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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 January 15, 2019

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

    In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Step right up, don’t be shy!

    Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

    The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

    Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

    Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
    So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

    A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

    Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

    Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

    When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

    Culturally Conditioned

    We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

    I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

    The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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    Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

    Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

    Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

    1. Broadens Your Network

    After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

    2. Improves Your Communication Skills

    I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

    Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

    3. Continually Learning

    So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

    Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

    4. Increases Self Confidence

    Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

    Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

    So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

    How to Talk to Strangers

    Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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    1. Say Hello

    Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

    Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

    Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

    2. Ask About Them

    Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

    You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

    As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

    3. Just Do It

    One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

    When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

    Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

    4. Don’t Take It Personal

    One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

    When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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    5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

    I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

    One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

    6. Detach

    A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

    Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

    7. Share Your Stories

    Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

    To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

    So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

    8. Give a Compliment

    Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

    When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

    9. Relax Your Body Language

    If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

    When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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    If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

    10. Practice, Practice, Practice

    Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

    Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

    After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

    The Bottom Line

    As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

    There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

    Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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