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4 Famous Workaholics (And The Secrets of Their Success)

4 Famous Workaholics (And The Secrets of Their Success)

    If you want to make the big bucks, you’ve got to be willing to put in a little overtime. And while we’re generally all about working smarter (not longer), it’s worth noting that tons of America’s richest business owners earned their billions only after putting their noses to the grindstones and becoming serious workaholics.

    But being a workaholic alone doesn’t guarantee major earnings. Here’s a list of 4 famous American workaholics, along with their “secret weapon” for success.

    1. Thomas Edison

    Major Accomplishments: 1,093 US patents at the time of his death (plus more in several other countries around the globe), often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Oh yeah, and that whole “inventing” the lightbulb thing.

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    Secret Weapon: Never being reluctant to work long hours or work hard.

    “I never did anything worth doing entirely by accident…. Almost none of my inventions were derived in that manner. They were achieved by having trained myself to be analytical and to endure and tolerate hard work.”

    Edison wasn’t about working smarter, just working harder. And that doesn’t come as much of a surprise to us today, given that one of Edison’s most famous quotes is “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

    But most people don’t realize that that’s only half the quote. Just like the New Hampshire state motto of “Live Free or Die”, there’s more to the quote than just the most frequently repeated bits. Here’s the whole Edison quote:

    “Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a  ‘genius’ is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.”  

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    (Incidentally, the full quote that “Live Free or Die” was extracted from comes from General John Stark, who once wrote, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of all evils.”)

    2. Oprah

    Major Accomplishments: Winner of multiple Emmy awards, author, humanitarian, and a net worth of around $2.7 billion.

    Secret Weapon: Do what you love, and work doesn’t feel like work.

    “What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

    Oprah works crazy long hours, has a magazine and a TV show and now a whole TV network;. The secret to her success has to be loving what she does, and when she can bring so much good to charities and other good causes, it’s easy to see why she’s happy to work so hard.

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    3. Donald Trump

    Major Accomplishments: Real estate magnate, TV show host, casino owner, and operator of numerous national beauty pageants.

    Secret Weapon: Seeing work as a way to get a rush of adrenaline

    “Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

    Trump’s made his position on workaholics very clear. After a 2007 study found that America was “a nation of workaholics”, Trump told the New York Post that “They don’t want to miss what’s going on. Although vacations are supposed to be about de-stressing, some people admitted it would be more stressful not knowing what was going on at work while they were away. And those are the kind of people I want working for me.”

    It’s easy for someone with Trump’s level of success to love working, because he gets a rush from sealing a deal. If work is fun, perhaps even addictive, then it’s no wonder he’s a workaholic.

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    4. Bill Gates

    Major Accomplishments: Making the computer a common household appliance, forming the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and accumulating a net worth of over $50 billion.

    Secret Weapon: Not being a control freak, and soliciting ideas from a talented team of employees.

    “At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top – I’m afraid that’s not quite right.”

    A company is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and it’s refreshing to see that Gates is willing to credit Microsoft’s success to his co-workers and employees.

    As Gates has said in past interviews, “Bringing together the right information with the right people will dramatically improve a company’s ability to develop and act on strategic business opportunities.”

    Conclusion

    Working hard is all well and good, but make sure to play hard, too. While the workaholic lifestyle was right for these famous faces, it can put a major strain on your heart and your personal life. And the last thing you want is to be too invested in your work, like P.T. Barnum. As he lay dying, Barnum’s last words were, “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?”

    Are you a workaholic? What other famous workaholics do you look up to? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

    Does the Pomodoro Technique Work for Your Productivity? 10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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