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14 Small Differences Between Ordinary People And Successful People

14 Small Differences Between Ordinary People And Successful People
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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

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Oskar Nowik

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

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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