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10 Things Elite Achievers Don’t Do

10 Things Elite Achievers Don’t Do
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When you hear the words “elite achievers,” who comes to mind? For many, it will be people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey. For others, athletes like Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders, and Tiger Woods. Regardless of your definition of “elite,” one thing’s for sure: to join the ranks of the elite, you need to understand what elite achievers do—and what they don’t do.

Here’s a look at 10 things you won’t find top performers dong.

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1. They don’t only spend time on thinking and planning.

Elite achievers are action-oriented. They spend time learning, and then go apply what they have learned. Underachievers do the opposite. They get caught up in analysis paralysis and don’t take action. If you want to be an elite achiever, start by creating a to-do list every day, and record the actions you take to get closer to your goals. Those little actions compound over time.

2. They don’t have only one plan.

Elite people take risks because they know that’s how they’ll reap the biggest rewards; however, they know some of these risks will undoubtedly fail. So what do they do? Create back-up plans. The lesson here is simple: hope for the best but plan for the worst.

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3. They don’t wait for opportunities.

Elite achievers grasp opportunity by the laurels and run with it. They don’t wait for opportunities to come to them. If you don’t know your life purpose, go find it. If you’re sick of your job, explore other industries. If you want to learn a new skill, read everything you can, and then go apply what you learned.

4. They don’t give up.

The elite keep going until they get there. Life isn’t fair sometimes. But you always have two choices: give up or keep fighting. This doesn’t mean blindly doing things that aren’t netting results. Michael Jordan said, “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Those are words to live by.

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5. They don’t let anyone stand in the way of their dreams.

You will inevitably encounter people who try to hold you back, put you down, and make you feel terrible about yourself. Elite achievers dismiss these people with a shrug and go on with their day. The only voice that matters is your own. Don’t listen to the haters and the naysayers. You don’t need them.

6. They don’t stop learning.

88 percent of elite achievers read at least 30 minutes a day and 63 percent listen to audio books during their daily commute. The lesson here is this: never stop learning. Seek knowledge every single day. Try and read at least one new book a month on a topic you’re interested in. And use your downtime (like when you’re in the car) to listen to audio books that educate you about the things you want to be successful at (e.g., starting a new career or losing weight).

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7. They don’t try to do it all alone.

Elite achievers know what they know, but they also know what they don’t know. It’s okay to ask for help. Most top performers do. Find someone who is really good at what you want to be good at, and ask him or her if they’ll be your mentor. Most people will be honored and humbled that you’re asking them.

8. They don’t neglect their body.

Think of your body as the most sophisticated engine in the world. When you put cheap, processed fuel in your “engine,” it will not run at an optimal level. In other words, you are what you eat. When you stuff your face with fast food week in and week out, your body will respond accordingly. But when you exercise and fuel your body with real foods that are actually good for you, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. That’s why most elite achievers are healthier than the general population.

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9. They don’t expect instant gratification.

The elite know great achievements don’t happen overnight. While you hear stories about elite achievers accomplishing monumental things, nobody mentions the daily effort and persistence it took for them to get there. However, these small, seemingly insignificant efforts performed on a daily basis eventually compound into huge accomplishments. Focus on the journey, and you’ll get to the destination.

10. They don’t put themselves first.

Elite achievers go out of their way to do nice things for other people. Because along the path to greatness, everyone needs help. The more people you help, the more they’ll want to help you.

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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