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Published on January 7, 2021

16 Tips For Success from the World’s Most Influential People

16 Tips For Success from the World’s Most Influential People

Everyone has their own definition of success, and each one of us will follow a different path in life to get there. The good thing is that many have come before us, and successful people often share with others their tips for success and the lessons they’ve picked up while striving to achieve their goals.

From superstar athletes to business and media moguls, these tips for success come from some of the most influential people around. Soak up their knowledge and apply it to your own plan for success.

1. Embrace the Possibility

“When you come to a point in your life when you see difficult things, don’t look in the other direction; move toward it. That’s the moment when you can affect change.” —Melinda Gates

The unknown can certainly be scary for a lot of people. We avoid change because it potentially brings on a new set of problems and stress. If you lean into something that might seem difficult, however, that change can also bring on great achievement and happiness.

You’ve probably heard that complacency is the enemy of progress, but by embracing possibility—even when it seems difficult—we set ourselves up for success.

2. Challenge Yourself

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” —Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey might seem like she has the golden touch, but if you asked her about her failures, she’d no doubt be able to rattle off plenty of examples.

The media mogul hasn’t been defined by her failures, though, but rather looks at them as points in her life where she challenged herself and learned from those mistakes. It’s this sort of fearless attitude that is shared by many of the world’s most influential movers and doers.

3. Put Yourself Out There

“To be successful you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running.” —Richard Branson

Anybody can make grandiose plans about what they want to do and how they plan to do it. Plans without action, though, are nothing more than daydreams. The business titan’s advice on success is clear and simple yet incredibly valuable: take a chance and put those plans into action. There’s certainly some risk involved in doing so, but the greatest successes always involve a level of risk.

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4. Hold Yourself to High Standards

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” —Steve Jobs

Another tip for success that successful people do is hold themselves to high standards. Our lives are a cumulation of the decisions we make, and the standards we hold ourselves to are often a result of those decisions. Your family, friends, bosses, and coworkers have their own standards that they hold you to, but it’s your own behavior that shapes those expectations they have of you.

Be developing a set of values that are important to yourself and holding yourself to those values, you’re displaying integrity. It’s this trait that when coupled with hard work often yields a lifetime of success.

5. Be Persistent

“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” —Elon Musk

In December 2020, Elon Musk’s Starship rocket exploded into flames upon its landing.[1] If you think Musk is going to throw in the towel and wallow in failure, then you don’t know much about the entrepreneurial giant. He’s not just one of the most influential people around today, but he is also one of the most persistent.

No matter what your goals are, there are going to be critics and obstacles. It’s those who are persistent in spirit and not deterred by failure who will have the greatest chances of eventually achieving success.

6. Serve Others

“There could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others. Find something to do. Get off the bench.” —George H.W. Bush

Probably one of the most important tips for success, serving others is as vital as the others on this list.

One of the most important things George H.W. Bush accomplished during his presidency was signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was an important step for civil rights and service to those who had been ignored for so long.

If you look at a list of the most successful people in the world, you’ll no doubt find that nearly all of them serve others in some way. Whether it’s through mentorship, job creation, or making a positive change, they’re convinced that the more they serve the more they receive.

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7. Commitment

“There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed or are you not?” —LeBron James

If you’re not in it to win it, then success is unlikely to follow. Those who experience success know how to concentrate. They recognize a goal and commit to making it happen.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that there won’t be times of doubt and setbacks along the way. Rather than casting those goals aside, however, they adapt and commit to accomplishing each step that will put them closer to making their aspirations a reality.

8. Have a Positive Attitude

“I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive.” —Sonia Sotomayor

The Supreme Court Justice’s words about having a positive attitude may not sound like an earth-shaking epiphany on finding success, but they ring true. Having a positive outlook, practicing mindfulness, and trying to see the bright side of a situation rather than dwelling on the negative is an incredibly powerful thing.

Positive thinking has the ability to change your life in every way possible. It has an impact on everything from how you view yourself to how you engage with those you meet. A good attitude can impact not just your chances of success but your overall health as well.[2]

9. Be Bold

“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” —Walt Disney

Numerous shared traits can be found in the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders throughout history. One of those traits is boldness.

Successful people are bold and confident in themselves. This does not mean they don’t have moments of doubt, but they have a healthy self-confidence in themselves that they can adapt, face, and conquer the challenges life throws their way.

Notice that Disney’s quote doesn’t say “our dreams will come true,” but rather they “can come true.” Success isn’t a guarantee, but with bold confidence, it does have the possibility of being achieved.

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10. Success Doesn’t Come Easy

“Progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.” —Barack Obama

Every president faces challenges and witnesses setbacks in the goals they strive to achieve. The former U.S. president’s quote is an assertion that progress takes hard work. For every milestone, there very well may be half a dozen failures that came before it.

The path to your own success likely won’t be a smooth one without its own bumps and obstacles. But by building a work ethic on the principles outlined here, progress towards success can be made.

11. Trust Intuition

“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” —Barbara Corcoran

Oftentimes, the more successful a person becomes, the more they have others advising them of what they should or should not be doing. There’s certainly value in surrounding yourself with smart people of good character, but a lot can be said for trusting one’s own gut.

There’s actually some real science behind gut instinct or intuition, and our brain ns are constantly comparing past experiences with current information.[3] Shark Tank regular Barbara Corcoran has certainly trusted her own intuition in business and yours should also not be ignored.

12. Learn to Be a Strong Communicator

“Effective communication is 20 percent what you know and 80 percent how you feel about what you know.” —Jim Rohn

Being a strong communicator is of paramount importance in many aspects of life and one of the best tips for success. Speaker, author, and entrepreneur Jim Rohn was a brilliant communicator and attributed much of his success to his ability to effectively communicate his views, goals, and knowledge to those around him.

From acing a job interview to leading an army into battle, good communication goes hand-in-hand with the power of persuasion and the success that can follow it.

13. Be Passionate

“Whether you found your calling, or you’re still searching, passion should be the fire that drives your life’s work.” —Michael Dell

This is probably the most common but also one of the most important tips for success. If you’re not passionate about something, it’s hard to give your 100 percent to it. Sure, you may be able to keep it up for a short period of time, but in the long run, not a chance.

Michael Dell (yes, the computer guy) makes a good point about finding one’s calling. If there’s no passion behind what you’re doing, the success your efforts yield will be limited at best.

14. Define What You Want

“Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.” —Tim Ferris

The most influential and successful people in the world have clear visions of their purpose and what they want to achieve. They’re not simply throwing darts and hoping to hit a good idea.

You’re in charge of developing your own focus and defining what it is you want in life. Once you know what it is, go after it. If it’s more responsibility in a job, ask for it. If it’s starting your own business, take the steps to make it happen.

15. Be Confident in Yourself

“Be inspired by the success of others, but don’t be intimidated by it.” —Daymond John

There’s always going to be somebody more successful than you. In fact, chances are that when you’re first starting, there are going to be a lot of people more successful. Allowing the success of the other guy to deflate your own self-confidence can be incredibly defeating, though. Rather than viewing the accomplishments of others as unattainable, use them as inspiration and a goal to strive for.

16. Make Smart Choices

“Your legacy is being written by yourself. Make the right decisions.” —Gary Vaynerchuk

Last but not the list in these tips for success—make smart choices. Everyone is faced with decisions—some big and some small. It’s the choices you make that shape your life and the events and people that come into it. Make the wrong choices and you could have a pretty miserable life.

Nobody can choose the right choices for you, but you can learn to make smart decisions that lead to success. Making those wise decisions really all boils down to recognizing your goals and weighing how those choices move you closer to achieving those goals and align with your values.

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Final Thoughts

These tips for success will not guarantee that you become successful. Your success still depends on you. However, these tips are good stepping stones for you to achieve your dreams.

More Tips for Success

Featured photo credit: Ashley Knedler via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Willpower is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy

“Just do it.” – Nike

The most important and satisfying things in life usually aren’t the easiest ones.

The good news: In today’s hyper-connected world, we have access to all the information we could want to help us achieve our future goals. We know what foods will make us healthier (would kale or quinoa be as popular without the internet and Dr. Oz? I think not). We can also estimate for ourselves the benefits of starting retirement savings early – and the implications for the lifestyles of our future selves (that boat at 65 means fewer vacations in your 20’s).

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We almost always know what we should do thanks to endless knowledge at our fingertips. But actually doing it is an entirely different kind of challenge. Most of us can relate to that feeling of inertia at the start of a big project, or the struggle to consistently make good, long-term choices for our health, or saving for the future. This mental tug-of-war we experience has evolutionary roots. While knowing this might bring comfort, it doesn’t help solve the problem at hand:

How can we flex our willpower to become better, faster, smarter, and stronger?

The bad news: you can’t Google your way out of this one.

Or can you? A fascinating body of research (much of which you can turn up online through popular press and academic articles) sheds light on how to hack your willpower for better, easier results in all areas of your life. The Willpower Instinct, a great book by Stanford prof Kelly McGonigal, provides a deep dive into these and more topics for anyone keenly interested.

Here’s the short version: we can make the most of our willpower through two types of hacks. First, there are ways to turbo boost your willpower. Second, there are ways to hack the system so you make the best use of whatever (sometimes infinitely modest) willpower you have.

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The following 10 tips draw on both of these toolkits.

1. Slow the heck down.

Most regrettable decisions (the splurge at the mall, the procrastination on the project, the snacks in the break room) happen when one part of our brain effectively hijacks the other. We go into automatic pilot (and unfortunately the pilot in question has a penchant for shoes, Facebook and cookies!). Researchers suggest that we can override this system by charging up the other. That is, slow down and focus on the moment at hand. Think about your breathing. Bring yourself back to this moment in time, feel the compulsion but don’t act on it yet. Try telling yourself, “If this feeling is still just as uncomfortable in 10 minutes, I’ll act on it.” Take a little time to be mindful – then make your decision.

2. Dream of ‘done.’

Imagine yourself handing in the big project, soaking up the appreciation from your colleagues or boss. Or crossing the finish line for the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The rush, the aliveness, the wind on your face, the medal …

That’s a lot more fun and motivating to think about than how much work it is to get out of bed for your long, Sunday morning run!

Re-orient your brain by summoning more motivating feelings than just “not running this morning is more enjoyable than running this morning.” If your goals are meaningful, this will help.

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3. Make your toughest choices first.

Scientists have found that willpower is like a full bathtub that’s drained throughout the day. So, why not start your toughest challenges when you have a full reserve? Get that project started or fit that workout in before you even check your email or have breakfast. Bonus: the high you’ll get from crossing off your hardest ‘to-do’ will help you sail through the rest of your day.

4. Progress = commitment, not a license to backslide.

A lot of times people will ‘cheat’ right after taking positive steps towards their goals. (A common version of this trap is, “I worked out three days in a row, so I deserve this cookie.”) Most of us can relate to this thinking – but it’s totally irrational! We’ll often trick ourselves into setbacks because we think we deserve them, even if we don’t really want them and deep down we know they’ll work against us in the long-run.

How can you counteract this effect? Research finds that if you use your positive streak to recommit (“If I worked out three days this week, I must be really committed to my health and fitness goal!”) rather than an excuse for wiggle room, we don’t take the same cheat options. Cool, right?

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an expressway to better willpower. Bringing your attention to your breathing for 15 minutes, or even five, flexes your willpower muscles by applying discipline to your thinking. It does this by working two mental ‘muscle groups’: first, the set of muscles that notice when your attention is drifting, and second, the set of muscles that bring you back to your task at hand. Over time, even small amounts of meditation will help you build the discipline to easily do what was once hard – like pushing through a long stretch at work.

6. Set mini-goals.

Which seems more doable: committing to three 20 minute runs this week or a half-marathon? Mini-goals are brilliant because they’re easier to achieve and boost your commitment to continuing. When we size them up, we see them as achievable rather than daunting. Each time you succeed at one, it boosts your sense of efficacy and personal integrity: not only are you capable of doing what you set out to do, but you followed through on it. Nice.

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The beauty of mini-goals is that over time, mini-goals – and the momentum you’ve built by doing them – can quickly turn into super-goals. So that half marathon might be more likely to happen, and sooner and more easily than you think!

7. Eat.

Low blood sugar decreases your ability to make tough decisions. If you’re running on empty physically, you’ll also be running on empty mentally. (Yes, this one’s somewhat ironic if your goal involves changing food patterns – but even so, letting your blood sugar drop too far will only sabotage you over time.)

8. Sleep.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep have a tough time exercising their willpower. Sleep is critical for a healthy brain – along with just about everything else. So to optimize your willpower muscle, make sure you’re catching your zzz’s.

9. Nix the self-sabotage.

Making yourself feel bad hurts, rather than helps, your willpower efforts. Researchers have found that compassion is a far better strategy than tough love – telling yourself “It’s OK, everyone has setbacks sometimes,” will help you bounce back more quickly than negative self-talk.

10. Take the first hard step.

As a new behavior becomes a habit, it is more natural. You have to use less and less willpower to ‘make it so.’ When you’re starting a new pattern that feels hard, remind yourself that the first steps are truly the hardest. It will probably never feel harder than it does in those first few choices. In the case of repeated behaviors, like exercise or saving money, it takes weeks for new habits to take hold. By that point, the habit will be so ingrained, you’d have to try hard not to do it.

Featured photo credit: Kym Ellis via unsplash.com

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