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7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do
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If you like to say that successful people “have it made,” please stop. Most people are leading a life that is a direct result of their thoughts, behaviors, and actions. And what is “success” anyway? This article isn’t about success in the form of a bulging bank account or sweet ride. It is about doing fulfilling work that makes a positive impact on the lives of others. Keep on reading to discover the 7 common things the most successful people do.

Successful people know their priorities.

The world is full of places to visit and things to do, but unless you are a cyborg that never sleeps or a fortunate recipient of the Fountain of Youth, there is no way you can do ALL THE THINGS. Be ambitious and aim to accomplish whatever makes you happy, but spreading yourself too thin will wreck your focus before you can say “burn-out.” If you’re not sure how to get your priorities straight, ask yourself, “What do I want to be remembered for long after I’m gone?” Think that over for a few days – change your answer as you please (expect to change it a lot as the months and years go on) – and do the thing that makes you happy.  

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Successful people focus with all of their might.

As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Multi-tasking is just a slightly more productive version of procrastination. Whereas no work gets done during procrastination, lots of work gets done (but badly) while you multi-task. Every day, give yourself a list of one to three important tasks that you will complete no matter what happens. Focus on the important things, and the rest has a way of falling in place.

Successful people take time to recharge.

I have to confess I’m sometimes guilty of working beyond my limits (I am secretly the Energizer Bunny, shhhh). While the grind makes me feel happy and productive at first, pushing too hard just leaves me exhausted and sick of everything. Your hard work won’t vanish if you walk away for a few minutes, hours or days, so take a breather. You will come back refreshed and ready to succeed. Also, if you are working on a creative task and run face-first into writer’s block or experience a severe drop in brain power, this probably means you need to walk away.

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Successful people put the needs of others first.

You will be hard-pressed to achieve great heights of success without a team of friends and colleagues cheering you on. The best way to build a team of people who want you to succeed is to treat them the way they want to be treated (imagine that!). Connect with like-minded folks in your field to make new friends who you can absorb knowledge from. Offer to help your friends, fans, or followers for cheap or free while you put the finishing touches on the brilliant product or service you plan to offer (and then ask them for testimonials!). And a bit of tough love: a lot of mushy self-help gurus like to say you can succeed doing whatever your heart desires as long as you try hard enough. This is a load of garbage. If you’re not offering something that your target audience finds useful or appealing (or if you couldn’t even tell me who your target audience is), you need to do some soul-searching. Be relevant to people’s needs, or fail.

Successful people adapt to changing scenarios.

Don’t you wish you could predict all of life’s inconveniences, curveballs, and catastrophes? It would be nice to have a heads up about hurdles headed our way so we could brace ourselves for the high jump, but life would get awful boring if it was so scripted all the time. Because I have no crystal ball to offer you, you need to improve your ability to adapt. Life isn’t fair and it never will be fair. But no matter what happens, remember that you (and only you) have full control of your life. Success doesn’t typically come from what you do, but how you react to an ever-changing script.

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Successful people challenge their beliefs.

Your belief is only as strong as your willingness to challenge it. You don’t receive a gold star for being right. Your willingness to be wrong is directly proportionate to your odds of success. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite sure I don’t have it all figured out. The simple act of being wrong (and admitting it) can increase your knowledge, make you humble, expand your perspective, and help you succeed.

Successful people focus on the Big Picture.

The problems you’re facing today seem a lot bigger than they really are. If you’re stressing out about something right now, ask yourself, “Will this be a big deal next week/month/year?” Stop seeing every day as an isolated event but rather a mere piece of the jig-saw puzzle that is your life. All of the pieces might not be perfect. Some of them might even be discolored, torn, and rotten. But the quality of each singular piece is irrelevant. The important thing is the completed puzzle that is your life.

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Successful people do apply what they learn. Are there any takeaways from this article that you’re going to run with? If so, tell us in the comments!

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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