STEP OF THE DAY
Take one step every day toward becoming the best you can be
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A while back, we gave a workshop to a bunch of students about applying for jobs.
Throughout this session, we’ve zoomed in on four topics related to ‘the job hunt’.
1. What is important. Why is importanter
Most people have some sense of what they want to do.
“I want to be a stock broker”, or whatever.
That’s fine, more than fine actually, but if you can’t answer the question “Why do you want to be a stock broker”, you might have some thinking to do.
The what matters, the why matters more.
2. They want you. Want them too?
Let’s get one things straight, companies are constantly looking for great people. Companies that are not looking for great people are companies you don’t want to work for anyway.
You are great at what you do. Nothing wrong with a little self-confidence.
Especially when the alternative is a lack thereof.
Reverse the reasoning and ask yourself: “Alright, so I’ve got this offer, but do I really want to work here?”. Don’t jump at the first offer you get. Learn from others’ mistakes.
3. How do you do? The interview.
Well, long story short, don’t be a dick and don’t make a fool of yourself.
Check out “How to win friends and influence people”, by Dale Carnegie.
4. Grow, grow, grow, your boat.
So you got the job, congratulations. Now what?
Keep growing, your own boat and the boat you’re in. Do all you can to keep learning and to push your organisation forward.
Throughout the workshop, we’ve tried to give as many home-grown examples as possible, coupled with some practical tips and personal experiences. Besides that, we listed a selection of books to read about each topic.
Click the link below if you want to get our summarized powerpoint presentation:
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“80% of success is showing up.” Don’t take our word for is, it’s Woody Allen who once said this.
How do you define success? I see two important parts.
The first is success in handling yourself and your own actions. In my eyes, this is what the quote is about. The second part is success in dealing with others, because no one can really be successful without the help of others.
| Success in handling yourself
1. Take action. Get things done. Don’t postpone.
Ideas are important, but without execution, without taking action, there’s nothing to them.
Get the action habit, as David Schwartz puts it in his book ‘The magic of thinking big’ – must read by the way. There is one success ingredient often missing in people, and that is the ability to get things done, to get results. We’ve all heard people say ‘well I thought of Facebook before it even existed’. Too bad you didn’t do anything about it. For every Mark Zuckerberg, there’s at least a couple thousand would-be’s, who just didn’t take action. In your personal life, don’t be the guy who thinks it would be a great idea to get back in touch with an old friend, but keeps postponing the call. Get in the habit of taking action, or prepare to have a lot of regrets a couple of years down the road.
2.Keep learning. Never stop.
Successful people never reach the point where unsuccessful people say: “Now I know enough”. Try to learn something new every day. Stay up to date on changes in your field, but also look outside the areas you’re familiar with. Keep broadening your view and keep an open mind. Never act like you know it all.
3. Embrace change
Unsuccessful people are often afraid of change. A successful person realises that change is the only way forward and is not intimidated by the need to learn new things. They actually thrive in this context. Get in the habit of being enthusiastic about change instead of reverting to fear and resistance.
| Success in dealing with others
4. Take responsibility for your failures
Whether you make a small mistake or screw up bigtime, take responsibility and don’t make excuses. Never blame others for your failure.
5. Forgive others when they mess up
Don’t hold grudges, forgive others when they come to you.
6. Talk about ideas instead of gossiping about people
There’s a quote floating around the internet, no idea where it originally comes from – but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It goes: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Think about this. It makes sense. Do your best to eliminate gossip from your conversations and move to the interesting stuff.
7. Give compliments
Nobody ever lost something by making another person feel good. I’m not saying you should make up stuff. When I say ‘Give compliments’, I mean you should give sincere, honest appreciation. Unsuccessful people are quick to criticise, and rarely compliment others. Successful people are exactly the opposite.
8. Do everything you can to help others succeed
Unsuccessful people want others to fail, makes them feel a bit better about themselves. Successful people do everything they can to help others succeed. There’s nothing to gain from other people’s failure, perhaps in the short term, but definitely not in the long term.
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We all do it. When we have some time on our hands, we take our cellphones out and start doing some random stuff.
We thought it’d be nice to share our favorite apps to fill five minutes of spare time, without wasting those five minutes looking at pictures of cats on 9gag. To be honest, we also enjoy the occasional kitten, but we think it’s best to get in the habit of systematically being productive when you have time on your hands, instead of systematically wasting that time.
So, that being said, here’s our favorite apps to do just that.
As we’ve said before, and we’ll probably say a thousand times more, Audible has changed our lives. Audible lets you listen to audiobooks on your cellphone. Whenever I have a few minutes, for example when I’m walking from my car to wherever I need to be, I listen to 5 minutes of my current read.
We’ve only recently discovered StumbleUpon ourselves, but it’s currently our second-most used app. In short, you tell the app which topics you’re interested in and whenever you click the Stumble button, the app finds a new article to read that fits within your interests. Seems to work really well for us. The app also allows you to store your favorite ‘Stumbles’ in lists for later use.
Quora is basically a forum of (mostly) very smart people that ask eachother questions and provide eachother with high-quality answers. Just like on StumbleUpon, Quora allows you to select your interests and curates the content for you. You’ll also be able to join the discussion and provide your own answers or ask a ton of questions you’ve always wanted to know the answer to.
Basically, Wunderlist is a to do list – but a really good one. Wunderlist has an app, desktop and online version, which all integrate seamlessly.
Slack is a great way to communicate within teams. It’s basically a combination of skype, whatsapp and dropbox. Same here, Slack has an app, desktop and online version which all work perfectly.
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With the risk of losing some of our religiously-inclined readers, we’re not religious. Why are we telling you to have faith?
The basic jist of it is as follows: We’d like you to change the default way you think, mostly how you think about yourself. Have a little faith in yourself. Some of what follows might seem a bit over-confident, but keep an open mind. I strongly believe that making a continuous effort to build the right habits will really improve my life – especially in the long run. Below are some of the heuristics I try to incorporate in my thinking habits.
Just do it.
If you have a good idea or feel like something should be done, take action. If you take a walk down the street and speak to five strangers, it’s likely that four of them will tell you they’ve had the idea for Facebook, Twitter and Apple loooong before these companies made it big. Well congratulations, so did the rest of us. An idea is worth nothing without execution. Want to do something? Do it.
Can’t change it? Don’t worry about it
Always believe that you will succeed, but don’t feel too bad if you don’t right away. The road to success might be curvy, but eventually it will lead somewhere. I’ve seen some people become pretty depressed worrying about things they couldn’t change. Don’t put yourself through this. Do everything you can to succeed. If you can’t find a solution, change the rules, but if the game is cancelled because of rain, don’t beat yourself up.
Don’t assume anyone knows better.
Learn to listen to your own intuition. It won’t always be right, but at least you’ll know you made the call yourself. The single least attractive trait in any person, in my humble opinion, is lack of confidence. This habit might not always be the best advice, obviously someone knows some things better than you or me, but systematically assuming you know best will be a great confidence builder. That being said..
If you’re wrong, admit it.
Nothing is worse than someone who can’t admit he’s wrong. Make it a habit to admit your wrongs without delay, people will respect you for it and you won’t look like a stubborn idiot. Both in your professional life and even more so at home, admit your wrongs, apologize and improve.
If something needs doing, do it right away.
Don’t postpone, it’s rarely worth it. If the trash bag is full, put in a new one. If your house is a mess, clean it up. If you do something right away, you’ll feel content with yourself – postpone the dishes, and you’ll feel bad about still having to do them until you do.
In short, actively build the following into your way of thinking: Have faith in yourself, by default and without exception. If something needs to be done, do it. Right away and if something happens that you couldn’t possibly change, don’t worry about it.
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The average person is just that, average. On average, there must be more average people than exceptional ones, otherwise it just wouldn’t make sense. But that doesn’t have to be you. Enough with the wordplay.
I’ll tell you what I see many people around me doing, to my regret. They never question authority and always accept what people tell them – even if they have a feeling the person doing the telling doesn’t know much, they always seem to feel like they know even less. Please, have some faith in yourself and don’t just follow others around thinking, or hoping, they know what’s best.
Let’s take a look at the average life, which goes something like this. Go to college because you’re supposed to, get a job with good benefits and sit at your desk for 40 hours each week – of which you probably only needed about 8 to get your work done. Go on holiday overseas once or twice a year, depending on how much you can spend after paying your mortgage. Oh right, of course you bought a house and got a 30 year mortgage hanging above your head. Spend the rest of your life sitting in front of your desk, hoping you don’t get fired. Think about starting your own business or writing a book – but never do it. All in all, spend your life trying not to get notices – fly under the radar and stay average untill you lie there in your average grave.
Unless. Unless you wake up and think about what you actually want in life. If you make a conscious choice to do all of the above, because your priorities lie with your family life, all the better for you. But please, think deeply about whatever you choose to do. Want to write a book? Get started. Want to travel the world? Start planning and book your tickets as soon as possible. Nothing will happen if you don’t make it – and if you don’t, you know where you’re headed.
Now, what should you do?
Start reading, be it books or audiobooks – open up to new ideas and broaden your perspective.
Figure out what you really want in life – sit around, meditate, take a long walk – whatever you need to do to get the engines going.
Make a plan and start working to achieve whatever it is you want – get started today, take a step in the right direction every day from now on.
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The route to a better you
Before we get you on your way, we thought it good to explain why we built this site.
Overall, we hope to show you a productive way of spending your free time, other than just watching television.
We like to read books, a lot of books, primarily focused on self-improvement. We’ve always found it hard to find the next book to read and that’s why we decided to build ReadRoute.com.
On ReadRoute.com, we’ll aim to guide you through the immense amount of available content and show you where to find the good stuff. We intend to provide you an overview of the books we liked the most, but also show you where to find blogs worth reading, youtube channels worth subscribing to and ted talks worth watching.
Readroute.com will aim to serve as your filter to find quality content, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we made (spend 10 hours reading a book that’s not worthwile).
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any remarks or ideas, we read every mail and really appreciate the feedback.