You heard all the usual rah-rah stuff about setting goals, not settling for second best or even “maximize your potential.” These are the obvious ways that successful people remain successful. There are, however, many ways you can achieve, and keep, success that most people don’t ever consider.
5 Surprising Habits of Successful People
1. Eat Breakfast
An article by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience quotes many studies that have found that having breakfast every morning increases learning capacity, beginning in childhood. Although the study only tracked children and adolescents, the skills and experiences learned then transfer easily to adulthood. Early rising for a good breakfast also gets you started earlier and provides energy for the rest of the day.
2. Treat Each Person in Your Life as a Teacher
You’ve heard the expression, “no one likes a know-it-all.” If you approach life as a student willing to learn, you will always be able to gain useful skills and knowledge. Most of this learning is passive as you observe others and learn by example. Find someone who knows what you need to know and ask him or her for examples and insight.
3. Create Lasting Business Relationships
Networking is the 21st century’s pavement pounding, only now you do it more often through a computer screen than by literally walking the asphalt. As you learn from people, be sure to return the favor by providing them with your knowledge. By fostering goodwill through such exchanges, you will become “known,” both as someone willing to learn and be coached and as someone willing to teach. The bigger your network becomes, the more successful you can be at finding answers, creating business partnerships or even changing jobs and moving up in the world. Most of all, if you learn by example, you’ll also lead by example and engender respect.
4. Be a Leader, Not a Boss
You’ve probably had a job in your past where the boss simply issued “proclamations from the mount” and expected them to be followed. That boss also probably didn’t give any guidance or coaching either. He or she probably blew up when things didn’t go right, but it was strangely always your fault. In his book,”The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership“, John C. Maxwell says that a truly successful leader takes a vested interest in his or her projects and actually tries to add value by serving his/her followers. Effective leaders go beyond just giving orders they also demonstrate that they actually care for the people they work with. You should not micromanage the people on your team, instead, you should listen to what they have to say and try to help them be the best at their jobs as a result your people will achieve more, develop more loyalty, and have abetter time getting things done than you ever thought possible.
5. Think Critically
Not every solution to every problem is simple. We’d all love to be Alexander the Great slicing the Gordian Knot with our collective swords, but it’s not always that easy. To be successful, you have to be able to evaluate any situation and determine the best course of action no matter how complex it is. You might even have to abandon something if, by thinking critically and honestly analyzing the situation, you determine that starting over is best. It’s extremely difficult to abandon our favorite pet projects or processes, but it’s sometimes necessary.
In his excellent book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” Charles Duhigg makes the point that we should identify good habits and run with them. Conversely, we should strive to eliminate our bad habits. You should always remember that the cultivation of good habits, and the elimination of bad ones, isn’t a “flip-the-light-switch” proposition. Both take time. If you’re patient, however, you’re bound to succeed.