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:
- I’m on my smartphone too much.
- I sit at the computer all day instead of talking to people.
- I drink 5 bottles of soda every day.
- I’m always late to meetings.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
- Write down the one thing you want to work on this month – a new skill, an idea, a project, losing weight, reducing debt
- 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.
Featured photo credit: Flazingo.com via flickr.com