Who would you rather take life advice from?
A CEO who grew up in a trailer park?
A Marine who fought in Iraq?
A father who’s raised four kids?
No need to decide—I’ve done them all 🙂
And I can tell you this—the most important things I’ve learned in life are NOT taught in school.
Today, I’m going to share ten success tips I’ve learned the hard way. If you want to live your dreams, achieve your goals, and become your best self, I believe this is what you need to know.
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#1) Go The Extra Mile
Don’t aim for the pass mark, aim above and beyond. Passing is the base, not the goal. Arrive early, stay late. Do more than you’ve been asked to do. Volunteer when something needs to be done. Keep an eye on what’s going on around you so you can offer support and make improvements.
Somehow, going the extra mile also makes it more fun. It’s as if your mind works backwards: ‘I’m putting a lot of energy into this… must be because I love it!’ Whereas if you’re watching the clock, doing the minimum you can get away with, your mind thinks, ‘Wow, I must really hate this.’
Once you begin to make a habit of it, you start seeing yourself as a man who goes the extra mile, and it becomes something you do naturally.
Learning usually isn’t urgent, but it is important. Let’s look at the priority matrix here. The ‘important but not urgent’ tasks are the most vital and the most often neglected. Taking time to learn can make the difference between a mediocre career or life and a great one.
People who are not learning will be steadily left behind those who are. This is more true today than ever. Whether it’s a job or a hobby, learn something that will move you forward with your mission in life every day.
If you’re not sure where to start, join me on Skillshare. It’s a great online community for collaborative learning, with more than 17,000 business and creative classes. Premium Membership gives you unlimited access so you can keep learning, find inspiration, and take on new projects whenever you want. The first 200 people to join Skillshare here will get their first 2 months free, then it’s as low as $10 a month to continue learning if you like it. Or cancel if you don’t, there’s no risk. And you can learn from anywhere: download the mobile app on Android or iPhone and tap into classes even when you’re offline.
#3) Learn To Trust And Rely On Others
Yes, it’s manly to be self-reliant, but you can take that too far. Even Batman has Robin and Alfred.
Marines are taught to rely on each other and to trust each other with their lives. You stand or fall as a unit. When others have your back and you have theirs, you develop strength as a group far beyond what you could have on your own.
This also holds true in civilian life, whether you’re building a business or working your way up the ladder as an employee. By pulling together as a team, you can achieve far more.
Instead of being suspicious of everyone, face your fears, take a risk, and trust them. Most people respond to trust by being trustworthy.
#4) Making Money Is A Great Thing
Making money doesn’t mean that you are selfish, boring, or greedy. Having money simply multiplies your power, and if you’re a good person, it multiplies your power to do good. The Gates Foundation contributes billions of dollars to the fight against global poverty and inequality. That couldn’t have happened if Bill Gates had been scared of money.
Society is interdependent. Being secure and having your needs met can strengthen the entire web as long as you’re responsible and compassionate.
Keeping yourself poor keeps you stressed, preoccupied, and limited. When you make money, you’re more able to become your best self. You function better when you’re not worrying about the next bill. If you crash your car or blow up your kitchen, it’s just a bump in the road rather than a complete derailment of your goals.
Caring about money doesn’t mean you’re not passionate about what you do. Making money gives you MORE power to do what you love, to connect with those who are masters in your field, and to become a master yourself. It enables you to live your dreams and to fulfil your mission in life to the best of your ability.
#5) Think Abundance, Not Scarcity
You’ve probably heard the word ‘abundance’ bandied about. It simply means: there’s enough. Money is not a pie. Success is not a cake. When you take a slice, it doesn’t mean there’s less for others. When others take a slice, it doesn’t mean there’s less for you.
When you think in terms of abundance, it not only frees you from feeling guilty about your own success, it also frees you from envying or resenting other people’s. It enables you to turn your competitors into collaborators and create win-win situations for everyone.
It also makes you more open to new opportunities and ideas for making money. Start by noticing and appreciating what you already have—you might find your luck seems to change for the better.
#6) Don’t Follow The Rules, Play A Game Where You Make Them
Of course, there are situations where rules have to be respected. If you’re out of your teens, you should be over being a rebel for rebellion’s sake. But you should never be over asking questions. Does it have to be done this way? Can it be done better? Faster? More creatively? Does it have to be done at all?
The more you can make your own rules in life, the more you’ll feel like your own master, and the more motivated you’ll be. This goes for everything from the details of your job to the big picture of your life. Want to take time out and travel at an age when most men are settling down? Your life. Your game. Your rules.
#7) Fail Fast, Pick Yourself Up And Try Again And Again.
Failure hurts—especially for a man with high ideals and aspirations. And it’s easy to think that if you don’t beat yourself up when you fail, you don’t care enough about your goals.
Watch a puppy learning to climb stairs or catch a ball. Does he sit down and agonize after every failure? Does he worry that he’s not a good boy? No—he doesn’t even bat an eyelid, just hurls himself forward and tries again. That’s enthusiasm. That’s caring about your goals. And if a ball of fluff the size of your shoe can shrug off failure, you certainly can.
There is nothing shameful or unmanly about failing. It shows you’re a risk-taker. We all know it took Edison 10,000 attempts to invent the light bulb—why should you be any different? Don’t give up.
#8) Become A Great Negotiator
If you can’t make the rules, learn to negotiate with those who do. You have the power to affect the status quo. Don’t let yourself be pushed around in life.
One easy way to improve your negotiating skills is dressing well. A man in formal clothing is seen as wielding power—but more than that, when you dress formally, you feel more powerful yourself and actually perform better in negotiations.
Another strategy you can use in negotiations is complementary body language. This means that if someone charges in with dominant body language, you might not want to lock horns and match aggression with aggression. Negotiations in which one person acts dominant and the other complements that with submissive body language have the best outcomes for both parties.
#9) Your View Is Just One Of Billions
If you want to come across as confident, you have to have the courage of your convictions, and stand up for your opinions. But there’s a difference between being confident and being closed-minded.
Be willing to listen. Accept that other people can be right and you can be wrong. It’s highly unlikely that you alone know the exact truth about everything.
This takes us right back to point 2—learn something new every day. Those who ‘know it all’ never learn anything new. To keep learning, you have to be willing to keep changing and refining your opinion as you travel through life.
#10) Make Logical Decisions
I’m not telling you to throw emotion out of the window. You can’t—and you shouldn’t. Studies have shown that when you lose your ability to feel, you lose your ability to make decisions.
But I am telling you to sit down and consider your options. Take time to brainstorm—are there really only two choices here? Are there other possibilities you might not have thought of? Is there a way to compromise or combine the best of both worlds?
Once you’ve worked out your options, make a list of pros and cons. Consider whether some of them have more weight than others.
Ask advice if you need to, but only from people who respect your decisions and won’t try to force your hand—and maybe NOT from that girl you really want to impress, unless it’s something that actually involves her. An opinion from your crush can shoot a giant flaming arrow through your rational decision-making.
Make the decision for yourself—nothing else will make you happy, and nothing else will impress anyone.
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