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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

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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