Sunday, 30 November 2014

10 Secrets of Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

10. You must be passionate about what you are trying to achieve.

That means you’re willing to sacrifice a large part of your waking hours to the idea you’ve come up with. Passion will ignite the same intensity in others who join you as you build a team to succeed in this endeavor. And with passion, both your team and your customers are more likely to truly believe in what you are trying to do.

9. Great entrepreneurs focus intensely on an opportunity where others see nothing.

This focus and intensity help eliminate wasted effort and distractions. Most companies die from indigestion rather than starvation, i.e., companies suffer from doing too many things at the same time rather than doing too few things very well. Stay focused on the mission.

8. Success comes only from hard work.

We all know that there is no such thing as overnight success. Behind every overnight success lie years of hard work and sweat. People with luck will tell you there’s no easy way to achieve success--and that luck comes to those who work hard. Successful entrepreneurs always give 100% of their efforts to everything they do. If you know you are giving your best effort, you’ll never have any reason for regrets. Focus on things you can control; stay focused on your efforts, and let the results be what they will be.

7. The road to success is going to be long, so remember to enjoy the journey.

Everyone will teach you to focus on goals, but successful people focus on the journey and celebrate the milestones along the way. Is it worth spending a large part of your life trying to reach the destination if you didn’t enjoy the journey? Won’t the team you attract to join you on your mission also enjoy the journey more? Wouldn’t it be better for all of you to have the time of your life during the journey, even if the destination is never reached?

6. Trust your gut instinct more than any spreadsheet.

There are too many variables in the real world that you simply can’t put into a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets spit out results from your inexact assumptions and give you a false sense of security. In most cases, your heart and gut are still your best guide. The human brain works as a binary computer and can analyze only the exact information-based zeros and ones (or black and white). Our heart is more like a chemical computer that uses fuzzy logic to analyze information that can’t be easily defined in zeros and ones. We’ve all had experiences in business where our heart told us something was wrong while our brain was still trying to use logic to figure it all out. Sometimes a faint voice based on instinct resonates far more strongly than overpowering logic.

5. Be flexible but persistent--every entrepreneur has to be agile to perform.

You have to continuously learn and adapt as new information becomes available. At the same time, you have to remain persistent to the cause and mission of your enterprise. That’s where that faint voice becomes so important, especially when it is giving you early warning signals that things are going off track. Successful entrepreneurs find the balance between listening to that voice and staying persistent in driving for success--because sometimes success is waiting right across from the transitional bump that’s disguised as failure.

4. Rely on your team. It’s a simple fact: No individual can be good at everything.

Everyone needs people who have complementary sets of skills. Entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch, and it’s very hard for them to believe that they are not good at certain things. It takes a lot of soul searching to find your own core skills and strengths. After that, find the smartest people you can who complement your strengths. It’s easy to get attracted to people who are like you; the trick is to find people who are not like you but who are good at what they do--and what you can’t do.

3. Execution, execution, execution.

Unless you are the smartest person on earth (and who is), it’s likely that many others have thought about doing the same thing you’re trying to do. Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won’t win a game or a battle; the win comes from basic blocking and tackling. All of us have seen entrepreneurs who waste too much time writing business plans and preparing PowerPoints. I believe that a business plan is too long if it’s more than one page. Besides, things never turn out exactly the way you envisioned them. No matter how much time you spend perfecting the plan, you still have to adapt according to the ground realities. You’re going to learn a lot more useful information from taking action rather than hypothesizing. Remember: Stay flexible, and adapt as new information becomes available.

2. I can’t imagine anyone ever achieving long-term success without having honesty and integrity.

These two qualities need to be at the core of everything we do. Everybody has a conscience, but too many people stop listening to it. There is always that faint voice that warns you when you are not being completely honest or even slightly off track from the path of integrity. Be sure to listen to that voice.

1. Success is a long journey and much more rewarding if you give back.

By the time you get to success, lots of people will have helped you along the way. You’ll learn, as I have, that you rarely get a chance to help the people who helped you, because in most cases, you don’t even know who they were. The only way to pay back the debts we owe is to help people we can help--and hope they will go on to help more people. When we are successful, we draw so much from the community and society that we live in that we should think in terms of how we can help others in return. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being kind to people. Other times, offering a sympathetic ear or a kind word is all that’s needed. It’s our responsibility to do “good” with the resources we have available. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Michael Bloomberg's Top 5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

The following are some tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur based on my experience of building a company from the ground up, leading New York City as mayor, and founding a philanthropic organization.

1. Take risks.

Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure.

In 1981, at the age of 39, I was fired from the only full-time job I'd ever had - a job I loved.

But I never let myself look back, and the very next day I took a big risk and began my own company based on an unproven idea that nearly everyone thought would fail: making financial information available to people, right on their desktops. Remember, this was before people had desktops.

In 2001, when I was debating whether to run for mayor, most people advised me against it. They all were afraid I’d fail. But one person said: “If you can picture yourself giving a concession speech, then why not go for it?” That was the best advice I received – and I followed it.

In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail – and you must have the courage to go for it anyway.

2. Make your own luck.

Luck plays a part in success, but the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Whatever you choose to do, even if it’s not the job of your dreams, always work hard at it. Be the first person at work in the morning and the last to leave at night. Hard work creates opportunities where your resume cannot.

3. Be persistent.

Persistence really does pay off.

When starting my company, I would go downtown and buy cups of coffee. Then I’d take the coffee up to Merrill Lynch – our target audience – and walk the hallways.

“Hi,” I would say. “I’m Mike Bloomberg and I brought you a cup of coffee. Can I talk to you?”

Even if people were wondering who I was or where I came from, they still took the coffee.

And I kept coming back, day after day, working to build relationships with potential customers. I learned about the audience for our product and what they could really use.

Three years after starting Bloomberg LP, Merrill Lynch purchased 20 terminals and became our first customer.

4. Never stop learning. 

The most powerful word in the English language is “Why.” There is nothing so powerful as an open, inquiring mind. Whatever field you choose for starting a business – be a lifelong student.

The world is full of people who have stopped learning and who think they’ve got it all figured out. You’ve no doubt met some of them already – and you’ll meet plenty more.

Their favorite word is “No.” They will give you a million reasons why something can’t be done or shouldn’t be done.

Don’t listen to them, don’t be deterred by them, and don’t become one of them. Not if you want to fulfill your potential – and not if you want to change the world for the better.

5. Give back.

You are ultimately responsible for your success and failure, but you only succeed if you share the reward with others.

At the end of the day, ask yourself: “Am I making a difference in the lives of others?”

My first charitable donation was a $5 check to my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, not long after I graduated. I was just scraping by back then, but I continued to give. And while the checks may be bigger today, they come with the same spirit. You don’t have to be wealthy to give back. You can give back by getting involved and giving your time and talents. You just have to be committed to opening doors for others.

The Only Way To Get Really Really Rich

If you hope to get really rich, working for someone else will never get you there. But don't just take my word for it, the government agrees.

The IRS Statistics of Income Division, a place where fun surely goes to die, has published "400 Individual Tax Returns Reporting the Largest Adjusted Gross Incomes Each Year, 1992-2009," or in non government-speak, "400 People Who Earned a Freaking Boatload of Money."

In 2009, it took $77.4 million in adjusted gross income to crack the top 400. (That just barely got you in; the average income of everyone on the list was $202.4 million.)

Where it gets interesting is how the top 400 made their money:

  • Wages and salaries: 8.6 percent
  • Interest: 6.6 percent
  • Dividends: 13 percent
  • Partnerships and corporations: 19.9 percent
  • Capital gains: 45.8 percent

A few conclusions are obvious:

  • Working for a salary won't make you really rich.
  • Making only safe "income" investments won't make you really rich.
  • Investing only in stock of large companies won't make you really rich.
  • Owning a business or businesses could not only build a solid foundation of wealth but could someday...
  • Generate a huge financial windfall--and make you really rich.

Don't trust the IRS? Fine. Check out the top 10 on the Forbes billionaires list. Gates. Buffett. Ellison. Koch. Walton. Adelson. All entrepreneurs. (I worked my way down into the 200s and still couldn't find an employee, so I got bored and stopped looking.)

Clearly getting really rich in financial terms is the result of investing in yourself and others, of taking risks, of doing hundreds of small things right...and then doing one or two big things really right.

7 Secrets To Success

#1. Offer solutions, but always begin with problems.

Every time you say, “It’s not that bad,” you minimize the value of  any solutions you find. Never minimize the pain and frustration of others, even when it seems small to you.

The bigger the pain, the more important the solution.

#2. Forget perfection.

Don’t talk yourself out of imperfect solutions unless you have a better ones. I’ve talked myself out of taking action only to end up doing nothing. Worse yet, I’ve let others talk me out of taking imperfect action, even though they didn’t offer anything better.

Talk yourself into, not out of, taking action.

  1. Will it help?
  2. Will it harm?
  3. What happens if we do nothing?

The present coagulates around you every time you talk yourself out of taking action.

#3. Learn while you take action.

Don’t talk about it unless you plan to do something about it.

Welcome those who point out problems. They aren’t the enemy. The enemy is talk without action.

#4. Focus on getting people in the right roles.

Successful leaders understand and leverage the talents, skills, and drives of team members.

Provide leadership and personality assessments. Watch what gets them jazzed.

The trouble with just getting things done is people get lost along the way.

#5. Build energizing environments.

The most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work.

Spend more time affirming than correcting. Identify simple behaviors that energize. Talk about wins, for example.

#6.  Embrace forward facing contrarians.

Conformists don’t build the future, but forward facing contrarians pull you forward. Protect them from the frustrations of others, as much as possible.

#7. Results don’t define you.

The path to great results is more important than results themselves. Honor behaviors that get you there.

Nigerian Actor, John Boyega, Stars as Lead in Star Wars VIII

Remember our boy, John Boyega (Gboyega,) who played the memorable, charismatic Moses in ‘Attack the Block’ and of course, the popular ‘Ugwu’ in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun?’Well, he’s back and much bigger… in Star Wars VIII. Awesomeness.

8 Steps to Become a Millionaire

Here are the steps I'd suggest. They're neither fast nor easy. But, they're more likely to work than the quick and easy path.

1. Stop obsessing about money.

While it sounds counterintuitive, maintaining a laser-like focus on how much you make distracts you from doing the things that truly contribute to building and growing wealth. So shift your perspective.

"See money not as the primary goal but as a by-product of doing the right things."

2. Start tracking how many people you help, even in a very small way.

The most successful people I know – both financially and in other ways – are shockingly helpful. They’re incredibly good at understanding other people and helping them achieve their goals. They know their success is ultimately based on the success of the people around them.

So they work hard to make other people successful: their employees, their customers, their vendors and suppliers… because they know, if they can do that, then their own success will surely follow.

And they will have built a business – or a career – they can be truly proud of.

3. Stop thinking about making a million dollars and start thinking about serving a million people.

When you only have a few customers and your goal is to make a lot of money, you’re incented to find ways to wring every last dollar out of those customers.

But when you find a way to serve a million people, many other benefits follow. The effect of word of mouth is greatly magnified. The feedback you receive is exponentially greater – and so are your opportunities to improve your products and services. You get to hire more employees and benefit from their experience, their skills, and their overall awesomeness.

And, in time, your business becomes something you never dreamed of – because your customers and your employees have taken you to places you couldn’t even imagine.

Serve a million people – and serve them incredibly well – and the money will follow.

4. See making money as a way to make more things.

Generally speaking there are two types of people.

One makes things because they want to make money; the more things they make, the more money they make. What they make doesn’t really matter that much to them – they’ll make anything as long as it pays.

The other wants to make money because it allows them to make more things. They want to improve their product. They want to extend their line. The want to create another book, another song, another movie. They love what they make and they see making money as a way to do even more of what they love. They dream of building a company that makes the best things possible … and making money is the way to fuel that dream and build that company they love.

While it is certainly possible to find that one product that everyone wants and grow rich by selling that product, most successful businesses evolve and grow and as they make money, reinvest that money in a relentless pursuit of excellence.

"We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies." ~Walt Disney

5. Do one thing better.

Pick one thing you're already better at than most people.Just. One. Thing. Become maniacally focused at doing that one thing. Work. Train. Learn. Practice. Evaluate. Refine. Be ruthlessly self-critical, not in a masochistic way but to ensure you continue to work to improve every aspect of that one thing.

Financially successful people do at least one thing better than just about everyone around them. (Of course it helps if you pick something to be great at that the world also values – and will pay for.)

Excellence is its own reward, but excellence also commands higher pay – and greater respect, greater feelings of self-worth, greater fulfillment, a greater sense of achievement… all of which make you rich in non-monetary terms.


6. Make a list of the world’s ten best people at that one thing.

How did you pick those ten? How did you determine who was the “best”? How did you measure their “success”?

Use those criteria to track your own progress towards becoming the best.

If you're an author it could be Amazon rankings. If you’re a musician it could be iTunes downloads. If you’re a programmer, it could be the number of people that use your software. If you’re a leader it could be the number of people you train and develop who move on to bigger and better things. If you’re an online retailer it could be purchases per visitor, or on-time shipping, or conversion rate…

Don’t just admire successful people. Take a close look at what makes them successful. Then use those criteria to help create your own measures of success. And then…

7. Consistently track your progress.

We tend to become what we measure, so track your progress at least once a week against your key measures.

Maybe you’ll measure how many people you’ve helped. Maybe you’ll measure how many customers you’ve served. Maybe you’ll evaluate the key steps on your journey to becoming the world’s best at one thing.

Maybe it’s a combination of those things, and more.

8. Build routines that ensure progress.

Never forget that achieving a goal is based on creating routines. Say you want to write a 200-page book; that’s your goal. Your system to achieve that goal could be to write 4 pages a day; that’s your routine. Wishing and hoping won’t get you to a finished manuscript, but sticking faithfully to your routine ensures you reach your goal.

Or say you want to land 100 new customers through inbound marketing. That’s your goal; your routine is to create new content, new videos, new podcasts, new white papers, etc. on whatever schedule you set. Stick to that routine and meet your deadlines and if your content is great you will land those new customers.

Wishing and hoping won’t get you there – sticking faithfully to your routine will.

Set goals, create routines that support those goals, and then ruthlessly track your progress. Fix what doesn’t work. Improve and repeat what does work. Refine and revise and adapt and work hard every day to be better than you were yesterday.

Soon you’ll be good. Then you’ll be great. And one day you’ll be world-class.

And then, probably without even noticing, you’ll also be a millionaire. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

Friday, 28 November 2014

7 Things Warren Buffett Can Teach You About Leadership

The "most successful investor of the 20th century" has a thing or two to teach you about being a great leader. Warren Buffett is a famed philanthropist, business magnate, and sharklike investor. As the CEO and biggest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and someone who consistently ranks among the richest people in the world, he's smart, business savvy, and slick, even into his 80s.

However, the "Oracle of Omaha" is also a notoriously frugal spender and reveres value investing. Having pledged to donate 99 percent of his wealth, he's proof that sometimes old-school techniques work. If you're an up-and-coming leader (or just want to be), check out what Buffett can teach you about leadership, wise moves and humility.

1. On risk

"Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing," says Buffett, which means you can do one of two things. Either you can be a big risk taker and gambler, or you can learn what you need to do, play it a little slower, and minimize your risks. Obviously the latter approach is best, but it doesn't lead to instant gratification. Put those multimillion-dollar fantasies on the back burner long enough to get in control of your risk factor.

2. On reputations

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." This is especially true in the digital era, when, if something's in writing or on video, it's forever. You can even take a screencap of a Snapchat, so be diligent when building your reputation--online and off.

Remember Congressman Anthony Weiner getting caught tweeting explicit photos? Yeah, don't be that guy. His reputation is toast.

3. On who you surrounded yourself with 

"It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you'll drift in that direction." Birds of a feather flock together, and you're probably not in the position to be anyone's mentor yet. If you surround yourself with better people, they'll inspire you to do better yourself.

As I tell my children, "If you want to soar like an eagle in life, you can't be flocking with the turkeys."

4. On hindsight

"In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield," quips Buffett. Of course, this is true in every other aspect of your life, too. Stop focusing on that rearview mirror, though, after you've gleaned the necessary lessons from it. Move forward, even if that direction isn't quite as streak-free.

5. On stupid mistakes

"I bought a company in the mid-'90s called Dexter Shoe and paid $400 million for it. And it went to zero. And I gave away about $400 million worth of Berkshire stock, which is probably now worth $400 billion. But I've made lots of dumb decisions. It's part of the game."

No successful person is mistake-free, and that's a good thing. Each stumble is a chance to learn and a warning when you're tempted to do something similar in the future.

6. On knowing when to quit

"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks." In other words, ditch the stubbornness and know when to call it quits. Not every project is worth saving.

7. On frugality

Buffett is legendarily frugal. He lives in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958 for $31,500. He is well known for his frugality, which includes enjoying McDonald's hamburgers and cherry Coke, and his disdain for technology, such as computers and luxury cars. Despite a net worth measured in billions, Buffett earns a base salary of $100,000 a year at Berkshire Hathaway. It's a salary that has not changed in 25 years.

Today, many top leaders take as much as they can and live as extravagantly as possible. More leaders should take a page from the book of Buffett.

Listen to the wisdom of the Oracle of Omaha.

These words of wisdom come from decades of experience, success, and failure. Why make the same mistakes somebody else has already made all over again if you don't have to? With the likes of Buffett doling out advice by the shovelful, take advantage of it--then spend that saved time putting his words into practice.

How to End Your Day on a Positive Note

Do you spend your evening stressing about the events of earlier in the day? Bringing the stresses of work home with can not only have a negative impact on your home life, but can affect your productivity in the days that follow as your mind and body are never quite able to de-stress. Theresa Glomb, a work and organizations professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, says it’s important to put yourself in a positive mindset before closing the office door.

“Good things are about three to five times more frequent than bad things at work, but bad events have about five to 10 times the impact as good things,” says Glomb.

Although your day could go perfectly fine, one negative interaction can have you stressed out all day and night. “We pay so much attention to the negative things,” says Glomb, “we sometimes fail to notice the positive things that are going on in our work lives.”

She offers up four micro-interventions, small tasks that can be done at the end of the workday in five minutes or less, that can help to leverage the positive events that occur in our workdays:

1. Keep a positive journal.

Just spending a few minutes jotting down the day’s positive events can help you to detach from work and lower stress levels. Glomb conducted a research study in which participants were asked to write about three good things that happened to them each day. “What we found was people had lower stress levels in the evening. They had lower physical and mental-health complaints. They were more able to detach from their work and they were more able to concentrate in the evening,” says Glomb.

The three good things don’t have to be work-related. In fact, Glomb says about 40 percent of participants wrote about a positive family interaction. “The whole focus of this intervention is getting people to re-orient on the positive,” says Glomb, who notes the exercise has forced her to take notice of positive events when they happen. “When something good does happen during the day, I’m more likely to latch onto that moment and really try to remember what happened because I want to write about it later,” she says.

But, it’s not enough to simply think about the positive experiences. Writing them down is an important part of this exercise. “There’s something about the writing process causes you to have to consolidate, think about and organize these experiences,” says Glomb. Plus, writing them down allows you to re-live the experiences. If you’re having a particularly bad day in which you’re feeling like nothing is going right, you can flip through your positive journal and be reminded of all the positive things that have happened during the past week or month. “Really what this intervention is about is amplifying the goodness that we’re getting out of these positive experiences,” says Glomb.

2. Take five minutes to meditate.

A brief mindful meditation before you walk out the office door can help you to detach from work and reduce your stress, ensuring you start off your evening in positive state of mind. Mindful meditation allows you to turn your focus inward, concentrating on your breathing and isolating parts of the body to relieve tension.

3. Send a gratitude email.

Glomb says that helping others is a great way to boost your mood. Before closing your email for the day, have the last email you send out be a gratitude email. Send an email to an employee, telling that you’re appreciative of the work that they’re doing, or thank a client for their business. “It does springboard your evening into a more positive one because you’ve left your workplace on a more positive note,” says Glomb.

4. Review your day’s to-do list.

Research shows checking off our accomplishments helps to put us into a more positive mood. Before leaving for the day, review your to-do list and check off all of the tasks you accomplished that day. Didn’t make a list? Make a list for the next day, starting off with a few things that you already accomplished and cross those off before leaving. “One of the key drivers of being in a good mood at work is making progress on your work tasks,” says Glomb.

Prepare yourself for success the next day by prepping your workspace according to the items on your to-do list. If there’s an article you want to read, pull it up on your computer and leave it on the screen so you see it as soon as you open your computer the next day so you can be sure you’ll check off that item from your list before getting sucked into the email abyss.


There are 3 types of focus

1) Inner/self: a keen sense of where you want to go, and self discipline to get there
2) Others: empathy and the ability to inspire others
3) Outer: awareness of where the greater world is going, and what can be done to shape it

Millionaires seem to spend a lot of time working on 1 and 2, talking about emotional self discipline & company culture.

The billionaires & ultra high net worths have mastered all 3, particularly the 3rd. They are the "unreasonable" ones who adapt the world to their vision. They seem fearless. Perfectly willing to move mountains, change cultures, lobby regulation to achieve their vision.

Another major difference between millionaires and billionaires is how they socialize. Young millionaires seem more eager to gather hundreds of thousands of casual social media followers. The billionaires are rarely on social media, but hold a close group of powerful allies.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Secrets Of Long Life

1. Pets. This is because having a pet to stroke reduces your stress level, heart rate and blood pressure.

2. Being rich. Rich people have more time and money for good food, exercise, healthcare and relaxing holidays.

3. Getting married. Married men live 10 years longer than single men and married women live 4 years longer than single women.

4. Laughter. Laughter really can be the best medicine. It not only lifts your mood and makes you feel happier. It can also lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and improve immunity. One Norwegian study actually found that those who laughed most often in daily life were 35% less likely to die over the course of 7 years. A good reason to see the funny side of life!

5. Singing. Sing for a longer life! It's not makes only a beautiful sound. Singing also gives your heart, lungs, abdomen, and back muscles a workout. And the endorphins produced when you sing can lower stress and make you feel healthier all round.

6. Having more sex. Having sex more often may help you live longer -- if you're a guy! According to one 10 year study of 1000 middle aged men, those who had the most orgasms were 50% less likely to die than those with a low frequency of orgasms.

7. It may not be so healthy to hold back your strong emotions. According to a Stockholm University study, men who expressed their anger were 50% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease than those who bottled it all up. Calmly communicating your feelings could help you live longer. On the other hand, research from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that people had a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke in the 2 hours following extremely angry outbursts, in comparison to those who remained calm. Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by exercising, eating a healthy diet, not smoking -- and finding ways to handle anger and stress.

8. Keeping fit by walking 30 minutes per day can keep you healthy and increase your longevity. But it turns out that walking briskly could be more beneficial than walking slowly. In one study, slower walkers were 44% more likely to have died that those who moved at a faster pace. Those who have trouble walking more quickly should check in with their doctor to rule out any possible health issues.

9. Flossing daily. We've all heard the reasons why flossing should be a daily habit -- healthy teeth and gums, and fresh, clean breath. But flossing might be more important than we thought. It may actually help you live longer. That's because flossing your teeth may possibly prevent heart disease in addition to gum disease. People with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease, but whether that means the two are related is unclear. In the meantime, flossing will help keep your smile nice and bright -- which is enough reason to floss in itself!

10. Not having a housekeeper. Have you ever longed for a maid to come and whip your house into shape? Don't be too sad if you don't have a housekeeper. Turns out that cleaning your house, cooking, and doing the laundry counts as moderate exercise. Women who spend around 16 to 17 hours a week on chores such as these could lower their risk of breast cancer by up to 30%.


Book Talk: Diane von Furstenberg on success and empowering women

(Reuters) - Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is known for turning her signature wrap dress into a fashion empire and in her memoir, “The Woman I Wanted to Be,” she describes how she did it.

Von Furstenberg, 67, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, married a prince and become an entrepreneur before her 30s. But success came at a price. Failed romances, health scares and the highs and lows of business marked a turbulent life.

Despite the obstacles, she became the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, founded the philanthropic DVF awards and has celebrated the 40th anniversary of her brand. 

Von Furstenberg spoke to Reuters about success, true beauty and her mission to empower young women.

Q: You write that your mother shaped the woman that you are. How did she inspire you?

A: She taught me to be independent and to never be a victim because fear is not an option. All of those things have a huge impact on you even if you don’t realize it, especially after you lose your mother.

Q: What has life taught you about success?

A: Success is like nature, everything keeps moving. I was incredibly successful and young and I lived a total American dream. That doesn’t mean that you can just sit because after success comes other things, like too much exposure and all of the many different things that can happen afterwards.

Q: How do you define beauty?

A: I think beauty is truth. John Keats said that “beauty is truth, truth beauty.” What I discovered in my life and writing this book is that my religion is to practice truth. It is sometimes painful. It is not always easy. It requires a lot of maintenance but it also avoids so many mistakes, compromises and misunderstandings.

Q: Why is female empowerment important to you? 

A: Every woman inspires another woman. When working on my book, I kept on saying, "Why am I doing this? Is this just an ego trip?" But actually you have to be careful with what you say because what you say, I found can really help somebody.

Q: What can people take from your story?

A: Everyone can be the woman they want to be. I have two granddaughters and I always tell them before they go to sleep to be thankful and then think about the woman you want to become.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Why Are Many Smart People Not Rich?

Being smart can certainly help in becoming rich but it's by far not the only and by far not the most important attribute.

I have studied and talked to a lot of rich / financially free people and found the following attributes to be far more important than being smart:
  • Having guts, taking risks, and the willingness to constantly expand out of your comfort zone. The willingness to make mistakes and fail and learn from it. Many smart people are restricting themselves by thinking too much about the risks and then not acting upon opportunities.
  • Getting the real financial education - you typically can't learn this at school or university (most teachers and profs are poor) and neither from your parents (unless they are very rich) or from an advisor. Why would you take advice from a financial consultant at a bank. If he knew how to do it, he would not work there in the first place. You get the real stuff only from the right mentors (rich people) and people who teach this and eat their own dog food, e.g. Keith Cunningham, Robert Kiyosaki, Harv Eker.
  • A positive mindset about money. Many poor (and smart) people think money is something bad, unethical, and that they have to be ashamed if they are rich. If you don't like money and don't think you are worthy of it you will not become rich because your subconsciousness will constantly sabotage you.
  • Developing strong social skills like dealing with other people, negotiating, persuading, being a good networker. IQ is not EQ. And even intellectually knowing something does not mean you will automatically act accordingly.
  • Self discipline, not looking for instant gratification, a continuous strive for personal mastery, improvement and lifelong learning, going the extra mile.
  • Taking action vs. just theoritizing about things. Being hands-on and pragmatic. Many rich people are more Doers than Thinkers.
  • Leveraging yourself through other people's time, money, and skills. There is a nice saying: If you are an entrepreneur and are the dumbest person at your company, then you have made a great job and hired the right people. Many smart people are reluctant to use leverage. They want to solve everything by themselves.

One CEO Says The Best Leaders Have These 3 Traits

Most great leaders have several traits in common: they're smart and cunning, innovative, and willing to take risks. 

But according to Deborah Harmon, CEO of Artemis Real Estate Partners, the most important characteristics of leaders go deeper than a natural intelligence or penchant for ideas. Harmon told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that the three foundational characteristics of a good leader are "confidence, grit, and a real desire to make a difference."

This belief comes from Harmon's childhood, where she witnessed true grit in her mother. Harmon watched her mother not only raise three kids, but work as a theater producer, moving up from independent work to Off Broadway to Broadway itself. "I watched how hard it was, and she really taught me that there is no such thing as work-life balance," Harmon told the New York Times. But her mother made it work, pushing herself until she accomplished her goals.

Additionally, her father, an investment banker, often brought Harmon to work with him, which taught her an important lesson about confidence and success. "You don't have to have the highest I.Q. in the room, but if you're willing to work harder than everyone else, there's no limit to what you can accomplish," she says. 

For Harmon, being a good leader doesn't come down to the abilities you're born with, but rather how hard you choose to work. "It's not about getting the most glamorous or the most prestigious jobs," she said. "What matters most is where you can learn and grow and have the most responsibility."

Become A Millionaire In 26 Years

4 Ways To Inspire Wonder In Your Kids

Wonderment. The state of awe. And the starting place for creativity and delight. Sounds...wonderful? Then how do we increase wonderment in our kids' lives? By surrounding them with things that inspire wonder, that's how.

Most items that increase wonderment in a child's life fall into one of the following four categories. Consider placing them in your child's room as your four-step plan to designing a wonderful, creativity-inspiring space.

1. Things that are impossibly large.

There's a reason why giant teddy bears are so beloved by little kids - they are amazed at how something can be so, so big! Try putting something in their room that's bigger than they are. A large artwork is a good place to start if you have limited floor space.

2. Things that are incredibly small.

Kids are in awe of tiny things, almost as much as they are mystified by giant things. Provided you have a child big enough to understand that small things don't go in their mouth, collect some tiny things to display in their room. Start with tiny things from nature - tiny flowers or tiny pebbles would do the trick. Add a magnifying glass for extra fun.

3. Things that are difficult to understand.

Your children are learning all the time, and eager to have their minds stretched. So invite something deliciously difficult into their space. Perhaps an educational poster that introduces a concept they've never learnt before? A book a little beyond their years? A mechanical toy that is hard to decipher, exactly, how it works?

4. Things from another place or time, distant from their own.

Life is much too dull and boring stuck in the here and now. Stretch your children's imaginations into the past, and far across the globe, with treasures from other cultures and times. Incorporate into their room treasures from your adventures overseas, beautiful objects from cultures other than your own, perhaps a family heirloom or antique.

The best thing is, there's no need to go out and buy any of this stuff — you might already have items that fit into these four categories lying around the house. Why not go on an in-house wonder treasure hunt and see what you could find to incorporate into their d├ęcor today?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

How To Find Your Mission

  1. Begin with the right question. Don’t ask yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?” That is, don’t focus on a career. That would be strategy, not a mission. Instead, ask yourself, “What kind of value feels like the most important value I could create?”
  2. You’re after meaningfulness not passion. Thought the two are by no means mutually exclusive, they are distinct. Passion is usually more associated with the strategies you use to fulfill your mission (with sculpting, for example, rather than with a mission to fill the world with beauty).
  3. Create a list of 50 things that have brought you great joy in the past and 50 ongoing activities that continue to bring you great joy in the present. The point in aiming for 100 items isn’t to reach 100 per se but to create an exhaustive list. Including your current job is a good idea; including the aspects of your current job that you enjoy the most is even better.
  4. From this list, identify the items that felt the most meaningful to you. This is best done by gut feeling. Each item you select should, by definition, be something that in some broad way contributes to the well-being of others.
  5. Group these items into related categories. Maybe a number of items relate to helping others in a particular way (e.g., with their health, with their talents, or with their relationships). Or maybe to helping people in certain situations (e.g., people living in poverty, who are victims of abuse, or who suffer from mental illness).
  6. From these categories, cull out a first draft of a mission statement. Two things to keep in mind: This must be a statement derived from experiences you’ve already had, not ones you’d like to have. You’re looking to discover your mission, not invent it (that is, to find what’s already there, what already feels like the most important thing you could do with your life, not what you think it is or want it to be). Second, one reasonable litmus test to apply to a candidate statement would entail imagining being presented a lifetime achievement award in your 80s or 90s by the president for having spent your entire life accomplishing it. Does the statement you’ve come up with hit the sweet spot? That is, when you gut check it, does it feel like the most meaningful thing you could have done?