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If youve ever heard the story of Sparkys Magic Piano, youll remember that all Sparky had to do was touch the keys of his magic piano and it played wonderful music. No need for him to practice, no need for hard work – all he needed was that magic piano to ensure his success. Unfortunately, the piano became annoyed with the little boys arrogance and stopped playing one night while on tour. Naturally, Sparky blamed the piano, but that was the end of his professional career..

Well, theres no magic piano in the business world. Success is achieved by hard work, determination and a host of other factors. Contrary to some beliefs, most of these qualities can be cultivated and learned, no matter what an individuals personal circumstances or heritage might be. There appears to be no significant correlation between ultimate business success and previous social or educational background.

Millions of words have been spoken and written telling us how to achieve success in business. Some of these are helpful, but others seem mainly intended to sell books or promote lectures. Nobody has a uniform formula which can be used by every individual, so we keep reading, listening and trying different approaches, hoping for something that will work. Recognizing that there is no single answer, here are a few suggestions which might prove helpful:

1. Decide right now what you want to achieve – its not too late. Your goals should be just out of reach, but not out of sight. Having made a decision, be determined, persistent and single-minded in your approach. Keep in mind that there are different roads to success; its not necessary to copy anyone else. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices.

2. Accumulate knowledge and hone your learning ability. Profit from, dont be discouraged by, the mistakes which you will inevitably make. A few bumps along the way shouldnt slow you down. Forget about complaining, making excuses and blaming others; its a waste of time, and it reflects poorly on your character. Work hard, look to the future and dont dwell on the past.

3. Develop a reputation of character, integrity and good judgment. Show class and have pride in yourself. Be a person who can be trusted to do the right thing consistently.

4. Cultivate a good attitude. Make a habit of being positive, happy and optimistic. Reduce your exposure to losers and dont accept their negative expectations.

5. Be prepared to change your approach. Circumstances change, sometimes making that which was successful in the past unwise for the future. And the requirements for your new position may not be the same as for the old one.

6. Learn to make good decisions. Make high performance, not just words, the hallmark of your reputation. Performance is reality, and words are just that – words. Be quick and decisive, but exercise common sense; think before you act. And finally,

7. Look like a leader. Be in charge. Your calmness under duress will be noticed, appreciated and rewarded.

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