10 simple rules for success

After watching numerous interviews with successful people in many different industries and reading tons of books on the subject trying to understand how one can become successful, I noticed a pattern or, at least 10 similarities (or rules) that came up every time.

One might begin by questioning the definition of the word “success”. I won’t go into that simply because, at the the root of it, lies the same wanting, the same craving: to become more than what and who we are. As Kundera, one of my favorite authors would say “Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”

1- You got to be in the present moment.

All of them agree that too much time and energy are wasted when worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Your power lies in the “now”.


2- Love what you do

As all say it: If you don’t love it enough, you will quit and that’s why most people do. You will be challenged, there will be problems. Your passion can help you overcome all obstacles. As Wayne Dyer would say it “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”

3- Persevere

Know that you will fall, you will have problems, it will be tough. But as J.K. Rowlings says “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Hang in there. The hurricane shall pass. Nothing ever lasts. Stay with it, walk through the storm. Move forward everyday. No matter what, don’t quit. You cannot fail if you don’t stop. Like Winston Churchill said “If you are going through Hell, keep on going.” And also, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

And then you will say it just like Barry Manilow in his song “I made it through the rain.” Because nothing ever lasts, enjoy the success while it last and prepare for the next hurricane.

4- Don’t do it for the money

The richest people in the world never did it for the money. That’s where most people get it wrong. They get into a field for the money and quit because the love is not there. Love what you do, the money will come. As Matthew McConaughey in the movie “Gold”: “We never did it for the money, we did it for the gold.” There is a big difference.

5- Meditate

All successful people quiet their minds, void the noise. In the silence, you will find the answers. Mostly, you will find peace. As Warren Buffet says “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”

6- Be the best

You don’t need to be perfect. As Dali would say “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” You just need to be better. The better you are, the more noticeable you will become. Work on your craft day in and day out. As Will Smith says “When others sleep, I work. When others eat, I work.” If you are the best, you will not feel the need to prove yourself. You will be honest and have integrity because you will know, you are better. And those two qualities are worth gold. As Einstein would say “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

Don’t underestimate others by creating a low quality product. You will not cheat others, you’ll end up cheating yourself.

7- Believe in yourself

No one will ever believe in you more than you. At the beginning of anything, your belief and confidence will be the only allies you will have. But the more you believe and have confidence, the more the others will listen and, eventually follow. As Marianne Williamson would say “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

8- Dream big

You are the one who can set your limits. You have the choice, the power and responsibility to be limitless. As Les Brown would say “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” or Leo Burnett “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”

If you start with low expectations, you never get big results.(That’s my quote). And then, imagine yourself there, act as if you were already there. Before you know it, you will be.

9- Surround yourself with the best

Build a great team or a mastermind group of piers. Remember that successful people talk about goals and ideas, sharing them and getting feed back on how to improve. As Jim Rohn would say “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Chose carefully. If you cannot find 5 friends that have the statues, income, relationship, you want; chose among the deceased: read books.

10- Stay hungry

Never take anything for granted. Stay open, stay curious, stay enthusiastic. Never settle for something less than what you dreamed of. As Warren Buffet “read, read, read” as he reads 5-6 hours per day. Educate yourself. As Tom Hiddleston would say “Stay hungry, stay young, stay foolish, stay curious, and above all, stay humble because just when you think you got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t.”

11- A last one for the road

Don’t give a damn about what others think. Most of the time, they think about what you might be thinking about them. Their opinions will vary and they won’t say most of what they really think. If you succeed, they might be jealous and pull you down to their level of comfort so that your light does not cause them to live in a shadow. You are the person you will spend the most time with, treasure that, first.

Hope this inspires and motivates. Please share with others, to spread the light.

The gifts that lie in our scars

As a child, I was bullied. And this is why I believe it is one of the greatest gifts I received.

My parents immigrated from France to Canada when I was 8, reason being mostly the level of racism and xenophobia. My parents waited 17 years to get a French citizenship that would allow them to open a business. Instead, being Serbian, we heard “go back to your country” too often, but we couldn’t. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

When we moved, my parents wanted me to have the best education possible so they signed me up in a private school. When they tested my aptitudes and IQ, they told my parents I would have to skip 4 grades warning them it might cause sociability issues because of the huge age gap. My parents approved to have me skip 3 not realizing that it would still create a big problem in my capacity to be included.

Home equaled with violence, abuse and I was forced to shut up most of the time. I developed an almost pathological shyness. I would not talk much and would be scared to approach people I didn’t know. Imagine the fear I felt being in a new school, in a different country, with a language I had trouble understanding at the time.

In school, the age difference with some of the class mates was as high as 7 years, mostly 4 or 5. Still, when you are 9 or 10 and the others are 14 or 16, it creates a “grand canyon” gap in being able to develop friendships.

Because I didn’t jump 4 grades, I ended up being 1st in my class, especially in math. I solved most problems instantaneously in my mind which made the teachers love me and class mates despise me even more. I was a nerd wearing outdated clothes and thick glasses, incapable to stand up for myself or speak. The best victim there can be.

And so, you can image the rest. Yet, maybe not to this extend. My father had the thoughtful idea of offering me a camera, one of those small Kodaks. I loved it because it felt like a protection between me and the rest of the world. A way to express myself without words.

In school, I would take pictures of boys since I was not able to speak to any as I would automatically do something so clumsy, I would want to hide under the floor and vanish. That fear was intensified after a girl had ripped a photo I had given of me to a class mate I found very cute. An 18 year old “bad boy” who found it hilarious. Being dramatically mocked and humiliated in front of the class (which class mates stayed five years in the same school until graduation reminding me with nicknames of my stupid attempt) pretty much killed my reputation.

Because I took photos of boys, a tough girl became so jealous she decided to kill me. This could be a great movie but, at that time, she became a real threat to my life. Where was I going to complain? Not at home where I didn’t feel very welcomed. Not at school and be bullied even more by the others. I kept quiet. I kept quiet until I couldn’t keep quiet anymore.

She beat me up in hallways till I fell unconscious, leaving for dead. She threw me down stairs and as I laid bruised and beaten, I felt the feet of my classmates walk around me, on me. I was pushed in front of a car and thankfully survived. She ended up in a mental hospital.

I tell you all this ( the tip of the iceberg) not to claim some pity. On the contrary. It is to share the gratitude I feel of living such experiences. No, don’t worry. I am not crazy. Well, maybe a little, but aren’t we all?

Because of my shyness an inability to speak, I found the most safe reliable and trustworthy friends in books. I could escape the insanity surrounding me and travel, explore, think, become other people for a few pages. I could imagine living other lives. I could express all I felt through the voice of characters within the pages I flipped passionately. I read more than anyone I knew. I devoured books. A little over a decade later, I was a book critic and radio producer for 3 years, talking about something I knew more than well. Over 10 years of avid reading make me a book connoisseur at the age of 25. I never stopped.

Because of the camera my father gave me, I was able to analyse the world meticulously. Since I was not allowed to speak much, I tuned my listening skills. I silently observed and listened. Observed and listened.

I can honestly say that I love my life today so much, even I cannot find the words to describe the level of gratitude I feel when I am writing.

I still take pictures since I never stopped from when I was 8 years old. I continue observing and listening. All that accumulated information helps me create characters and stories. It helped me become highly empathetic and profoundly understand the “human condition”. It helped me help thousands of people thus far, and, more in the future.

I am not saying what happened to me is wonderful and should not be condemned. And of course, I would have perhaps preferred a different past. I am not saying what happened to me is wonderful and should not be condemned. On the contrary, measures should be taken to prevent children from suffering. And, of course, that different one could have led me to another profession that I might have loved as passionately. That being said, we can never compare something we are not experiencing. I truly believe that we cannot be wrong. We cannot get it wrong… If we follow our heart.

I still question what came first. Was I born a writer and needed these experiences to become better and find my purpose? Or did I find my purpose because of my past?

I was inspired to write this because I cross the paths of so many who blame the past scars and use them road blocks to accessing the realization of their hopes and dreams. When, in fact, if they would jump and follow their hearts, they would soon turn around and notice the connecting dots that made it all possible.

10 ways to defeat fear and improve your productivity

Whether it is fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what other’s might think or say, fear of public speaking, fear of not being able to solve a problem… Fear blocks our ability to focus, come up with creative solutions or advance towards our goals.

We all have fears. They are normal and we need them. Fears have contributed to the preservation of our species and still help us in dangerous situations. In order to walk beyond fear or in spite of  fear; you need t first understand what kind of fear you are dealing with.

Real fear comes when we are facing a predator (an animal with big teeth or a person who might hurt us). That kind of fear helps us to immediately take a course of action: Flight or flee reactions which is normal and needed. All other thoughts are blocked in order to be only focused on the situation at hand.

The second kind of fear is created in our mind, our imagination. We project in the future an outcome we absolutely do not desire. That creates anxiety and provokes doubts about our current situation. We might plague our vision of the future with our current reality, extrapolate the circumstances without adding important factors such as : will, brain, lucky brakes, persistence and the unknown.

Fear prevents us from thinking. It blocks our neo-cortex and jams our creativity. Fear of anything is associated immediately with death, a bigger fear. And faced with death, we lose sight of everything else. It is imperative to overcome fear in order to increase productivity.

Here are 10 ways I use and coach people on that are very effective on overcoming fear, destroying it, ignoring it, …

1- Write it down on paper:

Write down what ever scares the living daylights out of you: You’ll get fired, you don’t have enough money, your project will be a huge disaster, you will lose all your friends, you will die (well of course, eventually)…

In light, darkness disappears. Some of your fears will immediately evaporate when you write them down. They were strengthen by your relentlessness avoidance.

2- Prove them wrong

For those who persist in the light of day, on paper. Write all the evidence you can think of that they are wrong. One of those evidence that can be proven is that nothing in the past is proof of the same reoccurring in the future simply because you know better. If you can find more evidence, go on a hunt.

Carry a piece of paper and notice everything that proves the fear wrong. By switching your brain to the contrary of what you thought, you will start noticing different realities around you that will prove what you want. Search and you will find.

3- Do, do, do, do

In action, fear dissipates. If you are fearful of a lack of something, make a list of everything you can do (search on the net by asking <<how<<) and start doing. It is in movement that you keep your balance. When you stand still, your mind may go in overdrive.

Create a substantially long and detailed to-do list and work at crossing off things you have done. This will build your self esteem and your self confidence and you will boost your level of energy.

4- Breathe

I know it sounds so corny. But, most people don’t know how to breathe. The deeper, longer you inhale; the longer you exhale; the more relieved you will feel. Act as if relieved and you’ll end up becoming it and the more relaxed and relieved you become, the more creative solutions you will generate, eventually bringing you closer to your destination. Learn to breath deeply all the time.

5- Look ahead and not besides you

A mistake most people do is to look at the problem and not their desired outcome. Fear, stress, anxiety… are indicators that you are thinking about what you do not want to see happen. Guess what? It has not happened yet and probably will not.

But focus on a ditch and you’ll end up driving in it. If you focus on what you do not want, it will expand in your brain and eventually you will create that eventuality in your future. The future is a blank canvas on which you can paint what ever your heart desires. But, if you paint a dark outcome, that is what you will create. There are an infinite amount of possible outcome. You chose.

6- Stop thinking about it

There is a theory I am starting to believe in a lot as I tested it many times. It states that the more you look at a boiling pot of water, the slower the water will boil. Really weird but I feel it is so right.

Things happen when you least expect them. The awaited phone call from a lost love when you actually meet someone new. The letter of acceptance to the out of town college you dreamed of going to when you find a job you love right where you are. The pregnancy just as you adopted a child…

Why is that? Is that a way of the Angels up above to make fun of us? Nope. I believe two things happen. The first is we attract what we are. So, we have more chances to attract that which will make us happy when we already are happy. That we will attract that what we wanted when we feel we already have everything.

I also believe their is kind of big push and pull equilibrium in the Universe. The more we pull on something when we want to have it, the more the Universe conter-balances that energy by pulling in the opposite direction. When we let go and tend to our lives, the thing we wanted comes to us naturally.

7- Some things you can control

We all need to accept the fact that we can’t control everything that happens in our lives. This comes from a real control freak. I don’t know if you’ve ever played chess or backgammon or monopoly on your own (is it just me?) but it’s get boring pretty quickly. The element of surprise needs to be included for our lives to gain a sense of magic and excitement.

I personally make a list diving the page in two section. My to-do and God’s to-do. Some things cannot be controlled so let them go to the powers at be and focus on your end of the deal. Do your best on your end and let go of the rest.

8- Catch a squirrel

I used to do this fun thing with my dad when I was a kid. Thank God he wasn’t one of these dad’s always worried her daughter would get hurt. We use to sit next to each other on a bench with crushed nuts all over us. Sit in silence. At first, nothing would happen.

But, after a while, we would see one, then two, then a dozen or thirty squirrels surround us. They would all be frightened at first. They would jump, grab a nut and run away. After a while, all squirrels would comfortably sit on our heads, shoulders, laps, knees, feet… Chinese tourists would stop and take pictures. Some posing with us. Today, I guess our videos would go viral.

Have you ever tried to catch a squirrel running after it? After you ever tried to keep someone close by chasing after them? What ever you run after, tends to run away. Learning the art of stillness will help you get what you want much faster.

9- Focus on the outcome

Practice imagining the outcome you wish for and how that would make you feel. Every morning write your desired outcome (for the day, the date, the interview, the sales pitch…) and bathe yourself in the thought that you already have that. Celebrate the moment as if you already have successfully achieved that. Then, let it go and go about your day.

Have a 4X5 card with you upon which you have written your desired outcomes (short or long term goals) and, every time you feel an stress attack, ready it and focus on having already achieved it.

10- Be grateful

Remember, your fear is only showing one thing missing out of a larger picture where you already have achieved a bunch of things. Appreciate all that you already have.

I believe the opposite of fear (or the vaccine to fear) is love. And gratitude is a component of pure liquid love. Every morning, get into the habit of writing the 10 things you are most grateful for and that will immediately shift your energy level.

more at http://slavicabogdanov.com

Emotional intelligence at 35,000 feet

For a few months, I worked as a flight attendant. Thrilling experience where I learned once more the benefits of remaining calm at all times. After a couple of months of training, each new flight attendant was to take a first flight before earning her or his wings, which consists of the pin that bears your name. My first flight was to take me from Montreal to Vancouver. I was very existed not only because I was going to fly as a stewardess for the first time but because I had a long flight which I found was much more fun because you have time to chat with the others and eat more. Continue reading “Emotional intelligence at 35,000 feet”

Just Breathe!

We often forget about  the importance of breathing. We have taken that most vital part of our every day life for granted. We breathe high in our lungs, short breaths, inefficiently feeding our system with what we require the most as fuel. We can go without eating for a day, but breathing…
I just came back from my Tai Chi. Our teacher always finishes the class with a breathing technique to remind to keep our breathing low. The breathing technique he uses that should be done several times a day is a 4-7-8.

Continue reading “Just Breathe!”

Boost your Brain Power

Your beliefs impact directly what you think. Your thoughts create your habits. Your habits are the foundation of your success in life or your failures.

Your beliefs and thoughts are the foundation of emotions such as happiness. Your self confidence is based mostly on you self-esteem and your self-worth is estimated by your beliefs and thoughts. Continue reading “Boost your Brain Power”

The art of forgiving

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi


The art of forgiveness is one to be mastered at all cost. I have lived through some harsh times: being beaten up; lied to; cheated on; yelled at; put down; mentally abused; let down by whom I trusted the most; left alone by who I cared for. Yet, I forgave. How? I understood that every single human being does the best with what he holds as tools. I have spent two years or so going through all the single events that created my past and I cannot but be thankful since they all created me. It is such a weird sensation, when we transform resentment into thankfulness. It is the greatest tool we have the change our future and our life. Continue reading “The art of forgiving”

A key to success and happiness : Your intuition

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs Continue reading “A key to success and happiness : Your intuition”

Stressing yourself out?

“If stress and anxiety can make you sick, then positive emotions could aid in healing.” Norman Cousin


I am sure stress is the source of most illnesses. To get rid of stress, we need to determine what is causing it exactly and change it. I say “exactly” to avoid the obvious answers that might come to mind immediately like my spouse, my children, the lack to time, the lack of money or my job.

Continue reading “Stressing yourself out?”