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8 Habits of Highly Successful People

8 Habits of Highly Successful People

When most people think of the millionaires and billionaires of the world, they usually see them as superhuman individuals who were destined for success from the moment they were born. While successful people certainly do have natural talents that have helped them along the way, they’ve also spent their entire lives working hard for what they’ve earned. An overwhelming majority of wealthy individuals have said they practice similar habits on a daily basis, including:

1. Waking up early

You’ve probably heard Ben Franklin’s famous saying: “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

While so many of us use as much time as we can in the morning to sleep until we absolutely have to get up, successful people use the morning as a time to get things done. One survey showed that almost half of wealthy individuals within the study wake up three hours before they actually have to be to work. This gives them enough time to wash up, eat a filling breakfast, and mentally and physically prepare for the day ahead of them. Think of that the next time you spill your coffee all over yourself while speeding down the street because you woke up with ten minutes to spare (and I’m not judging; I’m guilty of it, too!).

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2. Using time wisely

Novelist Vanna Bonta once said, “There is only now. And look! How rich we are in it.”

As I just mentioned, wealthy people wake up quite early, and they don’t spend this extra time sitting around. They understand that every second that ticks by is a moment they’ll never get back, so they get in the habit of using time to their advantage. Think about all the time you waste throughout the day waiting for a bus or for water to boil for your coffee, scrolling through your Facebook, or watching sitcom reruns. It might not seem like much to take 2 minutes of your time to check your phone when it beeps, but if you do that 30 times a day (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), well, you do the math. No matter how little time you have between tasks, there’s always enough time to be productive in some way.

3. Staying focused

Even if you don’t stop what you’re doing every time your phone buzzes, your attention will most likely be taken away from the task at hand until you do so. Successful and wealthy people eliminate distractions when they have pressing business to attend to. Why do you think CEOs have offices with locked doors and secretaries to answer their phones? They do take time to return calls and check their email, but it’s often at a set time during the day. In doing so, they don’t unintentionally divert their attention to five different things at once; they’re able to focus on one issue at a time, resolve it, and move on to the next big thing.

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4. Networking

Another saying that’s been around forever, but is sometimes overlooked, is “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

Think of the last time you were introduced to someone new: Did meeting them change your life in any way? Did you have anything to offer them? Wealthy people surround themselves with other successful people, and constantly bounce ideas off each other. Even during leisure activities, such as a day on the golf course, successful people discuss ideas, trade business practices, and forge mutually beneficial relationships. They actively seek out others who have mutual interests, ideas, and skills in order to expand their own ideas and abilities.

5. Reading

The most successful people in the world love to read. I previously discussed how wealthy people spend their time wisely. Whenever they get a spare moment, they often use this time to read something new. And they don’t read drivel, either. Wealthy people read to learn and expand their perspective on issues. An astounding 86% of wealthy people reported they are avid readers, compared to 26% of non-wealthy people. Reading helps people stay current and informed, and because of this, successful people are able to stay on top of trends and ideas. In doing so, they are able to become the producers of “the next big thing” that is loved by the masses, and make a killing doing it.

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6. Planning their day

Successful people make a gameplan for every day of their lives. 81% of the wealthy people surveyed reported they create a to-do list either before going to bed each night, or immediately upon waking up each morning. These people also tend to overload their lists, so they don’t leave themselves with too little to do. 67% of the wealthy people who said they create to-do lists reported that they finish, on average, over 70% of the items on their list. If you’re anything like me, you feel relieved when you finally check off that last item on your list of errands so you can put your feet up for a while. On the other hand, wealthy people would rather have too much to do, and be able to spend their time improving themselves in some way, shape, or form.

7. Taking risks

Successful people love to stretch their comfort zones as much as possible. They’re not afraid to put themselves “out there,” even if they run the risk of failure. They embrace vulnerability, because they know that without taking a risk, they will never get further in life. This isn’t to say that wealthy people just haphazardly put themselves in risky situations. On the contrary, they analyze each situation they face, and calculate the chances of success for each decision they make. And they always have a “Plan B” in case things don’t go as they had hoped. By taking risks, and knowing how to handle themselves if they falter, wealthy people continue to rise up in the world.

8. Working smarter

Successful people are successful because they work smarter, not harder. They find the easiest way to go about a task while maintaining excellent performance, which in turn saves resources for other tasks. They also understand that working too hard will lead to burnout and an ineffective use of time. Wealthy people work in spurts, and then take short breaks once they notice their attention and focus weaning. By doing so, they rejuvenate their body mentally and physically, and can come back to a task refreshed and ready to work. When taking these short breaks, they let their mind wander to other possible solutions, and may come back to their workstation with a breakthrough that makes completing the task that much easier.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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