“Successful people are simply those with successful habits” – Brian Tracy
We often run through life, envious of all the people who “made it”. Not being able to recognize exactly why they are where they are in life. We’re confused as to what trickery or black magic these people have applied in their life that has enabled them to rise to the top of their industry. Unfortunately we’re never able to distill this “special ingredient” or “secret” that has kept us in doubts for so long. Eventually it can even drive us to the brink of insanity But I’d say we’re searching for the wrong things.. How so?
- What’s the one thing that made him so much money?
- What’s the one thing that allowed him to have so many friends?
- What’s the single source of his great health?
We’re primarily focused on certain events whilst almost every (if not all) successful aspects we recognize in a person is the sum of different processes. These processes are basically different habits that have been built up over time which have compounded in the results they’re experiencing in their life. I call this habit-stacking Habit-what? ——————————————————————————–
What Is Habit Stacking?
Habit stacking is the process of incrementally (meaning gradually) implementing new, empowering habits in your day-to-day life. These daily, high-leverage tasks will “stack up” over time which will in turn improve what I call your “success-level” For illustrative purposes, here’s fancy infographic I made; The quantity and quality of every success habit performed, will define the altitude of your success-level. I’ve seen this pattern recurring in many different successful people I’ve observed the past years. People like Warren Buffet, Anthony Robbins, Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Owen Cook and many more. The people who obviously “have their stuff together” The stacking of these habits creates an immense amount of control over their life and therefore yields the compounding results they have acquired.
By analyzing and defining their different habits, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the 10 most potent habits to implement in your life.
Ten Essential Success Habits
I’ve seen this habit recurring time and time again. The wealthiest people of the world are avid learners. In an interview , Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were asked if they could have one superpower in the world, what would it be? They both argued that being the worlds fastest reader would be HUGE Why is it so effective?
Reading allows us to skip (partially) the process of trial and error by simulating the future in our mind, based on the knowledge we’ve acquired from other peoples’ mistakes. Why make your own when you can learn so much from others?
It allows us to “stand on the shoulders of giants” by acquiring information that enables us to avoid many failures.
How to start? Start by reading 15 pages every day (non-fiction)
Often in life we harbor dis-empowering thoughts in our head;
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not good with women
- I don’t deserve to be rich
- I’m not able to lose any weight
These are all perfect examples of limiting beliefs that become self-fulfilling prophecies and basically rob ourselves of everything we want out of life. People are not limited to these perceptions and are actually able to change these for the better (however, not many realize they can do this) How you perceive yourself and your surroundings literally sets the boundaries of your individual accomplishment. It basically defines what you can and cannot do. This is a social theorem defined by W.I Thomas and D.S. Thomas;
“People react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they ascribe to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.”
So what should I do? Improve your self-image and your image of the world and likewise will your accomplishments grow to greater heights. The way I do this is by writing down how I want to perceive myself and visualize in detail how I will act in certain situations. Repetition is key! Eventually it will become real. This might sound like the black magic I referred to earlier, but it goes much deeper than that. You could argue that this is yet another pseudo-scientific trick to justify positive thinking but I personally believe (from several experiences and observations) that this “trick” works.
How to start? Read books like “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen (FREE DOWNLOAD)
Exercise & Diet
Our body is probably the single most important investment we can make in our life. And the only one we’re 100% convinced off that we’re always going to need it. Yet I see so many people gulping down fast-food, copious amounts of alcohol and neglecting any form of exercise. Everything you operate needs maintenance from time to time. You can compare your body to driving a car. If you don’t take care of your car, guess what’s going to happen? Buy a new one? Nope, game over buddy!
How to start? Make sure you get the recommended physical activity every day (if you can do more, do so!). Do this first thing in the morning and just get it over with. The consequences are far more detrimental.
Goal Setting (In Writing)
Writing down your goals has been proven time and time again that they can make a huge impact on your life altogether! A study about goal setting at Harvard University in the book “What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School” by Mark McCormack discovered the following truth about goal-setting and performance;
“Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all. Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.”
The truth is simply this; without goals you don’t have any direction in life and nothing really tangible to work towards. Result? You get nowhere. Pretty obvious stuff, right?
How to start? Set some goals! Here’s how I do it.
Do the most important things first. This is such a simple concept talked about by many high-achievers. I’ve read about this in “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill What they all basically say is that you should find your one, most important focus for every single day (aligned with the goals you’ve set out for yourself) and consequently annihilate that goal in the morning until it is finished – everything else is a distraction. Simple, yet not easy.
How to start? Find your one, most important task for the day and execute accordingly. Also set a time limit on these goals, so you don’t get stuck in saying things like; “I’m done at x hour” or “my work gets done when it’s done.” Limitations create urgency. Urgency gets things done.
Another big pillar in success is shifting from the consumer mentality into the investor mentality. See your little dollars as seeds. By spending your hard-earned money in a smart way you’ll be able to grow your investments into bigger pay-offs over time
- Don’t buy ridiculously overpriced smartphones
- Don’t amass great amounts of debt
- Don’t live above your means
Basic stuff like that makes a huge difference over time.
How to start? Read some great books on financial beliefs and money management like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” By Robert T. Kiyosaki, “The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ Demarco and “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham.
Waking Up Early
Our time on earth is limited. With our average life expectancy of 78.6 years (as of 2014) we spent 25 years of that sleeping! Tai Lopez (who became a self-made millionaire in his 20’s) says that we only have 50 000 valuable hours to really dedicate to doing our greatest work. The rest of the time is spend in disability, sickness, sleeping, old age, young age and so-forth.
Imagine that I give you a check of $50 000 in the beginning of your life, how scarcely would you spend those dollars?
How to start? Start waking-up an hour earlier everyday! That’s 365 hours extra a year which equals more than two weeks! What are you waiting for? Tick-tock.
Build On Strength
We’re all born with our unique sets of strengths and talents yet we rarely develop those to our natural capacities. We fall into the trap of believing the “you can be anything you want” fairy-tale that has been fed to us by our surroundings. The truth (IMO) is this: We can only perform optimally from strength. Talent and investment serve as amplifiers for your achievement level. TALENT X INVESTMENT = STRENGTH Investment can be self-generated whilst raw talent is incredibly difficult to add.
While it may be possible, with a considerable amount of work, to add talent where little exists, our research suggests that this may not be the best use of your time – Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
My take on strengths is the following; Build your life on what you’re good at, but improve your weaknesses to the degree that they don’t hold you back.
How to start? A great way to get started and gain some priceless self-knowledge is by taking the personality test at 16Personalities.com. I found the results disturbingly accurate yet amazingly insightful.
Many successful people are not where they are solely because of their many skills and talents (which they have) but because they made themselves known to others. Ever heard the statement; It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know? In terms of success this certainly rings true. Mostly it’s not you that rises trough the ranks by your own effort. People rise to success by others lifting them up.
Additionally, by surrounding yourself with these “high-achievers” your own performance level will be increased. This is because the people we see regularly set the standard for what is appropriate and therefore we’ll adjust to that environment.
How to start? Read some books on basic social skills like “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and get some great resources on networking! One website I’d definitely recommend is SmartBusinessRevolution.com by John Concoran (he has a GREAT free ebook).
And last but certainly not least important: Character! By setting for ourselves a certain standard for acceptable behavior, we’re able to connect with other people on a genuine level. Things like; being honest, keeping secrets, having integrity, not cheating, not stealing and so-forth. People automatically want to connect with the ones who don’t have hidden agendas and are pure of heart. Immorality breaks relationships.
How to start? Write down for yourself a certain set of rules (a code of conduct) you will live by that will lead to a successful life (whatever that means to you). Be sure to include the essentials like integrity, honesty, responsibility and so-forth. Read these values when you get out of bed and live accordingly.
I know this can be a lot to take in and therefore I highly recommend building up each habit until it has become a natural part of your day-to-day routine. (don’t take on more than one at a time – two at max) New research shows that the formation of a new habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days (66 on average). So consistency is key here. Start with small steps and slowly build them up. Notice also that almost all the habits I’ve mentioned above are short-term sacrifices that will result in long-term benefits.
By overcoming forms of instant gratification like cheating, watching tv, splurging money, binge-eating and whatnot we set ourselves up for a great future. Delayed gratification is your ticket to success! (Which doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to enjoy life – within reason 😉) Anyway, that’s all I have to say on success habits for today. I hope I’ve been able to spike your curiosity to try out a new habit (or improve the quality/quantity of an old one) So, that leaves me with just one more question;
What other “success-habits” do you know?
Thanks for taking the time to read my post! I really appreciate it.
If you’re having anymore thoughts or questions about this topic, feel free to share them with me in the comment section below!
Take care, Simon