1. Grind, discipline, persistence, stay at it, no matter what. The number one trait of anyone who has “made it” is that they didn´t give up. They didn´t give up when it got boring, they didn´t give up when they hadn´t been paid for a year, they didn´t give up when all their peers criticised them. They stayed at it and BUILT their success. They didn´t expect anyone else to come and just hand it to them.
2. But work smart! Don´t just grind tirelessly at it. Don´t try to chop down a tree with a dull axe, do like Abraham Lincoln:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
– Abraham Lincoln
3. Embrace the fact that you will fail. And be happy with it! It is the fastest way to learn. If you fail at something, you know that whatever you did, did not work. Great! You are now wiser. Try something else.
4. But don´t go out and actively try to fail. Find failing embarrassing, but be more embarrassed about not accomplishing anything. Use the second to fuel the first. Make sure what you do is great! But accept if it is not, learn, adapt and try again.
5. Study people who have achieved great stuff! But especially study how they fucked up on their way there. You can learn so much more from their mistakes than their success (which will likely be very overblown). Also, study people who have tried and failed. Learn from their mistakes as well.
6. Divide your effort into 4 parts, 50% working towards your goal (grinding), 25% towards studying, learning and growing (sharpening the axe) and 25% towards helping others.
Why should you help others? Because karma. No, I am just kidding. You should help others as there is a big chance they will help you out later in return.
You should help others because you are a good human being who wishes to better the human species.
But most importantly, you want to help because that´s how you build a reputation.
If you can squeeze out another 10% (I know the calculations don´t add up, don´t worry), spend them on networking, shaking hands, events, conference etc. Get your name out there.
7. Pursue your luck! If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but you don´t know if you don´t try! Always keep your bullshit meter up, don´t wire transfer a Nigerian businessman 10.000$ in exchange for 1.000.00$ in gold, for example. But if you are constantly wary of the intentions of everyone else, you may miss out on great opportunities.
Don´t worry so much about small risks and potential smaller embarrassments. Simply consider them to be money and pride spent on learning.
8. Set big goals. Aim for the stars. You may not reach the stars, but you will most likely be growing at a much higher trajectory than had you only aimed for the skies.
9. Never be content. Never be satisfied. When you do reach your goals, celebrate, then set new goals. Never think you have “made it”. When you start relaxing, the axe goes dull, and someone else will start chopping down the trees faster than you. When you start relaxing you will miss out on further growth opportunities. 90% of all startups fail within a year. Why? Mostly because they didn´t stay at it. Don´t be like them.
It is also a great way to avoid company culture killing arrogance and staying humble.