Dan Schawbel wrote a recent article over at Business Week outlining Russell Simmons new book "Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All" (Gotham 2011), where Uncle Russ gives us all some advice on how to be successful in life. Simmons breaks it down to 4 lessons:
1. Choose passion over money. (I can't not agree with this, but have you ever noticed the only people who give this advice are either super rich or super poor? If you have a 3 bed/2 bath home in the burbs, making payments on 2 cars and carting your 2.3 kids around to basketball and ballet practice - you tend not to be giving out the "work your passion" advice - I'm just saying...this is also advice that works better for the young - I love coaching - but the pay sucks starting out, so you would have to follow that passion right out of college - before wife, before kids, before house, before car with no rust, before food - you get the picture!)
2. Have a positive attitude. (Again, easier if your rich - they say "More money, more problems" - but if you have money - it's easier to take care of your problems! But I agree with Russ on this - I want to work with people who have a positive energy - who believe the sun is coming up tomorrow - because you know what? It will.)
3. Think before you speak.(I wish I had a hot tub time machine so I could go back to my younger self and give out this advice...at many times. This can be a huge career derailer for many people - I understand that people get passionate, but saying the wrong thing at the wrong time in front of the wrong people - can end your career progression at a company faster than bad performance.)
4. Give before you receive. (We all know these people - we envy them and want to be like them. It seems like every time you need something, they come through. Certain people have learned that their success is not about being better than everyone else, but making everyone else around them better. If you can find some of these people for your team - you win.)
I think one thing that Russell and it seems many people who very high success tend to leave out of their advice is one very critical component - Right Time, Right Place - and (this one is critical - because many people are at the "right time, right place" moment) - Make the Right Decision. People never want to believe their success could have anything to do with this "fate" concept - but all to often in life, your success comes down to making the right decision at the right time. I don't really believe that's fate - I tend to believe it's about making good decisions, and your willingness to make decisions. In the end if you don't make a decision, it will be made for you.