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10 Really Powerful Habits of The Highly Successful

10 Really Powerful Habits of The Highly Successful

The highly successful have a lot in common. The habits that they keep are some of the most significant factors in their massive success. Want to know what some of those habits are? Look no further! Here are the traits CEOs and industry leaders and all-star creators have ingrained in their days to become highly successful.

1. They Exercise

Charles Soule, a super-prolific writer of comic books and a partner at a law firm, wrote that he solves most of his story problems while going on runs. It’s amazing how simple exercise can open you up to new ideas and huge potential. Follow Soule’s example by getting physically active to solve more problems and reach new levels of success.

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2. They Eat Well

Highly successful people do so well because they have the right fuel powering their bodies. For example, Richard Branson has a ritual of eating a fruit salad and muesli, a granola-like dish with high fiber, and he does pretty well! Learn about other highly successful people’s eating habits in this Business Insider article.

3. They Keep Their Brains Busy

Steve Jobs of Apple fame did a few things better than almost anyone else. One of them was always keeping his mind working. The wheels were constantly turning in his head, giving him the opportunity to come up with the many revolutionary ideas he did in his lifetime. Keep your mind busy to have similar success.

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4. They Position Themselves As Experts In Their Fields

A ‘thought leader’ is defined as an individual or firm recognized as an authority in a specialized field  whose expertise is often sought out and rewarded. The highly successful Michael Hyatt is a perfect example of a thought leader because of the posts he writes about getting the most out of the digital notebook Evernote. Follow his example by making a habit of demonstrating your knowledge about subjects you’re adept in.

5. They Think Long Term

The highly successful know that the present inevitably passes. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com has run his business for years based on that fact. Amazon sells a lot of products cheaper than any of its competitors because that will attract more buyers and extremely loyal customers. Learn to follow a similarly forward-thinking model in your daily life.

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6. They Spend Their Time Doing What They Love

Billionaire entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban worked with computers because that’s where his passion lied. In his own words, “”More importantly no, most importantly I realized that I loved working with PCs. I had never done it before. I didn’t know if this was going to be a job that worked for me, or that I would even like and it turns out I was lucky. I loved what I was doing.” Do something you love and maybe you’ll be rewarded for it.

7. They Keep Their Heads Out Of The Clouds

While it’s good to have big dreams, it’s a bad idea to dwell on them. Another Shark, Kevin O’Leary, recommends setting goals you really believe you can achieve. If you set your heights too high, you’ll never get off the ground.

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9. They Maintain Healthy Relationships

Good relationships have the power to help us get through the bad times and make the good times great. To cite a dramatic example, the tight-knit yet wide-reaching relationship Oprah Winfrey has with her audience is awe-inspiring. I’d say she’s highly successful, wouldn’t you? Follow her lead by making sure the relationships in your life are in good places.

8. They Find Out What Works For Them

There’s a lot of research that shows that the daylight is good for you and that mornings are when you’re most productive. However, those statistics don’t hold true for 100% of the population. Brian Michael Bendis, scriptwriter and member of the Marvel Studios braintrust, writes through the night when his kids are asleep, then sleeps while they’re at school. There’s probably no one as prolific and few as highly successful in his field as Bendis. He writes for comics, animated shows, movies and a television show based on his series Powers is going to be the first drama from the PlayStation Network. Mirror his success by not sticking straight to what studies tell you and do what’s best for you.

10. They’re Habitual

Everyone can benefit from more positive habits in their lives, so more important than any one habit on this list is that you become skilled at developing them. Bill Gates reads before bed every night not just because he’s determined to be mentally fit. He does it largely because that’s the habit he’s gotten into because he turned it into a ritual that’s easier to follow then ignore. Get yourself into a zone where you can make habits become second nature to you so that you will become as successful as the people on this list! Good luck.

Featured photo credit: Ontario Chamber of Commerce via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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