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How To Be A Successful Person (And What Makes One Unsuccessful)

How To Be A Successful Person (And What Makes One Unsuccessful)

How would you define a successful person?

Perhaps it’s someone who’s ruthless, ambitious or intimidating? Perhaps it’s someone who’s business-minded, apathetic or controlling?

While on the outside, these traits may seem to play a part in what makes up a successful person, in truth it goes a lot deeper than this. There’s a sense of character that we rarely consider or synonymize with success, but it’s these intrinsic traits that are the true driving force behind a highly successful person.

So what are the differences between successful and unsuccessful people? And how to be a successful person?

This article will delve deeper into what qualities define success and failure so you can identify what’s needed for your own path to success.

1. Successful people compliment; unsuccessful people criticize.

Successful people look for positive aspects in others because they understand the importance of cultivating confidence and growth.

Feeling the need to criticize in a way that isn’t serving another constructively is showing a sense of disunity, disallowing the creative energy to flow and stalling success along the way.

2. Successful people learn to forgive; unsuccessful people hold on to grudges.

The art of forgiveness is the art of letting go. Successful people know that to forgive doesn’t mean condoning what someone has done, but rather releasing the negative emotion around it for their own peace of mind. Only then can they move past it and strive harder.

Unsuccessful people tend to hold on to grudges, causing the negative situation and energy to fester away and inevitably affect their success.

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3. Successful people accept responsibility; unsuccessful people blame others.

To be successful, you have to accept that you’re responsible for your actions, your reactions and ultimately your success and failures. This creates a mindset of empowerment and control.

Good outcomes are easy to take responsibility for, but when you realize the bad outcomes are also down to you, you can swiftly redirect to a better path and grow from the experience.

Unsuccessful people throw the blame onto others when things don’t go to plan. By doing this, they are not identifying with their own power and fall into victim mode resulting in the inability to see the opportunities for creating personal growth and therefore creating more success.

4. Successful people follow through with their habits; unsuccessful people say they do but in reality don’t.

Success is down to consistent habits and successful people know this and stick to them. They create a positive morning routine, they may meditate, they may take time to journal or plan out goals. They do this every day.

Unsuccessful people also know the importance of positive habits but they just don’t stick to them in a consistent way. They don’t make them a priority, create a lack of dedication, or just simply believe they’ll be successful without them.

5. Successful people want others to succeed; unsuccessful people want others to fail.

Highly successful people know that other people’s success doesn’t diminish their own. They look at people’s achievements and celebrate them because it’s about focusing on the element of thriving which ultimately benefits everyone.

Sometimes people don’t outwardly say they want someone to fail and may even seem to celebrate another’s success. But deep-down there is an element of jealousy or hope for failure. This comes from a lack mentality, triggering self-limiting beliefs about their ability to succeed and playing the comparison game.

6. Successful people keep a ‘to-be’ list; unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

Successful people focus, not just on what they want to do, but also how they want to be. This stems from knowing the importance of personal growth within the journey to success and becoming a person capable of achieving that success.

Unsuccessful people tend to focus on the end goal without giving much thought to the person they want to become to get there. Dismissing this crucial part of success can be one of the major downfalls as working on yourself is paramount to creating a successful life.

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7. Successful people focus on themselves; unsuccessful people focus on others.

While successful people focus on their personal growth and concentrate on their responsibility for success, unsuccessful people spend much of their time focusing on what others are doing.

They compare themselves to others in a detrimental way and use it to create the energy of lack and low self-worth within themselves.

8. Successful people set goals; unsuccessful people just go with the flow.

Everyone knows that to be successful, you have to set yourself goals.

Thinking big and believing you can achieve them gives you something to strive for. It creates structure and it creates a game plan no matter how small the goals are.

Unsuccessful people don’t set goals, which means, they may have a great idea but constantly feel lost trying to achieve them and causing them to give up more easily.

9. Successful people focus on the positive; unsuccessful people focus on the negative.

It’s really simple; a positive mindset sends you on the direction of success and a negative mindset can only steer you towards failure.

When you’re in a positive state (even when facing a particular challenge), you attract more positive opportunities. When you only see the negative, you literally blind yourself from seeing answers to problems because you’re usually so fixated on the problems.

10. Successful people embrace change; unsuccessful people fear change.

Everything is temporary and change is inevitable. Successful people realize this and know that change is a necessary part of success. And so they’re willing to embrace change.

Unsuccessful people want change but fear it happening or find it hard to embrace the change that inevitably needs to happen. This just slows it all down and makes the process harder than it needs to be.

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Choose to see all change as positive and always serving you on your road to success.

11. Successful people share information; unsuccessful people horde information.

Sharing is a concept that successful people understand and implement. It comes from an abundance mindset and the want to help others succeed around you.

Keeping information to yourself when you know it’ll benefit others comes from a lackful and fearful mindset. When you feel you have to act in order to benefit yourself and no one else, it will only take your success so far.

12. Successful people read everyday; unsuccessful people watch TV everyday.

This ties in with having consistent positive habits. When they have downtime, successful people will fill their mind with motivational books and know the benefits of focusing the mind to read.

When your relaxation time consists of sitting on the sofa and binge watching TV, while it’s okay to a point, it’s choosing a less stimulating path and dodging a more productive way to use your spare time.

Successful people use this time wisely and implement it into their desire to succeed.

13. Successful people show gratitude; unsuccessful people show entitlement.

The attitude of gratitude is the secret weapon for every successful person.

Whether it’s gratitude for where they are no matter what stage they’re at, for the people around them and even the challenges they face, appreciation for everything brings more things to be grateful for (and therefore success) into their lives. In fact, there’re a lot you can be grateful for: 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

Unsuccessful people usually feel like the world owes them their eventual success. They don’t fully appreciate the opportunities, the lessons or the people that help steer them on the path.

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As a result, progress feels much slower and harder to reach simply because they’re not in a state of appreciating the ins and outs of the journey.

14. Successful people talk about ideas; unsuccessful people talk about people.

Successful people focus on creativity and the different ways they can achieve success. In other words, they’re more focused on solving the problem by creating inspired ideas and this is what they talk about.

Unsuccessful people tend to focus on external sources, usually other people. They rely on others for ideas, or they focus more on what other people are or aren’t doing. This goes back to pushing the blame or responsibility to the people around them rather than taking responsibility.

15. Successful people give the credit to others; unsuccessful people take the credit for themselves.

If the success is a team effort, even if most of the work was done by you, you give credit to others and share in the celebration. Acknowledging the contributions of others is a common trait in successful people.

On the other end of the spectrum, those that take all the noteworthy credit for themselves, despite not being the only one who worked towards the goal, is on a surefire route to some degree of failure in the long term.

Final Thoughts

Successful people definitely have a different perspectives on success to those that try and fail.

A mindset of gratitude, teamwork and putting more emphasis on the journey rather than the destination are all key elements when it comes to success.

Learning and emulating these characteristics and traits of highly successful people from a space of growth and self-improvement will help you achieve the success you’re dreaming of.

More Tips about Achieving Success

Featured photo credit: Jude Beck via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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