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7 Action-Inducing Life Lessons from Henry Ford

7 Action-Inducing Life Lessons from Henry Ford

We all know Henry Ford best for founding the world-renowned Ford Motor Company and transforming the way that products are built in the United States. While it’s certainly easy to idolize someone who had so much business success, Henry Ford actually experienced many of the highs and lows that business owners still face today. However, his experience and his triumphs make for some incredible life lessons.

From enduring the Great Depression to dealing with a high turnover rate at his factory, Henry Ford had to experience several failures that all added up to his incredible, historic successes. The best part is that if you need help overcoming an obstacle today, many of his life lessons are still applicable to the 21st century.

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Life Lessons from Henry Ford

1. Seek Advice from Others

One of the biggest mistakes that Henry Ford made was not listening to some of his most trusted advisers. Many people, his son included, warned him about the rising popularity of other cars, yet Henry Ford did not adapt well to these changes. By the end of his life, although he was a wealthy man, Ford Motor Company was third and not first in the automobile industry. His company certainly did not lose any of the prestige it had in its earlier days, but had Mr. Ford kept up with innovations, he could have been more of a leader in the industry.

2. Invest in What Works

What makes Henry Ford so successful is that he took his business idea and made it bigger. Had he stayed with his original small factory, he wouldn’t be the business icon that we know today. Every time he wanted to improve his company, he invested in a much larger factory to produce more products. He even diversified and started offering more services than just automobiles. Even though all of these changes were cost intensive, Henry Ford was willing to take the risk and invest in what worked.

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3. Create For Everyone

Many successful business people have made their fortune catering to the rich, but Henry Ford created products that appealed to everyone. He even raised the salary of his factory workers to the point where they could actually afford the cars they were making. This led to reducing the turnover rate that plagued the Ford Motor Company in the early years.

4. “Don’t find fault; find a remedy.”

The above is one of my favorite Henry Ford quotes, and it’s one of his best life lessons. It’s so easy to place blame on other people or to point the finger at someone else for your mistakes. However, one of the most integral skills you can learn in life is taking responsibility for your actions. Even better, take it one step further and find a solution to the problem. This will guarantee you much success in life.

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5. Always Produce High Quality Work

Henry Ford once said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking,” and that is absolutely true. We should all be at our best at all times, not only when our boss is watching or our parents are watching. Creating good habits and developing into good people is much more important than getting ahead through unethical methods.

6. Have Passion For What You Do

If you don’t have enthusiasm for your work, then it’s time to find a new job! While you won’t have a perfect work day every day, having a passion for what you do will make everything more worthwhile. It might take some time to find this passion, but Henry Ford’s life lessons show us that they are worth fighting for.

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7. Anything is possible.

Last but not least, Henry Ford showed the world that anything is possible. He built an iconic company from the ground up, running it himself, buying out investors, and making it bigger and better every year. He did his research, learned from great business owners who were using assembly lines, and adapted it to fit his product. He was an innovator and someone who championed personal growth. He treated his employees well and raised their wages. He encouraged others to do the same. Like any person, he was not perfect, but his story offers some great life lessons that can still be used to this day.

In my opinion, Henry Ford is definitely worthy of his status as one of America’s great businessmen. His life lessons can certainly help all of us to stretch ourselves, dream big, remain accountable, and strive for excellence.

Which of these life lessons is most relevant to your life right now?

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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