12 habits of ridiculously successful people we can all learn from

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We all know a successful person when we see one, but what really goes on behind the scenes?

It’s sure as hell not luck…

While the habits of successful people vary, there are some consistencies across the board, and this is where we can learn to build the foundations for a fulfilled life.

As Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”,  so if you can implement some of these habits in your routine, you’ll reap the benefits in no time.

Here are the habits that will make you a winner in life. 

1. Successful people look underneath the hood

Successful people think for themselves and don’t fall for outer appearances.

They’ll buy a dependable car over a glitzy, overpriced marketing gimmick any day of the week.

That’s because they aren’t impressed by surface appearances.

They’re impressed by what’s underneath and how well it runs.

That’s why true success isn’t about being rich or famous, it’s about inner integrity and motivation.

It’s about finding a deeper purpose in life than just seeking the praise or approval of others.

Successful people like to earn money and have a platform for what they do.

But they don’t crave the recognition and approval of others as much as they crave satisfying their burning inner desire to satisfy their curiosity and ambitions.

One of the most important habits of ridiculously successful people we can all learn from is the habit of not falling for outer appearances or flashy marketing.

2. Successful people take responsibility

We all have excuses we could use in life. Nobody is born with zero challenges.

Even the son of a rich tycoon born with a silver spoon in his mouth may have trouble making friends, or a health problem that makes his life a pain.

But successful people don’t make excuses.

They take the cards they’re dealt and play them to maximum effect.

They make their dreams come true or learn something from failing.

Successful people don’t take responsibility because they’re “nice” or a “good person.”

They do it, because taking responsibility is usually the fastest way to resolve a crisis and stop a chain of failure from taking place.

Successful people take responsibility for their mistakes and modify their behavior and their systems to ensure that such things don’t happen again.

In fact, according to Shane Snow, bestselling author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success successful people tend to prefer negative feedback than positive feedback:

“The research showed that experts—people who were masters at a trade—vastly preferred negative feedback to positive. It spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.”

3. Successful people have a purpose

There’s a lot of misinformation out there in the self-development community.

Coaches will tell clients to be more “positive,” work on their “vibrations” or use visualization to create a bright future.

Honestly, it’s mostly bullshit.

The truth is that successful people only have one main thing in common:

A burning drive to achieve their purpose.

“OK,” you might say, “how should I know what the hell my purpose is?”

Well, that’s the thing…

As Ideapod founder Justin Brown found out in a life-changing moment with the Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê, once we find our purpose everything else begins to fall into place.

The hardships become fuel for the journey, the alienation we can so often feel becomes a chance to fulfill our special mission.

Our creativity gets unleashed as we truly embrace the power and potential we have to be our unique self.

Finding your purpose is not about trying to improve yourself.

In fact, trying to become a “better version of yourself” and similar tactics can actually be highly counterproductive and harmful.

As Justin Brown explains in this masterclass on the hidden trap of trying to improve yourself, there is a completely different way to change your life by finding your purpose.

Why not get started today?

4. They focus on taking action

Time is our most precious resource. It was Annie Dillard that wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”.

If we aren’t allocating the time and energy needed to achieve a certain goal, it will never be fulfilled.

This is why successful people focus on taking action, and they make sure to be consistent in their actions every day. 

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, all big things come from small beginnings, and it’s really your habits every day that determines where you’re going:

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

So if you’re implemented good habits in your life that get you closer to your goals, you’re definitely on the path to success. You just need time.

5. Successful people use their time effectively

Nobody is perfect and all of us waste time now and then.

Successful people just do it less.

They procrastinate less, push themselves harder and use their time more effectively than your average person.

This sets them apart, because if there’s one thing that sets back the majority of people, it’s not being stupid or bad luck.

It’s putting things off until tomorrow.

That’s why one of the top habits of ridiculously successful people we can all learn from is the ability to take action and stop procrastinating.

Elon Musk could just sit in his mansion all day and watch TV. But he’s exploring space and inventing new vehicles.

He didn’t do that by procrastinating, believe me.

6. Successful people are brutally honest

One of the key habits of ridiculously successful people we can all learn from is brutal honesty.

Now I’m not saying to tell your boss at the bank that he’s a jerk when he makes a rude joke.

You could lose your job.

But brutal honesty involves putting the truth above people-pleasing, and this is actually a vital habit.

A successful person doesn’t hide what they feel and think just to placate those around them.

If they see something substandard they mention it, or better yet they try to resolve it themselves.

7. Successful people just ignore the endless drama

Successful people don’t tend to pay much attention to drama.

They certainly care about the world and important events taking place, but they’re not the type to jump on bandwagons.

That’s why one of the most important habits of ridiculously successful people we can all learn from is the habit of directed attention.

Successful people focus.

They don’t let idle chatter, rumors and drama interrupt their flow.

They keep right on going and immediately pass everyone else who’s standing around pointing and laughing.

This also means that successful people are mindful of their environment. They know that have negative people around them, then they’re unlikely to develop a positive mindset.

David J. Schwartz:, in the book The Magic of Thinking Big, says it well:

“You are a product of your environment so your mind and goals are influenced by your environment. Association to negative and petty people yields negative thinking and petty habits. On the flip side, association to positive and ambitious people yields positive thinking and great results.”

8. They Adapt And Change

The only constant natural force is change.

As the landscape changes — whether it be natural, industrial, or digital — those that have yet to adapt are bound to get left behind.

One of the most common behaviors of unsuccessful people is their stubbornness to stay the same.

Their ego tells them, “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” or “It’s the way we’ve always done something.”

Successful people understand that if their ventures aren’t making the money they sought to make, or if their employees are leaving at an alarming rate, a change needs to happen.

Holding on to traditions might backfire in the long run.

Adam M. Grant, author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, says it best:

“Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.”

9. Successful people look after their body and mind

Successful people care about their purpose and know what it is, as I mentioned.

But they also pay attention to their own wellbeing.

They respect themselves and have a habit of eating healthy, exercising and respecting their own emotional and psychological boundaries.

They don’t let others drag them into anything they don’t want, and they make a point of ensuring that they get plenty of rest and can focus fully on their task at hand.

10. Successful people care about connecting with others

Many highly successful people are not necessarily social butterflies.

Some may even consider them odd or as a “tortured artist” or “mad scientist” type.

But they have one skill in common:

They know the value of networking.

Even the brightest minds can get much further ahead by working with others who share their vision.

That’s why ridiculously successful people know the power of partnering up.

11. They only focus on a few priorities

If you’ve got too many things you want to do, you’ll struggle to focus your attention on one thing, and everything will become diluted.

Successful people channel their resources towards a small number of tasks to engender a better outcome.

In Morten T. Hansen’s, From Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More, he described how top performers focus on a small number of tasks to produce high-quality work:

“Once they had focused on a few priorities, they obsessed over those tasks to produce quality work. That extreme dedication to their priorities created extraordinary results. Top performers did less and more: less volume of activities, more concentrated effort.”

People who lead cluttered and disorganized lives are rarely able to fully focus. They end up multi-tasking and doing too many things at once, without impact.

If you have 3 priorities, you’re focused. If you have 25 priorities, you have a mess.

Successful people say “no” to most things so they can keep their focus clear.

And the truth is, if you want to be world-class, then you need to keep your focus narrow, according to Shan Snow:

“There are a lot of great inventors and improvers in the world. But those who hack world-class success tend to be the ones who can focus relentlessly on a tiny number of things. In other words, to soar, we need to simplify.”

12. Successful people don’t box themselves in

Successful people come in all shapes and sizes.

One of their topic habits is to remain versatile for life.

They don’t restrict themselves to one field or just one interest. They generally are very curious people who maintain a lifelong wonder and questioning spirit.

They want to know how everything works and they keep asking questions when other people have already gone home.

Successful people aren’t interested in labels or being boxed in.

They are more interested in seeing what they can accomplish and find out by testing the boundaries and pursuing their interests and purpose to wherever it leads.

Hitting home runs

We can’t hit home runs all the time.

But the truth is that once you learn that striking out isn’t the end of the game, you’re halfway to winning.

The truth is that winning is about endurance, not quick bursts and surprise wins.

All the easy wins are easy for a reason:

They’re short-lived and they don’t mean much.

All the success that sticks around and defines your life is hard for a reason:

It’s long-lived and means a lot!

So keep putting one foot in front of the other and remember you’re never out of the fight.

Paul Brian

I’m a multimedia journalist with experience in print, photography, video, and online. My passion is reporting on individuals, faiths, nations, and situations that impact us all on the journey of life.

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