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10 Things Elite Achievers Don’t Do

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10 Things Elite Achievers Don’t Do

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.

More by this author

Scott Christ

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

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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