Everyone would like to have a little more success in life, and we can go a long way looking for the secrets for becoming more productive, achieving more, and excelling at what we do.
The truth is much simpler. There is no great secret to be discovered, no magic pill we can take. Only some simple principles that, when applied, will consistently improve the results we get.
From Steve Jobs to Hellen Keller, Oprah to Warren Buffet…success has patterns we can duplicate in our own lives to get better results.
Here are 10 key principles successful people apply every day:
The world places constant demands on our time and attention, all the more so now that most of us have a cell phone capable of interrupting at any time. Highly successful people know that large chunks of uninterrupted time – 1 to 2 hours – is possibly the biggest key to success. Steve Jobs is just one of the few prolific individuals to advocate this idea.
Thus, waking up early is the method most highly successful people employ to get their most important tasks done before all the chaos of a normal work day starts. By the time the rest of the world is up, they’ve completed their most critical work and can meet the day knowing they’ve already succeeded.
The fastest way to learn a new skill, overcome roadblocks, recover from setbacks, and generally improve our performance is to have a skilled and willing coach or mentor help us.
Seeing our own blind spots and weaknesses is something we are naturally bad at, and even if we practice, having an outside, impartial view of what we’re doing can help us eliminate self-sabotage and time wasting efforts.
Successful people know they’ll never know it all. Their supporting cast is what will get them across the finish line and on to the podium.
We can’t perform our best if our health isn’t being taken care of. Doing some type of movement (or “exercise”) is critical to feeling good, energized, and staying in top condition long-term.
Richard Branson famously said in an interview with Joe Polish, when asked how he improves his personal productivity, that he works out. ‘Nuff said.
It’s hard to say no to opportunities to help people (or make bank), but successful people know exactly when they need to turn away opportunities. They know that the achievement of their vision is the most important way they can serve, and that shiny distractions in the present aren’t the way to long term success.
Knowing when to say “no” and having the courage to do so is an essential habit of success, and shows both the world and ourselves that we value our vision.
One of the biggest regrets of individuals on their deathbed is that they spent too much time working and not enough with the people they cared about. We have to remember what all this pursuit of “success” is really for: improving the lives of the people we love. And ultimately, that means more quality time with them.
No matter how many fires we feel we need to put out in our professional lives, neglecting our personal lives will leave us a smoldering wreck.
Most jobs are landed before they’re ever posted publicly. Most relationships are started between an individual and “a friend of a friend.” That is to say, the quality of our opportunities in life is directly proportional to the quality of our network. Not our degrees, not our experience, but the people we know.
Nothing has the power of a personal recommendation from a trusted source. It’s building genuine relationships with people that will help us have the success we desire.
Most people seek fairness in their dealings with others. Experiments have shown that, even if we will make a significant gain working with a stranger, we’ll decline the deal if the other person gets a better deal.
Successful people don’t care about a fair deal, they care about advancing their own goals. It doesn’t matter if the other parties in a deal or transaction get more. Only the achievement of their vision is important, and a 90%-10% split that does that is just as good as 50%-50%.
Furthermore, they know that by making others successful, they’re planting the seeds for future success by building incredibly strong relationships.
We want to spend our time as effectively as possible, and it’s no different with money. Successful people know where their money is going – plain and simple. This empowers them to save, invest, and budget wisely to maximize the return on investment of their financial resources.
This doesn’t take a degree in accounting or economics. It’s simple awareness, and it has the power to completely transform our relationship with money from one of fear and anxiety to one where we’re confident and in control.
Building a successful business and leading a successful life both mean listening to our intuition. We know, deep inside, what we truly want and value. We know what decisions will fill us with joy and contentment and which will keep us up at night.
What’s more, many decisions are too complex to be calculated, which is where our intuition can guide us through a seemingly-impossible situation.
Our intuition is the best guide we have – not to the most money – but to the most fulfillment. And that’s a much richer form of success.
Gary Vaynerchuck would say that successful people “crush it.” The only way to sustain effort towards a dream over months and years without becoming a stressed-out, burned-out wreck is to love what we do.
At the end of the day, making a lot of money doesn’t matter if we hate the time we spent making it – that’s a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Success, by whatever definition we use, must mean that we’re enjoying the process in addition to whatever results we get. There’s no better way (no other way?) to enjoy life than by loving the way we spend each day.