A few months ago, I was privileged to deliver a TED Talk and shortly afterwards, I was asked this question by a member of the audience: "How did you manage to do all this at such a young age?"
How had I gone from a 13-year-old, plagued with suicidal thoughts, a stutter and five school exclusions to a public speaker, running my own business, managing 20+ people, and now, being named as one of the 100 most powerful entrepreneurs in the UK at 18?
I was lucky enough to find my area of speciality at quite a young age; which has helped me achieve the success I have now. But believe me, it hasn't been easy and never will be.
However, beyond luck there are bigger factors that have contributed to this "success". Below are the six which have allowed me to accomplish what I have in such a short space of time. And I'm pretty sure if you were to ask Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey to create a list... mine wouldn't be far off theirs.
This is the first step to success. Believe you can and you are half way there. If you want people to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. Take Albert Einstein for example. He could not speak until he was four, nor did he read until he was seven. Subsequently, he was kicked out of school. Long story short, he came around.
2. Having an imperfection is not the end - Be you.
There are 7 billion people on this planet. I'd like to think I have made it this far because one in a hundred people stutter, and this is what makes me unique. I only have to meet someone once for them to remember my name, and that's not because I dress well or because I'm handsome. Who doesn't remember "S-S-S-Solomon"? My stutter has got me into places I would have found hard to get into without it.
3. Develop the right relations.
Surround yourself with positive thinkers, hard workers, and most importantly, experts. And then brag that you did all the work. Just joking! I would never be where I am today without my fantastic team, my best friend Komal Akbar or my mentor Kevin Patrick. The more powerful and supportive your circle is, the more influential you are. Remember, business is all about influence. As cliché as it sounds, team work really does makes the dream work.
4. Life is about making an impact, not an income.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like. Steve Jobs once said, "I don't want to be the richest man in the grave." At the end of our lives what matters is our legacy not how much money left. Money is just a by-product of a business driven by passion and commitment.
5. It's all about hard work.
I've never seen anyone handed success on a plate. Yes Donald Trump was given a $1million loan to start up, but he still had to make that money work hard so that it could go on to make billions. It doesn't take a genius to realise, if you put in 20%, you'll get 20% out, and if you put in 110%, you'll get 110% out.
6. Never ever give up.
You won't always get what you deserve in life, and it's all right to have set backs. However, dwelling on to unfulfilled aspirations is like carrying a heavy baggage that will only slow you down. Life is all about learning and moving on, and hard work teaches you just that! McDonalds founder Ray Kroc founded the company aged 52. How do you become an overnight success at the age of 52?! As Ray Kroc said, "I was an overnight success alright, but 30 years is a very, long night."
I believe that no one is born a success, but everyone has the potential to become one.
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