Articles

20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

author01 Blindfold 5 min read

1. The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness.

2. Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following.

3. Read as much as you can. Learn to speed read with high retention.Emerson Spartz taught me this while I was at a Summit Series event. If he reads 2-3 books a week, you can read one.

4. Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing.

5. Don’t waste time being shy. Shyness is the belief that your emotions should be the arbitrators of your decision making process when the opposite is actually true.

6. If you feel weird about something during a relationship, that’s usually what you end up breaking up over.

7. Have as much contact as possible with older people. Personally, I met people at Podcamps. My friend Greg, at the age of 13, met his first future employer sitting next to him on a plane. The reason this is so valuable is because people your age don’t usually have the decision-making ability to help you very much. Also they know almost everything you will learn later, so ask them.

8. Find people that are cooler than you and hang out with them too. This and the corollary are both important: “don’t attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back, accepting, ambitious, etc.).”

9. You will become more conservative over time. This is just a fact. Those you surround yourself with create a kind of “bubble” that pushes you to support the status quo. For this reason, you need to do your craziest stuff NOW. Later on, you’ll become too afraid. Trust me.

10. Reduce all expenses as much as possible. I mean it. This creates a safety net that will allow you to do the crazier shit I mentioned above.

11. Instead of getting status through objects (which provide only temporary boosts), do it through experiences. In other words, a trip to Paris is a better choice than a new wardrobe. Studies show this also boosts happiness.

Excerpts from Blindfold

50 Inspirational Entrepreneurial Quotes

author02 JOHN RAMPTON 7 min read

No one ever said it was easy being an entrepreneur. Whether you're in the early stages of your statrup, just secured funding for your startup or you are ready for product launch, there will always be those three components when you ask yourself if this whole entrepreneur thing is worth it. Instead of giving up and throwing-in the proverbial white towel, keep your head up and look to the following 50 quotes to inspire and motivate you during those tough patches.

1. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” Nolan Bushnell, entrepreneur.

2. "Do. Or do not. There is no try." - Yoda, Jedi Master.

3. “To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.” - Catherine Cook, co-founder of MyYearbook.

4. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” - Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.

5. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game's winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that's why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan, NBA Hall of Famer.

6. “There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” - Jason Fried, founder of 37signal.

7. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” - Guy Kawasaki, founder of AllTop.

8. “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” - Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

9. "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese proverb.

10. “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” - Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister.

11. “There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.” - Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote.

12. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.

13. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” - Vince Lombardi, head coach of the Green Bay Packers (1959-1967).

14. "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.

15. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” - Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s.

16. “Watch, listen, and learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.” - Donald Trump, chairman of The Trump Organization, the Trump Plaza Associates, LLC.

17. “Always deliver more than expected.” —Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

18. "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." Mark Twain, author.

19. “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” - Steve Case, co-founder of AOL.

20. "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein, physicist.

21. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” - Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.

22. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” - Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple.

23. “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” - Anthony Volodkin, founder of HypeMachine..

23. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” - Walt Disney, co-founder of the Walt Disney Company.

24. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Famer.

25. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” - Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

26. “It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.” - Richard Harroch, Venture Capitalist.

27. “If you don't know what to do with your life, do something that saves lives. The world is full of of people in need, be the part of their life that fills that need.” -  Sanjeev Saxena .

28. "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius.

29. “I hate how many people think, “glass half-empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it.” - Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia.

30. “It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.” - Babe Ruth, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer.

31. “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.”- Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week.

32. “Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” - Tom Kelley, Ideo partner.

33. “We are currently not planning on conquering the world.” - Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

34. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” - Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

35. "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." Beverly Sills, opera singer.

36. “The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them. Ignore the early adopter critics that never have enough to play with. Ignore your investors that want proven tactics and predictable instant results. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that's how long it's going to take, guys. - Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.

37. “When you cease to dream you cease to live” - Malcolm Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Magazine.

38. “Don’t worry about funding if you don’t need it. Today it’s cheaper to start a business than ever.”- Noah Everett, founder Twitpic.

39. “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., pastor, activist, humanitarian and Civil Rights leader.

40. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." – Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

41. "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work." – Thomas Edison, inventor.

42. "Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice." – Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author.

43. "In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create." – David Ogilvy, co-founder of Ogilvy & Mather.

44. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.” - Mark Cuban, Chairman of AXS TV, Owner of Landmark Theaters.

45. "Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom." – General George Patton.

46. “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn.

47. "Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will." – Zig Ziglar, author, salesman, and motivational speaker.

48. “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” —Paul Rand, graphic designer.

49. “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not trying.” – Jay Z, musician.

50. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. – Dr. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich.

Excerpts from Entrepreneur by Sigmund Freud.

Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in the necessary work required?

author03 Justine Musk 5 min read
Answer by Justine Musk

No.

One of the many qualities that separate self-made billionaires from the rest of us is their ability to ask the right questions. 

This is not the right question.

(Which is not to say it's a bad question. It just won't get that deep part of your mind working to help you -- mulling things over when you think you're thinking about something else -- sending up flares of insight.)

You're determined. So what? You haven't been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet. Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?

We live in a culture that celebrates determination and hard work, but understand: these are the qualities that keep you in the game after most everybody else has left, or until somebody bigger and stronger picks you up and hurls you back out to sea. Determination and hard work are necessary, yes, but they are the minimum requirements. As in: the bare minimum.

A lot of people work extremely hard and through no fault of their own -- bad luck, the wrong environment, unfortunate circumstances -- struggle to survive.

How can you *leverage* your time and your work?

Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it.  Choose a second thing and become a master of that.  When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

The world doesn't throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.)  The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you'll have to figure out how it doesn't apply to you because you're coming from an unexpected angle. And you'll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.

Have courage. (You will need it.)

And good luck.  (You'll need that too.)

Excerpts from Quora by Justine Musk.

15 Inspiring Quotes on Passion (Get Back to What You Love)

author04 Dave Kerpen 2 min read

I share quotes like these with my team all the time. May these quotes inspire you to live a better life, and may they inspire those you share them with as well.

1. "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

-Harriet Tubman

2. "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."

-Nelson Mandela

3. "Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow."

-Anthony J. D'Angelo

4. "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you."

-Oprah Winfrey

5. "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."

-Benjamin Franklin

6. "We must act out passion before we can feel it."

-Jean-Paul Sartre

7. "It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind."

-T. S. Eliot

8. "Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate."

-Jon Bon Jovi

9. "You can't fake passion."

-Barbara Corcoran

10. "You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out."

"• Steve Jobs

11. "Yes, in all my research, the greatest leaders looked inward and were able to tell a good story with authenticity and passion."

-Deepak Chopra

12. "If you feel like there's something out there that you're supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it."

-Wanda Skyes

13. "If you don't love what you do, you won't do it with much conviction or passion."

-Mia Hamm

14. It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.

-Rebecca West

My personal favorite quote on passion is from a man who clearly had way more talent than he claims in the quote:

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -Albert Einstein

What are you passionate about? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Excerpts from INC by Dave Kerpen.

7 Challenges Successful People Overcome

author05 TRAVIS BRADBERRY 5 min read

Maintaining the success mindset isn't easy. There are seven things, in particular, that tend to shatter it. These challenges drag people down because they appear to be barriers that cannot be overcome. Not so for successful people, as these seven challenges never hold them back.

1. Age

Age really is just a number. Successful people don't let their age define who they are and what they are capable of. Just ask Betty White or any young, thriving entrepreneur.

I remember a professor in graduate school who told our class that we were all too young and inexperienced to do consulting work. He said we had to go work for another company for several years before we could hope to succeed as independent consultants. I was the youngest person in the class, and I sat there doing work for my consulting clients while he droned on.

Without fail, people feel compelled to tell you what you should and shouldn't do because of your age. Don't listen to them. Successful people certainly don't. They follow their heart and allow their passion--not the body they're living in--to be their guide.

They follow their heart and allow their passion--not the body they're living in--to be their guide.

2. What Other People Think

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your destiny. While it's impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don't have to hold up your accomplishments to anyone else's, and you can always take people's opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Successful people know that caring about what other people think is a waste of time and energy. When successful people feel good about something that they've done, they don't let anyone's opinions take that away from them.

No matter what other people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain--you're never as good or bad as they say you are.

3. Toxic People

Successful people believe in a simple notion: You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Just think about it--some of the most successful companies in recent history were founded by brilliant pairs. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple lived in the same neighborhood, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft met in prep school, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google met at Stanford.

Just as great people help you reach your full potential, toxic people drag you right down with them. Whether it's negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people create stress and strife that should be avoided at all costs.

If you're unhappy with where you are in your life, just take a look around. More often than not, the people you've surrounded yourself with are the root of your problems.

You'll never reach your peak until you surround yourself with the right people.

4. Fear

Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that's fueled by your imagination. Danger is real. It's the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus. Fear is a choice. Successful people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head. They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears.

Don't ever hold back in life just because you feel scared. I often hear people say, "What's the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?" Yet, death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you...

The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you're still alive.

5. Negativity

Life won't always go the way you want it to, but when it comes down to it, you have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else does. Successful people make their time count. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, they reflect on everything they have to be grateful for. Then they find the best solution available, tackle the problem, and move on.

When the negativity comes from someone else, successful people avoid it by setting limits and distancing themselves from it. Think of it this way:

If the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the secondhand smoke?

Of course not. You'd distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

A great way to stop complainers in their tracks is to ask them how they intend to fix the problem they're complaining about. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

6. The Past or the Future

Like fear, the past and the future are products of your mind. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Successful people know this, and they focus on living in the present moment. It's impossible to reach your full potential if you're constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.

To live in the moment, you must do two things:

1) Accept your past. If you don't make peace with your past, it will never leave you and it will create your future. Successful people know the only good time to look at the past is to see how far you've come.

2) Accept the uncertainty of the future, and don't place unnecessary expectations upon yourself. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said,

Worrying is like paying a debt you don't owe.

7. The State of the World

Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time and you'll see it's just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It's easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.

And who knows? Maybe it is. But successful people don't worry about that, because they don't get caught up in things they can't control. Instead, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power--their attention and their effort. They focus their attention on all the things they're grateful for, and they look for the good that's happening in the world. They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them, because these small steps are all it takes to make the world a better place.

They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them...

Bringing It All Together

Your success is driven by your mindset. With discipline and focus, you can ensure that these seven obstacles never hold you back from reaching your full potential.

What other challenges do successful people overcome? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Excerpts from INC by TRAVIS BRADBERRY.

5 Surprising Things Super Successful People Do

author06 Sarah Peterson 3 min read

What separates the super successful from everyone else? There are well-known factors such as work ethic, passion, intelligence and grit. But there are also less obvious habits that allow certain individuals to separate themselves from the pack and become truly great at what they do.

Below are five common behaviors of the super successful.

1. They avoid decision fatigue.

Did you know willpower is a finite resource? It's true. It's like a gas tank.

In the morning, our gas tanks are full. But most of us wake up and immediately begin to make small decisions. Each one uses a small amount of willpower, burning some of the gas in our tanks and depleting our reserves for the rest of the day.

Super successful people recognize that by wasting their willpower on unimportant decisions, they have less fuel to make great decisions on the things that really matter in their lives and businesses.

This theory helps explain why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg never strays from his uniform of a gray t-shirt and black hoodie and why Tim Ferriss eats the same thing for breakfast every day.

2. They’re not afraid to say no.

We've long been taught to seize every opportunity. We're supposed to say yes to everything that comes up, managing our own priorities while also being a team player. Counterintuitively, it’s this can-do attitude that often holds us back.

As billionaire Warren Buffett said, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Every time you say no to a low-priority obligation, you free up time and energy to chase after what you really want.

3. They embrace boredom.

Super successful people generally have the resources to go on adventures, travel, try new things and learn new skills.

In the face of all this stimulating opportunity, many embrace boredom. Why? When it comes to business and personal development, they realize that growth is often the result of slow, incremental improvements.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps didn’t become the fastest swimmer in the world overnight. Instead, he embraced a rigid, repetitive series of pre-practice actions that primed his mind and body for success in the pool.

Mastering a skill typically requires sticking to a routine. Many successful athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and business leaders have embraced the boredom of repetition in order to master their crafts.

4. They don’t try to improve their weaknesses.

You know that annoying question you're often asked in job interviews?

It goes something like this: "What is your biggest weakness, and how have you tried to improve it?"

Most of us have an answer ready: we endeavour to be more focused, more patient, better verbal communicators etc.

Super successful people don’t think this way, however. They view improving their weaknesses as a fool's errand and instead focus on channeling their energies into areas where they naturally excel.

As author and researcher Tom Rath put it, "If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.”

5. They wake up before the sun rises.

What do CEOs and entrepreneurial millionaires have in common? They wake up early.

Business leaders from Richard Branson to Margaret Thatcher and Howard Schultz report rising long before the sun does. While the majority of us are still snoozing, they’re meditating, exercising, engaging in creative work and generally getting a productive start to the day.

Looks like Ben Franklin was onto something when he said: "Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise."

Excerpts from Entrepreneur by Sarah Peterson.