Articles Tagged Success

Mar 28, 2010
Your personal standards drive success

How were your cornflakes this Sunday morning? One of my oldest friends told me something interesting about his consumption of cereals. He asserted that the milk you add to cornflakes has to be very cold, otherwise the taste is ruined. I was about to dismiss this as individual fastidiousness, but my attention was piqued and […]

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Mar 21, 2010
Why reality usually has nothing to do with plans

Last week this column looked at two words: Event and Process. This week I want to engage you in a discussion about two more: PLAN and REALITY. The need to think about these words came to me on a recent flight. Anyone who has flown on a commercial flight will be familiar with the in-flight […]

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Mar 14, 2010
To succeed, make the crucial distinction between event and process

This Sunday I want to focus your attention on two seemingly simple words: EVENT and PROCESS. The difference between these words, I would like to argue, is that between earth and sky, between success and failure, between dream and reality. Yet we are confusing these words every day in Kenya and retarding our progress. Our […]

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Feb 15, 2010
The key to success: enjoy yourself thoroughly!

“Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work, requiring a great deal of time, you had better enjoy it. When I started Virgin from a basement flat in west London, I did not set out to build a business empire. I set out to create something I enjoyed that would pay the […]

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Dec 13, 2009
MJ’s “This Is It”: The pursuit of perfection

This column doesn’t do film reviews. Every so often, however, a film experience comes along that requires you to break your own rules. Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” is one such experience, and one that I am happy to ask you not to miss, if you have any interest in the nature and experience of […]

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Oct 12, 2009
The chains of past success shackle us

“Suppose you went to a doctor who said: “I’m going to do an appendectomy on you.” When you asked why, the doctor answered, “because I did one on my last patient and it made him better.” We suspect you would hightail it out of that office, because you know that the treatment ought to be […]

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Sep 14, 2009
Learning from the Crocs shooting star phenomenon

“For a while, they were just right there, in the middle of American culture,” says Richard Polk, the owner of Pedestrian Shops and ComfortableShoes.com, based in Boulder, Colo. Polk’s store was the first real shoe store to stock the crazy-looking plastic shoes, a few years back, when they first roared out of nearby Aurora to […]

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Aug 24, 2009
To understand success and failure, try visiting the graveyard

“More than two thousand years ago, the Roman orator, belletrist, thinker, Stoic, manipulator-politician, and (usually) virtuous gentleman, Marcus Tullius Cicero, presented the following story. One Diagoras, a nonbeliever in the gods, was shown painted tablets bearing the portraits of some worshippers who prayed, then survived a subsequent shipwreck. The implication was that praying protects you […]

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Jul 26, 2009
Dependency culture is crippling many

We don’t have a welfare state in Kenya. Or do we? Look at it this way. Of our 35-plus million people, only around 2 million are in any form of ‘formal’ or ‘modern’ employment. Kenya as a country offers proper employment to fewer people than Wal-Mart does. It is these few people who form most […]

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Jun 15, 2009
Did your CEO just win an award? Start worrying…

“Team titles might be what matter to them most, but football fans are also generally pleased if a player in their team wins an award. Publishers rarely object when their authors win Booker or Nobel prizes for literature. So how should shareholders in a company feel when the company’s chief executive wins an accolade such […]

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Apr 26, 2009
Reclaiming good values in Kenya: what’s your personal agenda?

I went on the attack against the ‘followers’ in this country last week, and asked that we all examine our everyday behaviour rather than wait for ‘leaders’ to sort us out. The attack continues this week. We heard recently that a magistrate had been killed and his body dumped on the roadside. Newspaper reports now […]

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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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