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I had the pleasure of interviewing businessman and motivational speaker Chris Gardner. Chris Gardner is the CEO of Happyness whose inspirational story inspired the film The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith.

He shared his best tips on succeeding in life and business and how his new book Permission to Dream aims at teaching the new generations to see a world of possibilities.

 Here are the four takeaways from my interview with him:

Understand the difference between a dream and a plan

We have all had dreams, but a plan is what helps us to guide our actions toward making that possibility into our perspective or reality. We must set our trajectory and angle towards our goals by taking action every day, understanding that our dreams can change along the way. We should also empower the next generation by opening their eyes to opportunities that are out there in the world if they have the skills, knowledge, and desire to pursue their potential.

Don’t become dependent on others to determine our worth

We cannot become beholden to exterior validation to determine our self-worth. Find sources of internal motivation to get ourselves up and going when times are tough and connect to what inspires us in order to keep us going. Instituting mindfulness practices, gratitude exercises, or using positive affirmations and mantras are some ways that can help us to create more internal validation.

Focus on our Rep, Rap, and Rolodex

As Chris mentions, we must maintain a reputation for excellence and integrity in our business and personal life. Rap means that we must be able to effectively communicate our ideas and intentions to others, which is especially important in order to share a vision with someone. Finally, our relationships are invaluable in business and need to be treasured, as relationships can help to solve problems that money cannot.

Invest in human capital 

It is not enough to be grateful for what we have in life, but we must also share our knowledge, motivation, and inspiration with others. Being a coach, mentor, or teacher if we have the tools (and temperament) to do so is imperative. While this is an unselfish pursuit, elevating others will also serve to elevate ourselves in the long run, as well.

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