Business success: Strange tactics that will get you to the top

His idea of a tough examination? Having candidates drink soup in front of him. While scrutinising them, Edison would check whether they seasoned their soup before even tasting it. If they did, it led to an immediate dismissal. Apparently, the test aimed to remove those who started with too many assumptions.

For French historical writer Honore de Balzac, success came in the form of caffeine addiction – which most of us are probably familiar with. It was said that when he started a project he would drink as many as 50 cups of coffee each day and barely slept until he completed something.

In an article published in the 1830s, Balzac explained that “coffee falls into your stomach, and straightaway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop.”

British artist Francis Bacon took a completely different approach! Instead of coffee, he decided that getting drunk was the best way to get your creative juices flowing. His daily routine involved drinking at public clubs and pubs throughout the day.

“I often like working with a hangover,” he said, “because my mind is crackling with energy, and I can think very clearly.”

Like Ernest Hemmingway famously said: “Write drunk; edit sober.”

And sometimes, you just need a repetitive personal life. Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, says it has all got to do with making fewer decisions when at home. This allows you to make better corporate decisions.

“Every day I wear the same outfit and eat the same dinner. As an entrepreneur there are hundreds of micro-decisions I need to make, and decision fatigue can be a huge problem, so I try to eliminate any decisions I don’t have to make,” he said.

“For example, I only own five white t-shirts. In the morning I never need to think about what I’ll be wearing: it’s going to be a white t-shirt. I also only own two pairs of pants. I do the same thing with meals. I have the exact same dinner six times a week (one sweet potato, chicken breast, red bell pepper, and zucchini, pan-fried with tomato sauce) for the exact same reason.”

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