It’s never too late to get started on a successful life, and I’ve listed 20 thoughts that will help you achieve great success today. Take a moment and internalize these thoughts, and you’ll be on your way to a better tomorrow.

1. Our Actions Are a Testament to Our Thoughts.

Dale Carnegie once stated, “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” If you work hard, it’s unlikely that you have an air of entitlement, or expect great success without effort. Visualize a healthy path to success and follow through with actions that align with your vision.

2. Doing What You Like Matters.

Doing what you like will help you find purpose and fulfillment in your life. While many people refer to pre-established models of success defined by their peers, superiors, or even families, it’s more important to evaluate what YOUR model of success looks like. In most cases, discovering what “make you tick” is more important than being miserable doing something that society defines as success.

3. Focus is Critical To Great Success.

In a world of advertisements, promising opportunities, and addicting apps, distraction is only a click away. Unplugging and re-connecting with your goals is critical to achieving better results. Spending a few minutes every morning visualizing your goal and establishing an actionable direction for achievement will make avoiding distractions much easier. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” Focus.

4. Opportunity Success Looks A Lot Like Hard Work.

Being in the right place at the right time isn’t always a coincidence; the harder you work, the more likely it will be that you’ll end up in “the right place.” While this statement seems as unprovable as the idea of karma, there must be a reason that the world’s most successful individuals say it, right? Seneca once wrote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Hemingway said, “It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” Even recently, actor Ashton Kutcher said, “Opportunity Looks A Lot Like Hard Work.”

5. “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.”

John Maxwell, author of countless NYT bestsellers, recently wrote a book called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. His book explains that the most successful people in the world are excellent communicators: people who not only communicate their message, but create a connection. The secret to connection, Maxwell suggests, is authentic interest in others, simplifying the message, inspiring people, and living what you communicate. The book is a roadmap for successful relationships, and I’d highly suggest it.

6. There Will Always Be Bad Days. Overcome Them.

Even the most successful people have bad days, but ONLY successful people bounce back. If your day is headed into a tailspin, remove yourself from the situation, ground yourself, and calmly determine what you have power over in order to turn things around. Grounding yourself is not only shown to have positive health benefits; it gives you an opportunity to contextualize your struggles, which allows you to move forward and overcome even the worst of days.

7. Imitating The Great Can Yield Great Results If Done Thoughtfully.

Copycatting isn’t the only form of imitation. If you carefully observe successful people, you can glean valuable information and build on it. Spend a week observing people that you admire. Imitate those who are successful by bettering their processes where neccesary, and building off the strong points in their success. Do not copy, but observe and grow your own solution through thoughtful and purposeful decisions that build off the greats that came before you.

8. If Perception Is Reality, How Do Others Perceive Your Personal Brand?

You may not be successful by your measure, but do you carry yourself with confidence? Do you give off a positive vibe and the aura of success? Recognize the things that could be hurting your personal brand. If perception is reality, and people perceive you to be negative and unsuccessful — well, you get where I’m going.

9. Helping Others Succeed Will Yield Great Success In You Own Life.

Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, once said that there is power in self-sacrifice. In my own life, I’ve seen nothing but positive things from giving to others, connecting those in need, sharing information, and helping people who are willing to be helped. In my limited experience, nothing bad comes from helping people in need and sometimes your goodwill can even come full circle!

10. Success Comes In Different Sized Portions.

This thought about great success is important because it is entirely about self-awareness. Challenge yourself to be self-aware and recognize even the smallest of successes in your daily life. Great success is a habit made up of smaller successes in life.

11. If You Don’t Love Yourself, You Won’t Succeed.

Do not let fear or self-doubt hold you back. There is no “too late,” and you can do it. Marianne Williamson said it best:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

12. You Don’t Work For Money.

See thought #2. You work for many reasons, and while money may be ONE of these reasons, it’s not everything. Find purpose in your job beyond monetary concerns, and you’ll find more success than if all you do is focus on money.

13. Listen.

Sometimes we miss opportunities for success because we do not listen. Challenge yourself to listen more than you speak.

I once asked the Director of MarketingProfs.com what she thought made her Twitter handle so popular; for someone who isn’t famous, her following is impressive. Here’s the conversation:

14. Build On The Fact That You Have Enough.

Let’s connect the dots. Learning the art of contentment can lead to lower stress levels; lower stress levels leads to higher brain functionality; it is more likely that you are successful when you are thinking straight. If you build on the fact that you have enough and learn the art of contentment, you will go places (and people will follow).

15. Success Is A Continuous Journey

Arthur Ash once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” Great success come naturally if you view your life as a grand adventure: an experience filled with successes and failures. While it’s important to focus on your goals, take a moment to appreciate the daily struggle because it’s all part of a continuous journey. If you adapt, better yourself, and recognize that success is a journey, you’ll be fine.

16. Reading IS Power Success.

In his book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Many people say that they “don’t have time to read”, but we make time for what is important to us. Wake up 30 minutes early and read, for knowledge truly is power.

17. If You Can’t Afford It, Don’t Buy It.

One of the surefire ways to put yourself in a bad position to achieve success is to accumulate massive debts. Understand that in a capitalist society everything around you was made to make you buy more. Simply put: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Not sure what “can’t afford it” and “savings” looks like? Read this article by Lifehack; it’s a keeper.

18. We Are Creatures Of Habit. Reward Yourself For Good Habits, and Examine Your Bad Habits.

Personal growth and success can be a mental game. Positive reinforcement for even the smallest success is neccesary. On the other hand, be present and examine your bad habits; illuminate them for what they are. Nothing can impede success more than bad habits left unameliorated. “You need not fight to stop a habit. Just don’t give it an opportunity to repeat itself.” -Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

19. Setting Realistic Goals Is Important.

Simplifying your goals to keep them realistic is an important step to achieving them. Ask yourself, “Is this something that I can commit to?” Do not second-guess your abilities, but be mindful of your capabilities and set yourself up for success. Inevitably, failure happens, but if you set realistic goals you will succeed. As you develop a habit of success, grow your goals and challenge yourself.

20. If All Else Fails, Surround Yourself With Successful People.

Success takes time. Spend that time pursuing your goals and surrounding yourself with people that are already successful; don’t worry, you have something valuable to offer successful people that they want: time, energy, and a positive spirit. If you come to the table with positive energy and a willingness to make yourself valuable, successful people are usually willing to share their knowledge and connect you with the right people. This is invaluable. Leave your ego at home, surround yourself with successful people, and allow yourself to learn from others.

How successful people make it? 7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

Featured photo credit: Successful man raising arms after cross track running on summer sunset. Fitness male athlete with arms up celebrating success and goals after sport exercising and working out. via Shutterstock

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