Paul Arden

paul arden - it's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be - meg biram - megbiram.com/blog

Over on The B Bar‘s Facebook page (the ebook website I co-founded with Victoria), we are reading a book a week. As you may know, I’m already a pretty active reader. I typically go through cycles of mega-reading and am currently on one and I don’t see any getting off anytime soon. That’s typical in the summer. To help with my work/life balance, in the summer I allow myself to go down to the pool on nice sunny days for a few hours during the work week. While there I only let myself read business books or magazines. I feel like those are both vital to my expanding my mind and keeping up on my business. Plus I work all the time anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if I go to the pool for an hour but just helps me justify weekday pool time to myself.

At night I usually read a memoir, biography, or fiction book. I read almost every night before I go to sleep for at least 30 minutes, but I try to get in bed early enough to read for an hour. If you read my post 16 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep you know winding down and falling asleep has always been a battle for me, but reading (and sleepytime tea) has seriously helped! I don’t read a book that fires me up (i.e. a career type book), I read something that takes me out of my own crazy head and into someone else’s life or story. That helps me relax.

I purchased this book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden over a year ago. I started reading. I liked it. Yet somehow never finished it. Odd as it’s a short book. Maybe because it was tucked away in my nightstand I never thought about it. But since we started reading a book a week at The B Bar, I picked it back up, reread it and finished it pretty quickly.

I resonated with so much in this book and wanted to share some of the points that I loved the most and my take on them:

You will become whoever you want to be.
I really believe this. Especially in the U.S. — we have so many opportunities to overcome things. I believe we all are in control of who we become.

You need to aim beyond what you are capable of.
I do this, and this is why people think I’m a little crazy or over-ambitious. Well, I don’t care. I always felt this way before I read anything about it. I always felt like I could literally be anything I wanted, but I had to know I wanted that, follow it, live it, be it. To get anywhere you want, you have to aim for it. So aim for your absolute dream because if you only aim halfway, how would you ever get all the way there? I had pretty lofty aim — I wanted to be on a 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 list in a major magazine (or ya know, on the cover). Okay that didn’t happen and now I’m 30. Obviously the editors didn’t know how awesome I am (juuuuust kidding). At least I aimed, right? I’m not let down by it, I let it motivate me.  And it wasn’t necessarily actually being on a list like that, it was more the being on that level. Which now, I feel like I’m there, or darn close.

As long as the goal is true, there is no limit to anyone’s achievement.
Let that goal drive you every day. Write it down in big letters and stick it on your inspiration board or by your desk.

Energy is 75% of the job.
So take care of your body!

Do not seek praise seek criticism. Ask what’s wrong with it. Ask how you can make it better.
So hard, but so true! Treat it like business and not an emotional transaction. Let other’s help you make your product/service/book/project better.

Blame no one but yourself.

If you can’t solve a problem it’s because you’re playing by the rules.

The person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything. Failures and false starts are a precondition of success.

“I haven’t failed, I’ve had 10,000 ideas that didn’t work.” — Benjamin Franklin

“If we don’t get lost we’ll never find a new route.” — Joan Littlewood

When I was in college I landed a pretty sweet job being a buyer of fragrance, Greek (sorority) merchandise, and jewelry. I know, it was killer at 20. I literally got to buy stuff for my peers as a job with someone else’s money. I always wanted to please my boss, so when there were a few fragrances that I bought to test them out (think Chloé), and they didn’t sell, I felt bad. I didn’t want her to look bad to her boss because I wasn’t buying the right fragrances. But she gave me some wise advice. She told me if everything always sold then I wasn’t taking enough risk. I could sell the heck out of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Ralph Lauren Romance, and all the Escada scents (fess up, who wears them?), but I guess the Midwest just wasn’t ready for Chloé. And that was ok.

It’s right to be wrong. Start being wrong and suddenly anything is possible. You’re no longer trying to be infallible.

Risks are a measure of people. People who won’t take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up by having more.
A hard one to learn. Risk is scary, but that’s why it can be so rewarding…

How you perceive yourself is how others will see you.
So get some confidence!

If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools, it may free your thinking.
I love this idea. I like to take it literally as well. Some of my favorite art projects in school were when we had to try to draw something blindfolded, or use crazy materials. This is what gets the creative juices flowing. I mean, this dress was made out of sombreros people.

To be original, seek your inspiration from unexpected sources.
Please do this, otherwise everything is the same. And the same is boring.

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Photo via my Instagram, follow me at @megbiram