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Leadership / Project Grow

Forget Practical Choices. To Live Your Best Life, Make Happy Choices.

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
5 min read

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Most rags-to-riches stories come along with some pretty dour, intimidating advice. “Work harder than everyone else.” “Put in longer hours than everyone else.” “Make the tough decisions, no matter the consequences.” Not this one.

“Ever since I was about seven, I have been of the belief that you make happy choices. Don’t compromise. Don’t let life happen,” says Kevin Roberts, the global CEO of the advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. “The people I talk to, they make good choices. Or they make comfortable choices. Or they make rational choices. Or they make sensible choices…These are all rubbish.”

Related: Good Companies Make You Think. Great Companies Make You Feel.

Practical decision making may lead to a decent career, but it won’t catapult you to greatness, he says. It won’t inspire a movement.

Roberts didn’t make it through high school. Born into a working-class family in northern England, he was determined to improve his standing in life and determined to leverage his most natural talent: leadership. Even as a young child, he was consistently put in positions of leadership. Inspiring others came easily.

Related: The Secret to Keeping Young, Ambitious Talent? Let Them Go.

Roberts didn’t know then that he would become CEO of one of the largest ad agencies on the planet. He didn’t even know he would end up in advertising. But he wanted to be successful and he knew what his natural abilities were.

From there, he worked backwards, determined to get himself in a fast-growing industry where there was a chance to “win through leadership.”

Watch this video to hear Roberts break down the rules he followed in his life to achieve personal success.

Related: The Best Entrepreneurs Get Out of Their Heads and Open Their Ears

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