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My 60 Rules of Life

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November 30, 2018  

My 60 Rules of Life.    

By Andrew Jacobs

I am not perfect, I am not always right. I have and continue to make many mistakes and have multiple faults. But the results of those various pathways have led me to have an incredible family, a multi-national company and a treasure trove of knowledge I would like to share. As I write this I am 62 years old and poised to launch, once again over the “business” cliff, to try and reach the next expansion level and if that works, the level past that. 

Failure is always a possibility, which is why I am so grateful for the support system I have in place that can continue to rescue me when I temporarily crash and burn. Below, I’ve written out my rules for life which have all been proven by me, throughout the course of my own experience. Use what you like, throw out what you don’t but remember never trade actual experience for theory because in life, what people think should work, is often 100% wrong.

We are all in charge of our own destinies, whether you follow my rules or not. Don’t even think about blaming me, your parents, your teachers  or anyone else for what happens. In the end you are the only person who can take credit or the responsibility for what you become.

Before the list I thought I should first ask you a question. It is so basic that I would  have thought that it would be asked all the time but it has been my experience that it is rarely discussed.  Simply stated, “what do you want?” No quick answers, this is an extremely deep question and one that demands a lot of thought. If you can’t define what you want in actual quantitative results then you have no life plan, no direction and will be the victim of others deciding your fate. You have to want something, have actual definable goals that can be achieved by a certain time period, if not create ones that can. 

If you are now thinking about what you really want than I have already done you a good service. Why 60 Rules and not 55 or 67? I have no idea. It just happened to be the number when I finished. Since I don’t believe in accidents I am figuring that it is the “right” number, at least for me.  Remember, these are my rules, I am not advising you to do anything, your life is your own affair but maybe one of these will pause you to think and re-consider what you have been doing for a different path. Please keep in mind that there is often more potential inside of us than we believe and pushing to make ourselves better often ends up with some surprising results.

  1. Every interaction in life involves the exchange of energy, goods or services between two people or groups and is important. That means that everyone you meet can have an immediate or long term, and therefore, positive or negative affect on your life and you on them. Because you understand this and almost no one else does, the tenor of that exchange is often up to you to define. Whomever starts an interaction can often dictate how it will start. If you smile, they will smile. If you are angry they will be defensive. If you are nice they may react the same or do the reverse but no matter what happens, you now know a lot more about the other person then you did before. Therefore, we all have a choice. We can wait for the other person to act first and let them decide the mood of the meeting, which can sometimes be an advantage or take the bull by the horns, risk rejection and go for it. The choice, as always is yours but as for me I usually go first.
  2. Since every interaction transmits both verbal and non-verbal information that means that everyone is communicating huge amounts of information throughout their everyday life whether they realize it or not. Since you now understand this process I suggest that you utilize it to your advantage. I have found that over time, most people are good and honest until you stress them past their normal realms of life. Therefore, it is up to you to be able to keep the majority of people around you in their best state of mind so they can react to you in the most advantageous way possible and then everyone wins most of the time.
  3. You can never get from people what you want until you define what they need first and then, at least partly satisfy that requirement. Their need comes before your own. Satisfy it and only then do you have the chance to get what you want based on your abilities, perseverance, intelligence and understanding. How do you know what someone else wants? The answer sometimes is easy and basic, other times more challenging. Listen, watch and observe their questions and answers to sift through the information they are offering.  If it is not enough ask for more and particularly watch for the  non-verbal clues like how they are sitting and what they are doing with their hands. To be able to “read” someone you have to be calm, have confidence, listen intently and not worry about what you are going to say next. People will often tell you exactly what they want both verbally and non-verbally if you simply ask them and then listen. If you can fulfill some or all of it, then you are on the way to getting what you want.
  4. To the majority of people, the most important thing to them, besides their family is their job. If you can help someone keep their job  then on a percentage basis you will successfully be able to get what you want from them. The second most important thing is helping someone to get a better job, if you can do that then your chances of success for yourself go up dramatically as well.
  5. The best way to deal with people is with the least amount of emotion as possible. It is necessary to be able to see clearly and work in the best interest of all sides. Unless you decided that acting irrationally is better for you, in which case you are still acting rationally from your perspective.
  1. If a relationship is totally one sided then it cannot last. To create long term relationships there must be some type of win for all sides. No situation can remain tolerable over time if one person is so overbearing that they literally suck the oxygen out of any room they enter. If you are forced into a negative, long-term situation like this then do your best to isolate the individual causing trouble as much as possible. Learn their patterns and try and minimize your exposure to them and in the end you may have to terminate the relationship to maintain your sanity.
  1. If you are not prepared to put your life on the line for something then you will be beaten by someone who will. This is a simple concept but hard to internalize. Life is filled with many areas and you should be careful not to judge yourself solely by the standards of others; however, it is critical to define your goals, go for them with gusto, and then judge yourself against you and no one else. No one is perfect in every area, give yourself a break if you are trying to improve but also remember that not all roads go forward and if you don’t take chances and make mistakes then you can never grow to your fullest potential.As I write this, I get up at 4:15 AM on weekdays and am usually on email by 4:30 AM to be in touch with Asia before they close for the day. Followed by Europe, who is already working when the Eastern US starts at 6:00 AM, while the rest of the US and Mexico comes on just before lunch. By the time I go to sleep, Asia is back on again. I monitor my email over weekends and holidays and am available to everyone a majority of my time. I do this so that our various teams, suppliers, customers, relatives and friends can get quick answers to questions and problems so things can continue to function smoothly and efficiently. I want success, I want to win and I want to be in the front of new technology and only someone who wants it more than I do, on a percentage basis, is going to beat us.The more you put yourself “out there” the better your chance for your own definition of success.
  1. Being able to admit you made a mistake is one of the hardest and best skills you can ever learn. When there is a problem or a disaster most people cannot except blame and everything stops. If you can accept responsibility then you can help things move onto a successful conclusion otherwise everything stops with the “blame” game. My father taught me this lesson early in my career and it was one of his best. I try a lot of new things which do not always work out as planned and people can be adversely affected. Accidents also happen, as well as unintended consequences but overall when I mess up, which is not infrequent, I admit it immediately, apologize and move forward at the fastest speed to control the damage and make it right. Most of the time when I do this people, even when they have been negatively affected, agree that moving forward to find a fast solution is the best path to take. People want to know how you react when things get tough and if you have proven yourself they will often trust you more in the future. Trouble will always happen, how you handle it will define your success and happiness level across your life.
  1. Failure is easy. The feeling, the reactions, how you handle it never changes. Success however is always new; a different emotion comes out that you have never experienced before and that is never easy to navigate. Change in any new situation is hard, never downplay its difficulty. It means growing and trying more new things with the good chance of failing more. It is a never-ending cycle that only stops when you quit growing.
  1. Learn to listen intensely, it is critical. You can always learn a huge amount while listening but if you are just talking only others can learn from you. Having the chance to hear others speak is often free and while you will usually have to separate out 95% of the worthless information, that 5% left is golden. When I was starting out in business I used to ask everyone my age how they became successful. It was a wonderful way to get new ideas, reinforce what I already thought and what to avoid. Try listening to people’s advice, evaluate it with your “gut” and see how it feels. If it’s right most of the time then trust yourself to follow it, if not try the opposite. You can be your own best weapon or worst ally. Take the time to learn what is going on inside your head but never, ever stop listening to others because they will often give you the information you need to move forward.
  1. The better you know yourself, the better off you will be.
  1. You can’t help someone until you have helped yourself. Altruism is a wonderful thing but you can’t give what you do not have. Being your best means you have to watch out for yourself first before helping someone else. That means you have to take the time to eat right, exercise, be interested in your own life and have a passion to go after your dreams. Never tell someone they “should” do something if you aren’t doing it first.
  1. People are selfish. Only those who are at least partially happy can then help someone else.  Fulfillment can take many forms and never believe anyone that will help you unless they will directly benefit from that result. I try to never go into any interpersonal situation without first trying to figure out what the other person wants. If I can help them and if it is to my advantage to do so, I go for it. While this may sound brutally self-serving it is actually necessary because unless you have defined what can happen and are getting some type of benefit, even if only to make you feel better in the process, it won’t happen.
  1. Everyone loves an underdog. Until you start to succeed.
  1. Beginner’s luck is real. Use it to your advantage. I know this sounds ridiculous  I also know that the most successful people cause their own good opportunities but never negate the potential for luck and use it for as long as you can.
  1. Never expect help from anyone no matter what you have done for them. I live in a constant state of wonderment because I figure that the bulk of the world, even for those whom I have done a lot, will never repay me directly. If it happens I am genuinely pleased and if not, I hope they pay it forward to someone else.My Dad used to explain it this way: when people left one company for another you never knew who would contact us to try and do business. The people you were sure would call because of the relationship you had, often wouldn’t and the opposite would occur.This is why I count on virtually no one aside from my inner circle to keep their promises. It tends to lessen the disappointment by expecting nothing. However, that also doesn’t mean I am an easy mark. I always say it is simple to take advantage of me once but after that I become a different person.
  1. Be in an eternal state of surprise and gratitude for all the good things that happen. If you never feel entitled to anything you won’t be disappointed and also become a lot less susceptible to having someone take advantage of you. This minimizes disappointment and also enables you to enjoy life more. Shortly after I went into our family business, it was just me and my Dad. Many thought that since my Dad owned the company, we were rich and that I had an easy road. This could not have been further from the truth and it was quite disconcerting to know that when I went on the road to sell not only was I starting from scratch but actually less than zero because people figured I was from an entitled background. In a way it was better because it forced me to learn, grow, fight and get tougher even faster than would have normally happened. But it also made me realize that no one owed me anything, and that when the good things came, which they did, to expect nothing and just be grateful when they did happen. 
  1. When anyone gives you a gift or does you a favor, you owe them. Regardless of whether they deny it, they expect something in return. If you accept anything, whatever it is, realize that sooner or later your debt will have to be paid by you or someone else. Therefore, it is much better to be owed than to owe, especially if it was for something small. Unfortunately, no matter how small, favors often rise in value from the eyes of the giver and reduce to the receiver so in the end few people are truly happy with any reciprocation. Try and avoid it as much as possible.
  1. If you do not have a passion for your job, figure out why and act accordingly. Your passion and interests are no one else’s concern but your own. We all spend more time at work then with our families and it is crazy to be doing something that does not make you happy at least part of the time. In our company I am constantly monitoring our people to make sure they are okay and if there are problems in the workplace I do my best to resolve them as quickly as possible.
  1. There  is no such thing as a dead-end job. Only dead-end people. All good bosses are constantly looking for employees with potential. Why you might ask? The answer is simple in that there are very few good people around that are talented and dependable. The problem is that you can’t hire what you can’t see, i.e. working for someone else. If you are sitting at home waiting for the perfect job, you will be there a long time. You have to start somewhere and any job can lead anywhere if you let it.
  1. I am not perfect, you are not perfect, and you must remember you cannot be mad when other people are human. It was explained best to me by one of my former mentors. He called it the ladders of life. Life was split into multiple categories like honesty, integrity, health, wealth, beauty, kindness, intelligence etc. Every person scored on each ladder according to their abilities for that one area and it changed daily depending on their actions. No one was perfect and all of the ladders were in constant motion, with everyone each having their own share of mistakes and suffering in the mix. Therefore, the idea of a perfect person across the board was not only impossible but absurd. Remember: everyone is human, both in their personal and professional lives.
  1. Never be totally happy or contented with whatever you have and wherever you are in life. Always be striving for something more. If you do not have challenges then you will stop growing and that is the first step towards stagnation or worse. There comes a point where the chances to “go for it” are no longer available. Move forward while you still can.
  1. You are responsible for your own life, don’t blame anyone else. Don’t wait to magically become the person you want to be, do the work now. Whatever happened to you when you were young, whether you were bullied, like I was, were afraid of many things, like I was, or felt you were not as good as others, as I did. It is all irrelevant because you determine how people see you. No one could help me get over these obstacles and the same is true for you. Put the effort into yourself instead of waiting for someone else to do it, then reap the benefits of your own hard work.
  1. Good bosses and leaders have the responsibility to help move their people in the best directions for themselves and their companies. Some question whether I have the right to tell my teams how to run their lives, what jobs they should do and how to improve. Part of my responsibility as a boss, besides cherishing my people and taking care of them is to help mold them to be their best. There is an inherent contract, when they come to work for us, that I will look out for them and try to put them in the best areas to utilize and grow their talents. This can include pushing them into new responsibilities where they are uncomfortable or urge them to do things that might be counter-intuitive. They can always say no to whatever I suggest but it is my obligation to try and help. We all have to remember that improvement is never a straight path and everyone has to try new things or risk becoming irrelevant.
  1. Success is a spectrum, not a specific thing. Judge all areas of your life, not just one specific bright spot, before you determine if you are doing a good job. Congratulations to you if you are a millionaire, now what? Do you have a significant other to go home to at night? Do you have hobbies, play sports, read or write books, play with your kids? Do you have fun? Never downplay the importance of a well rounded life, besides the fact is it will help you in business. There is more to life than making money. As an example, take my second in command here in a New Jersey. He came to me a little bit nervous the other day. He had signed up to be a coach for both of his son’s soccer teams. It was going to take time but he wanted to reassure me that it would not interfere with work. I told him it was a great idea, not only to be with his sons, which was extremely important, but it would also make him a much better manager after dealing with a lot of little kids. Having a good time, helping others and nurturing a family are all incredibly important parts of life. Success is a sum total of parts not a single facet.
  1. There are many people who will judge you negatively to make themselves look better. Your job is to identify and then isolate these people as quickly and completely as possible. I am sure you know people like this. They say negative things about you either to your face, relatives, friends and associates. They never admit to making a mistake and they will sacrifice everyone in their path for their own self-interest.  They have an ego that could sink a battleship. The bad news is you have to be around people like this and they could be friends, co-workers, bosses or relatives. The good news is that once you have figured out what and how they create trouble, they will never change, then it is relatively easy to use their ego against them. If you have to be around people like this, step back and figure out how they think. Be patient and once you know their behavioral patterns then you can guard against their attacks and even use them to your benefit.
  1. The hardest person to go against is someone who is competent. Therefore, don’t do it. If you can’t beat them, join them. If you can’t do either, you have a serious problem. There is nothing wrong with being a second or third in command especially if the top person has a view, direction and passion to succeed where you don’t. Not being in charge often means a lot less pressure for you, the pay and benefits can be good and the bulk of the problems are handled by someone else.There are very few people who should actually be the owner, the leader or the visionary. If you find them do not let your ego, stubbornness or those of the people around you stop you from joining a leader who could take you much further and happier than you could on your own. Beware however and do not allow anyone to promise you the world without benchmarks, including financial, along the way to prove their sincerity and continually appreciating your support.
  1. We all get one life and one chance to go as far as we can in whatever direction we choose. There will be countless diversions along the way, whether they be to your mind, body, soul or a combination thereof. In the end, if you do the best you can, are happy with what you created and accomplished, then that should be all the comfort you need to keep going forward. Realize who you are, what you have and value everything good in your life because with appreciation comes continually counting your blessings and that ensures you will never take any of them for granted.
  1. You will be judged by how you value others. I treasure our team members and I treat them like family. I would do virtually anything for them. I respect their opinions, value and listen to their suggestions and they in turn would go through fire for me and our company. Our team takes their cues by me. If I am happy and ready to attack then so are they. If I disrespect them and treat them poorly, then that is how they will see me and it will reflect in their work. Do your best to treat people well all the time they will tend to remember the bad much more readily than the good.
  1. Keep your good humor and always be gracious when other people do stupid stuff. Accidents happen and plans go awry. Things happen and we all need to try and keep them in perspective. Escalating  small issues into something much worse serves no one, especially you. A good attitude will usually make things go a lot easier and faster.
  1. If you don’t have anything positive to say, do your best to keep your mouth shut. Nothing usually good comes from being negative about anything. Life is all about relationships. The better you handle them the more fun you will have, the more successful you will be and the more people that you can affect in a good way. I have found that kindness can often move mountains, whereas negativity can dig a grave in an instant. Therefore, if I have nothing good to say, I try my best to say nothing at all.
  1. Never be 100% predictable. Especially if you are a boss. I have learned that some people mistake being nice for weakness and therefore every once in a while, I will have a “controlled explosion.” I yell and scream, or simply just put an edge in my voice about something or a situation where I would normally not react. I believe that people are generally good but they also need a strong leader who is not totally predictable and can demonstrate strength and passion when necessary. This occasionally, but regularly, needs to be reminded.
  1. Loyalty and trust are everything. They are also a two-way street. They are built over time, often over decades and they can be destroyed in an instant. If you want to count on someone then they have to equally be able to count on you. However, in life you rarely have a lot of time, let alone decades, to size up someone before deciding to deal with them. Gut instincts are critical because in the vast majority of first encounters you only have a few minutes to decide whether to trust/deal with someone or not. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt but I always try and limit my exposure in case I am wrong. Normally if someone is going to treat you badly they do it sooner rather than later. If someone shows you signs of them being bad, appreciate their sent signals and cut them off as soon as possible.
  1. If you say something blunt, rude or mean, you can do one of two things: own it or own it and apologize. Trying to take back what you said makes the situation ten times worse because people know you are lying. If you say something you regret then the best you can do is nothing and move on or apologize and still move on. By the way this is one of the few times when some people say what they really think, so listen carefully because there is often even more to what they are thinking then to what they actually admit.
  1. If you drink, do drugs, or otherwise impair yourself, you are still responsible for your own actions. Don’t blame anyone or anything else. Stupid, immature, nasty behavior can never be excused by a lack of sobriety. Unfortunately, this is also the time when you find out what people really think about multiple subjects and is often the ending of a relationship. This is better sooner rather than later for you because you don’t want to waste your valuable time and emotional energy on substandard people.
  1. How you say something often gives much more information then what you said. I travel the world and have been in many meetings where languages are spoken that I don’t understand and I intently watch the participants. Because of this, over the years I have become pretty good at reading body language. In the majority of the cases I can tell when people are telling the truth, how they feel towards me, their current attitude towards life and whether or not they are someone with whom we can do business. Many times, people’s body language and tone are far more informative and truthful then the actual words they spoke.Even if you have little experience observing people, it is a good idea to start watching those you know as they speak. You should be able to get a feel as to whether what they are saying is an accurate barometer of what they actually think. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between the two, which gets worse as the person becomes more stressed. Over time you will be able to both listen and observe and the dichotomy between the two is always interesting and sometimes very disturbing. I always go with the body language because it is usually a much better indicator of their truth.
  1. The bad tends to outweigh the good in people’s memory, so be sure to heavily outweigh the bad with the good. My father’s memory of my grandfather, Morris is a perfect example. My grandfather came to this country with nothing. A poor immigrant child who did not have time to finish high school because he had to work. By the time he was thirty years old Morris had learned English so well that everyone thought he was born here. He started his own company, got married, had two kids, prospered through the Great Depression and World War II, bought a house and eventually sent his kids to college. By any estimation he was the symbol of the American Dream. But he had a lot of hardships along the way which galvanized him in a way so he could succeed, but also closed him off in other areas. My Dad only saw the sealed off parts and that was the way he chose to remember him. No one, especially me, is perfect. But human nature is such that the bad stuff stays in our minds more than the good, which means you have to do a lot more good, if that is how you want to be remembered.
  1. Making a lot of money or becoming successful, whatever way you define it, can be a very pleasant endeavor but can take an extreme amount of time and dedication. If you do not want to put in the work, perhaps reconsider the goal. Most very successful people get there by working long hours, taking huge risks, doing a lot of dull tasks and making a lot of mistakes along the way. If you don’t want to put in the work and pay the price for learning what is needed, then do yourself a favor and stay where you are.
  1. Moving quickly and making fast decisions has its benefits and consequences. Sometimes though, the faster you move the better your changes are, but it does leave you more open to potential fallouts. It has been my experience, contrary to many other people, that I should move as quickly as possible when going into new ventures, going after new pieces of business or life in general. I have found that the faster I move the better the chances I had at winning in all areas because others are timid and more cautious. This does leave me more liable to potential disasters for not having all of the pertinent facts. However, I have found that I almost never get all the correct information whether I wait or not and committing myself quickly often puts me in the dominant position.
  1. In regards to family, they are always complicated and they are always dysfunctional. Do your best to be as prepared as possible, especially when it comes time getting ready for death, yours or others. People act selfishly, even your own family, especially in times like those.
  1. You are neither as smart or as dumb as you think you are. Remember that.
  1. The only path to world peace is through global business. As a whole, most people want the same things which are the chance to have happy, safe lives for them and their families and the opportunity to further their chances to succeed. If there is an environment where people can make money safely, ethically and profitably as opposed to profiteering from unethical means, then most people will take the positive road. The more global the overall economy the better the chances we all have to survive.
  1. Street smarts are far better than academic accolades. Do not be fooled by someone with an advanced degree or has theories about how things should be done. Street smarts come from actual action, theory comes from analysis of what other people have done. Stay with those who have already accomplished your dream.
  1. Success takes time. Be patient and put in the time to reach your goals. Find successful people,  pick their brains and ask for help. Follow their guidance until it stops helping then find someone else. Repeat this process until you have what you want. Don’t make the mistake though of trying to take the advice of someone who is so far ahead of you in your success pyramid that you can’t internalize their thought processes. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your journey takes longer than anticipated. Highly successful people tend to be impatient.
  1. Do not risk long term relationships on short term gains. Before making any big decisions regarding someone to whom you have a lot of time invested, give yourself some space to let the emotional tidal waves smooth out from whatever events have occurred and you can see clearly what can be gained or lost. Split second decisions are my normal way of operating but for those situations, that will have huge long term effects, I always try and give myself some breathing room to get a fresh perspective, especially in times of extreme stress.An example from when I first started out in our company: we had a man who used to deliver boxes for us to our customers. Every day he would have pickups from us and we gave him a lot of business. One day he told us, without notice that he could not deliver for us that day because he got a big job. That left us with the option to either wait twenty-four hours and be late with our customers and suppliers or find someone else. My father and I were both highly annoyed at his action, found another trucker easily and the original driver soon lost all of the business. His one day ‘big job’ lost him all the business from us and who knows what else. Had he given it some thought beforehand he might have made a different decision.
  1. Never spit in another man’s soup. Simply put, this saying is meant to warn people to not denigrate another person’s decisions, opinions, employment or desires. Judging people is an extremely dangerous pastime and for those who do it consistently, they will encounter a continuous wave of negative feelings back towards them. If you want to comment, especially negatively, you can call it constructive criticism, or whatever you want but really, in the end, you are being judgmental and probably harsh so don’t be surprised by your isolation. Avoid doing so as much as possible.
  1. Lust is temporary, love is indefinite. Know the difference. Depending on your age and sexual drive it is very difficult to discern the difference between love and lust. It is, however, relatively simple. If you are with someone and over time the affection fades as does your feelings of wanting to be with that person, then that is lust. It is ephemeral. If over time the initial passion fades but you still crave being around the person anyway and want to build a life with them, then you have found the more lasting of the two: love. Try and not confuse them and always calibrate where you are and if it is where you want to be.
  1. Nothing is as perfect as in your imagination. Sorry to tell you this but perfection does not exist in reality, so stop holding people to such a standard. Face the truth, you and I are not the “ultimate” in any one area. We all have good and bad attributes and ways of looking at life that do not appeal to everyone. If you actually found someone who had no negatives traits then after the initial “high” they would become truly frustrating because they would never make a mistake, never say the wrong thing and never go to the bathroom. Keep your fantasies where they belong, in your mind so they cannot screw you up in real life waiting in frustration for something that can never be. 
  1. Think before you act. Being able to do this, and then act instead of reacting with emotional responses will give you the edge in almost all of your interpersonal encounters.
  1. Life without purpose is hollow. I don’t think you should be a slave to a job that you hate because you have to make a living for you and your family. I understand that sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to for the bigger picture. But try find a way to ensure that, to the best of your ability you find your purpose and aspire to attain it. Don’t accept the idea that you will be miserable for the rest of your life when with a lot of effort you can change your situation for the better. Otherwise, what is the point? 
  1. There is not one single road to happiness, fulfillment, or contentment. Each of us has our own. Everyone can decide what is in their own best interest as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s. But do keep in mind, as a society we have some basic tenets of standard behavior that we all live by. Whenever those are violated, each road comes to the same ending and those will end badly.
  1. If you can get along with the person in the office, or in life, that no one likes, you are unique. Befriending those that others find difficult can benefit you in extraordinary ways. It will serve you well to hone that skill.
  1. Do the task you don’t like first and reward yourself with the things you enjoy. That way you know it is done, you won’t have it hanging over your head causing a continual loss of energy and focus that would be better used somewhere else. Plus, you get the joy of knowing you have the discipline to do what is needed.
  1. One of the hardest parts of life is being able to make a decision and then be okay once you’ve made it. Unfortunately, it is always easy to see how your decisions could have gone differently in the light of new information but that will always be the case. Make an agreement with yourself that once you make a decision, that is it and move on to either reap the benefits or mop up the disaster. If you decide the paths to take then everyone is looking to you to do so from a place of strength. Doubt conveys weakness. If you find out over time that your decisions are not working for you and your team, then change your thinking processes until you get a good formula or leave the process to others.I do a lot of business in Asia and I rarely have all the facts I would like before making decisions for that region. Since I have found that fast action is often the best course for me I am continually in the position of going with my gut and hoping for the best. Over time this process has worked well  although there are times I wished I had waited a few days, but such is life. There are very few decisions that will look perfect over the passage of time, therefore in order to keep your efficiency high, you have to be able to think clearly, move forward and keep your sanity intact.
  1. Table manners count. Being able to eat civilly with others does make a difference in how you are viewed. They also indicate what type of person you are, whether you will be a good fit in whatever company or family you are hoping to join and whether spending time with you is prudent. I can promise you that people will not notice your manners if they are good but they will if they are not. Why risk blowing a deal, a partnership or a chance at something great simply because you would not extend a little effort to behave well?
  1. Respect is paramount. Treating someone that you care about with respect matters, and treating people that they care about, means even more. Not respecting others is your choice, but never make the erroneous assumption that it doesn’t make a huge impact because relationships are based on mutual needs and aspirations. If you don’t care about other people then they will know it and treat you reciprocally.
  1. The world economy is a cyclical beast. There will be good and bad years, that is a fact, therefore try to never get too comfortable. It is understandable that people don’t want to think about the worst that can happen, but it is always better to be prepared for lean times as much as possible.
  1. If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Everyone wants to get the best in every situation, occasionally a “deal” will come up that appears to be too good to be true. Unfortunately, in my experience, it usually is. Hidden strings are often attached that downgrade the original offer into something that should be ignored. Don’t let the sales offer blind you to reality. View the proposal for what it is versus the way it is being sold or the way you hope it will be. There are people in the world who will offer you anything to get you to commit your time and resources. Be aware of this and try your best not to get played.
  1. You want to lead? Earn it. If you want to keep leading, do the job, protect and cultivate your team and your dream. Otherwise you will lose it.
  1. You can only do your best. We all have judgements as to how others could have done things differently or better. As my Dad always said, “you can only do the best that you can”. My advice is to try and remember this, especially when other people complain that you don’t do more.



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