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This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

Elizabeth Holmes may not be a household name yet, but it is soon to be if her vision pans out. At 19 years old, Holmes dropped out of Stanford in the hopes of revolutionizing the blood testing industry. And her vision is finally becoming a reality 11 years later, as Theranos blood tests are becoming available at select Walgreens locations. Of course this is just a start. The hope is to have Holmes’s labs in hospitals, army bases, and “within one mile of every city dweller”according to (www.fortune.com).

So what exactly is this revolutionizing technology? Holmes keeps the actual technology quite secretive but claims they use “the same fundamental chemical methods” as existing labs. Currently, 10 ml vials of blood must be painfully drawn to run blood tests, but with Theranos, one painless finger prick can deliver up to 70 blood tests. Theranos is hoping to make blood testing convenient and painless, so people can detect and treat illness as early as possible. Not only is Holmes making blood tests painless, she is also making the results transparent by giving people access to their own blood test information.

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Theranos technology can save innumerable lives by enabling early detection of certain diseases and by giving people constant access to what is happening inside their bodies. The hope is to have people tracking blood information the same way they track weight, daily steps, heart rate, and sleeping patterns. Anomalies and testing errors will also become easier to detect with more data points making the information even more valuable.

Curious about how you can apply the philosophy of Ms. Holmes to your life?

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1. She makes short term sacrifices for long term gains

An important part of Holmes’s success is that she was able to make short term sacrifices for long term success. Rather than hastily raise money with investors who were eager for quick returns, she patiently waited to attract investors who understood her mission and long term goals. In addition, she was able to retain 50% of Theranos, now valued at over 9 billion dollars, placing her at 110 on the Forbes 400 list. Unlike many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, she isn’t eager to find an exit strategy. Rather, she is eager to continue revolutionizing the diagnostic lab business so that soon everybody can have access to potentially life saving information. This idea seems obvious, but in the moment most people opt for a quick return. Waiting for a reward is difficult, especially when it isn’t guaranteed. But if you can continuously remind yourself of the greater payoff associated with achieving your goals, you’ll be more likely to persevere.

2. She found work that motivated her internally

Although she is the youngest self-made female billionaire, her motivation stems from her desire to profoundly impact humanity not to make money. She believes in using business as “a tool for making change in the world.” This has been said too many times to be meaningful but it is true. The most successful people are motivated by more than solely money. While you may not be able to find meaning in making 1000 copies of a document or entering data, try to understand a way your work contributes to a greater picture.

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3. She automates trivial matters to focus her mental energy on work

Ms. Holmes is a great admirer of Steve Jobs and is known to dress in a black turtleneck each day similar to him. Jobs was known for his black turtleneck look and claimed he liked the “daily convenience and signature style” it offered. While Holmes did not state her reason for dressing the same way each day, other magnates including Mark Zuckerberg also have a signature style partly to reduce the number of unnecessary daily decisions. The idea is the less mental energy you exert towards unnecessary tasks, the more you have to focus on important work.

4. She goes substance free (…. yes this includes caffeine and alcohol)

As noted in Fortune, Holmes seems to follow an ascetic lifestyle. Holmes works 16 hour days, seven days a week, and fuels herself with green juices rather than coffee. She abstains from animal products, caffeine, and even alcohol – a rarity in today’s society. While the majority of Americans wouldn’t consider working before their cup of coffee, perhaps it is worth trying to go a month substance free even if it’s just to prove you can. You may surprise yourself with greater mental clarity by the end.

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Featured photo credit: Forbes via forbes.com

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

3. Recognize actions that waste time.

Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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