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Why Serial Entrepreneur Ettiëne Pretorius Says TV Is Killing Your Chances of Success

Ettiëne Pretorius on why not watching TV has opened his time to focus on content that feeds his subconscious and leads to better business decisions.

Tracy Lee Nicol




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Ettiëne Pretorius is a real estate developer, serial entrepreneur, author and international speaker. Having made his first million at age 21 through property development, by 27 he had completed developments worth R35 million.

Five years later he’s far more successful, and carries ABSA’s Top Entrepreneur award, and two International Businessman awards. He’s now focusing his attention on educating others on how to feed their brains with the right information and foster attitudes to better approach markets.

Related: 7 Insanely Productive Habits of Successful Young Entrepreneurs 

He’s rubbed shoulders with Richard Branson, Eric Trump (Donald Trump’s son), Steve Wozniak, Jack Welch, and has spoken at South Africa’s Success Summit.

Ettiëne, you don’t watch TV, listen to radio or read newspapers. Why?

The turning point in my life was when I realised your reality is created by perception, and perception is powerful if you know how to use it.

When you’re a child you have no frames of reference influencing the way you think, and the possibilities are infinite. But as you grow up, more and more restrictions come into play. Once your mind is restricted and you stop learning, that’s when you stop winning.

I realised it would be important to re-programme my subconscious.

For me, it’s about feeding my subconscious specific information based on my strong suites. Decisions made unconsciously are 1 000 times faster as they’re gut reactions.

That’s meant not watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers. Instead I listen to audiobooks of inspirational people, which feeds my brain with information I find more useful in business.

How does it make you better at what you do?

Being an entrepreneur is about making solid, strategic decisions. Sometimes you’re able to make those decisions based on the information you have, other times you’ve got to go with your gut.

You’re not going to be able to trust your gut unless you know what’s in your subconscious: Are there self-limiting beliefs? Is there conflict between your needs and your awareness? Are you making decisions based on your passions and life purpose?

Because of the informative and positive material I feed my subconscious, I have confidence in my abilities and my decision-making skills. I stay motivated and inspired by removing the element of uncontrolled and negative news we’re constantly bombarded with.

Surely removing yourself from current affairs would affect your ability to do business?

When your perception creates your reality, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the broader scheme of things, I’m ultimately responsible for creating my own economy.

If there are 1 700 units being constructed, I need to figure out how to get 10% of that regardless of the bigger picture.

It’s about identifying an opportunity, doing local sub-market analysis, influencing that market, creating a market share, and then creating a new perception.

Related: The Work Habits That Will Make You Successful

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.

Lessons Learnt

Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business

Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.



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If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.

Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.

From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.

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Lessons Learnt

How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career

How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?




I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.

I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.

Youth takes charge

I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.

I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.

She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”

Related: 8 Valuable And Inspirational Web Series You Should Check Out

I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.

In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:

“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”

Topic of debate

I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington PostTime, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.

Related: Want To Feel Empowered? Check Out These 17 Quotes From Successful Entrepreneurs And Leaders

Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.

If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.

That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.

This article was originally posted here on

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Lessons Learnt

10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell

If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.



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There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.

Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.

Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.

So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.

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