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The Mystery of Work Life Balance

The Mystery of Work Life Balance

Kate is a hard-working manager working at a startup company.  She toils at work but gets that nagging feeling that she’s missing out on living her life. And then perversely, when she’s not working, she tries to switch off ‘work-mode’ to enjoy her passions, friends, family… but eventually she finds that she just doesn’t have the energy.

Many people are like Kate, misunderstanding the true meaning of work life balance. They try to keep ‘work’ and ‘life’ separate, but this brings undesirable results.

Where the Curse of Work Life Balance Begins

Those who are trying to maintain a work life balance only by dividing their time – by driving a sharp wedge between work-mode and life-mode – are inadvertently dividing themselves.

When people juxtapose ‘work’ and ‘life’, they unconsciously think in terms of ‘work’ versus ‘life’ – and are constantly forced to choose one at the expense of the other.  In this framework, a gain on one side is always a loss on the other side.

And so people start to see ‘work’ as the times when they are not living their lives. ‘Work’ is seen as a necessary evil that they must suffer through until it’s time to switch off. But if you encode everything related to work as negativity and suffering, while your ‘life’ strains under the weight of unrealistic expectations of enjoyment, there really is no balance there at all.

Re-balancing work and life is possible by seeking out a new and enjoyable job to a certain extent. But no job is perfect. There are always going to be tedious aspects to any job. And before long you’ll wind up on the same ‘life’ versus ‘work’ see-saw because you haven’t changed the old framework.

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The Only Way to Break the Curse

The true goal is to redistribute the positive (+) and negative (-) evenly across life.

Most people try to make it all positive off work to compensate the negativity at work like this:

    If it’s all negative at work and all positive when the work mode is switched off, the work performance will suffer – creating even more negativity. People will lean heavily on their off-mode life for happiness, but they can’t truly achieve happiness because they are not facing the problems at work.

    Conversely, there are those who do strive to put positivity into their work life. Their work life balance looks like this:

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      Unfortunately, if these people are still stuck in the old on/off framework, all the negativity will shift to their off-mode self, and their relationships and health will suffer.

      Very few lucky people experience positivity on both sides of the equation, their work life balance looks like this:

        If you are one of those who experience positivity in both sides, lucky you! You are one of the less than 5% of the population.

        For the rest of the 95% of the population, here is a cure to having a realistic work life balance.

        The solution is to recover the sense of a unified self. When you do, you’ll dismantle the competing work/life binary, and you’ll stop unconsciously labelling work as ‘suffering’ and life as ‘enjoyment’. Positive energy will begin to flow smoothly and effortlessly through your life.

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        To recover the sense of a unified self, ask yourself: Why do I really do what I do, in life and in work?

        Your answer to this question make up your blueprint of a unified self, charged with meaning that relates directly to who you are and what you care about.

        Use your blueprint now to examine your life at work, your leisure time and your relationships and see if they align with each other. The new framework is no longer ‘balance’, but ‘alignment’.

        This will reveal to you a number of things:

        • There are aspects of your work that are not suffering: Look again and you’ll find many positive aspects that reflect what you care about. For example, you may value creativity, and realize that you get the opportunity to show it at work every day.
        • Things you care about at ‘work’ are the same as what you care about in your ‘life’: For example, you may value friendship in your life, and you also practice this value with your colleagues. Your values exist in all your interactions, and serve your unified self.
        • What you do at work and what you do in your life support and enhance each other: For example, the same generosity you show your friends can forge good client relationships when practiced at work. Your resourcefulness at work can be used to solve obstacles in your personal life.

        Crucially, you never need to use the on/off work model again because you’re constantly acting in accordance with what you truly value. As a result, you’ll find that your positive energy will not be subject to draining or overflowing, off/on, but will instead flow consistently through all your states of being in a perpetual positive feedback loop.

        This is how a realistic work life balance is like:

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          A Life Without the Distressing Curse

          Your renewed conceptualisation from ‘balance’ to ‘alignment’ is an inner transformation that can empower you whatever your current circumstances are.

          For example, it may reveal that you truly are suffering in your current job. But now you can unroll your blueprint to identify the cause of the negativity (i.e. what isn’t aligning with what you value?) and either remind yourself why you’re really doing what you’re doing, or make a tweak… or indeed change your job.

          Even if the latter, you can still be sustained by positivity until you find that new job. You may hate your everyday tasks, but one of things you value is to be a good provider for your family – so you’re spurred on, knowing that you’re doing that every day.

          Or if you’re a workaholic, your blueprint may reveal that what you previously undervalued as ‘off-mode’ (relaxing, having fun, pursuing a passion, spending time with family and friends) actually contain a wealth of values that support – and even enhance – a well-rounded working life.

          A value-rich and optimally tuned work life alignment helps maintain a flow of positive energy and happiness in all aspects of being. So go ahead and make the blueprint of you.

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on June 25, 2019

          100 Motivational Quotes That Will Guide You To Massive Success

          100 Motivational Quotes That Will Guide You To Massive Success

          Below are the 100 most motivational quotes ever. Read them and get motivated for success, and share this post to help your friends get success too!

          1. All our dream can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

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            2. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. – Zig Ziglar

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              3. The Man Who Has Confidence In Himself Gains The Confidence Of Others. – Hasidic Proverb

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                4. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.– Napoleon Hill

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                  5. For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

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                    6. What you seek is seeking you. – Rumi

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                      7. It is never too late to be what you might have been. —George Eliot

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                        8. Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once. —Drew Houston

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                          9. The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. – Bruce Lee

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                            10. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson

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                              11. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu

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                                12.The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand

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                                  13. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi

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                                    14. The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it. –  Jordan Belfort

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                                      15. When you can’t change the direction of the wind, just adjust your sails. – H. Jackson Brown Jr

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                                        16. Security Is Mostly A Superstition. Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing. – Helen Keller

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                                          17. Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions. – Tony Robbins

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                                            18. We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret. – Earl Nightingale

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                                              19. Double down on whats working. Cut the rest. – Tai Lopez

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                                                20. The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra

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                                                  21. Tough times never last, but tough people do. – Dr. Robert Schuller

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                                                    22. Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion. Tony Hsieh

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                                                      23. I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have. – Russell Simmons

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                                                        24. The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. – Benjamin Disraeli

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                                                          25. Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – Napoleon Hill

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                                                            26. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

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                                                              27. People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do. – Rob Siltanen

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                                                                28. Poor people have big TVs. Rich people have a big library. – Jim Rohn

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                                                                  29. A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship. – John D. Rockefeller

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                                                                    30. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney

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                                                                      31. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. – Mark Zuckerburg

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                                                                        32. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

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                                                                          33. Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”– Jack Canfield

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                                                                            34. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. – Malcolm X

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                                                                              35. Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy. or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan. – Larry Winget

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                                                                                36. Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning. – Robert Kiyosaki

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                                                                                  37. If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results. – Tony Robbins

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                                                                                    38. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. – John F. Kennedy

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                                                                                      39. Reading is to the mind, as exercise is to the body. – Brian Tracy

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                                                                                        40. The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place. – Guy Kawasaki

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                                                                                          41.You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them. —Michael Jordan

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                                                                                            42. Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. – John D. Rockefeller

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                                                                                              43. Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success. – Dale Carnegie

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                                                                                                44. The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself. – Mark Caine

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                                                                                                  45. Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. —Warren Buffett

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                                                                                                    46. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real, it is possible, it’s yours. – Ayr Rand

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                                                                                                      47. If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do. – Anonymous

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                                                                                                        48. Make each day your masterpiece.  – John Wooden

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

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                                                                                                            50. Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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                                                                                                              51. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. – Jack Welch

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                                                                                                                52. People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. – Tony Robbins

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                                                                                                                  53. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

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                                                                                                                    54. You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. – Margaret Thatcher

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                                                                                                                      55. If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you! – T. Harv Eker

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                                                                                                                        56. Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment. – Stephen Covey

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                                                                                                                          57. Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. – Pablo Picasso

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                                                                                                                            58 – Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

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                                                                                                                              59. I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. – Neil Armstrong

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                                                                                                                                60. A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

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                                                                                                                                  61.You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. – John C. Maxwell

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                                                                                                                                    62. The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey

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                                                                                                                                      63. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain

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                                                                                                                                        64. Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. – Les Brown

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                                                                                                                                          65. Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. – Stephen King

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                                                                                                                                            66. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success. – Joyce Brothers

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                                                                                                                                              67. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

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                                                                                                                                                68. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve. – Jeff Bezos

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                                                                                                                                                  69. Imagine Your Life Is Perfect In Every Respect; What Would It Look Like? – Brian Tracy

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                                                                                                                                                    70. First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. –  Mahatma Gandhi

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                                                                                                                                                      71. Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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                                                                                                                                                        72. Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. – John Maxwell

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                                                                                                                                                          73. It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop. – Confucius

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                                                                                                                                                            74. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs. – Dhirubhai Ambani

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                                                                                                                                                              75. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley

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                                                                                                                                                                76. Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. – Ayr Rand

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                                                                                                                                                                  77. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

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                                                                                                                                                                    78. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein

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                                                                                                                                                                      79. The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbors. – Napoleon Hill

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                                                                                                                                                                        80. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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                                                                                                                                                                          81. The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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                                                                                                                                                                            82. If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn

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                                                                                                                                                                              83. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

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                                                                                                                                                                                84. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. – Henry David Thoreau

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                                                                                                                                                                                  85. Take one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is the way great spiritual giants are produced. – Swami Vivekananda

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                                                                                                                                                                                    86. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

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                                                                                                                                                                                      87. It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

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                                                                                                                                                                                        88. Be so good they can’t ignore you. – Steve Martin

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                                                                                                                                                                                          89. If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            90. In the end, we only regret the chance we didn’t take – Lewis Carroll

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                                                                                                                                                                                              91. Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world… if you do so, you are insulting yourself – Bill Gates

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                                                                                                                                                                                                92. Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long term results – Unknown

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  93. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    94. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going – Jim Rohn

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      95. The best way to predict the future is to create it – Peter Drucker

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        96. It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up. – Vince Lombardi

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          97. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            98. Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today. – Will Rogers

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              99.You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character. – Unknown

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                100. Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other. – Brian Tracy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                lastone!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You made it to the end! Are you feeling motivated? Awesome, now share this post with your friends to help them achieve success too.

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