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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    baseball running catchLinkedIn Influencer Dr. Travis Bradberry published this post originally on LinkedIn

    There are a ton of qualities that can help you succeed, and the more carefully a quality has been studied, the more you know it’s worth your time and energy.

    Angela Lee Duckworth was teaching seventh grade when she noticed that the material wasn’t too advanced for any of her students. They all had the ability to grasp the material if they put in the time and effort.

    Her highest performing students weren’t those who had the most natural talent; they were the students who had that extra something that motivated them to work harder than everyone else.

    Angela grew fascinated by this “extra something” in her students and, since she had a fair amount of it herself, she quit her teaching job so that she could study the concept while obtaining a graduate degree in psychology at UPenn.

    Her study, which is ongoing, has already yielded some interesting findings. She’s analyzed a bevy of people to whom success is important: students, military personnel, salespeople, and spelling bee contestants, to name a few. Over time, she has come to the conclusion that the majority of successful people all share one critical thing — grit.

    Grit is that “extra something” that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality.

    Developing grit is all about habitually doing the things that no one else is willing to do. There are quite a few signs that you have grit, and if you aren’t doing the following on a regular basis, you should be.

    1. You have to make mistakes, look like an idiot, and try again, without even flinching.

    In a recent study at the College of William and Mary, they interviewed over 800 entrepreneurs and found that the most successful among them tend to have two critical things in common: They’re terrible at imagining failure and they tend not to care what other people think of them.

    In other words, the most successful entrepreneurs put no time or energy into stressing about their failures as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals.

    2. You have to fight when you already feel defeated. 

    A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in the workplace.

    You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through it, the grit begins to grow in you.

    3. You have to make the calls you’re afraid to make. 

    Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because we know they’re for the best in the long-run: fire someone, cold call a stranger, pull an all-nighter to get the company server back up, or scrap a project and start over.

    It’s easy to let the looming challenge paralyze you, but the most successful people know that in these moments, the best thing they can do is to get started right away. Every moment spent dreading the task subtracts time and energy from actually getting it done. People that learn to habitually make the tough calls stand out like flamingos in a flock of seagulls.

    climbing ladder

    4. You have to keep your emotions in check. 

    Negative emotions will challenge your grit every step of the way. While it’s impossible not to feel your emotions, it’s completely under your power to manage them effectively and to keep yourself in a position of control. When you let your emotions overtake your ability to think clearly, it’s easy to lose your resolve.

    A bad mood can make you lash out or stray from your chosen direction just as easily as a good mood can make you overconfident and impulsive.

    5. You have to trust your gut. 

    There’s a fine line between trusting your gut and being impulsive. Trusting your gut is a matter of looking at decisions from every possible angle, and when the facts don’t present a clear alternative, you believe in your ability to choose; you go with what looks and feels right.

    6. You have to give more than you get in return. 

    There’s a famous Stanford experiment where an administrator leaves a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes, telling the child that she’s welcome to eat the marshmallow, but if she can wait until the experimenter gets back without eating it, she will get a second marshmallow. The children that were able to wait until the experimenter returned experienced better outcomes in life, including higher SAT scores, greater career success, and even lower body mass indexes. The point being that delay of gratification and patience are essential to success. People with grit know that real results only materialize when you put in the time and forego instant gratification.

    7. You have to lead when no one else follows. 

    It’s easy to set a direction and believe in yourself when you have support, but the true test of grit is how well you maintain your resolve when nobody else believes in what you’re doing. People with grit believe in themselves no matter what and they stay the course until they win people over to their way of thinking.

    presentation

    8. You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that exceed expectations. 

    Successful people find a way to say yes and still honor their existing commitments. They know the best way to stand out from everyone else is to outwork them. For this reason, they have a tendency to over deliver, even when they over promise.

    9. You have to focus on the details even when it makes your mind numb

    Nothing tests your grit like mind-numbing details, especially when you’re tired. The more people with grit are challenged, the more they dig in and welcome that challenge, and numbers and details are no exception to this.

    10. You have to be kind to people who have been rude to you. 

    When people treat you poorly, it’s tempting to stoop to their level and return the favor. People with grit don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either. Instead, they treat rude and cruel people with the same kindness they extend to anyone else, because they won’t allow another person’s negativity to bring them down.

    11. You have to be accountable for your actions, no matter what. 

    People are far more likely to remember how you dealt with a problem than they are how you created it in the first place. By holding yourself accountable, even when making excuses is an option, you show that you care about results more than your image or ego.

    Bringing it all together

    Grit is as rare as it is important. The good news is any of us can get grittier with a little extra focus and effort.

    More from Travis Bradberry:

    SEE ALSO: 5 easy attitude adjustments that will help you succeed

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    morning canoe lake

    The sun begins to come up, and the first rays of light begin to shine upon this fresh day.

    What do you do with this time?

    The most important thing.

    If you have a project you want to happen (let’s say you want to write a book), this is the time to form a habit that will make that project happen.

    A morning writing habit will get the book done. Simply wishing for the book to get written, or saying you’ll do it “someday,” doesn’t make it happen.

    If it’s important, you’ll make a morning habit of it:

    • If you want to lose weight, create a morning walking habit. Or morning strength training. Or a healthy breakfast with fruits and veggies.
    • If you want to start a new business, create a morning session where you work on it every morning.
    • If you want to become more mindful during your day, create a morning meditation habit.
    • If you want to work on your relationship with your spouse, have a morning habit of talking about your relationship over coffee.
    • If you want to journal, make it a morning habit.

    Why is morning a better time for important habits? Why not afternoons or evenings? Well, I’m biased, because I really love the mornings. But I’ve found the time to be quieter, less chaotic, better for reflection and focus.

    Some people will work better in the late nights, but I’m usually tired by then. So figure out what time is your magic time — I think for most people that will be mornings, but not all.

    I’ve done pretty much all my important achievements through morning habits: I trained for several marathons by running in the morning, created this blog and wrote numerous books with a morning writing habit, have improved mindfulness through morning meditation, and became a regular exerciser and healthy eater. I’ve had morning walks, done morning journaling, morning yoga, and morning talks with Eva.

    There are great habits you can create in the afternoons and evenings too, but I recommend trying a morning habit if you have something important you want to get done.

    Make it a habit, and do it first.

    This month in my Sea Change Program, we’re creating a morning habit with our September module, A Good Start. If you’d like help creating a morning habit, join us!

    SEE ALSO: 9 ways to transform yourself into a morning person

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    woman drinking coffee morning thinking pensive thoughtfulHow should successful entrepreneurs start their day?

    Some, like me, immediately crack open the newspaper.

    And for everyone else — whether your primary morning focus is working out at the gym, making coffee or driving to work — you’re likely consuming the news in some form, whether it’s turning the dial on the radio or glimpsing TV updates while you’re on the elliptical machine.

    That may be a great way to stay informed, but it could potentially be damaging to your mental well-being, according to a new study conducted by happiness researchers Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor, in partnership with Arianna Huffington, who has become an advocate of well-being in the workplace.

    The trick isn’t to embrace ignorance and eschew all news, said Gielan in a recent email interview. Instead, she says, it’s to steer your news consumption — especially first thing in the morning — toward stories of human resilience.

    In their study, recounted in Gielan’s newly released book "Broadcasting Happiness," they divided up study participants into two groups. Each group watched a three-minute news video in the morning; one group’s video was negative, and the other showed stories of people overcoming challenges by working hard. 

    Related: How This Showering Trick Can Make You More Energized for the Workday

    Six to eight hours later, those watching the negative news were 27% more likely to report having had a bad day, while those watching the positive video were 88% more likely to report having a good day.

    “If we are really interested in performance, this study strongly suggests the information we consume early in the morning can have a lasting effect on the trajectory of our day,” says Gielan, who is the founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research. So how can entrepreneurs harness the power of starting your day right? Here are her top tips:

    1. Curate your news intake.

    Instead of starting the day by scanning your inbox or the day’s headlines, says Gielan, consciously choose the content you consume. Even just a few minutes of reading an inspirational book or listening to a motivational podcast can pay dividends.

    If you have employees, you can also help them begin the day on a positive footing. “In my work with high-performing directors at Google,” says Gielan, “one of them has been sending out Happy Friday emails of recent successes from people on her team, so they start the last day of the work week … feeling motivated to finish out the work week strong.”

    2. Thank someone.

    Spreading positivity one-to-one benefits both you and the recipient. Gielan suggests sending a two-minute email praising or thanking a friend, family member or colleague each day. “That activates people in your network in a meaningful way that strengthens bonds,” she says.

    There may be a tangible benefit, as well. “Providing social support in the form of kind words at work has been connected with increasing the chances of promotion by 40 percent over the next year.”

    Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

    3. Steer the conversation.

    Your mood impacts others, and Gielan notes that you can seize those opportunities to enhance everyone’s experience. When someone asks how you’re doing, focus on the positive rather than complaining. That doesn’t mean putting up a false front, but she notes, “Authenticity is key, but too often it's not that we are not feeling positive — it is that we don't speak up.”

    Additionally, you can start meetings with a question that elicits positive thoughts from the group, such as "What's one way a colleague of yours has made your job easier recently?" or "What's one win you or someone you work with has had that we don't know about?" Even five minutes spent recounting good news, she says, “is an incredible investment in future successes and the social cohesion of the group.”

    It may be hard to believe that less than five minutes can impact the entire course of your day. But Gielan’s new research shows that happiness, and the productivity that comes along with it, may be easier to attain than we think.

    SEE ALSO: This one-minute morning routine can improve your productivity all day long

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    personality 3x4

    Your level of job satisfaction may have something to do with how well your role fits your personality.

    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, which measures preferences like introversion and extroversion, has been part of business culture for decades.

    Today about 80% of the Fortune 500 and 89 of Fortune 100 companies use it in an attempt to get employees into the right roles and help teams work well together.

    To determine five of the best jobs for every personality, we consulted one of the most popular personality guides based on the Myers-Briggs system, "Do What You Are," which is now in its fifth edition and has sold more than 1 million copies. The book is not affiliated with CPP, the company that is the exclusive publisher of the MBTI instrument.

    We also spoke with one of its authors, Paul Tieger. As CEO of SpeedReading People LLC, Tieger has spent 30 years advising companies and people on how personality types can help teams work together.

    Of course, the job lists aren't meant to be definitive, but rather serve as a fun way to see how certain occupations attract a particular kind of person.

    Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the charts below.

    SEE ALSO: 14 habits of the most likable people

    DON'T MISS: People with this personality type are more likely to become entrepreneurs

    According to this system, every person falls into one of two options in four categories.







    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    NOW WATCH: More trouble for Subway's Jared Fogle...


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    millennials

    Millennials are now ubiquitous in the workplace.

    Not just as newcomers, either — many have years of experience (as they range in age up to 35) and hold positions of management.

    Patterns are emerging both for those who fall into generalizations and for those who buck the trend.

    Understanding the behavior patterns is not just important for past generations to cope with millennials on the job, but millennials themselves need to understand potential weaknesses that make them get in their own way of success.

    Fortunately, with a little awareness everyone can avoid the obstacles and help young people exceed expectations. Here is my observation on how millennials create their own success barriers and additional insights from my Inc. colleagues.

    1. They focus too much on disruption.

    Very little success in life is built on disruption. Sure, we in the media love to write about it, talk about it, and create heroes of those who succeed in creating it, but that's because the disruptors are indeed anomalies. Millennials have grown up in an era where disruption is touted as the only path to success.

    In truth, most attempted disruption fails miserably, while those who emulate patterns and execute well do achieve success consistently. There is value in experience and history. Millennials would do well to own the knowledge of the past and disrupt only when it makes sense.

    2. They want responsibility without accountability.

    I hate addressing this issue, because a negative generalization is unfair to so many people. But with that said, maintaining the idea that dues do not need to be paid is a typical fault of this generation. Millennials love being given responsibility — don’t we all — but are quicker than my generation to expect responsibility to be granted almost immediately.

    Of course, that can be turned into a positive, because when you find people with the right skills and attitudes you want them to want more responsibility. Jeff Haden — Owner's Manual

    Want to read more from Jeff? Click here.

    3. They avoid key conversations.

    It's no surprise that our millennials lack in traditional communication skills. Being raised as gamers, with a tech gadget always nearby, they seem to have been given a pass on verbal communication skills.

    While 55% of our millennials still prefer to communicate face-to-face, 34% prefer text or email, so it can be difficult at times to coax the smaller details out of them. Be patient; it's not that they don't care. They would simply prefer to get the job done rather than talk about it. Marla Tabaka — The Successful Soloist

    Want to read more from Marla? Click here.

    4. They struggle with staying the course.

    Working with 20-somethings can be a challenge. They are always looking for the next new experience, which means they get bored easily. When a 20-something gets bored, it can be tricky to keep them engaged. They lack the patience of other generations and don't expect to stay with a company or in a job for the long term.

    They have grown up in a time when company loyalty is a thing of the past and if they don't feel challenged, appreciated and that change is happening fast enough, they will leave.

    In order to motivate a Millennial, keep them in the loop during slow times. Give them a challenge they can own, a goal to attain, and help them understand the impact they can have on your organization by staying the course. Eric Holtzclaw — Lean Forward

    Want to read more from Eric? Click here.

    SEE ALSO: The 15 worst mistakes people make in their 20s

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    brian chesky

    When Airbnb was getting started in 2008, the company’s founders met with seven top Silicon Valley investors.

    The founders were looking to raise $150,000 at a $1.5 million valuation.

    “That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10% of Airbnb,” founder Brian Chesky wrote on Medium recently.

    That 10% would be worth $2.5 billion today.

    Instead, all 7 investors passed on the opportunity.

    The rejections didn’t stop the founders. They kept at it, they found other investors, and went on to build one of the most valuable startups in the world.

    Chesky recently shared those 2008 rejection emails on Medium (he omitted names of people and firms). There are two valuable lessons we can learn from this material.

    The first is the obvious one: don’t give up. Even the biggest and best operations faced rejection early on.

    But behind this lesson is another opportunity, a window into the art of rejection, from some of the world’s greatest rejectors. And I mean rejectors in the best possibly way. These are the top venture capital firms controlling billions in assets. Their job is as much about rejecting offers as it is accepting them.

    In fact, they send a lot more rejection letters than acceptance letters. They meet with and reject some of the brightest, most talented people in the world. They are world-class rejectors. And these emails give us a chance to see how it’s done.

    How great rejections are built

    Let’s take a look at one of these rejections.

    A44FB00C C6AF 4971 9E32 A69978A36BB8

    We can break this letter down into three parts.

    1. The 'No' is early and clear.

    This letter does not belabor the point or dance around the subject. The answer is no, and that’s very clear. Compare this to the wishy-washy, we’re-not-sure kind of rejections that you’ve maybe gotten before.

    2. A clear reason is given.

    In this rejection, two reasons are given, actually. But they are concise and to the point. The offer is (1.) not in their prime markets and (2.) not an area where they feel they could lend their helpful expertise.

    This makes the recipient know the offer was carefully considered and discussed. It also prevents a tedious back-and-forth. They didn’t wait for Airbnb to ask why the offer was rejected, they anticipated the question would be asked and answered it ahead of time.

    3. If there is an opportunity for followup and a future relationship, instructions are given.

    Again, the investors here are anticipating a question. “Can we follow up with you?” Not only is the question answered, but specific instructions are given as to when they should follow up. This ensures that any future relationship is relevant and based on the kind of concreted progress the firm wants to see.

    Imagine if every rejection these investors sent included only the line “keep us posted on your progress.” They send a lot of rejections, so they would be inundated with followups. Their inbox would be an avalanche of “hey we got three new users!”

    All the Airbnb rejection emails follow this formula, in some way. Let’s take a look at another.

    E068A071 1797 49E8 B5DD CD2E1A0916E9

    We can see this hits the same notes as the first email. The 'no' is clear and early, and a clear reason is given. In this case, the investors aren’t interested in a follow up so they don’t leave instructions.

    And again in this message.

    31C1BC1F A121 47DD 9E1A 4371823A873D

    These firms did not collectively get together and decide to write their rejections all the same way. No more than the world’s greatest golfers got together and decided how to swing a club. The rejections have so much in common because they are the best possible way to craft a rejection.

    Try this in your own life. You might not be meeting with the next Airbnb, but if you run a business or work for one, eventually you’re going to be sending a rejection. You might as well learn from the best.

    SEE ALSO: Airbnb wants the future of business travel to be staying in someone's house

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    violinist

    For a long time, it was believed that people are born with a given level of intelligence, and the best we could do in life was to live up to our potential.

    Scientists have now proven that we can actually increase our potential and enjoy ourselves in the process.

    We now know that by learning new skills the brain creates new neural pathways that make it work faster and better.

    Here is a list of seven hobbies that make you smarter and why.

    1. Play a musical instrument

    Playing music helps with creativity, analytical skills, language, math, fine motor skills, and more. While these are all great advantages, some people argue that playing team sports might do as many things. What playing musical instruments does that other activities don’t is strengthen the corpus callosum that links the hemispheres of the brain by creating new connections.

    An improved corpus callosum helps with executive skills, memory, problem solving, and overall brain function, regardless of how old you are.

    2. Read anything

    The benefits of reading are the same whether you are enjoying "Game of Thrones,""Harry Potter," or the latest issue of The Wall Street Journal. Reading reduces stress, which makes you feel better about yourself, and increases all three types of intelligence — crystallized, fluid, and emotional.

    That helps with problem solving, putting different pieces of knowledge together to better navigate everyday life, detecting patterns, understanding processes, and accurately interpreting and responding to other people’s feelings.

    At work, this translates into better understanding how to make things happen and better managerial skills.

    3. Exercise regularly

    Occasional exercise alone doesn’t do the trick. Regular exercise is much more effective than hard workouts every now and then. When exercising regularly, the cells are flooded with BDNF, a protein that helps with memory, learning, focus, concentration, and understanding. This is also often referred to as mental acuity.

    yoga class

    Some scientists speculate that sitting down for prolonged periods of time has the opposite affect and actually hinders our brain from working as well as it could.

    Related: Don't Let Too Much Sitting at Your Desk Harm Your Health

    4. Learn a new language

    Forget solving puzzles to improve your memory and learn a foreign language instead. Research has shown that people who are bilingual are better at solving puzzles than people who speak only one language. Successfully learning new languages enables your brain to better perform any mentally demanding tasks. This includes the typical executive skills such as planning and problem-solving.

    Additionally, speaking at least two languages positively affects your ability to monitor your environment and to better direct your attention to processes.

    Many people are told that because executives speak languages, they should learn Spanish or French if they want to move up the ranks. Based on how the brain reacts to learning languages, it might be the other way around. Learning another language might be the last, missing link people need to get their brain ready to take on C-level jobs.

    5. Test your cumulative learning

    Many intelligent students in high school and college "cram'' for finals and seem to have mastered the topic the day of the big test. The trouble with that is we tend to forget these things quickly because we are rarely, if ever, required to repeat that knowledge in that same way.

    One reason studying a new language makes us smarter is because it requires cumulative learning. Because we need them over and over again, the grammar and vocabulary we learn is repeated countless times as we improve our foreign-language skills.

    Apply the concept of cumulative learning to everyday life and your workplace by keeping track of noteworthy bits of knowledge you acquire. Go through takeaways from recent books, observations during an important negotiation, or keep a small journal with anything that strikes your attention. Start integrating cumulative learning into your self-improvement program.

    Related: You Have the Power to Rewire Your Brain for More Joy

    6. Work out your brain

    Sudoku, puzzles, riddles, board games, video games, card games, and similar activities increase neuroplasticity. This encompasses a wide variety of changes in neural pathways and synapses that is basically the ability of the brain to reorganize itself.

    When nerve cells respond in new ways, that increases neuroplasticity, which allows us more ability to see things from different points of view and understand the causes and effects of behaviors and emotions. We become aware of new patterns and our cognitive abilities are improved.

    Considering that neuroplasticity is involved in impairments such as tinnitus, an increased amount of it can help prevent certain conditions. For instance, people with high neurplasticity are less prone to anxiety and depression while learning faster and memorizing more.

    meditate

    7. Meditate

    In 1992 the Dalai Lama invited scientist Richard Davidson to study his brain waves during meditation to find out whether he could generate specific brain waves on command. Turns out that when the Dalai Lama and other monks were told to meditate and focus on compassion, their brain waves showed that they were in a deeply compassionate state of mind.

    The full research results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and then in The Wall Street Journal, where they received an enormous amount of attention.

    Meditation became interesting to ambitious people because the study implied that we could control our own brain waves and feel whatever we want to feel whenever we want to. This means we can feel more powerful right before a negotiation, more confident when asking for a raise and more convincing during a sales call.

    The general idea is that the brain can develop further, and you can do it on purpose. Different activities stimulate different areas of your brain, so you can work on becoming unbeatable at your strengths as well as improving your weaknesses.

    Focusing self-improvement on the brain is a good idea for anyone who feels they are at their professional peak (or maybe just have stopped getting better), ambitious professionals, and, of course, entrepreneurs who are looking to maximize their potential.

    SEE ALSO: Researchers discovered a linguistic trick that will help you negotiate anything

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    winning race

    You’ll never be the best at whatever you want to achieve until you learn how to lose with skill.

    Not happiness. Not complacency. Not excuses, blaming others, or a fatalistic sense of negativity.

    Skill. The skill of learning from your mistakes. The skill of dogged determination. The skill of developing creativity.

    Achieving success is mostly dependent on what you’re willing to do to get to where you want to be.

    Losing is a big part of that.

    You’re not going to automatically know how to win. You’re not going to automatically have the skills to win.

    If your goal is big enough, you’re going to get beat down and passed over by champions with more experience, talent and charm.

    They already win at the game you hope to dominate.

    You’re not going to be able to beat them. You’re going to lose when you go head-to-head against them.

    Unless you do it on purpose. With purpose.

    The single most powerful strategy for dramatically improving your own results is make sure you keep losing.

    When you dominate an industry or opponent, find a tougher challenge. When you take your game to the next level, find an opponent who is at an even higher level.

    Be purposeful about losing.

    Not because you enjoy losing.

    But because it’s what makes you better.

    The lessons you learn from losing against a competitor who’s better than you are incomparably more valuable than the lessons you might learn from beating a competitor you’ve already beaten time and time again.

    Losing a hard battle will teach you more than winning an easy victory.

    But it’s completely uncomfortable, unnatural, and frightfully unnerving.

    You don’t want to lose.

    You don’t want to look like an idiot.

    You don’t want any more embarrassment, unhappiness, or stress in your life.

    Winning small feels better. But it’s also crippling. It makes you complacent, weak, and ripe for disruption.

    It’s hard to have the passion to push forward until you remember all the times you’ve been pushed down.

    It’s those times when you find yourself lacking inspiration that you realize you’ve been playing the wrong game.

    You’ve been playing a weak game. An easy game.

    A game that pretends to be domination but is really just pacification.

    You’re not better because you’re not losing. You’re not bigger because you’re not allowing yourself to see how small you really are.

    If you want to be the best you have to beat the best.

    That means you’re going to have to lose for a while until you develop the talent, skills, and experience you need to win.

    If you’re not losing now, don’t expect to win big later.

    The best you can hope for is that you stay lucky long enough to not experience the harsh reality of how weak you’re actually coming right now.

    Lose with skill. Seek out awesome people to make you stronger.

    Learn from your mistakes. Search out new challenges.

    Never trade small wins for epic greatness.

    SEE ALSO: Say these 4 things every day to win at life

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    family beach vacation germany

    Bear with me — I think I've figured this out. I wish I'd done so years ago, but better late than never. (Hint: It involves entrepreneurship.)

    Recently, I asked hundreds of entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other leaders for their best tips on taking great vacations.

    The result, "17 Habits of Highly Effective People Who Take Really Amazing Vacations," seems to have struck a nerve, since it's been shared more than 14,000 times.

    A lot of the advice was about staying productive while you're away — things like finding a "vacation office," or coming home on a Saturday to get ready for the workweek. I won’t rehash it all; you can go back and check it out if you like. But honestly, writing the whole thing made me a little bit depressed. Are we really this horrible at relaxing?

    Then, I heard from a reader named Karena de Souza— and something she told me changed my thinking entirely.

    About a decade ago, de Souza and her husband and their kids set off on journey around the world — a trip that lasted a full year. They weren't independently wealthy; they pulled this off despite facing all of the same kinds of challenges that most normal people would face. I'll save all of the particulars for another column. (Let me know if you'd like me to write about it.)

    More important for now was an insight. Since Americans are almost never totally unplugged and not working, even on vacation, that means, ironically, that it's a lot easier than you might think to be on an American-style vacation almost every day of your life. Here's how:

    1. Find your happiness.

    That this isn't just an academic exercise for me. A few years ago, I almost chucked it all and moved to the beach in Spain. I was divorced, I had no kids, and I was running a ghostwriting business that provided a nice income and was 100 percent mobile.

    My plan involved buying a condo in St. Pete Beach, Florida (no state income tax), and renting a former co-worker's apartment in a Mediterranean town called Altea, about midway between Barcelona and Gibraltar.

    Then, I went to my college reunion, got back together with a woman I'd dated in my early 20s — and was engaged within four months. (Best decision I ever made.) It might have been great to live on the beach in Spain for a while, but I realized that wasn't truly what was going to make me happy.

    So, before you set out, take the lot of time to evaluate your goals, and figure out what truly makes you happy. Do you want to travel? To go hiking and rock climbing every day? To be able to participate in high culture and treat yourself to world-class art? Be sure you can answer: Where do you really want to go on this journey? Your answers will affect everything else.

    2. Embrace your passions.

    I don't just mean "follow your passions" no matter whatThat's horrible, horrible advice. Instead, figure out what it is that you truly love, and make this vacation lifestyle part of your quest to find a way to make it possible.

    I know this sounds a little philosophical at the outset, but it's important. If what you're truly passionate about is building software, for example, or playing violin, or U.S. politics, that clearly will affect where you decide to go and what you decide to do.

    violinist woman

    For that matter, if you are a parent — or if you really hope to have kids — of course you need to keep their well-being in mind as well. It's not impossible to pull this off, however; remember. de Souza and her husband had three children while they spent a year traveling.

    3. Structure your income.

    Now we get to the real grit of this exercise. I'm assuming that you will need to earn money to survive. However, even if you can land a job wherever you decide to travel to, it sort of defeats the purpose if you have to spend all of your time working. So, you have to find a way to become your own boss, and to do so with a largely virtual business that requires, at the absolute most, a 40-hour work week.

    There's probably nobody who has done more to explain how to do this than Tim Ferriss, in his book (and blog) "The Four Hour Work Week." As of January of this year, he says he's collected more than a thousand case studies of people pulling it off. (He calls these businesses "muses," by the way.)

    I hope this doesn't sound like a compromise — keep in mind, it's the realization that most Americans are working during their measly two weeks (if they're lucky) of vacation a year anyway that makes this possible. In my case, I couldn't have even considered doing this were it not for my business, ProGhostwriters.

    4. Evaluate your expectations.

    If your idea of a vacation requires lounging for weeks at the Four Seasons Bora Bora, I'm not sure we can really help you here. But if you can manage your expectations — and your expenses — it's very possible to pull off.

    This can mean traveling places during off-peak times, staying in rooms and apartments you find on Airbnb — or even couch surfing or renting locally as opposed to hotels. Of course, it also means learning to shop and eat like a local, no matter whether you're spending time in Phuket or Panama City Beach, Florida.

    Bottom line: The whole thing is much more possible if you can live like a vacationer but not spend like a tourist.

    reading newspaper garden

    5. Establish routines.

    I really wanted to write this column without including phrases like "be reasonable," but the truth is, to live a vacation-style lifestyle over the long term, you really do need to be reasonable. Part of that involves setting up routines, and sticking to them.

    Maybe you should even figure out the "vacation office" thing that the company president in my other article was talking about.

    A perpetual vacation doesn't mean perpetual debauchery and lack of structure. (Don't worry — it will still be a heck of a lot more fun than working like a drone.) Knowing that you have to work for two or three hours every morning on your "muse," for example, is part of what will make the whole thing possible.

    6. Maintain connectivity.

    I mean this in three ways: First, it's about making sure you maintain connections with friends and family back home. Trust me, this is important.

    Next, it's about making sure you maintain and increase connectivity with people who will help you grow, both professionally and personally. We all know older people who retire, spend a few years maybe chasing a little white ball all over a golf course, and then seem to deteriorate quickly. You don't want to follow their example.

    Finally, it's about making sure you have sufficient digital infrastructure. I once had a guy who was living this sort of life working for me. He was a great guy, but it was a nightmare trying to do phone calls with him when he was always on a crappy cell phone in some noisy cafe.

    SEE ALSO: Most CFOs keep working while they're on vacation

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    meetingToday, an HR veteran with over 15 years of experience shares her insider’s take on what really goes down during the hiring process.

    Before launching my own consulting business, I earned my HR stripes working for everyone from big-name financial service companies to an equally big electronics and entertainment company.

    So I know firsthand the techniques that are used to vet potential employees — and it’s not all as compliant as you’d expect.

    If there’s one thing my time in the trenches has taught me it’s that HR reps are willing to do a lot to pinpoint the right employee.

    Think hiring managers aren’t trolling your social media accounts? Or that having children won’t impact your odds of landing a great gig?

    Think again.

    Take it from me: These are some lesser-known, semi-sly tricks that hiring managers resort to—regularly.

    1. We dig (and I mean really dig) into your background

    It goes without saying that hiring managers are going to contact your references to check whether those accolades on your résumé are legit.

    But prehiring reconnaissance goes a lot further than that.

    The HR community is small, and while it isn’t exactly kosher, many of us will call someone we know at a company where a candidate has worked previously.

    The goal is to get “off-the-record” insights about the person’s work habits, personality, aptitude and more. We’re getting the inside scoop — from someone who isn’t on the candidate’s referral list.

    Don’t believe me?

    In the last month alone, I’ve received two calls from HR reps asking whether I’d vouch for former colleagues.

    Another way managers dig around is through social media — especially LinkedIn.

    After scanning a person’s LinkedIn network, I’ve become skeptical about candidates who don’t have enough industry connections. It makes me question if they’re overmarketing themselves.

    Of course, being mindful of what you post on all of your social media channels is a no-brainer. I’ve even heard of managers who snoop on their own employees’ accounts to see if they’ve been talking poorly about the company.

    Related: LinkedIn Super Secrets: 9 Tips for Job Seekers, Brand Builders and Hiring Managers

    parenting

    2. Have kids? Why you might not have the job …

    Although it’s illegal for an employer to take someone’s family into account when considering them for a position, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    Personally, I don’t believe this is usually malicious or deliberate. But a candidate can’t control what might be lurking in a hiring manager’s subconscious. (“Will this person really get the job done if they’ve got little kids waiting at home?”)

    And it’s not just HR managers who fall prey to this kind of second-guessing.

    I once worked at a financial organization where the internal sales team was mostly comprised of guys fresh out of college. When they interviewed new employees, I found out many of them used the opportunity to suss out if a candidate had kids by posing questions like, “What do you like to do on the weekends?” It was a tactic to see if the person would bring up little league or other kid-centric activities.

    Knowing that new employees would be required to work long hours, these guys assumed that children would make these candidates less committed—and less likely to party after work and wholeheartedly embrace the company culture.

    Certain hiring managers (especially those who don’t have a legal background) really want to make sure that the person they hire is a good culture fit — someone who’ll make a good employee and buddy.

    But this impulse can end up alienating qualified candidates simply because they don’t gel on a personal level. In the case of that financial company, it created a bias against women — and we, in HR, brought the practice to a screeching halt.

    And while we’re on the topic of bias, I hate to say it, but if a woman is interviewing while pregnant, she’s probably better off keeping that to herself until she knows she’s got the job.

    It’s especially relevant at the executive level, when the stakes are typically higher. While a manager would never come out and say it, my experience leads me to believe that mothers, in general, do get passed over more than childless applicants.

    Related: How I Made It In a ‘Man’s’ Field: 5 High-Powered Women Tell All

    3. The offer you get often has plenty of wiggle room

    During the hiring process, salary negotiations are par for the course. But most managers can offer you way more than they let on.

    That said, they probably can’t budge too much when it comes to base salary—there’s typically a range in mind before the interview ever takes place. But they can throw in different types of financial extras.

    Sign-on bonuses, for starters, are attractive to HR managers because they don’t reoccur or show up in the employee’s salary line. And many hiring managers are willing and able to throw in a onetime cash-out if that’s what it takes to seal the deal.

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    The same goes for relocation packages. While some companies have rigid policies in place when it comes to relocating new hires, it’s still very much a gray area that many HR managers have no problem negotiating.

    The catch, not surprisingly, is that interviewers aren’t exactly eager to offer up such perks. It’s up to you to ask.

    Bringing up a sign-on bonus or relocation package will likely get you more traction than if you focus on the salary alone. Even so, that doesn’t mean negotiating the base salary isn’t still worth it—but you’ll need to convince the HR manager why you should be at the higher end of their preestablished range.

    I’ve even seen people successfully negotiate to have a new company match the last job’s total compensation package.

    Related: Beyond Your Paycheck: 5 Things to Negotiate at Work

    4. Mutual exits are more common than you think

    If an employee quits — as opposed to getting laid off — severance and unemployment benefits likely go out the window. So from a financial standpoint, it appears to be in a company’s best interest to have a less-than-stellar employee quit on their own.

    Would a manager ever deliberately try to get a disliked employee to voluntarily hit the road? I’ve heard it happens — but it’s more likely to come from a direct manager, and the HR person may find out about it after the fact, when the manager shares that they “rode a guy hard” until he quit.

    I think sometimes these managers struggle with giving feedback and coaching employees, or run into situations where they feel backed up against a wall. The end result is that they run out of patience—and make crummy management decisions.

    A few of my current clients have experienced this kind of passive-aggressive approach, and I encouraged them to negotiate a happier ending by way of a desirable exit package.

    Essentially, the company allows the employee to leave on certain mutually-agreed-upon terms. In some cases, it may require the employee to stay until a certain end date, finish a particular project, or agree not to take talent from the company for a set amount of time. In return, the employee receives a specific amount of money, known as a retention payment.

    The deal, known as a mutual separation, isn’t considered severance. It’s also something that happens all of the time behind closed doors.

    It’s yet another example of how established employees and new hires alike can even the playing field — so long as they’re informed.

    SEE ALSO: 8 signs you just nailed that job interview

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    procrastinate

    Procrastination is, in essence, stealing from yourself.

    The reason goals are so hard to reach, many psychologists think, is because each person believes they are really two people: Present Me and Future Me. And to most people, Future Me is much less important than Present Me. Present Me is the CEO of Me Corp, while Future Me is a lowly clerk.

    “Instead of delaying gratification,” people “act as if they prefer their current self’s needs and desires to those of their future self,” write psychologists Neil Lewis of the University of Michigan and Daphna Oyserman of the University of Southern California in a new study in Psychological Science

    Why put that money in your 401(k) when you want those shoes now? Why not eat that cupcake today when swimsuit season is still a good six weeks away?

    So Oyserman and Lewis asked themselves: What if people could be made to think of their future selves as more connected to their current selves? What if Present Me was forced to imagine exactly how Future Me will feel the night before the big paper is due, and Present Me had never bothered to start?

    Through a series of experiments, Oyserman and Lewis found that if subjects thought about a far-off event in terms of days, rather than months or years, they seemed like they would happen sooner. For example, the authors write, something like a friend’s wedding “seemed 16.3 days sooner when considered in days rather than months and 11.4 months sooner when considered in months rather than years.”

    Screen Shot 2015 05 17 at 1.07.13 PM

    In a series of follow-ups, the researchers sought to determine whether people would take action sooner if they were told a certain event was happening in X days rather than (X/365) years.

    For example, participants were told to imagine they had a newborn child, and that the child will need to go to college in either 18 years or 6,570 days. The researchers found those in the “days” condition planned to start saving a whopping four times sooner than those in the “years” condition, even when controlling for income, age, and self-control.

    Thinking about far-off events in terms of days, it turned out, did make a person more able to feel for his or her future self—a self who has, after all, the same wants and needs. Perhaps those Rent kids were onto something when they measured a year in 525,600 minutes.

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    Phil Jackson

    Whether you're on the field or in the boardroom, the goal is always to come away victorious.

    The characteristics required to win in sports and in business are one and the same. Composure under pressure, leadership skills, teamwork, perseverance, and mental toughness can help you get ahead in either arena.

    That's why we rounded up 12 excellent sports books that will help you succeed in business. These provide valuable lessons from some of the greatest coaches, athletes, and team owners around.

    "Eleven Rings" by Phil Jackson

    Jackson has more NBA championships than any other coach in the history of the sport. In his book, he discusses the secrets of balancing team chemistry and describes how he coached Michael Jordan, considered by many the best player in the world.

    "What It Takes to Be #1" by Vince Lombardi, Jr.

    In his time, NFL coach Vince Lombardi was known for his leadership and his drive to win. This book details what it takes to become a successful leader, whether in sports, business, or anything else.

    "The Lombardi Rules" by Vince Lombardi, Jr.

    In another great book about the sports legend, Lombardi's son shares 26 lessons that helped make his father one of the best of all time. 

    "Legacy" by James Kerr

    In his book about the iconic All Blacks rugby team from New Zealand, Kerr reveals lessons on leadership and handling pressure, so that you can put yourself in an optimal position to win in any environment.

    "Playbook for Success" by Nancy Lieberman

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    Lieberman, a Hall of Fame basketball coach that is now working for the Sacramento Kings, details the teamwork and leadership tactics that helped her work her way to the top. When the Kings hired her, she became the second female coach to join an NBA staff.

    "Negotiate Like the Pros" by Kenneth Shropshire

    Shropshire, a Wharton professor that has negotiated many major sports deals, shares his insight on some of history's biggest sports deals. In the book, you will learn about playing to your strengths during a negotiation.

    "Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization" by John Wooden and Steve Jamison

    With this book, you will learn how to maximize the performance and production of your team from the man that coached UCLA basketball to 10 national championships in 12 years.

    "Performing Under Pressure" by Saul Miller

    Performing well in high-pressure situations is crucial, whether it's taking the last shot in a basketball game or delivering the final point in a sales presentation. Miller, a mental coach who has worked with athletes from many of the major professional sports leagues, offers tips on how to stay cool and collected when the stakes are high. 

    "How to Win at the Sport of Business" by Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban

    Cuban, a billionaire investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, shares the three fundamental rules to running a business that have helped him: Understand the difference between adding value and benefiting from a bull market; win the battles you're in before moving on to new ones; and don't drown in opportunity.

    "Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion" by Pete Carroll

    The two-time championship winning coach at USC and one-time Super Bowl winning coach shares what he's learned in his highly successful coaching career and how to maximize your overall potential.

    "Less Than a Minute to Go" by Bill Thierfelder

    Preparation is crucial, but it's all about how you perform in the moment. Thierfelder, a former college All-American track athlete and current mentor to athletes, discusses the key to performing well when everything is on the line.

    "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis

    This bestseller turned box-office hit chronicles Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, during the 2002 season as he attempts to guide a low-budget team to victory. It will teach you as much about management as it does about succeeding in baseball.

    SEE ALSO: A Wharton professor recommends 7 new books to read this fall

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    man reading book london

    To be a successful entrepreneur, you must increase the quantity and quality of the books you read.

    We all hear about about how Bill Gates and Ben Carson would stay home and read books relentlessly.

    Reading may not be an easy habit to develop, but it's one that can help you expand your business.

    When I first started reading at the age of 21, I would read very slowly and I wasn't getting the most out of the books. I would finish a book or two per month and not remember exactly what I learned.

    My level of comprehension and lack of speed grew into utter frustration.

    One day, I was fighting my way through a chapter and got so mad at myself that I went on this quest to find out how I could read more books, while getting the most out of them in less time.

    For the last several years, I've been increasing the number of books I read. I went from reading one to two non-fiction books per month to five or more the next month. Soon enough, I was reading six to eight books per month. Now I read more than 10 books per month — which is about a book every three days. I now read well over 100 books per year because of the five techniques that I am about to share with you.

    You can use these 5 tips to expedite your reading speed while developing a deeper comprehension of the material you wish to absorb:

    1. Learn how to speed read.

    Attend a course or read a book on speed-reading. You can find many resources on the Internet that will show you how to read faster as well. One of my favorite books on the subject is called, Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump.

    I use my hand to guide me along the pages. This method allows me to relinquish my sub-vocalization (reading aloud in your mind). I also force my eyes to read faster. Skimming and scanning helps me do this.

    Instead of reading 200 words per minute, I now read well over 1,000 wpm. Talk about reading fast. It was once said that Josef Stalin read 400 pages per day. John F. Kennedy read 1,200 wpm. They aren't my heroes, except only in reading speeds.

    girl reading woman book

    2. Don't read cover-to-cover. 

    It's the biggest myth to read every book you encounter cover-to-cover. If you do this, you're taking too much time on trivial content instead of getting the most out of the book you read.

    Average books offer one to two major ideas, good books offer two to three, and great books offer three to five ideas. In fact, most books are average. An average author could write a 20-page book with all of his or her ideas, but that kind of book won’t sell to the public, so they generally add 200 extra pages to fluff it up.

    Now don’t get me wrong, great authors do not add fluff to their books. But how many great books can you really find worth reading over and over again?

    However, if you were assuming that most books are average, which they are, do you think it would make sense to read one of these average books from cover to cover?

    Related: A Simple Tip That Will Enable You to 'Read' a Lot More Books

    Definitely not!

    Instead, you may want to skim the entire book within three to five minutes to get the main idea. You will also want to use the table of contents, which will help you understand the ideas dispersed within the book.

    Do your best to make notations on the pages you want to revisit. Of course, you would only make notations on books that you own instead of those that are borrowed from a friend or public library.

    Next, you’ll want to read more deeply for 30 minutes on your second visit. Only take time the best parts of the books while you do this. This is more like a scanning process that allows you to inhale the material with good understanding.

    Finally, if the book is worth another read, take an hour or two to read the book for the third time. If you can read your favorite parts in the book again, you should be able to remember your material for a while.

    Imagine that! You've just read a book in less than three hours.

    The key here is that it’s more important to get the best information from 10 books than it would be from one book. In an entire year, you can get through 120 books while another person will only finish 12 of them.

    3. Set time limits.

    Setting time limits on what you read can keep you focused. Give yourself four hours to read a 200- to 300-page book. Do it with unadulterated focus. Let there be no distraction as you romance your book. 

    The key here is to know what you want to get out of each book that you read. If you force yourself to get the most out of a book in four hours, I guarantee you will be able to do it. However, if you give yourself one month, there's no discipline at all, since your attention will be attenuated.

    Too many people waste time doing research while they read. If you’re looking up a word or doing research while you’re reading, your attention will shift and you will take longer periods of time to finish the book. Instead, take control of the book; don't let the book take control of you. If there's a section that you don't understand, make a note of it and return to it soon. Do the same with unfamiliar vocabulary words. 

    Related: 5 Simple Ways You Can Add Hours To Your Day

    bedtime,reading,books

    4. Read the easy books first.

    Most of this is about building confidence at first. If you start reading an academic 1,000-plus-page textbook or the King James Version Bible, this may prohibit your reading speed.

    Start with a quick 100- to 150-page book. Get a stack of them on all different subjects. Aim to read one to two of them per week and progressively get better. Eventually, you’ll add the bigger books once you build the confidence.

    Some books are complicated or hard to digest. Autobiographies and esoteric non-fiction are good examples of this. You don't want to get mixed up with these at first, especially as you start your speed-reading tour. Start small, then grow big!

    5. Only read the best books.

    Before you begin a book, decide if it is worth reading. Obviously, you picked up the book to find a solution to one of your problems. Within the first 10 minutes, you should be able to decide if the book will help you solve that problem.

    Another thing you can do is to rate your book on a scale of 1-10. To rate them appropriately, use this score, with "1" being the lowest and worst book that you can read and "10" being the highest and best book.

    If you’re on a time crunch, you don't have time to read any book that's less than a "10." If you're reading a book that doesn't interest you or bores you completely, put it aside. This means that you should organize your books, too. Line up 10 to 20 books for the month and choose a few out of the stack every month. Always replenish the stack and play with your library accordingly. 

    Make sure you stay on top of your reading by only reading the books that captivate your attention the most. If you come across a bad book, throw it out. Don’t even take the time to donate it. If it’s garbage, leave it in the trash.

    Reading books lead to magnificent experiences. Take advantage of the current books that are available to you. Enjoy the stories, language, jokes, and precepts expounded by your predecessors. Fill yourself up with usable knowledge and wisdom. 

    Our libraries are paved with gold. You have to know how to use the gold you have. Own your books by buying them and taking notes.

    Take advantage of the current books that are available to you. Enjoy the stories, language, jokes, and precepts expounded by your predecessors. Fill yourself up with usable knowledge and wisdom. 

    Know that all books can solve all the problems and challenges in the world. Even though you aren't going to read all of the books, you are going to read the ones that help you the most.

    SEE ALSO: 12 sports books that will teach you how to succeed in business

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    triathlon swimmer

    The best way to invite good new things into your life is to make room for them.

    Just as you declutter your office and home, from time to time do a check and throw out anything that isn't helping you make your success achievable.

    Here are some good places to start.

    1. Trying to be perfect.

    Perfectionism sets us up for failure. It's not a quest for the best but a way of telling yourself you'll never be good enough.

    2. Playing small.

    Expand your horizons. Go big. Grow! Sometimes the process is painful, but it's worth it.

    3. Faking it.

    Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're always strong.

    4. Waiting for luck.

    Luck builds its foundation on preparation. Coming across good opportunities may be partly a matter of luck, but it's also a matter of knowing where to find them and being prepared to make the most of them.

    5. Waiting for anything.

    We have been fooled into thinking that if we wait for the right time, right place, and right person we will be successful, but opportunity is where you find it, not where it finds you.

    6. Needing approval.

    Don't let the opinions of others consume you. What a waste of time!

    7. Trying to do it alone.

    Even if you can pull it off, it's twice as much work and half as much fun when you do it alone.

    8. Making empty promises.

    Make your promises rare and 100 percent reliable.

    9. Fixating on your weaknesses.

    We all have our weak points. Work on them, but focus on your strengths.

    10. Blaming others.

    It's cowardly and it costs you respect.

    11. Overlooking your negative thoughts.

    You may believe that you are responsible for what you do but not for what you think. The truth is those things can't be separated.

    girl thinking

    12. Living in the past.

    Your future starts now.

    13. Trying to please everyone.

    The surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Work to please only yourself and those who are important to you.

    14. Small goals.

    Small goals yield small results; big goals, big (and sometimes huge) results.

    15. Holding on to grudges.

    They're a waste of time and a thief of contentment and happiness.

    16. Avoiding change.

    Change will happen with your permission or not. Manage it when you can and always make the best of it.

    17. Trying to never make a mistake.

    Avoiding risk and never daring is the biggest mistake you can make.

    18. Saying "I can't."

    Don't give up just because things are hard, and don't talk to yourself in negative terms.

    19. Minimizing yourself.

    Being a shrinking violet doesn't help you, it doesn't put anyone else at ease, and it's a bore.

    20. Gossiping.

    Small people indulge in gossip. Talk about ideas instead — and when you do talk about people, be compassionate and supportive always.

    21. Staying down.

    Failure does not come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up.

    22. Complaining.

    If you spend time complaining about yesterday, you won't have time to make tomorrow better.

    23. Spending time with negative people.

    If those around you are trying to bring you down, maybe it's time to lift yourself up.

    24. Comparing yourself with others.

    Comparison is another thief of your happiness. Don't worry about what others are doing.

    25. Thinking you can't make a difference.

    Each of us can make a difference — and together we make a change.

    We all have traits and tendencies we need to give up so we can let something great come in. Everyone is entitled for success; we just have to make room for it. Learn to give up what is keeping you stuck and start moving closer to the things you want out of life.

    SEE ALSO: 18 things you need to stop doing if you want to be successful

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    Elaina Giolando

    Here I go, spilling all my secrets again.

    As I write this from a cafe in Toronto, I’ve officially packed up and stored what’s left of what I own from the first time I sold it all and took a job overseas, and packed up a new 46 liter backpack for an indefinite trip to Southeast Asia and India.

    I fly to Singapore on Sunday, and a lot of people are wondering how I’m back at it again, especially after two years working in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America (“Aren’t you tired yet?” “Haven’t you traveled enough already?” And my parents: “Aren’t you ready to settle down?”).

    First of all, if you’re a bit of a dreamer (“I’d really like to take a backpacking trip someday” or “I wish I had the guts to leave my job”), then we’re birds of a feather, my friend. I get scared too, and I’ve been talking about doing this trip for years.

    Then the window of opportunity popped up, and I had to muster up the courage to actually seize it: negotiate time off of work, figure out the finances, plan a route, and handle the not-very-glamorous logistics.

    But here I am, staring at that little backpack and one-way plane ticket to Asia in utter disbelief at my ability — our ability as humans — to conceive of a vision for our lives and then proceed to execute it, step-by-step. It’s the coolest universal talent we have and we should all dare to use it more often.

    I turn 26 this month and have been to nearly 50 countries, worked professionally in over a dozen of those over a period of 3 years, and gone backpacking solo in South America (4.5 months), Northeast Asia (2 months), Southeast Asia (1 month), the Middle East (1 month), and a sprinkling of East Africa (1 month). So how do I actually go about it?

    1. I built a solid career foundation.

    I value my career as much as my free spirit, and keeping the two in balance and never putting one at the expense of the other has been both challenging and rewarding. I took a US-based job in management consulting straight out of undergrad, which was the best decision I ever made.

    It helped me develop tangible skills, provided access to a great network, and put a brand-name institution on my resume. It was two years of professional polishing and learning the ins and outs of a huge corporate, and those years (a sacrifice for my wanderlusting heart) continue to pay out dividends.

    I was then able to leverage my consulting experience to get a job in international business development that required travel. I didn’t walk away from growing my professional skill set just to “go travel,” I found a company that let me do both at the same time.

    2. I started accumulating international experience early.

    The main reason I was qualified for this global dream job was because I had a foundation of Fortune 500 experience straight out of school and had worked, lived, and studied abroad pretty extensively during college.

    As I always say, international experience begets international experience, so you have to get your foot in the door and take an early opportunity to work overseas. That first opportunity may not be the ideal fit for your long-term career (I had a marketing internship at an NGO even though I ultimately wanted to be in the private sector), so focus on finding something that provides a wide breadth of experience and transferable skills so you can work towards something closer to your heart as you progress down your career path.

    elaina giolando

    3. I take time off during every job transition.

    Transitioning between jobs is the ideal time to travel for a longer period of time. If the company is really excited to hire you, you have bargaining power. Don’t be afraid to ask for a couple months off or negotiate a deferred offer for next year’s starting class if you’re coming straight out of school.

    It’s also great because you know when (and from where) you’ll be getting your next paycheck. Before I started working at IBM after college, I specifically negotiated the latest start date with my recruiter and spent those months backpacking South America.

    In between IBM and my next job, I took 2 months to travel through Japan and Taiwan. During my previous job, which was project-based, I would take time between country assignments to travel in the region. Now that I’ve left that job, I’m traveling indefinitely before finding my next opportunity, thanks to Key #5.

    4. I spent years growing a side business.

    I’ve been blogging for over 3 years, and it has taken at least that long to grow a following and gain the credibility to charge a living wage for the pieces I write for other websites. I also have a coaching and travel planning business that has recently taken off, but it was slow when it began and required many years of nurturing it on nights and weekends.

    Luckily, I love writing, coaching, and doing customized trip planning, so it never felt like work. Although this side business is not a “career move” for me, it’s extremely helpful to know I can financially support myself when I travel and/or take breaks between jobs.

    5. I have a (self-funded) financial safety net, and I manage my money like a boss.

    I always live well beneath my means and put a priority on saving money. A savings cushion gives me the freedom to leave a job or go back to school or settle down or travel more at any time.

    That ability means much more to me than a fancy apartment or a huge wardrobe or the latest iGadget. (I share my thoughts on taking control of your relationship with money in this article.) I don’t come from a rich family or have another kind of safety net, so I have to rely on myself to keep my finances on point so I can continuously manage my lifestyle on my terms.

    6. I work hard and maintain an open-door policy by being a valuable employee.

    Every time I resigned from a job, I left on very good terms. I loved both of my previous jobs, and could probably go back if I really wanted. I was valuable to them and performed well, and both times my managers made me offers to stay or return.

    I strongly encourage you to spend a minimum of two years in every job you have and work your absolute hardest, so if and when it comes time to leave or negotiate a sabbatical, they’ll be on your side. Then you have the best of both worlds: the freedom to travel and the security to have a place to go back to.

    elaina giolando camel

    7. I live with a light material footprint.

    I don’t have furniture, sign contractual leases, or own anything that can’t be packed into a couple suitcases or shipped home to my parents in a pinch. Essentially, my financial compromises and material possessions are minimal, which allow me to easily pack up and go when the opportunities arise.

    There will always be inconvenient logistics of some kind (“life administration” as I call it), but I never get to the point where I’m weighed down by stuff. In my opinion, dreams, beliefs, relationships, opportunities, and knowledge should impact decision-making, not stuff.

    8. I just do it.

    And finally the most important key of all: I don’t over-think, I don’t let fear dictate, I don’t worry about “what ifs,” I just know what I want to do and I go for it.

    Most of all, I understand my values and I actively prioritize them. I value self-reliance, minimalism, freedom, and taking action. I want my 20s to be a decade of exploration, of getting used to taking risks so I won’t be afraid to continue living adventurously throughout my life.

    I know that I eventually do want to settle down, but I also know that by living the way I’ve lived so far, I will deeply appreciate and look forward to being a bit more “normal” when the time comes. Until then, I keep my suitcases packed, my bank account cushioned, and my priorities crystallized as I head into my third consecutive year on the road.

    SEE ALSO: Why I quit a great job to travel the world

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    woman depressed thinking glum unhappy

    Americans have always tied a strong work ethic to success. The thinking is: hard work brings financial rewards. It also means better job security.

    The more dedicated you are, the more solid your standing with your boss and employer.

    Add to the mix never-ending, pervasive technology and a gadget-centric world that cannot disconnect, and you have the makings for a very un-relaxed society.

    Did you stay home this summer? In a recent Allianz survey, more than 135 million Americans (56%) said they haven’t taken a vacation within the past 12 months – an increase of almost 10 million from the 126 million Americans (52%) who reported no vacation over the prior year.

    Maybe you took a vacation this calendar year, but have trouble remembering it. Expedia.com reports that 30% of vacationing workers feel work-related stress while on vacation.

    No doubt these employees checked email, voice mail and texted the office repeatedly, as the expectations are in many companies today that the boss has virtual 24/7 access to you — especially a demanding boss.

    But because having a strong work ethic is so rewarded in corporate America and in society generally, it’s hard for many to draw the line between what’s healthy and what isn’t.             

    A checklist

    Take a look at this list and see if you, like a growing number of American workers, are falling prey to this propensity:

    1. You cannot detach from work. It’s almost impossible to avoid thinking about work, even if you’re out socializing. When you’re not working, you feel guilty, as if you’ll have to make up the time. And before you go out, you feel like you have to compensate ahead of time.

    You often feel like if you just take one more call or answer one more text or email, you’ll be satisfied. You don’t want to ever let down your boss or client by being unavailable; your work comes first. (You don’t even need a bad boss to feel this way … much of it is just self-driven.)

    2. You're virtually chained to your desk. You’re habitually the early bird; you’re on a first name basis with the evening cleaning crew. You never take lunch and eat at your desk as you review emails. Your idea of a break is walking down the hall to stretch your legs.

    3. Vacation is a bad word. When you’re not at work you worry about not being there. A “staycation” is the closest thing to your form of vacation, but you end up working anyway. You figure if you’re close to home, you’re more accessible and more in control of work.

    4. You lower personal priorities. Work seems to constantly override other priorities and commitments, even when it comes to your health. You might do something healthy if it benefits a client relationship, like a tennis game. Fear is a continuous driver, and job security is job one.

    5. "Delegation is dangerous." You believe that if you delegate, things will fall apart; the only one you can really trust is yourself. Sometimes after a busy day, you don’t feel you’ve accomplished much of anything — so you feel you must work late into the night to get anything of real value accomplished.

    working from home

    Stepping away from overwork

    If the above thoughts sound all too familiar to you, you're not alone. And clearly, it's unrealistic to change work habits overnight. But do consider taking some of these steps as a start or even as an experiment - to break your routine and gain control:

    1. Take time to refresh. Consider scheduling a time each day, even for just 10 minutes for meditation to refresh your mind and body. There is a vast amount of research that supports how this will provide you with clearer thinking, reduced stress, and an enhanced ability to focus.

    2. Practice playful engagement. Disengage from serious thinking by spending a few minutes a day on an area of fun, passion or humor. Maybe it’s listening to a few of your favorite tunes with your headphones, watching humorous YouTube videos on your break or taking a walk while talking to a friend who keeps you laughing.

    Putting your sense of humor "to work," can not only create a better atmosphere among your peers, but it’s heart healthy and flexes the mind.

    medical clinic doctor patient

    3. Get a health check-up. Countless studies have shown that working consistently without breaks hurts productivity and health. And a sedentary lifestyle, little exercise and poor eating habits all add up to a shortened life span.

    An annual physical is a good idea for anyone, but for especially someone with a propensity for working long hours. Your doctor may be just the objective catalyst you need to give you a long-term physical perspective of the choices you’re making. If you decide to make a further commitment, consider a work-life coach or therapist who specializes in work-related issues and/or addictions.

    4. Challenge yourself to an electronics-free evening. Without all the outside distractions and “nothing to do,” you might find an entirely different someone you didn’t know, such as — yourself. When you’re not distracted, you can actually think more clearly about your true life passions and priorities.

    5. Take time to plan a real vacation. Planning a vacation allows you to let go of routine. Many people who have reinvented their careers have come up with “Aha” moments while on vacation because they finally had time to step away from the daily grind.

    If the idea of leaving work for more than a week creates more stress than happiness, then start a few short-trips or half-day trips where you can leave your emails behind. Slowly begin setting boundaries with those who are overly intrusive, using your best diplomacy and emotional intelligence.

    If your dedication has taken your career to unimaginable heights, that’s fine. But now step back and determine if you can leverage that success toward creating the balance you seek. It will likely take courage, tenacity, time and some boundary setting with your boss ... and maybe even yourself.

    Don’t be surprised if colleagues who email you at 10pm and don’t get an immediate response, ultimately surprise you with newfound respect.

    SEE ALSO: 12 signs you're suffering from job burnout

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    young professionals

    A new job in management means lots of new responsibilities.

    We at Page19 want to make it easier for you, so we’ve sifted through the Blinkist vaults to create a two-part series of the best management advice out there.

    So you finally got that promotion you’ve been angling for!

    Those long years of diligent work, late nights at the office, and deferred vacations have finally paid off: you’re Mr. Manager now.

    Now what?

    A new promotion can be daunting. New responsibilities, new tasks, people working under you — there’s a lot to take on.

    That’s why we at Page19 wanted to help you out. We went through Blinkist’s entire library of books-in-blinks to collect the most influential ideas from the best books on leadership for new managers.

    And there’s good news: it turned out that there were a lot, so we’ve combined the best lessons from these books into a two-part series of great tips to help you hit the ground running in your new position and be the most effective manager you can be.

    Read on for part one, and we’ll be back to you in a week with the second installment.

    presentation, NASA

    On making a killer presentation:

    1. To get an audience’s attention, tell them what’s in it for them.

    From "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobsby Carmine Gallo

    Learn this rule: every communiqué you craft should always answer the one key question every recipient is thinking: “Why should I care?”

    So go ahead and answer: they should care because you are giving them a solution to their problems.

    In order to offer a solution, you must first introduce the problem, the villain of your story: Describe a situation where people are frustrated by the lack of a product like yours (or by a lackluster competing product). Use tangible details and really build the pain in your audience’s mind.

    Now it is time for your product or idea, also known as the hero, to meet the challenge and slay the villain. In plain English, without jargon or buzzwords, explain how your product solves the audience’s problem. This should be the one main thing your audience will remember from your presentation, so mention it at least twice.

    What you are truly selling is the promise of a better life, free of the problems you have vividly painted.

    Take it to work: Start by identifying the villain in your customer’s landscape. How would you then characterize your product, or, the hero? And don’t forget to inject a little passion when you describe the two!

    When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, he first described the audience’s problem, listing the various existing expensive and cumbersome ways of listening to music on the move, like the famously bulky portable CD-player.

    Then he revealed the hero: the iPod, which for the first time allowed people to hold their entire music libraries in their pockets. Steve Jobs was passionate about the problems his products could solve and passion is the one quality all inspiring communicators have in common.

    computer working

    On being more productive:

    2. Instead of keeping a daily to-do list, try a calendar and “Next Actions” lists.

    From "Getting Things Done" by David Allen

    Daily to-do lists are inefficient, imprecise, and often facilitate a warped view of time. A far more effective method is to work with a calendar and one or multiple “Next Actions” lists. The calendar serves only one purpose: to keep track of appointments.

    You should treat it as a holy territory that provides a fixed structure for planning the rest of your activities. Anything bound to a certain day or hour — a meeting or a doctor’s appointment, for example — should be on it.

    All other tasks or concrete actions should be put onto your “Next Actions” list. This list lets you decide quickly which task is the most urgent whenever you have time to take care of something.

    Take it to work: When it’s time to choose what to work on next, ask yourself:

    • Which task can I accomplish in my current situation?
    • Which task can I finish in the time available?
    • Which task do I have enough energy for at the moment?
    • Which has the highest priority?

    By using these metrics, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently prioritize your tasks as well as your appointments and personal obligations.

    teamwork, employees, meeting

    On leading teamwork:

    3. Encourage energizing interactions among your team for a more creative organization.

    From "How to Be a Positive LeaderHow to Be a Positive Leader"by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer

    We humans are social animals: we blossom when we have lots of positive interactions with our friends, family members, and colleagues. When we feel good, we’re at our most creative and energetic. Specifically, we thrive when we have lots of high-qualityconnections: interactions that leave all participants with boosted energy levels and enthusiasm.

    Companies need to do all they can to foster these kinds of interactions, because a creative and energetic staff quite often translates into a real competitive advantage. Employees with many high-quality connections are more creative and motivated to learn new things, both of which are important for companies trying to come up with innovative strategies.

    Furthermore, you as a leader can demonstrate that you respect and value your employees. This means paying close attention to what employees say and being positive and receptive when they voice their opinions.

    Take it to work: Build trust and rapport with your employees by doing one simple thing: pay attention. Turn off your phone and move away from your computer when they speak to you to show that you’re giving them your full and complete attention.

    If your goal is to build and nurture a team feeling amongst employees, one way to do it is encouraging them to play games. This could mean organizing a team-building activity, like orienteering, or having equipment like ping-pong tables, chess boards and basketball hoops at the workplace.

    working late

    On personnel development:

    4. Cultivate positive identities in your employees with the GIVE model.

    From "How to Be a Positive LeaderHow to Be a Positive LeaderHow to Be a Positive Leaderby Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer

    When do you do your best work? For most people, the answer would be: “When I feel good about myself.” This is known as positiveidentity: when people feel happier and more focused, they do better work.

    One framework that explains positive identity is the GIVEmodel, which has four elements:

    Growth: people tend to feel better about themselves when they sense they’re growing — for example, by learning new skills. They feel better when they feel they are growing professionally.

    Integration: people develop a positive identity when they can make the different parts of their lives — their work life, family and hobbies — fit together harmoniously.

    Virtuousness: a natural component of a positive identity. To consider themselves virtuous, people must feel that they have qualities like integrity and humility, and their actions facilitate this. For example, research indicates that when employees donate to their company’s employee support program, they tend to see themselves as more helpful, caring and benevolent.

    Esteem: people want to feel that their personality is appreciated and valued by those around them.

    Take it to work: A simple way that you as a leader can help your employees enhance their positive identities is by encouraging them to leverage their strengths and virtues at work. How exactly do you do that? We’ve got a bonus tip below to help with just that!

    Bonus exercise: Use reflected best-self exercises to help people discover their character strengths and talents.

    From "How to Be a Positive Leader"by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer

    Here’s an exercise you can do with your employees to improve their positive self image. Start by asking the employee to gather stories from friends and family about situations where they felt that person was at their best.

    Next, the employee can analyze these stories to find common positive themes. This will help them to develop a better understanding of their strengths, which they can then unleash at work.

    Take it to work: For example, if an employee finds one of their strengths is empathy, the leader should try to create situations where this can be put to use — maybe something like asking him to mediate between other quarreling employees.

    For an employee, being able to make best use of their intrinsic skills like this helps them develop and maintain a positive identity.

    SEE ALSO: 12 sports books that will teach you how to succeed in business

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    woman writing outside

    Nothing drags down writing more than spreading good ideas over too many words.

    Making keystrokes matter has only grown in importance as communication and the text that powers it become increasingly inseparable. Many tools we rely on each day — Gmail, Slack, Asana — would be empty shells without the words.

    Since everyone in the company is responsible for communicating well, everyone is also responsible for writing well. The importance of this is multiplied when working in a remote culture.

    For essays, updates, announcements, emails, and more, here’s an abridged guide to writing with clarity and substance.

    Write to express, not to impress

    Communication is a mix of vision and conversation. Having noticed something interesting, you now seek to direct the attention of the reader so that they might see it with their own eyes. What you choose to write is for the use of someone else. Always choose selflessly.

    The bloated prose found in academia and “legalese” is a reminder of what’s at stake. In "The Sense of Style," Harvard linguist Steven Pinker points out that smart people sour their thoughts through attempts to impress others. They spurn simplicity from a desire to prove that they are not bad scientists, lawyers, or academics — in doing so, they unwittingly prove they are bad communicators.

    Half the battle with writing is resisting this temptation of the ego. Stick to being straightforward, trust in plain language, and don’t use vocabulary to inflate weak ideas.

    Brainstorm horizontally, revise vertically

    What makes for a boring novel is the same as what makes for boring non-fiction: the story grows horizontally instead of vertically.

    Writing that is “too wide” tries to explain everything but ends up saying nothing. Part of writing well is deciding where one piece ends and another begins. If you don’t hold the line, you’ll be dragged around by it.

    The happy medium? Temporarily lower your standards for the approach. Since expressing ideas helps to form them, you’ll find sitting down to write creates perspectives you never saw coming. That’s a good thing.

    From there you’ll have enough to make the hard but necessary decisions about which points to expand and which to save for another day. Your process will begin to resemble the following:

    horizontal vs vertical writing

    If you don’t subsequently cut out 5, 10, or even 20% of your work in revision, have you really refined anything? Sculptors have marble and writers have ideas; it’s best to start with a block of material and whittle away to what’s needed.

    People mistakenly expect to hit the bulls-eye on the first pass. Abandon the idea that your first draft should be anything but exploration.

    Write for an audience of one

    Second to his investing talents, Warren Buffet is known for having a deep-rooted respect for clear communication within companies. His own shareholder letters are so well written that they are often considered the gold standard for the medium.

    When introducing the SEC’s official Plain English Handbook, Buffet chose to offer up his “unoriginal but useful tip” to act as if you are communicating to a single person.

    Buffet usually writes with one of his sisters in mind, noting that while highly intelligent, she has little experience with investing. If he sees a passage that will confuse her, he knows he hasn’t written it properly.

    audience ideal reader 2

    Stephen King suggests the same approach in his book "On Writing." Picturing his wife combing through each line, he found himself able to create around reactions. Where would she become bored, laugh, be surprised, or skim until the story picked up? He knew the answer because he knew the reader.

    Writing to delight a single person whose tastes you understand is practical; writing to appease a faceless audience whose tastes you will never know is impossible.

    No need to worry. Picking the right person and conveying your message with care will make what is fascinating to one enjoyable for many.

    Relentlessly re-earn attention

    David Ogilvy famously said that once the advertising headline is written, you’ve spent eighty cents of your dollar. You must open with gusto. Captivating titles and hooks won’t soon lose their ability to move mountains (and millions).

    But great writing doesn’t just earn attention; it continually re-earns it. Lose people in the middle and the complete story won’t be told. No matter how grand a first impression you make, if it doesn’t sustain, that counts as a loss.

    Here are a few ways to catch and keep readers until the final line:

    Never bury the lede. Make the value proposition clear from the outset in everything you write. If your objective and the reader’s incentive are not obvious within the first few paragraphs, re-write them.

    Dress your thoughts well. One of my dad’s favorite expressions is, “Exercise improves everything.” It captures the life-changing transformation that occurred when he took up bodybuilding. “Working out is good for you” imitates the brevity but loses the punch. Often a re-framing is all that’s needed to make an accurate statement a timeless one.

    Avoid circular and repeated points. “In other words,” you should just use those other words. Insight is memorable when it can be embraced directly — don’t pad it with “essentially,” “basically,” or “in other words.” Use the right words the first time.

    Structure cannot be an afterthought. The best writing is that which pleases at a glance but further rewards careful study. How you structure a piece matters, as do the words that create the structure. You’ve made a mistake when you start using sub-headings like “In Conclusion.” There are far more compelling ways to communicate.

    Meandering endings will dilute your message. It’s best to approach them quickly. Paul Graham handles this one with grace, so I’ll let him bring it home: “Learn to recognize the approach of an ending, and when one appears, grab it.”

    SEE ALSO: Here's the secret underlying all good writing

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    Computer Science Coding Student

    There was a time when knowing how to program was for the geekiest of geeks.

    That’s not exactly the case today. As most entrepreneurs, freelancers and marketers will tell you, learning how to program can help you succeed. 

    Over the past year, I've been learning to code. It's helped me to become a much better entrepreneur — I can dive in when my team needs to fix a few bugs on the site. 

    You don’t even need to shell out a ton of money or put yourself in debt to learn how to code, either. These 12 places offer coding courses for free:

    1. CodeAcademy

    One of the most popular free places to learn coding is CodeAcademy. In fact, more than 24 million people have already learned how to code through this educational company’s engaging experience.

    At CodeAcademy, you can dive right in and take courses that teach you everything from HTML & CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Python and Ruby.

    Related: Want to Take Your Business to the Next Level? Boost Your Marketing and Coding Skills

    2. Coursera

    Founded in 2012, Coursera has grown into a major for-profit educational-technology company that has offered more than 1,000 courses from 119 institutions.

    While you can pay for certain programs to receive a certificate, there are a number of free introductory programming courses in various specializations from universities such as the University of Washington, Stanford, the University of Toronto and Vanderbilt.

    3. edX

    EdX is another leading online-learning platform that is open source instead of for-profit. It was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, so you know that you’ll learn about cutting-edge technologies and theories. Today, edX includes 60 schools. You probably can’t go wrong with the free Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University.

    4. Udemy

    Founded in 2010, Udemy is an online learning platform that can be used as a way to improve or learn job skills. While there are courses you have to pay for, there are plenty of free programming courses, which are taught via video lessons, such as Programming for Entrepreneurs - HTML & CSS or Introduction to Python Programming.

    5. aGupieWare

    AGupieWare is an independent app developer that surveyed computer-science programs from some of the leading institutions in the U.S. It then created a similar curriculum based on the free courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley and Columbia. The program was then broken into 15 courses: three introductory classes, seven core classes and five electives.

    While you won’t actually receive credit, it’s a perfect introductory program for prospective computer programmers.

    coding laptop

    6. GitHub

    Sometimes, you need to recall a reference book when you’re stuck on a problem. That's GitHub. You can find more than 500 free programming books that cover more than 80 different programming languages on the popular web-based Git repository hosting service, which means that it’s frequently updated by collaborators.

    7. MIT Open Courseware

    If you’ve already learned the basics, and went to get into something a bit heavier — such as exploring the theory behind coding — take advantage of MIT’s free courseware site that includes classes such as Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Introduction to Programming in Java and Practical Programming in C.

    Related: GitHub Is Said to Hit $2 Billion Valuation With New Investment Round

    8. Hack.pledge()

    This is a community of developers, which include some high-profile developers such as Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent. There, you can perfect your programming skills by learning from some of the leading developers in the world.

    9. Code Avengers

    Based out of New Zealand, Code Avengers provides fun and interactive programming courses that will teach you how to code games, apps and web sites using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Each course takes just 12 hours to complete and is available in English, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Portuguese.

    10. Khan Academy

    Created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan, Khan Academy is one of the original free online-learning institutions. With step-by-step video tutorials, you can  learn how to program drawings, animations and games using JavaScript and ProcessingJS, or learn how to create webpages with HTML and CSS.

    11. Free Food Camp

    Here you’ll learn HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Databases, DevTools, Node.js, Angular.js and Agile by networking and joining a community of professionals and students. You’ll even work together on your coding skills so that you can build apps for free. Here’s the catch: you’re learning those skills and building helps to help solve real-world problems. Code is available to nonprofits.

    12. HTML5 Rocks

    This Google project launched in 2010 to counter Apple’s HTML5. The site is full of tutorials, resources and the latest HTML5 updates. It’s open source, so developers can play around with HTML5 code. Because this is more advanced than most introductory courses, you may want to gain some knowledge and experience before jumping in.

    Learning code used to require access to expensive books and classes, but no longer. I highly recommend that every entrepreneur learns to code. Still wondering if you need to code? Here is a programmer guide I put together to show you every step I took to become an entrepreneur that codes! 

    SEE ALSO: The 37 best websites for learning a new skill

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    log training seal school

    Mental strength takes a long time to develop. 

    It is the daily practice of pushing yourself to grow stronger, maintaining realistic optimism, and setting healthy boundaries. Mentally strong people don't do things like waste time feeling sorry for themselves or give away their power to other people.

    How do you know where you fall on the spectrum? We asked psychotherapist Amy Morin, the author of "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do."

    Morin shared the following 21 signs you're mentally stronger than average, which we've listed here in her words:

    1. You balance emotions with logic.

    Mentally strong people understand how their emotions can influence their thinking. In an effort to make the best decisions possible, they balance their emotions with logic.  

    2. You choose productive behavior.

    While it may be tempting to make excuses, complain about other people, and avoid difficult circumstances, mentally strong people refuse to waste time on unproductive activities. 

    3. You feel confident in your ability to adapt to change.

    Mentally strong people know that although change is uncomfortable, it's tolerable. They focus their energy on adapting to change, rather than resisting it.

    4. You face the fears that hold you back.

    While mentally strong people don't need to conquer fears because they have something to prove to others, they do strive to face the fears that hold them back. 

    5. You learn from your mistakes.

    Mentally strong people don't hide or excuse their mistakes. Instead, they learn from them.

    6. You balance self-acceptance with self-improvement.

    Mentally strong people accept themselves for who they are, while simultaneously recognizing their need for personal development. 

    crowd cheering confetti7. You genuinely celebrate other people's success.

    Mentally strong people cooperate — rather than compete — with those around them. They don't feel as though other people's success somehow diminishes their own achievements.

    8. You are comfortable living according to your values.

    Mentally strong people make decisions with relative ease because they understand their priorities and they live according to their values. 

    9. You focus on sharpening your skills, rather than showing them off.

    While some people seek validation from others, mentally strong people are less concerned about gaining recognition. Instead, they're intrinsically motivated to become better. 

    10. You live an authentic life.

    Mentally strong people are true to themselves. Their words are in line with their behavior.

    11. You view life's hardships as opportunities for growth.

    While hardship causes some people to grow bitter, mentally strong people let adversity make them better.

    12. Your self-worth depends on who you are, not what you achieve.

    Mentally strong people feel good about themselves, whether they win or lose.

    boston marathon winner 2015

    13. You practice delayed gratification.

    Mentally strong people view their goals as a marathon, not a sprint. They're willing to tolerate short-term pain when it can provide long-term gain.

    14. You bounce back from failure.

    Mentally strong people don't view failure as the end of the road. Instead, they use their failed attempts as opportunities to gain knowledge that will increase their chances of success in the future.

    15. You're a realistic optimist.

    Mentally strong people are able to look for the silver lining and think on the bright side, but they don't allow their optimistic tendencies to blind them to reality.

    16. You accept personal responsibility for your choices.

    Mentally strong people don't needlessly beat themselves up, but they do accept complete responsibility for their actions. 

    17. You express gratitude.

    Rather than exclaim they need more, mentally strong people acknowledge they have more than they need.

    18. You focus on what you can control.

    Mentally strong people are effective and productive in life because they devote their resources to the things they can control.

    19. You engage in active problem-solving.

    Mentally strong people don't dwell on the problem — instead, they create solutions.

    20. You're open to learning more from all that surrounds you.

    Mentally strong people are constantly learning from their circumstances and the people they encounter every day. 

    21. You work on your weaknesses, rather than masking them.

    While many people work hard to disguise their vulnerabilities, mentally strong people invest their energy into improving their shortcomings.

    SEE ALSO: 13 things mentally strong people don't do

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