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How to Be Successful in Life and Business

(Photo by H. Koppedelaney - Flickr)

Most people think of business as business and life as life. But they are much more similar than you might think. In fact, many of the things that make us successful in our personal lives also make us successful in our business lives.

Here are a few of my favorite similarities between business and how we live our daily lives.

Associations: I think few of us would question that if you associate with unsavory people, it’s going to have a negative affect on your life. And, if you associate with positive, successful people, there is a much better chance of success and advancement toward worthwhile goals.

In business, as in life, your associations and your advisers can have a positive or negative effect on the operation and effectiveness of your business. You should never take any business advice, unless the source has a demonstrated track record and proven expertise, to give you sound business knowledge.

Commitment: Making a marriage work, losing weight, being a good parent, breaking 80 on the golf course, and running a household, are just a few of the lifestyle challenges that require a strong personal commitment. Some of these things are done on an individual basis; others are done as part of a team. Either way, without the commitment of all parties involved success is less likely.

Many people dream of starting their own businesses, but only a few do, and even fewer are successful. Eighty-five percent of small businesses, and fifty percent of marriages fail. All were committed at the beginning, but over time as the challenges and problems arose, the reward you expected at the beginning, no longer seems worth the effort. Success in life, or business, is nearly impossible without commitment.

Risk vs. Reward: The products we purchase might come with a guarantee but there are no guarantees in life. Most of the decisions we make in our lives involve both risk and reward. If the risk is greater than the perceived reward then we don’t choose that road. Notice I said, “perceived” reward. When we think this way that means all the pieces fit. Everything works out. Often, we create a perception that seems perfect in our own minds but to others would seem crazy.

We’ve all had a friend that we knew was heading into a disastrous marriage that could never survive. We’ve had friends with ridiculous business ideas that we know could never succeed. Only one in six people end up in the career in which they received a college degree. Life seems to have a way of pointing us in it’s own direction.

Taking the Path of Least Resistance: We all want it easy. Well, life is not easy. Retirement? Simple — win the lottery. Don’t do the pushups when the coach turns his back. Looking at the paper next to you for the right answer, after all, everyone does it — don’t they?

The sad fact is, you can cheat in life, but you can’t cheat in business. At least, not for very long before a customer will call you on it. Life’s job is to prepare you for hardship and the ability to overcome challenges. That can’t happen when you take the path of least resistance.

Price and Quality: There are cheap products and there are cheap people. I’m not talking about generosity. People, like products, have value. Some people show their value and some don’t. Those that do are usually more successful than those who don’t. In life, and in business, quality counts and most people are willing to pay a little more for a better product. Be a better product.

Some Final Thoughts

Life mirrors business; business mirrors life. Another similarity between the two — life and business both give you the test before the study material. We learn life and business on the fly. We observe, we copy; we discard, all in the pursuit of a successful life and business. Make the most of yours.

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