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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 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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