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20 Signs You Have What It Takes To Be Highly Successful Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

20 Signs You Have What It Takes To Be Highly Successful Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

Do you consider yourself successful? If not, you might after reading this article. You might be closer to success than you thought. Success is defined in all kinds of ways. You may want to be rich, famous or simply leave a positive mark on the world. The only definition that matters is your own.

It’s perfectly fine to go ahead and consider yourself successful right now. You don’t have to wait for your next promotion, or the building of your dream home, to be happy. Accept where you are and where you have come from. And most importantly, enjoy it. Even if you don’t consider yourself highly successful now, you’re on your way.

Here are 20 signs that you have what it takes to be highly successful:

1. You crave knowledge

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

You love to learn in one format or another. It could be books, audiobooks, podcasts or videos, but the point is: you crave knowledge. You’re not constantly making excuses for why you’re not reading as much as you should be. You’re getting it done.

2. You’re planning ahead

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

You may be saving for retirement or investing in your children’s education. In one way or another, you’re planning ahead. You may not feel wealthy right now, but you are well on your way to creating a legacy by making those small contributions.

3. You wake up early

“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” – Aristotle

You may not feel like you’re conquering the world when you slowly roll out of bed, but simply getting up early aligns your habits with many of the most successful people in the world. You understand the value of the early hours and you use them to your advantage.

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4. You make friends easily

“There’s a popular concept of ‘intelligence’ as book smarts, like calculus or chess, as opposed to, say, social skills. So people say that ‘it takes more than intelligence to succeed in human society.’ But social skills reside in the brain, not the kidneys.” – Eliezer Yudkowsky

Success can’t be measured merely in terms of money. Many of the richest people in the world are often the most unhappy. Having friends and family that love you sets you apart from some of the people that you may think you want to be like. Social skills and networking are key in building a successful business and creating a successful life. If you’re good at making friends, you’re on your way to doing both.

5. You have good character

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.” -Dennis Prager

Your word means something. You understand how important it is to treat others with respect. Having good character and integrity sets you apart from others, whether you realize it or not. People do notice and it will take you far.

6. You have a burning desire to help people

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Many multi-million dollar business ideas started as a desire to help others. If you hold on to that desire, it will take you far. Want to start your own business? Think about how you could best serve others and start doing it. Your desire to help and serve people will serve you well in the end.

7. You’ve failed and you’ve kept going

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

You may have heard the terms “fail forward” or “fail up”. Failing may suck, but some of the most famous and successful people have failed the most. If you want to succeed, you have to be willing to fail…a lot. If you’re not where you want to be right now, it may simply be because you haven’t failed enough…yet. That’s OK, you’re working on it.

8. You have self-discipline and self-control

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Everyone has some self-discipline and we all want more, but just the fact that you realize the importance of it means you’re on the right track. Think of all the areas in your life that you practice self-discipline and self-control. Don’t be so hard on yourself, you may have more than you think.

9. You’re always getting better

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

You may not feel like it, but you are always getting better. If you don’t feel like you’re improving, just measure your progress backwards. Think about where you were a year ago or two or five. I bet you’re farther along than you thought. Self-improvement is something that builds up like a snowball rolling down a hill. A tiny snowball can create an avalanche if it keeps rolling. Keep learning, keep growing and keep improving.

10. You have a giving heart

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

Giving is one of the foundations of healthy finances and a healthy life. It’s not about who you’re giving to. If you’re giving at all, you’re on the right track. Consider the fact that non-profit organizations receive over a trillion dollars in revenue each year. Giving is kind of a big deal.

11. You’re motivated and driven

“I was always incredibly driven and found it impossible to relax. I felt that if I slacked off for a minute to enjoy myself, then so many things would be missed.” – Sandra Bullock

You have passion and desire to accomplish great things. You’re driven to do something big, even if you’re not sure what it is yet. If you don’t feel motivated about your work, you may need to change things up. Figure out where your drive is taking you and you will lead yourself to success.

12. You’re able to practice patience

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin

Believe it or not, many of the most successful people are not very patient, although almost all of them admit the importance of it. Your patience will serve you well if you embrace it. It’s one of the most important values you can have.

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13. You’re the person everyone wants to be around

“Lead the life that will make you kindly and friendly to everyone about you, and you will be surprised what a happy life you will lead.” – Charles M. Schwab

You have a good outlook on life. You’re optimistic. We’ve all heard about the power of positive thinking, because it’s one of the most powerful traits you can have. Being optimistic not only makes people want to be around you, it also helps you to see the good in situations, which can often lead to your success.

14. You’re confident, but not too confident

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Self-confidence sets you apart from many others who have no faith in their own potential. Believing you can achieve great things is the first step to actually achieving those things. Just don’t be over-confident…that’s annoying.

15. You have successful friends

“You are who you surround yourself with. I know that’s such a cliche quote, but it’s true.” – Selena Gomez

You understand the importance of surrounding yourself with successful, like-minded people. Did you know that your income is usually the average of your five best friends’ incomes? If you surround yourself with people who earn more money than you, you’re likely to get there soon.

16. You’re able to let things go

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” – Confucius

You don’t hold grudges, because you know it affects you more than it affects them. If you plan to be successful, you know you can’t hold on to that junk that doesn’t matter. You’re an adult and you know how to move on. If someone wants to hold a grudge against you, that’s their problem.

17. You understand the power of “no”

“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton

You’re not afraid to say “no” to engagements, but more importantly, you understand that saying no to low priorities means you can say yes to higher priorities. Let’s be honest, saying yes or no comes down to your priorities. You can’t always say yes and you know that.

18. You know you can’t do it alone

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

Successful people understand the value of asking for help. Whether it’s your marriage, other relationships or a business venture, you know that you need other people. Nobody succeeds alone and you know how to ask for help when you need it.

19. You know how to manage your time

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’” – Lao-Tzu

You have your priorities and you make time for them. You know what you should be doing and you avoid what you shouldn’t be doing. You’ve developed rituals and routines that make your life more efficient and productive. Most importantly, you understand that if you can’t manage your time, you can’t manage anything.

20. You don’t criticize, condemn or complain

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin

You know to avoid the three Cs. You’re only hurting yourself when you criticize, condemn or complain about others. There’s no room for it in your life. You understand the importance of building other people up and nurturing friendships.

You may not have all 20 of these things down yet, but you’re probably closer than you thought. Being highly successful is something that’s developed over a lifetime. You’re creating a successful life everyday. Just keep going.

Featured photo credit: Mt. Pico de Loro / Ed Escueta via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

Want to know the good news?

No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Absolutely!

But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

Easier said than done, right? Try these:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

Be Patient about the Process

No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

2. Connect with Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

3. Find Strength in Unity

The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

Recruit Some Cheerleaders

If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

Form an Accountability Group

Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
  • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
  • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
  • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
  • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
  • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

Tying it All Together

Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

But here’s the bottom line:

A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

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Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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