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366 Days To Greater Personal, Professional, and Financial Success

Presented by Bo Bennett, PhD

This course uses Bo's "formula" for success: education + inspiration + action = success. Education: the lessons are full of educational information. Inspiration: every fifth lesson is a "success biography" on someone well-known who is an inspiration to others. These success biographies are full of inspiration to help keep your flame for success burning on high. Action: each of the lessons has one or more assignments associated with it. Taking action and getting results are what this course is all about.

Make Small, Daily Improvements In Your Life For the Most Amazing Year of Your Life!

Define what success means to you and flesh out your goals and dreams
Learn hundreds of techniques that will increase your odds of success
Get and stay inspired by reading about dozens of successful people who beat the odds and accomplished great things
Become the absolute best "you" you can be

A Significant Improvement In Your Life Comprises Many Small Improvements

Have you been promised success if you follow a few quick and dirty "rules" or "secrets" of success? Are you tired of irrelevant analogies that do nothing for you but make you feel inadequate? Have you had enough of highly metaphysical concepts and not enough practical solutions? Have you had your fill of grossly exaggerated claims that try to trick you into thinking success is easy? Are you all "affirmationed" out? You are not alone.

Think of success as a game of chance in which you have control over the odds. As you begin to master concepts in personal achievement, you are increasing your odds of achieving success. 366 Days To Greater Personal, Professional, and Financial Success is a full year course based on the book Year To Success, designed to be a practical guide to achieving your definition of success. Each day/lesson of this course will, through practical application, increase your odds of achieving success. It has been said that one line of wisdom can change your life more than volumes of books. Imagine what hundreds of pages of wisdom can do.

By the end of this year long course, your life won't just be different; it will be better in so many ways.


This course was designed for students 13 and up.

Personalized Feedback

Unlike most online courses unaffiliated with a university, each lesson in this course includes assignments that are manually evaluated by the instructor with detailed feedback provided (instructor evaluated course option only).

Learning Resources

For this course, text, audio, and video resources are used. All of the resources are compatible with virtually all modern web-browsers and mobile devices.

Instructor Availability

The instructor is available for students to discuss course-specific content via e-mail, online chat, Skype, and telephone for the first six months of the course (instructor-evaluated option only).


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

There are no required resources for this course.

Optional Resources

There are no optional resources for this course.

Course Organization

This course begins with an introduction lesson, then the other lessons presented are in no particular order. You are free to skip around to the lessons that interest you most at the time and complete the lessons in any order.


This course is graded on a pass/redo scale. When lessons are reviewed, the student will either get a "pass" or a "redo". Students can redo assignments as many times as they like. All of the lessons are evaluated by both manual review of lesson-specific assignments and automatic grading of quizzes.

Student Evaluation

This course contains instructor-reviewed assignments, self-evaluated assignments, and multiple choice quizzes. There are no due dates or time limits on any of the assignments or quizzes.

Student Expectations

As a self-paced course, there are no time expectations. However, student support is limited to 6 months from the start of the course date. Students are expected to communicate with instructors and other students in a professional and respectful manner.

This Syllabus May Be Updated

The contents of this syllabus may change from time to time. All students will be notified by e-mail of any significant changes.

Lessons in this Course

Click on any lesson below to see the lesson details. If you are a student and logged in, or if the lesson is a sample lesson, you will be able to go to the lesson.

Section 1: Introduction

Lesson #1: Course Introduction

Have you been promised success if you follow a few quick and dirty “rules” or “secrets” of success? Are you tired of irrelevant analogies that do nothing for you but make you feel inadequate? Have you had enough of highly metaphysical concepts and not enough practical solutions? Have you had your fill of grossly exaggerated claims that try to trick you into thinking success is easy? Are you all “affirmationed” out? You are not alone.

Think of success as a game of chance in which you have control over the odds. As you begin to master concepts in personal achievement, you are increasing your odds of achieving success. Year To Success is a full year course in success, designed to be a practical guide to achieving your definition of success. Each day of this course will, through practical application, increase your odds of achieving success. It has been said that one line of wisdom can change your life more than volumes of books. Imagine what hundreds of pages of wisdom can do.

Go To Lesson

Section 2: Week 1
Lesson #2: Why Success? (sample lesson)

Lesson #2: Why Success?

As humans, we are all driven by an inner desire to feel important. That is, we all want to know that our lives make a difference in a positive way. We want to know that in some way, the world is a better place because we are part of it. Success is another way of saying that we are doing just that.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." - Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933)

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Lesson #3: Remembering and Using People’s Names

It has been said that a person’s name is the most important word in the world to that person. Using a person’s name in conversation is one of the best ways to build rapport. Sounds good, but if you are like most people, the names of people you meet go in one ear and out the other. So step one is remembering the name. First, however, a memory primer.

The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds." - Tryon Edwards (1809–1894)

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Lesson #4: Inspiration from Henry Ford

Henry Ford  (1863–1947) was the founder, vice-president, and chief engineer of the Ford Motor Company.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right." - Henry Ford (1863–1947)

Lesson #5: General Life Purpose

What is your general purpose here on the earth?  Does your existence make the world a better place?  Consider the statements below and think about where you currently fit in. There is no right or wrong answer.

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Helen Keller (1880–1968)

Lesson #6: Positive Mental Attitude

One of the few things we have a great sense of control over is our attitude. When faced with adversity, we can choose to focus on the negative in the situation or the positive. A positive mental attitude, or PMA, is something everyone can adopt with a little practice. The benefits of a PMA are beyond comprehension, and according to many achievers, a significant factor in their success.

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Section 3: Week 2

Lesson #7: Using Humor Effectively

Laughter is said to be the best medicine known to man. With that in mind, the development of a good sense of humor and the ability to make people laugh can do more good for those you come into contact with than an entire pharmacy of drugs.

A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done." - Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969)

Lesson #8: Perseverance, Persistence and Determination

If the “how to” for achieving success had to be summed up in just one single word, that word would be perseverance.  It is the one characteristic shared by virtually all successful people throughout history.  Perseverance is the true essence of success.

Lesson #9: Inspiration from Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was perhaps the most famous American in history who was best known for being an American statesman and inventor.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." - Benjamin Franklin

Lesson #10: Specific Purpose

In the movie The Jerk, starring my all time favorite actor/comedian, Steve Martin, Nathan (Steve) set off to discover his “special purpose”.  Once he knew what it was, or thought he knew what it was, his life had meaning and direction.  In real life, the same holds true.  However, to avoid laughing every time I say “special purpose” (if you have seen The Jerk, you understand why) I prefer to refer to one’s ultimate life goal as “specific purpose”.

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny." - Tyron Edwards

Lesson #11: The Power of Choice

Where we are today is largely a result of choices we have made in our past.  Choices as minor as what to have for breakfast to choosing what we want to do for a living.  Each of us has the right to create our destiny by a series of lifelong decisions.  Accept responsibility for who you are and where you are today, and understand that you are where you are largely as a result of the choices you have made.
Section 4: Week 3

Lesson #12: Making Excuses

By definition, an excuse is an explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness. In its true meaning then, an excuse is really nothing more than a reason.  An excuse becomes an obstacle in your journey to success when it is made in place of your best effort or when it is used as the object of the blame.
Lesson #13: Enthusiasm! (sample lesson)

Lesson #13: Enthusiasm!

The source of the word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, “having the god within,” formed from en, “in, within,” and theos, “god.” Since its introduction in the English language in the early fifteenth century, its meaning has become disassociated with religion and gods, and now means great excitement for, or interest in, a subject or cause. It is this excitement, or the feeling of having a god within oneself, which is the fuel by which success is powered.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Lesson #14: Inspiration from Bill Gates

William H. Gates (1955–) is the Chairman and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft Corporation.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
- Bill Gates, Business @ The Speed of Thought

Lesson #15: Avoid Exaggeration

Exaggerating, or taking a truth out of proportion, is one of the evils of communication.

Lesson #16: Remembering Numbers

In today’s computerized, handheld PC, and pen recorder filled world, there seems little need to remember numbers. The truth is, despite all the gadgets available there are still times when accessing a gadget to jot down or record numbers is just inconvenient or simply not possible.  For these times, we rely on “ol’ unreliable” (our memory).
Section 5: Week 4

Lesson #17: The Words You Use Make All the Difference

The words that come out of your mouth and go through your head have an incredible effect on your actions and behavior.  The subconscious mind is known for gravitating toward what you focus on.

Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.” - Wendell Johnson

Lesson #18: You ARE a Salesperson

If you are a parent, student, teacher, musician, actor, doctor, laborer, or currently doing nothing for work, you are a salesperson.  Everyone sells something.  Everyone is in business for him or herself.  You are in the business of marketing or selling your services and skills.  Even when already employed, you are constantly selling others ideas, reasons for promotion, comfort, etc. In this respect, everyone should have a good understanding of the key concepts of both sales and marketing to attract success.

I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask me if they can help me, and I say, ‘Have you got anything I’d like?’ Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, ‘Extra medium.’" - Steven Wright

Lesson #19: Inspiration from Donald Trump

Donald Trump (1946–) is a real estate billionaire, best-selling author, and most recently, executive producer of a hit TV show.

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."
- Donald Trump, “Trump: Art of the Deal”

Lesson #20: Time Mastery: Part 1

The successful individual understands and appreciates the value of time.  Time is one of our precious resources that is rarely valued as it should be.  Time management is having control over our time.  We can’t stop time or reverse it, but we can use it to our advantage.

Lesson #21: Time Mastery: Part 2

Yesterday we introduced the concept of time mastery and focused on time management.  Today, we will explore time mastery techniques used by those who want to do more than squeeze an extra hour out of their day. Making use of these techniques and principles will allow you the time for pursuit of your life purpose and other goals.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” - Theophrastus (300 BC–287 BC)
Section 6: Week 5

Lesson #22: Separating Performance from Performer

How often do you say to yourself something like “I can’t believe how stupid I am” when you find yourself doing something... well, stupid. How often do you find yourself telling others, like your kids, spouse, or friends that they are stupid? In either case, you are verbally reinforcing a negative belief that will interfere with your success and the success of those you care about.

Lesson #23: The Subconscious Mind

At one time or another, we have all heard of the subconscious mind yet very few people understand how to use it. Many people even disregard its existence because they cannot see it, touch it, hear it, smell it, or taste it. The successful individual not only knows of its existence, but knows how to “program” the subconscious mind for success.

Lesson #24: Inspiration from Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey (1954–) is one of the most important figures in popular culture, most well known as the talk show host on her TV show, “Oprah.”

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
- Oprah Winfrey
Lesson #25: Self-Esteem (sample lesson)

Lesson #25: Self-Esteem

It was a snowy winter night when George Bailey stood on the bridge of Bedford Falls and convinced himself that he was more valuable dead than alive. George made a very common mistake on that cold, fictional night when he determined his worth based purely on his finances. It took a second-class angel named Clarence to restore his self-esteem and show him vividly how valuable his life really was. Although Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is just a movie (and a great one at that), it’s a great example of true self-esteem.

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Lesson #26: What Do You Want?

Achievement begins with knowing what you want. Like your specific purpose, you must clearly identify what you really want out of life. Unlike your specific purpose, we are not talking about just one large major goal. What you want from life can be a list of a couple of things or pages and pages of material, emotional and spiritual desires. It’s your list.
Section 7: Week 6

Lesson #27: Think HUGE

It is not enough to think big. The world is full of big thinkers. You must think HUGE.

Lesson #28: Responding vs. Reacting

During my high school and college years, I was, at times, what we called a real “hot head.” I was very easily angered and often expressed it. What I did not realize at the time is that my anger and hostility would often be misdirected due to my initial reactions. I reacted first, then thought later rather than thinking first. Responding, on the other hand, is reaction with thought.

Lesson #29: Inspiration from George Burns

George Burns (1896-1996) was one of the greatest comedians/entertainers of several generations.

By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it. - George Burns (1896-1996)

Lesson #30: Fear of Success

“How could someone fear something so great like success?” you may be asking yourself. The fact is, many people do, and it is this fear that keeps them from achieving it. Fear comes from the lack of understanding. It is clear to see that those who have not taken the time to explore success will not understand it and thus fear it. Having limiting beliefs about success also contributes to our fear of success.

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Lesson #31: Fitness Basics

“Please don’t tell me I have to do sit-ups to be successful!” you may be saying after reading the title. Short answer, no. Crunches, leg-lifts, and other ab exercises will do just fine. :) For the long answer, read on.
Section 8: Week 7

Lesson #32: Livin’ the High Life

I can honestly say that as a 43-year-old man, by my own free will, I have never in my life taken a puff of a cigarette, tried any illegal drug or narcotic, or drunk an alcoholic beverage or even a cup of coffee. The fact that I had quite an active social life in both high school and college, yet never took a sip of alcohol in those eight years is almost Oprah-worthy. There are many reasons for this such as upbringing, health, and self-esteem. But my main reason for abstaining from such depressants and stimulants is the natural high I already have just going through life. Before you say “Oh, please.... give me a break,” read on.

Lesson #33: Failure is the Seed to Success

One of the more limiting factors in the achievement of success is the fear of failure. Why? People all too often internalize failure and say “I failed” or “I am a failure” as a general statement rather than seeing failure for what it really is—a single attempt at a specific goal that did not produce the desired results. Or my favorite definition, failure is falling down and not getting back up.

Lesson #34: Inspiration from J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling (1965–) is the best-selling author of the Harry Potter book series.

I was very low, and I had to achieve something. Without the challenge, I would have gone stark raving mad.
- J.K. Rowling

Lesson #35: Write it Down!

How many times have you had a great idea or answer to a question or problem pop into your mind, only to forget it shortly after? Chances are that many of these times you have even forgotten that you had the idea or answer, so you don’t even remember forgetting! How many times has a task, or something you needed to do, occupied your thoughts all day long until you got it done? To keep ideas or answers from slipping away, or to clear your mind so you can be more focused, write things down.

Lesson #36: Analogies, Similes, and Anecdotes

“Success is a butterfly, beautiful and flowing.”
“Leadership is like a bear, always protecting its young.”

What do these two statements mean? Did some great philosopher say these immortal words? The truth is, they are gibberish and I, just now, made them up. However, the chances are you read them as mystical puzzles, and if asked, you would search your mind for the underlying meaning. I did not mean to trick you; I was just proving a point that we are all guilty of interpreting analogies, similes, and anecdotes as truth rather than what they often are: just catchy phrases that sound good.
Section 9: Week 8

Lesson #37: Customer Service

Everyone should be an expert in customer service. Customer service skills are used in just about every job and career there is. People often do not feel the need to learn customer service skills because they do not deal with “customers.” They may not deal with a group that is referred to as “customers,” but they do deal with customers.

Lesson #38: Gratitude and Appreciation

It is the typical Hollywood story that we all have heard: someone we know of on the big screen or TV appears to have it all. He or she has the admiration of millions of fans, beautiful companions, and all the money one can possibly need in a lifetime. Yet this superstar lives in misery and carries out a self-destruct sequence that sometimes even leads to taking his or her own life. The superstar had everything; everything except gratitude.

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Lesson #39: Inspiration from Jack LaLanne

Jack La Lanne (1914–2011) is known to many as America’s number one physical fitness expert and guru, often called, “The Godfather of Fitness.”

If the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.
- Jack LaLanne

Lesson #40: Trying New Things

The world is full of new and exciting things to try. There is a certain kind of freedom, or renegade quality, to living by the words “variety is the spice of life” or “try everything once; go back and do the things you like again,” but this kind of advice can be dangerous to living a successful lifestyle.

Lesson #41: The Pain and Pleasure Principle

“Why do we do the things we do?” Although human behavior is extremely complex, one of the reasons we do know is to avoid pain and/or to gain pleasure. This age-old concept recently popularized by success author Anthony Robbins, is just as true today as it was thousands of years ago. Understanding this principle is like unlocking the secrets to human behavior and will allow you to take more control over your own life and help others to regain control over theirs.

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Section 10: Week 9

Lesson #42: Create a Win-Win Situation

There is only one kind of successful negotiation; it is the kind where both parties come out ahead. I really do not like using the word “win” because that implies a game of some sort where there are winners and losers. Negotiation occurs everywhere in life and life is not a game. To be a successful negotiator, you must have the other person’s interests in mind as well as your own.

Lesson #43: Project a Positive Personality

Did you ever meet someone whom you thought was extremely pleasant and had a great personality, and then later talked to someone else who met the same person on a different occasion and felt the exact opposite about the person? For example, “Hi Cindy. Boy, that Phil is a great guy. What a pleasant and polite guy he is!” Cindy responds, “Are you kidding? I met that jerk last week, and I found him to be rude and arrogant!” It is possible that Phil was in a bad mood when he met Cindy. However, the more likely reason is as follows: the people we meet often reflect our own personality.

Lesson #44: Inspiration from Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947–) made his mark first in the field of professional bodybuilding, then in Hollywood.

I’ll be back.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Lesson #45: How Success Works

I remember when I listened to my first success program; it was called “The Seeds of Greatness” by Denis Waitley. At age 10, I did not understand that much but I enjoyed every word of the program. I was, however, waiting for him to tell me exactly how to become successful. Was there a certain widget I needed to create or sell? Who would I sell it to? How exactly was I going to make my million dollars? I anxiously waited to hear these answers.

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Lesson #46: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Success is about fulfilling the needs of others. Successful companies and organizations generally do this by offering products or services that others desire. Individuals can fulfill needs of others in many different ways. Before an organization or individual can meet the needs of others, they must first understand how one is motivated by unsatisfied needs, then identify and satisfy those needs.
Section 11: Week 10

Lesson #47: Building Another’s Esteem

We have already discussed the value of self-esteem: how important it is in success as well as how it is one of the top motivators. We have discussed ways to build our self-esteem and we have discussed ways that others can deliberately or indeliberately lower our self-esteem. There is another very powerful way to control esteem, and that is by giving it to others.

Lesson #48: Success is a Lifestyle

People generally want instant results with as little work as possible. They buy diet pills hoping to reach their ideal weight within days. They buy exercise gadgets from infomercials hoping to get that washboard stomach in 10 days with just minutes a day. They buy audio programs on success hoping to have what it takes to be successful after a few hours of listening. Things just do not work this way.

Lesson #49: Inspiration from Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was a writer, lecturer, and advocate for the deaf and blind.

Lesson #50: Create a Stressless Lifestyle

Some estimates say that about 80% of diseases are stress related. This means that if we learn to manage our stress and avoid unnecessary stress we can greatly improve our chances of avoiding disease and illness. Another result of stress that is often overlooked is its effect on the mind’s performance. Anytime the mind is forced to focus on negative forces (stress), it is difficult to stay positive and pursue your goals. Since stress in life is inevitable, the key is to create a stressless lifestyle.

Lesson #51: Your Dream Collage

The majority of us are visual people; that is, we rely on our sense of sight more than any other sense for learning. Visualization is the act of vividly imagining something as if it were happening and believing your visualization as if it were true. Although this level of visualization takes practice and time, the “dream collage” can help get you there much quicker.
Section 12: Week 11

Lesson #52: Today is a New Day

I like the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and not just because of its irony, but also because of how true it is. Behind that somewhat comedic statement is a meaning so important to your success; you should memorize it and repeat it to yourself on a regular basis. Understanding the meaning of this statement is what helps turn losers into winners and failures into successes.

Lesson #53: Baby Steps

At the beginning of the movie, What About Bob?, the highly neurotic and troubled Bob (played by Bill Murray) visits Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) for help with his troubles. Dr. Marvin prescribes his own best seller book, Baby Steps, which is about breaking down the apparently insurmountable problems into small, achievable goals. While this movie is fictional, the concept behind Baby Steps is very real and a great way to approach your goals and life’s challenges.

Lesson #54: Inspiration from Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was one of the greatest inventors of all time.

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
- Thomas A. Edison

Lesson #55: Luck

Jack worked hard through school. He studied every night, did his assignments on time, and did extra credit assignments when possible. He applied to 14 of the top colleges and was accepted to two of them. Jack chose Yale where he worked feverishly for another four years. During that time, he applied for dozens of internships and made many connections in the business world. Upon graduation, he interviewed for almost 50 jobs and out of his four job offers, he accepted a very attractive position as a high-level manager for a respectable company. When Jack’s friends learned of his success, they would say, “Boy, is he lucky!”

Lesson #56: Why Aren’t You Rich?

Why aren’t you rich? I love to ask this question to others. It seems like whenever I ask this question of someone, they respond by going into their best Bob Newhart routine—breaking a sweat and stuttering. Why aren’t YOU rich? We already know that riches are just a small part of success and money is not everything, blah blah blah... so for now, with that understanding, let’s just talk about being rich in a purely financial sense.
Section 13: Week 12

Lesson #57: Going the Extra Mile

Why do so many people do just what they need to do to “get by” in life rather than go the extra mile? Some say it is because people are generally lazy, and some say it is because people are generally unwilling to give something for nothing. However, I believe it is because people are just unaware of the chain reaction of positive events that come from going the extra mile. If everyone knew the great effects this gesture has, everyone would take the time to go the extra mile.

Lesson #58: Thank God It’s Any Day

In America, we have some disempowering sayings that, unfortunately, some have adopted as credos, and even worse, ways of life. Sayings like, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work,” “Don’t work too hard,” and the classic, “Thank God it’s Friday.” We use these snazzy sayings during “happy” hour, in conversations with friends and co-workers, and even stick them on the bumpers of our cars. It seems as if too many people universally share misery and hatred for one’s work. Why not live by the words, “Thank God it’s any day!”

Lesson #59: Inspiration from Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.
- Abraham Lincoln

Lesson #60: The Law of Diminishing Returns

The law of diminishing returns simply states that at some point the same effort yields less favorable results. This law can be adapted to many areas of life. Understanding and recognition of this law play an important part in success.

Lesson #61: Getting Better Every Day

How can you NOT remain positive and optimistic knowing that in some way, every day, the quality of your life is getting better and better? This is not a hard task, even for those who consider themselves “over the hill.” We are all endowed with the ability to make positive changes in our lives every day and literally become better people if we choose to.
Section 14: Week 13

Lesson #62: Read or Listen to Motivational/Educational Material

In the past 50 years or so, incredible progress has been made in the fields of personal achievement and personal development. People such as Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and Earl Nightingale, just to name a few, have devoted their entire lives to the study of success. Their lives’ work has been summarized in the books and audio programs they have released. Many of these books and programs sit like hidden gems on shelves of bookstores and in warehouses, waiting for readers to discover the life-changing information contained within.

Lesson #63: Brighten Up, Sunshine!

How often do you find yourself down and a little depressed? Don’t you find it strange that outside events that really have nothing to do with you, like the weather, can so easily influence your mood? Or perhaps you wake up to some bad news and resolve that “today is going to be one of those days,” and sure enough, it becomes one of “those days.” Good news, in many of these situations, good days are within your complete control.

Lesson #64: Inspiration from Sam Walton

Sam Walton (1918-1992) founded the Wal-Mart discount retail store chain in 1962 and revolutionized the retail industry. Here we have adapted Sam Walton’s 10 Rules For Success—from Sam Walton: Made in America, My Story, co-authored by J. Huey, Doubleday.

There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
- Sam Walton (1918-1992)

Lesson #65: Carrot or the Stick?

There is an old analogy for positive vs. negative reinforcement that refers to how people “motivate” donkeys. A carrot is used to positively reinforce the donkey’s behavior, whereas a quick and hard whack with a stick is used as a negative form of motivation. There have been numerous studies done with other animals, as well as humans, on the effectiveness of the two kinds of reinforcement. Conclusion: positive reinforcement produces greater and longer lasting results—most of the time.

Lesson #66: Introduction to Goals

I can begin this lesson writing about getting in a car without having a destination, shooting a bow and arrow but not having a target, or any of the other hundreds of goal setting analogies, but I am not going to. If you passed the fourth grade, you have probably heard most of these analogies anyway, so I won’t insult your intelligence. I will get right to the point: proper goal setting is an important part of success. Over the next three lessons, you will read about why we need goals, how to set goals, and most important, how to achieve goals. By the end of this three-part lesson, you will have taken a major step toward your success.
Section 15: Week 14

Lesson #67: How To Set Goals

There are many goal setting strategies available and, just as expected, some strategies work well for some people, and other strategies work better for other people. I cannot stress enough the importance of using a goal setting strategy that works best for you. This usually requires adapting a general strategy and removing the steps you see little value in and/or adding steps of your own.

Lesson #68: Achieving Your Goals

By now, you should be absolutely convinced of the importance of having goals and its direct relationship to success. You should have also defined and set at least three goals using some or all of the steps in the goal setting strategy in the previous lesson. Now it is time to create your plan of action and see your goals through.

Lesson #69: Inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was a humanitarian, United Nations diplomat, and First Lady; the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Lesson #70: Advertising, Marketing, and Sales

Every day, we as the public are “sold.” The average American is bombarded with hundreds of advertisements each day telling us what we need to be happy and what we need to avoid pain. Like it or not, this shapes our beliefs and values. It is very important in business and in our personal lives to understand basic marketing, know when you are being “sold,” and distinguish fact from fiction. In addition to understanding them, actually applying advertising and marketing techniques in your professional and personal life is a key element of success.

Lesson #71: Is It Right To Make So Much Money?

There are millions of people in this world who go without food every day. In the United States, one of the most abundant countries in the world, entire families live in rooms no bigger than the average walk-in closet, children wear rags as clothing, people living on the streets call cardboard boxes “home.” Closer to home, your friends and neighbors work just as hard as you do and are barely getting by. They drive cars that are held together by bondo and duct tape. They have mortgages and bills that prevent them from spending the money they do make on leisure or material possessions that will bring them enjoyment. With so many people in this world less fortunate than you, is it right for you to make so much money?
Section 16: Week 15

Lesson #72: The Power of Belief

Many think that the benefits and the seemingly miraculous results of belief are based on speculative or abstract reasoning, or the metaphysical. However, this is not the case. The power of belief is proven almost daily in the medical and scientific community and is known as the placebo effect. When researchers test the effects of new drugs on humans, they give the drug to some of the volunteers and they give a placebo, or an inactive substance or preparation, to the rest of the volunteers. In almost all cases, some of the volunteers that were given the placebo report the same effects as those who were given the actual drug.

Lesson #73: The Money Machine

There are many “well to do” individuals in this country who have substantial salaries by most standards. This group of individuals usually includes doctors, lawyers, college professors, executives and others in high-paid careers. Statistically, however, despite their level of income, most in this group still have financial difficulties. Once they stop working, their income stream ceases, or at least is drastically reduced. They spend their lives stressed about money and working 60-hour weeks because they feel they “have to” not because they enjoy it. This group of individuals spends their lives working for money.

Lesson #74: Inspiration from John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States.

Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
- John F. Kennedy

Lesson #75: Taking Risks

In the movie Parenthood, Gil (played by Steve Martin), with an obvious feeling of stress and frustration, comments on how chaotic his life is. His grandmother of advancing years begins to tell a story of how when she was younger, she loved the roller coaster because it goes up and down and was both frightening and exciting at the same time, whereas most other girls liked the merry-go-round that just goes round and round. Her point was clear: living the safe life without risk leads to a dull life without reward. It is the risk-takers that live their dreams and achieve success.

Lesson #76: Everyone has 24 Hours in a Day

How many times have you been guilty of saying “I don’t have time for that” or “There is not enough time in my schedule...” or a similar phrase stating that by some freak time-space continuum disruption you have been given fewer minutes in your hour, fewer hours in your day, or fewer days in your year than every other being on earth? Isn’t it true that what you really mean to say is, “I have chosen to spend my time on something else”? What a difference. The truth is, each of us chooses how to spend our time. You might be saying to yourself, “I HAVE to work, or my family doesn’t eat!” The reality is, you CHOOSE to work so your family can eat. It is without doubt that some choices do have some less than desirable options, but for the most part, it is a choice over which you have control. Avoiding the phrase “I don’t have time...,” will soon help you to realize that you do have the time needed for just about anything you choose to accomplish in life.
Section 17: Week 16

Lesson #77: The “Good Ol’ Days”

Remember the good ol’ days? It was a time when bread cost a nickel, people were kind to one another, and life seemed so simple. “Ah the good ol’ days... if only life were like this today, then I would be happy and successful”. Shyeaa… right.

Lesson #78: Financial Freedom

Imagine, if you will, a life free from financial obligations and concerns. No worries about not having enough money ever again, no desire for more money because you have everything you want that money can buy. Imagine spending the 8-16 hours a day you now spend working for money on living your dream, doing whatever fills the void inside and feeling completely fulfilled each day of your life. This is financial freedom.

Lesson #79: Inspiration from Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was the Nobel Prize winner in 1921 for physics.

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
- Albert Einstein

Lesson #80: Business Systems

One day out of curiosity I decided to take a McDonald’s® hamburger, remove the bun, take off the pickle, scrape off the condiments, and eat it (back in my beef eating days). Don’t ask me what motivated me to do this—perhaps it was just the natural curiosity of a 13-year-old. I’ll never forget the mad dash I took running to the bathroom thinking I was going to lose it. I did manage to keep the hamburger down, but that experience led me to a question that I would not find the answer to until years later: if McDonald’s® hamburgers taste so bad*, why are they the largest hamburger franchise in the world?

* This is the opinion of the author and it is not a proven fact that McDonald’s® hamburgers taste bad. In other words, McDonald’s® people... please don’t sue me.

Lesson #81: An Extra Hour a Day

What would you do with an extra hour a day? Learn a new language? Start a business? Write a book? Learn a new skill? If you have the motivation and desire to use this extra hour, it can be yours.
Section 18: Week 17

Lesson #82: Having It All

Too many people think to be successful you must “have it all”—the latest model car, best house, newest gadgets, etc. The fact is, “all” is an infinite amount that is just not possible to be had by any one person. Our time on this earth is too limited to be spent in the pursuit of things to be had. As the very insightful comedian Steven Wright once said, “You can’t have everything, where would you put it?”

Lesson #83: Accepting Criticism

Gautama Buddha’s preaching was interrupted one day by a man unleashing a flurry of abusive invective. Calmly waiting for his critic to finish, Buddha asked, “If a man offered a gift to another, but the gift was declined, to whom would the gift belong?” “To the one who offered it,” the man replied.

Lesson #84: Inspiration from Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was one of the twentieth century’s most important figures, best known as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1940–1945 and 1951–1955.

The price of greatness is responsibility.
- Sir Winston Churchill

Lesson #85: Dealing with Peer Pressure

In kindergarten, it was the kids who threw clay out the window. In the fifth grade, it was the kids who skipped class. In high school, it was the kids who smoked, got drunk, and did drugs. Even in our adult lives, there are, and will always be, those people who unjustly influence the lives of others. This influence is known as peer pressure.

Lesson #86: Ideas for Wealth

When was the last time you said something such as, “I wish they would invent something to...” or “Somebody really should...” or “Why don’t they make something that...”? If you are like most people, you probably say these words on a regular basis. Who are “they”? Who is “somebody”? Why can’t the “they” and “somebody” be you?
Section 19: Week 18

Lesson #87: Using Questions Effectively

There is a tool we have in communication that is so important, yet most people fail to make full use of this tool. It is called the question. Most people use questions for one purpose, to get information. This is a fine use of the question but certainly not the only use. Questions can be used in several ways in the art of communication. Those who use questions effectively will be more successful and influential communicators.

Lesson #88: Avoid Criticizing and Complaining

You have just found out that one of your subordinates at work made a costly mistake that may cost you your job. When you confront your subordinate about the mistake, he is obviously remorseful but you proceed to vent your frustration and say everything that is on your mind anyway. As a result, he quits, and several of his co-workers are now full of resentment toward you, and have lost respect for you. Productivity in your department is way down, and ironically, you are now at an even greater risk of losing your job, all due to your inability to criticize effectively.

Lesson #89: Inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld (1954–) is a comedian and television actor in his long running series “Seinfeld”.

The Four Levels of Comedy: Make your friends laugh, Make strangers laugh, Get paid to make strangers laugh, and Make people talk like you because it’s so much fun.
- Jerry Seinfeld

Lesson #90: Get a Job?

In my four years of high school and four years as an undergraduate (okay, four and a quarter), the idea that I had the choice of starting my own business, or working for myself in some other way, was mentioned but a few times. As a student, the traditional approach of “study hard, get good grades, find a good job” was hammered into our brains over and over. What appears to be good, solid advice is the same advice that is creating a society of dependent and financially insecure adults.

Lesson #91: Learning to Fish

On the streets, for every economically disadvantaged person begging for money there are several people who help out by giving change. At home, for every dependent adolescent there is a loving parent catering to the child’s every need. In business, for every needy employee there is a caring manager just trying to help. There is an old saying by Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism, which says “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Too often in life we ask for fish, and too often others give fish away. Within Mr. Tzu’s statement lie two keys to success.
Section 20: Week 19

Lesson #92: Dependability

John Donne, English metaphysical poet from the late 16th century, once said, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...” As an employer, husband, and father, I can truly appreciate the concept behind this truth. No man (or woman, as it is PC to say in the 21st century) is alone in this world. We have others on whom we can depend to help us achieve success. However, before we can depend on others, we should set an example by first understanding and practicing one of the principles of success: do what you say you are going to do, and do it when you say you are going to do it.

Lesson #93: The Subject of Money

I remember sitting around with my friends, back in elementary school, talking about money. We would all talk about how great it would be to have lots of money and even discuss ideas on how to start making money. We talked about making wooden novelties in my Dad’s workshop and selling them door-to-door, trading and selling baseball cards, starting a leaf-raking business and more. The subject of money got us excited and started our pre-teen creative juices flowing. As the years went by, we spoke less and less of money until our adult lives when it became a taboo subject. What happened?

Lesson #94: Inspiration from Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet (1930–) is known as perhaps the greatest investor ever to live. He became the world’s richest person by sticking to common sense principles in stock market investing.

Lesson #95: A Better Way To Save

There is an age-old piece of wisdom passed from generation to generation that essentially says if you want something, save your money and buy it. We hear it all the time today. Phrases such as “I am saving up for...” or “saving for a rainy day.” To save is wise, however, the way most people save is not. Most people see their income, and income potential, as limited. Thus, the only way to start saving money is to cut back on spending. There is a better way—make more money.

Lesson #96: How To Get a Raise

One of the easiest ways to immediately increase your income is by asking for a raise. Many people underestimate their value and accept the standard pay schedule set by the organization for which they work. Rule number one in asking for a raise is to make sure you are doing more than what is written in your job description and/or do it better than most others in the same position. If you are only doing what you are getting paid for, and doing it no better than the average employee, then your pay is most likely right where it should be.
Section 21: Week 20

Lesson #97: Integrity

The word “integrity” is probably the most overused and most misunderstood word on resumes. So many people use it, but very few actually know what it means. By definition, integrity means “a steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” Whose moral or ethical code? Your parents’? The Catholic church’s? Your friend’s? Having integrity is doing what is consistent with your beliefs, and living by the moral or ethical code you have chosen to adopt. All too often individuals will say things they believe others want to hear, rather than saying what they believe. An example is the single guy who will say anything and everything to get that first date. Having integrity is about being and acting as the real you.

Lesson #98: Knowledge Is Only Potential Power

Welcome to day 135. You are over four months into this course and have no doubt been exposed to some valuable information on the achievement of success. Through the use of education, inspiration, and action, it is my goal to see to it that you turn this information into knowledge. However, knowledge itself won’t get you much more than a new microwave on a game show perhaps. Knowledge is only potential power. It is knowledge, followed by action and persistence that is true power. It is up to you, and no one else, to use the knowledge you have to produce lasting results.

Lesson #99: Inspiration from George Foreman

George Foreman (1949–) is a businessman, entertainer, preacher, writer, and professional boxer—the oldest boxer to ever win the world championship (at age 45).

Lesson #100: Power of Networking

Nowadays, when most people hear the word “networking” they think of interconnected computers or getting their computer connected to the Internet. Long before the advent of the Internet, and even before computers, there was another type of networking; the type where one interacts or engages in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support. This form of networking is responsible for the success of many individuals and businesses today.

Lesson #101: Welcome Frustration

Back in 1995, when I had a graphic design business, I wanted to use the Internet to share designs with customers. At the time, however, there were only a few “companies” offering web hosting. The first company I went with took my money and ran; the second company’s server was only up for about 3 hours a day; and the third company’s server was so complex, it took me hours just to upload a photo and make some basic edits to a web page. Out of total frustration, I committed the next six months of my life to learn all I could about Internet programming and hosting so I could do it myself, the right way. This was the beginning of Adgrafix, the company that I would eventually sell for 20 million dollars.
Section 22: Week 21

Lesson #102: Express Sincere Interest in Others

Do you know that person at the party who is constantly rambling on about him or herself, not giving anyone else a chance to speak? We all know that person, and the chances are many of us ARE that person. We may not realize it, but others sure do. It was Dale Carnegie who said, over 80 years ago, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Lesson #103: Always Look for Opportunity

How many green cars did you see the last time you were on the road? Chances are, green cars were all around you but you did not “see,” or at least did not notice, any. Why not? Because you were not looking for green cars. Opportunity is the same way. It is all around us, every day of our lives. Since most people are not looking for opportunity, they just don’t “see” it. The key is to find opportunity and do not wait for opportunity to find you.

Lesson #104: Inspiration from Ray Kroc

Raymond Albert Kroc (1902-1984) was the founder of the McDonald’s Corporation; the company that changed the eating habits of the world (for better or worse).

You’re only as good as the people you hire.
- Ray Kroc (1902-1984)

Lesson #105: The Use and Misuse of Pronouns in the Workplace

I do not have many pet peeves; in fact, peeves do not make very good pets. One I do have is people who work with me isolating themselves from rest of the team or organization by using words such as “I,” “me,” or “mine,” and assuming credit or ownership of that which belongs to the team or organization. For example, we once had a system administrator who would constantly refer to our servers as “his” servers. This annoyed me a bit, considering I was the one who paid in excess of $5000 per server, but it also isolated the rest of the members of our team who all had a piece of ownership in our company.

Lesson #106: Success is Health

It was not until recently that I realized firsthand what a crucial part health played in success. I started having debilitating head pains almost daily. When this pain started, I would just have to isolate myself and put up with the pain for anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. This excruciatingly painful phenomenon that lasted six long weeks was diagnosed by neurologists to be cluster headaches. To my own surprise, I was not depressed or even down during this time. My eyes were opened by a new appreciation of life and health. During those six weeks, when I was not experiencing the pain, I started to experience appreciation and gratitude like never before.
Section 23: Week 22

Lesson #107: Let it Go

One of my favorite all-time recurring characters on Saturday Night Live is the “grumpy old man” played by Dana Carvey. Dana does his impression of an 80-year-old man who is angry at the world. This character represents a man who never let go of a lifetime of grudges, resentment, and hate. While Dana’s portrayal of this character is very funny, it is a sad truth that the world is full people just like this, both male and female, of all ages.

Lesson #108: Never Be Wrong Again

High self-confidence and success are often directly related. As you become more and more successful, your self-confidence increases, sometimes to the point where you believe you are right in just about everything you do and say. Very often, you may be right, but when you are wrong, and you project a cocky attitude, others will be all over you for it.

Lesson #109: Inspiration from Walt Disney

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was the creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Theme Parks.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
- Walt Disney

Lesson #110: Let’s Make $1,000,000.00

Whenever I come across a book, article, or website on making a million dollars, I notice the method used is either a) a long-term secure investment strategy that begins at age 20 and matures at age 65 or b) an attempt to get readers to sell the author’s product. Well, the strategy I am about to propose is one that will take seven years, not 45, and it does not have anything to do with selling our services. It is the same formula I used to build Adgrafix, which in 7 years I sold for 20 times the one million dollar goal. If acquiring more money is part of your definition of success, then read on.

Lesson #111: Intuition

You find yourself in the fortunate situation of having two great job offers. The first job offer makes more sense financially, logistically, and you believe you will enjoy it more. However, something inside you is telling you that you should choose the second job offer. You cannot articulate why, you just somehow “know.” What do you do? If you tend to be more analytical, you find comfort in being able to justify your decisions with facts and figures; this, after all, is very reasonable. People don’t get fired for making justified decisions. However, sometimes you find yourself saying, “I should have gone with my gut feeling.”
Section 24: Week 23

Lesson #112: How To Lose a JOB in 10 Days

Not too long ago a movie came out called How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days. I know it sounds like a bit of a “chic flick,” but it’s not. It is a hilarious movie about the more common things women do to turn men away in relationships. So in the spirit of fun, I chose to write this lesson in the same style of what NOT to do, but instead of relationships, this is about how to lose a job. So if you are interested in getting fired, or if you are interested in learning what NOT to do to keep your job, read on.

Lesson #113: The “All Things In Moderation” Myth

If your health is an important part of your success, then adopting the “all things in moderation” rule of thumb can be a significant stumbling block on your road to success. Here’s why.

Lesson #114: Inspiration from Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash (1915–2001) was the founder of Mary Kay, Inc. Mary Kay does business in more than 30 markets on five continents and generated 2002 sales of nearly $1.6 billion in wholesale sales worldwide.

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.
- Mary Kay Ash

Lesson #115: What ELSE Can I Do?

When creating YearToSuccess.com, I knew that the success of this program would be based on member referrals. This led me to the question, “What can I do to encourage member referrals?” Once I had some basic ideas and put them into effect, I could have stopped. However, for this program to be successful, I have to continually ask myself, “What else can I do?” This question, although not always an immediate answer producer, has led me to find new solutions and create new tools to help our members share the program, thus increasing membership. Too often instead of asking what else can be done, people make statements such as, “I’ve done all I can.” My reply to that statement is, “Have you?”

Lesson #116: Good Things About a Bad Economy

It is tough at times during a recession (oops... slow economy) to be so positive and upbeat in the presence of others who are obviously affected by such times. While I do sympathize, I also believe we live in our own little worlds, and we can choose to focus on the negative or the positive; the choice is ours.
Section 25: Week 24

Lesson #117: Learn How to Say NO

In the world of sales, when a prospect says “no” or “not interested,” what it really means, most of the time, is that the prospect needs more information. It is estimated that more than 50% of the time we say no, we are doing so out of reflex or habit. At the same time, many people are pressured into saying yes when they really mean no mostly out of fear of offending or fear of standing out. Every day we end up getting stuck doing things we do not want to do, buying things we really don’t want, and missing opportunities because we do not know how to say no.

Lesson #118: Smile

“Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.” - George Eliot
“Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give.” - Lawrence G. Lovasik
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” - Mother Teresa

Lesson #119: Inspiration from Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his age.

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!
- Andrew Carnegie

Lesson #120: Taking Advice

It seems as if everywhere we turn others are giving us advice, or an opinion about what could or should be done about a situation or problem. A key to success is knowing the difference between good and not-so-good advice and acting on the good advice. As Wilson Mizner wrote, “To profit from good advice requires more wisdom than to give it.”

Lesson #121: Avoiding Arguments

One of the greatest obstacles that stands in the way of success is one’s own ego. It seems to be in our nature to prove our superiority, point out when others are wrong, and become very defensive when others point out when we are wrong. Constructive debating and talking out a difference of opinion are appropriate at times, but it’s usually best to avoid arguments when possible.
Section 26: Week 25

Lesson #122: Winning Others To Your Way of Thinking

Back in the 1930’s, to the detriment of mankind, a man named Adolf Hitler was able to convince millions of people that his conduct was “in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” Several years earlier, a man called Mahatma Gandhi helped free the Indian people from British rule through nonviolent resistance. What did these two men on complete opposite sides of the moral spectrum have in common? They were both masters of winning others to their way of thinking.

Lesson #123: Should You Commit?

What if you were offered the position of chief ashtray licker of the XYZ Corporation? Your job, if you chose to accept it, would consist of licking dirty ashtrays clean all day long. For this job, you would be paid one million dollars for just one day’s work. Would you accept it? What if you would be paid ten million dollars? Now, what if there were an 80% chance that you would only be paid one dollar? What if you actually enjoyed licking ashtrays, would that change anything? Should you commit yourself to this job?

Lesson #124: Inspiration from John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), America’s first billionaire, was the driving force behind the creation and development of the Standard Oil Company and one of the first major philanthropists in the U.S.

I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.
- John D. Rockefeller

Lesson #125: It’s Not Always About Trying Harder

As an amateur bodybuilder, it has taken me almost 20 years to learn first-hand that success is not always about trying harder. This statement seems a bit contradictory to the principles of muscle development since when it comes to building muscle, maximum results are produced with maximum effort. However, I have learned the hard way that trying harder at doing the wrong exercises, using poor form, and working the same muscle group too often, will not bring me closer to success. In fact, due to injury, doing the wrong things has pushed me further from my goals. In addition, genetically speaking, I can never look like a Schwarzenegger no matter how hard I try. Understanding that success is not about trying harder has helped me to do MY best, and has kept me from getting discouraged when my efforts do not pay off.

Lesson #126: Ease of Doing Business

There are several places to shop for groceries in my town. They are all within the same approximate driving distance, and they all have the same general groceries. However, one of the stores does something unique that the other stores in town do not do: the baggers push the cart out to your car, load the bags into your car, then return the carriage, while accepting nothing in return besides a “Thank you.” Since my wife and I shop with two small children, you can probably guess who gets our business. Even though this store is a bit more expensive than the others in town, we feel it is well worth it. The management of this local grocery store understands and applies one of the key principles of business success: make it easy for the customer to do business with you.
Section 27: Week 26

Lesson #127: Be Flexible

When I sold my first web hosting company to a large, publicly traded corporation, I was excited about taking our already profitable and successful web hosting company to a new level. We went from 11 employees to a division of over 200 people. We then had the resources of many bright people with Harvard educations who had been in business for decades. We also had access to money to improve our current services and begin some real marketing campaigns. However, within just days, my enthusiasm began to wane with the realization that flexibility was not part of this new corporate culture. Changes that we used to implement in minutes now took months. This rigid, multi-management layered environment in an industry that demands flexibility would eventually lead to the downfall of the entire division.

Lesson #128: Using Practical Knowledge To Get the Job

Gordy has been working on his own for the last 20 years as a hair stylist. He has no college education and no experience in the “corporate world,” yet yearns to enter the business world. However, his lack of self-confidence and his skewed perception of what employers are looking for keep him from getting any of the jobs for which he applies. Good news for Gordy—his best chance to get the job he desires is by acquiring the practical knowledge needed for the position. The reason this is good news is that practical knowledge does not take four years and $100,000.00 to acquire.

Lesson #129: Inspiration from J.P. Morgan

J.P Morgan (1837-1913) was one of the world’s foremost financial figures during the two pre-World War I decades.

You can’t pick cherries with your back to the tree.
- J.P Morgan (1837-1913)

Lesson #130: Happiness: Part 1

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, with the help of others, wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men (I am sure he meant women as well) were endowed with the right to the “pursuit of happiness.” Success, to many people, is simply finding and living a life of happiness. Like success, the definition of happiness cannot come from the dictionary; it must come from inside you. What is happiness to you? If you have not taken the time to define what happiness means to you, what have you spent your whole life pursuing?

Lesson #131: Happiness: Part 2

In order to stimulate some thought, I can tell you what happiness is to others. Use some of these ideas in creating your own definition.
Section 28: Week 27

Lesson #132: When To Live

“Live in the now,” “stop and smell the roses,” “don’t let life pass you by”… There are dozens of quotes that all mean essentially the same thing: your mind should be focused on the present, not the future nor the past. Some tell us to be mindful of the past and take the future into consideration, but focus should be primarily on the present. To me, living in the present means being aware of your conscious choice to focus on the past, present or future—it is not necessarily having to focus on the present.

Lesson #133: Avoid Offending Others

I will never forget a meeting that I attended when I was an employee at a very large publicly traded corporation. There were about ten attendees, many of whom were new to the company. The head of the sales department, who was on the speaker phone, led the meeting from another location. For over 20 minutes, he released his rage on the rest of us using language unsuitable for even an “R” rated movie. At the end of the meeting, I was in a state of shock. I could not believe that a “professional” would actually behave this way. How did this guy keep his job? The other new employees and I were all extremely offended. When we raised our concern with a member of the management team, who happened to be present during the vulgarity fest, he nonchalantly replied, “Oh, he is always like that.” Shortly after we discovered that just about the entire upper-level management team were all “like that.” From that day on, we lost respect for the management team and without a doubt, productivity suffered greatly.

Lesson #134: Inspiration from Debbi Fields Rose

Debbi Fields (1956–) is the founder and former chairperson of Mrs. Fields Cookies, a $500 million company with over 650 domestic locations, and over 65 international locations in 11 different countries.

If you have a dream, you’ve got to reach for it. A dream won’t come true by itself—you’ve got to make it happen.
- Debbi Fields Rose

Lesson #135: Using Negative Words

Being a dad, I have taught my kids many things since their birth, and they have taught me a great many things as well. When my two year old son would play with his toys, I found myself saying proactively, and in a warning tone, “Don’t throw your toys,” only to realize that I just put an idea in his little head that was most likely not there seconds ago. Sure enough, seconds later, toys would be flying across the room. I now say, “Play nicely with your toys please,” and get much better results.

Lesson #136: Building Rapport

Have you ever spoken with someone and had the feeling that you were “not on the same page” or “not speaking the same language”? How about engaged a possible romantic companion only to realize very quickly that you were “incompatible”? The chances are you did not have good rapport (pronounced ra - poor) with the other person. The ability to build rapport is one ability to which many great communicators attribute their success.
Section 29: Week 28

Lesson #137: Avoid Lying

Nobody likes dishonest people, whether in a personal situation or in business. Just about the worst label one can be branded with is a “liar.” Lying is like a contagious disease but rather than spreading to others; it spreads to all parts of one’s life. One little lie often turns into a series of lies all constructed to support the other lies. Then, each one of those lies needs more lies to support those lies, and what was once a small white lie turns into a lifetime of dishonesty and deceit. Sooner or later, those who lie will get caught in a lie, and trust, integrity, and chances at lasting success will be lost.

Lesson #138: Creative Negotiation

Years ago I was giving a seminar at a beautiful resort in Orlando, Florida. This was a “high class” hotel and convention center that is not best known for their ability to bargain. At the last minute, I realized that I completely overlooked the need for a projection screen, which I needed for part of my presentation. I could have skipped the presentation, but it would have taken away from the seminar. I could have projected on the wall, but that would have given my audience a bad impression. I needed the screen. The hotel offered me one for $250. No matter how much money you have, paying $250 for a screen for just 10 minutes of use is not right. My first attempt at a price negotiation failed–they insisted their prices were firm. So it was time to think creatively. I offered to distribute menus for their restaurant to each of my 50 guests in exchange for the use of their screen. They accepted. That night, the hotel got well over $250 in extra revenue, and I got my screen without paying.

Lesson #139: Inspiration from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs (1955–2011) was the co-founder of Apple Computer Corporation who became a multi-millionaire before the age of 30 by revolutionizing the computer industry.

Lesson #140: Recognition

Ever since my wife created a recognition chart for our four-year-old daughter, we have seen a level of cooperation, good behavior, and achievement like never before. This chart is nothing more than a piece of paper that hangs on our bulletin board in our home. On the paper are several different categories in which, depending on performance, my wife draws a little face with a frown, half star, or full star. Whether we are 4 or 104, all of us appreciate and will strive for recognition.

Lesson #141: Being Popular

I once saw a movie where a twenty-something-year-old posed as a high school student to help his sister become popular. He gains instant popularity when he wins a school cafeteria tub-of-coleslaw eating contest and exclaims, “I’m the coleslaw king of the world!!!” I wish I could say that this was just a movie, and that is not how popularity works in high school, but I can’t. I can say, however, that this type of popularity is like building a house of cards—easily collapsible. Later in the movie we see this character turn from hero to zero just as quickly as he became popular, when his identity is discovered. True popularity may take longer to build, but when built with a solid foundation, it can make one’s school years some of the most enjoyable and memorable years of one’s life.
Section 30: Week 29

Lesson #142: Hostile E-mails

Back in the “old” days, before e-mail, people used to use ink filled tubes called “pens” and material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses (paper) to compose messages to send to others. They would use a delivery system called “the postal service” to send this “mail” which took days, not seconds, for the recipient to actually receive the letter. When one was acting on anger and composed a hostile message, he had plenty of time to clear his head before actually mailing the letter; there was the process of writing the letter, addressing the envelope, putting the letter in the envelope, affixing the postage, and placing it in the mailbox. Today, one can compose a nasty message, send it, and have the recipient reading it, all in less than a minute. Needless to say, this type of instant communication causes our emotions to get the better of us in our e-mail communication. Effective handling of hostile e-mails, and avoiding sending hostile e-mails yourself, will give you a significant boost in your pursuit of success.

Lesson #143: Just Ask

After I had sold Adgrafix, my wife and I started the search for our dream summer home. After looking at dozens of homes, we started to become discouraged that our dream home was not out there. However, one day while riding our bikes in our favorite summer vacation spot, we found our dream home. The only problem was, the house was not for sale. We decided not to let a little thing such as that stop us. We wrote a quick note expressing our interest on a napkin we had, and then placed it in the screen door of the house. Two weeks later, we received a call from the homeowner’s real estate broker, and a month later the home was ours. For many wonderful years, my family and I have cherished the time we spent together in our dream summer home. If we had never asked the former owner if he were interested in selling his home, the home would never have been ours to enjoy.

Lesson #144: Inspiration from Charles R. Schwab

Charles R. Schwab (1937–) is the founder, chairman of the board, and co-CEO of The Charles Schwab Corporation, which is one of the nation’s largest financial services firms.

Lesson #145: Fear of Rejection

During my latter years in college, I took a sales job with my sister and mother selling ads in a free magazine that was distributed in hospitals. Majoring in and having quite a strong aptitude for marketing, no matter how hard I tried, I could not help thinking how I was ripping off the businesses to whom I sold the ads. In my eyes, the concept was simple: approach the businesses who count on the local hospital for business, and insinuate that by taking an ad, they are doing the hospital a favor—in short, use deceptive marketing. Due to the responses from the advertisers and the renewal rates, I was quite sure that the ads did not work. Never before did I have such a strong fear of rejection. Needless to say, I did not do very well at the job, but looking back, the experience and lessons learned were priceless.

Lesson #146: Do It Yourself?

I once read a very amusing e-mail proving that it would be a waste of Bill Gates’ time to bend down to pick up a $3000 bill if one existed. This is because his time, according to the math shown in the e-mail, is worth more than $3000 per second. In theory, this means it costs Bill Gates $90,000.00 just to pee and another $30,000.00 if he washes his hands. Of course, there are many false assumptions here but it does prove a good point: our time has monetary value, and there is a cost associated with everything we do. Besides, it sure does make an amusing story. :)
Section 31: Week 30

Lesson #147: Random Acts of Kindness

In 1928, James E. West, the “Godfather” of the Boy Scouts, said, “...the Daily Good Turn is an important factor in the development of a habit of service and attitude of mind which offset a tendency to selfishness.” The Boy Scouts refer to good deeds and random acts of kindness as “good turns” and focus on the benefit of helping others by a selfless act. In fact, selflessness (not selfishness) is a common characteristic of both successful and happy people with benefits extending far beyond displaying mere selflessness itself.

Lesson #148: Be a Trend Spotter

In the movie, You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, the owner of a small, children’s bookstore in a big city. Tom Hanks plays Joe Fox, an executive and heir to the Fox Books superstore empire, who opens one of his superstores in the same neighborhood. After months of fighting, picketing and protesting, Kathleen is forced to close the business that served the neighborhood for over 40 years. Joe was profiting from the book superstore trend while Kathleen was living in denial. Joe was a trend spotter, and Kathleen was a trend fighter.

Lesson #149: Inspiration from Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren (1939–) is the founder and chairman of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation—a leader in the design, marketing, and distribution of premium lifestyle products.

I am not looking like Armani today and somebody else tomorrow. I look like Ralph Lauren. And my goal is to constantly move in fashion and move in style without giving up what I am.
- Ralph Lauren

Lesson #150: Show Respect for the Opinions of Others

I have recently been reading about riots taking place in Boston and New York, due to the 2003 Red Sox/Yankees playoffs. For the most part, these are grown men causing each other physical injury all because some believe, “Sox rule!” and others believe, “Yanks rule!” Not showing respect for another’s opinion is not only a faux pas, but can, and often does, lead to anxiety, tension, failed relationships, and even unlawful actions.

Lesson #151: View Life from a Different Perspective

Growing up, I lived in a middle-class neighborhood, in a middle-class house. The area in which I lived was very economically diverse. One town south there were neighborhoods where one would be shot at just by driving through, and one town west was where some of the wealthiest people in the country called home. Exposure to these extremes taught me to be grateful for all I did have as well as showed me the possibility of living abundantly.
Section 32: Week 31

Lesson #152: The Importance of a Good Vocabulary

I wish I knew in my school years what I know today about the importance of a good vocabulary. Back then, when teachers gave us scores of words to learn, all I could think about was the fact that I had never heard any of these words spoken by my peers. To me, they were just words randomly interjected into our readings so we could be tricked into thinking that they were important. I never realized this one important fact: as my peers began to learn these new words, they began to use them, which left me “below the curve.” I was only thinking about my present and not my future. Many adults don't bother to increase their vocabulary for the same reason.

Lesson #153: The Importance of Good Grammar

Many years ago I was watching infomercials, as I often did, and came across one of a guy selling a program that teaches others how to become rich by placing ads in newspapers. This guy, although filled with enthusiasm, made some grammatical errors on his short infomercial that, for me, were more painful to listen to than fingernails scratching a chalkboard. He said things such as, “Alls you have to do is...” and “Let me ax you a question....” Two months later, after seeing his new infomercial, sans grammatical errors, I knew that others had taken offense to his mistakes as well.

Lesson #154: Inspiration from Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) was a pioneer in public speaking and personality development. Dale Carnegie influenced millions of people and helped define the industry now known as “self-help.”

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain—and most fools do.
- Dale Carnegie

Lesson #155: Dealing with Spam: Part 1

I’ll never forget the first spam I received. It was in the summer of 1995 when I had my first e-mail account with a company called Netcom. I remember being so excited and so intrigued that someone from across the country found me and wanted to sell me something. However, I was not interested in hair loss cream so I politely responded to their e-mail thanking them for their offer and explaining to the merchant that I was only 23 years old and was not in need of such a product. In 1995, since spam was fairly rare, this was actually not a bad way to deal with spam. Today, however, spam has evolved from a harmless sales pitch to a global epidemic that is responsible for increased levels of anger and billions of dollars of lost productivity.

Lesson #156: Dealing with Spam: Part 2

It is important to know spammer’s “tricks of the trade.” These are tricks used by spammers to prevent them from being shut down, get the attention of readers, build more qualified lists, and prevent spam filters from detecting their messages. Spammers rely on deceptive practices to increase the odds that their messages will be read. Much of the deception turns into outright fraud when it comes to the offer. Learn the following “tricks” and save yourself countless hours of dealing with spam.
Section 33: Week 32

Lesson #157: Solving Business Problems

Did you ever find yourself asking why the town does not “do something” about the busy intersection, or why your Internet service provider does not “do something” about preventing downtime, or have you found yourself identifying any problem to which you are not offering a better solution? We all have. In general, people tend to say what is wrong with the world but very few offer suggestions on how to improve it. Even fewer people will ever take action to do anything about it. In general life situations, this is acceptable. After all, the town does not rely on its citizens to plan intersections. In business, however, more should be expected from, and offered by, an organization’s team members in the form of active problem solving.

Lesson #158: The Word “But”

Perhaps one of the most famous disciplinarians in history was Mike Brady, from the ’70s sitcom “The Brady Bunch.” In just about every episode, he would lecture one or more of his kids, with his lovely hair-of-gold wife by his side. Mike may be one of the most famous disciplinarians, but his use of the contradicting “but” and “however” sure left a lot to be desired.

Lesson #159: Inspiration from Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson (1950-) is best known as the flamboyant British billionaire who started Virgin records but widely diversified in many businesses.

Lesson #160: Three Rejections = Success

I recently got a call from my brother whose website we host. He asked me how he can see statistics on an audio file that was being accessed using a URL that was bypassing his domain (for those of you who have no idea what I just said, substitute “He asked me a favor”). I told him these statistics were kept in a file he could not access—rejection #1. He then asked me how he could get access to this file. I told him there was no way to give him access to this file—rejection #2. He then asked if it is at all possible for him to see these statistics. I told him there is always a way, but it would be time-consuming and costly to have a script made to do what he needs—rejection #3. Then he simply said, “Can you think of any way you can help me?” Not being one to walk away from an intellectual challenge, I immediately came up with a solution that took only seconds to implement for him. Result: he was grateful, and I was happy I could help him with something that meant so much to him. My brother reminded me of one of the most important and practical principles of success: one must often go through three rejections to get a “yes.”

Lesson #161: Preventing Worry

The story of John D. Rockefeller, nineteenth century oil industry billionaire, is one of the most compelling stories demonstrating both the destructive effects of worry and the dramatic positive effects that managing worry can have. By age 53, Rockefeller was reported to have looked as if he were 103. He was living on liquid meals because his stomach could not take solid foods. He was well known at that time for being one of the meanest, most miserable men in business. Fortunately for Rockefeller, and for the world, he followed his doctor’s advice of removing worry from his life, lived to age 98, and became one of the greatest philanthropists of all time. Preventing worry could have made Rockefeller’s first half of his life as enjoyable and rewarding as his second half.
Section 34: Week 33

Lesson #162: Eliminating Worry

At age 53, John D. Rockefeller made the wisest decision of his life by choosing to manage worry rather than accepting an early death. In the many years that followed, John D. no longer let the little things in life trouble him, he let go of his greed by giving away fortunes and he learned to accept the inevitable. He summed it up in a poem he wrote on his 86th birthday:
I was early taught to work as well as play,
My life has been one long, happy holiday,
Full of work and full of play –
I dropped the worry on the way –
And God was good to me every day.

Lesson #163: Key Contacts

Sometimes your most valuable contacts in life can be the least likely ones. In 1995, when I started our first web hosting company, we had this customer who ran a Russian dating service. His web designer eventually came to work with us, and then left to start his own web hosting business. I kept in contact and maintained a good relationship with him. Several years later, that web designer introduced me to the company that would eventually buy my company for 20 million dollars. Years earlier, I never would have suspected that an 18-year-old web designer of a Russian dating service website would ever end up being one of my most valuable contacts.

Lesson #164: Inspiration from John H. Johnson

John H. Johnson (1918–2005) was CEO and chairman of Johnson Publishing company. John H. Johnson rose from the welfare rolls of the depression to become the most successful black businessman in American history; the founder of EBONY, and JET magazines; a member of the FORBES 400.

I believe that the greater the handicap the greater the triumph.
- John H. Johnson

Lesson #165: Using the Web

Since 1994, the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web (or just “Web”) has been constantly evolving to what it is today: a virtual global marketplace, information and education center, and communication network. The Internet has dramatically changed the way we work. In this new era, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection, despite sex, race, age, financial status, and physical limitations has the same opportunities to find success with the help of the Internet. However, many people are intimidated by the Internet and limit their own success. Knowing and understanding a few basic principles can help you take full advantage of the power of the Web and help you in your journey of success.

Lesson #166: Spend Less Than You Earn

There is a common misconception that wealthy people have fewer money problems than the average person. Likewise, people with money problems tend to believe that more money will solve their money problems. This is rarely the case. The large majority of money problems in developed countries are not due to the lack of money, they are due to overspending, and overspending leads to debt. A 1992 Federal Reserve study showed that 43% of U.S. families spent more than they earned. Money problems, specifically, spending more than one earns, is one of the leading obstacles to finding happiness.
Section 35: Week 34

Lesson #167: Self-Sabotage

I will never forget the cold day in December 1997 when I heard news that deeply shocked and saddened me. My comedic hero, Chris Farley, was dead at the young age of 33. The first reports suspected Farley died of a heart attack, since he had an obvious weight problem. However, subsequent reports would reveal that his death was the result of his own self-sabotage, like John Belushi, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and countless other unnecessary tragedies before him. More toward the middle of spectrum, millions of people, both famous and non-famous, destroy their happiness and success by self-sabotage.

Lesson #168: Are You Buying or Selling?

When I once again entered the web hosting industry, after the Internet bust, we assembled a salesteam of about 30 people who would call on select businesses and introduce them to one of our new hosting products. This hosting product would be part of an irresistible deal that included a free 30-day trial. To determine the success of this program, we held weekly conference calls in which our salespeople would share the results of their sales calls. The results were fairly consistent across the board: no takers. The vast majority declined the offer based on the poor economy, uncertainty of their business, lack of resources to expand their business, and many other reasons having nothing to do with our product or price. As it turned out, this salesteam was not selling anything; they were buying the excuses and hard luck stories of the prospects.

Lesson #169: Inspiration from Fred Smith

Frederick W. Smith (1944–) is the Chairman and CEO of Federal Express Corporation; also known as the “father of the overnight delivery business.”

If you want to be a great leader, find a big parade and run in front of it.
- Fred Smith

Lesson #170: Mastermind Alliance

Henry Ford, auto industry billionaire, began his business career under the handicaps of poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance. Knowing his own weaknesses and understanding one of the key principles of success, Mr. Ford allied himself with Thomas Edison, whom he knew could help him achieve his desired goals and objectives. However, Mr. Ford’s most outstanding achievements began from the time he allied himself with the great minds of Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs and Luther Burbank. Together, these men would form the mastermind alliance behind the Ford Motor Company, which was responsible for bringing affordable automobiles to the masses.

Lesson #171: Multiple Streams of Income

Real estate millionaires do not become millionaires by investing in just one property. They do not buy just one property and rent it out, or turn over just one property for a profit. Real estate millionaires usually work several properties at one time in order to maximize their profit and make efficient use of their time. Real estate millionaires have what is called “multiple streams of income,” which is essentially more than one source of cash flow. Millionaires in any industry often become millionaires by adopting this very same technique.
Section 36: Week 35

Lesson #172: Success is Learning

Stop learning and start doing. This is what most of us are encouraged to do at some point early in our lives, either consciously or unconsciously. The beginning of one’s career is often the end of one’s education as well. Sure, there may be some job training down the road and even an occasional non-fictional book or two, but nothing like the education we receive early on in life. Successful individuals embrace the habit of learning and make it a life-long process. Successful individuals are encouraged to start doing and keep learning.

Lesson #173: Inspire Others

In the 1970s, a young man named Rudy Ruettiger defied all odds and realized his dream of entering the University of Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish football team. Rudy was a physically small young man, with little talent and a minor case of dyslexia, but had the heart of a lion. Around 20 years later, his story was made into a hit movie called Rudy, which inspired millions of people all over the world.

Lesson #174: Inspiration from Jim Henson

Jim Henson (1936-1990) was more than a puppeteer and creator of the world-famous “Muppets,” he was the person responsible for bringing joy to millions of people of all ages.

My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.
- Jim Henson

Lesson #175: Having Power

When speaking of a person, and the term “powerful” is mentioned, a common image that comes to mind is a big fat guy in a three piece suit, hair slicked back, smoking a cigar. You can probably picture this guy leaning back in his $3000 leather desk chair, barking commands at his employees. This image of power works well in Hollywood, but in the real world, true power takes a very different form.

Lesson #176: Incentive Partnership

Back in the old days of the Internet, obtaining investment money was cheap and easy. As long as you had a “dot-com” (yes, even if your business plan included a talking hand puppet with a fake microphone), you had access to the cash you needed to build your on-line empire. However, as investors began to realize the error of their ways, entrepreneurs had to use their heads more and their money less. Enter incentive partnership.
Section 37: Week 36

Lesson #177: Control the Conversational Climate

If you own a television set, you have most likely seen an interrogation session where one or more members of some kind of law enforcement agency attempt to extract information from a suspect or convict. Or perhaps you have seen a witness being interrogated by a lawyer in a courtroom. This is done by the interrogator attempting to rouse the witness, suspect or criminal and get him or her to act from emotion and not reason. This is an example of controlling the conversational climate. For most of us, we will not find it necessary to interrogate witnesses or criminals, but we do want to maintain control of the conversational climates in our communications with others.

Lesson #178: Having the Edge

There were once two men hiking in the Canadian Rockies. They were both fairly young, healthy, and in good shape. From a distance they noticed a mother grizzly bear walking with her cubs. As the mama bear got closer, she detected the two intruders and began to charge them at full speed. Just as one of the men was about to run for dear life, the other man calmly sat down, took off his heavy hiking boots, and began to put on his sneakers. The first man said, “Are you nuts? A full-grown female grizzly bear can run over 30 miles per hour! You will never outrun that thing!” The second man calmly replied, “I don’t need to. I just need to outrun you.” The second man knew what he needed to survive: an edge over his competition.

Lesson #179: Inspiration from Michael Bloomberg

Michael R. Bloomberg (1942–) is president of Bloomberg Financial Markets, Mayor of New York City (2002–2013), philanthropist, and a multi-billionaire.

I never look over my shoulder...Once finished, gone. Life continues.
- Michael Bloomberg

Lesson #180: Reality is Perception

In the hit science-fiction movie The Matrix, Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburn) tries to explain the mind-baffling concept of the matrix to Neo (Keanu Reeves) who has just had his perception of reality completely changed. Neo’s former perception of reality was no different than that of your ordinary late twentieth-century hacker/software programmer. When Neo made the choice to open his mind to “the real world,” he realized that he was actually living a futuristic nightmare where machines were ruling the earth. Although the concept behind the movie is science fiction (or at least we think it is), it vividly illustrates how one’s perception of reality is reality to that person.

Lesson #181: Active Listening

Sigmund Freud, the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, was known as one of the greatest active listeners of all time. One of his greatest contributions to the field of mental health was his discovery that in order to understand and effectively treat a patient, a doctor had to listen to his or her patients. He further explained that communication may be with direct words, with actions, or in some other disguised manner whose code is very difficult to decipher. Active listening is not just a key element of psychoanalysis, but it is the key element of successful communication.
Section 38: Week 37

Lesson #182: Sell It To Yourself First

The expression “sell it to yourself” refers to convincing yourself of the benefits of that which you are selling. Everybody is selling something whether it is themselves, an idea, a product or a service. When you are selling something you do not believe in, you are essentially acting; and let’s face it, most of us do not make very good actors.

Lesson #183: Self-Discipline

In the late ’90s, the Internet boom made millionaires out of many investors virtually overnight. These “success stories” were in the news and magazines almost daily. People love to hear stories of overnight success, and as a result, the media loves to seek out and publish such stories. The idea of living the American dream without having to work or wait for it, is universally appealing. However, this skewed perception of what success really is promotes the “instant gratification” desire, which is one of the leading reasons people fail. True success, the kind that is achieved through personal development, is based on self-discipline.

Lesson #184: Inspiration from Steve Martin

Steve Martin (1945–) is an actor, writer, director, producer, film-maker, banjo player, balloon animal maker, all-around entertainer, and one wild and crazy guy.

I believe that sex is the most beautiful, natural, and wholesome thing that money can buy.
- Steve Martin

Lesson #185: A Quick Guide to Public Speaking

“I have a dream...” Who can forget those immortal words spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. Dr. King managed to influence millions of people and change a nation, not because he was rich, or in a position of power, but because he was an effective public speaker. Dr. King and other highly influential people before him, such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few, mastered the art of public speaking and earned their place in history. Mastering the art of public speaking may not make you world famous, but it will most certainly help you to succeed in just about anything you do.

Lesson #186: Getting to YES

Am I correct in assuming that your success is very important to you? By now, you are aware of the importance of sales and how everybody sells something, aren’t you? Don’t you agree that sales is really about influencing others? Therefore, getting others to agree with you would be an incredibly powerful skill to master, wouldn’t it?
Section 39: Week 38

Lesson #187: Follow Through

Imagine a world where every voice mail you leave is promptly returned, where anything you ask of others is done when you want it done, and where every process you initiate gets completed without a single hitch. This world is called “Fantasyland” and it does not exist; however, many people act as if it does. To assure things get done, and get done right, you need to stay on top of them.

Lesson #188: Under the Wing of a Millionaire

The world is full of opportunities. One opportunity specifically is overlooked every day by the large majority of those seeking wealth. This opportunity requires little or no investment, has no risk, and the benefits can be significant. The opportunity to which I am referring is meeting with a millionaire.

Lesson #189: Inspiration from J. Willard Marriott

J. Willard “Bill” Marriott, Sr. (1900–1985) was the founder of what is now Marriott International, Inc., a leading worldwide hospitality company with more than 2,600 lodging properties located around the world.

Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.
- J. Willard Marriott, Sr.

Lesson #190: Competition is Good

Back in 1996 when the commercialized Internet was still relatively new, our business was booming. There was a high demand for web hosting, and we were one of the few web hosting providers at the time. We did not have to seek business, business found us. Life was grand. When we reentered the industry in 2002, we discovered that the market was a very different place. The competition had become so fierce that we were forced to change our strategy if we were to thrive, or even survive, in the industry. We ended up creating a product and a service that made us unique in the industry, as well as allowing us to operate a much smoother business model than we had in the past, setting us up for phenomenal growth. Once again, life is grand. This is all thanks to our competition.

Lesson #191: Sell Solutions

Paul and Fido live together in a big apartment with many carpets. Fido is a young mongrel that tends to shed more hair in a week than most other dogs do in a year. Paul has given up trying to clean the carpets with his existing vacuum, since it does not pick up a majority of the dog hair, and begins his quest to find a vacuum that will solve his problem.
Section 40: Week 39

Lesson #192: Three Seconds: The First Impression

It is said that people form opinions of you within the first three seconds of meeting you. I questioned the validity of this statement until I put it to the test and realized that I do it as well. We all keep mental files on people we know or just know of. Each time one of our senses is triggered for the first time by that person, the file is opened for about three seconds and then it is closed. The first impressions that are formed are extremely important because once the file is closed, it is not easy to get reopened. We need to be sure that the first impressions we are making are the right ones.

Lesson #193: Rewards and Contributions

When taking my daughter to the mall some years ago, we came across a vending machine filled with little candies. She ran up to the machine, lifted up the metal flap to the dispenser, and poked her little fingers all around searching for the candy. I had to explain to her that she needed first to put in a quarter, then turn the knob, then get the candy from the dispenser. It took my then two-year-old daughter a couple of trips to the mall to catch on completely, yet so many people spend their entire lives shaking the vending machine without putting in the quarter and turning the knob. Certain deterministic factors aside, our rewards in life are directly related to the amount we contribute, and those who seek something for nothing will generally get the equivalent of what they are willing to contribute—nothing.

Lesson #194: Inspiration from George Lucas

George Lucas (1944–) is a film director, writer, and producer, best known for his work with the Star Wars trilogies.

If America is the pursuit of happiness, the best way to pursue happiness is to help other people. Because there’s nothing else that will make you happier.
- George Lucas

Lesson #195: Facing Your Weaknesses

Nobody’s perfect. Henry Ford was uneducated. Bill Gates was a college drop out. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke but a few words of English coming to this country. Helen Keller was unable to see, hear or speak at all. Abraham Lincoln was belligerent. John D. Rockefeller almost killed himself with worry. John F. Kennedy was too young, and George Foreman was too old. Each of these successful individuals had to face their weaknesses in order to achieve the level of success they did. To have weaknesses is to be human; to face those weaknesses is to be successful.

Lesson #196: The Art of Praise and Compliment

Every one of us has an amazing power that we seldom use. With this power, we can make another person instantly feel better, put a smile on their face and a skip in their step. In some cases, we can even give another person an emotional high that will last all day long. Of course, with any great power comes responsibility; in this case, the responsibility is using the power itself every chance we get. This power is the art of praise and compliment.
Section 41: Week 40

Lesson #197: Finding Balance

When referring to one’s life, balance is a harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts of one’s life. These parts of life can be categorized many ways, the most general categories being personal and professional. These two general categories can then be broken down further. For example, a personal life can consist of love, friendship, fitness, spirituality, relaxation, and learning. The categories we choose are up to each one of us based on the importance of these categories in our lives.

Lesson #198: Contentment

Contentment, or desiring no more than what one has, can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Being content with what we have is generally a good thing, especially when referring to material possessions and other “things.” However, being content with our accomplishments, goals, and general position in life essentially means we have no more goals or ambitions since they have already been either reached or forgotten. Those who lack goals and direction in life also find it difficult to achieve happiness. It is this level of contentment that gets in the way of our success.

Lesson #199: Inspiration from Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen (1971–) is one of the true Internet pioneers who is responsible for the World Wide Web as we know it.

Lesson #200: Making Successful Decisions

Back in 1995, my wife and I had a successful graphic design business. We had a small office in a great Boston neighborhood just a few minutes walking distance from our apartment. We were not rich, but we were making enough to live comfortably in our then-current lifestyle. We then had a decision to make: we had an opportunity to sell our graphic design business, along with our steady income, and focus on Internet development. Even though our Internet revenue was only about $10 per month at the time, we made what turned out to be one of our most successful business decisions and sold the graphic design business. That one decision resulted in a chain of events that allowed us to live our dreams.

Lesson #201: Sacrifice

I often hear statements being made such as, “To be successful, you have to sacrifice your personal life,” or “Successful people are only successful because they missed out on life’s pleasures while striving for success,” or even “Those with full pockets have empty souls.” In fact, the fear of sacrifice is one of the leading causes of fear of success. It is not difficult to understand why these statements are so universally accepted: they make it easy to justify one’s own lack of success. While there are those who have made poor sacrifices to get where they are, the majority of those who have achieved success have done so by making positive sacrifices that were not difficult to make. These are the sacrifices that lead to success.
Section 42: Week 41

Lesson #202: Experience

What is the big deal with having experience? Why do employers require it for their higher-paid positions? Why do customers require it from contractors they hire? Why do professionals demand it from themselves? How do we get experience, and perhaps most important, how do we get around not having traditional experience? These questions are asked by students and business veterans alike. No one is ever too old or too “accomplished” to better themselves by seeking experience.

Lesson #203: Keep an Open Mind

We are presented with new ideas every day of our lives. These are the same new ideas that advance our technology, ease suffering, establish peace, and generally make the world a better place in which to live. In order for a new idea to have such a positive effect on society and the human race, it must be accepted by others. Some ideas, such as the use of personal computers, have been accepted rather quickly whereas other ideas, such as world peace, may just be “too idealistic” to be universally accepted. While we cannot force our ideas or beliefs on anyone, we can learn to live with an open mind and accept new ideas that will empower us and bring us closer to success.

Lesson #204: Inspiration from Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, social activist, and one of America’s first self-made woman millionaires.

Lesson #205: Does Money Change People?

Bill was a hard-working data entry guy at ABC Processing, Inc. who was always on time and respectful of others. However, he would frequently chat with his co-workers about someday winning the lottery, telling off his boss, “not taking no crap from no one” (deliberate triple negative), and sleeping in when he felt like it. One day, with a stroke of good fortune, Bill did win the lottery and did just what he promised. Shortly after, Bill’s co-workers commented on how much “he changed” since he won the lottery. In actuality, the money did not change Bill; it allowed him to be his true self. Unfortunately for Bill, his expression of his true self eventually caused him to lose his job and his friends.

Lesson #206: Sell Yourself First

Almost daily I get the calls from monotone telemarketers who say, “Hello Mr. Benet (yes, my name is Bennett, but they rarely get it right) how are you doing today?” Then, right after that lame opening, they start with their sale pitch. My response has become as automated as their opening: “No thank you, please take me off your list.” This all-too-common, fast-track sales approach has, to the detriment of the sales profession, been adopted by many sales “professionals” outside of telemarketing. Many salespeople overlook this one very important concept: before you can sell anything to anybody, you must sell yourself first.
Section 43: Week 42

Lesson #207: Trust

It seems as if people like to dish out advice on trust just as much as new parents like to give advice on pregnancy. Ralph Waldo Emerson suggests, “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” William Shakespeare advises, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” And famed writer Stanislaw Lem cautions, “Do not trust people. They are capable of greatness.” Well, when it comes to giving advice on trust, I am no different. It is not only your trust in others, but the level of trust that others have in you that play an important role in success.

Lesson #208: Teamwork

To this day, when I think of the ultimate display of teamwork I can’t help but think of the Harlem Globe Trotters. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the basketball team, they are a group of some of the most talented athletes in the world who focus on entertainment rather than competition. When they perform, they are like one person with one common mission. It appears as if each one of them knows exactly what the other is thinking at any given moment. By winning over 98% of all games played since 1927, the Globetrotters own the best winning percentage in the history of professional sports. Teamwork is the key to their success.

Lesson #209: Inspiration from Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan (1954–) is a director, producer, stuntman, and actor. Jackie is one of the few martial artists who has managed to make it “big” in Hollywood.

Camera, action, jump! Boom! Ambulance! Hospital! Next stuntman!
- Jackie Chan

Lesson #210: Articulation

Imagine being the human resources director for a large firm. You are reviewing applications and seeking candidates to fill a top-level position. After searching through hundreds of resumes, you come across a candidate that looks perfect on paper, and you arrange an interview. Within the first 30 seconds of the interview, you realize you’ve made a mistake when the candidate says to you, “Thanks for invitin’ me here. It’s frezzin’ outside—I prob’ly shoulda worn a heav’yer coat.” Although the candidate looks like a professional and has the credentials to back him up, you do not give him the job because you know his poor articulation will evoke negative perceptions in customers who speak with him.

Lesson #211: Patience

Success has been summed up in three words: passion, persistence, and patience. Although many people who pursue success have the passion, and some the persistence, very few possess the virtue of patience. This course is called “Year To Success,” not “24 Hours To Success” or even “30 Days To Success.” Why? Marketing people tell me, in order to sell more books, I should appeal to the desires of instant gratification and create a course that infers success within a much shorter time. However, my goal is not to deceive others; it is to help as many people as possible live more fulfilling lives by achieving success and reaching their full potential. This is only possible with patience. I believe the importance of patience is best summed up by the Dutch, who say, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”
Section 44: Week 43

Lesson #212: Being Your Best

Imagine a world where everyone around you was successful. All of your peers were over-achievers, every business in your area was thriving, and everyone you met was a multi-millionaire who appeared to be happy and living fulfilling lives. Now imagine, if you will, how you would feel living in such a world with your current level of achievement. Would you feel any less successful? Do you think your level of achievement would stay the same or increase?

Lesson #213: Make the Best of a Bad Situation

I remember the first time I got a flat tire. I was a teenager and only had been driving for about a year. I knew from being in the car with my parents and from watching TV that when you get a flat tire you are supposed to call the car derogatory names, look up to the sky and yell, “Why me God?,” then just be angry while changing the tire. So that is exactly what I did. Later, when I shared my “tragic” story with others, I realized how exciting the experience really was and how the experience actually made me a more confident driver. All too often we react based on how we think we are supposed to react in such a situation, as opposed to taking just a moment to think about the good in the situation and how we can make the best out of the “bad” situation that we cannot change.

Lesson #214: Inspiration from Michael Dell

Michael Dell (1965–) is founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., the largest personal computer company in the world.

It’s through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path at Dell—There’s always an opportunity to make a difference.
- Michael Dell

Lesson #215: Little Courtesies

Both Harry and David were in line for a supervisor position at a large industrial business. They were both equally qualified, were hired on the same day, and had just about equal abilities in every way. Cindy, the VP of human resources, had a tough decision to make. After the final interview, Cindy had made up her mind and had given David the supervisor position. Why? Simply because David began the interview by thanking Cindy for the opportunity to interview. When it comes to success, little courtesies can go a long way.

Lesson #216: Priorities and Procrastination

There is an old saying that goes, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This is a perfect example of bad advice. First of all, I do not agree with that statement simply because of the absolute word “never.” My second issue is with the word “can.” We can all spend our day staring at the wall, but just because we are capable of doing this, certainly does not mean we should. These “words of wisdom” contained in that old saying that was written to battle procrastination, ignore one of the very important principles of success: spend each day doing what you need to do, should do, and want to do, in that order. In other words, prioritize.
Section 45: Week 44

Lesson #217: The Squeaky Wheel

Imagine yourself a member of a large team. As a member of this team, you are aware of many problems with the team itself as well as the problems the team has with the authority that governs the team. What do you do about it? Do you play it safe and say nothing, or do you go to the authority figure with your list of grievances? There is an old saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”; however, the squeaky wheel is also the first one to get replaced.

Lesson #218: Create a Successful Website

For over two decades now, people from all over the world have been finding great success on the Internet through the creation of their own websites. To this day, the concept of a website still amazes me: it is a way to distribute information and communicate instantly with people all over the world for very little if any, cost. Never before in history has there been such a cost-effective and widely available opportunity for so many people to find success. Although not necessarily easy, by understanding the basics and some of the “secrets” of creating a website, even as a novice, you can create a successful website.

Lesson #219: Inspiration from Arthur M. Blank

Arthur M. Blank (1942–) is the co-founder of The Home Depot, which is the world’s largest home improvement retailer and is the second largest retailer in the United States.

Bleeding orange means investing in employees, being present and accounted for in your community, giving back to those less fortunate, knowing that we are not that smart and listening to those that are, and not standing on the sidelines.
- Arthur M. Blank

Lesson #220: Dealing with Difficult People

It all starts in preschool. You are minding your own business while building a magnificent castle out of wooden blocks. Just as you are putting the finishing touches on the tallest tower, some kid named Billy Sanderson, wearing a t-shirt that reads “Born To Be Bad,” pretends he’s Godzilla and destroys your creation. He then turns to you, opens his big mouth with his two little pointer fingers, sticks out his tongue, then runs off. After you take a moment to digest the situation, you pick up a wooden block, and like an Australian hunting down a kangaroo with a boomerang, you forcefully whip the block at your fleeing adversary. While he cascades into a pile of tinker toys, a feeling of satisfaction overcomes you knowing that you have just dealt with your first difficult person. Unfortunately, dealing with difficult people becomes more challenging outside of preschool. What we need as adults are techniques and philosophies, not wooden blocks.

Lesson #221: Reading Body Language

Recently I was at a social event where I was engaged in a casual conversation with another guest. As he was talking to me, my children were getting antsy and wanting to go. I frequently, but politely, glanced over at them, giving them the “one moment” hand signal and turned my body toward the door, while still making eye contact with the other guest who was still talking to me. After what seemed to be at least five minutes, my son had dropped his pizza on the floor allowing me to interrupt the other guest, excuse myself, and rush over to assist my son. Although I did not speak the words, my body language was screaming, “I really have to go now” for several minutes; the other guest who was doing the talking just did not see it. Result: an awkward situation that could have easily been avoided.
Section 46: Week 45

Lesson #222: Resolutions

January 1, the date when millions of people around the world make what they call “New Year’s resolutions.” January 3, the date that about 50% of those people “fall off the wagon.” By April 1, more than 90% of those “resolution” makers decided that their “resolutions” were not that important after all. Most people make New Year’s resolutions as frivolously as deciding what to watch on television. Even if you are one of the few with the best intentions of keeping to your commitment, if you can’t resolve to do something right now, the chances are you won’t do it in the new year.

Lesson #223: The Martial Arts

I will never forget that one summer night back in 1985 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when I was 13 years old. I was with a group of friends in a mini-mall parking lot, waiting for our ride home. All of the stores had closed and just a few of the parking lot lights had remained on—it was not the best place for a bunch of kids from the “good side of town” to be after dark. In the distance, we saw a large group of older kids approaching. When they spotted us, they stopped, and only one of the group members came forward. By this kid’s appearance, we could tell he was a local, and by his words and actions we could clearly tell he was looking for trouble. In that moment, I felt completely helpless and vulnerable like never before. Just minutes later, our ride arrived, and we were free from danger. But it was in that moment of complete vulnerability that I made the decision to learn how to defend myself, so I never had to feel that way again.

Lesson #224: Inspiration from Dave Thomas

David Thomas (1932-2002) was the founder of Wendy’s, one of the world’s largest restaurant chains of over 5,000 restaurants located throughout the U.S. and in 34 countries.

It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.
- Dave Thomas

Lesson #225: The Referral

Imagine a referral so powerful that with it, you become an instant success in anything you do. Such a referral did exist at one time—it came from the daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. A referral from her on her show meant the author’s book would be an overnight guaranteed best seller (yes, I did send her a copy of my book). Other powerful forms of referrals come from critics, as in art, food, film, and others. However, the most common form of referral is the personal referral, which can be just as powerful but is usually directed to a much smaller audience or even a single individual. It is the personal referral that helps the employee get the job they desire, the salesperson make sales, and the businessperson succeed.

Lesson #226: Hope

“Refusal to hope is nothing more than a decision to die.” Powerful words from the best-selling author and perhaps foremost expert on understanding the gift of hope, Bernie S. Siegel, M.D. Hope is a gift, and perhaps one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind. But hope, when misunderstood, can also be a curse. It is this false hope that causes more people to fail and lose control of their lives than those who just give up on life. A key element of both success and happiness is understanding the power of hope.
Section 47: Week 46

Lesson #227: Dare To Be Different

There never was, nor ever will be, anyone exactly like you. Physically, your fingerprints, voice, eyes, teeth, and DNA can distinguish you from any other person living or dead. Mentally, your thoughts, dreams, and experiences are yours and only yours. So why does the world consist of so many “average” people? Why do so many people fight their desires for greatness and work so hard at “blending in with the crowd”? Why don’t more people dare to be different?

Lesson #228: Building the Perfect You

I remember playing video games that let the players choose their character. Each available character has strengths and weaknesses, yet all the characters are equal overall. For example, in one game, I would choose the bear at times, who’s very strong but tends to be very slow. Other times, I would choose a character named “Lee” who was very fast, but not that strong. In real life, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but unlike these video games, by no means are we all equal. In real life, we have the ability to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. All it takes is conscious effort and awareness.

Lesson #229: Inspiration from Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner (1949–) earned the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” by winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal (note: Bruce is now known as Caitlyn Jenner - after this chapter was written).

I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you’re a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you’ll win—if you don’t, you won’t.
- Bruce Jenner

Lesson #230: Modesty and Self-Promotion

Since the day we were born and all throughout our youth, the chances are we have been overly praised for our accomplishments. When we uttered our first word, we were given a big hug and a “hurrraaayy!.” When we made our first drawing of a house, which looked more like a house after a tornado had struck it, the drawing was hung on the refrigerator for all to see and admire. Then one day, we are taught that when we bring our accomplishments to the attention of others, it is called “bragging,” and what used to get praise now gets scorn. For many people, without the praise, the desire for achievement is lost, and others feel that boasting and bragging are necessary for all great achievements. This confusion about humility and modesty continues throughout our adult lives. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines that can keep you modest while making your achievements well known.

Lesson #231: Six Words To Successful Communication

There are six words in the English language that anyone interested in effective marketing and communication should know how to use. These words are what, who, where, when, why, and how. In both business and personal situations, answering these single word questions can add clarity, brevity and most important, effectiveness to your written and verbal communications.
Section 48: Week 47

Lesson #232: Believe in Yourself

I have a great idea for a reality TV show. We begin with ten people who are successful in their fields, but not famous or even well known. Dress them up in clothing a homeless person would wear, give them a new identity and a history of nothing more than a grade school formal education and a series of odd jobs, then drop each one of our “participants” off in a major US city. The goal is to a) stay in the game and not quit and b) to acquire as much wealth as possible by the end of the season (about three months). The rules are that the participants cannot reveal their true identities, and they cannot accept help from anyone they know in their real lives. What an awesome show that would be. We would witness the human spirit in action as well as characteristics and qualities of truly successful individuals. How would you do as a participant on that show?

Lesson #233: Help Others Discover Their Own Gifts

Every day, people settle for less than they deserve. They are only partially living or at best living a partial life. Every human being has the potential for greatness, but very few people realize this potential. Their natural gifts and hidden talents remain hidden and unused. A good leader is one who can tell another how to reach his or her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for him or herself.

Lesson #234: Inspiration from Jeffrey P. Bezos

Jeffrey P. Bezos (1964–) is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, the Internet’s largest e-commerce site with annual sales over $89 billion (2014).

Work hard, have fun, make history.
- Jeffrey P. Bezos

Lesson #235: Words of Wisdom: Part I

Words of wisdom are pieces of advice passed on over the years, which influenced countless people around the world by shaping and defining their lives. Some of these words come from authors, poets, politicians, historical figures, and religious writings, whereas some seem to be as old as time itself and their origins remain unknown. I have read and contemplated over 10,000 of these sayings, proverbs, aphorisms, and quotes over the years and have compiled a list of just over 300 that I believe bring people closer to success. Over the next three lessons, I will share these with you. Don’t just read each one, contemplate its meaning and consider these words of wisdom: One line of wisdom can change your life more than volumes of books.

Lesson #236: Words of Wisdom: Part II

Almost every wise saying has an opposite. For example, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and its opposite “the nail that sticks up gets nailed down.” Both sayings sound good and are persuasive in communication; that is why some of these sayings have survived since the beginning of recorded history. It is up to you to decide if the words you read or hear make sense to you. Never accept an idea just because it sounds good.
Section 49: Week 48

Lesson #237: Words of Wisdom: Part III

The wisdom is not in the words; it is in the interpretation and the meaning behind the words. With so few words used to create such powerful statements and ideas, it is understandable why there are so many interpretations of each. As a general rule, the fewer the words, the more interpretations there are. In some cases, quotes, sayings, proverbs, and other words of wisdom have a completely different meaning when taken out of context. It is the beliefs you adopt and the actions you take as a result of the words that are most important.

Lesson #238: Importance of Customer Feedback

As a father of two children, every day I deal with “feedback.” When my daughter says she wants to eat less dinner so she can have more room for dessert, or when my son wants to do nothing but watch movies all day long, I basically tell them what is best for them—and that is that. This technique is fine for small children but does not work too well with customers. Unfortunately, many business leaders today treat their customers just like pre-teen children who have no idea what is best for them. Listening to your customers, and more important, acting on the feedback they give is one of the best ways to transform a struggling business into a successful one.

Lesson #239: Inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929–1968) was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and became not only the symbolic leader of American Blacks but also a world figure.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lesson #240: Don’t Be a “One-Upper”

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with one or more people sharing stories? Have you ever noticed the “one upper” in the group who appears to always feel the need to tell a story that is more dramatic than the one just told, or make a statement that immediately takes the positive attention off another? Are you, or have you ever been, the “one-upper”?

Lesson #241: Meeting People

Imagine that you work for XYZ Corporation, a large company that manufactures widgets. The company sends you and a few of your coworkers to an international widget convention where there will be thousands of your suppliers and potential customers. Once there, your colleagues are busy meeting others while you quietly keep to yourself because you do not see yourself as a “people person.” When the conference is over, your boss asks you for a list of the contacts you have made. You then realize that your lack of social skills may have just cost you your job.
Section 50: Week 49

Lesson #242: The Proposal

Imagine that you have a great idea. You anxiously set up a meeting with a person who can help you to implement this idea. While setting up the meeting, you briefly explain the basis of the idea and while this person seems interested, you are asked to submit a formal proposal at the meeting, as well as deliver a brief presentation. Now you start to sweat. A formal what?

Lesson #243: The Sales Roadblock

At some point, in every salesperson’s career (remember that we are all salespeople in one way or another), a “roadblock” is hit. This is when a product is just not selling or at least not selling as well is it can be. At this point, many salespeople give in and start to blame elements that they cannot change—as in the price or the product. When businesses hit this roadblock, they start blaming elements that they cannot change—as in the “market” or economy. In reality, there is usually one or more elements that the salesperson or business can change that can knock down the sales roadblock. The key is to ask the right questions.

Lesson #244: Inspiration from Fred Deluca

Fred DeLuca (1948–2015) was the founder of Subway sandwich shops; the most successful franchise ever. At the end of 2010, Subway became the largest fast food chain worldwide, with 33,749 restaurants–1,012 more than McDonald’s.

Lesson #245: Initiative

As a youngster, I must admit that my taking-out-garbage initiative left a lot to be desired. No matter how full the garbage was, I would force whatever I had to dispose of in the trash container and make it fit. I had a similar policy for pretending I did not see the dog poop on the carpet. Ultimately, I had to take out the garbage and clean up the poop anyway, but I had to be told (or yelled at) to do it. In retrospect, I should have accepted my fate as the household garbageman/poop picker-upper and taken the initiative to take out the garbage when full and pick up the dog poop when present. But why deprive my parents of the joys of parenthood?

Lesson #246: Think One Step Ahead

Computer programming is a passion of mine. I think what I enjoy most about it is the logical thought processes needed to make a program function correctly. It is like a series of advanced puzzles and mind games. A good program will be written to handle any situation that it may encounter using a series of “if-then-else” statements. For example, if a user chooses option B, then display all features for option B, otherwise, display options for A. In order to create a good program, the programmer must think ahead and prepare for as many situations as possible. In order to create a good plan of action in our real lives, we must also think at least one step ahead and prepare for as many situations as possible.
Section 51: Week 50

Lesson #247: Be a Mentor

When I am asked what my favorite hobby is, I answer, “Helping others to succeed.” I do not say this because I want people to think of me as an overly nice guy, but for me, helping others to succeed is a source of total pleasure and enjoyment. This is certainly not a unique quality; it seems to be in our nature to want to help others. We all may not possess the wisdom needed to help others succeed, but just about everyone possesses enough wisdom in some area to help someone with something. By being a mentor, we can help others while we help ourselves.

Lesson #248: Vision

Walt Disney was a man of vision. From the time he created his world-famous cartoon mouse, to the present day, many years after his death, his vision continues to turn into reality. In 1965, Disney took a leap of faith by purchasing 43 square miles of land in central Florida where he would eventually build his empire. Although he did not have all the resources needed to turn his vision into reality, nor did he have exact details on how he was going to do it, he did have the vision, which proved to be enough.

Lesson #249: Inspiration from Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) was the inventor of the telephone.

Lesson #250: Reading People

Ask any poker player and they will tell you the importance of reading people. People do not always say what they mean nor do they mean what they say. People’s actions and behaviors do not always reflect their true intentions. Your ability to read people will not only help you to be a better poker player, but it will help you in business and in virtually all aspects of your life.

Lesson #251: Finding Good People

If finding good people were as easy as choosing ones with the best resume, human resource managers would have the easiest job in the company. What is a resume? Basically, it is a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have. There are those with very impressive resumes who may be “burned out” and just looking for an organization to take them. Then there are those with less-than-impressive resumes who have not yet had the opportunity to achieve what they are capable of achieving. To find good people you need to value people for what they can do, not for what they have done.
Section 52: Week 51

Lesson #252: Three Questions to Diplomacy

One of the common characteristics shared by just about every great leader in history is the mastery of the art of diplomacy, or using tact and sensitivity in dealing with others. Diplomacy is more than saying or doing the right things at the right time; it is avoiding saying or doing the wrong things at any time. Although there are times when we want to tell others exactly how we feel, there are ways to communicate our message more effectively while strengthening relationships and being sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others. This is the art of diplomacy.

Lesson #253: Recognize the Dead End

Imagine yourself exactly where you are today ten years from now. You are in the same job or business and making the same pay. You know no more than you did ten years ago since your experience has been limited to the same year of experience repeated ten times. The only things you have to show for the last ten years are perhaps a few extra pounds around the midsection and some more gray hair. Although some people may see this as great job security, those who are focused on success and personal growth see this as ten years of wasted time. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to ensure, on a regular basis, that you are making progress in your life by recognizing the “dead end.”

Lesson #254: Inspiration from Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve (1952–2004) was an actor (Superman), director, writer, and role model for countless people around the world.

Lesson #255: How to Handle Mistakes

Perhaps one of the largest and most well-known mistakes of all time was made by the Ford Motor Company back in the 70s. A poorly designed automobile named the “Pinto” had a severe weakness in the fuel tank, which greatly increased the chances of an explosion on impact. Although the design itself could be seen as a significant mistake, an even bigger mistake was the company’s decision to move forward with the production and sales of the Pinto regardless of the obvious danger to human lives. Why? A cost/benefit study was done which suggested that it would be “cheaper” for Ford to pay liability for burn deaths and injuries rather than modify the fuel tank to prevent the fires in the first place. This mistake not only cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but led to over 500 serious burn injuries and deaths as well [Source: motherjones.com]. Needless to say, this mistake was not handled in the best way, and the legal, ethical, and financial repercussions continue even today.

Lesson #256: Fulfill a Need

A brief refresher in Economics 101: most of us were introduced to the law of supply and demand in grade school, but most people fail to make the connection between this principle and success. The law of supply and demand is one of the most basic economic concepts, as well as the foundation of all financial success.* In terms of success, the law states that wherever there is demand there is an opportunity for supply. This opportunity exists until supply exceeds demand. In short, the law of supply and demand, as well as financial success, is all about fulfilling needs.
Section 53: Week 52

Lesson #257: Make a Lasting Impression

Throughout life, the average person meets thousands of people and is exposed to even more ideas, concepts, and beliefs. The content of conversation, or the words used to convey a message, quickly fade, but the impression remains.

Lesson #258: How Marketable Are You?

Imagine a huge retail store where instead of products on the shelves, there were people. This is a store where hiring managers go to “buy” employees for their business or organization. The shoppers think like all shoppers do when buying products. They may ask questions such as, “Do I need this product? How will I benefit from using this product? Is this product outdated or replaced by a better product? Is it reliable? Is it priced right? Do I have a choice of many similar products or is this one unique? Now think of yourself as a product on a shelf in this store. Are you a hot item that is consistently out of stock? Or are you one of those items that sit on the table in the front of the store marked “damaged goods - price reduced”?

Lesson #259: Inspiration from Bo Bennett

If you have not figured it out by now, Bo Bennett (1972–) is the author of this book you have been reading for the past year. His full bio is available at http://www.BoBennett.com.

When it comes to success, there are no shortcuts.
- Bo Bennett

Lesson #260: Job Security

Today, the traditional idea of “job security” is virtually non-existent. No longer does getting hired mean getting hired for life. Mergers, layoffs, downsizing, corporate restructuring, focus shifting, bankruptcy—the list of terms that are synonymous with “you’re fired” goes on. It seems as if your job security is completely out of your control... or is it?

Lesson #261: Credit the Other Person for the Idea

Early in my web hosting career, I was interviewed by a journalist for a local paper for my first web hosting business. It turned out to be a great article promoting my business locally while making me look very good. The truth is, during the interview I was a bumbling idiot, not yet skilled in the art of effective communication. The journalist knew this and used a great communication technique to create a win-win situation by making me look good and by creating a great article for her paper. The journalist knew what I wanted to say as well as the kind of information that would make a great article. She would ask the right questions then rephrase my answers while shaking her head up and down looking for a positive response from me, which she did get. The result: an article full of eloquent quotes that I believed came from me. The fact was, the journalist, through her excellent communication skills, was able to get me to say what she wanted me to say while making me think they were all my ideas.

Lesson #262: Position Yourself for Success

I will admit, I am one of the fortunate people who was in a good position for success. The year was 1994, and I had recently graduated from college. With access to many credit cards and a few bucks from odd jobs here and there, I had enough money to meet the few financial obligations I did have. I was single and technically unemployed. In a nutshell, I had plenty of time, some money, little responsibility, and absolutely no fear of risk. Without knowing it, I managed to position myself for success.

Lesson #263: Closing Advice

Over the past year, you have been introduced to hundreds of success principles. My success philosophy detailed in Year To Success is based on personal experiences, observations, and proven principles—some of which seem as old as time itself. Rather than trying to sum up every principle contained within this course, I will conclude with some new advice.

About Your Instructor

Bo Bennett, PhD. Robert "Bo" Bennett started "Adgrafix", a graphic design firm, right after graduating Bryant University in 1994, with a bachelor's degree in marketing. In 1995, he sold the graphic design business but kept the name "Adgrafix" that he used for his new web hosting company. As a self-taught programmer, Bo created one of the first (perhaps the first) web-based affiliate systems and web-based web hosting interfaces. He built Adgrafix to a 5 million dollar a year business, then sold it to Allegiance Telecom in 2001.

A day after he sold Adgrafix, Bo started Archieboy Holdings, LLC as a holding company for many different web properties, some of which have become their own entities, and sold to new owners, and others which he is still running today. One of the past sales include Boston Datacenters -- the distressed datacenter in Charlestown, MA purchased by Bo from former HarvardNet founder. He took the company from losing tens of thousands of dollars per month to profitability in less than a year. In two years time, he sold the property to Hosted Solutions. Today, the property is owned by Windstream and it remains one of the premier datacenters in New England.

Bo is currently the founder and CEO of eBookIt.com, a company that formats and distributes eBooks, print on demand, and digital audio books, as well as president of Archieboy Holdings.

By age 10, Robert "Bo" Bennett started listening to and reading personal development tapes and books. Over the years he has developed a science-based approach to success that differs quite a bit from the over-hyped success guru's approaches commonly seen today. Before beginning his lifelong quest to shape the lives of others, he had to prove to himself that his theories, beliefs and convictions worked.

At age 10, Bo started in business by creating and selling wooden key racks in his father's workshop. Since then, he has started several companies and sold them anywhere from to $20,000,000.00.

After selling his first company of significant value, Bo began writing Year To Success, the most comprehensive book ever written on success, based on his experiences, thoughts, and timeless success principles. Year to Success is a book Donald Trump calls, "an inspiration to every person who reads it."

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Course Information

Self-Evaluated Course Option:

  • 263 lessons
  • 83 videos
  • 330 narrated slides
  • 256 discussion questions
  • 556 self-evaluated assignments
  • 928 multiple-choice quiz questions
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will receive an authenticated certificate of completion

A total of approximately 115 hours 25 minutes of student learning.

Limited Time Offer: $79.00

Instructor-Evaluated Course Option:

Everything in the self-evaluated course option, PLUS...

  • 6 instructor-evaluated assignments
  • direct access to the instructor for one-on-one, personalized learning
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will also receive a more personalized letter of achievement that can be added to any resume or CV.

A total of approximately 115 hours 21 minutes of student learning.

Why Take the Instructor-Evaluated Course?
Let me be your success coach for the next 366 days. You and I will work together on your success. Any lesson you want to discuss or ask questions about, I am here for you.

- Bo Bennett, PhD, Instructor

Limited Time Offer: $999.00

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