Archive for the ‘CFO’ Category

24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life


Jiuzhaigou Valley

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Biggest Mushroom

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Opera House Sydney, Australia

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Panchoran Retreat Bali

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Patagonia Argentina The Smoking Mountain

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Pisa Italy

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

Pool Resorts Step outside and take a dip Bali Indonesia

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Predjama Castle a renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in Southwestern Slovenia

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Romantic canalside cafe Trattoria Sempione Venice Italy Photo by La Citta Vita

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

Ronda Spain

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Sanphet Prasat Palace at Ancient Museum in Samutprakran Thailand

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

Sydney Australia

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Thailand

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

The Appennine Colossus just north of Florence Italy

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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The old red grist mill near Eminence Missouri

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Tropea Province of Vibo Valentia Italy

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

Tübingen Germany

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Tyrol Austria

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Victoria falls as seen from Zambia

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Zakynthos Island Ionian Sea Greece.Looks like the boat is floating in the air

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Lunch at Waterfalls Restaurant (Villa Escudero)

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

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Aescher Hotel In Appenzellerland, Switzerland

 24 Angelic Places That You Must Visit in Your Life

 

 

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Google introduces natural language search and machine recognition for photos


You know what photos we're searching for, right? (Image credit: Photographer / Shutterstock)

You know what photos we’re searching for, right? (Image credit: Photographer / Shutterstock)

Search is increasingly becoming human. While users from my generation have been used to search operators like “and”, “or” and the plus and minus signs, search queries are becoming more and more natural language like. Take for instance Facebook‘s Open Graph search, which launched earlier this year with mixed reception. You can use natural language like “photos of my friends taken in Tokyo,” for instance.

Google has announced a better way to find photos, which uses natural language, as well as photo recognition. This new feature lets you search for photos within your Google+ network using simple queries. To make search even better, Google is now employing “computer vision and machine learning,” which will recognize even generic images based on their characteristics.

With this update, you can simply do a search for “my photos of flowers” and Google will come up with images of flowers from your Google+ photos. You can then add qualifiers to focus your search: “my photos of flowers in New York,” for instance. This has a few implications, of course. First, Google is moving toward doing away with tags and captions. With the new update, Google’s algorithms (neural networks?) will attempt to identify the image based on image recognition.

Photos of flowers from Google search

Product manager Matthew Kulick says this is limited to English searches within Google.com (no support for other country domains, yet), and when you are logged in via Google+.

Going beyond photo search, of course, the bigger implication that comes to mind is that this improvement will tie in well with Google Glass. With Google improving its image recognition technologyand having an improved ability in recognizing faces and objects, tying this in with persistent photo and video captured through wearable computers will become a rich source of data and analytics for the search giant.

 

HSPA+ vs LTE: Which one is better?


We have all marveled at the revolution in mobile communications technology. The 1980′s saw the introduction of the “brick” style wireless mobile phone accessible to a privileged few. Since then, we have seen a lot of shifting trends in designs and capabilities, but an exponential increase in availability and popularity. We now live in a world boasting over 6 billion mobile phone users, with most high-end devices mimicking the capabilities of a computer, featuring dual-core or even quad-core processing capability.

Ah, the Zach Morris brick.

I still recall a time when the primary purpose of a mobile phone was voice communication. Now, with smartphones bursting onto the scene in ever growing numbers, the mobile landscape is changing rapidly. With devices now featuring messaging, social networking connectivity, email and browsing capabilities, and the ability to stream or download high-quality music and videos, making and receiving calls has almost become a secondary feature.

Of course, none of this would be possible without an equally impressive evolution in mobile networking technology. From first generation communication networks to the current 4G craze, these advances have made it incredibly easy for any user to always be connected. Today we will compare the latest networking technologies, namely HSPA+ and LTE, and take a look at what the future holds.

History

Courtesy of Ofcom

First generation mobile networks were basic analog systems designed purely for voice calls. Mobile devices and call rates were very expensive and therefore not available to everybody. The early nineties saw the introduction of the first digital cellular networks. 2G brought with it improved sound quality and a higher capacity, allowing for data services, albeit at very low speeds up to 14.4 kbps. Further advances in this technology introduced GPRS and EDGE features with quicker data speeds between 40kpbs to 100kbps.

This was followed by the 3G revolution. Apart from wide-area voice telephony, it introduced high-speed internet access, far improved audio and video streaming capabilities, support for video calls and conferences, and internet TV. With effective speeds ranging from 128kbps to 384kbps, the advent of 3G completely changed the way people use their mobile phones.

The effective entry of the tablet and increasing dependency on handheld mobile devices led to demand for even faster speeds and connectivity options, leading to a new standard, HSPA+, followed by 4G LTE.

What is HSPA+ and LTE?

HSPA+

HSPA+ or Evolved High Speed Packet Access, is a souped-up version of HSUPA and HSDPA 3G standards with speeds comparable to the newer LTE networks. Theoretical speeds are said to feature download speeds up to 168Mbps and uplink of 22Mbps. These are of course theoretical speeds, with the actual speed available to users being much lower. While most HSPA+ networks around the world boast a theoretical 21Mbps(download) speed, T-Mobile(USA) and Deutsche Telekom(Germany) feature 42Mbps networks. A hotly debated issue is the 4G tag offered by cellular network companies to advertise their HSPA+ networks(T-mobile and AT&T), while most accept that it should be considered, at most, a 3.75G network.

LTE

On the other hand, LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is considered a “true” 4G network. Theoretical speeds boast downlink speeds of 300Mbps and uploads of 75Mbps. LTE, which is an IP-based system, is a complete redesign and simplication of 3G network architecture resulting in a marked reduction in transfer latency. Because of this, LTE is not compatible with 2G and 3G networks and thus, functions on an entirely different wireless spectrum. Unfortunately, this means that erecting an LTE network requires it to be built from the ground up. This is one of the main factors behind the delayed launch of  complete 4G LTE networks.

Bottom Line

HSPA+ is the tip of the mountain with 3G technology, and LTE is simply the foundation for a new mountain. LTE, also known as 4G, is the most advanced telecommunications technology currently available, and is one that defines a clear path toward future developments, making it the most attractive choice for carriers these days.

Speed Comparison

Neil Shah

The biggest question consumers have is whether the additional cost of buying an LTE-enabled device and the higher data charges are worth it, compared to the “slower” but relatively cheaper 3G and HSPA+ networks. Let’s take a look.

Under consideration are speed comparisons based on the recently conducted wireless speed tests byPCWorld, of the major network carriers in the US (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint). For our purposes, we are going to compare the LTE-based AT&T and Verizon 4G networks, against the 42 Mbps HSPA+ based T-Mobile “4G” network. While Sprint and T-Mobile both aim towards launching their LTE networks soon, as of now, they are based on Wi-Max technology and HSPA+ respectively.

PCWorld, along with their testing partners Novarum, conducted the tests using Ookla’s speed test app in 13 cities across the US including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Washington D.C., and Boston.

There are a few key points to note from the chart above:

  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network performs admirably against, what is supposed to be, far superior LTE networks. The high speeds offered by this network should be more than enough for most users.
  • LTE is fast! While HSPA+ is definitely good enough, the LTE networks(in their current state) are 20-30% faster. A big plus for all the speed demons out there.
  • Unrelated to the topic, but is anyone as surprised as I am at how poorly Sprint’s Wi-Max network performed?

Granted these results for HSPA+ aren’t standard the world over, with most networks featuring 21Mbps download capabilities. But all these network carriers are planning to upgrade to 42Mbps and even 84 Mbps networks, so HSPA+ still has a lot of potential, and is certainly “good enough” for now.

Coverage

Courtesy of GSA

As you can see from the map above, 4G LTE is certainly the network of the future. With the much faster speeds, higher efficiency, and increased reliability, it is the next logical step in network technology development. There are some key points to note about the map though, which shows that LTE coverage isn’t as “colorful” as it seems:

  • While a lot of countries are marked “red” indicating countries with commercial LTE services, it is slightly misleading. For example, while India as a whole is marked, only one carrier(Airtel) offers 4G LTE services in only one city(Kolkata) thus far. Of course, plans are in the works to rollout the network eventually, it will take quite a lot of time before complete coverage is achieved.
  • The above point is true for most countries, with none boasting a full coverage LTE network. Full coverage in some regions will be achieved at the earliest by late-2013 to early-2014, with most others much later.

On the other hand, HSPA+ is more along the lines of a software enhancement that elevates 3G data network performance. Of course, the process isn’t as simple as it sounds, but it is definitely easier than building a completely new LTE supported network. As such, any carrier that has an established 3G network, have upgraded to an HSPA+ network. With over 100 network carriers worldwide featuring HSPA+ networks with most boasting over 80% coverage. To keep up with current LTE speeds, carrier networks are also upgrading the their “slower” 21Mbps networks to 42Mbps or even 84Mbps (theoretical) download speeds.

Cost

As mentioned earlier, the biggest issue with taking advantage of the faster speeds of a 4G LTE network is coverage. Availability is still quite limited but that will of course, get better. What surprised me is the lack of a difference in cost between a carrier’s HSPA+ and LTE networks.

  • AT&T and Verizon have standard data rates of $50 for 5GB regardless of whether you have access to 3G, HSPA+, or 4G LTE networks.
  •  T-Mobile, which currently features a 42Mbps HSPA+ networks, also features the same data rates.
  • In India, while available only in Kolkata so far, 4G LTE costs Rs 1399(~$28) for 9GB, with HSPA+ being Rs 1250(~$25) for 10GB.

Of course, I’ve only used the information from two places I’m most familiar with, so there might be other networks worldwide where there is a more evident price difference (or not), so if there are, do let us know in the comments section.

Device availability

HSPA+ and LTE variations of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Device availability is another area where I consider LTE to be at a disadvantage. Here’s why:

  • Most smartphones and tablets (3G versions) released in the last 2 years or so can access the faster speeds offered by HSPA+ networks.
  • On the other hand, accessing a LTE network requires a significant hardware change, i.e. the need for an LTE radio.
  • Options for LTE capable devices are comparatively limited and generally range towards the higher end of the price spectrum.
  • There has been an incompatibility issue with latest Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 processor and LTE radios, as seen with the HTC One X where the international version features the quad-core processor, and the US releases with LTE radios “falling back” on Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon S4 processors. Whether this issue will be prevalent in other quad-core processors such as the Samsung Exynos 4412, is yet to be seen.
  • LTE radios are also infamous for being a huge drain on battery life.

The Future

HSPA+

Evolution of HSPA

HSPA+, with its theoretical 168Mbps downlink speeds, still wasn’t the pinnacle of HSPA technology. Back in 2010 began talk of LTHE or Long Term HSPA Evolution. LTHE brought with a lot of advantages including:

  • Backward compatibility with existing WCDMA and HSPA networks. This provided the possibility of an easy transition to LTHE as opposed to a network upgrade to LTE.
  • Theoretical download speeds up to a whopping 672 Mbps.
  • Carriers and hardware companies claimed that LTHE could have been ready for deployment by 2013.

Unfortunately, almost every network around the world has decided to move onto LTE as their network for the future. HSPA+ networks will likely be upgraded to the 42Mbps or even 84Mbps download capability, but now, it seems like that is as far as this evolutionary technology will be pushed.

LTE

Courtesy of Teliasonera

While HSPA+ was the peak of 3G technology, the current variation of 4G LTE is only the first step in this next stage, opening up numerous possibilities for much further advancement in this field. It is somewhat strange that advances in LTE technology are already being spoken about when the “original” standard networks aren’t even close to being fully established. Yet, that is the rapid speed in which the tech world progresses. Let’s take a look at some of these developments:

  •  TD-LTE:  TD-LTE or Time-Division LTE was developed by China Mobile over the last few years. Unlike LTE networks which carries two separate signals for data traveling in either direction, TD-LTE features a single channel and allocated upload and download bandwidth depending on your usage. This accounts for higher data speeds. TD-LTE is also compatible 4G WiMax and it will easier to upgrade from WiMax to TD-LTE than to LTE.
  • LTE Advanced: LTE Advanced is a further evolution of current LTE networks which brings with it theoretical peaks of 1GBps download speeds, increased spectrum efficiency(upto 3 times more bandwidth), and reduced latency. Like the upgrade from HSPA to HSPA+, a move from LTE to LTE-Advanced is also a software deployment upgrade.
  • TD-LTE will also see a shift to TD-LTE advanced in the future.

Conclusion

Advantages of LTE over HSPA+

  • The most obvious advantage is the higher data speeds
  • Much better spectrum efficiency
  • Far lower latency
  • LTE has a simpler architecture compared to an HSPA+ network

Advantages of HSPA+ over LTE

  • HSPA+ is an already established network, whereas complete LTE coverage still has a while to go
  • HSPA to HSPA+ evolution required much less investment in infrastructure and was less costly to upgrade as opposed to LTE which needs a completely new network built from the ground up.
  • LTE requires specific LTE radio featured devices, whereas HSPA+ is available to any user with a 3G enabled phone.

As you can see, LTE is definitely the way of the future, and the potential with this technology is incredible. But I still think there are a lot of factors that lead me to conclude that HSPA+ networks are certainly more than enough for now.

What are your thoughts? Is HSPA+ good enough for now? Is LTE not here fast enough? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to know what you think!

 

Celebrate your people


Image representing Virgin Mobile USA as depict...

Image via CrunchBase

 

  • Richard Branson

 

What is a business? It is simply a group of people coming together to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Every company should celebrate their people. If you don’t have great people, you won’t have a great business. Thankfully at Virgin we attract the kind of people who really get the brand and want to help us make business a force for good. This week I have met so many of our team across our Australian businesses, and never cease to be amazed about their dedication, enthusiasm and sense of fun.

From crowdsurfing as Virgin Australia staff erformed a song they had written, to breakfast with Virgin Active, chats in the canteen with Virgin Money and parties with Virgin Mobile, it has been a rollercoaster ride around the country.

As well as sharing lots of laughs and posing for plenty of photos, it is always interesting to have conversations with our staff, hear their suggestions for improvements and plans for the future. There is a wonderful team spirit that binds us all together and that is what makes the difference – especially here in Australia.

It’s important to be flexible with staff, give them options and let them know their voices will be heard. Then you’ll find people will be more likely to stay and be loyal to the brand. We have people still working at Virgin who have been with us for decades, because of the culture and sense of fun we try to instil.

A great advantage of having a team who will do anything for each other is you can get through difficult moments as well as enjoying the good times. Virgin has almost faced oblivion many times in the past and we have always came out the other side by sticking together.

Too often companies forget that invigorated, motivated, happy staff having fun are the key to a business successful. Every company should celebrate their staff. If that involves a party or two, the more the better!

 

 

Qatar Overview


Qatar, a former pearl-fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf states, is now one of the richest countries in the region, thanks to the exploitation of large oil and gas fields since the 1940s.

Dominated by the Al-Thani family for almost 150 years, the mainly barren country was a British protectorate until 1971, when it declared its independence after following suit with Bahrain and refusing to join the United Arab Emirates.

Overview

In 1995 Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father to become emir and since then he has introduced some liberal reforms.

AT-A-GLANCE
Qatari refinery
Politics: Ruling monarch Sheikh Hamad – who became emir when he ousted his father – advocates greater political openness
Economy: Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the region because of oil; the government has encouraged diversification
International: Qatar owns the forthright satellite TV station al-Jazeera which has attracted a growing audience as well the displeasure of some neighbouring states

Press freedom has been extended and the Qatari satellite TV station Al Jazeera has become one of the most important broadcasters in the Arab world.

Elections in 1999 for a 29-member municipal council were the first in which Qatari women were allowed to vote and stand for office.

A constitution, providing for democratic reforms, came into force in 2005. On its heels, voting for a partially-elected parliament is expected to take place by 2007.

The population is small. Foreigners – including labourers attracted by a construction boom – outnumber natives. Oil money funds an all-embracing welfare state, with many services being free or heavily subsidised.

Possessing more than 15% of the world’s proven gas reserves, Qatar has ambitions to become a global energy giant.

 

Facts

  • Full name: The State of Qatar
  • Population: 1.4 million (UN, 2009)
  • Capital: Doha
  • Area: 11,437 sq km (4,416 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Riyal = 100 dirhams
  • Main exports: Oil, gas
  • GNI per capita: n/a
  • Internet domain: .qa
  • International dialling code: +974

 

Leaders

Emir: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (right) and his wife, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Misnad

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In 1995 armed forces commander and Defence Minister Sheikh Hamad seized power from his father, Sheikh Khalifah Bin Hamad al-Thani, who was out of the country.

The new emir survived an attempted coup in 1996.

Later that year, Sheikh Hamad tried to take his father to court for the return of state funds he believed his father had kept. The dispute was settled out of court.

Since coming to power, Sheikh Hamad has stayed on as head of the armed forces and defence minister and has overseen Qatar’s military development.

 

Media

The launch of 24-hour satellite TV news channel Al-Jazeera in late 1996 raised Qatar’s international profile. The station claims an Arabic-speaking audience of 40m.

Al-Jazeera is owned by the Qatari government. It can be outspoken on subjects deemed as sensitive in the Arab world, but it is careful not to criticise Qatar and its Gulf allies, specifically Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, it has had its bureaus closed in several Arab countries.

Producer at al-Jazeera's Doha studios

Al-Jazeera TV is known for its forthright style

line

The station became known worldwide after becoming the only channel allowed to report from Afghanistan – and the first to air recorded video statements by Osama Bin Laden – following the start of US aerial attacks in Afghanistan in October 2001. It is noted for its graphic coverage of the Iraq conflict.

A sister network, Al-Jazeera English, launched in November 2006. The news and current affairs network touts itself as the first Middle East-based English-language channel. It says it is available to one billion potential viewers via satellite and cable.

Qatar’s domestic broadcast media are state-controlled. Leading newspapers have links to the royal family and other notables.

Qatar formally lifted censorship of the media in 1995 and since then the press has been essentially free from government interference. However, social and political constraints make self-censorship commonplace.

BBC World Service radio in Arabic, Radio France Internationale, France’s Arabic-language radio service Monte Carlo Doualiya, UAE-based MBC and Radio Sawa from the US are available on FM in Doha.

The press

Television

  • Al-Jazeera – influential pan-Arab satellite broadcaster, financed by the Qatar government
  • Qatar TV – state-run; operates main Arabic service, Koran channel, English channel, satellite channel

Radio

News agency

56 Inspirational Picture Quotes That Will Motivate Your Mind, Body & Soul


(Images) 56 Inspirational Picture Quotes That Will Motivate Your Mind

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15 Things Successful People Do


Warning Sign

Warning Sign (Photo credit: Adam Tinworth)

 

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

 

Whether in business or life, there’s a fine line between success and failure. Booker T. Washington’s quote highlights the inevitability of obstacles on the path to success. In fact, I firmly believe success and failure go hand-in-hand. Those looking to succeed must first fail or learn from those who failed.

 

Successful individuals aren’t just born, there’s a lot more that goes into the equation. I’ve found those who are highly successful have a lot more in common than we may think. If you’re seeking success, these habits may come in handy.

 

1. Fail. No matter how hard you work, failure can and will happen. The most successful people understand the reality of failure, and its importance in finding success. Rather than running and hiding when you fail, embrace it. Learn from this mistake and you won’t fail in the same way again.

 

2. Set goals. Those who are successful set daily achievable goals. Find success by solidifying S.M.A.R.T. — smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely — goals. Stop juggling a mental to-do list of just long-term goals and establish small daily goals to achieve your vision.

 

3. Don’t rely on luck. Many relate success to being in the right place at the right time. While this is an element of success, there’s also the crucial involvement of blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t hold yourself back by waiting for the perfect timing or idea. Some of the most successful people got there by hitting the ground running, even if timing wasn’t perfect.

 

4. Track progress. Success comes from regularly monitoring behaviors, strategies, and tactics. How can you make adjustments if you don’t know how you’re doing? Hold yourself accountable by checking your progress as often as possible.

 

5. Act. Successful people don’t always know the right answer, but the keep moving anyway. Don’t let obstacles stall you when you’re searching for the right solution. Taking action will lead to answers.

 

6. Connect the dots. Those who are successful have the ability to see the greater picture. They identify and connect the tiny details to get there. Look at things in a “past, present, and future” context to receive favorable results.

 

7. Display realistic optimism. Those who succeed truly believe in their abilities. This respectfully drives them forward. Assess your abilities to gain a clear understanding of what you are able to accomplish. This will allow you balance yourself through the aid of find someone or something else.

 

8. Continued improvement. Successful people habitually thrive on self-improvement, whether it’s in terms of learning from mistakes or simply using their weaknesses as opportunities. Channel this habit by continually searching for ways to be better. Maybe your networking skills are rusty or you need some extra training — set goals for improving your weak spots.

 

9. Commit. Success doesn’t come without effort. The most successful individuals are often the most committed to what they’re working toward. Throw yourself into your tasks and go the extra mile every single day. Make no exceptions.

 

10. Be alert. A keen sense of awareness breeds success. If you’re not keyed into your environment, you’re sure to miss opportunities. Do you know what’s being said within your company, feedback from clients, or even in your entire industry?

 

11. Persevere. Truly successful people never give up. Do they ever fail? Yes. But as times get hard, their stamina to move forward doesn’t wane. Develop a willingness to work through the challenges you encounter along the way.

 

12. Communicate with confidence. Those who are successful have an ease for convincing others. They don’t manipulate or pressure, but logically explain the benefits. Communicating with confidence will allow you to more easily negotiate your visions.

 

13. Display humility. The most successful individuals lack an ego. It’s their fault when they fail. Hold yourself accountable for every aspect of your life by focusing on remaining focused and humble.

 

14. Be flexible. Plans may change. Successful people roll with the punches. Rather than getting frustrated, swiftly maneuver in another direction.

 

15. Make connections. Successful people often attribute their achievements to the help of others. You can’t and won’t be able to do this alone. Invest in generating mutually beneficial business connections and partners. Even if you have all the skills necessary to run your company, a business partner could complement your weaknesses.

 

Initiating these habits of successful people will fuel you on your search for achievement.

 

What do you think is the most important habit of successful people?

 

 

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