5 Skills to Acquire for Success

If you want to succeed in your professional field you need to constantly acquire and sharpen new skills. Some skills are universal and can be applied to any field of work you may be engaged in.

Every skill set you acquire doubles your odds of success-

Scott Adams

Here are 5 skills to acquire for success

Personal productivity is the most important skill to master for success in your life. Each one of us is given a total of 24 hours daily to spend as we seem fit.

The most successful people spend their time on activities which have the most impact on their lives. They have assessed their priorities in life and devote most of their time and effort working on them.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.

Abraham Lincoln

Writing is thinking in action. It clarifies and condenses our thoughts and channelizes them. Every form of communication starts with a written script. Mastering writing should be a top priority for all professionals.

All top achievers invariably master the art of writing.

Psychology is a subject which is required to be studied to understand human behavior. Unless we can influence people in an ethical manner to achieve the desired outcome our efforts may go waste.

Personal Finance is a skill which will be very helpful once we are successful. Money may not make you happy but the absence of money or debts in your life will surely bring misery and dissatisfaction in your life.

Mike Tyson was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world and made hundreds of millions of dollars in his career.

And he lost it all.

There are enough stories of successful actors, businessmen, sports icons, etc.. who earned millions and squandered it all away.

It does not matter how much you earn. What matters is how much you keep and how well you invest to earn an above average rate of return on your investments.

So these are the 5 skills which will surely help you increase your chances of success in life.

Suggested Reading

Are you a Producer or a Consumer

Apple recently announced a slew of new services aimed at providing digital content to consumers around the world in almost all languages spoken on Planet earth.

We will now be able to spend more and more of our time consuming content rather than spend our time creating something valuable or helpful.

Look around and you will find more and more people staring at their mobile screens or listening to something.

This is time wasted consuming rather than producing or creating something.

This is what Russell Kirsch, who developed the first digital image scanner had to say for Apple back when the Ipad was first launched

I’ve been against Macintosh company lately. They’re trying to get everyone to use iPads and when people use iPads they end up just using technology to consume things instead of making things. With a computer, you can make things. You can code, you can make things and create things that have never before existed and do things that have never been done before.”

“That’s the problem with a lot of people”, he continued, “they don’t try to do stuff that’s never been done before, so they never do anything, but if they try to do it, they find out there are lots of things they can do that have never been done before.
Quote courtesy Joel Runyon

Now maybe the right time to think differently and become creators and dial down our consumer habits. Use the computer to create something useful, something never done before.

Do things that have never been done before

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself

The Greatest Gift you can give yourself is also the wisest business investment you can make. It is the most critical step in accomplishing any challenging task.

The Greatest gift is your own personal development, growth, and betterment. Unless you take regular steps to educate and improve yourself most all your efforts are doomed to fail or produce subpar results.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.
Abraham Lincoln

Whenever confronted with a problem most people just throw themselves at the problem without improving themselves. If they fail to make a dent they just give up and walk away.

Make some effort to learn continuously and sharpen yourself. Sharpen your ax by learning, doing and modeling on other people’s success.

Learning specific skills and subjects is important, but it is even more important to work on your own philosophy for growth and mastery.

Continuous life long learning is the sure shot path to success and the greatest gift you can give yourself. Apply the learning in your life and Do the thing.

Do the thing and, and you shall have the power.

Suggested Reading

The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness

How to Focus like a Legendary Samurai Archer

Eugen Herrigel, a German Professor moved to Japan in the 1920’s to teach philosophy in the city of Sendai, a few hours northeast of Tokya.

To get a better and deeper understanding of Japanese culture and customs, he enrolled to learn archery under the legendary archer, Awa Kenzo. His training for the first four years was shooting at a bail of straw just seven feet away.

Eugen was completely frustrated with the almost glacial speed of his tution and got impatient with his tutor. Kenzo advised him to be patient with the process, as weeks, months or years don’t matter when you want to master an art, he said.

Finally, when he was allowed to shoot at a target, his performance was dismal. He completely missed the target on all shots. Discouraged, he remarked that his aim must be very bad. Kenzo told him that the problem was how he approached the task and not his aim.

Eugen challenged him to prove his point. Kenzo invited him to witness him shooting in complete darkness. His first arrow hit the center of the target and his second shot went clean through the first arrow.

Kenzo had hit a double bulls eye in complete darkness.

He had mastered the process to a perfect shot using the complete awareness of his mind and body. The Japanese call it Zanshin, translated it means “mind with no remainder”.

Zanshin means living your life with a purpose and not getting distracted with whatever comes your way.

One should approach all activities and situations with the same sincerity, the same intensity, and the same awareness that one has with bow and arrow in hand
Kenneth Kushner One Arrrow One life

The world is obsessed with results. However, if we were to learn to focus on the process the result would simply be a side effect. A deliberate focus on the process will ensure we achieve our desired result.

Harmonize the actions of your body and the thoughts in your mind and embrace the boredom of doing the work and you can achieve anything you set your mind on.

Why You Need a Scoreboard

How many of us have a scoreboard for our work and our life.

Do we actively check how much productive and meaningful work we actually get done? Something that moves the needle forward for us. Do we plan and execute at a high level?

I think the great part about what I do is that there’s a scoreboard. At the end of the week, you know how you did. You know how well you prepared. You know whether you executed your game plan. There’s a tangible score.” —Tom Brady

Start tracking your activities and results. Unless, you measure your performance you will never be able to know if you are actually spending your time and efforts judiciously.

Set high targets, focus on them and take massive action for success.

The Parthenon Principle

The Parthenon, the greatest of all temples was built by the Greeks in Athens after the Persian War. It is dedicated to Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. She is the presiding deity of the City of Athens.

It is a tribute to the planning and hard work of the Greeks that the Parthenon survived for more than 2000 years suffering some damage during a war in the 18th century.

The Parthenon was built to last.

Is your work or career built to last? Do you do work which will stand the ravages of time or competition? Your work must rest on rock solid principles and not on fads or what is currently in fashion.

Hobbies, Job, Career, Vocation

Hobbies, job, career, vocation. We come across these words daily but how many of us pause to think about these words. Are they the same or is there a difference.

Since most of us struggle to add a purpose to our jobs and lives, it may be worthwhile to explore this topic a little bit further.

Elizabeth Gilbert is the best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic.

In this video shared by Seth Godin she brings out the core differences in these words.

A job is something you do purely to pay the bills. We live in a materialistic world and bills have to be paid. It need not give you joy or fulfillment. It just has to pay.

On the other hand, you pursue a hobby for the joy it gives you. There are no stakes and no one needs to know about your hobby. And, you do not need to have one. It is entirely optional.

Your job may grow into a rewarding career. If you love your job and are passionately involved in it your career can be very fulfilling. But, you need not have one. It is entirely optional to make a career out of your job.

A vocation is something divine. Nobody can give it to you or take it away from you. It is God’s gift to you, a calling. The fortunate few who discover their calling live immensely fulfilling lives.

The Amazing Story of Dr. Tererai Trent

Dr. Tererai Trent is a champion of Social Justice and women empowerment. She is the author of the incredible book “The Awakened Woman

“She was born in born in extreme poverty in Zimbabwe and was married off by the age of 14. By the age of 18, she was a mother to 4 children.

Life in war-torn Zimbabwe was tough, to say the least. She suffered poverty, an abusive husband and a very tough environment.

A chance meeting with a group of American women visiting Zimbabwe changed her destiny.

One of the visiting ladies asked all women about their dreams. Most women in the group had no dreams about anything except surviving. Tererai got thinking from that day.

She spoke to her mother who encouraged her to think about her own aspirations and the legacy she wanted to leave to her children. Passing the baton, as she put it.

Tererai wrote down her dreams, which were to pass high school, go to college and then do her Masters and PhD. Her mother asked her to add another dream to that list. To help other girls in her community.

She overcame all odds and passed her school exams. It took her 8 years as all exams were conducted from faraway Oxford. She went on to graduate and do her masters and PhD in the US.

At times she did three jobs daily to feed her kids. She even had to pick food from the trash can to feed them. But, she kept her dreams alive. And achieved her dreams.

Today, she is an inspiration to millions of women around the world. Honored and loved, she is making a difference in the lives of countless women around the world.

I sincerely recommend you watch her interview. A truly remarkable woman.

5 Things all Self Made Billionaires do Every day

Most self-made billionaires do these things daily:

Read books not directly connected to their work or profession. It gives them a totally different perspective on their work and life. Reading biographies is an excellent way to learn form the lives of people we may never have met.

Get out of your comfort zone. The idea is to get comfortable with the feeling of incompetence you are bound to feel when doing or learning something new.

Exercise regularly if not daily. The benefits of regular exercise cannot be understated. A regular exercise regime can do wonders to your body and mind.

Give back to humanity, be it in the form of money, time or any other resource at your disposal. Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates… the list is endless.

Get out to Think. The outdoors, a quiet walk in the park, maybe the best way to clear your thoughts. Give your subconscious time to process your thoughts and present you with a solution.

Suggested reading:


Three Enemies to Success

The first enemy to success is the comfort zone. Learn to move out of your comfort zone.

Do something new every day. Get comfortable with the feeling of “incompetence” also known as the Dip when starting something new.

Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved unless you change the status quo in your current work or environment.

The second enemy to success is learned helplessness.

As you move out of your comfort zone and plan to make changes in your life, your brain will throw up a thousand reasons why you will never succeed.

The fear of failure will make you freeze like a deer caught in the headlights of a fast-approaching vehicle. Set big goals and pour your heart into achieving them.

The third enemy of success is the natural tendency to follow the path of least resistance.

The search for easy money and solutions is the biggest reason for failure to attain goals.

Nothing worthwhile can ever be achieved without hard work and doing what is necessary to achieve it.

Ideas from the book:

Reinvention: How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life 

By Brian Tracy

How to Master Your Priorities

Warren Buffet’s personal airplane pilot Mike Flint once asked Warren for advice on time management and tips to getting things done.

His boss asked him to write down his top 25 career goals. (You could also do it for your short term goals and tasks).

Then he asked him to circle the 5 most important goals from that list.

So now Flint had 2 lists, the first bigger list of 20 goals, tasks in your case, and a shorter second list of 5 goals or tasks.

Flint thought his boss wanted him to work on the 5 things first and pay less attention to the second list of 20 goals.

However, Buffet advised him to completely ignore the bigger list till the first list of 5 goals was done. He advised Flint to complete the 5 goals in the first list before starting workon anything else.

The key to success is to focus on a limited number of goals at any time. Focus on the essential stuff with huge payoffs. Refrain from frittering away your energy and will power on stuff with small payoffs.

The goals on your list may all be important to you but you got to pick the top 5 with maximum impact on your life. Most of your goals actually derail your progress by diffusing your attention.

Tony Robbins advise is Total Focus and Massive action to achieve goals. Choose a limited number of goals and take massive action to achieve them.


Learn from Experience

Having new experiences are the best way to change your life and get out of a rut. A rut, as some people say is a grave with no end. Once you are in a rut you need to make an effort to get out of it by displaying new behavior.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Henry Ford

So, if you are stuck in a position and want to get out of it try to do something new. Not all experiences you have will be worthwhile, but either way you will learn something new.

Some things you will like to retain and others would be best forgotten. Thomas Edison is famous for his relentless focus on trying out new things. He once said, after repeatedly failing,

I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work

Either way you win.

Do, go out and have a new experience today.

How to Avoid a Life Of Misery

Warren Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger, gave these tips to school children on ways to avoid a life of misery

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a sure shot way to live miserably. Charlie gave the example of four of his friends, two of whom died due to their addiction. Another one survives as an alcoholic. Just say no to alcohol and drugs.

Feeling Resentful towards someone who did something bad to you will only create hate and resentment in your heart. Get over the feeling and let the world take care of the person who wronged you. There is no way someone could harm you and get away with it. Justice will be done. Just don’t poison your heart and mind with bad thoughts.

Being Unreliable is another way to add misery to your life. If you make a commitment to someone, stick to it. Else, people will stop trusting you and you will get isolated at work and in your social circles.

Letting Life Knock you down. Sometimes you will face serious problems in life. Problems that may nock you down. Learn to get up and fight your way through. No loss is permanent unless you decide to give up and let it win. To avoid a life of misery you have to bounce back.

Refusing to learn from past mistakes.  Every human being will make mistakes at some point in their lives. The wise one will learn from her mistakes and not repeat them. The trick is to always make new mistakes and not repeat the old ones.

Continous learning is another way to avoid misery in life. Learn to be the leader in your chosen field. Your biggest expense maybe the money you fail to earn every month due to a gap in your education and skill set. Take out the time and put in extra effort to learn on a continous basis.

Work or Passion

A lot of people put a lot of passion into their hobbies and simply give their second best to the work at hand.

The sub normal efforts they put into their work gets them average results at best. Their passion is directed at some other activity like a hobby.

Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.

― Swami Vivekananda

The wise man devotes all his passion to the job at hand and gets far better results than the person who does it without full passion and focus.

The wise man works with focus taking massive action and gets results and develops passion for the job at hand.

Passion comes from doing work that matters. It follows meaningful work. Do not wait for passion before doing meaningful work.

Living on The Edge

Learn to be Remarkable.

What worked yesterday, may not work today. Throw it away and begin afresh, Today.

Getting noticed is not the same as being outstanding. If you ran naked across the street, you would get noticed, but that is not going to help you much.

Be remarkable, not average. Would people remark about you?

If not, you are just about average. Average is for losers

Remarkable people live on the edges. The richest, the fastest, the best artists……..

Learn to break the status quo, cross the line. It’s not difficult.

Do the impossible. Live life on the bleeding edge.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Be Remarkable.

10x Thinking

10x your goals and the actions required to achieve them and you are sure to reach at least your original goal without fail.

Most people set very modest goals and either totally fail to achieve them or at best come up short on the original goal.

Setting 10x targets forces out of the box thinking and forces one to take massive action to achieve them.

“When 10X is your measuring stick, you immediately see how you can bypass what everyone else is doing.”

Dan Sullivan

As Shane Snow, author ofSmartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success, has said, “10x progress is built on bravery and creativity instead. Working smarter.”

A proven way to achieve your goals is to 10x them and take massive action to achive them.

A Single thought can Change Your life

“A single thought can revolutionize your life as it did mine.  A single thought can make you rich or it can land you in prison for the rest of your life.”

Earl Nightingale

Our thoughts have the unique capability to make us or break us. All great achievements started off as a thought in someone’s mind.

A positive thought executed properly can work wonders for the person. Ray Kroc created Mcdonalds by making the hamburger joint “duplicable”.

Paul Hartunian made a fortune selling “The Brooklyn Bridge”. He figured out people would like to collect old pieces of the scrap while the bridge was being repaired.

The Wright Bothers had an idea that man could fly. They got working on their idea and changed forever how mankind travelled.

You can modify your self image and reality with the right thoughts and create your own future, literally. Most successful people do.

Don’t Get Started

If you are planning to do something worthwhile the general advise is to Just Get started to get things going.

However, that may not be the best course of action. You maybe better off thinking about the project and deciding on the best course of action to make an impact.

Success of the outcome may depend on the quality of the idea and the effort invested into it.

Lots of hard work invested in a bad idea may result in poor or at best mediocre results.

It is always better to figure out a small number of high impact ideas that may lead to outstanding results. Just get started and you may miss the big idea completely.

Spend more time on choosing the right thing to work on and the right way to do it and results will be great.

However, guard against paralysis by analysis as you may end up stuck overthinking the whole thing.

My Wage

I bargained with Life for a penny

And Life would pay no more,

However I begged at evening

When I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer

He gives what you ask,

But once you have set the wages,

Why you must bear the task.

I worked for a menials hire,

Only to learn, dismayed,

That any wage I had asked of Life,

Life would have willingly paid.


Choose a New Identity

A lot of people allow their feelings to dictate their behavior which results in their identity. This makes it all the more difficult for them to change their present condition as they continue to behave as per their old self.

Most recruits who graduate from ultra high performance programs like the Navy Seals first adopt the identity of a Navy Seal, which dictates their feelings which affects their behavior

Stop waiting for feelings of the new reality you want to experience in your life to change your life.

Start living in the new reality to manifest it in your life.

It is entirely possible that you may succeed in creating what you constantly visualize in your mind.


Build 5 Habits This Year

5 habits may seem a very small number but if you picked the right habits, they could end up changing your life.

On an average, a person may take upto 66 days to pick up a new habit or roughly 5 life changing habits every year.

The trick is to pick the habits with the end in mind. Changing a simple habit like drinking soda or chewing your nails will not have the same effect as other habits which could change your life for good.

Not all habits are equal in importance or impact. A habit which can have an impact on other habits or your behavior could set off a chain reaction with immense spin off benefits.

Picking the right habits to change could snowball into monumental changes in your life.

For example, if you decided to go to the gym early every morning, you would have to get up early every morning and to do that you would have to eat and sleep early.

Pick one good habit and you end up with three with immense long term benefits.

Follow the Model Based Habit forming approach and you are set for long term success.

How to Use Negative Motivation

Negative Motivation is something all entrepreneurs have to live with. Very rarely do their families, friends and associates share their vision or excitement for their venture.

Nobody seems to understand them. They are always the underdogs.

This can become a serious roadblock in life and problems with self esteem.

In such a situation you have two choices. Either, let it take you down or work up a rage into something positive.

Use it to fire yourself to do something great.

Is Fear Holding you back

Fear is the biggest thing that stands in the way of most people who want to build an audience for their work. Fear that they have nothing to say, fear that their work isn’t worthy of someone’s attention. Fear that their work won’t meet their own unreasonable standards. Out of fear, people don’t take action or ship their work.

You have to leave your comfort zone to achieve your goals. Attempt at least one thing you are 95% sure you will fail at.

Do this regularly and your mind will stop fearing your worst thoughts.

Your Biggest Expense

Do you know the biggest expense you incur every month.

Some people think it’s the mortgage they pay every month or the money their partner spends on a frenzied shopping expedition.

Or the instalment on the education loan or maybe it’s the new car which blows a hole in your wallet every month.

Actually it’s the money you fail to earn due to a gap in your knowledge or skill set which prevents you from earning to your full potential.

At one of his Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings, Warren Buffett said:
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Very few people get anything like their potential horsepower translated into the actual horsepower of their output in life. Potential exceeds realization for many people…The best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be.”

If only you took the time and effort to acquire the skills which would enable you to perform to your full potential.

That is the biggest expense you incur every month.

The income you fail to earn due to a gap in your knowledge and skills.

Morning Routine – make it work for you

A morning routine is essential to success in today’s age of relentless information overload .

As a wise man once said

“Loose an hour in the morning and you will spend the rest of the day looking for it.”

“The childhood shows the man,
As morning shows the day.”

― John Milton, Paradise Regained

Most people begin by checking their cell phones and logging into Facebook, twitter, etc. Or, they will listen to the news or read the newspaper.

In all probability, these activities will have zero contribution in improving their lives or solve any of their problems.

The most valuable thing in life is Time, as it cannot be bought, stored or controlled. However, most people use their time so casually without realising it’s worth.

By the time they realize the importance of time they would have frittered away most of it in frivolous activities.

Start the day focused on your One Thing, that can make your life meaningful and solve problems you may be facing in life.

Plan your day the night before and stay away from your phone and email till you have at least a couple of hours of solid work done.

The easiest way to live a fulfilling life without mindless and attention sapping
distractions is to force oneself into a solid productive morning routine.

Writing is good for your Brain

Writing has long been considered a good habit to cultivate, as it clarifies the thoughts floating around in your mind. For people like me who can’t seem to settle down and write even a few sentences, writing can be plain torture.

But, today I am going to make a beginning. I will write at least one post on this blog every day. Almost all things start as a thought and these need to be written down.

A written word is immortal. I plan to write down much of what I read, without any big plan in mind and see how this habit shapes up.

The inspiration for this came to me after reading Seth Godin’s blog post. This blog is entirely inspired by his blog. After 1000 posts I want to look back at my writing and feel proud of my work.

I think writing regularly is the best therapy for the brain, which in today’s age of information overload is unable to focus on any particular topic for an extended period of time.

If you want to start writing the best way is to just start with whatever you have in mind. The ideas will come on their own as you sit down and write

Dont overthink, just start