For most people, success in any endeavor is not an overnight phenomenon but is achieved through years of consistent effort and the development of strong mental practices. Along the way, we (hopefully) pick up good habits and drop the bad. Sometimes, though, knowing when to hold onto a habit that others might see as a negative can lead to success. For instance, the most accomplished among us almost always strive to adhere to the following mental habits.
1. Please Others
Successful people know that in order to get where they want to be, they need to get things done for others. In fact, you could make a good argument that wanting to help people is a requirement for true success, but it’s also a dangerous personality quality. If you try to please everyone all the time, you will become completely overwhelmed and unable to get accomplish anything. The most successful people know that saying “no” all the time is not the answer, though. Instead, they look for ways to get to “yes” that benefit all parties and help prioritize their work.
2. Keep Their Options Open
While successful people are decisive and move steadfastly toward their goals, most of them avoid choices which limit future options. Modern life continues to move faster by the day, and new possibilities, opportunities, and even social standards arise all the time. None of us can afford to create boundaries that are so stiff we can’t adapt when necessary.
3. Listen Before Speaking Their Minds
Successful people are bold, but they know railroading every conversation is a quick way to end cooperation. We all need the help of other people in order to be truly successful, and one of the best ways to form alliances is to listen to what those around you are saying. Show them you understand their point of view with your responses, and they will be much more likely to hear out your opinion, too.
4. Target Small Successes
Failure is a necessary part of ultimate success for most people, but bombing at regular intervals can kill your motivation and encourage you to abandon your dreams. Successful people set themselves up for victory by establishing many ambitious short-term goals on their path to whatever they see as their big prize. By consistently challenging themselves and achieving tougher and tougher objectives, they build confidence and move closer to their ideals.
5. Exercise Caution When Necessary
Fear of failure or embarrassment can paralyze even the most ambitious among us, but a healthy respect for the unknown and potential danger can save us from disaster. Successful people are not afraid of taking risks, but only after they have weighed possible pitfalls.
6. Dwell on the Negative
Negative thoughts don’t make anyone feel good, but successful people realize that the shadow of potential failure lurks behind every new opportunity. By spending at least as much time and energy working through what might go wrong as what is likely to go right, they are able to dramatically improve their chances of long-term victory.
7. Have Multiple Projects Going
Multitasking has developed a bad reputation over the last few years, and for good reason since it’s really hard to do two things well at the exact same time. But that really only applies to what’s happening right now — can you read this article AND count to 100 at the same time without either one suffering, for example?
Most of us are capable of working on multiple undertakings during the course of a day or week with no ill effects, and it’s a tactic that successful people use to become even more accomplished. They focus all their efforts on reaching the top of their field, but they line up numerous projects all aimed at that ultimate target. The variety keeps them fresh, and the multi-pronged attack keeps them moving forward.
8. Seek Ideas from Others
When we were in school, asking for input from other kids was a natural way to make decisions and get things done. Group thinking usually dictated what games we played and how we approached class projects. As we get older and assume more responsibility, though, most of us close off this avenue of fresh ideas in order to protect our turf and guard against credit for good work going to someone else. Successful people, however, know that collaboration is a key to really big accomplishments, and they never stop looking for external inspiration and help.
9. Stay Stressed
Stress is the “silent killer” that can wreak havoc on your health, but successful people have learned how to use it to their advantage. They realize that hardly anything worthwhile ever gets done at a leisurely pace, and the pressure to perform is a powerful motivator. The most accomplished among us thrive on deadlines and outdoing their previous best efforts, over and over again. By applying stress from the inside out and latching onto these other “negative” habits, they leave 99% of us in their dust.
Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com