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Last Updated on July 10, 2019

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.

Make significant progress with the traits of success

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 About 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 February 25, 2020

How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

It’s 6:00 am. You have just woken up and are ready to take a shower. After the showering, it’s time to eat breakfast, catch the news by reading the morning paper, and then start your work.

You are feeling wonderful, relaxed, and happy. You have very high expectations for the day and you want to be as productive as possible.

Fast forward to 2 pm the same day. You are working in a rush and you barely had a chance to take a lunch break.

You start to feel a bit stressed and tired because of the busy schedule. Besides, it seems that you have to go back to certain tasks and fix them, because you didn’t have time to focus on them properly.

The day which started so fine has turned into a stressful one. You just jump from one task to another – as quickly as possible – without doing anything properly.

You wish you’d find a reset button, so that you could start your day from all over – with a different strategy.

What you probably experienced was this: you planned your day the night before and you felt you were on top of your tasks.

However, things started to go wrong when you kept adding tasks after each other to your list and finally your task list was many miles long. Your to do list also contained tasks which were pretty much impossible to get done in one day.

The other point which contributed to your hectic and stressful day was not understanding how much time completing a particular task would take and when to execute the task. If you had this information, it would have been easier to figure out the right timing for executing the task.

Finally, there really wasn’t any flexibility in your plans. You forgot to add a buffer between tasks and understand that certain tasks are much larger than what they seem outside.

But you know what – these reasons alone weren’t the main reason for your stress and busyness …

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What People Are Wrong About a To-Do List

Do you really know what you are supposed to do?

How much time did you actually spent on planning your day – was it just 5 minutes while the television set was distracting you?

If so, then this was probably the biggest reason why your day became so stressful.

When you plan your days, you should truly understand the tasks you are about to do – and what it takes to accomplish them. This is necessary especially with important tasks, because you are able to make progress with the tasks that matter the most.

The lack of time spent on planning will also be shown as too many big tasks stuffed to your daily list. If you haven’t broken down the task into smaller pieces, it’s probable that you are not going to get them done during the day. This in turn makes you to beat yourself for not completing your task list.

Finally, don’t treat creating a task list just like some secondary thing that you try to do as quickly as possible. In fact, when you pay more attention to your next day’s task list, the more likely is the list going to be realistic and less stressful for you.

Components of a Good To-Do List

When I talk about a good task list, I consider these characteristics to be part of it:

Balanced

The task list contains both important and less important tasks. Let’s face it: although we all would like to work on just important tasks ( e.g. goal related ones), we have to take care of the less important tasks as well (like running errands, taking care of your household or other everyday stuff).

Enough Flexibility

What happens when you have planned a task, but you are unable to take care of it? Do you have a plan B in place? If not, try to figure out the alternative action you can take in these scenarios.

Time for Transitions

Understand that transition times also eat your time. Make sure that when you plan your task list, this time is also included in your plans. Adding some extra buffer between tasks will make your list more flexible and realistic.

Not Too Many Tasks for One Day

Giving you an exact figure on how many tasks you should have on your daily list is difficult. It depends on your situation. But I’m willing to say that anything between 5-10 tasks should be enough for a day.

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Understand that certain tasks are very quick to take care of, so it’s easier to include more tasks on certain days. Just make sure that there are also important tasks on the list so that you are able to move on with your bigger projects.

Shield of Protection

Build a shield of protection around your task list, so that as few tasks as possible can land to your list and that the number of items on your list won’t increase during the day.

In the first case, try to eliminate the sources for your tasks. This is done by reducing your commitments and limiting the projects you have. The fact is that the more commitments (or projects) you have, the more likely they are going to end up as tasks for your daily list.

In the second case, make your list a closed one. I learned this concept by reading Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management by Mark Forster. In order to create a closed task list, all you have to do is to draw a line under the last task on the list. When you have done this, you are not allowed to add any new tasks to your list during the day. This ensures that the number of tasks is actually decreasing as the day goes on.

How to Create a To-Do List That Boosts Your Productivity

To make a list that you can actually accomplish the next day, do the following:

1. Eliminate the Tasks

Go through your commitments and decide if you really need each one.

For instance, I was an active member of our local computer club in my hometown, but then I realized that I don’t have enough time for that activity anymore. Although I’m still a member of the club, I don’t participate in its activities anymore. This has eliminated the tasks related to that commitment.

2. Take Your Time to Plan the List

Don’t rush creating your task list – spend some time on the planning phase. If required, “isolate yourself” for the planning part by going to a separate room in your home (or even going outside your home). This way, you can actually think the tasks thorough before you enter them onto your list.

Try to spend at least 15 minutes with your list when you plan it.

3. Move Important Tasks to the Beginning

When planning your day, make sure that the important tasks are at the beginning of your list. This ensures that you get those tasks done as quickly as possible.

For instance, as a blogger, I make sure I have the content creation tasks at the beginning of my list. As soon as I wake up, I attack those tasks immediately and they get done before I go to work.

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4. Track the Recurring Tasks

You might have recurring tasks on your list, but do you know how much time they take to accomplish?

If you don’t, make sure you do some time tracking to figure it out. This helps you to plan your day better, as you know how much time a task takes and if there is a certain time slot in your daily schedule, when the task could be executed.

5. Batch Similar Tasks

Look at your list and find out if there are similar tasks that you can batch-process. This way, you can get certain tasks off your list faster and easier.

6. Define the Tasks in More Detail

Don’t just include a task like “build a website” on your list; make sure you have broken the task to smaller pieces. The smaller the tasks are, the easier it is to take accomplish them.

7. Do Some Prep Work in Advance

Make sure that you prepare for certain tasks in advance.

For instance, I write the outlines for my guests post on Sundays, so that it’s easier (and faster) for me to start writing the actual posts when I wake up. With a little bit of prep work, I speed things up and make sure tasks get done when the right day comes.

8. Automate the Maintenance

Naturally, you could use a pen and paper approach to your task list, but try to take advantage of technology too. In fact, try to find a tool that takes care of the maintenance of your task list for you. My preferred tool is Nozbe, but there are other task management applications that you can try too.

9. Know Your Task Types and Your Schedule

Finally, when you plan your day, ask yourself these questions:

What else do I have on the schedule?

This question refers to your personal schedule. For instance, if you are traveling, make sure that your list reflects to this fact. Don’t try to “overstuff” your list with too many tasks, since it’s more likely you get only a fraction of them done.

Is the task a gatekeeper?

This question asks if the task is blocking other tasks to be executed.

Every once in a while, we might have a task, which has to be taken care of first. After you have done that, only then you can take care of the sequential tasks.

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When you focus on creating your task list in a focused manner, you’ll be able to spot the gatekeepers easily.

Do I have icebergs on my list?

This question asks if your task is actually much bigger than what it seems. Sometimes when you start working on a task, you’ll soon realize that it’s much bigger than what you initially thought (compare them to icebergs, where only the tip of the iceberg is above the sea level, but the majority of the ice is below the water).

Once again, when you focus enough on your task list during the creation phase, it’s easier to spot these “icebergs” and split the tasks into smaller, much more manageable chunks.

Is the task distraction-proof?

This final question asks if the task is distraction-proof. Not all the tasks are created equal: some tolerate more distraction, while others require your full attention.

For instance, I can check my Twitter stream or do simple blog maintenance even when I’m around my family. These tasks are distraction-proof and I can take care of them – even if I don’t have my full attention on them.

The Bottom Line

If you still have a hard time of achieving your daily tasks, make sure that you analyze the reasons why this happened. If anything, do not beat yourself up for not finishing your task list.

No one is perfect and we can learn from our mistakes.

It takes a bit practice to create a “smiling” task list. However, once you learn to put all the pieces together, things are going to look much better!

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Featured photo credit: Jacqueline Kelly via unsplash.com

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