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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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