THE BLOG
09/25/2014 02:00 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2014

What Tony Hsieh, Pro Athletes, the Founder of UGGs and Others Taught Me About Success (Part Two)

[This is part two of a four part post. Check out part one and stay tuned for parts three and four here! ]

To kick off my gap year from college, I asked some of my mentors, friends and role models to give me their 1-3 sentence responses to the following question:

Knowing what you do now, if you could have taught yourself and/or done one thing at 18 years old to create a better foundation for your future success, what would it have been and why?

These lessons, as I quickly came to realize, were too valuable for me to keep to myself.

In part one of this post, I shared the first 10 pieces of advice I received, so below we will continue with #11.

On Building Skills -

11) "I would have started writing sooner than I did. Oh, sure, I wrote the occasional article. Today I write weekly, if not even more often. I focus on customer service and experience, and as a result have written hundreds of articles, with minimal repetition. My ideas are generated from the books I read (about one every two weeks) and the dozens of articles I read, or at least look at, weekly. This keeps my mind sharp, at the top of my game and on the cutting edge of new information, and the amount of writing I do now positions me as an expert and thought leader in my area of expertise." - Shep Hyken, customer service expert and NYT bestselling business author

12) "When I was 18 I wish I would have known and understood the power of email marketing. Yeah, that sounds drab and boring, but the email algorithm doesn't change. If people opt-in to your email list, they want your content and they'll get it in their (sacred) inboxes. Social media is great, but when you have zero control over when things change on those platforms, being able to reach followers and Likes can become impossible." - Jason Surfrapp, Author of Creativity for Sale, Founder of IWearYourShirt.com

13) "Genius Networking and Marketing. Those are the two capabilities that create a foundation of future success better than anything I've learned about. Marketing is the way to positively impact millions (even billions) of people, and Genius Networking is the way to get in front of those people." - Joe Polish, Founder of the Genius Network

14) "I would have studied how to be better at sales because it is one of the most important skills for business and life. I would have also written down short term and long term goals for myself both personal and professional so that I could have had better direction and focus." - Nick Friedman, President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk

15) "It comes down to the work. If you want to do something and someone is outworking you...if you fail, then it is pretty much your fault...If you're working harder than everyone else, than your chances of succeeding are so high!" - Com Mirza, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Author

On Habits -

16) "The difference between successful people and everyone else is what they do daily. Developing productive habits and working them every day, over time will always lead to success. At 18, I would have asked myself, 'What are 3 things you can do daily that will bring you closer to your goals?'" - Kyle Fogg, Professional Basketball Player and Former Guard for the University of Arizona

17) "Well, I am not 18 yet, so I don't know. So I will go back to 14 year old Jacob. I would tell 14 year old Jacob not to focus on achieving a grade in a class but rather to focus on understanding the concepts behind the grade. It is not the end result, but the process that matters." - Jacob Barnett, World's Youngest Astrophysicist

18) "There is a difference between wanting something and it being non-negotiable. When shit hits the fan, you'll find excuses for the former, but the latter will get done. Choose your non-negotiable consciously, for they will be rooted in pleasure and pain avoidance if you don't." - Connor Grooms, Founder of One Month Master

19) "I always had a thirst for knowledge. If I knew at age 18 what I know now, I would have listened more carefully." - Ron Klein, Inventor of the Magnetic Strip Credit Card Validity Checking System

20) "I would have taken the time to learn how to listen earlier. Learning about non-violent communication and how to take feedback has been integral to both my personal happiness and professional success." - Dale J. Stephens, Founder of UnCollege

On Health -

21) A commitment to lifelong physical health. It's something that everybody talks about all the time (not just pro athletes), but so few of us give consistent effort to maintaining it. I remember the moment it hit home for me was when I came across a quote from the Dalai Lama on humanity: he said that what puzzled him most about mankind is that 'we sacrifice so much of our health in the pursuit of money, only to later spend so much of our money to try and recuperate our health.' So true." - Collete Davis, Professional Race Car Driver and Co-Founder of TechDrive

22) "When I was 18, I was a pretty angry kid. If I knew about meditation back then as I do now, I would have been able to train the mind to stay in the present moment and not let the outside environment cause me any difficulty. Meditation has taught me how to bring an intense level of concentration, focus and passion to my work, while at the same time being able appreciate all the beauty in the world." - Jeffrey Zlotnik, Founder of The Meditation Initiative

23) "I wish I'd focused more on creating habits and processes that made *the moment* better, rather than working for future outcomes. There were so many times when I punished my body -- all-nighters, drugs, sitting and staring at screens all day -- in the name of "tomorrow." If I'd pulled my head up and actually worked in the moment, I would have preserved my body and sanity (and still achieved all those goals). I also would have been more bold. No apologies, no holding back." - Charlie Hoehn, Keynote Speaker, Author of Play It Away and Marketing Expert

24) "I wish I would have focused more on developing self-awareness in all areas of my life ranging from the activities that excited me to what worked and what didn't. One of the things I realized over the years, is that the first step to improvement is awareness, which requires listening! Only then can we find a better path." - Scott Britton, Founder of Life-Long Learner and The Competitive Edge Podcast

25) "I really believe that knowing one's self can help you with everything in life, from how to achieve your own personal goals to working and communicating with others. I've found that understanding my Enneagram Type and also my Personal Insight Inventory from InColor Insight has helped me develop a foundation for improving my relationships and achieving my goals." - Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of KISSMetrics

[This is part two of a four part post See part one of this article and check the status of parts three and four here.]