We know what a successful person looks like. But how did they achieve success? You’ve heard the old adage that perseverance, some luck, and follow your deepest passion are the keys to success. The problem with that adage, it’s vague and broad. It’s like saying, “I want to be healthy”. What does being healthy specifically entail? Do you want to live longer, become lean, or do you want to stop eating junk food?
Success is vague and broad because there are many ways to be successful. The good news is success has underlying principles. Knowing these principles will help you understand what others did to succeed and why they do it.
Here are 5 special ingredients that successful people are made of:
1. They don’t see themselves as successful
Once they hit their goal, they quickly move on to the next goal. Always trying to exceed what they’ve accomplished. This is how passion is created. The more you achieve, the hungrier you get. The hungrier you get, the more passionate you are. It is a perpetual cycle.
A surefire way to fall short of being extraordinary is to think success as an end goal. People who did extraordinary things are always striving for improvement. They are always striving to get better. And they are always striving until they fail their way to success. There’s no secret. Success is a journey, not a destination.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
2. They are small winners
In order to be a big winner, you have to be a small winner. Being a small winner means focusing on small daily achievements. Success is something that is built laying brick after brick. When you compound those small achievements one-percent a day, sooner or later you will find yourself with a well-built wall.
When you are confronted with an obstacle, remember all you need is to lay one brick to win. Because it’s not passion, not willpower, nor any motivational articles that will push you through the tough times. What pushes people is the slight taste of success. Because small progress towards a goal is the most powerful motivator.
3. Successful people know when to quit
One of the most successful athletes that knew when to quit was Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan’s first love was baseball. His father dreamed of seeing Jordan play Major League Baseball. However, Jordan did not follow his childhood passion. He put aside his pursuit to be a baseball professional, and used his strengths to become one of the greatest basketball players.
If you want to succeed you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Peter Drucker, the father of management, said one should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. Two things that will propel you to success is to quit improving your incompetencies and start focusing on what you can be the best at.
4. They are executioners
The driving force of success is execution. A mediocre plan that is executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next month. We know what it takes to lose that belly fat, but we don’t execute it. We procrastinate our goals and push them off to later until we have more time, money, or when we are in a better situation. They may be all good reasons, but good reasons are still excuses dressed up nicely.
Success rewards those who have a bias towards action. And to take action, you may need some courage. Everything that is worth doing always lies outside the comfort zone.
“Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.” – Peter Thiel
5. They are not as disciplined as you think they are
A common myth is you have to be highly disciplined to achieve success. Most successful people are not highly disciplined. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t need discipline to go to the gym. He made exercising a routine. And his conscious decision to create a routine created his habit to workout.
Success is not an accumulation of conscious decisions. It’s an accumulation of automatic behaviors. It is created one habit at a time. When you make the shift from a conscious behavior into an automatic behavior, that is when you will see your life change. Because when you form a habit, your habit forms you.