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7 Insider Habits of Truly Successful People

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7 Insider Habits of Truly Successful People

What does a successful person’s day look like?

Are successful people really motivated by money?

When you take a peek into the true daily practices of great men and women, you find that it’s the freedom that comes from generating wealth that’s most important to them. This self-reliance comes not from entitlement or perfectionism, but from simple yet rarely-practiced self-discipline.

The following seven insider habits of truly successful people are all about self-discipline. Put these into practice and you will quickly begin to create opportunity in your life, which inevitably leads to success.

1. They Make a Habit of Good Habits

This may sound like a Catch-22, but the first insider habit of truly successful people is following positive daily habits.

Successful people are extremely self-aware. They constantly assess themselves to figure out which daily habits work, and which don’t. Then they jettison the bad habits, replacing them with good ones.

It sounds simple, but it takes self-discipline.

Write down a list of your 10 worst habits. For example:

  1. I’m on my smartphone too much.
  2. I sit at the computer all day instead of talking to people.
  3. I drink 5 bottles of soda every day.
  4. I’m always late to meetings.
    etc…

Then, next to each of these, write down a new, good habit to replace it.

Here are some creative and effective ways to do this:

  • Temptation bundling – allow yourself an indulgence only when you engage in the new habit. For example, “I will only check my smartphone if I go for a 5-minute walk.”
  • Automate – schedule an automatic reminder in your calendar. For example, schedule an hourly reminder to “walk around and talk to people for 5 minutes” during workdays.
  • Placeholders – give yourself a placeholder object that will prevent you from doing the bad habit. For example, buy and carry around a large water bottle so you avoid grabbing for soda.
  • Gamify – use a smartphone app to “gamify” your life and give yourself rewards or penalties every time you perform good and bad habits (like being on-time or late for a meeting). Search for “habit game” or “habit streak” in your app store.

By substituting bad habits with good ones, you can master the art of habit substitution and set yourself up to be a productivity machine. This is the foundation of self-discipline.

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2. They Sweat 10 Minutes Every Day

I used to be overweight. I definitely was not happy with how I looked, so I worked on it.

As a result, I lost 50 pounds.

Over the years I figured out the foods and movements that worked for me, and I became fit (for me, it’s CrossFit and primal/paleo nutrition…for you, it might be something else).

Here’s the surprising part: by losing weight, I gained something else: time.

By getting in shape and eating well, you’ll discover that you have more energy than ever. You can do more, in less time, and more often. You create time out of thin air. You become more productive, and it becomes fun just to get stuff done.

Richard Branson, one of the most successful and powerful men alive, calls working out the most powerful productivity (and confidence) hack of all time.

Start focusing on your health. The easiest way to do this is to sweat for 10 minutes every day. Go for a sprint. Do some heavy yard work. Do some push-ups, squats, and planks. Just 10 minutes every day. When you start seeing results, build from there. Try a new sport or CrossFit one or two days a week.

Successful people stay fit.

Bonus tip: Experiment with your diet. Find what works for you. Try an elimination diet, where you eliminate one thing – say, bread – from your diet for 30 days. Write down your energy, mood, and how you feel and look every day. Then see if you improved. If so, keep going and move to the next thing. Or try intermittent fasting, where you don’t eat breakfast for a month, or you don’t eat one day each week for a month. See what that does for your health, energy, and self-discipline!

3. They Read One Book Every Week

Being an informed person is the quickest way to success, because very few people are informed. Only 1 out of 4 adults have even read a single book in the last year.

Just look at this infographic by Robert Brewer:

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Reading Reality

    The top 1% of international experts and income-earners read at least 1 hour every day. That translates to 1-2 books per week.

    Focus on your profession or industry, then your interests, and then topics that you want to learn more about. Pulp fiction makes for a fun distraction, but, like watching TV, it might not move the needle much. During your deliberate self-improvement reading time, read books that are mentally stimulating.

    Although it won’t guarantee you success, your chances of success are roughly 0% if you’re not informed. Start reading!

    4. They Help Others Be Successful

    Make other people feel important, and help others be successful, and you will be successful.

    The most successful people grade themselves on others’ success. It’s the healthy version of a pyramid scheme. The more you help others, the more they will trust you and look to you for guidance, and when they do, they’ll bring their friends.

    When I started to improve my speaking skills, I turned to people who were already great speakers. The best ones helped me so much that I was happy to buy their books and courses. As I became a skilled speaker, I began to mentor beginners. What I thought would be a drain on my time turned out to teach me more than I ever had by being a student. It gave me greater confidence and accelerated my learning. By helping others improve their speaking skills, I achieved even greater success.

    Which brings me to the next insider habit.

    5. They Become Skillful at Speaking

    Successful people are skillful with their words.

    In fact, it’s the one thing all successful men and women have in common, according to Les Giblin in How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People. This finding was based on a study of thousands of successful people.

    It’s about being an effective communicator, not just lots of talk.

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    Even happiness is tied closely to your ability express yourself – your hopes and disappointments, ideas and fears.

    Worry less about perfect delivery, and instead focus on telling your personal story. Engage in small talk, but talk like a normal human being. Small talk (as simple as “What’s your name?”) gets the conversation going. Ask follow-up questions to show you’re listening and interested.

    There are lots of ways to start building your speaking confidence, such as joining Toastmasters or taking an improv comedy class. Both situations require you to practice in front of others, in a safe environment, and get immediate feedback.

    When in doubt, talk about the other person, not yourself. As Giblin puts it:

    “Do you want to shine and swell your own ego – or do you want the other person’s business, his name on a dotted line, his permission to do something, his good will? If all you want is to inflate your own ego, go ahead and talk exclusively about yourself but don’t expect to get anything else out of the conversation.”

    6. They Banish the Nay-Sayers

    Have you ever told someone about your great new idea, only for them to shoot it down immediately? Something you’ve worked on for hours, weeks, or months, and yet the other person has only negative things to say?

    You may find most people are jealous of the mere thought of you being successful. These nay-sayers bring you down and suppress good ideas from seeing daylight.

    Successful people surround themselves with VIPs but, more importantly, they eliminate negative people from their circle of friends and acquaintances. They focus only on the supportive people in their lives, but they also distance themselves from people who have nothing but negative things to say.

    Banishing the nay-sayers around you is another cornerstone of self-reliance and self-discipline.

    Bond Halbert – son of the late and eminently successful copywriter Gary Halbert – put it this way:

    “Never, ever encourage people who drag you down to hang around. A support system is like a garden, and you always need to be on the lookout for weeds to pull…self-reliance is the most satisfying thing in the world. It is important to know that often, self-reliance is the real motive of great business men and not money.”

    7. They Take Action Now

    Stop procrastinating!

    It’s one thing to dream, to hope, to plan, and to envision. It’s quite another to take action.

    Successful people always move forward. They take initiative, follow-up with people and commitments, write down ideas and work on them, stay engaged, and try new things at least twice.

    Try this:

    1. Write down the one thing you want to work on this month – a new skill, an idea, a project, losing weight, reducing debt
    2. Schedule 30 minutes every day on your calendar with automatic reminders to work on this one thing

    Why just one thing? Because otherwise you’ll be unfocused, and you’ll make excuses. But if you focus relentlessly for a few weeks or months on that one thing, you’ll finally achieve results. You’ll also free yourself up to work on the next thing.

    In Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, Rory Vaden describes this mentality succinctly: “I’ll work double-time part time now…for full-time free time later.”

    Jayson Demers of Inc. points out the benefits of taking action instead of wasting your energy trying to argue your point:

    “Get to work on your plan and actively demonstrate that your side of the argument is the correct one. It’s easy to argue against an idea, but it’s nearly impossible to argue against results. Powerful people aren’t worried about winning through an argument; they simply want the best possible results, and won’t waste time bickering to get there.”

    What are you waiting for?

    Take action now by starting to practice these seven insider habits of truly successful people.

    Which insider habit are you working on? What success have you seen as a result? Let me and the community know in the comments below.

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    Featured photo credit: Flazingo.com via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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