8 Things I was Never Taught at School that Are Essential for Success

They don’t teach you these things at school, but I wish they did. Because this is really what you need to know to succeed in your professional (and personal) life.
These are not the lesson I heard from somebody or read in a book. These are the lessons based on my own experience.

1. The more you work, the less productive you get


We live in a world which praises long working hours and overcommitment to work. But the truth is that if you don’t take the time to recharge, your productivity will slow down. After 10 hours of work you’re not as sharp, as focus or as creative. When you’ve been working for too long, and simply whenever you feel tired, take a break. If you need to, take 30 min or even a whole hour of break. Take few deep breaths, go get a tea or even hit the gym. Breaks are the blessings and they keep us high on energy for the longer period of time.

Furthermore, it is not said that the more you work, the more recognition you get. Actually, that rarely happens. Employees commit more and more to work, and they end up burning up and depressed when they next promotion comes to somebody else. To success, it’s not about working more, it’s about working smarter.

2. Making money is not difficult. Making money while having fun is


Honestly, it’s not a problem to be making a lot of money. Apply for any big corporation, then work you butt off, do tons of extra hours and boom! Your account is growing and growing and hitting yet another digit.

But is that what you truly want? Spend 12 hours a day working? What’s the point in making all that money if you don’t even have time to use it?
The true challenge is to find a way to make a lot of money while having fun at it. After all, who said work cannot be fun? It’s some old total BS belief that we have that makes us settle for jobs we hate. But rather than that, listen to yourself and to what you really love doing. Then design your career around it. There are people who play videogames for a living! There are scuba diving instructors doing really well. No matter what your dreams and passions are, there is a way to make money from it.

3. Fill in the white spaces


Every company has a set of rules of procedures. And they require you to play by these rules. After all, they’ve been there long before you joined. So it’s only natural that the company expects you to respect them.
But… that’s not how you grow. If you simply “fit in” then you’re limiting potential for your growth and for the contribution you can bring to that company.

Understand the rules, and then see how they can be improved. It’s no magic to work well within the rules. But it’s a whole different story if you can see the company from a higher perspective and see where the white spaces are. What are the things that the company is missing? Where are the current rules limiting the company? These changes don’t come easily, and most likely you’ll have to stubbornly convince your superior of your ideas. But these are also the ideas that get you higher salary, better position and make you grow much faster.

4. Be happy in your personal life – it impacts your work


Some people sacrifice personal happiness or relationships and families for work. Others say they don’t have time for both so they choose work over anything else. But the truth is that if you want to be good at what you do, you need to have this balance.

A healthy, happy life is the source of motivation and energy that you need to be productive at work. If you wake up with a big smile on your face, you’ll give more of yourself at work. The joy and energy you feel will naturally drive you throughout the day and help you easily achieve all your goals. On the other hand, if you have nothing more to live for than your work, you will start resenting it. If you’re not happy, nothing will make you happy. You need to take time for yourself, love yourself, take care of yourself. And you’ll see how everything else in your life magically falls in the right place.

5. Embrace failures


We all fear that we might make mistakes. After all, if we do fail, it means we are bad at what we do, we don’t know much, or even, that we are incompetent. In the worst case scenario, it can even get us fired.

So we play in our comfort zone. But… while doing so, you’re missing out on all the magic. Cause see, magic happens outside of your comfort zone. You will never grow if you stay within the safety of what you know. And you won’t be contributing much to your company, either. Dare to try new things. Experiment. Only this way you can grow exponentially. And yes, whenever you try something new and daring, there is a chance you’ll fail. Sometimes, its almost inevitable you will. But that should not stop you. In sales there is a rule that for every 9 rejection, you get 1 sale. It means you need to fail 9 times before you succeed. Knowing this helps salesmen deal with failures. They welcome the rejection, because the fastest they go through them, the faster they’re gonna get to their client!

Try the same at work. Propose new things with the possibilities of failing. Now it might not be easy to convince your superiors to try something radical. Still, push for it. And if you see that your company is totally reluctant to doing anything new, then don’t be afraid to change jobs. Trust me, if this company doesn’t want to experiment they will be off the market in no time.

6. It is up to you to make the most out of your job


When we graduate we have that idea that we’ll be working on the strategy of the company, along with CEO and other top managers. And then the reality often is, that we end up doing presentations and fixing things for our boss. We start feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. We are stuck in the execution never being asked to share our ideas.

Now here is the thing. First of all, no matter who you are in the company, you will always be stuck in execution and doing small things. Nobody likes it, but it’s the part of every job.

Secondly, it is your choice if you just want to sit at your desk and do all the annoying things your boss is asking you, or if you go out there, organize lunches with other managers, confidently share your ideas in meetings, propose new things even outside of your work scope, speak up or share your knowledge with other. You are the one responsible for the quality of your job. Don’t expect your boss to be always taking care of you. They are busy taking care of many other people and the bottom line of the company. It is your responsibility. It’s easy to complain. But complaining won’t get you anywhere. Stand up to the challenge.

7. Dream big


If you went to the business school, than you probably learnt ideas like SMART goals. We were taught to plan according to our potential and what we have or know. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking totally rips you off from your true potential. Was it acceptable of Steve Jobs to dream of building the first iPhone? Or for anyone really to land on the moon? If we all followed traditional methods of setting our goals, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Here is the famous quote from Apple, which is worth re-reading whenever you feel you’re setting for less than you should:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

8. Invest in your growth


You are your biggest assets, and like with any other asset, you should keep investing in it to keep its value high. What does it mean?
First of all, no matter what you encounter in life, look at it as a learning opportunity. Forget your ego when you get feedback from your boss. Rather, think how you can benefit from this. Why did they perceive you this way? Why did you make that mistake? What did you learn? And finally, how can you be better?

Secondly, invest in coaching and mentoring. Read books, articles and blogs. Follow successful entrepreneurs. Learn from them. There are tons of free materials online. Use them. Best, if you can dedicate 1-2 hours every day to just learning and studying new things. You’ll see how fast it will impact your results.

What are some of the most life lessons you’ve experienced? What do you think is the key to success? Share you comments below.

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1 Comment

  • Jatu Gemechu

    Reply Reply May 22, 2014

    First of all I would like to say THANK YOU! For this wonderful advice that open the way for success. You see what I learn from this ‘dream big” If you have the dream at first you are on the track of success.

    Again thank you and keep teaching !

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