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Think Like a Boss: 9 CEO Philosophies That Will Make You a Better Student

Written by Rebecca Tunney

If there’s one thing that the vast majority of CEOs have in common, it’s that they’ve busted their asses to accomplish what they have. But what if they simplified their work ethics into a single, sweet philosophy that they can share with the whole world? Well, a few of them have done just that. And as a student, applying those philosophies could not only bump up your grades, but make you a happier person.

“The last thing I do every night is to put a clear, scheduled plan of action in place for the next day.”

Stephen Bradley, CEO of AuthorBee

Planning out the next day (or week, if you’re me) is not only good for setting your priorities straight, but for improving  your productivity. When you wake up knowing exactly what you need to get done, you’re more likely to actually do those things—otherwise, you’ll probably spend more time lying in bed checking Facebook, unsure what to do with yourself.

“Focus on one task or one meeting at a time.”

Giovanni Marcantoni, CEO of Social Leagues

Even if your multitasking powers make all your friends envious of you, it may not always be the best option to use them. Having too much on your mind can be more distracting than anything, and you could miss a lot of important details when you’re not fully in the moment. When there’s a lot on your plate, slow down, take on tasks one at a time, and give each one your full attention.

“Your success is going to be very dependent on how you adapt.”

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp

Change is inevitable; some changes are like hurdles you can hop over, while others are like brick walls you want to walk away from. But no matter what, adapting to change is a crucial life skill to master.

If there’s a big change in your life, it’s important to take a moment and prepare to face it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What changed?
  2. What does this change affect?
  3. What kind of problems has this change caused me?
  4. How can I overcome these problems? How can I get back on track?

We must keep learning and observing.”

Cher Wang, CEO of HTC

Students are constantly learning. Duh, right? But consider this: lecture halls and labs aren’t the only places you should be learning. Every experience and opportunity should be a learning experience. And even if you’re just sitting around waiting for the bus or for your laundry to finish, channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and observe your surroundings; you never know what sort of new, inspiring things you’ll find when you take a good look at things.

Ask questions.”

Sophia Amoruso, CEO of Nasty Gal

You’re never too old or too successful to ask questions, especially when the world is constantly changing. Never ever be afraid to do it—you can open a lot of doors for yourself by asking the right questions. Not only that, but you never know if someone around you is wondering the same thing. See? Asking not only helps you, it also helps those around you. It’s a win-win!

Read 500 pages […] every day.”

Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway

Okay, maybe 500 pages is a bit much, but the idea still stands: reading every day is a good way to not only increase your knowledge, but get a breather from less exciting school textbooks. Keep in mind that doing a bit of your class readings every day is a good idea, but don’t neglect non-academic material. Read whatever interests you, be it epic fantasy novels, fuzzy contemporary anthologies, How to Build a Deck for Beginners, your favourite physicist’s memoir… doesn’t matter. Just pick up a book and read!

“There are going to be priorities and dimensions of your life, how you integrate them is how you find true happiness.”

Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup

Everyone tells us young adults that we have to “find a balance” in life despite how hectic it is. At times it seems impossible, but the key to balancing our lives is prioritizing. What needs your attention right now? What can wait? Should you really have your friends over for movie night when you have a final assignment due in two days, or can you make it up to them after you’ve handed it in? This is a good place to apply the whole “plan your day the night before” thing.

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do.”

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary, but trying new things is a really important part of growing and learning. No matter how much you study and prepare, you’re never going to be 100% ready for something, especially if it’s your first time doing it. It’s a fact, and it’s one that you’ve got to face or else you’ll be standing still your whole life. Whether you’re stepping on stage for an audition or trying out a new hairstyle, you need to relax, breathe, and go for it; you’ll never know what it’s like until you try. Don’t forget to believe in yourself. I know you can do it!

“There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs, Former CEO of Apple

If none of the people quoted here had followed their hearts, they wouldn’t be on this list. You have to do what will make you the happiest in the long run—if your dream career requires 2 years of studying advanced calculus, then go for it. It’ll suck for a bit, but you’ll thank yourself later for pushing through integrals like a champ. And if you change your mind or find a new passion, no worries. Figure out the ideal path to reaching your new goal and pursue it with as much vigour as you can. Put in the effort and you will reap the rewards of your endeavours.

Which other quotes and philosophies have inspired you to do better things? Let us know in the comments!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.