How Successful People Live Their Lives
With the New Year over and some of us excelling at resolutions and some of us, let’s face it, slipping slightly off course, you could try a totally different approach this year. Why not, instead, start making changes to your life by adopting the habits of the mega successful of this world. If they have got them where they are today, it is pretty hard to argue with that they would be a series of huge steps in the right direct for us.
Here are 16 ideas that you could emulate in 2018:
1.They plan their day the night before. Barrack Obama was famous for making family time where he could sit down to supper with his girls, but always went back to his office later and planned out the day ahead.
2. They have a set routine in the mornings or me-time. This is surprisingly important. For years, my routine considered of gulping excess cups of tea, while I rushed around around like a banshee trying to organize myself, family and emails at the same time. Successful people don’t do this. If need be, they get up earlier and make time that is theirs alone. Some physiology is always included, that is the science of using your body to influence your emotions. It might be extreme sports (like Sir Richard Branson is fond of) to dog walking, yoga to simply some deep breathing exercises. Whichever is right for you, practising it will mean you start the day more energized and is an entirely different frame of mind.
3. Many meditate. If you have not already discovered meditation, the benefits are multi-fold but help you start the day calmly, more focused, and feeling great. Many will also use this quiet time to reflect on their purpose, the reason they are here overall and the reasons they aim to achieve what is booked into their day ahead. The Dali Lama gives thanks for being alive every morning and commits to expanding his heart to others and continuing learning.
4. Gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier. Not surprisingly, this is also a feature of most successful people’s morning routine. Starting the day being positive and happy about some good things that have happened, however small, gives you an upbeat and optimistic frame of mind which immediately raises your chances of success.
5. Copy their use of visualisation. Ask yourself what would give you the biggest sense of accomplishment if you achieved it by the end of the day. Visualise it till you can really conjure it into feeling real. And keep a pen and paper handy while you do so, as you will often find good ideas float into your mind within the process that need writing down afterwards.
6. They always have ways of measuring and reviewing each bit of progress. Jerry Seinfeld suggests you put a bit red cross on your calendar for any day that you moved towards your goals so you start to see a chain of crosses. Benjamin Franklyn used to ask himself more simply “what good have I done today” and mark that off on his life plan.
7. Successful people are meticulous planners and most stick to very tight schedules and routines in order to achieve what they do. Incredibly, both Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey work an eight hour day at each of their two companies, every day. Elon Musk plans his day out in five minute blocks. These, and other successful people, break up their week so that they concentrate on different things on different days, so Monday might be planning and Wednesday marketing and sales. This means they can give 100% focus to the task in hand. If you track your own movements for a couple of weeks, you will see your own individual comfort zones of when you chose to do particular tasks and can develop a plan that suits you personally the best. Whatever that is you will probably find you achieve the most if you get the biggest piece of work, the biggest hill to climb out of the way early.
8. Successful people did not get there by accident. They all love to learn. Many are voracious readers. Bill Gates reads for an hour a day without fail, Mark Cuban for three hours. Warren Buffet was reported to read at least 600 pages a day when he first started out. They also write down what they learn and incorporate it into their future planning. Anyone of us can read and then forget it all. The way they use their learning is what makes them leaders. They are committed to continual learning.
9. Successful people give back. They are happy to share their knowledge with others. Large numbers of them give their wealth away extremely generously, Oprah, Bill Gates, Tony Robbins and Mark Zuckerberg among them. If you cannot yet afford to give huge amounts away, you can still give some of your time to support a worthwhile cause this year.
10. Successful people work hard. But they also know the value of time off to totally regenerate themselves. They know it is all about balance.
11. They recognize the damage of distractions. Interruptions, including phone calls and emails, can disrupt the entire thought process and massively lower concentration. They therefore check their emails at set times of day and tend to ignore them altogether the rest of the time. Tim Ferris suggests that twice a day is ample for anyone. Richard Branson prefers to do his emails in the early morning so that he can speak to all of his offices worldwide in one hit.
12. When the rest of us get stuck or give up, they know the importance of keeping going. They do not procrastinate. They believe in launching into tasks irrespective of wanting to or not, arguing that by fifteen minutes in, you will have garnered enough momentum to keep you going. You can also then start to feel celebratory about the progress you have made. Progress makes for more forward motion. They take persistent action. They also finish what they start, completely and to the best of their ability.
13. They work hard at staying positive. Their routines, their gratitude, their constant moving forward all helps this, but they also know to let go of the past. The past simply holds us back. Instead, they have the good sense to let go of what they can’t control and focus instead upon the things they can.
14. The hugely successful are over-burdened with major decision making, because they simply have so much on. So they keep other decisions in their daily lives to a minimum. Barrack Obama believed in leaving it to others to choose his clothes, whereas both Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg ensured their clothes were so simple, there was little choice, time and effort involved.
15. They prioritize making money. They have learned about it. They have different streams of income – three as a minimum. Many recommend a budget ratio of 50% for essentials, 30% for non-essentials and treats and 20% for saving and never waiver from it. Remember, most of the rich live very frugal lives.
16. Perhaps the best advice of all came from the late Steve Jobs. He asked himself one question every day. The question is “Would you be doing today what you are doing, if it was your last day in your life”. If he found himself answering no too often, he would know it was time to change what he was doing. Try that for a week and you might find 2018 working out very differently.
This article How Successful People Live Their Lives by Jan Cavelle was first published in Issue 60 of the Business Rocks Magazine.
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