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Sunday, June 28, 2009

10 Commandments for a Successful Life

I. Thou shalt always strive for perfection
• Perfection is something we all desire. However, it’s something no one
will ever achieve, but we should always keep trying! Manage life by the
80/20 rule. 80% complete is better than another missed or failed
project. Put a stake in the ground and bring projects to fruition. Once
your project is completed you can always re-visit it to make
improvements. Accomplishments are addicting and failures can be
avoidable.
• Remain future-focused. Don’t dwell on the past. Whatever negative
things happened yesterday are irrelevant. Consistently strategize
(always look forward) to achieve success in your personal and
professional life. How can you accomplish your goals faster? How can
you be more efficient everyday? How can you make more money?

II. Thou shalt be diligent in goal management
The hierarchy for effective goal management is priorities, goals and
milestones.
• Establish no more than 2 priorities. Establish broad categories (i.e.,
career, health, etc.). If you take on more than 2 priorities your
chances for failure are extremely high.
• Establish realistic goals on these 2 priorities only. An example of a goal
based on the priority of health could be to consistently exercise.
• Establish milestones based on these goals only. An example of a
milestone for a priority of health could be exercise two days a week.
• Plan for worst case scenarios. Unfortunately emergencies happen without
advance warning. Incorporating appropriate safeguards when
establishing milestones will help improve your odds of meeting or
preferably beating your milestones due dates regardless of
emergencies.

III. Thou shalt treat everyday equally
• Focus on your priorities first and get into a daily routine. De-clutter
your mind of everything else. You should wake up thinking about
accomplishing your milestones first. Everything else you would like
to accomplish is a bonus.

How can every day be treated the same? What about holidays and
weekends vs. regular work days? It would be ludicrous to put the
same effort into your work seven days a week⎯everyone needs a
break to recharge if not you will stress more and eventually burn
out. I’m not saying to maintain the same routine 7 days a week just
focus on your priorities first everyday. It’s not as difficult as it
sounds. As long as you focus on your priorities every day then
you’re treating every day equally. The objective is to get you into a
routine so it becomes habitual and your mind is on auto pilot. It
focuses on those priorities first for you (i.e., when you wake up,
throughout the day and when you go to sleep). Once those priorities
are on auto-pilot you cannot shut them off.
• Keep organized. Use a simple process to document and prioritize
your daily tasks and errands. (These are different then your
milestones). Handwrite your tasks on a pad of paper and cross them
off with a marker upon completion – you don’t have to buy a fancy
organizer to be organized.

IV. Thou shalt train the mind
Training the mind begins with playing mind games. Mind games are
little things you say over and over again until these phrases become
permanently entrenched in your mind and become part of your life.
• Be afraid of failure. If you fail a goal you should be pissed off at
yourself - downright irate! You need to be afraid to death of failure.
Train your mind to be afraid of failure – calling myself every name
in the book you can think of in preparation for failure. Yes - in
preparation for it because it’s inevitable-right? Wrong! You can
never tell yourself failure is OK - it’s just another one of life’s little
learning experiences. Although it is, you can’t tell yourself that – as
silly as it may sound. The more you train the mind that it’s the
worst possible thing that can happen to you, the better your odds
will be that you will never fail.
• Think with a sense of urgency. Be in survival mode every day of
the year! Times are tough and they will only get worse. That’s the
mentality you should live life with. How often do you hear people
say “I have plenty of time to complete my goals-I’m only xx years
old.”, or “I still have 3 months to complete my goal – what’s the
rush?” You need to take a look at life differently – i.e., the glass is
half empty vs. half full. You need to play mind games and convince
yourself time is running out, which it is. Play mind games and
convince yourself there will be an emergency and you will fail to
accomplish your goals. Tell yourself repeatedly to make it happen
quickly before that emergency blindsides you. Chances are and God
willing there won’t be any and you’ll be that much further ahead.
The objective is to be as productive as possible as quickly as
possible.
• Control and re-direct emotions. Emotions can get in the way of
success. Conflicts occur frequently with significant others. Learn to
re-direct your energies towards your priorities. Standing there
going toe-to-toe (arguing back and forth) rarely accomplishes
anything except wasted cycles. Don’t go there.

V. Thou shalt protect your resources
• Manage time in minutes. Utilize every minute – not hour and
forecast lost time (minutes) for the year. It will be an eye-opening
experience and immediate shock to your system
• Manage energy for peak performance. Some people are more
productive in the evening; others are more productive in the
morning. Which ever works best, perform brain-intensive activities
during your productive hours and do less brain-intense activities
i.e., administrative functions, etc when you’re tired.

VI. Thou shalt learn to say no with grace
• People who over-commit to colleagues, friends, family, etc., will
have a very difficult time achieving their goals. Resources are
already scarce and you need as much of it allocated to your
priorities and goals as possible to be successful. Learn to say no
with grace – saying no consistently without saying the N word.
Refer to my blog posted on 3/3/09 for examples on how to
effectively say no.

VII. Thou shalt improve EQ skills
• EQ skills are the opposite of IQ skills – your inter-personal skills.
Communication (verbal and written), relationship building, etc.
Make an effort to improve these traits i.e., read books, write a daily
journal, white paper, or book.

VIII. Thou shalt grow to be a leader
• If you continuously take yourself to new levels of accomplishments
others will want to emulate the discipline that drives you to new
heights like a runaway freight train. You must discipline yourself
first to be the best person you can be so others take you seriously.
Leaders who lead themselves are destined to become leaders of
others. Leaders who fail to lead themselves will quickly lose favor
and be labeled forever.

IX. Thou shalt continuously seek knowledge
• Not just formal education that you get by going to school. I’m
talking about after high school and college and beyond. I mean
those everyday experiences and challenges we all face. Whether it
comes from traveling (cultures, languages, etc.), understanding
your body’s physical limitations, or completing a huge project at
work; keep on learning.

X. Thou shalt focus on your health
• To effectively accomplish Commandments 1-9 you must be in good health by
consistently exercising (increasing stamina and toning muscles), eating well
and managing your weight.
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