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10 Things All Highly Successful People Do

10 Things All Highly Successful People Do

S-U-C-C-E-S-S, that’s the way spell success!

Do you find yourself often Googling motivational quotes, searching YouTube clips for inspirational graduation speeches and videos, and reading anything that Stephen Covey (Author of “7 Highly Effective Habits of Successful People”) produces?

Successful people eat, sleep, and breathe personal improvement. Because of this, success is an art and not a science. So if you don’t mind, I would like to paint you a picture of 10 characteristics of highly successful people that you must emulate right now to create the best version of you!

1. They greet every individual by their name.

Dale Carnegie, the godfather of self-improvement, interpersonal skill development, and public speaking, always emphasized that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Therefore take time to learn people’s names, their interests, their passions, and what’s important to them.

By simply putting a little effort into knowing people as humans and not statistics will go a long way when it’s time to rally the troops.

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2. They learn to delegate.

Being in a leadership position means you are charged with improving the present in order to ensure a prosperous future. If you are bogged down trying to do every single task your way or managing others to ensure they do it your way, you are going to burn out like a sparkler on the 4th of July.

You can find Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s, constantly communicating to his team that “Busy is not a good word. It’s not a good excuse. Get it done; delegate it!” Successful people understand the value of delegating work in helping create autonomy and confidence from within others – which will pay dividends in the long run for everyone.

3. They communicate when times are good, bad, and ugly.

The Dalai Lama put it best with, “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” You can’t argue with the Dalai Lama. Simply put – be transparent. Transparency, regardless of what is going on, will build trust, honesty, and respect among everyone you impact on a daily basis.

Highly successful people know that there is nothing more important in inspiring and motivating others than building trust, sharing honestly, and earning respect. Get’r done!

4. They are okay with being role models.

Albert Schweitzer, a great philosopher and humanitarian among other things, always emphasized that “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Being a role model is not something you get to choose. Regardless of whether you want to be or not, you are a role model.

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So instead of worrying about having to be perfect all of the time, be authentic, humanistic, and strive to be the best version of you. Because somewhere out there, someone is watching what you do and what you say in the hopes of one day becoming the great, honest and transparent leader that is you.

5. They recognize the importance of recognizing others.

As Maya Angelou infamously put it, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Highly successful people know how invaluable public displays of recognition are with regards to empowering others. Constantly celebrate and recognize positive efforts and individual accomplishments.

Doing this illustrates that you are aware of even the small things that occur on a regular basis. And when it boils down to it, life is only about the small things. Every success is founded by a thousand small positive exchanges – one a day, every day, as often as you can.

6. They only try to be themselves.

Some of our greatest leaders are not stoic, as history would tell. Instead they are dynamic, eccentric (think Mark Cuban), zealous, and most importantly, humanistic. People relate and attach themselves to those who are authentic, energetic, and charismatic – all of which you can’t be if you are spending all of your time trying to be someone else.

Steve Jobs also said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

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7. They don’t work for their work calendar.

Mark Cuban, one of the wealthiest and busiest men in America has been repeatedly quoted saying, “Time is more valuable than money,” especially when it’s your own. Sure, highly successful people’s calendars may look like the end of a Tetris game, but that doesn’t mean their time and conversations are dictated by Outlook invites.

Instead their schedule is whatever it takes to empower others to find their own success. Success isn’t dictated by meetings, it’s created through meaningful exchanges.

8. They constantly wear everyone else’s shoes

Sir Richard Branson has gone on record numerous times stating the importance of understanding and looking for the best in your people, “I love my people, I love spending time with my people, and most importantly I love learning from my people.” Follow in his footsteps by making it a point to spend some time with your peers by placing yourself in their shoes.

By doing this you will be reminded every day how invaluable the people in your life are to your success! In Sir Richard’s mind, no job is ever below him and every job is essential to his personal and professional success.

9. They live active lives

Just think of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If life is an endurance sport, then success is our fuel. Becoming and staying successful is like running a marathon. In order to survive this marathon we need to fuel ourselves with the right things – people, thoughts, and experiences. As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come.”

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Successful people not only train their minds, hearts, and will, but they train their bodies to endure the grind that is necessary to become successful too.

10. They take time to decompress

Doe Zantamata, author of the book “Karma”, accentuates through her literature that by “Taking time to do nothing will often bring everything into perspective.” Being successful takes a lot of energy, drive, and passion. No matter how centered or even-keeled we are, we are still susceptible to fatigue and burnout.

Highly successful people know how vital it is to take time for themself, re-focus, re-energize, and re-calibrate on their vision and goals. At the end of the day we are only humans doing the work of superheroes and even a superhero has a weakness.

Don’t let your lack of attention to your needs become your kryptonite. Create a great day!

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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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