Let’s jump right in.
How many of these do you do?
1. They have a clear vision of what they want.
They know what is important to them — what they are striving for.
They’ve taken time to craft their vision for the future, and the life they want to lead.
They know what they want — not just what they don’t want.
Because when you know what you want, it makes it a whole lot easier to get it.
Try it now:
Ask yourself what you don’t want.
(I don’t want to feel stressed / tired / to worry about money any more…)
How does this make you feel?
Likely depressed, down, or helpless.
Now try asking yourself what you do want:
I want to feel more relaxed / get more sleep / increase my income…
Now, all of a sudden, you’re creating goals in your mind.
There’s a sense of freedom.
You have something in your mind to work towards.
And your mind will start finding ways to get you there.
With your help, of course ;)
2. They take responsibility for their actions.
I hate to break this to you…
But every single decision you’ve taken since you reached adulthood was your choice.
I get it. It doesn’t always sound like it was your choice:
My parents paid for me to go to university — I couldn’t just quit!
I got pregnant at a young age — my life was decided for me.
I had strict parents — it took me years to learn to stand up to them and do what I wanted to do.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
I’m saying that if you don’t acknowledge responsibility for your own life, you’ll never do anything to change it.
You’ll think it’s impossible —that it’s out of your control.
Which is a real shame.
Because if you take full responsibility for your life — including:
You learn pretty quickly that everything is within your control.
It can be scary knowing you have this control.
Most people don’t want to admit it to themselves.
But don’t be scared.
[A note here. Sometimes this topic can bring up thoughts of: “Actually, it’s not my choice what I spend my money on. I have a partner and kids, and I have to spend money on them, or discuss my spending with my partner.”
You have still decided to act in this way. You’ve decided to spend money on your children, rather than on yourself (and I’m not saying that’s a bad decision!). You’ve decided to discuss and agree upon your spending with your partner, in order to have a fair and respectful relationship.
Get what I mean?]
We have more control than we think.
3. They don’t blame other people.
They take responsibility for the path they are on, whilst acknowledging the role they play in it.
It’s not their family’s, or their parents’, or their boss’s fault.
See, it’s so easy to do this:
“I had a rough childhood, which impacts the life I have now.”
I used to fall prey to this kind of thinking all the time.
I carried around my upbringing with me, like a scar.
And I constantly picked at it, until it bled. (This is a metaphorical scar, by the way.)
I was almost proud of that scar, you know?
And granted, some people have horrible childhoods.
So get the help you need. Seek the therapy you need (and deserve).
Your parents might have put you through hell.
But if they’re not putting you through hell right now — this instant — where is that happening?
In your head.
In your head, only.
So seek the help you need. Get counselling, or therapy, or whatever helps you to heal the wounds from your childhood.
And let go blaming the people around you.
Not only does it make you feel crappy, it also takes up valuable space in your head — and heart — that could be put to much better use.
You could fill it with love instead. Or gratitude. Or acceptance. (Acceptance of yourself, or of other people.)
Blaming someone else takes the responsibility out of your hands, and gives it to someone else.
And why would you give the most important thing you have — your life — to someone else?
4. They own up to and resolve their mistakes.
I wish I could shout this from the rooftops:
Mistakes are not a bad thing.
Mistakes are a great way to learn.
I’m not saying that making mistakes without learning is a good thing.
Mistakes that occur over and over are just stupid.
But mistakes show that we don’t know everything.
That we’re human.
So get comfortable with making mistakes.
Accept them as part of an expansive, fulfilling life.
Because who do you respect more:
If you’re not comfortable with making mistakes, you’ll spend all your time in your comfort zone.
And you know what you won’t find there?
Excitement, growth, and discovering your vast potential as a human being.
5. They practice humility.
It is just as easy to go down as up.
Nothing is guaranteed.
So when you’re on your way up, say “hi” and give a friendly wave to the people you go past.
Help them out, and lend a hand.
You never know when you might be coming back down again and they’re there to cushion your fall.
I firmly believe that “pride becomes before a fall”.
Whenever I’ve been at my most… shall we say, “cocky”… I’ve shortly after been hit in the face with a big pile of sh*t. (Not literally... yet.)
It’s a great reminder for me that just as life can give you wonderful, amazing things, it can also trip you up and land you on your *ss.
So don’t be too cocky with your successes.
Because, as they say:
If you believe the good stuff written about yourself, you have to believe the bad stuff as well.
Or a nicer way to look at it:
Don’t let success go to your head, or failure go to your heart.
6. They say no when they need to.
I think we can all agree that there are only 24 hours in a day.
And most people would agree that there are more things we want to do in a day than hours in said day.
So how do we resolve this?
Is there a magic potion to create more hours in the day… or a miracle pill that lets us live without sleep?
Not to my knowledge.
But what we can do (which is much simpler — and realistic — than both of the above) is choose very carefully what we spend our time on.
Basically, if it’s not a “Hell, yes!”, it’s a “Hell, no”.
There’s a simple way to do this:
Look at how you’re spending your time.
Note it down — how you spend every hour — for two weeks.
See what you come up with.
Do you spend your time how you think you spend your time?
(No judging here.)
Are you spending your time how you really want to?
Or are you living at the whims and demands of everyone else?
There are only so many hours in the day.
Why not fill them with things you love?
7. They know that they can’t change other people…
Go on. Try it.
I dare you ;)
I bet it doesn’t work.
8. But they can change anything about themselves.
Hell, you could change your name tomorrow if you wanted to!
You can change your diet.
You can change your beliefs.
You can change the way you choose to look at the world each day:
You. Can. Change. Anything.
9. They know there is no point being envious of other people.
Jealousy is a wasted emotion.
It’s totally pointless.
I think that we want what other people have, when we haven’t learned to do the things above.
When we haven’t figured out what we really want, or taken responsibility for our own life.
I never look at someone else’s life and wish it was my own.
Sure, I have role models and inspirations in my life — people I want to be like.
But I don’t want their life.
Because if I had their life, I’d have their problems as well.
Successful people don’t look at other people’s lives with envy and resignation.
Instead, they change their situation — or accept and be grateful for what they do have.
10. They work out.
It sounds like such a simple thing.
And the benefits of working out are cited so much, it’s almost losing its meaning.
But here are two things I’ve learnt from working out regularly:
Exercise gives you time to think… rests your brain… AND helps with creativity!
Who doesn’t want that?!
11. They take action.
They know that action on their part is the only thing that will create change.
You can plan, and wish, and daydream all you like.
You can talk to all your friends, and read a ton of books, and prepare for the moment as much as you want.
But it’s only when you start taking action on something that you’re going to see any results at all.
And the good news?
It doesn’t even have to be big action!
12. They know that consistent daily actions are more powerful than one big effort.
Or every week, if you like.
In my accountability program, I have my participants do three tasks a week.
Doesn’t seem like very much, hey?
But they add up.
Quicker than you think.
Don’t get caught up if you miss a week.
Just start again the next day — keep it consistent.
13. They know that money does not guarantee happiness.
Sad to say, but if money brought happiness, celebrities wouldn’t kill themselves.
But they do.
Which proves that money alone doesn’t bring joy.
Instead, here’s some other things you can focus on:
What else would you add to that list? What makes you happy, deep down?
14. They don’t follow the crowd.
Everyone else is drinking and staying out late?
Doesn’t mean you have to.
Everyone else is going to college, but your heart tells you to start your own business?
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
Breaking out on a limb can be scary… but the rewards are much, much greater.
15. They give themselves time to relax.
Rest is NOT for the weak; it’s for the smart.
There’s a big emphasis right now on being productive, making the most of every minute in the day, and doing more than everyone else does.
And this might work for some people.
But it doesn’t work for me.
I don’t believe productivity is the Holy Grail.
I’m not a machine.
I’m a human.
And that means I need time to chill out, and rest, and sleep.
Surely the point of life is to enjoy it?
And part of that enjoyment — for me — involves reflecting, and pondering, and simply being.
Ironically, giving yourself time to rest actually makes you more productive.
16. They make an effort to look good, so they feel good.
You don’t have to be drop dead gorgeous.
Just make the most of what you’ve got.
Make an effort.
Feel good about yourself.
It will come across.
Victoria Beckham isn’t the world’s most beautiful woman.
She doesn’t have the “perfect” figure.
But she makes the most of what she has, and hides the rest.
And she hasn’t done too badly, hey?
17. They know the fear never goes away.
Instead, they do things in spite of the fear.
The fear is ever-present.
Their fear might be different from yours.
Perhaps they’re worried about giving a presentation to 1,000 successful entrepreneurs, while you’re worried about speaking at your 5-person team meeting.
But that “knot in your stomach” feeling is universal.
It’s shared by all humans, whenever we do something new or out of our comfort zone.
Don’t see successful people as fearless.
See them as taking action, despite their fear.
Which means you can do exactly the same thing as well.
18. They keep learning.
None of us knows it all.
You can be an expert in one field and have virtually no knowledge in another area.
The moment you stop learning is the moment you start to stagnate.
Who knows where it might lead you?
19. They have respect for people in all walks of life.
From the doorman to the CEO.
There’s no need to be rude to the people at the bottom.
Everyone has a story.
20. They don’t waste time watching hours of TV or spending time (passively) on social media.
TV and social media are two of our biggest time-sucks.
You can cut them out — if you choose to — by using some of the ideas above.
One of my favourite exercises around this idea:
Qu: If you had a week off and money was no object, what would you do?
Fly to an exotic location?
Take your family to Disneyland?
Learn to ski, or scuba dive, or charter a yacht and head for a remote island?
Here’s what I bet you wouldn’t do:
Am I right?
Why is that?
What does that tell you?
21. They are willing to try things at any age.
It’s good to have goals, but age doesn’t have to limit you… unless you let it.
I know so many people who cut themselves off with age limits:
I can’t change jobs at 55.
I have to buy a house before I’m 30, or I’ll be a failure.
I can’t meet someone in my 40s.
Are these statements true?
Is there a law commanding these things, or are you telling yourself them to keep yourself safe?
Do you want to stay safe, or do you want to see what you’re truly capable of?
22. They know there is no such thing as failure.
Everything is a learning experience.
You f*cked up?
So learn from it.
You went bankrupt?
Try again — with the wisdom you’ve gained.
You missed the shot that would have won the game and put your team in the championship?
At least you took the shot.
23. They are more concerned with what feels right in their heart, than what other people think of them.
Opinions of the people you love matter.
Opinions of haters don’t matter at all.
As one celebrity said in a recent interview, on dealing with negative comments:
“I try not to read them.
Sometimes it’s really hard to ignore them, but it honestly doesn’t matter — because who are these people?”
Who are these people, indeed?
24. They thank the people who have helped them, and are grateful for what they have.
If you sat down right now and made a list of all the people you needed to thank in your life — for the big important moments, as well as the tiny gestures — how many people would be on that list?
I bet way more.
I bet you could fill a whole page with them.
No one does it on their own.
So why not take the time to let people know how grateful you are...
Send them a quick text.
Or a note of appreciation.
Hell, you can send them a telegram if you want ;)
I message authors whose work has changed my life.
I send flowers to my friends to let them know that I’m so grateful they’re in my life.
I take the time to tell people what I appreciate about them. (Reader? I appreciate you reading this article! Yes — you!)
Not because I’m a super-human or because I’m perfect.
Bleurgh. Far from it.
But because we’re nothing without the people around us.
(It will make you feel good, too.)
25. They know that it’s a journey — a way of living — and not an end result.
You’ll never actually get “there”.
Wherever you want to get.
One goal leads to another goal, which leads to another.
Instead, just enjoy the process.
Enjoy being where you are.
Enjoy being imperfect, and not knowing it all.
Of course, celebrate your successes.
But don’t put off happiness or allowing yourself to feel good for another day… for “someday”.
Sure, I’d love to have a fabulous, capsule wardrobe, and a well-furnished apartment, and be further along on my journey.
But when those things happen, I’ll probably want something else.
And so the cycle continues.
So what do I do?
I take stock of what I have. (Literally. Sometimes at night I list in my head all the things I have or that make life easier, starting in my bedroom — and I can easily think of 50 to 100 things without trying. I am lucky. I don’t take this for granted.)
This is a journey, my friend.
(The finish line is death.)
So chill out and enjoy the route there ;)
26. (a bonus one!) They know that constant happiness is not possible.
Happiness is one emotion of many.
If you’re constantly striving for happiness, you’ll end up disappointed and feeling like there’s something wrong with you.
There is nothing wrong with you.
We’re not meant to be permanently happy.
Focus instead on growth, learning, and helping others.
(And ironically, those are the things that make us happy. Life’s a funny old thing, eh?)
Stop desperately chasing permanent happiness and then wondering why you feel bad, and instead, focus on making other people feel happy.
As James Doty says in his book, Into the Magic Shop:
“…We keep what we have only by giving it away…
If we want joy, we need to make others joyful.”
Not a bad place to start, eh?
Thanks for reading! You’ve come to the end. Now give yourself a pat on the back and go off and have a great day :)