“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” — Unknown
Successful people know this too well. They step outside their comfort zone frequently. Not just that, they enjoy it enough to make it a habit.
The more they step outside their comfort zone, the more they do different things. And different things lead to different (amazing) results.
Discomfort paves the way for growth. Welcome it.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important.” — Ambrose Redmoon
Successful people feel fear like the rest of us. But they fear not trying even more. For them, the consequences of not trying are far worse than trying and failing. This pushes to do things despite fear instead of giving into it.
The only thing worse than failure is regret. Don’t let fear force you to live a life of regret.
“Create restraint. No restrictions make you work like a tortoise.” — Scott Belsky.
Most people freak out when they encounter constraints like lack of time and resources.
Successful people, on the other hand, embrace these constraints. In fact, they use constraints to improve themselves. Experience teaches them how constraints fuel innovation and increase focus.
Use constraints to make the most of what you have instead of wasting time chasing what you don’t.
4. Lifelong Learning
“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don’t. I divide the world into learners and non-learners.” — Benjamin R. Barber
Learning made us evolve from the Homo Habilis to Homo sapiens.
When we stop learning, we stop growing. Then competition eats us up.
Achievers fear stagnation a lot. Curiosity, the hunger to improve, and the desire to stay ahead, make them lifelong learners. The hungrier they are, the more they learn, and the more they grow.
Don’t let your education end with college. Keep reading, observing and applying. Life can teach you lessons that no school ever could.
5. Single Tasking
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” — Thomas Carlyle
Today, most people are proud to do what reduces their productivity by up to 50 percent and drops their IQ to that of an 8-year-old child — multitasking.
But achievers understand the consequences of low productivity. That’s why they work on one thing at a time and move to the next only when they’re satisfied with the outcome.
Believe in single-tasking like a five-year-old believes in Santa Claus. You’ll enjoy emotional and mental happiness along with positive outcomes.
6. Deep Work
“To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.” — Cal Newport.
The future belongs to creators more than consumers. It belongs to people who can master hard things quickly and produce at an elite level in terms of quality and quantity.
Such abilities demand deep work — professional activities performed in a distraction-free state to stretch your cognitive capabilities.
Successful people swear by deep work. They identify specific actions that will help them achieve long-term goals and work deeply on them. It does not appear like a lot in the beginning. But over time, the compound effect leads to phenomenal results.
Find your important tasks and work on them every day. This is all the discipline you need to be successful.
“It’s not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” — Bruce Lee
In the industrial age, productivity meant doing more.
Not anymore. Today, it means doing what’s important without sacrificing things that matter along the way.
Productivity means taking action that yields results. To stay productive, successful people say no to 90 percent things so that they can focus on the ten percent that matters.
As Tim Ferriss wrote, “What you don’t do determines what you can do.”
8. Valuing Time
“Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.” — William Penn.
Time is today’s most important currency. More time will help you make money. But more money cannot buy you time.
Most people let others dictate how to use their time. It’s easy. But it’s also why they feel stuck in the same place for years. Successful people, on the other hand, guard their time zealously. Time is their priority, after which comes money.
Don’t leave your time at the mercy of others. How you manage your time will decide what you achieve in life.
“Questioning doesn’t slow your progress, it ‘turbocharges’ it.” — Hal Gregerson
Most people are busy “doing” things today without understanding why. They prefer doing over questioning and see the latter as something that wastes time and challenges authority.
Yet, the most creative and successful people tend to be expert questioners. They question the conventions of their industry, the fundamentals of how they work, and even the validity of their own assumptions.
The ability to ask meaningful questions is more important today than it was yesterday, and will be even more important tomorrow.
10. A Controlled Mind
“The only three things you control are your perceptions, actions and willpower.” — Epictetus
The mind is a powerful yet underrated device. Left alone, it wreaks havoc. But when kept on the right track, it makes you a better person.
Successful people don’t stay at the mercy of their minds. Rather, they befriend it to enable themselves to do what they should. They consciously observe their thoughts to keep themselves on the right path. It’s challenging, but that’s what makes it fun for them.
Your thoughts shape your actions that in turn, bring results. Use them to put yourself on the path to success.
A controlled mind leads to a standard of living higher than what society demands.
11. Systems and Processes
“If you follow the right process, the result will be positive often.” — M.S. Dhoni
Most people chase outcomes that are beyond their control. They put in unsustainable effort in the beginning and then give up. Then they switch to something else and repeat the same cycle.
Successful people focus systems which help them stay consistent. These systems are a bunch of actions that help them achieve positive outcomes.
It’s good to have goals. But without systems to achieve them, you’ll end up doing too much and eventually give up.
“Rest often. Rest before you get tired.” — Dale Carnegie
Burnout sounds glamorous. But there’s nothing glamorous about what it brings — fatigue, demoralization, broken relationships, giving up on dreams, and more.
Successful people don’t try to build Rome in a day or a month. They know that outcomes will take time. That’s why they care about their physical and mental health. They rest and also do something different to give their minds a break.
When you feel tired, give yourself a break. Relax or do something else that interests you. But let that “something else” not be social media. Go for a movie, or watch an episode on Netflix instead.
13. The Bigger Picture
“We are all different, but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it’s human nature that we adapt and survive.” — Stephen Hawking
Animals experience excitement, lust, greed, anticipation, anger, joy, fear and more, in varying degrees. But their lives revolve in the present moment and their actions deliver instant results.
Human beings differ from animals in that we can live in the Delayed Return Environment. We can endure short-term pains to enjoy better gains in the long run.
Successful people leverage this ability and keep their eye on the bigger picture. They sacrifice impulsive desires today to enjoy staggering results in the future.
Money or fame cannot measure success. Your capacity to live life on your terms does.
You can take charge of your life, make it what you dreamed of, and become the person whom people feel proud to associate with.
Get your hiking shoes on. Start off on the journey towards your dreams. It’s alright if you walk slowly. You’ll still enjoy the view and the breeze while others sit on the couch, complaining how hard their lives are.
You deserve a better life. So go out there and make it.