Create Opportunities—Don’t Wait for Them

Principle #10 – Don’t Settle

In some cases, you will find that the deck is stacked against you and your plans; you will simply have to settle with the best you can get. But in most situations, this simply isn’t the case. So don’t find reasons to settle when you don’t have to. Instead, push hard and persistently for the best you can get.

Principle #11 – Create Opportunities—Don’t Wait for Them

Many people who have not achieved success in business are under the impression that opportunities arrive passively. All they have to do is wait for one to show up on the front door; and then grab it. But, in fact, successful business owners and managers know that opportunities are usually created, not stumbled over. So make an effort to create opportunities in your daily work.

Principle #12 – Keep the Big Picture in Mind, But Stay Focused on the Short Term Process

The big picture is important. It tells you where you are and where you’re going. However, in some situations, it can distract you from the task at hand. If you want to attain true success, then you have to know how to stay focused and effective on short-term problems, while also working within the greater framework of the big picture.

Principle #13 – Record Your Progress

Identifying and recording progress is important. It tells you how far you’ve come from where you once where. If you don’t follow it carefully, it’s easy to miss that it has occurred at all.

So, as progress occurs, record it somewhere. Write down exactly what happened, why it qualifies as “progress,” and why you think it happened.

Principle #14 – Record Your Failures

Similar to recording your progress, record your failures, too. No matter how bad a failure was, force yourself to think hard about it. Ask yourself what went wrong. Also consider whether it was something you could influence or whether chance or someone else played an important role in determining the outcome. As painful as this process might be, it will help you to process your failures and to assimilate the lessons you take from them into future business decisions.

Principle #15 – Do Not Allow Hope to Overcome Analysis

Hope is an important emotional driver of actions. It can motivate you to continue on a path, even when you know the road ahead is difficult. However, in some situations, we simply allow hope to take over and ignore the consequences. If you want to be truly successful, then it is wise to practice “cautious optimism,” rather than chasing hope regardless of what your brain tells you.

Principle #16 – Develop Good Habits

Habits are things that stick with you and drive your behavior, even when you aren’t thinking about them. For this reason, it is a good idea to try to develop good ones, such as responding to clients and customers in a timely manner, practicing courtesy, and facing challenges head-on, rather than slinking into the background.

Principle #17 – Identify and Rid Yourself of Bad Habits

No matter who you are and how successful you have been, you’re probably carrying at least a couple of bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate. Or perhaps you become highly indecisive when the going gets tough. No matter what it is that you suffer from, identify it as a bad habit; and then get to work eliminating it permanently.

Principle #18 – Write Your Ideas—And Others’ Ideas Down

Just because you’re no longer a student doesn’t mean you should stop taking notes. Next time you or someone else says something that is truly insightful or useful, jot it down as a note. In the long run, this will save you time and money, as you won’t have to waste precious time rediscovering your own and others’ insights.

Principle #19 – Set Goals

This simple fact cannot be emphasized enough: one thing that separates the successful from those who have not experienced success is goals. The successful have goals; and these goals give them meaning and direction. If you’re lacking serious, meaningful goals, then you should spend some time to create them and then write them down.