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Success Mindset

Getting Ahead in Life: Top 7 Secrets of High Achievers

Written by Kimberly Zhang
Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.
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The year 2021 is almost here. The new year will be a chance to start over after a tumultuous 2020 and reach new heights. Starting the year on the right foot will set the tone for your personal growth and great achievements and getting ahead in life.

To help you on your personal journey in 2021, look at those who have gone before you. These 7 secrets from high achievers lay out a blueprint you can follow to chase your own goals and start getting ahead come January.

1. Organize Your Efforts

The first step to great achievement is organizing your efforts. Every high achiever has their methods to concentrate their efforts, lay out goals, and execute plans. Poor organization, on the other hand, won’t get you nearly as far.

Getting organized in the first place is typically the most challenging part. Here are a couple of organizational methods you can try to help you get started:

Time Boxing

Organizing your time is incredibly important in your quest for success. By laying out your daily schedule, you ensure that you’re dedicating enough time to tasks and responsibilities that keep your life in order and help you reach your goals.

To implement time boxing, you need a calendar or planner. Digital options are quicker to update and adjust, but using paper will also work if that’s what you prefer. For each day, lay out the tasks and assignments you have. Dedicate a box of time for each one.


For example, you can start your day with some exercise. Create a time box from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. During this time, you focus on nothing but the task at hand until the box is over. In this case, you would focus completely on exercise without giving in to distractions until the clock strikes 8.

Do this for your entire day and you’ll be able to create an efficient schedule that’s perfectly organized for your needs, responsibilities, and personal goals. Tweak it as you go along until you find the perfect personalized formula.

Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique puts a spin on time boxing. It focuses more on how you expend your energy while still being effective. It was developed by a man named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is still used frequently today.

The Pomodoro technique works similarly to time boxing, but the time slots are smaller. You take a task that needs to be completed, like a term paper for your college English course. Set a time for 25 minutes (this is the recommended time, but you can change it how you’d like). Once the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, and then start again. After four cycles or Pomodoros, take a longer (10 minutes) break.

Adding breaks in intervals helps you focus on the task in front of you for those 25 minutes without distractions or interruptions. The extra focus helps you to work more effectively while still allowing for rest that prevents you from getting burnt out.

Daily Routines

Getting into your groove each morning sets the tone for a successful day. A proper morning routine followed by a nightly routine to wind down promotes steadiness and consistency, which aid you in your achievement efforts.


For example, a morning routine can consist of a regularly set alarm, workout regimen, and structured breakfast. Your nightly routine can include a personal activity to help you relax after the day’s labor and goals to promote productivity, such as staying off your phone right before bed.

As you settle into routines, you’ll improve your productivity habits in between. Your routines act like two strong bookends that keep the rest of the day in place. Getting ahead begins as soon as your alarm goes off.

2. Know When to Give Up

You can’t win them all, and you shouldn’t expect to. You can learn a lot from missing the mark, but the important skill here is knowing when to throw in the towel. You can exert a lot of time and energy that would be better spent doing something else.

An example can be found in the form of musicians. Songwriters go through dozens of song ideas trying to find the perfect tune. Not all of them will make the cut. If they focus for too long on a project that’s going nowhere, their productivity will hit a wall and they won’t be able to release any new music.

By knowing when to give up, you open yourself to new opportunities to move forward. You prevent yourself from falling into a rut that stops you from becoming a high achiever.

3. Focus on Strengths

Even the most successful people aren’t good at everything. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses to take into account. Maximizing your strengths while overcoming your weaknesses is a balancing act required for high achievers.[1]


Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses that they fail to capitalize on their strengths. Stick with what you’re good at and allow those skills and talents to lift you and help you get ahead.

Take professional athletes for example. Not every athlete can perform each facet of their sport at the highest level. Many of them became professionals because they focused on their strengths for the benefit of the team. Their teammates in turn cover their weaknesses with their own strengths, which is also what happens in families, work teams, and other organizations you’ll be a part of in life.

4. Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all alone. You can still be labeled a high achiever even when you ask for help from others. This isn’t a sign of weakness. Asking for help is simply you recognizing that you can do more and go further with the help of others than you could on your own.

You can ask for help in a variety of ways from a myriad of people. You can network with business professionals who can give you career advice or ask your family and friends to support you with a new business.[2] Getting ahead by yourself is unnecessarily difficult when there are people who can help you.

5. Learn the Importance of Hard Work

You can’t reach world fame simply by having a great idea or possessing incredible raw talent. Behind every genius, top-charting musician, and professional athlete is a person who spends hours each day perfecting their craft and putting in the work to succeed.

Unfortunately, you won’t wake up one day as a high achiever. Behind every success story, you’ll find countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that led high achievers to where they stand today. To reach their level, you must be willing to put in that same effort.


Take a look at the Olympics held every four years. During these events is probably the first time you’ve seen or heard of any of the athletes competing. However, each one spent years practicing their sport to be able to perform on the largest stage of the competition.[3]

6. Take Care of Your Body

Another key to getting ahead in life is taking care of your body. You might look at high achievers and notice their net worth, brilliant minds, or trophy cases. What you might not notice immediately is that most, if not all of them, also take the time to care for their bodies.

As important as it is to pursue education, master skills, and attempt new things, none of that will matter as much if your body is falling apart. Proper diet, exercise, and sleep are all crucial for a well-maintained body.

Look at some of the greatest CEOs, and you’ll notice that many of them make sure they set aside time for daily exercise and do their best to get a good night’s sleep. Given how busy they are all the time, it should make quite a statement that they deem these things to be of utmost importance.

Some people are born with or develop physical limitations that make it more difficult to maintain their bodies, needing medication, physical therapy, or other extra assistance than others. Don’t let this slow you down.

Look at some of these high achievers for inspiration:

  • Stephen Hawking – one of history’s most brilliant minds and world-class physicist who was confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility for most of his life
  • Stevie Wonder – a brilliant musician and performer without sight
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt – served as President of the United States despite difficulties with polio

These are just some of many motivating examples you can find of humankind becoming high achievers regardless of their limitations.

7. Make Sacrifices

You can’t reach the top without making sacrifices along the way. You have to give up those guilty pleasures every once in a while, like fast food, sleeping in, and those extra episodes of late-night binge-watching. High achievers drop these conveniences to accomplish their lofty goals.

While sacrifices will need to be made, don’t neglect yourself of life’s joys entirely. You should still maintain happiness and mental well-being on your journey to becoming a high achiever. So while you may need to cut back on some things, a few TV shows and large fries here and there can be justified.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—the 7 secrets of high-achievers. You can use these tips so you can start getting ahead in your life. Ready to achieve your highest potential? The secrets are out. Now it’s up to you to put in the effort and make your dreams a reality.

More Tips on Getting Ahead in Life

Featured photo credit: Emma Simpson via unsplash.com


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