Advice for Achieving Your Goals from Remarkably Accomplished People

How did J.K. Rowling, Michael Bloomberg, Jeffrey Bezos, and David Sedaris get where they are today - and how can you get the same edge?



defining success
-success as quality of life
-what you do defines you
-finding a purpose
-having the right attitude
-the role of luck

finding your passion
-do what you love
-remember that passion isn’t prescribed
-money is not enough
-find something that moves you

setting your goals
- understand the psychological value of goal-making
- see the big picture
- break down your goal down into steps
- add or subtract steps when necessary
- expect change

getting started
- do something, anything
- synthesize
- invoke inspiration
- find a problem that needs a solution
- be opportunistic
- start even when starting is inconvenient

cultivating character
- find a source of power and conviction
- be in touch with yourself
- mine your past
- project yourself into the future
- experience another country or way of life
- be a generalist

being determined
- know the value of persistence
- don’t agonize over the details
- find someone to emulate
- combat frustration with optimism
- find someone to support you
- anchor yourself in your cause

being competitive
- use competition to improve yourself
- adapt to survive
- set yourself apart
- play by your own rules
- market yourself
- don’t obsess about competition
- compete with yourself most of all

working with others
- realize that you need others
- get them to identify with you
- don’t worry so much about getting credit
- get their respect
- watch your words
- handle difficult people with care
- have a healthy skepticism of authority
- don’t be afraid to depend on others
- make good friends

working hard
- understand the value of hard work
- determine what sacrifices you’re willing to make
- abandon expectation or expectations? of immediate reward
- striving as success
- add some variation to make it bearable – and fresh
- step back every once in awhile

develop good habits
- conquer yourself
- practice self-discipline
- determine your best working hours
- assign small daily goals for yourself
- don’t dwell on the negative
- trust your instincts
- be money conscious
- take care of your body

leading others
- pick the right people to work with you
- foster an environment of trust and openness
- get others to take ownership
- make your project “open source”
- solicit opinions
- be firm when necessary
- use humor

taking risks
- see your self as a risk-taker
- be an opportunist
- make desperation an asset
- be unconventional
- calculate your risks

projecting your image
- make a good first impression
- be smart
- be confident
- be direct
- don’t expect to be liked by everyone
- do what you say you’re going to do
- be funny
- get a reputation for being honest
- be responsible
- have at least one tremendous accomplishment to your name

getting feedback
- tame your ego
- keep it all in check
- beware excessive praise
- act on your feedback

being fearless
- abandon certainty
- overcome the fear of failure
- have a life altering experience – or learn to see life as if you had one
- be experimental
- gain confidence from past successes
- stand up for yourself
- be defiant

surviving setbacks
- accept failure if it comes
- act on your setbacks
- see the whole
- move your body
- realize that time changes perceptions

managing stress
- accept your doubt
- stop seeking perfection
- don’t avoid stress
- be philosophical
- find humor in your situation
- keep a journal
- meditate

staying successful
- measure your success
- keep developing your skills
- don’t let your success limit you
- use your momentum

selected sources


Can success change the human mechanism so completely between one dawn and another? Can it make one feel taller, more alive, handsomer, uncommonly gifted and indomitably secure with the certainty that this is the way life will always be? It can and it does!—

Moss Hart, playwright

Whatever success I have I owe, as does anyone, to a combination of luck, genetics, ambition, and perhaps a slight admixture of application.

David Mamet, author and playwright

I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy than be a success at something I hate

George Burns, actor and comedian

The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.

Mark Twain, writer, journalist, and humorist

As a final incentive before giving up a difficult task, try to imagine it successfully accomplished by someone you violently dislike.

K. Zenios, aphorist

One must change one’s tactics every ten years.

Napoleon Bonaparte, general and emperor of France