Success – an amorphous word whose meaning will change depending on who you ask. Is it having millions of dollars and an exotic car? A new lover every night? A happy family, stable job, and cozy house?
No matter what your personal definition of the word is, there are some common traits of the top performers in life.
This one is, in my opinion, the most important. Successful people are never meek and know that victory often means breaking away from expectations – even if that means ridicule, difficulty, or just generally being seen as the “weirdo”. As Maya Angelou said,
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
No, not in the sense of finding a sweet BOGO deal! Successful people are themselves highly valuable people. They are interesting, fun, knowledgeable, and well-connected people. They have a lot to offer the world – whether it’s tales of exciting adventure, an impressive skill, fun and useful friends, or unique insight. Because of this, they have incredibly improved their luck in life (ie, have way more opportunities).
In short, the most surefire way to win anything is to offer extreme value. If you feel like you get no respect, can never find the attention of a partner, or are doomed to work a minimum-wage job forever, offer more value. The world will open up to you.
Successful people are in it for the long haul. They understand that the great things in life will not happen overnight, and that the greatest things probably take years to get there.
This means understanding that there are no shortcuts – no diet pills, no cramming for exams, no secret sauce – to success. Any conversation-worthy goal instead involves massive, consistent action over time. It depends on habits and lifestyles instead of motivation and reminders.
For many people, this is the first point of failure on the road to victory. The idea of that goal is enchanting, but not the process of getting there.
What’s the difference between the gym on January 1st and on February 1st?
Both took action. But the people that are still there on February 1st rely on commitment, not on motivation.
This may sound like motivation, but it’s not entirely. Motivation relies on your (ever-changing) moods to get you by. Inspiration is your underlying “why”. Why are you you committed to this version of success?
Your “why” is the real secret sauce to success. You might hate working out, but if your “why” involves being in damn good shape for your wedding, you’ll bust your bum to do it whether you’re tired or not. If you have no inner conviction on why you should go to the gym, what is going to silence that inner toddler that just wants to enjoy the couch?
Successful people always have an underlying reason. They’re fueled by their inspiration and achieve their goals through fearlessness (#1) and consistent, focused action (#3).
As they say, no man is an island. Successful people get that way by having a genuine concern for and desire to help others. They work for a cause greater than themselves and strive to give whatever they can – of their heart, their skills, their time, or their resources. This in turn makes them even more valuable and pulls luck in their favour. The more you give, the more you get.
You can’t live a life outside the norm if you operate like everybody else. Highly successful people know how to think outside the box about life. They try to come up with “both” instead of “one or the other” solutions. They try to look beyond or work around limitations rather than accept them at face value. Successful people tend to see things with almost child-like newness to come up with new solutions or new ways of doing things. Creativity in problem solving – adaptability – means you’ll never really be cornered on your path to success.
Resilience is a few qualities wrapped into one – courage, hardiness, focus – and each one is especially important for those long-haul, audacious goals. Here’s the fact of the matter: you will fail at least once, maybe more. But here’s the important part: that’s not where the war is lost.
Oftentimes the one indicator of whether someone will be successful in the end or fall to the wayside is how they view failure.
Is it something shameful and embarrassing? Does it mean you’re not meant for it? Are you scared that you’ll look foolish, that others will laugh?
Or is it a teacher? Is it separate from your self-worth? Are small failures the price to pay for great success? Is the difference between greatness and mediocrity simply focused, repeated practice?
Successful people embrace failure. They fail and fail again, knowing that each time they do they learn an incredible lesson – most of which you can’t learn from reading a book or hearing someone else’s success story.
“In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk.” Robert T. Kiyosaki,
So there you have it, the unofficial official guide to the mental habits of the successful. What mindsets do you need to work on? Any that you feel I should add?