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I’ll give you the bad news first.

To be successful, you will need to work harder than most others.

You will need to be disciplined enough to say “no” to good things so that you can say “yes” to the best.

You will need to be committed to life-long learning.

You will be kept up at night as you carefully consider your options.

You’ll be forced out of your comfort zone.

You’ll need a thick skin to ignore the barbs of the cynics.

And even after you’ve done all of this, there’s no guarantee that everything will work out according to plan.

But there’s good news too.

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I recently read Robert D. Smith’s “20,000 Days and Counting” and highlighted this line:

“Something occurred to me after talking to a highly sought-after speaker who receives a standing ovation almost every time he speaks: Very few people on the planet will ever receive a standing ovation for anything they do in their entire lives. Suddenly, I took it upon myself to give everyone a standing ovation every day, every chance I could.”

I love this concept.

Catch people doing great work and recognise their efforts.

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When starting a business, making the first dollar is the hardest.

When trying to sell products, the first phone call is the hardest.

When trying to lose weight, the first kilogram is the hardest.

When writing a book, the first page is the hardest.

It’s the hardest, so it’s easy to give up before it’s done, or be daunted before you start.

If there’s something that you know you should do, let me encourage you today to not be intimidated by the first step.

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There are people who won’t appreciate your best work.

They may criticise it.

They may reject it.

They may laugh at it.

They may not understand it.

They may not find it helpful at the time.

But don’t let that stop you.

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One of the common themes of this blog is encouraging people to take action.

It’s all very well to have dreams, aspirations and positive attitudes, but it’s insufficient if you don’t do something that will take your closer to realising your goals.

I need constant reminders on the subject myself, so I’ve compiled this series of quotes to inspire me to do more.  I hope that you are similarly inspired.

Here are my 10 favourite quotes on the subject of action:

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You deserve:

  • Respect from others.
  • Respect from yourself.
  • The opportunity to put your skills on display.
  • A second (and perhaps third) chance.
  • Love.
  • To have something to smile about.
  • Confidence.
  • A fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work
  • Encouragement
  • Something to feel optimistic about.
  • To get up again after falling.
  • To look others in the eye.

We deserve: Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a story about an American doctor who visited the African nation of Mali on a missions trip.

As she tended to the medical needs of the local people, a woman asked her how many children she had.

“None,” she replied.

The local woman looked at her with mournful eyes and said that she was sorry.

The doctor asked the woman how many children she had.

The woman beamed as she responded, “Eight.  I’m very fortunate to be so rich.”

The doctor realised that the women of Mali measured their wealth very differently.  It wasn’t in financial or material terms, but in the number of children they were privileged to bear.

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It’s an age-old question, what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

It must be the egg.

But then who laid it?

But then where did the chicken that laid the egg come from?

I guess we’ll never know.

The same question arises when it comes to motivation.  What comes first, motivation or action?

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Are you influencing others with your positive attitude, or are you letting others get you down?

Do you have the ability to relentless look for solutions, or are you getting caught up in the problems of others?

Does your work ethic push others to greater heights, or do you see everyone else slacken off and join in?

Are you influencing others with your generosity, or are you as suspicious of the motives of others as everyone else seems to be?

Does your enthusiasm rub off on those around you, or are the low energy levels of others draining you?

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I was waiting in a medical clinic this week and they had a copy of “Fish Tales” a book based on the remarkable company culture at the Seattle Fish Market.

As I flicked through the pages, I came across this great story:

Three neighbouring farmers were talking when the subject of possessions came up.

“I own a huge mansion!” one proudly proclaimed.

“I own a successful farm!” said the second.

“I have optimism,” the third said quietly.

His two neighbours laughed at him, for what good is a possession that cannot be seen or touched?

That night a huge storm struck.

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