Earlier this week I met up with a business colleague who runs immigration law practice, Globetrot Consultancy. Our discussion strayed from business on to our must-watch TV programmes – Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing and BBC costume dramas. Otherwise we watch very little TV, preferring to read instead.
According to Thomas Corley, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,” 67% of rich people watch TV for an hour or less per day. He found that only 6% of wealthy people watch reality shows (Strictly fans perhaps?) while 78% of the poor do. Meanwhile, 86% of the wealthy love to read with 88% claiming to read for self-improvement for 30 minutes or more every day!
This got me thinking about what separates super successful people from everyone else?
There are well-known factors such as work ethic, passion, intelligence, resilience and grit. But there are also less obvious habits that enable some people to separate themselves from the pack and become truly great at what they do.
Below are six common habits of super successful people.
1. They Avoid Decision Fatigue
Did you know willpower is a finite resource? It’s rather like a petrol tank. In the morning, our tank is full. But most of us wake up and start immediately to make small decisions. Each decision uses a small amount of willpower, burning the gas in our tanks and depleting our reserves for the rest of the day.
To have the maximum energy for high-impact and creative decisions, entrepreneurs reduce the number of day-to-day choices as possible. This can be as simple as eating the same breakfast every morning or giving each day of the week a goal-related theme e.g. Marketing Monday or Finance Friday.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg completely eliminates a minor decision each of us make every single morning: what to wear today? Mirroring Steve Jobs who wore jeans and the same black turtleneck every day, the founder of Facebook wears the same daily uniform of jeans and a hoodie.
This theory helps to explain why Tim Ferriss eats the same thing for breakfast every day.
2. They’re Not Afraid To Say No
We’ve long been taught that we’re supposed to say yes to everything that comes our way, but it’s this can-do attitude that often holds us back.
Billionaire Warren Buffett is well known for saying, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Every time you say no to a low-priority obligation, it’s actually a positive action freeing up your time and energy to say yes to what you really want.
3. They Embrace Boredom
Super successful people generally have the resources to go on adventures, travel, dine out at new restaurants and try all manner of new experiences.
But many embrace boredom. Why? Well, when it comes to business and personal development, they understand that growth is often the result of slow, incremental improvements. I often refer to the term ‘marginal gains’ used by Dave Brailsford, the UK Director of Performance for the UK’s London 2012 successful Olympic cycling team.
Winner of 18 Olympic gold medals, Michael Phelps didn’t become the fastest swimmer in the world overnight. Instead, he followed a rigid, repetitive series of actions that primed his mind and body for success in the pool.
Mastering a skill requires more than 10,000 hours of dedicated practice and this means sticking to a routine. The very best athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and business leaders embrace the boredom of repetition in order to master their craft.
4. They Don’t Try To Improve Their Weaknesses
You know that annoying question you’re often asked in job interviews that you’re never sure how to answer?
“What’s your biggest weakness, and how have you tried to improve it?”
Super successful people simply don’t think in this way. They consider improving their weaknesses as a fool’s errand and focus their energies instead into areas where they excel naturally.
As the author and researcher Tom Rath put it, “If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.”
5. They Wake Early
President Obama, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, Larry Schultz, Tim Cook and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns are known to rise early. This is because early risers are able to start their days ahead of everyone else and get ahead on their priority projects, respond to correspondence, exercise and find personal time for reading.
It looks like Ben Franklin was onto something when he said: “Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
6. They Write Their To-Do Lists The Night Before
Successful people are known for writing their to-do-lists the night before. This means they set their top priorities for the following day, and very often work on these before anybody else is in the office. Rather than wasting time in the morning because they don’t know what to work on first, they jump straight on their first ‘most important tasks’ the next day.
Question: Do you have any surprising habits to add to this list?
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