Learning from those that came before us is one of the best ways not repeat the mistakes of the past and make the best decisions for the future.
Many people, including those in leadership positions, tend to overthink things. Haralambos “Charlie” Pistis, the archetypical self-made man and my grandfather, fortunately was not one of them. He travelled as an immigrant from Cyprus to the U.S. at the age of 16 to make a new life for himself, and retired at 60 a millionaire. The secret to his success was not that complicated, as you’ll see below. In my book, Lessons From My Grandfather: Wisdom for Success in Business and Life, I’ve codified the wisdom Grandpa Charlie passed down to me; and a glimpse of this knowledge here. It’s a set of strategies leaders should remind themselves of from time to time.
ONE: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. Remain positive always. Smile always. Your disposition and the way you carry yourself have everything to do with how you advance in life. Give your very best always. People respond to positive people.”TAKE THE
TWO: MIGHTY RISKS. To live is always an adventure, so take the mighty risks. You must be willing to risk and dare if you are to maximize success. Take your best shot. Charlie said: “You know that line, don’t you? The one that says a ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what it is made for.”
THREE: BE RESILIENT, PERSEVERE, AND NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. Every person has the capacity to do great things. It simply takes desire and dedication. Go out and fight for what you deserve.
FOUR: EVERYONE YOU PASS IN LIFE HAS SOMETHING TO TEACH YOU. Everyone knows more about something than you do. So, listen to everyone. Listen, listen and learn always. He believed that the truly smart people were those who recognized how little they actually knew, and that it made sense to pay attention to what others might have to share.
FIVE: NO ONE EVER DOES IT ALONE. You must attach yourself to those you can depend upon. You must ally, trust, and build with others.
SIX: NEVER STOP MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS. Accomplishing great things is rarely easy—it requires determination, hard work, and focus. Despite obstacles and occasional setbacks, you must commit to always moving forward toward your goals. If you do that, you will achieve success.
SEVEN: GO THE EXTRA MILE. Come early, stay late, skip that lunch, and do more—do the same the next day. Be your best self always. There was a simple equation here: Maximum output is destined to achieve maximum results.
EIGHT: REMAIN HUMBLE. Humility is your friend and ego is not. In humility, reject all prejudices and biases, which have no place in business. Treat everyone—absolutely everyone— as you would like to be treated. “You boast and no one will open up to you.”
NINE: LOOK FOR WHAT OTHERS DON’T SEE. Look beyond—look harder and deeper. If you do not look for what is new in each day, so much will pass you by.
TEN: BE AWAKE AND ALIVE TO THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS. Do not pass by their suffering. If you do not live charitably, you will never be whole. Happiness depends on this.
ELEVEN: TO WORK IS TO SURVIVE AND THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. If you want success and comfort or the extras in life, you must do more than work, and more than the ordinary. Extraordinary is about going beyond. What you do to live or to exist is one thing, but what you do to excel or garner the edge in life is quite another. So invest, start a business, partner, build upon an idea, create, and reach beyond to garner more than what it takes to merely pay the bills.
TWELVE: BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE. Whoever God may be to you, be thankful to Him or Her. If you do not believe, be mindful that it is not all about you, and take note of the wonder and gifts that surround you.
THIRTEEN: THERE ARE NO LIMITS AND NO ENDS. There are only new beginnings. There are and never have been any final victories. The journey always goes on. Charlie said: “Limits are artificial creations.” “I learned this from my dad: The secret to living is to keep on moving. Action is always the antidote to despair.” “If you stop going forward, you’ve quit.”
FOURTEEN: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF ALWAYS. Believe that you will get ahead, grow, and win. If you don’t believe in you, the likelihood is that no one else will. So believe! No loss should ever deter you from going forward.
FIFTEEN: BE JOYFUL. Find the joy in what you do and prosper. Should you find happiness in what you do, as you should, you will succeed all the more. So look to mesh vocation and avocation, and know that there will be joy enough in the mere pursuit of the same. Charlie said: “For God’s sake, I celebrated life when I was a dishwasher. All work has its dignity and honor.
Marc Demetriou is a nationally ranked mortgage originator based in New Jersey and author of the book, Lessons From My Grandfather: Wisdom for Success in Business and Life (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Marc can be reached 973/492-0117 Ext 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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