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10 Things Highly Successful People Wish They Knew Earlier

10 Things Highly Successful People Wish They Knew Earlier

It wasn’t all plain sailing for some of the most successful people on planet earth. A few things got in the way but above all, they wished they had known one or two things which could have made the long march easier. Discover what wise nuggets they wished they had grasped earlier on.

1. “You need to be patient. I was the president of a multinational corporation when I was 40, but I wanted to be there at 25! But you need experience, of course.” – Federica Marchionni, President of Dolce & Gabbana Inc.

Federica Marchionni started out in the technology sector and worked for Ericsson and Samsung. Moving into the luxury goods sector was a big change. She has learned to be patient enough to see through projects which have opened up new markets for Dolce & Gabbana. She has shown creativity and flair in nurturing high level relationships.

2.  “I wish that I knew how difficult it is to acquire a customer, get them to pay for your product and believe it’s as magical as you think it is.” – Neil Patel, co-founder of the analytics companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics

Neil Patel underestimated how difficult it was to actually get customers and keep them. His advice now is that you have to experiment with where you will find your best customers. He recommends engaging with every potential customer on a daily basis which will give you invaluable insights on what they want.

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3. “After working ourselves to a point of being burned out we realized that if we put in 40 x 2 hours the company didn’t move forward 2x faster.” – Nick Francis, CEO of Help Scout

Nick Francis now knows that long hours are less and less productive. They are not the key to success. He is still committed to making his parents proud of him at the age of 32! Other ambitions are to keep his customers and employees happy. He is thrilled to be able to provide companies with front-end web development products to help them provide top class customer service.

4. “I wish I would have known that the career I started in didn’t necessarily have to be the career I stopped with.”- Chachanna Simpson, business and life coach at Your Stellar Star.

Basically, your career path is not set in stone and that you can change direction, as Chachanna Simpson discovered. Her video interviews with successful women in all walks of life are an inspiration to help with life lessons.

5. “Controlling your expenses is one of the most crucial steps toward the kind of financial independence that you need in order to follow your dreams in the future.”- Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

Jimmy Wales recommends care with expenses in setting up your dream project and becoming financially stable.  He advises that you should never get into debt to purchase a luxury item. The only exception would be a student loan, he says. Now, I wonder what luxury item he bought?

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6. “We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying.” – Tim Westergren, Co founder of Pandora Radio.

In a recent interview, Tim Westergren said that you cannot know what you are getting into and that is the risk factor. Follow your gut instinct even it means failure and you will have no regrets.

Pandora is unique in that it uses the Music Genome which delivers your personalized music tracks based on the 400 musical attributes of your initial selections. No surprise to learn that it took 30 experts and five years of work to complete. Tim Westergren has described this particular journey as ‘harrowing’.

7. “Listen more” – Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer at IDEO, global design consultancy.

Paul Bennett did a lot of talking when he was younger and it was all geared to show how clever he was. He regrets that and it is no surprise to learn that as his main job is to inspire people, he has now .learned the art of listening.  No prizes for guessing who thought up IDEO’s motto ‘Talk less, do more’!

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8. “If I had one piece of advice to give my younger self it would be to stop doing what makes you unhappy and focus on what makes you truly happy,” – Philippe Courtot, CEO of Qualys., cloud security company.

Philippe Courtot advises people to do what you really love and not to be distracted by other people’s opinions and advice. He was actively involved in Thomson GR Medical advertising campaign to promote mammography.

In an effort to make the Internet a safer environment for business, he has invested half a million dollars of his own money in TIM (Trustworthy Internet Movement) to help protect cloud computing from cyber criminals.

9. “The canvas of your life is painted with daily experiences, behaviors, reactions, and emotions, you’re the one controlling the brush.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey wishes she had known all about the canvas of her life and how she could have controlled it when she was much younger. This is essential in getting rid of those terrible doubts, worries, anxieties and lack of self confidence. Being the artist of your own life means you can change the colors at will and erase something you have done badly or could do better.

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10. “And above all, network, because networking is working. Your ability will only take you so far. Your relationships will take you the rest of the way.”- Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company.

Denise Morrison realized too late the value of networking and if she had her time over again, she certainly would have done things differently. She is among the top 100 of the World’s Most Powerful Women list. She is highly respected because of her innate talent in preserving an iconic brand and at the same time discovering new customer bases.

What are the things you wished you knew when you were younger that could have helped you do better?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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