Successful people work hard and are driven to achieve their goals based on their own personal values.
But high achievers also avoid getting caught up in the false beliefs that cripple the progress of so many. In particular, the most successful among us put aside the idea that …
1. The Crowd Is Always Right.
Want a sure path to mediocrity and resentment? All you have to do is follow the crowd.
While doing the same thing that everyone else does is usually safe and can help you get started on a journey towards success, by definition it also limits your potential for truly great achievements. Albert Einstein did not advance physics by thinking about the world the same way scientists before him had done, just as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not revolutionize business and computers by making superficial tweaks to existing tools.
Most really successful people look for ways that the crowd is wrong and then proceed down the opposite road.
2. Words Don’t Matter.
Email, texting, instant messaging, and every other form of quick communication have served to connect us like never before, but they have also made us lazy about HOW we talk to each other. Proofreading has fallen out of favor with most in the business world, and we generally hand each other a blank check when it comes to the quality of our verbal interactions.
High achievers are crystal clear in their intent when speaking or writing, and they are fanatical about presenting a professional image with their words.
3. Appearance Does Not Matter.
On the whole, the world is becoming a much more accepting place as we move deeper into the 21st century. That’s a great thing for the most part because we should all be free to be who we are.
But along with that acceptance has come a general attitude of “anything goes,” even if it means showing up to work in yoga pants and sandals. You never know when you’ll be pulled into a meeting with an important VP or external client, and you need to let them know that you take their business seriously.
Successful people are always prepared for any social interaction. After all, if you can’t be trusted to comb your hair in the morning, how can you be trusted with anything important?
4. It’s OK to Be Late.
Everyone wants to feel important, but even the most successful people understand that it’s vital to respect the time and opinion of their associates, too.
When you blow off meetings or show up late without any acknowledgement, you project an air of carelessness and superiority that can be off-putting at best. At worst, you will irreparably damage important relationships and jeopardize the trust of people whose respect and help you need to attain the ultimate success you’re after.
High achievers realize that their lofty perch does not entitle them to trample over those around them, and that includes being late for anything.
5. They Can’t Do Multiple Things at Once.
Multitasking has been taken to task in recent years because many people fail to understand the basic concept. While it’s true that you usually can’t do multiple things well in the same moment, that does not mean you need to limit yourself to a single project at any one time.
Some of our greatest minds were almost notorious for juggling several huge undertakings simultaneously. Ben Franklin, for example, found plenty of time for his experiments while in the throes of helping to carve out the new American nation — not to mention his romantic exploits.
6. The Past Limits The Future.
Just because you have failed in the past does not mean that you are doomed to an unhappy future. It may sound trite, but most of us get to choose, at least in some part, how we live each day.
Every morning you wake up is another opportunity to set your life on the course you want it to take, whether you’re 18, 38, 58, or 78. Even if you have big bombs in your past, your future CAN be different.
Julia Child didn’t take up cooking seriously until she was 36, Harland Sanders franchised KFC when he was 62, and Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until the age of 76.
7. You Can Do It Alone.
We all want credit for our concepts and hard work, but not many revolutionary achievements happen as the result of just one person’s efforts. That’s especially true today when the world is connected like never before and your next bright idea is just a mouse-click away.
It’s healthy and necessary to dig in deep and work through roadblocks you encounter, but you have to know when to ask for help if you want to make the leaps that will lead you to great achievements.
Even visionaries like Henry Ford and Sam Walton surrounded themselves with a close circle of confidants who helped them refine and carry out their greatest successes, and the rest of us would do well to follow their examples.
8. Success Is the Result of Luck.
It’s tempting to look at star athletes like LeBron James or masterful businessmen like Warren Buffett and attribute their success to natural gifts or the luck of birth. Not only does that mindset degrade the real accomplishments of these high achievers, but it’s also disastrous for your own self esteem.
Sure, LeBron has a body made for basketball and the skills to match, but the wizardry he displays on the court would not be possible without the thousands of hours of training and practice he has logged throughout his career. And while Buffett benefited from growing up as a Congressman’s son, he has spent six decades developing and perfecting the techniques that have made him perhaps the world’s greatest investment mind.
Luck is important in almost any successful career, but it only matters if you work hard to take full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to you.
9. You Can Wait for the Right Time.
Timing can be an important factor in the ultimate success of any endeavor, but waiting for just the right moment to act can cripple your progress and leave you feeling unfulfilled. High achievers know that great ideas, hard work, and tireless execution are usually much more important than WHEN you get moving toward your goals.
10. Hard Work Is Overrated.
We hear about “overnight” successes all the time, but that’s a label that rankles most high achievers.
While there are occasional exceptions, achieving anything truly worthwhile is almost always the result of thousands of hours of intense effort. And, more often than not, achievers spend years toiling away at their craft before they ever attain the riches and acclaim they seek.
Shortcuts may bring you a quick dose of success, but true and meaningful achievement over the long haul always requires a dedication to hard work.
Featured photo credit: Eilis Garvey via unsplash.com