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15 Small Things Successful People Do Every Day

15 Small Things Successful People Do Every Day

There are certain people that come to your mind when you think about success. Perhaps they are people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Larry Page. Yet the frenzy around these people can be so noisy that you start getting bewildered on what it actually takes to achieve success. The truth is that what successful people do daily, the things that define them, are actually discreet and little actions. Here are fifteen small things successful people do every day.

1. They focus on being productive rather than being busy

According to Tim Ferris, the author of the The 4-Hour Workweek, “Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

2. They wake up early

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, wakes up as early as 3:30am to deal with the European market. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., starts his day as early as 4:30am to send emails. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, says he wakes up by 5:30am for his daily workout routine.

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3. They focus on being with the best team

Renowned basketball coach Phil Jackson said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Successful people know that they have to be with people who will complement them. Company and management expert Ken Blanchard says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

4. They focus on making small and continuous improvements

There is a concept that you cannot eat an elephant all at once. You have to take it one bit at a time. Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.”

5. They meditate

According to Oprah Winfrey on meditation, “the results have been awesome. Better sleep. Improved relationships with spouses, children, coworkers. Some people who once suffered migraines don’t anymore. Greater productivity and creativity all around.” Successful people take time to meditate. The founder of Def Jam, Russell Simmons, says Transcendental meditation changed his life.

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6. They take care of their bodies

Regular exercise doesn’t only keep the body physically healthy, but also helps with your mental state. The chief of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Frits van Paasschen, starts at 6am and runs 10 miles per day. President Barack Obama runs 3 miles or exercises 45 minutes per day, six days a week.

7. They have balanced lives

To achieve wonderful things in life, you need to maintain balance. Successful people keep a balance with making money, spending time with their family and loved ones, and achieving personal goals.

 8. They focus on the positive

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor explains that a recent scientific study showed that doctors who are put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis consistently experience significant boosts to their intellectual abilities compared with doctors in a neutral state. Because of this, they are able to make accurate diagnoses almost 20% faster. Successful people are always optimistic about situations.

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9. They keep track of their progress

Eminem, Oprah Winfrey, and J.K Rowling all keep journals. They are able to keep track of their progress, set goals, reflect, and learn from their mistakes. They understand that they need a map to accomplish great things. Sometimes, this notebook or journal is the map they need.

10. They create their success

They understand that they are responsible for their success and that good luck is not something that magically happens. They know that you have to earn the right to be successful. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill states, “You are the master of your destiny.” You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.

11. They have successful friends

According to Jim Rohn, you are the average of your five closest friends. Successful people know this, and that is why they keep company with mentors and other successful people. In Tribes by Seth Godin, you are encouraged to find your tribe and make a difference in all of your lives.

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12. They inspire others to be successful as well

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a way of helping others to cultivate their creativity. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.”

13. They have a consistent schedule

Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, believes a consistent schedule helps with prioritization and focusing on what is important. With a consistent schedule, you are better driven to achieve success.

 14. They have a detailed plan

Before leaving the office at night, Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, writes down top three things he wants to accomplish the next day. He begins each day with this list.

15. They never procrastinate or make excuses

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Successful people do not take chances, they take action and get the tough assignments done first.

Featured photo credit: http://www.parade.com via parade.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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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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