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7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

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7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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