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15 Differences Between Successful and Highly Successful Individuals

15 Differences Between Successful and Highly Successful Individuals

Quick question: What really differentiates the successful individual who seems to be getting along fine from the highly successful individual who’s in the media all the time?

Is it the extra work they put in which the other person just couldn’t do? Or perhaps it’s the connections the highly successful person has?

After following some of the highly successful people in my industry, I’ve come to discover that while the difference between them and the successful ones may not be so evident, there’s that thin line that separates them.

Highly successful people have different priorities, unique perspectives and better ways of doing things. They don’t become different people, but they become better than just being successful.

Here are 15 things that most people do that highly successful people don’t:

1. They have an inner drive for accomplishment

They love being active and getting things done. But their activity oftentimes leads them to taking on more than they can chew – They also have an inner drive for excellence.

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All successful people are determined to work harder and get things done. However, they try as much as possible to only get the right things done because they understand prioritization and goals.

2. They have great teams to help them with their goals

But because of their drive, they often tend to expect over delivery from their teams.

Highly successful individuals not only gave great teams but know how to relate well with them. They can communicate their thoughts and intentions very well. They understand that the well-being of their team members contributes immensely to their success. So they have empathy while also delivery results.

3. They try to accomplish a ton of work in as little time possible

Even if it means extending the day to 30 hours, they’d love it. For this reason, they tend to be too focused on work and neglect the other important things in life.

Highly successful people understand that their time is very precious. They also understand that apart from work, their relationships are valuable. So they create time to spend with the important people in their lives while at the same time making good use of the 24 hours they have available. They know the importance of having down time and rest.

4. They tend to talk a lot about themselves

In any gathering, they would be the ones handing out business cards and trying to set up meetings.

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Highly successful people on the other hand look for key relationships in that gathering they could form. They don’t try to be everywhere, but lock in specific relationships that could greatly contribute to their success.

5. They understand that difficulties are part of every business

Highly successful individuals also understand this, but are very careful in handling them. Twice a year, Bill Gates would go into seclusion for a whole week alone, thinking up new ideas and finding better ways to solve problems. Then he would return to Microsoft with genius innovations that even the successful people in the company would be amazed by.

6. They are passionate about what they do and pursue their goals with determination and zest

Highly successful individuals also have passion as a backbone, but are careful to direct that fire in the right direction. Passion has a way of making you want to do many things at once. Highly successful people understand this and fuel their passion with care.

7. They try to please as many people as possible, so they tend to say yes to almost everything

Highly successful people understand that pleasing everyone could be detrimental to their personal goals. So ‘No’ is often part of their vocabulary and they only say ‘Yes’ to activities and causes that are aligned with their goals, whether it is learning a new skill, building quality relationships or just having a good time.

8. They understand the importance of learning and look for new avenues.

The highly successful individuals learn from everything including their mistakes and those made by others. They understand the negative effect of complacency and strive to learn something new every day, even if it’s from just walking the dog down the street.

9. They sometimes like to be heard and that’s okay

Highly successful individuals prefer to listen first before speaking. They listen to the people around them to get the unsaid ideas and tips. They only speak once they have a full grasp of what is being talked about or when they have immense value to share. To them, silence is golden in specific situations.

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10. They love to work and don’t necessarily see the importance of other activities where work isn’t involved

Highly successful individuals know the importance of taking care of themselves. They understand that they are the only ones who can achieve their goals. So they include things like exercise, meditation and adequate sleep to their routine.

11. They are very confident in themselves and in what they do…

But this confidence doesn’t stop them from comparing their level of success with others.

Highly successful individuals don’t give room for self-consciousness or comparison. They’re confident in what they do and understand that’s the only way other people can be confident in them. They’d rather be the benchmark than make someone else the benchmark.

12.  They often monitor and get obsessed with competition

They always want to know what the competition is doing so they can do it better.

Highly successful individuals are more focused on themselves and aren’t worried about what the competition is doing. Instead, they think about what they can do differently.

13. They take negative criticism to heart…

but not the highly successful ones. They welcome criticism because it helps them grow and achieve their goals.

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14. They want to see the results of their efforts fast, so they work really hard to make that happen

The highly successful individuals understand that delayed gratification is an important ingredient of success. They understand that success doesn’t happen overnight and so have the patience and perseverance to wait.

15. They tend to take the bulk of their work on themselves perhaps due to lack of personnel or finance

The highly successful individuals are very resourceful. When starting a new business, they’re able to acquire the money or the personnel required to make their dreams a reality.

What are your thoughts on these difference between successful and highly successful individuals?

Featured photo credit: Petras Gagilas via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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