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[caption id="attachment_3615" align="alignleft" width="300"] Success is only one percent of your work, and the rest – bold overcoming of obstacles. If you are not afraid of them, success will come to you itself. (Soichiro Honda )[/caption] You may know Soichiro Honda as the founder of the Honda Company and a successful businessman. However, few people are aware that Soichiro Honda was...

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Kids are AMAZING. They really are. They make us smile. They remind us that the world is a continuous wonder. They show us how to be authentic. They inspire us to love generously and forgive instantly. They don’t know how to hold grudges for over 5 minutes. They are terrible at keeping secrets. And they don’t have a punch line for jokes....

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We all have heard about Albert Einstein – the absent-minded genius who gave the world the theory of relativity and won the Nobel Prize. Some of us have even heard that Einstein was offered the Presidency of Israel in 1952, or that there is a chemical element named “Einsteinium” in his honor. But only a few people are aware that before becoming a world-known scientist Einstein had to face repeated setbacks, failures and criticism even from people he loved most.

einsteinWho would ever guess that he had speech difficulty as a child and was considered “slow-minded” by his own parents? Or that the brightest mind of our century failed his University Entrance Exam? Or that when Einstein had applied for promotion from patent clerk third class to patent clerk second class at his first job, his request had been rejected on the grounds that he was not “fully familiar with mechanical engineering.”?

There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been an inspiration for many great minds of Physics, but he also knew quite a bit about the Laws of Life as happiness and success.

Here are 11 Most Amazing Success Lessons from Albert Einstein himself:

1. Keep your mind opened

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

If we think we already know something, we stop learning, we stop questioning, we stop innovating, and, inevitably, we stop improving. Do not let your dysfunctional beliefs, your negative experiences or your education, keep you from moving forward. Sometimes the best way to make a breakthrough in  life is to leave your heavy baggage of knowledge behind.

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Early Life of the “Troublemaker”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, OM was born 18th July 1918 in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata, South Africa. Mandela’s father had four wives, with whom he fathered thirteen children (four boys and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife, Nosekeni Fanny.

impossibleRolihlahla Mandelawas was baptized into the Methodist church and became the first in his family to attend school. His given name Rolihlahla literally means “pulling the branch of a tree“, but more commonly it is a word used to describe a “troublemaker“. His English name “Nelson”, Mandela received at school, at the age of 7.

When the boy was 9, his father died of lung disease. From that point, his life changed dramatically. He was adopted by the regent of the Thembu people, Jongintaba, and had to leave his home to move in with his new guardian in Mqhekezweni.

There, Mandela was given the same status and responsibilities as the regent’s two other children and started to attend the one-room school next to the palace. Following Thembu custom, he was initiated at age 16, and attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute and later Wesleyan College in Fort Beaufort.

University Life and Unwelcome Marriage Prospects.

In 1939, Nelson Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare – Africa’s equivalent of Oxford or Harvard and the only residential center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa.

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If Cinderella was a man and the story took place in our times, Tony Robbins life would fit in the script perfectly.

liveBorn on the 29th of February 1960 (a leap year) in North Hollywood, California, Tony was oldest of his two siblings. His mother Nikki loved him dearly, yet expected only the best behavior of him and he did everything to please her. A year after his parents got divorced, the quiet and shy seven-year-old Tony moved to Azusa, California, where he attended Glendora High School.

His mother later remarried to a former baseball player – Jim Robbins, whose surname Tony took on. His stepfather was the first person, who helped Anthony to build his confidence. He also instilled in Tony a love for baseball.

Anonymous act of kindness and adulthood

“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.”

When Anthony was 13 his family struggled financially to the point that on Thanksgiving Eve, his parents could not afford to buy their children presents or have a Thanksgiving dinner.

That night someone left a Thanksgiving basket on their doorsteps. To the Robbins’ family it was a little miracle and the whole family enjoyed the celebration. This act of kindness had a profound effect on Anthony and he promised himself that one day he would make enough money and help others as well.

As he grew older, his relationships with his mother became more and more strained. She depended on Tony for cooking, cleaning, making repairs around the house and she was very strict when her expectations were not met.

On Christmas Eve 1977, at the age of 17, Tony decided that he had had enough of his mother’s care and control. He walked out of the house with nothing but the clothes he had on, eager to make it on his own.

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Joanne Rowling was born on July 31st in 1965 in Chipping Sodury, near Bristol, England. As a little girl she loved writing fantasy stories and then telling them to her little sister Di.

possibleWhen Jo was nine her parents, both Londoners, turned their longtime country-living dream into reality and the whole family moved to the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to the border of Wales. The girl loved the freedom and simplicity of the countryside. The only problem with her new life was her school. The building was old and outdated and the stern, unfriendly teachers scared the girl. However, with time Rowling made new friends and embraced writing as a hobby.

University Years and the Worst Secretary Ever

After graduating from Wyedean Comprehensive School in 1983, Rowling left home to study at the University of Exeter, on the south coast of England. What she really wanted was to study English; her parents, however insisted that she study something “more useful”. As a result a compromise was found that in retrospect satisfied nobody and Joanne went to study French.
The benefit of majoring in French and Classics was the possibility of spending a year in Paris as part of the program.

After getting her BA, Rowling took various jobs in London. One of them was a bilingual secretary position at Amnesty International, where she made two major observations: first, that she could use a computer to type her stories during quiet times; second, that she was “the worst secretary ever “. Instead of taking notes at meetings she was actually writing down story ideas for her books.

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Every time I started learning about another remarkable person, I would get excited, but with the words “he died in his house”, or “her life came to an end” my enthusiasm was clouded by the fact that this person was no longer with us.

This got me thinking, why are 98% of biographies of successful people about people who passed away decades ago?

It almost seems that you have to be dead in order for your merits to be truly recognized.

But what about the many remarkable inspirational writers, spiritual leaders, accomplished scientists and highly successful businessmen of our time, who are facing the same challenges, opportunities and choices as we do every single day?

Would it not be better to learn how they got where they are, while being able to connect with them, to ask them for advice and to find out what they are doing to become even more successful?

I know that I owe many of my achievements to the guidance, support and wisdom of such people as Deepak Chopra, Leo Babauta, Eben Pagan, Randy Pausch, Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Sri Chinmoy, Mirzakarim Norbekov, Steve Jobs, Scott Harrison and you, my readers, because YOU have inspired me to start this blog in the first place.

All that said, I have decided to dedicate a part of “Stories of successful people” category to some of the most inspirational heroes of our time as my way of saying “Thank you” for everything they are doing to help us improve our lives and make this world a happier place.

I am sure that you know people like this too. Who are they and why do you consider them truly successful?

Whose success story do you think would be worth writing about?

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A Boy Who Wanted a Middle Name

Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3rd, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, was an expert on the mechanics of the voice and on elocution (the art of public speaking). He dedicated his life to teaching deaf people to speak by using his “Visible speech” method (showing illustrations of speaking positions of the tongue and lips when making a sound). Bell’s mother Eliza was an accomplished pianist and painter, who passed on to her son a passion for music and art.

preparationWhen Alexander was 10 years old he decided that he wanted to have a middle name like his two brothers, Melville James and Edward Charles. For his 11th birthday, after some negotiating, Bell’s father finally gave in and allowed him to adopt the middle name “Graham”. However, to his family members the newly-fledged Alexander Graham still remained “Aleck”.

When Bell was only 12 his mother’s hearing started to deteriorate rapidly and to include her in family conversations, Bell not only learned a manual finger language, but also developed a technique of speaking in clear, modulated tones directly onto his mother’s forehead. Later his experience and interest for acoustics would prove to be very valuable not only in his career, but also his personal life.

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A Boy Destined for Greatness.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on the 25th October, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. Picasso was the firstborn and the only son of Jose Ruiz and Maria Picasso. Even when he was little Picasso’s mother kept telling him that he was destined for glory, “If you are a solder you will be a general. If you are a priest, you will be a Pope”. Instead, at the age of 8 Pablo picked up a pencil and started drawing.

actionHe learnt the basics of art from his father, who was a painter and a professor of art at the School of Crafts in Malaga. Picasso’s gift, determination and expressive means, quickly allowed him to surpass his father’s abilities, and he even held his first exhibition at the age of 13!

Early Successes and Father’s Shattered Dreams.

Many people associate Picasso’s painting to the abstract art that a five year old can do, but few are actually aware that Picasso started his painting career drawing realistic oil portraits that mesmerize spectators with their intensity and magnetism.

When in 1895 Picasso’s father got a job at La Llotja art academy as professor of drawing, the whole family moved to Barcelona. Picasso was accepted at the academy for the advanced class, where he was the shortest, the youngest and the most talented of his class.

The family hoped that their son would achieve success as an academic painter, and in 1897 he was sent to study in the Academy of Arts in Madrid. But to the great disappointment of his dad, Picasso dropped out within a year of joining it.

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The brand Chanel has long had  its reputation in the world of fashion, but few people know that it was Coco Chanel, who gave women bathing suits, pants, slacks, costume jewelry, and of course, Chanel No.5.
Her influence on 20th century fashion was so great that she was the only person in the courtier field to be named in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.
This story is her story.

An orphan girl

While Coco Chanel  gained world recognition, her early years, however, were anything but glamorous.
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was born on 19th August 1883 in Saumur, France. Little is known about her childhood, apart that she had five siblings: two sisters and three brothers and that her father worked as a peddler.
When she was 12 years old her mother died of tuberculosis. One week later her father left the family, abandoning her at a provincial orphanage. For six years Chanel was raised by the nuns, who taught her how to sew – a skill that would prove to be very useful in her future life.
As soon as Gabrielle turned 18 she left the orphanage determined to become a famous singer. She moved to a little town of Moulins (south of Paris) and started singing at prestigious clubs and cabarets in  the town.  It was during this time that she began to be called “Coco”, which as Chanel later explained was a “shortened version of coquette, the French word for ‘kept woman’ ”.

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