What Makes Great People Great?

Everyone one of us has an X-factor within us which, when used properly, allows you to excel to levels you have only dreamt of. That X-factor is the power of your will and mindset. There will always be people that are just as talented as you or just as smart as you. However, if you believe that you will wind up being better than everyone else and are willing to develop the work ethic that will get you there than you will rise above everyone
else. The thing about hard work is that in the beginning it does not really seem to be paying off which is why a lot of people tend to slack. However, what those people do not realize is that the ones that continue to put in the effort are the ones who do succeed. Through hardship and through opulent times it is necessary to always strive for more and out-work everyone around you, that is unless you are happy with mediocrity. There is no reason why you cannot be early to work and leave late everyday. Doing things like this will get you recognized and put you in good terms with your management.

What goes hand in hand with this whole mindset is being able to deal with failure. Failure is inevitable. Even if it is just something small at some point we all fail at something. Thomas Edison failed 6000 times before he finally came up with a working light bulb! The key is being able to immediately move on from your failure and stick to your intitial goals. The only way you will ever be able to push yourself and find out how far you can go is by not fearing failure. In weight-lifting terms how would if you can bench 315 ponds unless you try it? Overcoming this fear of failure and rejection is especially important for those who are interested in getting into sales or business development upon graduation.

In my opinion failure and mediocrity are both just state of minds. If you go into something thinking your going to fail or go into something with the intention of just trying to get by than you will never impress anyone or really advance anywhere. You’ll get your company wide raise every X amount of months and that will be about it. That is not the life I want. I put 110% into everything I do and sacrifice a lot of my personal time to increase my chances of success. I am a big believer in the saying “sacrifice for the greater good” and right now is the time to sacrifice. Sacrifice going to the bars on a Thursday night and stay a few more hours at work. My goal is to make a meaningful impact on the world and to be remembered, not to just be an expendable cog in the system from the ages of 21-65, take as little responsibility as possible along the way, retire and die. If you also want to change the world with me than NOW is your time to start. Also, lets not forget that you have to work hard to ball hard and that sounds pretty damn good to me.

Join me on Twitter and lets start making a difference. @Aghanomics

NOW Is The Time To Take A Risk

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T. S. Eliot

If you are a college student or a recent graduate there is no better time to pursue your dreams, no matter how risky it is. If you have any type of entrepreneurial spirit within you and want to start your own company or work for a start up there is no better time than the present. Being an entrepreneur can be scary. Most people will doubt you and your ass is always on the hotseat as those who dont work hard are quickly weeded out. However, turning that risk into a big reward is one of the best feelings in the world. You have the rest of your life to work at large corporation and take the safe way out. Here are 5 reasons why you should take a risk.

1. Right now you have less responsibility you will ever have.
Odds are you do not have kids and a family to take care of at this point in your life. You also do not have a massive overhead other than college loans to take care of. 10 years from now when you have a family taking a risk like this will be a lot less practical as the money you bring home will not just be for yourself.
2. Reward outweighs risk right now.
Worst comes to worst the company crashes and burns in a few years and all of a sudden your 24-26 years old with a ton of great experience. However, the company could really take off and you could be made man (or woman) before the age of 30.
3. If you apply yourself you WILL learn how to run a business.
4. You will find out if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur. There are massive highs and even terrible lows and some people cannot deal with the volatility. I personally embrace the volatility.
5. That big company is not going anywhere.
That company will always be there and odds are you will get a higher position after a few years of high level work within a small company vs a student fresh out of college.

Of course with any risk it should be a calculated risk and not a blind one. Do not just try and start a company without doing any research or join a start up company whose product you do not believe in. As with anything research, research, and research some more to minimize risk as much as possible. So go ahead, take a risk, live on the edge and live with no regrets.

Lose the Suit. 5 Perks of Working at a Start Up.

I have been working at CampusLIVE now for over a year and have noticed there are a lot of perks with working at a start up. Other than the fame, groupies, lack of dress code, VIP treatment at clubs and free stuff there are a lot of reasons why I see myself working at a start-up in the future. Here are just a few reasons why.

1. Team Camaraderie
The closeness of everyone within the company reminds me of when I used to play competitive sports. Everyone is selfless and willing to help you out. Everyone is also viewed as an equal from the interns all the way up to the CEO. The COO even gave me his chair when he saw that mine was a bit broken.
2. Responsibility
At a start up you can take on as much responsibility as you want. There is never a moment where you will not have work to do and I have been taking great advantage of this.
3. Education
You get to learn the in’s and out’s of how to run a company and how efficient companies operate. I personally report to the COO, CEO and VP of marketing and have the opportunity to learn from all of them.
4. Volatility
Working at a start-up is quite the roller coaster ride. Everyday presents new problems and successes so you never really know what to expect. I personally like not working on a rigid schedule as you have the freedom to attack problems in the manner you feel is best.
5. Work Hard, Play Hard
Even though at CampusLIVE we are probably working more hours vs a more traditional job we are rewarded with awesome company parties , unlimited paid vacation time/sick days and some fun things to do in office (foosball, ping pong, hamster (RIP Mr. Trump 2010-2012)).

These are just some of the reasons why I envision myself staying in the start-up sector for a long time to come. Can you think of any more reasons why someone would want to work at a start up?

How Are The Boston Celtics And Working For A Start Up Similar?

As I have been watching the Boston Celtics play in the 2012 NBA playoffs I have noticed numerous parallels between the way the play and what it is like to work in a start up. To those who have not been paying close attention to the playoffs here is what I have noticed about the Celtics.

1. No matter how big their lead is in the first half, it always gets tight in the 4th quarter.
2. Even when everything seems to be going great everything can melt down quickly.
3. If one starter is not playing well the whole team is out of whack.
4. The reason why the Celtics beat the 76ers and the Hawks is not because they had more talent, but because they work better as a team.
5. Even when you have the best support in the world (Boston Fans) you can still lose.

Now how does the way the Celtics play compare to working in a start up? Lets see

1. No matter how good you are doing one day none of it matters unless you can perform in crunch time. When all the projects have been piled on and you feel like you overwhelmed will you fold or will you perform?
2. Even though everything can seem to be going great with your start up everything can flip very quickly and all of a sudden you can be out of a job just like that.
3. Everyone needs to be performing at a high level in a start-up and when one person doesn’t show up to work or isn’t doing their job well the whole team feels it.
4. Communication is key in start ups as every position is so interrelated with each other. Start-ups look to hire team players and people who can perform well in numerous positions.
5. Even if you have all the money in the world and a good team sometimes things just do not work out.

Another way they are similar for me personally is that I love the Celtics and I love working in a start-up. The one main difference I have noticed though is everyone in the office is not above the height of 6’5 (Thank God).

You Didn’t Get The Internship. Now What?

It is about that time of year where you know if you are going to be interning somewhere this summer. Applications for the most part have closed and decisions have been made. If you were on the sour end of the decision process do not despair there are still plenty of ways to make sure you have a productive summer.

1. Find a job.
Even if that means you need to go back to bagging groceries find a way to make consistent money. After all what good is summer break if you don’t have money?
2. Ask the company/companies that denied you why they denied you and if there is any way you can contribute.
Get the feedback to find out why your application was not a success to increase your chances next time you apply. Also, odds are if you ask them if you can do free work they will give you some basic data entry to do. This gets your foot in the door and it may develop into an internship.
3. Network.
Reach out to any company that really interests you and try to set up a lunch meeting with one of their employees. This will open up many doors for you and again may develop into an internship. Ask your mom or dad if you can go into work with them for a day even if their job is not necessarily what you want to do. Ask a friend with an internship if it would be possible for you to go into the office to visit.
4. Figure out ways to increase your value.
Research the stock market. Learn how to use excel. Learn how to code. A good website to learn how to code is here and its 100% free. There are plenty of things you can do to increase your self worth to heighten your odds of getting the internship the next time around.
5. Read and write.
There is no better way to sharpen your mind then by reading and writing. Read books that will help you out and that are practical. I would recommend Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi to anyone and the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham to any business majors.
6. Help out around the house
Luckily for us not finding a job is not the end of the world as we still have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. Be grateful for these things and show your appreciation by doing chores and playing your part in the house. We are never to old to show our parents we care and that we appreciate what they do for us.

It is not the end of the world that you did not get an internship this summer. I was in your same shoes a couple summers ago but I was able to rebound from that and not let the sea of rejection letters discourage me. Think of the summer as being 4 months of preparation so you can really go in and dominate your internship next year. If anyone wants any more advice on what to do in your spare time this summer feel free to tweet at me @aghanomics212.

Can you think of anymore ways to be productive without having an internship?

Forget The Fluff. Tips On How To Write Professionally

Everyone reading this I am sure has had numerous 10+ page essays due in their life. It is quite rare in an English class where your essay is just 500 words or less, when in reality, writing a concise, 500 word essay is probably harder than writing that 10+ page essay. One thing that is a bit overlooked in our English classes is the emphasis on being concise and being concise is key to writing professionally. Professionals simply do not have the time to read 10 page memo’s. In order to be successful with writing reports and memos for your boss you need to be able to condense a ton of information into a page or less.

I had a bit of a rude awakening when I started my internship with CampusLIVE. I was handed an assignment where I needed to explain the importance of establishing a blog on a popular website. As the self proclaimed king of “fluff” I wrote up a solid one page memo in my attempt to be concise. With a smile of satisfaction on my face I emailed the memo to my boss and asked him to proofread it. About 10 minutes later I was called over by my boss and was sat down. He told me “Kareem, the memo you sent me was very well written but the only reason why I read it was because I know you worked hard on this. This is much too long for everyone to read. Shorten it into 3 bullets and send it back to me”. 3 bullets??? I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was being concise with a 1 page memo and then being told to reduce it to 3 bullets blew my mind. After reading through my memo over and over again I realized how much “fluff” I had in there just to make the memo sound nice. After slashing away and removing a ton of things I sent the revised memo and was told that this is how I should write everything while at work.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. The style of writing we learn in English class and the style of writing necessary in the fast paced business world is completely different. No 5 paragraph format or any of that. No need to even make the writing sound eloquent. Just get STRAIGHT to the point and make it as informative as possible without it becoming wordy. All of us at one point or another have written “fluff” to either make an essay sound better or make it longer. Once you graduate it’s time to ditch the “fluff” and learn how to write to make everyone around you more productive

3 Simple Tips For A Successful Diet

For anyone who is on a diet (summer is coming everyone) knowing how to read a nutrition label is crucial for a successful diet. Even though it may look confusing there is only a few simple things you need to know about the label. Here are the big 3 things you need to know about nutrition.

1. Stop counting calories. Start counting grams of saturated fat, carbohydrates and protein.
Saturated fat is sticky fat which sticks to your stomach and is harder to lose than regular fat. It also is a major contributor to clogged arteries which causes heart attacks. Anything fried, cheese, ice cream and red meat are all high in saturated fat.
2. Consuming a low amount is carbohydrates is key for a productive diet.
Carbs turn into sugar if you do not use them for energy (any kind of activity which gets you moving) and we all know that a lot of sugar is not good for a beach body.
3. Protein is key for a fast metabolism.
Make sure you consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. Protein is key for muscle growth and a healthy body. Protein that is in chicken and milk is slow digesting so that means your body is working for long periods of time to digest the food which in effect speeds up your metabolism.

I’ll tell you my diet I am currently on for example. I eat roughly 8 grams of saturated fat, 100 grams of carbs and about 150 grams of protein a day. As I said I do not count calories but eating such a low amount of saturated fat guarantees a low amount of calories but eating a low amount of calories does not guarantee low saturated fat. If you have any questions about your diet feel free to tweet at me @aghanomics212.

Would You Date Me?

With the emergence of social media over the past 5 years your image now goes a lot further than how you carry yourself in person. Your whole life now is pretty much on the internet and there is more information freely available about you now than ever. My question is what is more important? Your image on social media or your image in person? Obviously a combination of the two is what is ideal but when looking at the extremes for both it is interesting to think about what affects you more. If you met a person at a bar that seemed incredibly kind that you felt like could be boyfriend/girlfriend material but then looked at their Facebook and saw that they were a party animal and a “free spirit” would you still want to date that person? Even though in person you felt like they were a great person the image they created for themselves online may lead you to think otherwise. Lets look at the opposite situation where you meet a person who seems like a jerk but add them on Facebook anyways to pad your friends count. Then looking through their photos they look like such a great person as they have a million pictures of themselves volunteering at soup kitchens and helping little children. Does that person all of a sudden get a reconsideration just because of their online image?

It is sad these days how much importance we put into our social media image. Going Facebook “official” is almost more important than actually asking a person out. Innovation is always necessary and there is no doubt that social media has done a lot of great things for mankind. Being connected to the world is a great feeling and I have been able to reach out to relatives that I would have never been able to have communicate with had social media not existed. Social media also allows me to be more productive as I have my whole network available to me right on one site. However, I use social media strictly as a tool and I do not let it absorb my life. I feel like we all need to stop taking social media so damn seriously. Get off of Facebook chat and meet up with a person. Nothing will ever trump the impact left with face to face interaction and the generations that are rising right now may not have the proper social skills to be able to handle face to face conversations. I feel like the coming generations will be interacting with their friends more through social media than they actually will in person. The problem that arises with this is the phenomenon of online courage and the inability to handle conflict in person. Online you have the safety of being behind a screen and not having to face any immediate repercussions for arguing with someone. You can say whatever you want and people tend to act a lot tougher than they actually are when online. You also have as much time as you want to respond to a message or do not have to respond at all where as in person you do not have this luxury and you have to be able to think on your feet. I feel like kids simply are not going to learn very important social cues and be able to pick up on body language because of the emergence of social media.

Is a person less attractive if they are not photogenic? Is a person less appealing if their Facebook profile was not what you were expecting even if they were what you want in person? Human interaction is slowly dying as the internet is evolving and I think soon enough your image online will be more important than how you carry yourself in real life. The question I have to raise is would Facebook prevent you from getting into a serious relationship with someone if their social image could be detrimental to your social image?

Stop Wasting Time. Turn Down Time Into Value

Every day we all have off time where we are mindlessly scrolling through our Facebook news feed for the hundredth time waiting for a new notification or on StumbleUpon looking for something, ANYTHING to entertain us. After a while it gets to the point where we are just blankly staring at the screen just wondering what to do. After doing this myself for a while I started to brainstorm things I can do in this wasted time that are entertaining and also somewhat productive.

My favorite thing I have been doing as of late in my down time is creating content for this blog. It is a lot of fun writing to an audience and it also looks good on your resume if you are planning on working for a company based on the internet or around social media. Having a blog is also great because it allows you to never forget where you came from as you can always go back and read past posts.

Another thing I like to do in my off time is research the stock market. I am always on www.fool.com, www.seekingalpha.com and yahoo finance. I also take free online classes offered by Stanford about computer programming and another online class about inbound marketing offered by HubSpot which you can find here. This does not mean you have to be researching stocks or marketing in your off time but find something that interests you and research. Psych major? Find a psychologist that you really admire and read their works or better yet begin to develop your own theories. English majors could research ways for their works to gain publicity and find out how other authors they respect gained notoriety. The point is find something specific to your major/career and research.

Try getting to the gym or signing up for some kind of organized sport as well. The saying “look good, feel good” is very true and if you have not been active for a while you will notice a quick difference in your body. You will have more energy throughout the day, you will get a nice confidence boost and you will also make some great friends in the process. I know from personal experience that going to the gym and being fit has opened up a lot of doors for me in my professional career that I would have never have been able to capitalize on if I was a couch potato. Check through all of the daily deal sites (Groupon, Livingsocial, Homerun etc) for deals on a gym membership as they usually will have one.

A great thing to do in your off time is catch up on your sleep! College students hardly ever get enough sleep and if you find yourself not doing anything except wasting time and do not particularly feel like doing anything engaging then get to bed. Sleep is crucial to keeping a sharp and healthy mind so take a nap, wake up and be ready to attack the world.

Do not get me wrong I am not saying you have to be productive every second of every day. It’s ok and completely normal to relax and just chill out. We are not robots and if we never rested we would get burnt out very quickly. However, we can ALL (even me) be a little more productive without harming ourselves so get up! Sign up for a class or the gym! The first step towards something new is ALWAYS the hardest step so if you need help taking that first step feel free to tweet at me @Aghanomics212 or leave a comment asking for my email address and I will give you a hand.

The Secret To Getting Jacked

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.