TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Life Hacks From Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Other Billionaires

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., at a Bloomberg television interview in Menlo Park, Calif. on Dec. 2, 2014.
Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., at a Bloomberg television interview in Menlo Park, Calif. on Dec. 2, 2014.

Pay it forward

With just shy of 2,000 billionaires on earth, the odds of joining that rarefied club is about one in 4 million. To put that in perspective, you are 24 times more likely to be killed by lightning than you are to become a billionaire.

If you hope to be a billionaire, despite the odds, it stands to reason that taking a radically different approach to life could shift things in your favor. Who better to show us how to rebel against an average life than rebel billionaires themselves? Here are seven life hacks from this rare group:

1. Work hard, play harder

Sir Richard Branson is the perfect example of prospering fantastically while truly enjoying life. While Branson certainly works hard, he is much better known for playing hard. From hot-air-balloon trips around the world to bungee jumping off buildings, Branson understands the value of living life to its fullest.

Lesson: Working hard is fine, but always take time away from work to have fun and recharge.

2. Follow your passions

When it comes to building a business around something you love, I can’t think of a better example than Nick Woodman, the founder of GoPro. Woodman’s adrenaline-fueled action-camera company was built on the backs (and helmets) of extreme athletes and adventure seekers around the world, and helps them to showcase and share their passions with the more risk-averse among us.

Lesson: If you love doing something, and others share your passion, you can make money doing it.

3. Hedge your bets

One of the smartest financial moves made around the time of the dot-com bust was by Mark Cuban. Cuban’s company, Broadcast.com, was acquired by Yahoo in 1999 for $5.7 billion in Yahoo stock. Not too long after that, Cuban, believing a crash was likely but unable to sell his stock due to lockup agreements, made the call to short an index fund that had a sizable stake in Yahoo to help balance out his overexposure. It cost him $20 million do this, but prevented him from losing an even larger amount.

Lesson: Take smart risks, but always look for ways to mitigate the risk and to avoid overexposure.

4. Be a connector

When it comes to success, one of the most critical components really is who you know. Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire many, many times over because of his efforts to connect people. He grasped early on the power of connections, and set out on a mission to bring everyone on Earth closer together. Considering roughly two out of three people with Internet access are now on Facebook, he has done an incredible job.

Lesson: Be the hub at the center of your network, and connect people together as often as you can.

5. Rock the boat

While I don’t agree with everything Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, has done, I absolutely agree with his unrelenting crusade to displace the status quo. Kalanick entered a stale industry known for a terrible user experience, and has kicked and battered his way through mountains of bureaucracy and legal red tape to make the on-demand transportation industry much more pleasant for consumers.

Lesson: Question everything, rock the boat and fight for change if you believe things should change.

6. Be yourself

After listening to Chris Sacca of LOWERCASE capital on a recent Tim Ferriss podcast, I think he’s an incredible example of someone who is unapologetically himself. He has strong opinions, wears crazy shirts and makes decisions based off his own system of values. He doesn’t invest if he doesn’t believe he’ll add value, and he only invests in companies that he can be proud of.

Lesson: Decide who you want to be, and be that person, regardless of what others think or say.

7. Leave things better than you found them

Nobody on the planet today embodies this philosophy better than Elon Musk. From SpaceX and Tesla to Solar City and beyond, Musk has dedicated his fortune and his life to making the world, and the chances of humanity surviving and prospering, better than they are now. If you’re not familiar with Musk’s story, read this. The things that he has done, and that he is trying to accomplish, are truly incredible.

Lesson: Pay it forward. Make the world, and the people around you, better. Think beyond your lifetime.

As Albert Einstein purportedly said, the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” Billionaires don’t become billionaires by taking the common path through life, so if you’re hoping to join their ranks, then you’ll need to get in touch with your inner-rebel and explore alternate paths.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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TIME Parenting

Why Failure Hits Girls So Hard

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Failing well is a skill

Mary, a college sophomore, tells me failure is “disgusting,” a wave of the “worst thing ever.”

When I ask why, she answers without hesitation. “I’m so used to doing well on things. If one thing goes wrong, I just want it to go away and feel like it never happened.”

That’s why Mary rarely speaks about her setbacks, including the study-abroad trip when she suffered from brutal homesickness, but didn’t tell a soul. She is terrified to be seen as anything less than extraordinary.

Jessica Lahey’s new book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, says young women like Mary are in trouble. They’ve been so protected from mistakes, usually by their parents, that they fear failure, avoid risk and value image over learning. By the time they go to college, they are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and stress.

Lahey says parents defail their kids’ lives in order to minimize kids’ pain and extend their need for mom and dad’s support. When kids are dependent on parents, mom and dad can enjoy kids’ wins as evidence of superior parenting.

A raft of studies back up Lahey’s point. But evidence suggests that girls may be especially vulnerable when it comes to failing, and being spared from it. Here’s why trying to protect girls from challenge hits them especially hard:

Girls respond to failure differently than boys. When girls make mistakes, they’re more likely to interpret the setback as a sign they lack ability — a factor much harder for girls to change. Boys, on the other hand, tend to attribute failure to more controllable circumstances.

The phenomenon has been traced in part to how teachers talk to students. In observational studies, teachers corrected girls for mistakes related to ability, while boys tended to get more behavioral interventions (“Pipe down!”, “Stop throwing that paper airplane,” and so on).

Other studies have found that girls are more likely to give up in the face of a stressful academic situation. In one study, fifth-grade students were given a task that was intentionally confusing. It was the girls who were derailed by the confusion and unable to learn the material. Notably, the highest-IQ girls struggled the most. The phenomenon continues in college, where Harvard economist Claudia Goldin found it was women dropping out of Intro to Economics when they failed to get A’s.

In the early 2000s, a new gender difference in how kids experience failure was identified. “Stereotype threat” — the burden girls face when dealing with the stereotype that they are “bad” at math and science — has been linked to their underperformance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Less known is how stereotype threat makes failure more bruising for girls. It works like this: when girls buy into the stereotype that they’re bad at math, they don’t see a missed problem or poor grade as a correctible issue. Instead, it confirms what everyone else knows — that they simply have less ability. These experiences, researchers say, “add stress and self-doubt to [girls’] educational experiences and diminish their sense of belonging to the academic arena.”

Rescuing girls from failure makes them lose motivation — even more than boys. We learn best when we’re intrinsically motivated — that is, when we try something new for the sheer enjoyment of the experience. Intrinsic motivation is one of learning’s most precious resources. It bolsters us to stick out the tough moments of a challenge and pursue what we love to do.

Autonomy is one of three core ingredients of intrinsic motivation. In other words, we’re most inclined to want to learn when we can do it freely and of our own accord. When we believe others are interfering with our autonomy by trying to control our performance — say, by offering rewards, threatening punishment or offering certain kinds of praise — our motivation plummets.

Professors Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, pioneers in the study of motivation, say girls are more vulnerable to having their autonomy and motivation threatened. Because girls are raised to please others, they tend to care more about feedback from teachers and parents — and so are more sensitive to feeling controlled.

Females, Deci and Ryan have written, “pay particular attention to evidence of having pleased the evaluator when praised.” That’s why multiple studies find that girls show more negative outcomes when they are praised in ways that pressure them to keep performing at a high level.

In one study, praising elementary-school students for fixed traits and abilities, like being “smart” or “nice,” undermined intrinsic motivation for girls, but not boys. Another study found that in success situations, boys were more comfortable with praise that focused on their abilities, while girls were more comfortable with effort praise (“You worked hard”).

So what does work for girls? One study found that using informational praise to describe a good performance (“You did very well on that test”), instead of making an interpretation of it (“You’re so smart”), increased girls’ intrinsic motivation. Praising effort (“You worked really hard on that”) over ability has consistently been proven to motivate all kids, and especially girls.

Failing well is a skill. Letting girls do it gives them critical practice coping with a negative experience. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a kind of confidence and resilience that can only be forged in times of challenge. Besides this, girls need educators and parents to challenge stereotype threat, reminding them that ability can always be improved with effort, and that who they are will not determine where they end up.

Lahey says that saving kids from failure sends the message that we think they’re “incompetent, incapable and unworthy of our trust.” That’s why giving kids the space to screw up, as Lahey advises, is so important — and will be particularly so for girls.

Read next: What to Say When Your Daughter Wants To Grow Up To Be Ronda Rousey

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TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Signs You’re Standing In Your Own Way to Success

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Stop micro-managing and learn to trust others

While a lot of the entrepreneurs I’ve met and mentored in the past decade have been successful, I’ve probably met as many, if not more, unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Each of them seemed to make a lot of the same mistakes — ones that could be easily remedied, but when left unaddressed, could mean the difference between success and failure.

Here are five signs you’re getting in your own way to success and how to move over and let yourself be the best you can be:

1. You’re unable to complete a task before starting a new one.

Some entrepreneurs just cannot finish. For whatever reason, it doesn’t matter how much time they have or how many resources are available to them — they can’t focus and get something done. Maybe it’s the fear that their final product could be better, or they’re worried it isn’t perfect and they won’t be able to make changes later.

But Seth Godin got it right in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? when he wrote: “The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.” If you miss deadlines and are always late, in the end, you’ll have little to show for yourself.

I always say, if it’s 80 percent there, it’s good enough. Because: you must ship.

2. You micro-manage everything.

Unsuccessful entrepreneurs want to do everything themselves. They don’t believe anyone else can get a job done as well as they can. But even if they were actually right about this — which is doubtful since no one is good at everything — it’s an unsustainable business philosophy.

If you want to grow your business and become a leader, you’re going to have to learn to trust others. Everyone needs a support team — even the most competent people.

3. You’re always right.

I’ve noticed that it’s difficult for some entrepreneurs to admit when they’ve made a mistake. But if you fail to acknowledge a mistake, you miss out on a learning opportunity. Mistakes are stepping stones to success.

Ask for advice and admit when you’re wrong, so you can quickly move forward and do better.

4. You ask questions, but don’t really pay attention to the answers.

You know the type of person I’m talking about. They ask for your opinion, but they’re only really interested in what you have to say if it’s exactly what they already believe. That baffles me. These kinds of entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who will only ever agree with them. That’s bad for business. You’ll make better decisions if you abandon your stubbornness, truly weigh different points of view and try to understand other perspectives.

5. You always find reasons not to move forward.

The timing isn’t right. The economy isn’t doing well. You don’t have enough capital. Whatever the excuse, you always have one. But guess what? There will always be reasons to not move forward! You just have to decide to press on. Create options for yourself, be flexible and have courage. That’s really what it is: having the courage to take on risk.

As entrepreneurs, we all make mistakes. That’s part of the fun of being willing to take risks. But over the years I’ve learned that the more humble and receptive you are, the more likely you’ll succeed.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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TIME Careers & Workplace

This Is the No. 1 Predictor of Career Success, According to Science

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Keep your doors open

It has been over three years since Steve Jobs died.

Since then, books have been written and movies have been made.

Each has celebrated his legacy and aimed to share the secrets he used to build the largest company in the world; things like attention to detail, attracting world-class talent and holding them to high standards.

We think we understand what caused his success.

We don’t.

We dismiss usable principles of success by labeling them as personality quirks.

What’s often missed is the paradoxical interplay of two of his seemingly opposite qualities; maniacal focus and insatiable curiosity. These weren’t just two random strengths. They may have been his most important as they helped lead to everything else.

Jobs’ curiosity fueled his passion and provided him with access to unique insights, skills, values, and world-class people who complemented his own skill set. Job’s focus brought those to bear in the world of personal electronics.

I don’t just say this as as someone who has devoured practically every article, interview, and book featuring him.

I say this as someone who has interviewed many of the world’s top network scientists on a quest to understand how networks create competitive advantage in business and careers.

The Simple Variable That Explains What Really Causes Career Success

In December of 2013, I interviewed one of the world’s top network scientists, Ron Burt. During it, he shared a chart that completely flipped my understanding of success. Here is a simplified version:

The bottom line? According to multiple, peer-reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success.

In the chart, the further to the right you go toward a closed network, the more you repeatedly hear the same ideas, which reaffirm what you already believe. The further left you go toward an open network, the more you’re exposed to new ideas. People to the left are significantly more successful than those to the right.

In fact, the study shows that half of the predicted difference in career success (i.e., promotion, compensation, industry recognition) is due to this one variable.

Do you ever have moments where you hear something so compelling that you need to know more, yet so crazy that you’d have to let go of some of your core beliefs in order to accept the idea?

This was one of those moments for me. Never in all of the books I had read on self-help, career success, business, or Steve Jobs had I come across this idea.

I wondered, “How is it possible that the structure of one’s network could be such a powerful predictor for career success?”

How a Closed Network Impacts Your Career

To understand the power of open networks, it’s important to understand their opposite.

Most people spend their careers in closed networks; networks of people who already know each other. People often stay in the same industry, the same religion, and the same political party. In a closed network, it’s easier to get things done because you’ve built up trust, and you know all the shorthand terms and unspoken rules. It’s comfortable because the group converges on the same ways of seeing the world that confirm your own.

To understand why people spend most of their time in closed networks, consider what happens when a group of random strangers is thrown together:

David Rock, the founder of the Neuroleadership Institute, the top organization helping leaders through neuroscience research, explains the process well:

We’ve evolved to put people in our ingroup and outgroup. We put most people in our outgroup and a few people in our ingroup. It determines whether we care about others. It determines whether we support or attack them. The process is a byproduct of our evolutionary history where we lived in small groups and strangers we didn’t know well weren’t to be trusted.

By understanding this process, we can begin to understand why the world is the way it is. We understand why Democrats and Republicans can’t pass bills with obvious benefits to society. We understand why religions have gone to war over history. It helps us understand why we have bubbles, panics, and fads.

The Surprising Power and Pain of Open Networks

People in open networks have unique challenges and opportunities. Because they’re part of multiple groups, they have unique relationships, experiences, and knowledge that other people in their groups don’t.

This is challenging in that it can lead to feeling like an outsider as a result of being misunderstood and under-appreciated because few people understand why you think the way you do. It is also challenging, because it requires assimilating different and conflicting perspectives into one worldview.

In one of my all-time favorite movies, The Matrix, the main character, Neo, is exposed to a completely new world. Once he is, he can’t go back. He’s an outsider in the new group, and he’s an outsider in his old life. He’s had an experience that everyone he’s ever met would never understand. This same phenomenon happens when we enter new worlds of people.

On the other hand, having an open network is a huge opportunity in a few ways:

  • More accurate view of the world. It provides them with the ability to pull information from diverse clusters so errors cancel themselves out.Research by Philip Tetlock shows that people with open networks are better forecasters than people with closed networks.
  • Ability to control the timing of information sharing. While they may not be the first to hear information, they can be the first to introduce information to another cluster. As a result, they can leverage the first move advantage.
  • Ability to serve as a translator / connector between groups. They can create value by serving as an intermediary and connecting two people or organizations who can help each other who wouldn’t normally run into each other.
  • More breakthrough ideas. Brian Uzzi, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the Kellogg School of Management, performed a landmark study where he delved into the tens of millions of academic studies throughout history. He compared their results by the number of citations (links from other research papers) they received and the other papers they referenced. A fascinating pattern emerged. The top performing studies had references that were 90% conventional and 10% atypical (i.e., pulling from other fields). This rule has held constant over time and across fields. People with open networks are more easily able to create atypical combinations.

The Revisionist Timeline of Steve Jobs Success

As a result of pursuing his curiosity in different fields throughout his life, Steve Jobs developed an extremely unique perspective, skill set, and network; one that no one else in the computer industry had. He turned these unique advantages into the largest company in the world by having a razor sharp focus. Within Apple, he cut out people, products, and systems that weren’t world-class.

Many are quick to label parts of Steve Jobs’ life as the ‘lost’ or ‘wilderness’ years. However, when we view his life in retrospect, we see that his diversions were critical to his success.

What is labeled as the magic of Steve Jobs or the quirks of his character become replicable principles we can all follow.

It is from this vantage point that we can begin to understand the following quote from a Steve Jobs interview for Wired in 1995:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.

It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences.

So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Throughout human history, all societies including our own have created myths that share one common element, the hero’s journey.

Here’s what the journey looks like according to Joseph Campbell, the originator of the term…

Things are going great. You feel normal and fit in. Then something, happens and you change. You start to feel like an outsider in your own culture. You hide parts of yourself to fit in, but that doesn’t help. You feel called to leave and fulfill part of yourself, but that has a lot of uncertainty. So, you hesitate at first.

Finally, you take the plunge. You go through difficult times as you’re learning to navigate the new world. Finally, you overcome the challenges. Then, you go back to your old culture and have a huge impact because you share the unique insights you’ve learned.

The hero’s journey myth is embedded in everything from our society’s classic movies (i.e., Star Wars) to the heroes we glorify (i.e., Steve Jobs), because it hits on core parts of the human experience.

The field of network science shows us two things. (1) The hero’s journey is the blueprint for creating career success. (2) We can all be heroes. It just takes a little faith as you follow your heart and curiosity into unknown worlds. As Steve Jobs said, “ You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

TIME advice

14 Ways to Become a More Likable Person

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Smile when speaking with others

When you’re in a highly competitive field, talent and intelligence are prerequisites.

To excel, it helps to know how to connect with others and develop relationships. Nothing replaces a charismatic personality.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” — one of the top-selling books of all time — wrote about the habits of the most likable people in his essay, “Develop A Pleasing Personality,” published in the collection “The Science of Success.”

He introduced his steps to having a “million-dollar personality” by explaining it was steel magnate Charles M. Schwab’s charming demeanor that in the late 19th century elevated him from a day laborer to an executive with a $75,000 salary and a frequent million-dollar bonus (a massive amount for the time).

Schwab’s boss, the legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie, told Hill that “the yearly salary was for the work Schwab performed, but the bonus was for what Schwab, with his pleasing personality, could get others to do.”

Here are what Hill determined to be the habits of people who are so likable that others go out of their way to help them.

They develop a positive mental attitude and let it be seen and felt by others

It’s often easier to give into cynicism, but those who choose to be positive set themselves up for success and have better reputations.

They always speak in a carefully disciplined, friendly tone

The best communicators speak deliberately and confidently, which gives their voice a pleasing sound, Hill says.

If the idea of speaking in front of an audience terrifies you, practice until the experience of presenting to a crowd no longer feels alienating. It’s all a matter of repetition.

They pay close attention to someone speaking to them

Using a conversation as an opportunity to lecture someone “may feed the ego, but it never attracts people or makes friends,” Hill says.

They are able to maintain their composure in all circumstances

An overreaction to something either positive or negative can give people a poor impression. In the latter case, says Hill, “Remember that silence may be much more effective than your angry words.”

They are patient

“Remember that proper timing of your words and acts may give you a big advantage over impatient people,” Hill writes.

They keep an open mind

Those who close themselves off from certain ideas and associate only with like-minded people are missing out on not only personal growth but also opportunities for advancing their careers.

They smile when speaking with others

Hill says that President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s greatest asset was his “million-dollar smile,” which allowed people to lower their guards during conversation.

They know that not all their thoughts need to be expressed

The most likable people know that it’s not worth offending people by expressing all their thoughts, even if they happen to be true.

They don’t procrastinate

Procrastination communicates to people that you’re afraid of taking action, Hill says, and are therefore ineffective.

They engage in at least one good deed a day

The best networkers help other people without expecting anything in return.

Wharton professor Adam Grant categorizes these master networkers as “givers,” and he’s found that they build much stronger and more fruitful relationships than those who see professional connections as a zero-sum game.

They find a lesson in failure rather than brood over it

People admire those who grow from failure rather than wallow in it. “Express your gratitude for having gained a measure of wisdom, which would not have come without defeat,” Hill says.

They act as if the person they are speaking to is the most important person in the world

The most likable people use conversations as an opportunity to learn about another person and give them time to talk.

They praise others in a genuine way without being excessive

“Praise the good traits of others, but don’t rub it on where it is not deserved or spread it too thickly,” Hill says.

They have someone they trust point out their flaws

Successful people don’t pretend to be likable; they are likable because they care about their conduct and reputation, Hill says. Having a confidant who can be completely honest with them allows them to continue growing.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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Read next: How to Get People to Like You: 7 Ways From an FBI Behavior Expert

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TIME Innovation

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

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Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

Take time to strategize

Mornings are an underutilized tool to aid productivity.

Let me explain.

We’re often at our peak in the mornings. This is why Mark McGuinness suggests the single most important change you can make to your workday is to move your creative time to mornings. We’re more mentally alert and our mental batteries are charged.

Where do we spend all of this energy? Email. Meetings. We fragment our time. This, however, isn’t the path to success. There is another way.

“Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast,” writes Laura Vanderkam in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast “the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them toward the lives they want.”

Vanderkam studied successful people and she discovered that early mornings were when they had the most control over their own schedules. They used this time to work on their priorities.

Taking control of your mornings is very much like investing in yourself. This is how Billionaire Charlie Munger got so smart: he set aside an hour in the mornings every day just to learn.

While there are 168 hours in the week not all of them are created equally. Vanderkam writes:

People who were serious about exercise did it in the mornings. At that point, emergencies had yet to form, and they would only have to shower once. As Gordo Byrn, a triathlon coach, once told me, “There’s always a reason to skip a four o’clock workout, and it’s going to be a good reason, too.”

Most people find doing anything that requires self-discipline easier to do in the morning. The same can be said for focus.

Roy Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, has spent more time studying willpower and self-discipline than most. In his book he highlights one famous experiment where students were asked to fast before coming into the lab. They were then put into a room with food. Specifically, radishes, chocolate chip cookies, and candy. Some of the students could eat whatever they wanted while others could only eat the radishes. After the food, they were supposed to work on “unsolvable” geometry puzzles.

The students who’d been allowed to eat chocolate chip cookies and candy typically worked on the puzzles for about twenty minutes, as did a control group of students who were also hungry but hadn’t been offered food of any kind. The sorely tempted radish eaters, though, gave up in just eight minutes— a huge difference by the standards of laboratory experiments. They’d successfully resisted the temptation of the cookies and the chocolates, but the effort left them with less energy to tackle the puzzles.

“Willpower,” Baumeister and co-author John Tierney write, “like a muscle, becomes fatigued from overuse.”

This is a problem because you don’t just have one willpower battery for work and another one for home. They are the same battery. And this bucket is used to control your thought processes and emotions. As Baumeister said in an interview:

You have one energy resource that is used for all kinds of acts (of) self-control. That includes not just resisting food temptations, but also controlling your thought processes, controlling your emotions, all forms of impulse control, and trying to perform well at your job or other tasks. Even more surprisingly, it is used for decision making, so when you make choices you are (temporarily) using up some of what you need for self-control. Hard thinking, like logical reasoning, also uses it.

Most self-control failures happen in the evening after a long day of traffic, bickering kids, pointless meetings, and other things that zap our self-control.

Baumeister continues:
“Diets are broken in the evening, not the morning. The majority of impulsive crimes are committed after 11: 00 p.m. Lapses in drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual misbehavior, gambling excesses, and the like tend to come about late in the day.”

After a good night’s sleep your battery is charged and ready to go.

In What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Vanderkam writes:

In these early hours, we have enough willpower and energy to tackle things that require internal motivation, things the outside world does not immediately demand or reward.

That’s the argument for scheduling important priorities first. But there’s more to the muscle metaphor. Muscles can be strengthened over time. A bodybuilder must work hard to develop huge biceps, but then he can go into maintenance mode and still look pretty buff. Paradoxically, with willpower, research has found that people who score high on measures of self-discipline tend not to employ this discipline when they do regular activities that would seem to require it, such as homework or getting to class or work on time. For successful people, these are no longer choices but habits.

“Getting things down to routines and habits takes willpower at first but in the long run conserves willpower,” says Baumeister. “Once things become habitual, they operate as automatic processes, which consume less willpower.”

If we learned anything from Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, it was that routines and habits played an important role in success.

In 1887 William James wrote on Habit:

Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances, without any consciously formed purpose, or anticipation of results. … The great thing, then, in all education, is to make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and to guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.

As Tierney and Baumeister write in Willpower, “Ultimately, self-control lets you relax because it removes stress and enables you to conserve willpower for the important challenges.”

So what are the best morning habits?

Vanderkam writes in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast:

The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation. The payoff isn’t as immediate as the easy pleasure of watching television or answering an email that doesn’t require an immediate response, but there are still payoffs. The best morning rituals are activities that, when practiced regularly, result in long-term benefits. The most successful people use their mornings for these things:

1. Nurturing their careers—strategizing and focused work
2. Nurturing their relationships—giving their families and friends their best
3. Nurturing themselves—exercise and spiritual and creative practices

Nurturing careers
The reason people do work requiring focus early in the day is the lack of interruptions. Once the day gets going, everyone wants a slice of your time.

You can crank things out; novelist Anthony Trollope famously wrote, without fail, for a few hours each morning. Charlotte Walker-Said, a history postdoc at the University of Chicago, uses the hours between 6: 00 and 9: 00 a.m. each day to work on a book on the history of religious politics in West Africa. She can read journal articles and write pages before dealing with her teaching responsibilities. “Once you start looking at email, the whole day cascades into email responses and replying back and forth,” she says. These early-morning hours are key to managing her stress in a suboptimal academic job market. “Every day I have a job,” she says. But “in the morning, I think I have a career.” She’s on to something; one study of young professors found that those who wrote a little bit every day were more likely to make tenure than those who wrote in bursts of intense energy (and put it off the rest of the time).

Nurturing relationships
One of the secrets to happy families is that mealtime with family matters.

This idea of using mornings as positive family time really stuck with me as I looked at my own life. While my kids tend to get up later, many small children wake up at the crack of dawn. So if you work outside the home and don’t see your kids during the day, why not take advantage of this? You can keep your eyes constantly focused on the clock, as I have a tendency to do, or you can set an alarm to give yourself a fifteen -minute warning, and then just relax. People always pontificate about how important family dinner is, but this is just not a reality in families with young kids who want to eat at 5: 30 or 6: 00 p.m., especially if one or both parents works later hours. But there’s nothing magical about dinner. Indeed, if the research on willpower is to be believed, we’re more crabby at dinner than we are at breakfast. Family breakfasts —when treated as relaxed, fun affairs— are a great substitute for the evening meal.

Nurturing yourself
The general sentiment here is that everyone else is sleeping so you’re not missing out on something important and you can spend time taking care of yourself, which generally leads to a positive impact on your productivity throughout the day.

In What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast Vanderkam suggests making over your mornings by tracking your time, picturing the perfect morning, thinking through the logistics, building a habit, developing a feedback loop and tuning up as necessary.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and a self-proclaimed night owl, taught himself to appreciate mornings by thinking about the positive.

“The reason we stay in bed in the morning is because our brains get fatigued by thinking about all the things we have to do that day. We’re thinking about tasks rather than things that are making us happy,” he says. But the reverse of that is also true. “If you’re thinking about things you’re looking forward to, that makes it easy to get out of bed. What your brain focuses on becomes your reality.”

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street. Join over 60,000 readers and get a free weekly update via email here.

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4 Habits of Millionaires That Work for Everyone

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Have a clear goal for success

I’m humbled that my career as a penny stock trader has helped earn me the title “millionaire,” and I’m even more blown away to count two of my students among the ranks of this elite club.

Having worked my way up from a few thousand dollars in bar mitzvah money to a few million has given me a unique perspective. I know what it’s like to start out with no big advantages, but I’ve also had plenty of exposure to the unique way millionaires think and act.

As a result, I’ve been able to see what they do differently and how they both earn the big bucks and protect their financial positions. I’ve applied all of these principles to my own life, and if you aren’t currently where you want to be financially, I recommend you do the same.

1. Millionaires work hard.

The “get rich quick” thing is such a cliché, but the thing is, it’s rarely ever true. We all see startups earning million dollar valuations, but the real story is that their “overnight success” was ten years in the making.

Millionaires aren’t afraid to work hard, and they take advantage of the principle of “success begets success.” When you have a few small wins, you build on them. You take the next step and you keep plugging away, because you’ve had a taste of success and it’s great!

I hear from a lot of trading students who are looking for a way to make a few quick bucks trading penny stocks, and I always have to disappoint them. There are no secret “hacks” to building generational wealth. There’s only hard work, discipline and a willingness to push ahead through any circumstances.

2. Millionaires have clear goals.

Do you know why millionaires are so willing to work hard? Sure, experiencing regular success helps, but it’s also because they have clear goals.

Let me give you an example… Which of the following statements do you find to be more motivating: “When I get rich, I’m going to buy a nice car?” or “When I get rich, I’m buying a cherry-red Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce?”

Which one do you think will motivate you more to do the hard work required to become a millionaire?

When I was in high school — when I got my start as a stock trader — I had a poster of a Lamborghini hanging on my wall, because that’s what I was working towards. My dream was so clear I could practically feel the wind whipping around my face as I showed off my sweet ride to my envious friends.

That’s the kind of goal you need to have if you ever want to be successful. If your current goals are a bit lackluster, whip them into shape to continue down the path towards becoming a millionaire.

3. Millionaires are willing to fail.

Being afraid of failure makes you overly cautious. If you’re constantly afraid of failing, you’ll miss out on the opportunities that present themselves to you — all because you were too scared to move forward.

Millionaires take a different approach. Instead of being afraid of failure, they welcome it. They see it for what it is, a chance to learn valuable lessons that show you the way forward.

Sure, you’re not going to go out there and deliberately fail. That would be stupid, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a penny stock trader or some other kind of professional.

But when you do fail, and it’s virtually guaranteed that you will, try to learn what you can from the experience. Yes, it’ll sting, but if you use your failures as opportunities to improve yourself and your business, you’ll eventually become fearless in the face of the smart risks that’ll make you a millionaire.

4. Millionaires have successful mentors.

I have to tell you, if I’d had a good mentor when I started trading penny stocks, I’d have been a millionaire years sooner. I was figuring everything out on my own. Learn from my mistake!

A good teacher can cut years off your learning curve and save you huge amounts of money. A mentor can’t do your work for you, but they can keep you from making the same mistakes they made – and that’s a pretty priceless lesson.

I look at the two millionaire students that have come out of myMillionaire Challenge trading program, and I see that both of them have hit the seven-figure mark in just a few years by leveraging lessons that took me much longer to learn. Their examples prove to me that no matter who you are – and no matter what you’re doing – you’ll benefit from having a successful mentor at your side.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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25 Insightful Quotes From 25 Legendary CEOs

Mark Zuckerberg at the Internet.org summit in New Delhi on Oct. 9, 2014.
Udit Kulshrestha—Bloomberg via Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg at the Internet.org summit in New Delhi on Oct. 9, 2014.

From Mark Zuckerberg to Jack Ma to Marissa Mayer, these leaders speak on what it means to be a CEO

It’s been three years since I made the leap from successful accountant to entrepreneur. Before making the jump I read quotes from successful leaders to motivate myself. Here are some of the quotes that inspired me then and some more recent ones that have inspired me since. Whether you’ve just started a company or have been running one for awhile, there is a lot you can learn from some of the most successful CEOs.

This list compiles some of the best advice out there from CEOs on success, working with your team, becoming a CEO, being a CEO and dealing with customers as a CEO. Every quote has helped me become a much better leader myself.

On success

1. “When you start a company, it’s more an art than a science because it’s totally unknown. Instead of solving high-profile problems, try to solve something that’s deeply personal to you. Ideally, if you’re an ordinary person and you’ve just solved your problem, you might have solved the problem for millions of people.” Brian Chesky, Airbnb.

2. “I never set out to be CEO. I always set out to be a good team member, a good colleague.” John Stumpf, Wells Fargo.

3. “Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly. If you are CEO, these choices will lead to a courageous or cowardly company.” Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz.

4. “To build a great company, which is a CEO’s job, sometimes you have to stand up against conventional wisdom.” Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard.

5. “My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being just a company means to me is not being just that – building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook.

On working with your team

6. “Talent is the No. 1 priority for a CEO. You think it’s about vision and strategy, but you have to get the right people first.” Andrean Jung, Grameen America.

7. “Teaching your employees something new creates an instant connection, and they will respect you for it. If you can do this in a job interview, you will be sure to attract the smartest people. Money doesn’t mean much to a lot of the smartest people in the world—they want to grow their intelligence rather than their wallet. If you show employees that they will progress intellectually in their career, and economically while at your company, then they will want to work for you.” Taso Du Val, Toptal.

8. “The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors.” Gary Hamel, Gary Hamel Consulting.

9. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox.

10. “The lessons I learned from the dark days at Alibaba are that you’ve got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision. Also, if you don’t give up, you still have a chance. And, when you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.” Jack Ma, Alibaba.

On becoming a CEO

11. “The path to the CEO’s office should not be through the CFO’s office, and it should not be through the marketing department. It needs to be through engineering and design.” Elon Musk, SpaceX.

12. “If you want a CEO role, you have to prepare for it with a vengeance.” Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company.

13. “I always believe that, as you start out, while you should have a big dream – a big goal – but it’s also important to move step by step. So, you know, frankly, if you ask me, when I started as a management trainee in 1984, I don’t know that I really thought that I would become the CEO.” Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank.

On being a CEO

14. “Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that.” Indra Nooyi, PepsiCO.

15. “As the CEO, I have to take care of the short term, mid term and the long term.” Carlos Ghosn, Nissan.

16. “I am who I am, and I’m focused on that, and being a great CEO of Apple.” Tim Cook, Apple.

17. “As a wife, daughter, friend, and the founder and CEO of LearnVest, my schedule is anything but simple. But I learned early on how to meticulously manage my time.” Alexa Von Tobel, LearnVest.

18. “As an entrepreneur, I try to push the limits. Pedal to the metal.” Travis Kalanick, Uber.

19. “A successful team beats with one heart.” Michael Gokturk, Payfirma.

20. “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.” – Larry Ellison, Oracle.

On customers

21. “Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.” Bill Gates, Microsoft.

22. “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!.

23. “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon.

24. “Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.” Natalie Massenet, Net-a-Porter.

25. “It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.” Mark Cuban, AXS TV.

Here’s to becoming the best leaders and CEOs that we can be.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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10 Hopeful Quotes That Will Help You Through Challenging Situations

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"It's the will that's awakened in the darkness, that brings us to a more permanent light"

Life is filled with difficulties. How we confront our challenges is precisely what makes us great. Nobody ever reached greatness on a silver platter. This is true in any aspect of life, including running a business.

In the midst of challenges, be inspired by these words of wisdom to help transform for the better:

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. — C.S. Lewis

Age is just a number. Success is based on the will to achieve and persist through struggles. Although new ideas are typically associated with the young, innovation isn’t restricted by age. C.S. Lewis didn’t publish his classic Chronicles of Narnia until 1950 — he was more than 50 years old at the time.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. — Thomas A. Edison

In the face of failure, entrepreneurs have two choices: give up or try again. Those who use failure as their greatest motivator succeed. At the breaking point — just before giving up — is when entrepreneurs often push through to the next level and find the solution they were seeking.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. — Confucius

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, and its lesson still rings true in business. Achievement doesn’t need to happen at lightning speed. Slow progress is still success. Continue to move forward at any speed.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. — Mark Twain

Inertia is everything. Those who are moving are more likely to keep moving. Those who keep pushing things off will likely keep pushing them off.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. — Dalai Lama

Kindness isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind in business. Entrepreneurship is often associated with a ruthless attitude. But the truth is, success isn’t truly success if people are hurt along the way. Kindness is invaluable in all endeavors, including entrepreneurial ones.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. — Albert Einstein

Have gratitude. Live life not appreciating anything, or appreciating every little thing. Take a second at the end of the day to appreciate having woken up that morning, and for all the blessings in life.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. — Elie Wiesel

Take a stand. Don’t let life slip by while being indifferent. Try to care and put heart into everything, including entrepreneurial endeavors.

It’s the will that’s awakened in the darkness, that brings us to a more permanent light. — Doniel Katz

When going through a struggle, a deep will to get through it and succeed can be awakened. That awakened will can then provide the strength that brings us to an even brighter light — a better place — than we were at before the struggle ensued.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart — everything that can go wrong will, and then some. The only way to succeed is to push through struggles.

Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings. — Rumi

There will never be the perfect time to start something. Learning and succeeding requires jumping in. It will be scary. It will feel like falling. But taking the leap is the only way to get somewhere significant.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. — Anne Frank

Remember the big picture. Don’t be selfish. Think about how the business can help others. How can the idea make the world a better place?

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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Here’s the Best Way to Make Tomorrow an Awesome Day

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Go back to that amazing first day

Pick an awesome first day: The first day you started a new job, opened a business, bought a new house, landed a huge customer, met your significant other…

Pick a first day when you felt incredibly excited. Pick a day when everything felt new and filled with promise and hope and potential and anticipation. Pick a day that truly felt like the start of a better, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Now remember how you felt that day. Bask in the glow of that memory. I’ll wait.

Done?

Now think about how you feel today.

Ouch. I’m guessing those wonderful feelings just disappeared. Today probably feels the same as yesterday, and tomorrow seems like just one more of a seemingly endless string of similar days stretching off into the distance.

What changed? You changed. You adapted.

But don’t feel bad. Adaptation is natural. When something good happens you feel happier for a while. Then you adapt to your new situation and return to your baseline “happy state.”

Buy a Porsche and for a little while you feel happier (and maybe a little smug)… but soon that new Porsche is just your same old car. Buy a new house and for a while you’re happier… but soon you adapt and your new house is just your same old house.

But wait! What if you bought a Lamborghini? Hey, now that would make you happy. And what if you bought a new house on the golf course… hey, now that would be awesome.

For a while.

We all naturally revise our expectations upwards, and when our expectations go up our level of happiness goes back down.

Research shows that where vacations are concerned the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation: Vacation anticipation boosts happiness for an average of eight weeks.

After the vacation, though, happiness levels quickly drop to baseline levels, typically within days. Soon the people who went on vacation aren’t any happier than the people who did not.

So do this: Think back to the first day you chose. Say it’s the day you opened your own business. You were excited and thrilled because finally — finally! — you got to start calling your own shots. For the first time in your life your professional success – and income – would only be capped by your skills, creativity, and work ethic.

Now think about today. Nothing has really changed. You still call your own shots. Your professional success is still only limited by your skills, creativity, and work ethic. You still don’t have a boss, still get to do what you love, still get to take chances and seize opportunities and work with people you enjoy.

Nothing has changed… except you. In reality, today is just like that first day.

You just see it differently.

And now do this: Step outside your office, workplace, or home. Think back to that first day. Picture yourself about to walk through the door. Remember how you felt. Remember your goals and dreams. Remember how thrilled you were to start what felt like a new life.

Then walk back inside. Look around.

Nothing has changed — except you.

So smile, nod to yourself, and go rock it like it’s the first day.

Because it is.

LinkedIn Influencer Jeff Haden originally published this post on LinkedIn. Follow Jeff on LinkedIn.

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