I've written about many people who have changed the world with their ideas and actions. These include Bill Gates of Microsoft, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Jack Welch of General Electric, Ted Turner, creator of CNN, Oprah Winfrey, and others. I'm often asked what characteristics these exceptional people have in common.

  • Foremost, they trust themselves and follow their own ideas. They have intuition, but more important, they listen to that inner voice. Intuition is not a supernatural phenomenon. It is a combination of your total knowledge, your experience, your thinking and feeling self, and your present mindset. It can be your automatic pilot.

  • Fresh thinking is essential. As the world of technology evolves, new problems arise daily. Old problems return to haunt. Bill Gates and Paul Allen did not even think of the past as they worked up the first operating system for the first personal computer. They simply surveyed the challenge and dove for the answer.

  • They are curious. Larry Page and Sergey Brin continually ask questions and probe the answers to see whether they work.

  • They engage their imagination. They think of what may be possible. They think big. Imagination is a gift, but it also can be cultivated.

  • They are bold, sometimes in a brash way, sometimes in a genteel way. They push and poke beyond what others, even their own mentors, have done. They don't hesitate when they know they are right. A strong positive attitude carries ...

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