The Problem: The Top Dogs in the world seem to have it all and won’t share their secrets.
The Science: The daily decisions highly successful people make are actually backed by science.
The Solution: Learn what ultra-productive and creative people do every day to maintain their success!
Ever wonder what separates champions from almost champions? CEOs from associates? The luminaries from the people who fade out? It’s actually quite simple. Most of them never give up. It’s so easy to shrink in the face of adversity. Winners stay steady in that one moment when everybody else wants to quit. For them, failure is when you surrender. But the reality is that they’ve inadvertently been preparing for that one moment their whole lives. Every day, they make many little decisions that prime them to do what’s right when it really counts. Let’s learn what successful people do on a daily basis so that we can apply it to our own lives.
Don’t Fear Failure!
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison, America’s greatest inventor.
Everyone encounters failure, even successful people. Nobody’s actually a superhero! Successful people understand that failure is inevitable when you’re taking risks. What makes them exceptional? They never let it stop them from trying. Science shows that failure can undermine your desire to keep trying. Successful people take a bad outcome and find the silver lining in it.
So what can you do? When a bad day has got you down, double your determination to counteract whatever loss you experienced. That way, you’ll never fail the same way twice. Another key component of turning catastrophe into triumph is to maintain your confidence: never stop believing that you can achieve!
Focus on One Thing at a Time
“To do two things at once is to do neither.” – Publilius Syrus, a Roman who wrote daily maxims.
If you’re always juggling 5 balls at a time, chances are you’re only going to give 20% of your attention to each task. It’s simple statistics. What you need to realize is that each task should get exactly 100% of your concentration. Researchers have even demonstrated that multitasking inhibits performance on individual tasks. Ultra-productive people approach their most important goals with laser focus. It’s not rocket science: when we multitask, we do an average job of everything.
Focus your energy on planning and prioritizing. List down your goals and determine which one is most important. Resolve yours to dedicating 1 to 2 hours every morning to that goal. Eliminate all distractions. Don’t forget to reflect: write down what you achieved in those two hours to impress yourself (and to keep track of your progress towards that one long-term, ultimate goal)!
Carry a Notebook
“Always carry a notebook. Write everything down. When you have an idea, write it down.”- Aristotle Onassis, the 20th-century renowned Greek shipping tycoon.
What’s in a successful man’s back pocket? A notebook! Even though our society is increasingly driven by technology, some successful people stick to traditional, non-digital solutions to plan out their lives and write down their ideas. Case in point: Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, Moleskine, has practically become an extension of his arm at office meetings. If you’re lucky enough to flip through the pages, you’ll find doodles, brainstorming sessions, new designs, and ideas before they vanish from his mind.
It’s ironic that hardcore technology executives whip out pen and paper on a daily basis. But they certainly do it. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, tucks his spiral-bound notebook under his arm on a full-time basis. Justin Rosenstein, the Asana co-founder, says that pen and paper are the best possible tools to generate big ideas.
Countless scientists have extolled the benefits of taking the time to write out your ideas. Scientists have shown that you remember what you write down better. It even makes you a better writer and thinker in the first place. Some physicians even claim that writing improves motor skills and memory. When you slow down to write something out, you actually think it through. When you’re fully present, you might even be more creative!
Take A Break
“It’s truly incredible how easily we can forget the most important things, like drinking a glass of water or taking a breath.” – Clara Shih, the CEO of Hearsay Social.
Life needs balance. Science has shown that happiness often leads to success. Where do most people derive the most lasting happiness from? Research says it’s social connection, i.e., relationships. Apply all that to the business sector:
To maintain and sustain success in your professional life, you need a happy personal life. That means having great relationships with your co-workers, your family, your friends, and, most importantly, yourself. Highly successful people understand that money can be made and lost, but health, family, and well-being are not as expendable.
How do successful people really “have it all?” Well, for starters, they work really hard for it. But they also lighten the load by reminding themselves to take breaks. Clara Shih overrides her tendency to work herself into the ground by taking a business card everywhere she goes that prompts her to take a break every once in a while.
Stop Wasting Time
Productive people don’t let other people or useless projects waste time. They simply won’t attend meetings, social events, or appointments that aren’t worth their time. Meetings can be dominated by“not-so-important’ issues that could just resolved with a few emails. Scientists recommend that the best way to combat time management issues is to figure out why you do it the first place. Use meditation to re-focus when you’re getting off track. But don’t just help yourself: make your office run like clockwork by being the one who keeps everyone on schedule and on task.
Now, Get to Work!
These tips don’t require you to be an entrepreneur, a billionaire, or an Olympian. These tips can help anyone become more of an efficient, productive, and pleasant member of the office. The catch, though, is that success is never certain. What works for these people might not be right for you. If their secrets to success don’t work well for you, recognize that they’re counterproductive and make your own routine. Creativity is a hallmark of highly successful, innovative people, too!