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25-year-old CEO: You don't need talent to be successful

25-year-old CEO: What it really takes to be successful

Brian Wong, who is a 25-year-old CEO, will be the first to admit that you don't necessarily need skill or talent to become successful.

What you do need is a strong work ethic, the young CEO said.

"It's so easy for us to put up mental barriers, to make excuses to be lazy," Wong told CNBC.

"But there's obviously a huge opportunity for us to not do that, which is what I think differentiates the haves and the have nots," he said.

After skipping four years of school and graduating college at age 18, Wong founded a mobile advertising company called Kiip. The company has more than $32 million in venture capital funding and works with clients like Unilever and BMW.

"Being on time, working hard — most of the things that can catapult you to success actually don't take a lot of skill or talent," he said.

In his new book "The Cheat Code," Wong shares more than 70 "cheats," or tricks, to fast-track your career.

Here are three ways to be more successful — no talent required.

1. Get in over your head

"If you can do everything in your job without struggling, not only will you get stuck in your slot, but you'll never flex your mind muscles," he writes.

Take on new projects at work, ask your boss what he or she needs help with, and fill your schedule with industry events, the CEO recommends.

"If you jump in over your head, before you know it, you'll learn to swim," he said. "Then you can jump in again, where the water's even deeper."

2. Smile

"I can't overemphasize the power of a smile!" Wong said.

Smiling shows that you are friendly and non-threatening.

"A good impression isn't about how you make people feel about you, it's about how you make them feel about themselves," he writes in the book.

Most of the things that can catapult you to success actually don't take a lot of skill or talent.
Brian Wong
CEO and founder of Kiip

3. Look like you know what you're doing

"Even some of the most impressive people on the planet have no idea what they are doing half the time," Wong writes. "They are proof that if you want to be successful, you don't need to always know what you're doing: you just need to look like you know what you're doing."

For example, if you're in a meeting and you're not totally sure what's going on, start asking questions that will guide the person to teach you what you need to know, he recommends.

You'll keep that person's respect and learn something new, he added.

9 career secrets a 25-year-old CEO thinks everyone should know
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