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14 Small Differences Between Ordinary People And Successful People

14 Small Differences Between Ordinary People And Successful People

Successful people are the icing on the cake of any hot discussion. Success is inspiring and interesting to talk about.

The truth is, any successful individual is flesh and blood just like you. They are not born miracles, but it’s the small differences that help them stick out from the rest.

So, what are the key aspects that differentiate them from the crowd?

1. Ordinary people talk about other people, successful people talk about ideas.

Gossiping and bagging others are popular among ordinary folks. They just can’t help but talk about people, often with a vein of jealousy. What successful people do is discuss various ideas that could improve their lives.

Plans, goals, aspirations and innovations — these are all the aspects of discussions between successful individuals.

2. Ordinary people set goals, successful people set detailed plans of actions.

Your “Average Joe” will want to lose weight and give up smoking as a new year’s resolution. Though most likely, he won’t achieve either of these.

Successful people set their goals as well. More importantly, however, they create a detailed set of actions they need to perform in order to achieve their end goal.

Whereas ordinary people just set the goal, successful people determine the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities and habits which will lead to achieving their vision.

3. Ordinary people complain about life, successful people adapt to what life throws at them.

How many times did you hear somebody groaning about their problems instead of finally taking responsibility and dealing with their lives? Sometimes, fate can be unfair and brutal.

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You see people living better than you, with more chances and doors just waiting to be opened. How you act regarding this fact determines whether you’re just another person in the street or a successful individual.

The fact is, everybody experiences difficulties. Both, people at the bottom as well as the ones at the top, struggle with something. You can’t control the obstacles life throws at you, but you can control the way you react to them.

Whereas ordinary folks simply wish life was easier, successful individuals accept the way it is and find an alternative path.

4. Ordinary people stick to social norms, successful people create their own norms.

Social norms were made to control the masses, not to help them. Normal people will be afraid to diverge from popular patterns. Often times, the only thing that stops them is the need for the approval of others. A successful person doesn’t seek that.

The fact is, if there would be a recipe for success, everyone could easily replicate it. In reality, however, creating and testing your own rules is required to walk an extraordinary path. It’s a path full of ups and downs, but more often than not, it’s the undiscovered route which leads to the superior results.

5. Ordinary people dream of a better future, successful people create a better future.

We all want to live a better life: more happiness, more freedom, better health and more financial independence count to the most desired goals. To some degree, everyone tries to work on achieving them.

However, the average person will focus on dreaming ,while the successful one spares no effort to create that dreamy future. One step at a time: that person knows that acting, and not just dreaming, is what makes he fantasy a reality.

6. Ordinary people let their thoughts influence them, successful people influence their thoughts.

Everyone has doubts and negative thoughts once in a while. It’s just the human nature and the way our brains function. Many people accept these thoughts as ultimate truths and let them dictate their lives.

On the contrary, outstanding people are conscious of the impact their thoughts have, so they influence their thinking to make it work for, and not against them. You can just accept the presence of negative thoughts as a normal appearance, ignore it, and instead think about the more positive aspects.

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7. Ordinary people prefer instant gratification, successful people choose long-term rewards.

Do you know anyone who hates to be rewarded? Neither do we. But there’s a difference in how people respond to gratification.

In the era in which we are taught to praise comfort over anything else, it’s easy to settle for instant pleasure. However, successful people recognize that oftentimes, you need to wait to experience the true pleasure.

While the typical person can even get addicted to the short-term reward (overeating, smoking, procrastinating), the successful individual will use the long-term reward as a driving force to achieve any goal.

8. Ordinary people praise overabundance, successful people praise limitation.

A typical person loves to accumulate possessions. The more they have, the happier they believe they will be. Eventually, though, their stuff owns them and not the other way around.

A fancy car they have to pay off, tons of possessions they need to clean, store and rearrange. Inability to set limitations leads to plethora, which distracts you from your goals.

One of the features of truly successful people is that they can limit a lot of things in order to focus on ones that are actually important. Limit unnecessary spending, limit wasting unnecessary time, and limit negative people and thoughts. By limiting, they create an environment in which they thrive.

9. Ordinary people see a half-empty glass, successful people see a half-full glass.

Your attitude undoubtedly influences your behavior. Seeing only the negative side of each thing is definitely a bad habit, but then again, it’s most people’s approach to life.

Plenty of them complain that they lack the determining factor which would make their lives better. Simply put, they believe the glass is half-empty.

When it comes to successful people, they always squeeze as much as possible from what they already have. In other words, they’ll work to find a joy in the half-full glass.

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10. Ordinary people judge others, successful people only judge themselves.

Judging people is one of the most horrible habits people can have, yet many do that on a regular basis. As you can already guess, these are the average people. They waste their time judging others, instead of spending it by contributing value to the world.

It is true that successful humans judge as well, yes, they really do! However, they judge themselves — their behavior, their actions, and their attitude. They use judging as a tool to draw conclusions about themselves.

11. Ordinary people watch TV every day, successful people read every day.

The thing that both ordinary and successful people have in common is that they enjoy having some free time. The difference, however, is in the way they spend it.

According to a research, a typical person will spend nine years of their life watching television. The fact is, TV hardly adds any value to your life — hot news, controversial reality shows, and fictional stories.

Generalizing, these are the three kingpins of television. Not to mention the countless ads trying to sell you stuff you don’t need.

Books are on the other side of the spectrum. Reading adds immense value to your life — it widens your horizons and teaches you a lot. Whatever your problem is, there’s already at least one book discussing it. Since successful people constantly seek to improve, they prefer getting lost in reading in lieu of mindlessly staring at a screen.

12. Ordinary people buy things, successful people buy value.

Another similarity between the two discussed groups is obviously spending money — they both do. Special offers, extra discounts, and bonuses are all designed to trick the typical person into buying things they don’t actually need.

Most of these things will add some value to their lives for a few moments, but that soon fades away, lost in the pile of other possessions. And in turn, so does the money.

Successful folks would rather exchange their money for value. This doesn’t necessary have to be a physical thing. Commonly, it’s value in the form of experiences, new opportunities, long-term ROI, or adventures.

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13. Ordinary people want to be better than others, successful people want to be a better self.

Oftentimes, people get lost in comparing themselves to others. As a result, they lose self-esteem and confidence. They base their wishes on other people’s achievements.

On the contrary, successful individuals pursue being a better person than they were yesterday. What’s more, they wish the same to others.

14. Ordinary people can’t say no, successful people often say no.

“No” is among the most powerful words you can use to accelerate your success. Nonetheless, lots of people underestimate the risk of not using it enough. They say “yes” to whatever situation is thrown at them. Consequently, they end up saying “no” to the things that matter the most.

From a short-term perspective, saying “no” can be scary. But then again, considering the long-term view, it’s better to say “no” now, rather than regret the subsequent consequences of saying “yes”.

You have to say “no” to bad eating habits, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle so you can say “yes” to being more healthy.

The successful individual takes the advantage of saying “no” on a daily basis, while the ordinary one underestimates the power of this seemingly simple two letter word.

Featured photo credit: Steve Wilson via flickr.com

More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Published on August 3, 2020

How to Be Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Get (and Stay) Clutter Free

How to Be Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Get (and Stay) Clutter Free

With all the inputs, information, and clutter that come into our lives today, just staying on top of it all creates so much stress and frustration, and it can often lead to feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Most of the time, you simply don’t know where to start when you want to learn how to be organized.

However, it is, in fact, something that can be learned.

By developing a few strategies and methods, and having a system in place that quickly deals with all these inputs, you can finally get control of your clutter and, more importantly, stay clutter-free.

Here are a few rules that can help you on your path to a clutter-free life.

1. Don’t Use Your Computer’s Desktop for Storage

Your computer’s desktop was not designed to store your files. Your desktop should be clean and file free. Not only does a cluttered desktop slow down your computer, but it also makes finding things painfully slow.

Instead, as you’re learning how to be organized, create a basic folder structure inside your documents folder. Now, this needs to work for you, but try not to make things too complicated. What you can do is think about the kind of files you will need to keep, and categorize them between your personal and professional ones. For me, I have two basics folders inside my documents folder, one called “work” and one called “personal.” Inside of these, I have subfolders organized according to my different roles or categories.

It’s simple, and it allows me to quickly find what I need when I need it.

Now, I do understand that during the day, when you are doing your work, you may need quick access to certain images and files, and it’s okay to hold them on your desktop temporarily. However, make it a habit to clear your desktop at the end of each day as part of your closing down routine (more on that later).

2. Learn to Use Your Computer’s Search Features

It surprises me how few people know how to find documents on their computer with a simple keyboard shortcut, but it’s one of the easiest things to do as you’re learning how to be organized. On a Mac, for instance, CMD + Space bar brings up the spotlight search, and you can type in a date, a file type, a keyword, or a file name.

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On a Windows computer[1], open the start button, and begin typing the file you are looking for.

In both cases, you do not need the exact name of the file. Just type a few letters, and within seconds you have the file you need.

When you learn how useful your computer’s search features are, you will be much more comfortable removing all those files scattered around on your desktop and putting them in an appropriate folder on your computer.

3. Keep Your Desk Clear of Clutter

Just as with your computer’s desktop, your desk’s desktop should also be file and clutter-free. Use your drawers for those paper documents that habitually hang around on your desk—a cluttered desk does not encourage inspired work[2].

Also, take a look at your workspace, and ask if what is on your desk is necessary. Often, we have stuff on our desks that serve no meaning and has no sentimental value to us. It’s just something we have always had on our desk. If you don’t need it or it does not inspire you, remove it.

And while we are talking about your desk, make a decision this week that you will go through your desk drawers and clear out all the old pens, cups, and other debris that has accumulated over the years. Trust me on this one, the act of cleaning out your drawers and removing all the clutter on your desk will give you renewed energy and ignite a lot of creativity that has been pushed into the background. You will love working at your desk again.

Pictures of your loved ones and a few inspiring mementos are fine. Just don’t go crazy with them. Keep them to a minimum.

4. Create a Closing Down Routine

This is such a great way to make sure you keep your files and other stuff organized, so make it an essential skill to adopt when learning how to be organized. Give yourself ten to twenty minutes before you finish your work for the day to clean up your desktops.

Move your files to their rightful place, and delete anything you no longer need. I often accumulate a lot of screenshots throughout the day, and if I am not removing them, at the end of the day, they soon start building up.

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Before I shut my computer down for the day, I clean these up, delete the screenshots if I no longer need them, and leave my desktop file free. It’s a beautiful way to start the next day with a clean desk and a clean computer desktop.

5. Incorporate a To-Do List Manager Into Your Life

Writing your to-dos and commitments down on post-it notes just encourages clutter. Sure, it might seem like a great idea to stick these to your computer so you don’t forget things, but over time you become numb to them. They just become a part of your desk, and you ignore them.

Remove them. Take your tasks and commitments, and put them into a to-do list manager. Whether you use Windows or Mac, they both come with to-do list managers. Make good use of them.

You do not need to create an elaborate to-do list structure. All you need is an inbox for quick entry and the ability to date tasks for when they need doing.

I use a simple structure in my to-do list manager. I use a system I call the Time Sector System[3] where I create six folders:

  • Inbox
  • This week
  • Next week
  • This month
  • Next month
  • Long-term / On-hold

Then, whatever I collect, the only decision I need to make is: when am I going to do the task? I can then drop the task into its relevant folder.

One of the biggest causes of clutter on desks (and in bags) are all those little bits of paper you use to write down critical information and telephone numbers or email addresses. When these accumulate, they are easy to lose, and you waste a lot of time searching for them.

Use your digital devices for these. You can take a photo of a written note. You can quickly add a telephone number or an email address into your to-do list manager (or notes app), and if you have syncing set up between your devices, you will have access to the information on all your devices. And what’s more, it will be searchable.

6. Set a Weekly Time to Declutter Your Devices

This is an area that can quickly creep up on you, so take time to develop this habit as you’re learning how to be organized. Taking photos and videos on our phones is too easy these days. We take a picture, and we just leave it in our photo album.

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Over time we end up with thousands of photos in our electronic photo albums that are not worth keeping. I spend around ten minutes on the weekend (usually Sunday evening) deleting all the images I no longer want to keep. It keeps my digital storage needs down—which saves money—and it means all the photos in my photo album are photos I want to keep.

I do the same with my downloads folder. We often download a PDF intending to read it later, and then we completely forget about it. As time passes, we end up with hundreds of PDFs and other documents we are no longer interested in or no longer need. Delete them or file them. Just don’t leave them in your downloads folder.

If you want to stay clutter-free, this habit will reward you. Doing this weekly means you will spend around thirty minutes each week cleaning up and filing. Not doing so means you will end up having to spend a day or two just dealing everything, which will leave you feeling like you’ve wasted those days.

7. Do an Annual Clean-up

One of my annual rituals is to clean out all my folders and notes. I take a day off from work and spend the day going through everything on my computer and delete anything that no longer has any value.

I choose the winter holidays for this. Not only is it the end of the year, but many companies are on holiday, and things are generally quieter.

I go through all my work and personal folders and clean out anything I no longer need. I also archive a lot of files onto an external hard drive—just in case they are needed later.

It’s also a good time to clear out your email folders, too. Email can become a bottomless pit of emails you no longer need. Go through and purge those. You will feel so much better when you do this.

With email, you can also declare yourself email bankrupt and just delete everything in your inbox (or if you are not comfortable doing that, declare a ‘soft’ email bankruptcy and you move all your emails into a folder called “Old Inbox”).

Doing this might seem like a radical step, but it is incredible how much clearer you become. You get to see what you have been holding on to, what you may have missed, and you find yourself with a lot more space ready for the year to come.

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8. Do a Little, Often

I learned this a long time ago. Many years ago, I tried becoming a salesperson. I failed miserably at it, but during my training, I shadowed an experienced colleague. On one of the days I was shadowing her, she had to complete and file her expense report for the month.

I vividly remember her opening the glovebox of her car and pulling out handfuls of receipts and then painstakingly adding them to an expense report—we did things on paper in those days. Four hours later, she finally finished the report.

I remember at the time thinking this was not a great way to do this. When I got my chance to go solo, I began stopping my car in a car-park on the way home and added that day’s expenses to my expenses sheet. It took me a few minutes, and as I was doing it on the same day, I remembered exactly what each receipt was for.

When you’re learning how to be organized, you can use this principle for almost everything. Clear out your email inbox every day, delete screenshots from your desktop and empty your bag at the end of the week, and throw away anything you no longer need.

Doing a little often makes things so much easier, and you do not have that mental backlog creeping up on you where you have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind telling you you have to do something—only you can’t remember what that something is.

Final Thoughts

If it doesn’t come naturally to you, learning how to be organized can take time and effort, but it’s ultimately worth it. Becoming clutter-free helps you in so many ways. You have a more pleasant work environment, and de-cluttering your environment also helps to declutter your mind. On top of that, finding stuff is easier, and that means your overall productivity goes through the roof. Choose the strategies above that will help you in your daily life and start getting your life organized today.

More Tips on How to Be Organized

Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

Reference

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