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7 Insider Habits of Truly Successful People

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 September 30, 2020

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

    We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

    In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

    The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

    The Importance of Living in the Moment

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

    While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

    Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

    Better Health

    By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

    Improve Your Relationships

    Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

    Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

    How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

    By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

    Greater Self-Control

    You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

    Why Do We Worry?

    Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

    When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

    Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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    Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

    3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

    Step 1: Overcome Worrying

    In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

    Calm Your Mind

    When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

    The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

    In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

    Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

    Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

    People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

    If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

    Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

    In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

    Racing Mind

    Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

    You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

    If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

    Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

    None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

    So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

    By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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    In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

    Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

    A Wandering Mind

    From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

    Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

    Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

    Outside Influences

    Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

    Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

    Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

    So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

    Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

    Understand Mindfulness

    The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

    When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

    You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

    This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

    To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

    If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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    You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

    Mindfulness Meditation

    Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

    Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

    You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

    This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

    If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

    Mindful Breathing

    While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

    You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

    Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

    Mindful Walking

    Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

    Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

    Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

    You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

    In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

    You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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    Mindful Eating

    Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

    The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

    Live in the present with mindful eating.

      Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

      So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

      • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
      • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
      • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

      You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

      Mindful Activities

      Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

      Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

      You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

      Final Thoughts

      Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

      Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

      Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

      The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

      More About Living in the Present

      Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

      Reference

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