If you must be deceitful, be sure you never try to deceive your best friend — yourself.

A better understanding of what you are about — your goals, your dreams, and your aspirations — leads you to a better understanding of those around you. It is critical, therefore, that you be honest with yourself at all times. The moment you begin to deceive yourself is the beginning of the decline in your character; it is the beginning of a process of rationalization that permits you to justify unacceptable behavior. Make sure you are a person whom you like, a person of sound character. If you don’t like yourself, how can you expect others to like you? Step back and examine your behavior as logically as possible. Ask yourself, “Am I the kind of person I would like to be with?” Developing good character traits is like achieving any other objective. Determine where you wish to be and then develop a plan for getting there.

The world pins no medals on you because of what you know, but it may crown you with glory and riches for what you do.

Knowledge is an important component of success in any field. To accomplish anything worthwhile often requires years of study. But knowledge alone is not power; it becomes powerful only when it is applied through positive action. Study after study of successful people reveals that they have a bias for action. They gather the appropriate facts, relate them to their knowledge about the subject, develop an implementation plan, and then get into action. When in doubt, it’s far better to act too soon rather than too late.

The most important job is that of learning how to negotiate with others without friction.

Experts in negotiation handle the process so smoothly that discussions hardly seem like negotiations at all. While the word negotiation itself conjures up visions of cigar-chomping adversaries pounding the table to emphasize their demands, the best results are achieved when all the parties involved are able to put themselves in the others’ shoes and arrive at an agreement that is beneficial to everyone involved. Whether you are negotiating a higher salary, a new job, or the acquisition of a company, your chances of success are far greater when you approach the situation positively and with a clear objective in mind. It also helps to understand the motives of others involved and to have in-depth knowledge of the subject under discussion. Finally, approach every topic with an open mind — don’t simply try to bully others into accepting your proposal or point of view.

Constancy of purpose is the first principle of success.

It is critical to your success that you have a well-thought-out plan for your life and that you stick with it regardless of what others may say and the obstacles you encounter. There will always be fault-finders and those who attempt to persuade you that your goals aren’t worth the effort you put into achieving them. Those people will never go far, and they will be the first to ask for your help after you have passed them by. Virtually every successful person has considered giving up at some point in his or her struggle to reach the top. And many breakthroughs occurred soon after those same people rededicated themselves to their purpose. There is no known obstacle that cannot be overcome by a person who has constancy of purpose, a Positive Mental Attitude, and the discipline and willpower to succeed.

You can’t control others’ acts, but you can control your reaction to their acts, and that is what counts most to you.

No one can make you feel any negative emotion — fear, anger, or inferiority — without your express permission. There will always be people who find perverse enjoyment in upsetting others, or who simply play upon your emotions so that they can use you for their own selfish purposes. Whether or not they are successful depends entirely upon you and how you react to their negative behaviors. When you are forced to deal with such people, recognize from the outset that they are trying to upset you, not because of something you may have done to them, but because of some problem they have with themselves. Tell yourself, “This isn’t about me. I will not allow this person to upset me. I am in control of my emotions and my life.”

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