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By Michael Angier

Developing Good Judgment

We all respect good judgment. You can't argue that having and exercising good judgment on a regular basis is an important key to success.

I like to say that good judgment comes from experience. And experience often comes from, yup, you guessed it—BAD judgment.

Improving our judgment only from our experience is expensive, time-consuming and often heartbreaking. Experience may be a good teacher, but it's not a very efficient one.

It's far better to learn from the experience of others. If you can trust the advice you receive, and then follow it, you can save yourself a lot of time and pain.

I first started doing this as a boy when I began reading biographies and autobiographies of famous men and women. I was inspired by their accomplishments, and I learned a lot about the qualities of leadership, fortitude and perseverance.

I was curious about how individuals achieved success—especially against difficult odds. And it was this curiosity that led me to start SuccessNet nine years ago. It was also the genesis of my new book, "101 Best Ways to Get Ahead."

Histories of successful people contain wisdom, insights and strategies that are ageless. But with our rapidly changing society and economy, it's important to check the things that worked in the past against what's working now.

So, we decided to do some checking.  

In compiling our research for "101 Best Ways to Get Ahead", we wanted to know two things:  1. who are considered to be the most successful and respected people living today and, 2. what advice would they have to offer us to get ahead and stay ahead in the 21st century.

For the first, we asked our readers from around the world—nearly 100,000 strong. Thousands responded with the names of people they most admired. From this survey, we determined the 101 top vote-getters and wrote to each of them asking for their best advice.

You could spend several lifetimes attempting to gain the good judgment acquired by the experience of these successful men and women. And you still wouldn't do as well as you could by studying and applying the solid gold advice they have for us.

We go to school to learn basic skills and gain useful knowledge. So why should it be any different when it comes to success principles? Since most schools don't really teach these principles, we're left with what's been imparted to us from our parents, grandparents or guardians—and much of this may be wrong.

Action Point
Whenever possible, never substitute the good advice of successful, respected people with your own trial and error. Learn from those who have succeeded. You don't need to follow in their path, but you can travel your unique path with the wisdom and knowledge of those who have gone before.

It's the easiest and most efficient way to develop good judgment.

Information about the new book (now in print) is available here.





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SuccessNet is a worldwide association committed to helping people become more knowledgeable, productive and effective. Their mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best—personally and professionally. Free subscriptions, books and SuccessMark™ Cards available at
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First published 01/13/2005
Last Updated 01/19/2005