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Valuable Advice From Highly Successful People For Young People

Valuable Advice From Highly Successful People For Young People

One of the best ways for you to move forward and achieve your life’s goals, is by learning from the people who are already successful. By opening your heart to listen to their advice, you will probably reach your goals much faster. It is important to focus on the kind of attitude that you choose to display when you are at work turning your dreams into reality, rather than what you already know.

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci:

Learning never exhausts the mind.

These successful people have been through what you are currently going through and probably faced a lot of rejections before their companies grew. For them, now the challenges still exist, only on a whole different level. But they consistently have remained committed to their goals nonetheless. Because of this, there are a lot of life lessons you can learn through observing what they did to get to where they are now in life.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It is much wiser to follow their footsteps and do the things these people have done to build their successful careers. Here are some valuable pieces of advice from highly successful people you can learn from:

1. Mary Barra: Do something You Are Passionate About

The CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra’s advice is to do something we love. In her own words,

“Do something you love. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed, and a lot of other things will happen that you don’t need to worry”.

You don’t know how long you are going to need do the things you are currently doing until you reach your vision of success. That’s why it is quite common for you to hear a lot of these successful people telling you not to aim for the money. Instead, you should do something you are passionate about. It takes great determination to keep on going, especially when the odds are stacked against you. But if you are doing something that you love, as Mary Barra put it, you are naturally going to succeed.

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2. Maya Angelou: Forgive Yourself

Maya Angelous was an American author, poet and civil rights activitist. She said that it is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes–it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you should forgive yourself and say, “Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better“.

It is very easy to  blame yourself for the mistakes you have made before. But by realizing that those mistakes can be a very good platform for your growth, you can discover more about yourself and ultimately, your true potential. The co-author of “The Effortless Entrepreneur”, Daylle Deanna Schwartz said “people get into trouble because they try so hard to be perfect and then they beat themselves up when they’re not”.

Instead of trying so hard to pin the blame on yourself for those mistakes, look at it as part of your learning curve instead.

3. Richard Branson: A Setback is Never a Bad Thing

The Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson has provided us with a very good perspective on learning from our mistakes. He said,

I never see a setback as a bad experience. It is just a learning curve.

As a serial entrepreneur, Richard Branson has had his own fair share of setbacks. He nearly failed when Virgin was in its early years. But through a combination of luck and planning, both of them (Richard Branson and the company) made it through the difficult period and prospered. From his setbacks, he learned very quickly to use them as a platform to learn more about the business. One lesson that is valuable to learn is the ability to adapt quickly to changes, and another is the ability to be quick to accept that something is not going well and either change tack or close the business.

4. J.K. Rowling: Embrace Failure

Seven books and eight blockbuster films later, the Harry Potter brand is valued at over $15 billion. Over 400 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide and translated into 67 languages. It is a massive success.

But when J.K. Rowling had just started out almost fifteen years ago, it was a very difficult time for her and her daughter. She had faced a lot of rejections from literary agents until her work was finally accepted by Christopher Little, providing her with the springboard to turn her work into the success that we know today.

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And during Rowling’s speech that she gave at a Harvard Commencement, she said something that could really resonate well with us,

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default“. 

5. Helena Foulkes: Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Helena Foulkes is the Executive Vice President of CVS Health Corporation. Her advice for those who strive to be successful in their lives is:

“You know what the finish line is that you really want to get to but, along the way, it’s not always pure joy. There are really hard moments. But if you keep your eye on the prize, it’s part of what drives you to get there”.

We often find examples of this attitude when we listen to stories of how highly successful people became successful.

Donald Trump is probably one of the best known entrepreneurs out there because of the reality show, “The Apprentice”. Forbes currently estimates his net worth to be at $4 billion.

What’s interesting is, he was in tons of debt in the late 1980s and by 1991, his increasing debt brought him to business bankruptcy. However, he did not take his eyes off the prize. He fought back by putting his focus back on his business and the late 1990s finally saw a resurgence in Donald Trump’s financial situation. He knew what he wanted and with his eyes on the prize, he was able to achieve the massive amount of financial success that we know him for today.

6. Indra Nooyi: Never Stop Learning

The Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi insists that we should never stop learning. She has said:

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“Wherever we are in our lives, whether we are entry-level employees fresh from college, or a CEO, we don’t know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of  weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students.”

It is much easier for your learning process if you walk into all of the lessons that your life is giving you, by assuming you don’t know everything because by being a know-it-all, you are already pushing away the opportunities for you to learn something new, which could be very useful in your journey toward success.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

Joel Gascoigne, the co-Founder and CEO of Buffer demonstrates this point perfectly. Before Joel launched Buffer, he decided to test whether people would use the product and in order to do that, he created a minimal two page website without building the product at all.

He then shared the website with his followers on Twitter. When a few people visited the website and put in their emails, Joel began sending them personalized emails, asking for their feedback about Buffer. After he had received enough feedback, he got to work and built the full product.

Stories like this exhibit the nature of highly successful people. They never stop learning. Imagine if all of the successful people in the history of mankind settled only for their first major breakthrough, would the world be as magical as it is today?

7. Eric Schmidt: Say Yes to Things

Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt advises young people to find a way to say yes to things.

“Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well. Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

It is very easy to say ‘yes’ to things, however it is not easy to follow up on this because it requires action, commitment and engagement from you.

When you say yes to an opportunity, you have to be prepared to do the all work that is required to keep your end of the bargain. However, with practice, as well as (again) action, commitment and engagement, this habit will be beneficial for your growth as you are able to learn more and build connections and trust with more people.

It is also a very good practice for character-building, to mold you into the person who is prepared to do what is necessary to turn your dreams into reality.

8. Mark Zuckerberg: Listen to Yourself

We must have faith in ourselves. That’s according to the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His advice for young people, in his own words, is:

“The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you. But I started Facebook when I was 19”

Almost of us who want to be successful will encounter people, including those who genuinely care about us like our parents and spouse, who will doubt what we do. This is simply because they cannot see clearly what we are currently seeing in our minds. In our minds, we have this great image of us being very successful doing what we are currently doing.

The founder of TOMS Shoes, Blake Mycoskie’s words resonate well with Mark Zuckerberg’s advice:

If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger–something that matters”.

No matter how young you are, you are still never too young to achieve something significant in your life and be successful. There will always be people who will tell you that it is not possible for you and all the good ideas are already implemented elsewhere anyway. But remember, Zuckerberg did say, “I started Facebook when I was 19”.

Featured photo credit: Richard Branson/ NRKBETA via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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