Everyone always asks me “Kareem what is the secret to getting so jacked” like I have MJ’s potion from Space Jam. The secret is right in front of your eyes but most people do not want to admit it to themselves. Most people would rather make excuses to justify why someone is better than them at something because the quest is too hard. The secret to getting jacked is the same secret to being successful in anything you do with your life; productivity and persistence.
You might be wondering what I mean by productivity in this sense. Productivity is all about putting 100% of your effort into whatever you do and making sure your active. Simply put, if you can’t wash the dishes well then why should you be trusted running a fortune 500 company? You have to work hard at ALL aspects of your life in order to succeed, not just a couple. The same concept applies with the gym. If you are going to the gym and having a social exchange rather than working hard and pumping iron while your there then get comfortable with the way you look now because nothing is going to change.
You also cannot let a little thing called failure get in the way. If you are not getting the results you want as quickly as you want do not quit; rather you should adapt. As Michael Jordan said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed”. If arguably the best basketball player and most recognized athlete of all time can accept failure then so should you. We will all fail at something, its inevitable, but they key to failure is learning from your mistake and becoming a better person because of it. Even Steve Jobs was fired after failing miserably with the Apple 2. I don’t need to tell you what he went on to do after that setback. However, had Steve Jobs just sulked in a corner and drank his problems away after being fired from Apple the world would be a completely different place and you wouldn’t have a lot of the appliances you now depend on.
So get in the gym and get arms like Arnold. Clean the dishes like your life depended on it. Work at everything like it was crucial for your career because you never know when an opportunity will arise.
Freshman year of college can be quite the confusing time for a lot of people. Its your first taste of independent (well semi independent) living and you have to learn how to balance your social life, academics and other pressures you face in college. Now that I am a rising senior in college I wish I could talk to my freshman self and impart some wisdom about what I should have been doing. Some things I wish I knew when I was a freshman are…
1. Its never to early to start looking for an internship.
Having an internship as a freshman would put you so far ahead of the game. Related to this is also to look for internships in non traditional ways. Do not just apply for internships at big companies or ones your advisor tells you to apply to. Find companies you admire and apply to them.
2. You should be doing a lot of reading about topics your interested in relevant to what you think your future career will be.
I cannot tell you how many business majors as a freshman wanted to get into “investment banking”. If you told a person you wanted to get into that career they would laugh at you as it is such a vague and unclear term. Read about what you want to do and this way you can also find out if this is something you want to do for the rest of your life.
3. You should work on developing a skill set.
Even if that skill set is something like being a wizard with excel you have 4 years to hone that skill set and it will help separate you from the crowd. Pick something and master it.
4. Get involved with clubs and position yourself to eventually become president.
I wish someone told me this one. Being the president of a club is a incredible networking opportunity and a great resume builder.
5. Actually pay attention in class and take classes that are useful.
I used to just go to class to work for a grade rather than actually trying to learn the material. When your in class try and figure out ways how what your learning could be applied in real life. If you can’t think of any ways then you probably shouldn’t be in that class.
6. In every class always identify the “gimme” points and make sure you get a 100% on them or as close to it as possible.
I define “gimme” points as class participation, clicker questions, homework and extra credit. This way if you mess up on an exam it is not the end of the world. You will be thanking me come finals if you listen to this one.
7. Take up a minor in computer science or at least take some classes in the subject.
The world more and more is being run through computers and the internet so it would be advantageous to know how computers work on a deeper level. Sharpen your excel skills, learn how to code on a basic level and try and learn how to use photoshop.
As the old saying goes hindsight is 20/20. Is there anything you wish you knew as a freshman that is not on this list?
It is becoming more and more important these days to have a widespread network and with the social media tools we have at our disposal it has never been easier. An active network is invaluable and can open doors not once seen for you but if you do not contact most of the people in your network it becomes an inactive, cold network. Here are some tips to help create an active network.
1. Prioritize your contacts
Put your contacts into groups so you can figure how frequently to contact people. Family/close friends/hot leads would come first and then figure out the other groups.
2. Contact everyone at least 4 times a year
Also mention something in the email that is unique to that person. This is just enough to show that you care and to keep the connection alive.
3. Don’t sacrifice contacts
On Facebook/Twitter be active with interacting with other people and revitalize lost relationships.
4. Try new things
Every month try and reach out to a company you admire and try to set up a coffee meeting with someone. It may not work all the time but when it does work it sets up a great contact. Great way to increase your chances of success is to pitch a value prop to the person your reaching out to or be seeking advice for something in their line of work.
5. Ask people to introduce you to their friends
When introduced to someone from a trusted source it establishes an immediate connection and makes it very easy to turn that person into a friend of yours.
6. Use all of the tools available to you
This means that if you only have a Facebook it’s time to get a Twitter and a LinkedIn account. These are the three main networks that you need to be on to properly network. If you need some tips on how to use Twitter to the best of its capabilities refer to my post “Why Twitter is Crucial”.
7. Read the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi
Overall these tips will help you out with your networking efforts but these all mean nothing if you are not willing to put in the effort to stay active with your network. As your network grows it will require more and more time which is why it is important to prioritize your network. I currently spend about an hour every single day on networking (beyond facebook chat and mindless readings of the newsfeed). Is there any other tactics that you use to help your networking effort?