Articles Tagged Success

Apr 12, 2009
Future success is not guaranteed – for anyone

Icarus flew too close to the sun, and came crashing down into the sea. He became giddy with excitement at his ability to fly, and was punished for his over-confidence. That is a Greek fable, but all societies have their tales about the phenomenon of hubris – the excessive pride or arrogance that so many […]

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Apr 06, 2009
To prosper in life, expect the unexpected

“It is easy to see that life is the cumulative effect of a handful of significant shocks. It is not so hard to identify the role of Black Swans, from your armchair (or bar stool). Go through the following exercise. Look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions […]

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Mar 09, 2009
Do corporate awards really mean anything?

“At the end of 2007, Marks & Spencer was lauded as Britain’s Most Admired Company, ranked as the best among 220 companies in a survey conducted by Management Today. Not only did it receive the highest score overall, Marks & Sparks was rated best on five of the nine survey categories… Marks and Spencer’s triumph […]

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Feb 09, 2009
The herd instinct gets us all into trouble

“One thing this crisis has proved is that the herd instinct is alive and well and global. It led Bear Stearns and Citigroup and Lehman Brothers and AIG to believe that risk was a thing of the past, that housing markets could only go up and that unregulated mortgage-backed securities would forever yield unprecedented returns. […]

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Feb 02, 2009
We are all wise after the event

“I believed that I would win kudos for my contrarian view when the (internet) bubble burst. But people who had not wished to be told they were talking nonsense before the bubble burst did not wish to be told they had been talking nonsense after the bubble burst either. Indeed they did not recall that […]

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Jan 19, 2009
Want to be truly excellent at what you do? Practice!

“This idea – that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice – surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours. “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert […]

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Nov 21, 2008
Don’t hang on where you’ve stopped adding value

“Andy Cole has finally confirmed he has retired from football, but in doing so launched a broadside at Nottingham Forest and their manager Colin Calderwood. The former Manchester United and England striker left his hometown club two weeks ago after failing to make an impression and growing disillusioned with restricted appearances. Cole made just 11 […]

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Sep 12, 2008
Don’t ask for references – they are useless

“Many employers ask job applicants for personal references. Justification for this practice is beyond me. There’s no valid reason to believe that these references will help you to identify potentially high-performing employees. The reality is this: We all have friends who will say or write positive reviews of us. If every job candidate can provide […]

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Aug 17, 2008
How to turn your child into an ‘expert’

Do you want your child to become an ‘expert’? Who wouldn’t? Being an expert in something usually brings great rewards in life: recognition, money, and a sense of deep accomplishment. But what is an ‘expert’? Do we ask ourselves that question often enough? Are experts born or made? In other words, are the factors that […]

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Aug 10, 2008
Great education requires great teachers

We are all deeply concerned about the state of our education system these days, so allow me to stay on the subject for a while. There can be little doubt: if we want to haul ourselves out of the murky waters of third-world status, education is the only known method. Educating our people properly is […]

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Jul 11, 2008
Multi-tasking can kill you, kill your career

“…In a 2005 Australian study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers interviewed, during a 27-month period, 456 hospitalized cell phone users who had each been involved in a crash. The scientists combed the drivers’ call records to see how cell phone use affected their driving. Whether they talked hands-free or with a phone clasped […]

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Jun 08, 2008
Stop playing the blame game – it’s for losers

I am writing this in the dark, afflicted by a power blackout. It seems a good time to pass the blame around. So let me start, obviously, by blaming our notorious power company, which has been a blight on this country for decades. Let me also pass some blame to my landlord, who seems incapable […]

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Jun 01, 2008
The little things that shape history

Let’s talk football this Sunday. But only briefly, so the rest of you don’t run away… A few days ago the captain of Chelsea Football Club, John Terry, stepped up to take a Very Important Penalty in Moscow. His team was facing Manchester United in the final of the European Champions League, the world’s most […]

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May 23, 2008
Never sit on the mountain of conventional wisdom

“Never trust the vast mountain of conventional wisdom. It contains great nuggets of wisdom, it is true. But they lie alongside rivers of fool’s gold. Conventional wisdom daunts initiative and offers far too many convenient reasons for inaction, especially for those who have a great deal to lose. Fortunately for you, you do not have […]

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May 11, 2008
Want success in life? Commit!

There is a lesson we must all learn: life is nothing if you don’t commit to it. In love, in business, in your career: you can’t ‘succeed big’ if you don’t ‘commit big’. If you want to be a winner, you have to decide what you want and how you’re going to get it. And […]

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Jan 25, 2008
Want to do more? Do it one thing at a time

“Many executives view multitasking as a necessity in the face of all the demands they juggle, but it actually undermines productivity. Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another – stopping to answer an e-mail or take a phone call, for instance – increases the amount of time necessary to […]

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Nov 11, 2007
It’s good to be young – but better to be effective

Football pundit Alan Hansen, when surveying the new-look Manchester United team of 1995-96, famously stated: “You can’t win anything with kids”. Those words have probably haunted him every day of his life subsequently. Manchester United went to win the English Premiership title that year, with a team whose average age was 24, and 6 of […]

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Dec 24, 2006
‘Guru of Joy’ advises Kenyans

An unusually dressed man passed through Kenya this past week. His flowing white robes and long hair and beard marked him out as an Indian sage. But this extraordinary man is not a religious leader. I had the privilege of interviewing him, and what he had to say is worth recording during this season of […]

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Nov 19, 2006
To succeed, put interruptions on hold

You’re working on a very important report, and you’re behind schedule. An e-mail marked ‘urgent reply needed’ pops up on your computer screen. You start reading it, and see that it does indeed need your immediate attention. You start working on a response. There’s a knock on the door, and a colleague walks in. You […]

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Nov 12, 2006
Crooked line that compromises our future

If you are in Nairobi and happen to be in the State House area, you may notice a freshly painted bright yellow line in the middle of State House Road. You may also notice another thing: the line is crooked. Why am I telling you this on a Sunday morning? No, I haven’t run out […]

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May 07, 2006
What our failures can teach us

We’d rather talk about success than failure. The human race gets great succour from tales of greatness. We like to idolise, and we habitually build up our ancestors, our leaders, our managers into mythical figures whose successes become legendary. We would do better to discuss failure, says Paul Ormerod, for failure is a more widespread […]

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Apr 30, 2006
Dreaming of a Kenya reborn

This Sunday, let’s lift the clouds of gloom that threaten to cover us completely. Just for a day, let’s dare to dream again. What lies ahead for this country? What can we look forward to for our children? Go outdoors and feel the fresh air in your lungs. Find a comfortable patch of grass on […]

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Apr 16, 2006
Time to leave the past behind

Remember the seventies? Ah, glory days! The streets were clean, and there was always parking to be found. The town and city councils actually did what we paid them to. Nairobi had mayors who were not drawn from the criminal or professional comedian classes. There were streetlights everywhere, and they actually worked. You could walk […]

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Mar 12, 2006
Career advice they never get to hear

Hi youngsters, it’s nice to have your company again. Many of you have just received your examination results, and are busy planning what to do with the rest of your lives. Careers, occupations and flight paths are on your minds. And I’m sure there is no shortage of advisors: parents, teachers, peers and a variety […]

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Mar 05, 2006
Rich lessons in wealth management

We are a little crazy about wealth in this country. It sometimes feels like every person wakes up every morning with the same wild-eyed obsession: More money! More property! More everything! A labourer can be found dreaming about when he will be able to move into a permanent dwelling; a junior executive might be in […]

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Nov 20, 2005
How much wealth are you hoarding?

Hoarders seem to attract universal opprobrium. We are all scornful of what we imagine the hoarder to be: a scheming shopkeeper who amasses essential foodstuffs while people are starving. But is that really what hoarding is? How much wealth are you, specifically, sitting on that could be serving the world around you? The BBC has […]

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Nov 13, 2005
Personal humility is a key ingredient for greatness

Once upon a time there was a teacher of business at a famous university far, far away. This teacher was troubled by the question: what makes a company truly great? Why do some stay mired in mediocrity for decades, yet others are able to outperform the market for many, many years? Why do some companies […]

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Oct 23, 2005
Why honesty pays in business

To succeed in business, you have to be a bit crooked. Or, at least, you have to be willing to cut a few “corners”, make a few “friends”, enter into some “arrangements”. That is the received wisdom about business in Kenya. It is wrong. Business does not have to be shady in order to be […]

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