How do they do it? Are there any secrets that you don’t know about?
Actually, yes, there are!
But, when you know these secrets, you’ll realize that they are pretty straightforward. Success is not easy, but it is basic, uncomplicated.
So, I dug deeper into the interviews, books, and stories of these successful people to bring you a solid observation of what it looks like inside their minds.
Here, I present you, the habits of successful people.
1. If you want to change the world, change yourself.
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, acknowledged in an interview: “Changing ourselves is the most important.”
If you want to see yourself successful in ten years from now, then you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask “What do I want to do every day for the rest of my life?”
Write a solid vision for your life because you’ve got one life and there is no reason to do something you hate. That also means, quit your day job as soon as possible, if you’re not happy doing it.
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2. Stop being lazy.
This has to be the most important habit in this post. In Aaron Marino‘s words, “The secret? Don’t be fucking lazy. That is the number one secret for you, me, everybody to be successful.”
3. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
All successful people and companies have this one important thing common: they pick one thing and do it better than everyone else. Google believes that. And we know what they’re really good at.
Simplify everything. Don’t complicate things and be clear about what you can do best. Google started with the search engine. After it was great enough, products like Maps and Gmail were born.
You can be a jack of all trades, but one by one. Master one art, skill or whatever you can do best. Be the best, to build a career around it. Be so good that you’ll be considered the greatest of all.
Once you’re good enough in doing one thing then spend time mastering something else. Having many skills always helps and fills more space in your portfolio.
4. Stop chasing the magic bullets.
A kid started his music career at the age of four and finally got some popularity at the age of twenty-five. Now, he goes by the name Bruno Mars.
It is easy to get caught up in get-rich-quick schemes and shortcuts. But many entrepreneurs don’t understand the truth. Ramit Sethi agreed, “Whether you’re trying to start a business, find a job, or improve your fitness…MAGIC BULLETS DON’T EXIST.”
Success does not come that fast, for most. It takes years and years of hard work and patience.
5. Don’t work for money. Learn how to make money work for you.
“My advice to all of you is, don’t work for money — it will wear out fast, or you’ll never make enough and you will never be happy, one or the other,” Tim Cook implied.
Robert Kiyosaki repeated several times in his book: “work to learn, don’t work for money.” Once you understand that, you will escape the rat race. In simpler words, you’ll not be making money for dudes in jeans and tee shirts. Rather learning how you can control the money and making it work for you.
To understand more clearly, read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
6. You haven’t tried enough times if you wish to quit.
SpaceX failed numerous times and lost millions of dollars until they finally got the first-ever reusable rocket Falcon 9 to work.
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough,” said Elon Musk.
Fear of failure is real. Failure isn’t. Although it is a necessary step on the path of success, we have been conditioned trying to avoid it. They think it’s bad.
In fact, the success comes after failing over and over again. So, if you have a brilliant business idea, start testing and executing until you make it happen. You got one life, don’t die with regrets.
When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Thomas Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
7. Perfection isn’t necessary.
Because we try so much to not fail, many become obsessed with perfecting everything. “Which blue will look the best? Dark blue or navy blue? Ah, let’s go with pink instead.”
Two things that I know to be true:
- Done is better than good.
- Nothing is ever perfect.
8. Stop watching other people’s successes on Instagram.
You’re not looking at the years and years of hard work and struggle, but the good-looking product that they are portraying themselves as. Stop having those unnecessary short-term highs. Because somebody out there is outworking you, while you’re double-tapping pictures of Kardashians or Jenners.
9. Disconnect yourself from the outside world.
Nikola Tesla suggested:
“Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
10. Struggle what you love. Love what you struggle.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle
I’ll steal some lines from Mark Manson’s best-seller:
“What determines your success isn’t, “What do you want to enjoy?” The relevant question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The path to happiness is a path full of shitheaps and shame. That’s the hard question that matters, the question that will actually get you somewhere.”
After all, you need to struggle something because that’s where the meaning of life comes from. But working at a call center, listening how someone’s shit got broke and trying to fix it — this does not look fun at all, at least to me.
When asked about his mission to civilize Mars, Elon Musk said: “I’m not saying we will do it, I’m saying we’re gonna try.” In other words, he loves this struggle.
What you do—skill, art or whatever—is your brand. Obsess about your brand. It defines you and your relationship with your customer/prospect. It is this love for your work that people will come to you despite hundreds of others offering the same exact service.
11. Be proactive.
This is the first habit that Stephen R. Covey talked about in his bestseller book. Being proactive can be explained in two points:
- Don’t complain and blame others.
- Be response-able of the things you can control.
Life doesn’t just happen. It’s a result of the choices you make. Recognizing that and being accountable for those choices — is being proactive. Reacting to or worrying about the external forces and blaming others, which you have little or no control — is not.
12. Keep knocking on doors.
If you’re a beginner, don’t stop asking for advice and approaching powerful people until someone says yes. Many beginners worry what others will think and what not.
The fact is, I’ve met so many influential people who are ready to help (when approached the right way). Such that, I got 44 successful entrepreneurs to contribute for my post about leadership qualities. I never knew until I started putting some effort.
Find people who have done something you want to do. Visit them or take them to lunch, and ask them for tips and tricks. They’ll happily share because they’re passionate about it.
13. Reading every day is one common habit of ultra-successful people.
Watch this video (01:14) from Business Insider:
14. Never stop studying the greats.
Rodney Jerkins said this about Michael Jackson while shooting for the XSCAPE documentary:
“Michael would be in a lounge watching footage of Jackie Wilson, James Brown and Charlie Chaplin. And he was about probably forty when we were working together. I walk in and I say “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m studying.” Remind you, he had all the Grammys, millions and millions of albums sold, I said, “What are you studying?” He said, “You never stop studying the greats.” That was a serious, serious lesson for me as a young and upcoming person to hear him say that and to witness that.”
15. Always do the market research.
Test. Test. Test.
It is so important because it helps you tell key business questions. Who will buy your product? How often will people but it? How much should it cost? What about your competitors?
Most importantly: Do people really need it? Will it make their life easier/better? It may not necessarily solve a burning problem, but should be good enough.
I will let Steve Jobs explain how important is market research (01:27):
The deal is, understanding the market is a continuous process. Trends, interests, competition, etc., change all the time, so should your strategy, goals, and vision.
16. Be bold and eccentric.
This is what Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie) said in one of his videos (in case you don’t know, he’s the most subscribed guy on YouTube):
“If I notice a channel doing something I haven’t seen before, I’m automatically more drawn to that thing. And it was the same thing for me when I started making videos, I did what everyone else was doing. But my channel didn’t grow from it at all. The big ones have already settled in. It’s going to be hard as hell. And it wasn’t until I started doing different, something that hadn’t been done before, like the horror videos. That’s when I started to get an audience that really cared about the content that I was making.”
Make a habit of finding and doing something that will help you separate from the crowd. It could be anything that excites people. But, don’t be so expect-able and obvious.
17. Never announce your next big move.
Because when you do, people will give you opinions which usually have no value. Those opinions will distract you from your goals and in turn, make you less motivated to accomplish them.
Friends, relatives, or acquaintances, they most likely will not understand, ridicule your plans and say: “This ain’t gonna work, boy!” “Get a real job.”
Prepare your mind against all negative and discouraging influences. Many world-changing ideas are born and evaporated in no time because of the fear of criticism.
“You cannot do it.” “The job is too big.” “What will your relatives think of you?”
Don’t let them stop you, at any cost. I think it’s a hot place to use that iconic quote: “Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.”
18. Think win/win.
If you want to be successful, you can’t be only thinking about yourself. This isn’t about who wins and loses. Rather seeking mutual benefit or solutions for everyone.
This is the fourth habit from Steven R. Covey’s book. He says:
Think win/win means everybody wins. Not only you make money, everybody does.
19. Surround yourself with successful people or those who are on their way to become successful.
Watch this video (02:38) by Gary Vaynerchuk:
One thing I’d like to add is, be successful yourself or on your way to becoming one. Because you can’t be judging people if you’re a loser.
20. Get the best to work for you.
Hiring more people or not is entirely up to you.
But you can’t run a business single-handedly if you want it to grow bigger. That’s why getting great employees is crucial and one of the most difficult jobs when your aim is to expand.
Get smarter and more efficient people than you. You want the best talent possible. Because compromising with half-good is not an option.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, making enough money and feel fulfilled about what you’re doing then may not need more employees. Still, keep yourself exposed to really smart people and great knowledge sources.
21. Stop buying stuff you don’t need.
Because you probably don’t need the stuff you think you do.
It’s great to buy new and expensive things when you’re making money. But many of us get out of control even when it’s of little or no use.
How much stuff do you need? That actually depends on your lifestyle and family.
What I know for sure, happiness does not come from owning possessions, but life experiences when experienced with other people. Getting rid of that stuff make you happier and your life easier.
Remember, you become rich by owning a lot of money, not by spending a lot of money. Here’s why the next habit is so important.
22. Build assets and reduce liabilities.
First and foremost, what’s an asset?
In simple words, an asset is something you own that helps you make money, directly or indirectly (like stocks and real estate). If it’s sucking your money instead of making, it’s a liability (like home loans).
Building assets, mostly through stocks made Bill Gates and Warren Buffet the richest men on the planet.
Like I said earlier, keep more money than you spend. Before you can build assets, learn how to do that and be good at it. Robert T. Kiyosaki said, “The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth.”
23. Work out and eat good food.
Your business can be on point, and your relationships can be on point but what about your health?
If you really want to accomplish big things you have to take a big step towards your health and fitness. There is no waiting for New Year or birthday, make the mental change now and start working out.
Be accountable to yourself or hire a fitness/health trainer.
The main reason is to feel good, in the long-run, not for a short time. You’ll be more athletic, more efficient and even when you’ll be 60 or 90 years old—you’re going to be in a much better position than if you avoid it.
And of course, this is not going to be easy. Why should it be? There is always some price to pay, and it will take time.
24. Be passionate about your relationships and sex life.
Napoleon Hill said in his best-seller:
“Sex transmutation is simple and easily explained. It means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature. The desire for sexual expression is by far the strongest and most impelling of all the human emotions, and for this very reason this desire, when harnessed and transmuted into action, other than that of physical expression, may raise one to the status of a genius.”
“When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. So strong and impelling is the desire for sexual contact that men freely run the risk of life and reputation to indulge it.”
25. Be very fast.
As Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Speed is 4 billion times more important than perfection.”
Worrying and thinking about what others think of you is the opposite of speed. The biggest problem is that people want to build their businesses to be successful within a year, but their day-to-day execution speed is slow.
Speed is the right mixture of patience and hard work. You’re patient in the long-term and working hard with speed on a daily basis. Stop chit-chatting thoughts over the table, start testing and putting them in work. That’s how you’ll know if you can make it happen.
And one thing while I end this post: remember, not all of the habits I’ve discussed are necessary. Some are, others not.
Also, I know I haven’t covered this topic entirely. I thought, let’s write the most important habits I’ve figured out and then see what you have in your arsenal. Let me and everybody else know if you know a great habit that is helping/helped you to be successful.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
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