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13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters

13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters
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In popular culture, people know that they are supposed to “think positive.” We all sort of know that we should scotch-tape affirmations to our bathroom mirrors and say “I love you” to ourselves, and keep our chins up (presumably while reading those mirror-stuck affirmations)

But why?

Well, on the surface of it, if you think positive, you’re not thinking negative, and therefore, you’re not grumpy and depressed. That’s a pretty good reason on its own. After all, who else but a poet or an emo musician wants to be grumpy and depressed?

But research shows that there are very real and measurable benefits to consciously cultivating and maintaining a positive, optimistic view on life.

The Mayo Clinic has proved conclusively that optimists have lower levels of cardiovascular disease and longer life-spans. Furthermore, they found that pessimists’ health deteriorated more speedily as they aged.

Researchers at Yale and the University of Colorado discovered that pessimism is correlated with a diminished immune response to tumors and infection.

Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, has done landmark work that shows that positive, optimistic people have deeper and broader social networks, are more effective communicators, and are more resilient, seeing failure as a learning experience rather than as a confirmation of their ineptness, and therefore they believe they can do better in the future.

Moreso, in a broad study of insurance salespeople, he found that the optimistic ones sold 37% more policies than pessimists, who were twice as likely to abandon their career during their first 12 months of employment.

Seligman gives guidelines on how to cultivate optimism for those of us who have developed negative habits in his book, Learned Optimism.

But you don’t have to only look at the research to see that a positive outlook on life and optimism breeds success. When you look at the lives of billionaire innovators, you see that a positive mindset keeps the minds of the highly successful focused on what is possible rather than on what blocks them; on alternatives rather than on roadblocks; on creative solutions rather than on blame.

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1. Imagine you’re on the threshold of success.

Andrew Carnegie, though often viewed as a shrewd and tight-fisted Scotsman, was actually a veritable starburst of sunny optimism.

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

Carnegie, who famously hired Napoleon Hill to gather up the wisdom of the rich and powerful in a project that produced the book Think and Grow Rich, grounded his optimism in utter 100% responsibility in his own internal resources.

“Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs.”

Positivity gives the mega-successful the internal fuel to power through downturns and what others would call failure.

2. Keep moving forward.

Mark Zuckerberg veritably defined our fast-paced innovation culture with his most famous quote:

“Fail fast and break things.”

3. Think like a queen.

Or in Oprah’s words:

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

4. Failure isn’t the end; it is the beginning.

Failure among billionaires is understood to be part of the creative whirlwind that is the very life of business. Success in not an endpoint. It’s merely a link in the continuing spiral.

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“Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

– Henry Ford

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas Edison

5. Abundant chance is all around you.

Sheldon Adelson, the toilet-kit salesman come multi-billionaire mastermind of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation expresses the optimistic mindset that failure is not only necessary, but that opportunity is unlimited.

“For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.”

6. Find the courage to continue.

Optimism may come easy to some. For others, it’s the cultivated result of another quality, which Churchill identified as courage:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

7. Own your mistakes—

Optimism and positive thinking feed our courage. Courage need not be heroic. Rather it may merely be the cool-headed outgrowth of a positive belief in yourself.

When Howard Schultz discovered that one of his most costly innovations had utterly flopped and cost the company nearly $100 million, he walked into his boardroom, looked his board in the eye and said, “Tactical mistake. Next.” No hand-wringing. No self-loathing. In fact, his entire ethos is summarized in the title of his memoir, “Onward.”

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8. —and then move on.

Similarly, Steve Jobs:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Jobs elaborated on his philosophy by applying his belief in innovation not only to his work, but to himself as well.

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”

An optimist is open to the adventure of self-growth, and doesn’t cling to the past or present as a pessimist might, believing things can only get worse.

9. Trust your hard work.

Optimism is akin to faith, not merely in yourself but in something greater than yourself. Jobs, a noted mystic, put it this way:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

10. Seek to help others.

Billionaires optimistically believe in a better world and see their efforts as contributing to it. As Peter Diamantis observed:

“The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.”

Sergei Brin, Co-Founder of Google, when asked what really drove him, and what spurred his company to its stratospheric growth, replied:

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“I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does”

11. When in doubt, don’t be evil.

In fact, Google’s well-known slogan “Don’t be evil” stemmed from nothing other than a profoundly positive intent:

“We have tried to define precisely what it means to be a force for good—always do the right, ethical thing. Ultimately, “Don’t be evil” seems the easiest way to summarize it”

12. Have high expectations of yourself.

Billionaires often seek to create something great. Some are driven by the desire to have a great impact. Others just expect that greatness is before them. As Sam Walton says:

“High expectations are the key to everything.”

13. Be relentless.

However, this doesn’t mean that billionaires go about their businesses like starry-eyed Pollyannas. Kazuo Inamori, a Japanese entrepreneur who founded two multi-billion dollar companies claims that while developing a new product or strategy, you begin optimistically.

However, once the planning stage begins, he says you must “become a pessimist” in order to spot every obstacle in the way. Then, he says, he returns to optimism for the execution phase.

In the end, billionaires teach us that optimism is not a gift. It is a strategy.

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via imcreator.com

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Nick Bastion

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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