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I’m a high achiever. The rules I live by are strict but that’s because they have to be. Time is my most precious resource. It allows me to read and learn. Time is what makes me money. When deciding where to invest my time, I am extremely greedy. I give my close friends the time they deserve because I value our relationship. In other cases, I carefully weigh the investment versus the return and go from there. It might not be “normal” but it is required to reach the level of success I want to achieve.

One difference between those who “achieve” and those who don’t is the ability to set a goal and walk through the finish line. When I set a goal, I tell myself when I’m going to have it achieved. If I don’t have it done by then, I check whether I have a good reason for not doing it. Every decision I make has an effect. If I have to make a choice, I ask myself whether or not it is moving me closer to my goal. Many people are hesitant to make important decisions weighing up the pros and cons. I’m not sitting on the fence, though, because I understand that every single decision has to be contributing to my growth.

Actually, I am not any more gifted than other people. The only difference is that I try to learn something from every single person I meet, whether it’s a manager of a large company or a random person next to me on the train. I believe we all cross paths for a reason and there is a lesson everywhere you turn. Every moment is an opportunity to grow. And the more moments you string together, the faster you learn, the more you grow, and the better you become at everything you do.

However, I also learn while reading. No doubt that experience is of great value, but the truth is that if you’re not reading, you’re not learning fast enough. Personally, I read “ABookAWeek”, minimum. On my personal website, I share which book or books I read last week. I know” there are people out there who want to learn more than they want to get rich. There are people out there like you, and you just have to find them. Once you do find them, you can become friends and help each other. Once a week I meet up with a few entrepreneurs I know and we exchange ideas and set new goals. I also meet up with an artist group from my college and we help each other stay grounded and share our art. Such groups of peers are extremely significant because they help high achievers to remember what they are working towards.

As for me, I’m a creative person and I care about the difference I make. I care if someone doesn’t like what I make. It doesn’t deter me from what I want to do, but I do care; and because I care, I put my everything into what I do. This might be the most important differentiating factor in being a high achiever. Of course, caring is hard and it makes you vulnerable. However, if you want to achieve something that is slightly out of your grasp, you have to care a lot. You have to allow yourself to feel all those emotions: excitement, fear, vulnerability; and you have to use what you feel to make you create. Otherwise, you are unlikely to achieve anything.

Achieving any big goal requires an unnatural level of dedication. When nothing seems to be happening, it’s easy to descend into darkness and wonder what you’re doing there. The line of sight for a high achiever extends beyond” the horizon of their own success. You are basically trying to bring something out of nothing into existence. It’s inevitable to occasionally feel like you’re going a little mad but, as Steve Jobs said, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do.”

(Adapted from ‘The mindset of high achievers’ by Nicolas Cole)

1. How does the author allocate his time?
1) He only spends his time earning money.
2) He has got a clear plan how to use his time.
3) He spends a lot of time communicating with his friends.
4) He does not bother how he spends his time.

2. When the author sets a goal,…
1) he always achieves it.
2) he sets a deadline for reaching it.
3) he doesn’t think of possible outcomes.
4) he checks if there is a good reason for not reaching it.

3. The expression “I’m not sitting on the fence” in paragraph 2 (“I’m not sitting on the fence, though, because.,.”) is closest in meaning to…
1) I’m reluctant to make any decision.
2) I can’t make up my mind.
3) I’m confident about making decisions.
4) I’m undecided what option to choose.

4. What is the author’s attitude to learning?
1) He would rather socialize with friends instead of learning.
2) He uses every opportunity to learn from knowledgeable people.
3) He prefers to learn from reading.
4) He sees learning as a continuous process.

5. The author believes the most important thing for high-achievers is ….
1) to read one book per week.
2) to climb up the corporate ladder.
3) to get the necessary experience.
4)to find like-minded friends.

6. What is the author sure about?
1) People that do not care, go nowhere.
2) Caring makes you vulnerable.
3) You should pay no attention to what people think of you.
4) Negative emotions prevent people from creating things.

7. Why does the author use the quotation in the final paragraph (“the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do.”)?
1) He shows that high achievers often set goals they are unable to reach.
2) He stresses that those who think differently usually make a difference.
3) He proves that reaching any goal requires a lot of dedication.
4) He explains why high achievers see the world in a different way.

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