How Life Works: Tests, Lessons, and Self-Mastery

How Life Works: Tests, Lessons, and Self-Mastery

When we are born, we show up as a new character in the middle of a movie. What happens next—and the success we achieve before we die—is determined by 1) the circumstances we find ourselves in and 2) what we do about them.

Most of us are driven by certain desires and dreams for our lives. As our lives progress, we pursue success. We want to do more than survive; we want to thrive and excel. We want to be exceptional, to “make a difference,” as everyone says.

In order for that to happen, we need to pass the tests we are faced with, learn lessons we can apply going forward, and then, finally, learn self-mastery, which makes life amazingly wonderful. It’s not easy. But it can be done, with just one change in your thinking. Let’s look at tests, lessons, and self-mastery.

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Business Makes the World Go Round

My grand-nephew William again, enjoying French toast at our house after camping out on the lawn with his parents the night before. His parents are both successful entrepreneurs in their own right.

All day long, we are bombarded and surrounded by people arguing, on screen and over the airwaves. It’s like you’re living in a house where four of the five people living there argue constantly, compete with each other, lay around complaining, and force others to cater to their every whim.

Surrounded by all this noise and conflict, you’d think that was the most important thing.

It’s not.

While the four people are arguing all day, the fifth person goes to work every day and makes enough money to feed, clothe, and house all of the other people in the house.

Those “four people” are politicians, people yelling at each other in social channels, TV commentators, journalists on both sides, celebrities being negative and crazy . . . you know.

That fifth person, the one everyone takes for granted, is “business.”

What is business?
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Helping people is the essence of success

Business English Tech

Success is a good thing, assuming you come by it honorably. Personally, I don’t consider someone successful in life if they don’t live honorably. And honor is always based in some way on helping others.

Success that is achieved honorably—by helping others—is cumulative.

One success leads to another. Your life just keeps getting better and better as you age. It’s a great way to live.

By the time you die, you have earned the respect of others, have deep and satisfying relationships, few regrets, and enough money to be able to pass some on to those you love.

The alternative isn’t much fun.

You are not honorable if you hurt others on your way up; if you break hearts and laws; and if you are selfish and demanding. Yes, there are plenty of examples of selfish people who make money, but they tend to do it in industries where the main driver is ego rather than helpfulness.

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Want more respect? Change the way you communicate.


We work with others – and communicate with them – all day. How others perceive us makes a big difference in how we are viewed and treated at work. Our communication habits either make it easier for people to support and promote us, or make them decide not to support and promote us.

In other words, how we communicate has a big effect on our success. It matters. A lot.
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The Only Real Job Security: Aggressive Learning

working studying learning

I was on a business trip recently, and noticed how wedded we are to our machines. They have become an extension of our existence. Everyone traveling was interacting with some kind of machine, either listening, working, or playing. What does this have to do with job security? Everything. 

The promise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are quickly becoming realities, where machines are evolving from being “things we command” to “things that learn on their own and take action.”

Machines are not just performing functions, they are learning from their own activities, gathering data faster than we ever could, and taking action on what they learn.

This is making a lot of people nervous. They are worried about job security.
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Succeed in Business Kristin Zhivago

How to Succeed in Business: Persistence, Perspective, Personality

(Pictured: Our grand nephew, William, whose persistence, perspective and personality – not to mention his unbridled enthusiasm – will definitely help him succeed in life.)

There are three things you need to master in order to succeed in business. To make them easier to remember, we can call them the Three P’s: Persistence, Perspective, and Personality. These characteristics will help you succeed in life, as well. 

Let’s jump right in.

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Business English Tech Computer Repair

How to solve your own technical problems

You don’t need to be a technical genius to solve technical problems. You just have to know how to go about it.

This article is especially for anyone who feels intimidated by technology, and who often has to turn to someone else to solve the problem.

That’s not a good solution because 1) you are unable to keep working until the other person solves the problem; 2) it could involve an expense you could avoid; and 3) the person you turn to may have a hidden agenda, personal preferences that conflict with yours, or may mislead you just because they don’t know any better. Read more

Giving Instructions

How to give instructions

If you want to rise up in the business world, you will need to learn how to give instructions. No one will teach you this in school, either, and even people who have been working in business a long time never really learn how to do this properly.

Yet, it is, in my opinion, the single most important thing you will learn how to do in your business life.

If you want to be a manager, first learn how to manage yourself, and then lead others. Managers are made, not born.

And the first place to start managing others is by giving good instructions. Read more

Business 101 – The money part of business

Business 101 – The money part of business

This is a super basic article for the person who really doesn’t understand how businesses work. It’s written mostly for teenagers who haven’t been taught anything about business (except maybe that businesses are terrible).

The first thing I need to say is that businesses, on the whole, are NOT terrible.

The second thing I need to say is that there is a BIG difference between small (and medium) businesses and very large businesses. This isn’t true in all cases – there are actually some pretty OK large businesses – but they are rare. It’s like the difference between Southwest Airlines, which is filled with friendly workers, and United, which I walked away from forever even though I had 100,000 frequent flyer miles I could be using. Read more

Business English Tech Find job

Business 101 – How to be employable

It’s easier than ever to find work, and for companies to find people. There are a number of sites that will let you work from home, like, no matter where you live. There are dozens of job boards online.

That’s not the problem. The problem is, once you start looking asking for interviews, you need to be employable.

And, if you’re starting a business, you need to be someone people want to hire.

So. Let’s look at this, this way.

You will NOT be hired, or given more work, if you:

  • Can’t write English.
  • Are discourteous, dismissive, or rude.
  • Don’t understand what really needs to be done or how to work with others.
  • Are not effective with today’s technical tools.

So. Read more