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10 Things You Never See In Successful People

10 Things You Never See In Successful People

Everyone has their own interpretation of what success means to them, but when you break it right down, everyone can agree that it always has something to do with accomplishing a valuable goal or reaching a meaningful purpose. It could be a career advancement, a loving relationship, a useful skill, a form of artistic expression, a spiritual connection, or even an intention to help a certain person or group of people.

Real success is often not a stable and upward journey that can be achieved quickly and easily. The most successful people are often fully aware of this, and they tend to hold certain behavioural traits that set them apart from everyone else.

If you’re struggling to get what you really want out of life, consider taking a good long look inside yourself so you can start working on the following characteristics listed below. If you can shift your mindset to be much more in line with what successful people do, you’ll drastically improve your own chances of succeeding at whatever it is you want to do.

1. They never sacrifice their long-term goals for instant gratification

Certain goals can take weeks, months, and even years of persistent effort before they’re reached. The types of people who do end up reaching them, though, are usually disciplined and motivated enough to give up short-term rewards and distractions that waste too much of their time or inhibit their progress.

When successful people do decide to take some time off from progressing toward their goal by indulging in guilty pleasures, they usually know how to do it intelligently — in a way that actually supports and enhances their creativity, motivation, focus, and stamina. Any other form of instant gratification that doesn’t serve to rejuvenate them in some sort of way is treated as a hindrance that they need to avoid.

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2. They never execute without having a proper plan in place.

It shouldn’t be any surprised that a lot of successful people are also very organized and take their planning processes very seriously. They’ll often take every preliminary step they need in order to ensure success, carefully planning out their calendars, project stages, research requirements, testing phases, professional consultations, skill training, and more.

The fact that successful people put so much effort into planning out what they need to do doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad at responding to sudden changes or avoid following their gut instincts when immediate decisions need to be made. Most find a happy balance between sticking to the plan and responding accordingly to unexpected obstacles along the way.

3. They never let their fear of challenge get in their way

It’s normal to want to avoid struggle and hardship as much as possible, but in truth, that’s exactly what keeps most people from moving forward. Successful people think differently about struggle and hardship, knowing and embracing the challenges they need to face to achieve what they want. Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most powerful women in entertainment, is just one famous example of someone who faced unemployment and money troubles shortly after she came out as gay on one of the last episodes of her sitcom “Ellen,” long before she made herself into hit a daytime TV talk show host.

While regular folks react on impulse to challenging situations and worry about making big mistakes, successful people have a way of interpreting each challenge they face as a valuable lesson that will make them better for it. They also view challenges in a way that makes the reward of achieving the end goal even more worth it. Whatever stands in their way, the people who are most likely to succeed are the ones who feel confident enough in their own abilities to rise above the obstacles they face.

4. They never allow their egos to control their values, actions, or goals

It’s not uncommon for the idea of a successful career person to conjure up images of egotistical “Mad Men” type businesspeople in suits, with fancy cars and tremendous amounts of money. In reality, though, many of the most successful people in the world are actually very humble and grounded — even in business. In the book “Inside Apple” by Adam Lashinsky, CEO Tim Cook describes himself by saying, “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.”

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The people who truly succeed in life are the ones who never inflate their own self-importance and consider themselves equal among everyone else. After all, it can be pretty hard to become successful all on your own without any help from colleagues, teachers, friends, family, fans, customers, and supporters — especially if everyone thinks you’re completely self-absorbed.

5. They never succumb to other people’s negative criticisms and opinions about them

Despite being humble and grounded among their peers, successful people are able to succeed because they believe in what they stand for, and they’re confident in what they can do. This is an especially important trait to have when it seems like nobody else is on their side.

People who have a low sense of self-efficacy often let their doubts, fears, self-comparisons, and public criticisms derail their efforts. People who are destined for success, on the other hand, will use negative feedback and criticism to lift themselves up and strengthen them — even in the most extreme cases.

6. They never do the easy and unnecessary things first when more important things require immediate attention

The way you set your priorities can make you or break you. The most successful people not only plan well — they also know exactly what needs to get done first before anything else, where they need to focus most of their time and energy, and what can be delegated to others.

People who spend too much of their time focusing on frivolous tasks just because they enjoy them and would rather procrastinate on the tasks that are more difficult and important are guaranteed to struggle with moving themselves forward. If you want to be successful, you need to make a commitment to tackle the most critical and influential things first, regardless of how much you enjoy or dislike doing them.

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7. They never ignore the opportunity to get extra help from others when they know they really need it

When you get excited about achieving a big goal, it’s natural to want to do everything your way. But getting help when you really need it goes hand in hand with the previous point about sticking to what’s important, and the most successful people are often the ones who seek out the right help at the right time.

Whether you need a mentor, an assistant, a trainer, a teacher, a coach, group support, or just someone who can help take those menial tasks off your hands, it’s important to seek help from other people who are good at what they do. Instead of obsessing over the desire to do everything yourself, aim to get more help so you can free up more time for the most important tasks and build relationships with people who can teach you new things.

8. They never let themselves worry too much about the past or the future.

When it comes to moving forward toward a specific goal, some people end up getting trapped by spending too much time and energy dwelling on the past or planning extensively for the future. While learning from past mistakes and planning for future challenges are both very important and necessary for success, they’re both useless if you’re barely taking any action at all in the present.

The most successful people don’t let past feelings of embarrassment or shame from previous mistakes prevent them from doing what they need to do in the now. They’re also quite aware of how spending too much time in the planning process can easily turn into a procrastination method, so they know how to limit their preparation for the future to what’s only necessary in order to really focus on active progress.

9. They never take their biggest fans and supporters for granted

Even when faced with intense hardship and unrelenting hatred, the people who succeed at achieving their goals are the ones who never forget who their biggest fans truly are. By continuing to serve their admirers and take in their positive energy, successful people are able to supercharge their motivation and stay focused on what matters most.

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People who end up succeeding at their goals regularly surround themselves by loved ones, get help and support from the people they look up to, and make sure they keep providing value to the ones they’re serving. Anyone who wants to succeed at something that’s challenging absolutely can’t afford to ignore who’s standing right there with them and backing them up the whole way.

10. They never surrender to failure

Last but not least, people who end up reaching their goals and making their wildest dreams come true are able to do so because they simply just never quit. Many of them even fail their way forward, taking mistake after mistake and struggle after struggle as valuable lessons that they can use to improve everything they need to do along the way. Co-founder and CEO of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, says failure is really “a stepping stone to success.”

One of the most essential traits of successful people is their ability to persevere no matter what gets thrown in their way. If they’re passionate about achieving what they set out to do, they always find a way to get there without ever giving up.

So, which of these ten powerful behavioural traits do you think you could work on to improve your own chances of success? It might not be easy to accept the fact that you’ve got some work to do, but if it’s all in the name of something you want to achieve real badly, then it’ll be worth it.

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Elise Moreau

Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

It’s 6:00 am. You have just woken up and are ready to take a shower. After the showering, it’s time to eat breakfast, catch the news by reading the morning paper, and then start your work.

You are feeling wonderful, relaxed, and happy. You have very high expectations for the day and you want to be as productive as possible.

Fast forward to 2 pm the same day. You are working in a rush and you barely had a chance to take a lunch break.

You start to feel a bit stressed and tired because of the busy schedule. Besides, it seems that you have to go back to certain tasks and fix them, because you didn’t have time to focus on them properly.

The day which started so fine has turned into a stressful one. You just jump from one task to another – as quickly as possible – without doing anything properly.

You wish you’d find a reset button, so that you could start your day from all over – with a different strategy.

What you probably experienced was this: you planned your day the night before and you felt you were on top of your tasks.

However, things started to go wrong when you kept adding tasks after each other to your list and finally your task list was many miles long. Your to do list also contained tasks which were pretty much impossible to get done in one day.

The other point which contributed to your hectic and stressful day was not understanding how much time completing a particular task would take and when to execute the task. If you had this information, it would have been easier to figure out the right timing for executing the task.

Finally, there really wasn’t any flexibility in your plans. You forgot to add a buffer between tasks and understand that certain tasks are much larger than what they seem outside.

But you know what – these reasons alone weren’t the main reason for your stress and busyness …

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What People Are Wrong About a To-Do List

Do you really know what you are supposed to do?

How much time did you actually spent on planning your day – was it just 5 minutes while the television set was distracting you?

If so, then this was probably the biggest reason why your day became so stressful.

When you plan your days, you should truly understand the tasks you are about to do – and what it takes to accomplish them. This is necessary especially with important tasks, because you are able to make progress with the tasks that matter the most.

The lack of time spent on planning will also be shown as too many big tasks stuffed to your daily list. If you haven’t broken down the task into smaller pieces, it’s probable that you are not going to get them done during the day. This in turn makes you to beat yourself for not completing your task list.

Finally, don’t treat creating a task list just like some secondary thing that you try to do as quickly as possible. In fact, when you pay more attention to your next day’s task list, the more likely is the list going to be realistic and less stressful for you.

Components of a Good To-Do List

When I talk about a good task list, I consider these characteristics to be part of it:

Balanced

The task list contains both important and less important tasks. Let’s face it: although we all would like to work on just important tasks ( e.g. goal related ones), we have to take care of the less important tasks as well (like running errands, taking care of your household or other everyday stuff).

Enough Flexibility

What happens when you have planned a task, but you are unable to take care of it? Do you have a plan B in place? If not, try to figure out the alternative action you can take in these scenarios.

Time for Transitions

Understand that transition times also eat your time. Make sure that when you plan your task list, this time is also included in your plans. Adding some extra buffer between tasks will make your list more flexible and realistic.

Not Too Many Tasks for One Day

Giving you an exact figure on how many tasks you should have on your daily list is difficult. It depends on your situation. But I’m willing to say that anything between 5-10 tasks should be enough for a day.

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Understand that certain tasks are very quick to take care of, so it’s easier to include more tasks on certain days. Just make sure that there are also important tasks on the list so that you are able to move on with your bigger projects.

Shield of Protection

Build a shield of protection around your task list, so that as few tasks as possible can land to your list and that the number of items on your list won’t increase during the day.

In the first case, try to eliminate the sources for your tasks. This is done by reducing your commitments and limiting the projects you have. The fact is that the more commitments (or projects) you have, the more likely they are going to end up as tasks for your daily list.

In the second case, make your list a closed one. I learned this concept by reading Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management by Mark Forster. In order to create a closed task list, all you have to do is to draw a line under the last task on the list. When you have done this, you are not allowed to add any new tasks to your list during the day. This ensures that the number of tasks is actually decreasing as the day goes on.

How to Create a To-Do List That Boosts Your Productivity

To make a list that you can actually accomplish the next day, do the following:

1. Eliminate the Tasks

Go through your commitments and decide if you really need each one.

For instance, I was an active member of our local computer club in my hometown, but then I realized that I don’t have enough time for that activity anymore. Although I’m still a member of the club, I don’t participate in its activities anymore. This has eliminated the tasks related to that commitment.

2. Take Your Time to Plan the List

Don’t rush creating your task list – spend some time on the planning phase. If required, “isolate yourself” for the planning part by going to a separate room in your home (or even going outside your home). This way, you can actually think the tasks thorough before you enter them onto your list.

Try to spend at least 15 minutes with your list when you plan it.

3. Move Important Tasks to the Beginning

When planning your day, make sure that the important tasks are at the beginning of your list. This ensures that you get those tasks done as quickly as possible.

For instance, as a blogger, I make sure I have the content creation tasks at the beginning of my list. As soon as I wake up, I attack those tasks immediately and they get done before I go to work.

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4. Track the Recurring Tasks

You might have recurring tasks on your list, but do you know how much time they take to accomplish?

If you don’t, make sure you do some time tracking to figure it out. This helps you to plan your day better, as you know how much time a task takes and if there is a certain time slot in your daily schedule, when the task could be executed.

5. Batch Similar Tasks

Look at your list and find out if there are similar tasks that you can batch-process. This way, you can get certain tasks off your list faster and easier.

6. Define the Tasks in More Detail

Don’t just include a task like “build a website” on your list; make sure you have broken the task to smaller pieces. The smaller the tasks are, the easier it is to take accomplish them.

7. Do Some Prep Work in Advance

Make sure that you prepare for certain tasks in advance.

For instance, I write the outlines for my guests post on Sundays, so that it’s easier (and faster) for me to start writing the actual posts when I wake up. With a little bit of prep work, I speed things up and make sure tasks get done when the right day comes.

8. Automate the Maintenance

Naturally, you could use a pen and paper approach to your task list, but try to take advantage of technology too. In fact, try to find a tool that takes care of the maintenance of your task list for you. My preferred tool is Nozbe, but there are other task management applications that you can try too.

9. Know Your Task Types and Your Schedule

Finally, when you plan your day, ask yourself these questions:

What else do I have on the schedule?

This question refers to your personal schedule. For instance, if you are traveling, make sure that your list reflects to this fact. Don’t try to “overstuff” your list with too many tasks, since it’s more likely you get only a fraction of them done.

Is the task a gatekeeper?

This question asks if the task is blocking other tasks to be executed.

Every once in a while, we might have a task, which has to be taken care of first. After you have done that, only then you can take care of the sequential tasks.

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When you focus on creating your task list in a focused manner, you’ll be able to spot the gatekeepers easily.

Do I have icebergs on my list?

This question asks if your task is actually much bigger than what it seems. Sometimes when you start working on a task, you’ll soon realize that it’s much bigger than what you initially thought (compare them to icebergs, where only the tip of the iceberg is above the sea level, but the majority of the ice is below the water).

Once again, when you focus enough on your task list during the creation phase, it’s easier to spot these “icebergs” and split the tasks into smaller, much more manageable chunks.

Is the task distraction-proof?

This final question asks if the task is distraction-proof. Not all the tasks are created equal: some tolerate more distraction, while others require your full attention.

For instance, I can check my Twitter stream or do simple blog maintenance even when I’m around my family. These tasks are distraction-proof and I can take care of them – even if I don’t have my full attention on them.

The Bottom Line

If you still have a hard time of achieving your daily tasks, make sure that you analyze the reasons why this happened. If anything, do not beat yourself up for not finishing your task list.

No one is perfect and we can learn from our mistakes.

It takes a bit practice to create a “smiling” task list. However, once you learn to put all the pieces together, things are going to look much better!

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Featured photo credit: Jacqueline Kelly via unsplash.com

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