The key to building a beautiful life

I recently had the privilege of talking to some young women entering the exciting career of beauty.

They had started with a beneficiary company which offers this qualification in a new business venture. I took the liberty of using the vertical acronym of BEAUTY to share six areas of growth that they could test themselves in. I hope these resonate with you.

● Believe in yourself

I recall that through most of my high school career, I never lived up to my potential academically. I have reports from those days where in instance after instance, teachers would point out that I should be doing so much better.

It was my class teacher in matric who nailed it by saying I should get over my self-doubts.

Many believed I should be doing better but the key was whether I believed that. When that happened, in college and university, my results soared.

As the “old” Superman actor, Dean Cain quipped, “Always believe in yourself and keep going. You do not have to have the most talent in the world. You do not have to be the smartest person in the world. If you persist and you persist and you persist, you will be successful.”

● Engage in life

Gallup is the largest research company in the world, and they shared a global statistic on engagement at work.

It is concerning that only 15% of people at work are engaged. That means 85% of folk are present, but not delivering on who they are and what they could bring.

That is no way to live your life at work. We can engage, no matter how challenging, unfulfilling, or boring the work environment may be.

May I suggest that even these situations may change, simply because of the way we engage.

Said author Maya Angelou: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

When you engage in life, in the here and now, the number of moments that take your breath away escalate dramatically.

● Attitude ownership

Stephen Covey wrote the classic business book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In it, he refers to a great truth, the 90:10 principle. Simply put, 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. Ninety percent of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%. How? By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light, but you can control your reaction to the red light. This is key… you can control how you react.

Learning the difference between reacting and responding has been so impactful to me. May it be to you too.

● Uncommon strengths

I shared with the young women that reading is a brilliant way to grow.

One of the most profound books I have read is Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

It is by knowing and living your strengths that you begin to live a strong life.

By focusing on identifying, practicing, and refining our strengths, Marcus Buckingham argues we wind up becoming “more productive, more fulfilled and more successful” in the endeavours that matter to us most.

I have endeavoured to map out a “strong week” every week of my life, where I play relentlessly (and with joy) to my strengths. Writing this article is part of that joy and strength.

● Think deeply

Another valuable principle from Covey’s classic book, Habit 4, is “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny”.

That means that our dominant thoughts can have a big effect on our destiny and life purpose.

Entrepreneur magazine reflects that Japanese businesspeople spend 70% of their time thinking about their business and in strategic planning.

So, my take is that in both making a living, and making a life, developing the depth of our thinking is essential.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – author Mark Twain.

● Know your why

Author Simon Sinek presents the idea that great leaders inspire others by putting the Why (the purpose) before the How (the process), or the What (the product).

What is it that gets you up in the morning? What purpose galvanises you into action. What helps you to rise from the inevitable setback?

The more you can connect what you care about deeply with what you do, the stronger your why and the more resilient your attitude becomes.

“Do you want to know who you are? Do not ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – former American president Thomas Jefferson.

Here’s to more young people building… a beautiful life

● Steve Reid writes in his personal capacity. He has started his own business in support of entrepreneurs, leaders and incubators and may be contacted at