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10 Things Successful People Do When Things Go Wrong

10 Things Successful People Do When Things Go Wrong

It is easy to imagine that successful people have always had that magic touch, when everything they do turns to gold. The reality is that they too have screwed up and failed. This article will tell you how they cope when things go pear shaped. If they can get over failure, then so can you. Lots of useful life lessons here.

 1. They know how to adjust their goals

Successful people are not going to give up that easily. If X went wrong, it does not affect Y which is the hallmark of their success. They are adaptable, resilient, and determined to go on. That means having a plan B ready so that the phoenix will rise from the ashes.

 2. They are realistic optimists

They know that optimism is what counts and their glass is always half full. Research suggests that the realistic optimist is more likely to be successful.  In addition, they are grateful for what they have achieved and will concentrate on their successes.

 3. They learn from their failure

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” – Dalai Lama

If successful people fail, it means that they were prepared to:

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  • move out of the safe comfort zone
  • take calculated risks
  • experience the joy of growing and fulfilment

When and if they fail, they are able to sit down and assess calmly what went wrong. There is a lesson from every failure and they know how/where to find it, accept it, and above all apply it to future projects.

Bill Gates’ first company called Traf-O-Data was a failure. He was able to adapt and try again with Microsoft and we all know how successful that is.

“Success is moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill.

It is interesting to note that Churchill was defeated in many elections until he finally became Prime Minister at the age of 62!

4. They know that failure is a prelude to success

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”- Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan kept at it and made sure that he perfected his technique. You can do the same by assessing your skills set and see how they can be improved. Or maybe you need to spend more time on networking and building relationships. Is there a way you can take the initiative the next time?

5. They ask for advice

Many entrepreneurs were able to crawl out from the ruins of failure and start again. But some were wise enough to seek advice from friends or mentors. Obviously these have to be the kind of people you would trust your life with. They are also upbeat, confident, and can boost your morale.

Those who make it to the top also know how to get help from their networks and connections, when they want to start over after failure or setbacks.

6. They are persistent and courageous

“We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking post, and we’ll not fail.”- Lady Macbeth

Thomas Edison failed over 6,000 times when inventing the light bulb. The courage to go on is essential. All successful businessmen, inventors and politicians have one thing in common. They never quit.

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7.  They know that nothing is wasted

When asked about success and failure, Robert Kiyosaki, author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ said that successful people are always pushing their boundaries. They are the ones who know how to invest in what remains after failure, so that they are always growing.

8. They know when to slow down and take a break

Very often, entrepreneurs are slow to admit their failure and make things worse by trying to back pedal and recoup losses. The secret is to know when to let go if you have failed, sit back, slow down, and regroup.

9. They never blame

“When people are lame, they love to blame.” – Robert Kiyosaki.

When successful people fail, they know where to lay to blame – on themselves.

10. They never wait for the right moment

“Carpe diem (seize the moment).” – Horace

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The great successes of our time in inventions, research and in finance were all achieved because the entrepreneurs never thought for one moment that the ‘time was not right’. They went ahead and did it.

If you think that the difference between failure and success is just a matter of luck, think again!  As Betty Liu, the ‘In the Loop’ anchor has said, it has nothing to do with chance. She summed it up as: “Opportunity + Preparation = Luck”.

 

Featured photo credit: Do not fear failure/ Tomasz Stasiuk via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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