Today’s biggest innovators share one thing in common: vision. This is the kind of vision that gave us Microsoft, Facebook, the iPhone, and Tesla, to name a few. All world-changing innovations were born out of the idea of one person or a group of individuals with that burning drive to achieve that goal that they share. Calling them ‘lucky’ is a sloppy attempt at giving credit to their accomplishments.
It goes without saying, however, that no matter how big your vision is, it will never come to fruition without dedication and hard work. It does sound a lot like cliché but the right motivation, constancy in purpose, and a strong will to make things happen are key ingredients to taking that first step. Case in point: leaders of the biggest and most successful businesses and global projects. Isn’t effective leadership the pillar of any successful enterprise? People who breathe inspiration and exude leadership are worth emulating.
For years, the great debate on whether leaders are born, not made has polarized the world. While we concede that some innately possesses leadership skills, others argue that anyone can make a mark in the world by embracing the daily habits and mindset of the greats.
Here are 10 of the most common habits successful people take as their life guide. We hope this list helps you to achieve your very own success story.
Stick to a Morning Routine
Want to be ahead of the game? Most successful people will likely tell you that being “a morning person” comes naturally to them. Ask any CEO, President, or Olympic athlete: they all start their day early. Waking up early is a habit they all share.
A research concluded that “self-control or willpower is a finite resource.” Numerous studies seem to argue this, however, as they liken willpower to a muscle that is prone to fatigue and depletion. That said, you have to take advantage of it while the gratification is fresh and fulfilling. And because willpower is at its strongest in the morning, invest in a morning routine and stick to it.
Early risers typically take these start-to-end-of-day habits to heart:
Wake up an hour early.
Eat a hearty breakfast.
Visualize your day and make it happen.
Prioritize your day’s most dreaded tasks—and get done with them first.
Let go of the things that you cannot control.
Motivate yourself to finish your day strong.
Go to bed early at night; you’ll need it for the next day.
The snooze button on your alarm should be a thing of the past. Get up and start your day right—and start it early. Soak in all the willpower you need for the day and own it!
“As a leader, you need to have a strong voice and you need to know when it’s time to listen,” says Amy Jen Su, co-owner of Paravis Partners, a team of specialists devoted to training and coaching would-be executives.
Strong leaders are perceived to be opinionated and take decisive actions for the entire team. There’s no denying that this is a strong leadership attribute. Equally important, however, is a leader’s genuine interest in what others have to say. Not everyone is a listening leader, but it can be learned. And it will do wonders for your organization.
Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is known for being a listener and for giving credit to whom it’s due. For one, he acknowledges his people’s brilliant ideas for saving the company a lot of money. When the situation calls for it, he consults his people and takes their ideas into account before making the final decision.
To be appointed a leader, you are expected to be the crème de la crème of your organization. But the truth is, you do not have all the answers. Learn to stand down and listen. Develop an open mind and welcome other people’s suggestions. Most importantly, validate and verify, and be thankful for the shared information. You don’t have to agree with everything; all you have to do is to listen.
Be Proactive, NOT Reactive
One of the most significant habits successful people share is being proactive. They’d gladly tell you “Action” is their middle name. Planning, setting up meetings, brainstorming, and conceptualizing are all good but they all require action. For proactive leaders, the focus should be on working toward completing the job at hand—without discounting the possible problems and taking charge of them before everything goes on a downward spiral.
At a certain point, your organization will experience setbacks. Because of circumstances beyond your control, your expectations might not always be met. Perhaps you get poor results despite your efforts. What if the changes within your organization are affecting your performance or your team’s? Will you allow yourself (and everyone else) to fail?
Be proactive. Take the initiative to make use of the resources available at your disposal while intentionally thinking ahead and planning the next step. Proactive leaders also acknowledge the role that the employees play in problem-solving. Together, they all share the same vision and act on it.
Take it from successful people. They act quickly on pressing matters and think ahead while at it.
If you really think about it, the road to success is far from magical. Sometimes, the journey is laced with a series of heartbreaking failures that plant seeds of doubt. But it’s true what they say: if you are not ready to fail, you are not equipped to succeed.
We never hear the most successful individuals talk about how Lady Luck smiled on them or how a genie made their wish come true. On the contrary, many successful people believe they made it through the difficult journey by maintaining a positive attitude despite the setbacks. They welcomed failure to appreciate success, which they eventually had.
If you find yourself working so hard for your dream every single day and not getting what you believe you deserve, take with you the lessons life is teaching you. Appreciate the tiny achievements as much as you celebrate the significant ones. Remember how the hurdles and failure itself shaped the most successful people into the resilient individuals that they are.
Remind yourself it will eventually get better. And don’t forget: failure is always better than regret.
Accepting change is vital to your personal success. Some people easily embrace change, while many of us dread it. Seriously, who wants to leave their comfort zone? But it’s counter-intuitive, really, because we all know that change is inevitable. While sticking to the conventional is the “safer choice”, change is the only way for us to grow—daunting as that may seem.
Did you know that highly effective and successful people thrive on change? If you strive to make an impact and contribute to society, give the conventional a rest; dare to be different. Reinvent yourself. Adapt, try something new and different to perk up your mundane everyday routine. Similarly, your workplace does not have to be boring. Change it up a bit!
Fuel that energy and spirit to achieve success by embracing change.
You can’t do everything on your own. All successful people have mentors to prove this fact. They were guided by these people, in one way or another, in achieving the success they celebrate today. Bill Gates credits Warren Buffet for his ability to face tough situations. Oprah is highly influenced by the late Maya Angelou whom she adores and loves. It may be safe to say that without their mentors these people might not be the successful people we look up to today.
How important is mentorship? Keeping a relationship with someone whose principles you admire can be a special source of motivation. A mentor is someone whom you can trust and expect to empathize with you, all while keeping you grounded. After everyone who is in complete awe of your success leaves the party, your mentor is that person whom you run to for guidance and advice.
How hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today! You have every right to feel entitled but is it the right way to go about your life? Here’s the short answer: arrogance won’t get you anywhere. It is utterly pointless to forget humility. Nothing good comes out of it.
Humility is one of the ultimate marks of a successful person. Being humble is not about choosing to be passive or submissive; it is actually a sign of competence and confidence! When you think of yourself less of the success they all say you are, you develop a sense of genuine awareness of and concern for those around you. When you set aside pride, you realize that your success shouldn’t only be for yourself. Because in this life, we all need to give back.
What’s more, studies show that humility and modesty help you retain long-term relationships. And as you conquer bigger feats, you need the right people by your side.
Staying humble after a great success is possibly the greater achievement.
The incessant quest to remain on top of your game is clearly a driving force for the ambitious. In a world where everyone attempts to climb the ladder of success, work and business always come first. But when you eat, sleep, and breathe ambition to the detriment of everything else, will it still be worth it?
Sacrificing close relationships, family, and especially health to further your ambition is a life tragedy waiting to happen. Eventually, your irrational notion of success will get the better of you.
It’s worth saying over and over again: health should be your top priority. Always. Dare we say, the first step to achieving success is staying healthy! It makes sense to be in top shape; it’s the only way to successfully run a business, ace an exam, or complete a job.
Make a conscious effort to eat healthily and exercise. Take care of yourself and success will follow.
“It’s not your salary that makes you rich; it’s your spending habits.”
It’s not surprising that the richest among us embrace penny-pinching habits. They live frugal lives. By being frugal, they spend wisely and know their priorities. The result: fat bank accounts and, for some, massive donations to charity.
Big spenders don’t surprise us anymore. But for many of those whom we categorize as the most successful or the richest, the definition of success has little to do with money. Mark Zuckerberg drives a $30,000 car with manual transmission. Bill Gates wears a $10 watch. Because really, having more money than you can spend isn’t all there is to be successful.
If you don’t spend above your means, you’re one step closer to becoming a billionaire.
Success is pliable, but integrity lasts forever. Integrity is manifesting your core values in your professional and personal life—and standing by it. It means always doing the right thing regardless of the consequences to your business, or even to your ambition. Speak and live the truth; it always wins out. You see, a little display of dishonesty is what it is: dishonesty.
As you journey toward success, you’ll meet all kinds of people. Be careful not to be associated with individuals who are untrustworthy. You can’t avoid being judged based on the friends you keep and the people you surround yourself with. But more than tarnishing your reputation, being with the dishonorable and the dishonest can break your moral compass.
Learn from today’s biggest and most successful names that make a conscious choice every day to be respectable and integrity-driven. Cutting corners just to get ahead of the game just isn’t worth it.
Have a go at these 10 life-changing habits and, just like the successful people you admire, be ready to make a name for yourself!