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How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

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When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

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There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

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Blueprint to a Mogul: The Dash Doctrine

 

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Doctrine: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief

If you’ve been on social media within the past couple of weeks, you may have stumbled across remarks made regarding the recent interview between business mogul, Damon Dash, and the members of NYC’s Power 105.1 Breakfast Club. What began as an interview intended to talk about Dash’s recent projects in film production (Loisaidas), quickly turned into a lesson on life skills and entrepreneurship. While viewing the interview, I began to see many parallels between his statements and words I’ve read while reading Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich”. While undoubtedly, both figures come from extremely polarized positions and backgrounds, lessons can be learned from each of them. This is relevant for the new generation, who may not necessarily be receptive to someone who has been deceased for over 40 years, but would be to a prominent figure in Hip-Hop culture who at times brings controversy, but definitely made an impact on the music and fashion industry and was responsible for assisting in the careers of some of the most prominent figures of today, such as Jay Z and Kanye West.

While Dash may seem to appear arrogant in his approach at times, and I may not necessarily agree with everything he says, there is some value in his street teachings.These words of wisdom pertain to ideas related to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and life skills.

 

Biography

Damon Dash, born on May 3, 1971, is a Harlem native. So much in fact, that he uses his experiences as a resident of this neighborhood of Manhattan as a primary reference point for his mentality both from a street perspective, as well as, a business one. Dash attributes his work ethic to his mother, who died of an asthma attack when he was 15 years old. As a teenager he hustled his way through adolescence by sweeping floors in local barbershops, selling newspapers, and eventually, drugs. He eventually made a name for himself as a party promoter; however, the biggest career move happened in 1992, when his friend Clark Kent introduced him to a young rapper from the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn named Jay-Z. By 1996, both of them, along with Kareem “Biggs” Burke, launched Roc-A-Fella Records after constantly being denied by record companies. They decided to become masters of their own destinies and it paid off, eventually establishing successful distribution deals with Def Jam and Priority Records.

 

Accomplishments

Dash played a pivotal role in the success of Roc-A-Fella Records, often times shifting his moniker from a street-savvy virtuoso to a corporate businessman. His keen sense of awareness and flexibility is a perfect example of what it takes to be a street entrepreneur, an individual who’s able to use his “street smarts” to become successful in the business realm. Keeping this in mind, Damon Dash was able to venture off into a variety of industries. For example, he was the man behind the acquisitions of Armadale Vodka and Pro Keds, using his artists and his label as a means of marketing his other brands, especially the Rocawear clothing line. He was also highly involved in orchestrating crime thrillers, such as State Property (2002) and State Property 2 (2005), and the crime comedy Paper Soldiers (2002). In 2004, he worked with producer Lee Daniels (The Butler, Monster’s Ball and Empire) and Kevin Bacon to produce The Woodsman, a drama about a child molester who gets out of prison after serving a 12-year sentence and attempts to start a new life. In addition to delving into music, fashion, and film, Dash has also ventured into boxing promotion, enlisting boxers such as Gary Starks, Curtis Stephens, and Andre Alberta.

As you can see, Dash is a straight-up hustler with a diverse portfolio of businesses. Although he is no longer involved in the Roc-A-Fella label or Rocawear, he continues to be tenacious, starting his own Damon Dash Music Group and sportswear-clothing brand called CEO. You can view him on channels and websites, providing insight on what it takes to become a successful businessman, which leads to the idea of “The Dash Doctrine.” Below, you will find some very valid points that Damon Dash made during his recent interview at Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club. These words of wisdom pertain to ideas related to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and life skills. Therefore, each set of quotes are accompanied by a specific skill that can be found in Forbe’s article, “The Top Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs” and “Life Skills” mentioned on the website Skills You Need.

Honestly, at times, I’ve personally felt conflicted about some of Dash’s comments. While he may seem to appear arrogant in his approach at times, and I may not necessarily agree with everything he says, there is some value in his street teachings. This is even more evident as I aligned his words to Napoleon Hill’s. Ultimately, quotes from both figures served as an exchange of ideas that developed into a conversation that reinforces certain perceptions of success and ourselves. In the end, I really had to ask myself, “Do I have what it takes to be a boss?” What about you?

The Dash Doctrine

 

1. Leadership and Responsibility

“I hustle for my last name…not for my first.” – Damon Dash

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” – Napoleon Hill

 

2. Communication and Collaboration

“We have to stick together. And I’m sick of us as a culture not sticking together.” – Damon Dash

“…through personally analyzing hundred of successful men….all of them followed the habit of exchanging ideas, through what is commonly called conferences. When they had problems to be solved they sat down together and talked freely until they discovered, from their joint contribution of ideas, a plan that would serve their purpose.” – Napoleon Hill

 

3. Initiative and Self-Motivation 

“Jobs are for lazy people who don’t want to invest in themselves.” – Damon Dash

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” – Napoleon Hill

 

4. Self-Discovery and Life-long Learning

“I’m mad at y’all for having the same job for 25 years…I can’t imagine doing the same s#!+ every day having to be told what to do everyday…and ask to go on vacation” – Damon Dash

“Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.” – Napoleon Hill

 

5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 

“A real man doesn’t listen to a rumor.” – Damon Dash

“Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished up anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by ‘opinions’ when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.” – Napoleon Hill

 

6. Independence and Accountability

“How could a man say he has a boss and be proud?” – Damon Dash

“Success comes to those who become success conscious.” – Napoleon Hill

 

7. Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

“See, you enjoy the safety and security of a job everyday, but there’s no pride in that to me……..There’s just a pride that you should have in ownership…By putting your own money up and investing in yourself. That’s it…you flip.” – Damon Dash

“Do not wait. The time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill

 

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Switching it Up Like Jigga

“The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.” – Jay Z

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you have seen at least part of Jay Z’s slow and steady rise to the top. Though he began his career in music, and continues to make moves in that genre, the 45 year old has added several other career labels to his name. A brief read over of his biography and you see job titles like former Def Jam Records president, co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records, Rock Nation Sports owner, 40/40 Club owner, Brooklyn Nets co-owner, author, and now streaming music service owner. His ability to move fluidly between career fields is what makes him the definition of a mogul. But what is it about him that makes this possible?

Biography

Jay Z was born Shawn Corey Carter on December 5, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the youngest of four children and raised by a single mother after his father left the family when he was 11 years old. Jay’s early environment in the Marcy housing projects meant his surrounding environment included plenty of drugs and crime.  In “Where I’m From” he rapped, “I’m from… up the block, around the corner and down the street/ From where the pimps, prostitutes and the drug lords meet/We make a million off of beats, cause our stories is deep.” Though he could have remained in this environment his whole life, he used this same upbringing to motivate himself to pursue bigger dreams.

Jay Z as a child

While he began rapping in his teen years, it wasn’t until the early 90s that he began to get a little spotlight from working with artists like Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J. He encountered struggles from large record companies who refused to sign him, so in 1995 he began his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records with friend Damon Dash. Here he released his first solo album, Reasonable Doubt, which Rolling Stone named one of the 500 Greatest albums of all time. Over the next 17 years Jay Z would release another 10 records, ultimately selling over 100 million records and earning 19 Grammies for his work.

Throughout his career as a musician he began planting his foot firmly in other ventures and established himself as a true mogul. Some of his most significant business achievements include buying a piece of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and moving them to his hometown of Brooklyn, becoming president of Def Jam Records, founding a sports management company, and landing the cover of Forbes magazine alongside billionaire Warren Buffet. To date he is worth nearly half a billion dollars! These accomplishments show how diverse Jay Z’s skills are. As he rapped in Kanye West’s Diamonds are Forever Remix, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS, man.”

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Code Switching

Though a number of his talents have led him to success, it is his ability to work seamlessly in several different fields that has enabled him to try so many different projects. In particular, a skill called “Code-switching” allows him to speak and behave appropriately in different circumstances and with very different crowds. Code switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more varieties of language in conversation.  He summed up this skill perfectly in a 2005 Rolling Stone article, “Be water. If you pour water in a cup, it takes the shape of a cup. If you pour it in a teapot, it takes the shape of a teapot. Be fluid. Treat each project differently. The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.”

Alicia Keys Diary Tour At Radio City Music Hall

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So how often do people have to rely on code-switching to succeed? When have you relied on code-switching to get ahead? Is it strategy or selling out? To a mogul, it’s just another tool in the arsenal.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Switching it Up Like Jigga

“The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.” – Jay Z

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you have seen at least part of Jay Z’s slow and steady rise to the top. Though he began his career in music, and continues to make moves in that genre, the 45 year old has added several other career labels to his name. A brief read over of his biography and you see job titles like former Def Jam Records president, co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records, Rock Nation Sports owner, 40/40 Club owner, Brooklyn Nets co-owner, author, and now streaming music service owner. His ability to move fluidly between career fields is what makes him the definition of a mogul. But what is it about him that makes this possible?
Biography
Jay Z was born Shawn Corey Carter on December 5, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the youngest of four children and raised by a single mother after his father left the family when he was 11 years old. Jay’s early environment in the Marcy housing projects meant his surrounding environment included plenty of drugs and crime.  In “Where I’m From” he rapped, “I’m from… up the block, around the corner and down the street/ From where the pimps, prostitutes and the drug lords meet/We make a million off of beats, cause our stories is deep.” Though he could have remained in this environment his whole life, he used this same upbringing to motivate himself to pursue bigger dreams.

While he began rapping in his teen years, it wasn’t until the early 90s that he began to get a little spotlight from working with artists like Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J. He encountered struggles from large record companies who refused to sign him, so in 1995 he began his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records with friend Damon Dash. Here he released his first solo album, Reasonable Doubt, which Rolling Stone named one of the 500 Greatest albums of all time. Over the next 17 years Jay Z would release another 10 records, ultimately selling over 100 million records and earning 19 Grammies for his work.

Throughout his career as a musician he began planting his foot firmly in other ventures and established himself as a true mogul. Some of his most significant business achievements include buying a piece of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and moving them to his hometown of Brooklyn, becoming president of Def Jam Records, founding a sports management company, and landing the cover of Forbes magazine alongside billionaire Warren Buffet. To date he is worth nearly half a billion dollars! These accomplishments show how diverse Jay Z’s skills are. As he rapped in Kanye West’s Diamonds are Forever Remix, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS, man.”

Code Switching
Though a number of his talents have led him to success, it is his ability to work seamlessly in several different fields that has enabled him to try so many different projects. In particular, a skill called “Code-switching” allows him to speak and behave appropriately in different circumstances and with very different crowds. Code switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more varieties of language in conversation.  He summed up this skill perfectly in a 2005 Rolling Stone article, “Be water. If you pour water in a cup, it takes the shape of a cup. If you pour it in a teapot, it takes the shape of a teapot. Be fluid. Treat each project differently. The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.”

So how often do people have to rely on code-switching to succeed? When have you relied on code-switching to get ahead? Is it strategy or selling out? To a mogul, it’s just another tool in the arsenal.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Reaching Goals Like Shonda Rhimes

 

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Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful people in television. As the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to get Away with Murder, she is the backbone of ABC. And ABC lets her do whatever she wants. When Rhimes was criticized for refusing to read notes from the executives on Scandal, she simply replied, “What were they going to do, fire me?”

Rhimes wasn’t always a powerhouse. In college, Shonda wanted to write world-changing novels like her hero Toni Morrison. However, she found that there was no point in aspiring to be like Morrison. As she put it, “I couldn’t be Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.”

In 2002, she was a B-list screenwriter who had just adopted a child. While looking after the baby, she found herself watching a lot of network TV, including 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

Rhimes got where she is by writing what she wanted to see on TV. This makes her style, and even her genre, hard to pin down. Is Grey’s Anatomy a medical drama or a romantic soap? Is Scandal a romance, a political drama, or a conspiracy thriller? No one knows what to say about her work, other than that it’s something that no one has seen before.

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In that spirit, this lesson isn’t about how to become TV mogul Shonda Rhimes, she already has that job. What you can do is put in the kind of work that Rhimes put in, to become a creative mogul on your own terms. This lesson will help you assess what you can offer to the world and figure out what you need in order to build a new creative empire.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: How to be S.M.A.R.T. Like Zuckerberg

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Mark Zuckerberg attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country: Harvard University. For most 19 year olds, studying and socializing would keep them busy enough, but while there, Mark Zuckerberg created what was to become become the biggest social network in the world.

It may be hard to imagine your life without social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, or Tumblr. What started as a way to connect college students to one another became a way to connect people to friends and family across the world.

Undeniably, Zuckerberg or “Zuck” leads the list as one of the richest people in the world. While he has certainly accumulated a fortune, his goal has never been to make money. His goal has always been to make a great product, and “make money to build better services.” Facebook currently owns more than forty companies, including some of its former competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

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Biography

At the age of 24, Mark Zuckerberg  became the youngest billionaire on the planet. As the face and CEO of Facebook, he remains one of the most recognizable people in the world. You would never know the extent of his wealth by his wardrobe (grey T-shirt and hoodie), home (he only recently upgraded from a modest rental home), or cars (most often seen in a VW or Acura). This is a man who lives below his expansive means. What started as a college directory of sorts has amassed well over a billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, New York, where his father still practices dentistry. In fact, one of his earlier successes was a program that allowed his dad’s home computer to communicate with his office computers. While still in high school, Microsoft bid on another program of his, a music player called Synapse Media Player, but he ultimately rejected this offer. Zuck is a man who likes to maintain control; he carries a majority vote, which allows him to be the ultimate decision maker of his company.  He is also not afraid of risk, or of what people think. But Zuck is always thinking and staying true to the mission of the company, which has stayed the same since its inception: to make the world more open and connected.

While at Harvard, Zuckerberg met his wife Pricilla Chan, now a medical resident. They currently reside in Palo Alto, California with their dog, Beast. The Zuckerbergs are huge philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to education and medicine, as well as to other charitable organizations.

Goal Setting

Read, listen, or watch any interview with Zuckerberg, and the word “focus” is likely to come up. Let’s put it this way, this word was stenciled on the bathroom walls of Zuckerberg’s original California office. When asked in an early 2005 interview about the future of his company, then known as TheFacebook, he talks about “focusing intensely” on making a really good product, i.e.,  a college directory. His world at the time consisted of his college, and Zuck succeeded at making Harvard more open and connected. Once he succeeded at Harvard, he expanded this online directory to other universities across America, and soon the world. In later years, his focus on making a great product has not wavered, nor has his mission in connecting people, however, now his goal’s reach is a bit bigger: to connect “every person in the world.”

So, how did Zuckerberg achieve what he did within just a few years? He set a mission or focus, and he decided how he was going to achieve it. Another way of thinking about this is goal setting. If Zuckerberg had set out to connect billions of people together, his mission would surely have failed miserably. However, by having a narrow focus in the college world, he was able to succeed in that particular realm.

Goal setting is so important to him that he has said that the daily habit that has led to his success is “knowing what you want to accomplish each day” and acting proactively, not reacting to things that have already happened. This means that he is always looking ahead, anticipating problems and finding solutions before they actually occur.