on earth. With all the time and monetary limitations that come with accessing the best mentors, it becomes incredibly difficult to access them in person.

With books though, you have the power to tap into the wealth of wisdom that these great individuals have to offer. I hope you’ll find these books incredibly useful as you forge your way to a life of success and fulfilment.

More by this author

Peteni Kuzwayo

Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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