Over the past year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with and to learn from successful entrepreneurs. I would like to share a few things that I learned from successful people on how they think and act.
#1 I will mean what I say and say what I mean
Open communication is key in any relationships. Give your honest input and be open to receive the same from someone. Having a difficult conversation scares a lot of people as we don't want to come across as rude. Sometimes we feel so frustrated and angry at someone that we don't have the right words to express it to them. We usually end up keeping to ourselves until we explode. Have an honest and heart-to-heart conversation with people. By doing so, you will build a trusting relationship.
#2 I will accept failure as a part of growth towards success
Some people dwell on failure and do not move on. They are not able to bounce back and stand up again. Successful people understands that failure is another step closer to success.
Let me share with you a story about two men who applied and got rejected from the world's largest social network, Facebook in 2008. Instead of dwelling on their failures, they both decided to develop an app. A few years later, Facebook bought that app for $19 billion USD - the app is called WhatsApp.
We should stop living in the past and start thinking about how we can be a better version of ourselves. Embrace failure and understand that it is OK to fail. Our response should be: What can I learn from this particular experience? And take that experience to fuel our next mission.
#3 I will build relationships with people that matter
Building relationships require some effort. You can be standing in an elevator with one other person and completely ignore them. Start making connections with people you see. A mentor once told me that "Every person is always waiting for the other to say Hello first." Be the first person to take the initiative to say hello. You will be surprised by how friendly people are. Don't forget to smile!
#4 I will listen more
Successful people are not people who are great at talking but are people who are great at listening.
When someone is speaking to us, it is often easy to zone out or sometimes interrupt. I am guilty of that. However, when I observe successful people, I realized they tend to listen more and talk less. Talking less doesn't mean you have nothing to say, it means that you value other people's opinion and you want to hear them out. The ability to listen shows others that you are part of a greater world that exists outside of yourself. Conversations shouldn't be just about you.
#5 I cannot control everything but I can control my response
We cannot really control how things will turn out, but we can control how we respond to things. Many blame their circumstances whereas most successful people succeed not based on what happened to them but their attitude and response towards what happened to them. We always have a choice on how we choose to response to the world around us. Instead of trying to change what we cannot control, work on changing our attitude and response. We, as human beings are not meant to control everything. When life feels out of control, seek peace in God. Only He can provide us with that.
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in Him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13
#6 I need to learn delayed gratification
What is delayed gratification? It is the ability to wait to get two marshmallows instead of one marshmallow right now. There is a famous Stanford experiment done in the 1970s.
"Years after the experiment, the same group of children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures."
Are you able to forgo the smaller rewards today for bigger rewards in the future? Many times we want things right NOW and we lose sight of what is to come in the future. There is no successful person who becomes successful without sacrificing anything. To be successful, we must be willing to give up something temporarily - that thing can come in the form of money, time or entertainment. What are you willing to give up for larger rewards in the future?
#7 I should read more
The average CEO of any Fortune 500 company reads about 2 books per month. And they don't read comic books or celebrity magazines. They read books that will challenge their thinking and improve themselves. Reading helps us to fast track our success because we read from people who have been through the things they have to go through to get to where they are today. They will tell us what to do and what not to do. We get to learn from their experiences and their wisdom so that we can avoid mistakes that will delay our success.
"Someone who cannot read is the same as someone who will not read."
There are things people can tell us that we don't know about ourselves. There are also things that people can't tell us and we don't know about ourselves. Those are the things you will learn only by reading. You can start off with 15 minutes of reading every day!
#8 I should associate with positive people
Many do not understand the impact of associating with positive people. It is crazy that who we hang out with will have a huge influence in our lives - the way we think, talk and act.
Let me give you an example. Let's say you always hang around people who goes to clubs and party, what is the likelihood of you going to a club and party? Vice versa, if you hang around people who goes to the library to study and read, what is the likelihood of you reading at a library. For both situations, the likelihood is high.
Don't hang around negative people. They tend to go on and on with their problems. Very often, they want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Set a limit for yourself, try to distance yourself from negative people and stop listening to their complaints. I used to have the pressure to listen to negative people because I don't want to come across as rude, but a wise mentor told me that there is a line between listening to people empathetically and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. He mentioned: "If a person were to be smoking, would you sit there all day inhaling the second-hand smoke or would you distant yourself?
#9 I need to have emotional dreams and write them down on a regular basis
Most people have lost the ability to dream as they age. As children, we all have dreams but as we grow older, we tend to lose the ability to dream. No dream is too big to have. List down your dreams! There is power in writing your dreams down. Studies have shown that people who write their dreams down have a higher probability of achieving them than those who do not. When you write your dreams down, don't just write what is possible with your current situation or what you think you can have. Write down things that you really want to get out of life from relationships, health, family, time and money etc. You will be surprised by how our subconscious mind will allow our thoughts to be transformed into reality.
#10 Giving up should not be in my vocabulary
"Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure." - Napolean Hill
Success is 100% with time. If you don't give up, you will succeed eventually. Successful people are willing to do whatever it takes, and however long it takes to get what they want. On your way to success, there will be people who will tell you that you can't make it. It's impossible. People will laugh at you or try to pull you down or criticize you. Don't let that affect you.
#11 My time should be spent on things that are important but not urgent
Stephen Covey in his book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" said that people who are successful usually spend most of their time accomplishing things in the 'important but not urgent' quadrant. If you want to find out more what it means, I encourage you to pick up the book!
#12 I will be consistent in my daily actions
Consistency is about building small habits daily. It comes down to if you can hold yourself accountable. When we define the action we take in our personal lives on a daily basis, we find that we can accomplish great things. Taking actions on a daily basis will create results. Whether your goals are to accomplish a goal for your business or to learn a new language or to improve yourself, get a gameplan to allow you to accomplish your goals. How is your daily calendar looking? Are you doing things that will move you forward in life?
#13 I will have a positive mental attitude
Keeping a positive attitude helps you to perform better and think better. We often have that negative mental chatter that pulls us back from doing things we are capable of doing. You can never remove negativity but you can dilute negativity with positivity. Sometimes our brain needs a little help in defeating that negative inner voice. I'm sure you are familiar with the Law of Attraction. If we think we are a failure or can’t do something, our subconscious will think that way as well. On the other hand, if we are happy and think we are good at something, our subconscious will think that way as well. We, as human beings are programmed to think negatively. That is why we have to put in extra effort to dilute that negativity. Always strive to stay positive in whatever situation!
#14 I should practice the power of visualization
Successful people understand the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually succeed in reality. You want to make sure you visualize every single detail, the more elaborate your visualization is, the higher your chances of turning your visualization into reality.
Do you want to know how Tiger Woods became the top golfer in the world today? He practices visualization. He visualized exactly where he wants the golf ball to go. Practice visualization today!
#15 I need to be eager to learn and to have an open mind
If people are close minded, they are usually threatened by new knowledge. Successful people are not threatened by new information or new ideas. They are always out there learning and improving themselves. Most successful people understand that knowledge is the backbone of success. If we are not learning, we are not improving. Successful people never get comfortable with where their life is. They work on their leadership, personality, communication, public speaking, knowledge etc. Are you becoming your better self day after day?
#16 I will not complain about life or give excuses
Have you ever seen successful people complain or whine or give excuses? No. They know that complaining doesn't solve any problem. When things don't go their way, they figure out another path. By making excuses, you give yourself permission to fail. Successful leaders never make excuses for their inaction or action gone wrong.
David Schwartz, author of The Magic of Thinking Big said that we should all cure ourselves of excucitis. People who have gone nowhere always has a bookful of excuses. Are there things you are spending your mental energy and time complaining about in life?
#17 I will not be eaten up by jealousy
When someone is in a better situation than us or more successful than us, it's often easy to fall into the jealousy trap. Successful people understands that happiness and success of others does not take away from their own. In fact, they celebrate other people's successes and learn from them.
"People who can't stand to see the success of others will never experience their own."
If you want to learn how to become as successful as a successful person, network with them and tap into their thought process. Is there anyone in your life right now that you are jealous of?
#18 I will not compare myself to others but myself
You are unique! Yes, YOU.
"Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine!" - Jennie Finch
There is no two person on planet Earth who are the same, we are all unique in God's image. Stop comparing yourself to someone who is more successful, more beautiful, smarter or more charismatic, and start working on yourself. You are only competing against yourself. When your sense of satisfaction is derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. Your self-worth has to come from within you, no matter what others say of you. Are you comparing yourself to someone else or to the person you were yesterday?
#19 I will not give into fear Are you getting out of your comfort zone? If you feel fearful or uncomfortable, you are growing.
Bravery is being scared to do something but you did it anyway. If fear is an excuse for you to do something, you have lost. People who are successful overcame their fear by doing what they fear most to do. It can be fear of public speaking, fear of talking to people, fear of selling, etc. The only way to overcome all these fears is to just do it. Is there something you are afraid of doing in life that will bring you another step closer to success?
#20 I will not make any promises that I can't keep
When you do what you say would do, you build trust in others. As children, I am sure that we are told not to break our word. Remember there is something called the pinky promise?
"It is easy to make promises - it is hard work to keep them." - Boris Johnson
If you say that you will be coming into work at 9am for the meeting, don't be late. The idea is not to make commitments that you can't follow through. Before making a commitment, think carefully about what it will mean if you break the promise. Are you keeping all your promises and commitments?