Want to Succeed? Adopt these 10 Uncommon Habits
Practised ignorance: ignoring the things that distract us are a quintessential ingredient in the pursuit of success. People are predisposed to listening to everything other people say regardless of whether they have any intent of following the advice or not. The key is avoiding it in the first place, never allow your time to be cannibalised by unnecessary distractions. Say no to almost everything. This enables you to pursue the things that matter most and provides you with the opportunity to say yes to the things that really matter.
Just do it: Everyone has an idea, a belief that they could shape a specific industry by altering it to their will. Be that nurses in the medical profession disgusted by the abundance of waste they experience of a daily basis or a sandwich maker on subway who conceives a better to make sandwiches. But they wait. Instead of pursuing the idea and iteratively improving what we already have they are paralysed by the fear of the unknown. Instead of just doing something they do nothing and the potential for advance dies with their willingness to speak up. Doing something germinates the seed of possibilities. Of course the seed might not flower, but you have given it a chance to grow and flourish. And plant as many seeds as possible, this will give you multiple opportunities to succeed.
Don’t stop: Never stop learning; whether that is reading a book, listening to a podcast or completing a MOOC online. You need to continue to take responsibility for your own learning and actively pursue means to improve. Read for 1 hour every single day. By reading one hour a day, regardless of your perceived level of knowledge, you can become a world leading expert in any subject in 7 years. If you begin now, you could become a world leading expert in your chosen field in less than 10% of your lifetime. It obviously requires commitment and consistency but it’s incredibly easy to sit and read if you are literate. 42% of college graduates never read another book after college so thinks how far ahead that could get you.
Generalise and Conquer: 10,000 of hours of dedication to something is what it takes for someone to be world-class at something. With that being true I would advocate another route being inherently more useful as the world moves towards a more diverse future. Spend 1,000 hours on 10 different subjects. You won’t become the best in the world at any one thing but you will become a world leading generalist which will ensure you can benefit from most of this new exciting post-capitalist world. The benefits of being better at 10 things than 90% of the global population than better than 99% of the world population at one are monumental. The cross pollination of ideas between unrelated industries provide you with unique perspective that nobody else has ever possessed. This will lead to new unimaginable opportunities.
Constantly evolve: Make at least one improvement that makes you better at something every single day. It sounds daunting, but improvements don’t have to be huge, they can be really small which incrementally leads to huge change. Think improving just 1% each day and build upon that every single day. Doing so has a dramatic effect and will make us 38x better, not 365% (3.65x) better, at the end of the year. Wake up every day and ask yourself what is the 1% improvement I can change to make myself better personally and professionally.
Imagine yourself making 1% changes every day that compounds and will make you 37x better by the end of the year. Imagine if everybody was doing the same. Imagine how much better you and the world will be next year.
Devils Advocate: Expose yourself to unfamiliar materials and open your mind to the alternative of the opinions you hold dear. Play devil’s advocate with yourself and develop an understanding, if not an empathy, of the contradiction of your own beliefs. By opening your mind to the antithesis of your thinking you can uncover holes in your reasoning. Only by understanding the problems can you improve and develop it. Never become so entrenched in your thinking that you will defend them blindly, by understanding the reasons against your argument you become cognisant of other people’s perceptions. Considering dissenting opinion lets you develop means to appeal to their sensibilities you would never have considered. This enables you to develop products, programmes or campaigns that appeal to the widest spectrum of people, or in such a way that doesn’t alienate potential partners or clients. Successful people are malleable, they understand the gravitas of change and the importance of possessing the capability to adjust your thinking. Stay nimble and willing to change and you can profit from the altering landscape around you.
Share: Successful people share their ideas relentlessly. You need to stop thinking people will steal them. It is essential you talk to people and get feedback as quickly and as widely as possible. If you have an idea test it as soon as possible with as broad a spectrum of society as possible. If you’re not comfortable releasing an idea for wider public consumption share it with people you know. Understand how they use it, what they think and ascertain ways in which you can improve your thinking or product. External perspective will broaden the range of understanding you have, it will uncover faults which you are too close and emotionally invested in to see.
Philanthropy: Give your ideas away for free as well. The value you will receive in return could be priceless. Have a way to improve instagram, spot a flaw in Airbnb or believe you can improve Starbucks? Reach out and tell them. Blair Taylor is now chief community officer at Starbucks after a cold email the former head of the Los Angeles Urban League sent to CEO Howard Schultz. It led to a phone conversation and ultimately, a job offer. If you don’t share your ideas you’ll never benefit from them. What do you have to lose?
Question: Meet, reach out and talk to people; always ask questions and gain an understanding of their processes, inspiration and the path they have walked. Understand the obstacles they have overcome and the pitfalls you can avoid. I refuse to let somebodies reputation scare me into submission. I’m a vehement believer in the adage that if you never ask you’ll never know and find this particularly true of those people who have ascended to the highest heights. I’ve exchanged correspondence with everyone from Arianna Huffington, Bob Keiller, Gareth Williams to Adam Grant. It’s worth remembering even the most successful among us are people too and almost universally everyone likes to help. If you are able to add value to them while asking questions that is even more powerful. Only by asking people who have achieved unprecedented successes can we understand their rigour and the sacrifices we must make. This can be used to challenge your thinking and assist you. It’s as simple as writing an email.
Time: Give yourself it. When was the last time you took an hour to just think? If you’re like the majority of people the answer is not very often and not recently. Without thinking how can you expect to develop ideas? Time, freedom of mind and a lack of constraints enable you to cultivate the conditions necessary to create. When we don’t feel creative it is incredibly easy to believe we are not the creative type but we are all equally creative if we allow ourselves the opportunity to be. Our potential is unlimited and can only be constrained by a lack of imagination. But our imagination must be trained consistently; constant use of any muscle enables it to grow and this can only happen if you invest the time to achieve it. Schedule free time to just think, turn of your phone and escape, avoid all distractions.
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