What You Can Really Learn from a Bad Boss

Not all former bosses are gems. But there’s a saving grace–the bad ones can provide invaluable lessons on how not to run a company.

It’s common to want to identify the qualities you dislike most in your anti-mentors, then pour a bunch of energy into making sure you never ever exhibit those qualities yourself.

Unfortunately, this strategy can completely backfire, according to Lauren Bacon who co-founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio, a Vancouver-based design nonprofit. Prior to her life as an entrepreneur, Bacon had one bad boss in particular that left his mark on her. She told the story in a recent post on Quartz.

“He got under my skin so badly that his ghost haunted me years after I’d quit working for him and started my own company. I didn’t realize how thoroughly he’d occupied my unconscious mind,” Bacon wrote.

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8 Habits of Exceptionally Resilient People

One day I walked into my house to find our cat playing gleefully with a baby lizard. He would pick up the lizard in his mouth, give it a little playful toss, and then paw at it.

Cute? Not really.

I picked up the lizard gently, his cold lifeless body sagging in my hand, and put him on the outside wall. I figured he was a goner. About an hour later, I checked on the little guy expecting to see his dead remains, and to my amazement, he was gone.

What that little lizard showed to me that day was great resilience. He got caught in a tough place that forced him to take action–in this case he played dead. He remained in his I’m deadrole until all fear was removed, and then he bounced right back and carried on with his lizard life.

There are people in life who show exceptional resilience, too. They have the strength and the passion to go on even in the face of tragedy. Below are eight habits of extremely resilient people. Start with one and continue to add on as you go, but at least begin down the path of increasing your resilience. Resilient people lead happier and more successful lives–and perhaps longer, in the case of the lizard. Don’t you want that, too?

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The 4 Habits You Need to Be Successful

The most successful people in this world maintain and master good habits. They realize what they do on a daily basis and where they direct their energy deeply matters when it comes to reaching their goals.

The habits you have picked up over the past couple of years is a reflection of where you are right this moment.

The sad news is that most people don’t have very good habits. The great news is if you are unhappy where you are at in your life you can gradually change the trajectory by altering what you do daily. To achieve high levels of success, you must start to develop the habits of the highly successful.

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5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long

James Reinhart

Here are five practical steps to incorporate into any morning routine to optimize your time at the office and maintain productivity all day long:

7 minutes of exercise. Yep, not 10 — just seven. Why? It’s short enough that it won’t impact the rest of your morning routine and long enough to shake off any residual sluggishness from the night before — including that extra glass of wine.

There are endless fitness routines to turn to, but the one I like best is called the 7 Minute Workout (and yes, there’s an app for that). In just seven minutes, it works all major muscle groups with 12 total exercises.

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7 Secret Eating Habits of Charismatic Leaders

Even outside their areas of expertise, charismatic leaders often demonstrate qualities of their own commitment to greatness. Here’s a look at some of the secret eating habits of seven charismatic leaders:

1. Mark Zuckerberg ate only meat of animals he himself killed (in 2011, at least).In 2011, Zuckerberg disclosed that he was taking a personal challenge to eat only meat that came from animals he himself killed. Zuckerberg claimed the effort was to remind himself to be thankful for how readily available food is in the modern world, and to experience the significance of sustainable farming practices. While the effort was temporary, ending in 2012, Zuckerberg is still committed to eating healthfully and responsibly.

Zuckerberg’s experience was temporary but powerful. Few people in the modern world would be willing to go to such lengths in order to prove a point or enlighten themselves. His challenge encouraged several habits: taking charge of his own food preparation, practicing economically savvy farming, and eating more healthfully. In line with the characteristics of many charismatic leaders, this effort allowed him to take control of his own situation, make a unique effort that impacts a broader environment, and take better care of himself.

2. Henry Ford ate weeds that came from his own garden. According to Sidney Olson’s biography Young Henry Ford, Ford began to think of his own body as a type of car, which needed the right fuel in order to work properly. Paying close attention to what he ate, Ford’s diet would consist largely of “roadside greens”–vegetables and weeds that he would harvest himself and prepare as salads or as parts of sandwiches. His eating habits turned many of his associates away, but he remained adherent to his culinary philosophy.

While the nutritional value of weeds varies, Ford’s habits are interesting because they were an extension of his company’s vision. Ford wanted to build the best machines, and the best machines needed the best fuel. That uncompromising philosophy extended to his own meals, giving him the motivation and grit to pursue a better diet, even though most of us would consider it unpleasant (if not disgusting).

3. Howard Hughes was extremely germophobic. Brilliant and reclusive, Hughes was well known for his obsessive-compulsive habits and extreme fear of germs. Before Hughes completely isolated himself from society, he hired several servants to ensure his meals were as clean as possible. According to some reports, Hughes demanded that his utensils be wrapped in plastic and then handled with tissues before he would use them for a meal.

Hughes’s habits were extreme, but germophobia and obsessive-compulsive habits are all too common in charismatic, successful leaders (take Donald Trump as another example). Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious mental illness, but obsessive habits are hallmarks of perfectionists and detail-oriented individuals. If you find yourself nitpicking small details and fine-tuning setups, chances are you apply that same sort of perfectionism to your business.

4. Margaret Thatcher went on a crash diet before the 1979 election. First female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was recently revealed to have gone on a dramatic “crash diet” in 1979, in the weeks leading up to her landmark election win. Boiled eggs, grapefruit, black coffee, and vegetables constituted most of her diet in an effort to lose weight quickly–but she cooked all her food herself.

Thatcher was a strong leader who worked hard to execute her ideals and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty by doing the work herself. These core characteristics are evident even in her eating habits, given the fact that she would opt for such a restrictive regimen just to improve her appearance. Crash diets aren’t healthy, but to see them through takes discipline and commitment–both of which are essential for leaders.

5. Charles Darwin discovered countless species–and ate them. Darwin is well known as being the father of evolutionary theory, a result of his dedicated passion for discovering and studying forms of life. Over the course of his career as a scientist, he discovered countless species of animals, including iguanas, tortoises, and owls. What most people don’t know is that Darwin was a part of a Cambridge University organization called the Gourmet Club, whose members thrived on cooking and eating such rare and new species.

While the motivation behind Darwin’s eating habits was never explicitly revealed, it’s fairly obvious that he was passionate about his work. Darwin wanted to know everything he could about the animals he studied, and strangely, that manifested in a desire to eat some of them. Still, that passionate desire to know everything you can about your subject is what drives people to become great leaders in their field.

6. Winston Churchill valued dedicated, full meals. Churchill’s strong personality is still well known and celebrated. Tenacious, witty, and tactful, Churchill is said to have valued table talk as a medium for important discussions, and preferred large meals of oysters, cheese, and various meats. He prioritized meals, even in periods of high stress or chaos.

Churchill saw meals as an important part of his lifestyle, regardless of circumstances, and used them to his advantage when it came to holding diplomatic discussions. Like Churchill, great leaders prioritize certain elements of their own lifestyle even when under great pressure–it is a consistent foundation that can keep you sane and focused.

7. Steve Jobs was a vegan–and would eat one type of food for weeks at a time.Many people familiar with the ingenious former CEO of Apple know that he was a longtime vegan, believing that his vegan eating habits were pure, healthy, and kept him free of body odor. Fewer people know that he would spend weeks at a time eating only one type of food, such as apples or carrots. As reported in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, he once ate so many carrots that his skin turned bright orange.

Jobs was one of the most eccentric leaders of our time, and his strange eating habits may not come as a surprise to those familiar with his obsessive personality. Charismatic leaders are able to determine which efforts are most important, and see those efforts through no matter what. Jobs was willing to see his eating habits through even after turning orange, and he was able to turn Apple into one of the most successful companies in the world even after facing adversity.

Conclusion

Your own eating habits may or may not be a reflection of your style of leadership. If you find yourself creating uncompromising, almost ritualistic habits, you’re probably the type of person who plans ahead and prioritizes consistency, both of which are important. If you find yourself being picky or eating in strange ways, you’re probably a perfectionist and you don’t care what other people think, which are also important qualities.

No matter what type of leader you are, it’s important to learn from the leaders who came before you. By knowing their mistakes and shining successes, you can adjust your own approach and become a better leader in your own right.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

3 Common Myths About Really Influential People

In some ways, it’s easier to become influential than ever before. The ability to publish and share information on the Web provides access to influence that wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago. Unfortunately many people buy into outdated myths about how influencers behave which keep them from reaching their goals. Avoid these three to avoid becoming one of them.

Myth #1: They Are Highly Competitive

In the industrial economy, the fiercest competitors won. The limited number of media outlets only had room to cover a few owners and executives, so if you could get other companies in your space to go out of business before you did, your fame and fortune would explode.

Today people rely on the Internet, which has limitless space. Instead of a handful of dinosaurs battling for a few available newspaper, radio, or network TV spots, there is room for every kind of niche information. That’s why the savviest influencers in the 21st century go out of their way to ally themselves with other influencers. It is not uncommon to see a business blogger co-author an article with a blogger in the same industry, or a podcaster to invite a competitor to co-host a week’s worth of episodes. In the digital economy, there’s enough to go around, and really influential people take advantage of this.

Myth #2: They Are Manipulative

Many influencers in ages past believed strongly in the power of manipulation. Withholding information from vendors and bending the truth with customers were all-too-common practices. Today, however, people can get accurate information about anything with a few clicks of a mouse. As a result, businesspeople who play tricks and spin facts will invariably be found out. Not only will the wronged parties reject and ignore you; they will share their experience with everyone else. That’s a surefire way to lose any influence you might have started out with.

Myth #3: They Are Aggressive

There has always been a class of businesspeople that rely on aggression. They scream, shout, cajole, and bully to get their way. While this might temporarily get employees to do what you say (before they get another job), an aggressive approach to building influence is as dead as the manual typewriter. Since collaboration is so important to getting noticed, it’s more important than ever to be someone with whom other influencers want to collaborate. In the 21st century, alienating those that can help you is the surest way to find yourself without any influence at all.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

7 Habits of People With Remarkable Mental Toughness

First, the definition:

“The ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.”

Now the word:

Grit.

The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success.

For example, successful people are great at delaying gratification. Successful people are great at withstanding temptation. Successful people are great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do. (Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared–that does mean they’re brave. Big difference.) Successful people don’t just prioritize. They consistently keep doing what they have decided is most important.

All those qualities require mental strength and toughness–so it’s no coincidence those are some of the qualities of remarkably successful people.

Here are ways you can become mentally stronger–and as a result more successful:

1. Always act as if you are in total control.

There’s a quote often credited to Ignatius: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.” (Cool quote.)

The same premise applies to luck. Many people feel luck has a lot to do with success or failure. If they succeed, luck favored them, and if they fail, luck was against them.

Most successful people do feel good luck played some role in their success. But they don’t wait for good luck or worry about bad luck. They act as if success or failure is totally within their control. If they succeed, they caused it. If they fail, they caused it.

By not wasting mental energy worrying about what might happen to you, you can put all your effort into making things happen. (And then, if you get lucky, hey, you’re even better off.)

You can’t control luck, but you can definitely control you.

2. Put aside things you have no ability to impact.

Mental strength is like muscle strength–no one has an unlimited supply. So why waste your power on things you can’t control?

For some people, it’s politics. For others, it’s family. For others, it’s global warming. Whatever it is, you care, and you want others to care.

Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change–but don’t try to make everyone else change.

(They won’t.)

3. See the past as valuable training and nothing more.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Then let it go.

Easier said than done? It depends on your perspective. When something bad happens to you, see it as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, don’t just learn from it–see it as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong but only in terms of how you will make sure that next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

4. Celebrate the success of others.

Many people–I guarantee you know at least a few–see success as a zero-sum game: There’s only so much to go around. When someone else shines, they think that diminishes the light from their stars.

Resentment sucks up a massive amount of mental energy–energy better applied elsewhere.

When a friend does something awesome, that doesn’t preclude you from doing something awesome. In fact, where success is concerned, birds of a feather tend to flock together–so draw your successful friends even closer.

Don’t resent awesomeness. Create and celebrate awesomeness, wherever you find it, and in time you’ll find even more of it in yourself.

5. Never allow yourself to whine. (Or complain. Or criticize.)

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems always makes you feel worse, not better.

So if something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that mental energy into making the situation better. (Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to make it better.)

So why waste time? Fix it now. Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just serve as a shoulder they can cry on. Friends don’t let friends whine; friends help friends make their lives better.

6. Focus only on impressing yourself.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all things. People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

(Sure, superficially they might seem to like you, but what’s superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship not based on substance is not a real relationship.)

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

And you’ll have a lot more mental energy to spend on the people who really do matter in your life.

7. Count your blessings.

Take a second every night before you turn out the light and, in that moment, quit worrying about what you don’t have. Quit worrying about what others have that you don’t.

Think about what you do have. You have a lot to be thankful for. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

Feeling better about yourself is the best way of all to recharge your mental batteries.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

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