51 universal truths that will make you more successful

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Flickr/Omarukai

No matter what is going on in your career, chances are someone
else before you had a similar situation.

I’ve been a journalist for the better part of two decades and
during that time I’ve interviewed and written about thousands of
people in various stages of success, from CEOs of
multibillion companies
 to
entrepreneurs launching startups
, to
entrepreneurs shutting down
their startups to
CEOs selling their startups
for
fantastic amounts of money
.

All of that has led me to conclude that there are certain
universal “business truths” — tips and tricks that work for
nearly everyone in every business.

They are:

  1. You don’t have to turn your
    favorite hobby or pastime into your full-time living, but you
    do need to have a passion for your work. If your work is
    meaningful to you, your work life will be a joy.
  2. If you can’t be passionate
    about the work itself, be passionate about the reason you do
    it. Maybe you don’t love your job or company, but the money and
    benefits are good for your family. Be passionate in your choice
    to do right by your family while also taking steps to find a
    role you do love.
  3. Surround yourself with
    positive people and you’ll have a positive outcome.

  4. Satya Nadella

    Microsoft
    CEO Satya Nadella has reinvigorated Microsoft driving the stock
    to all-time highs in 2016.

    REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

    If you spend most of your time using your talents and doing
    things you are good at, you’re more likely to be happy.

  5. If you spend most of your time struggling to improve your
    weaknesses, you’re likely to be frustrated.
  6. Practice is the only true way
    to master a new skill. Be patient with yourself while you learn
    something new.
  7. The only way to stay fresh is
    to keep learning new things.
  8. To learn new things means
    being a beginner, and that means having a “beginner mind” and
    making mistakes.
  9. The more comfortable you grow
    with making beginner mistakes, the easier it is to learn new
    things.
  10. If you think something needs
    changing, be the one to lead the change. 
  11. Start small and build from
    there.
  12. Do the obvious stuff first,
    then progress to the harder stuff. (Otherwise known as going
    for the low-hanging fruit.)
  13. Always try to get better at your craft, from the
    technical aspects of your job to your leadership skills.
  14. The hardest lesson to learn
    is when to keep going and when to quit. No one can teach you
    that. At some point, you have to choose.
  15. If you truly believe in what you’re doing and you have a
    strong vision for the outcome and the basic steps to get there,
    believe in yourself and don’t quit, even if (especially if), the
    world is telling you you’re crazy.
  16. The definition of crazy is to
    do the same thing the same way and expect a different result.
    If the result isn’t good, change something and then
    try again.
  17. No one succeeds
    alone. 
  18. Ask for help. Be specific when asking. Be graceful and
    grateful when help comes.
  19. People experience the world
    differently. Two people can attend the same meeting and walk
    away with different impressions. Don’t fight that. Use
    it.
  20. Embrace diversity. The best
    way to compensate for your own weaknesses is to pick teammates
    who have different strengths.Tim CookApple
    CEO Tim Cook took on the government over privacy in
    2016.
    REUTERS/Mike
    Blake
  21. You don’t have to like
    someone to treat that person with respect and courtesy.
  22. Don’t “should” all over
    someone, and don’t let someone else “should” all over
    you.
  23. No matter what you do or how
    much you achieve, there are always people who have
    more. 
  24. There will always be people
    who have less, too.
  25. You will never have all the resources (time, money, people,
    etc.) that you want for your project or company. No one ever has
    all the resources they want. 
  26. A lack of resources isn’t an
    excuse. It’s a blessing in disguise. You’ll have to get
    creative.
  27. Creativity and innovation are
    skills that can be learned and practiced by doing your usual
    things in a new way.
  28. In the early stages of a
    company, career, or project, you’ll have to say “yes” to a lot
    of things. In the later stages, you’ll have to say “no.”
  29. Negative feedback (aka
    criticism) is necessary. Don’t automatically reject it (or
    accept it as the absolute truth). Examine it for nuggets of
    truth, then disregard the rest.
  30. Ditto for positive feedback
    (aka praise). Don’t automatically accept it (or reject
    it). Examine it for nuggets of truth, and then
    disregard the rest.
  31. Don’t let other people’s
    opinions (good or bad) shape your opinion of yourself. Treat
    that sort of feedback as you would any other feedback,
    looking for the nuggets of insight, but deciding for yourself
    what you believe, especially about yourself.
  32. When its up to you to deliver
    the criticism, talk about the work, not the
    person. 
  33. Think big. Dream big. (The
    alternative is to think small, dream small.)

  34. Marc Benioff

    Salesforce CEO Marc
    Benioff became a role mode for corporate social
    action.

    Christophe Morin/Bloomberg
    via Getty Images


    Treat your dream as an ultimate road map. You don’t have to
    achieve your dream right away, but the only way to get there
    is to take many steps toward it.

  35. If you think big, you will
    hear “no” more than you hear “yes.” They don’t get to decide.
    You do.
  36. As you achieve successful outcomes, you will be pressured to
    do more and do it faster. Be prepared to grab that golden ring if
    it’s offered and trust you will learn how to handle the
    added responsibilities. (Some people call this “leaning in.”)
  37. If there is one secret to success, it’s this: communicate
    your plans with other people and keep communicating those plans
    in every way possible. The more others understand where you are
    going and why, the easier it will be to attract the ones who will
    help you and let go of those who hold you back.
  38. Grow your network. Make an effort to meet new people and to
    keep in contact with those you know.
  39. No matter what technology or service you are creating or
    inventing at your company, it’s not about the product; it’s
    always about the people and the lives you will improve. Stay
    focused on that, and the project is much more likely to be
    successful.
  40. No matter how successful you get, you can still fail and fail
    big.

  41. richard branson

    Richard Branson plans to send people to space. His
    Virgin Galactic space vehicle suffered a horrible crash in
    2014. By 2016, it had completed two successful test
    flights.

    Efrem
    Lukatsky/AP


    Failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s part of the process. 

  42. Take risks. Not wild risks. Calculated ones.
  43. Don’t expect failure, but do plan for it. The best way to
    always win the big game is to have alternate plans for
    losing various battles.
  44. Sometimes, you do have to throw caution to the wind and
    simply gamble everything on your vision. No one can tell you when
    to do this. If you feel strongly enough, just do it.
  45. Learn how to respectfully, but firmly, say “no.”
  46. Say “yes” as much as you can. 
  47. In order to say “yes” often, attach boundaries or a scope of
    work around your “yes.”
  48. Getting what you want doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. Happiness
    is the art of being satisfied with what you already have.
  49. Working with difficult personalities will be a part of every
    job. Be respectful, do your job well, and cheerfully don’t let
    the difficult person derail your project.
  50. Focus on what you want, not
    on what you don’t want.
  51. If you truly want to change the world, you’ve got
    to earn a position of influence or power and use that
    influence to change your part of the world. Do it openly and
    as a role model and you will empower others to
    change, too.

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