Learn how to transform your life for the better with 16 of the Web’s favorite entrepreneurship and leadership articles from this year. Guaranteed to encourage and inspire, these popular posts are absolute must-reads.

1. Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

Mental fortitude is essential for entrepreneurship, and in this wildly popular Forbes article, Cheryl Conner discusses what makes a mental strong individual and the 13 things they avoid at all costs (with tips from psychotherapist extraordinaire Amy Morin).

2. How to Turn Small Talk Into Smart Conversation

In this TED Ideas post, Chris Colin and Rob Baedeker break down how to transform an ordinary conversation into an extraordinary one. This pithy piece shares how to substitute one-line answers for stories, swap mundane response mirroring for absurd (but astute) observations, and how to get the most out of the often-mangled art of conversation.

3. Richard Branson to Young Entrepreneurs: ‘Just Do It’

In an Inc. piece by Oscar Raymundo, famous entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire (Virgin Airlines, Virgin Mobile, etc.) explains why risk is an inherent aspect of entrepreneurship. Sometimes you just have to go for it, no matter what others day. Richard did and I’d say thing are working out pretty well for him.

4. Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

In this powerful TED Talk, Simon Sinek suggests that great leaders are those whom others feel they can trust–good leaders make people feel safe. Learn how to create a secure environment for your co-workers and employees while understanding that, while this undertaking is no easy task, the rewards and trust you’ll earn is invaluable. (A transcript is available too, so you don’t need to watch the video if you’d rather read.)

5. The Top 5 Reasons Why ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ Is Wrong

Alex Kjerulf of the Huffington Post explains why this classic maxim is a major mistake. Companies need to be willing to go to bat for their employees, and suggesting that the customer is always right can be detrimental to worker moral. Instead, show employees the respect they deserve and they’ll return the favor with superior customers service and more company pride.

6. Why You Hate Work

This New York Times article by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath explains the modern employee’s psychological needs and how they aren’t being fulfilled. The article details an interesting study in which workers rated their fulfillment at their workplace, based on several different components (time for creative thinking, opportunities to do what you enjoy, a sense of community, connection to your company’s mission, etc.).

This article isn’t doom and gloom though–it will help companies understand what they need to do in order to improve their workplace and create happier, more fulfilled employees (who also work better).

7. Think You’re Too Old to Be an Entrepreneur? Think Again. (Infographic)

Despite the trend in Silicon Valley, entrepreneurship ain’t just for the young. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs don’t even think about launching a startup until they are in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, after gaining more work experience. This infographic from Entrepreneur shows successful individuals who took their own sweet time to find their calling. “Not all who wander are lost” indeed!

8. 10 Reasons You Have to Quite Your Job in 2014

James Altucher sees the writing on the wall–the middle class is vanishing and it’s time to take real control of your life. James writes, in this philosophical yet painfully acute LinkedIn piece, why your life needs to be more than a paycheck and how to use entrepreneurship to create a better future.

9. 6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How to Recognize Them in Yourself and Change Them

Kathy Caprino points out several toxic behaviors you may be harboring, sometimes without even realizing it! Adjusting these bad behavioral habits will make life exponentially better for you and for those around you. See if you’re guilty of any of these.

10. 50 Signs You Might Be an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are a certain kind of individual and they display their aptitude with a number of traits. See if any on this list by John Rampton sound like you–if more than a few ring a bell, you’re likely to be an entrepreneur (and if you’re not yet, maybe it’s time for a career change)!

11. How to Become a Millionaire by Age 30

Dreams do come true–or they can, if you follow advice from Grant Cardone in this Entrepreneur article. Learn what you need to do to make the big bucks before you turn 30.

12. Why Google Doesn’t Care About College Degrees

In this article by Venture Beat, Gregory Ferenstein explains why Google cares less about college degrees and more about the quality and character of their hiring candidates.

13. How Things Change

This succinct story by Tech Crunch’s Greg Kumparak is a just a few short lines and tweets. Telling the tale of Brian Acton’s personal experience (creator of WhatsApp), it sweetly and simply shows how when one door closes, another down the hall opens. And it opens into a swimming pool of Jello, talking zebras, and saxophone-playing dinosaurs. Or something close to that anyway.

14. How Quitting My Corporate Job for My Startup Dream F*cked My Life Up

In this story, Ali Mese reveals the unexpected difficulties that come with abandoning the corporate world for the startup dream. You may have planned on financial burdens, but have you considered the social distancing? The anxious parents? The frustrated fianc? Mese reminds us that entrepreneurship isn’t all sunshine and puppies–but is it worth it all in the end? I won’t spoil it.

15. 7 Things Remarkable Happy People Do Often

Inc. magazine’s very own Jeff Haden explains in this article why happiness is a choice, and how we can take small actions every day to make ourselves happier. It may not seem like rocket science, but it’s all too common for people to overlook the tools and techniques they can use to take joy in the world around them. Get started on these exercises and begin a better outlook.

16. The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’

In this touching article (probably considered corny by some), Rachel Stafford shares the day she choose to erase the word “hurry up” from her vocabulary. Whether in the workplace or in family life, this touching Huffington Post piece reminds us that life is something to be enjoyed and savored, not rushed through.