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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 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)

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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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