Because I never trusted my talents, my looks, my luck, and had no connections, I studied what the successful did and tried to mimic it and then studied what the unsuccessful did, and avoided it.
I’ve been working to create success for myself for over 45 years, since the age of 10 when my father died. I have looked for mentors to show me how to be successful in my life possibly out of the void caused by the loss of my father.
While there are many things that seem to make up the difference between the successful and unsuccessful, I’ve noticed one simple difference that stands out the most – willingness. Successful people are willing to do the things that others are not willing to do.
The old saying, do what you love and you will be successful is one of the biggest misunderstandings and misused ideas I have ever heard. You can see this everywhere in how people live their lives and make choices based on what “feels good” and they never truly get the life they want.
Here are 10 things successful people so that others don’t as covered in my book The 10X Rule:
1. Go to Work to Prosper, Not Just to Work
The successful go to work to get something accomplished. They work to make their dreams a reality not just to get their 8 hours in. There is a drive, even a greediness or self centered push to get something done.
The old adage, “go to work to work” is about going to work to actually do something. The next level is, go to work to prosper, to win, to claim victory not just to work. There are millions working everyday, yet few put themselves in a position or mindset to prosper.
Unsuccessful people approach work with a limiting mindset. They refer to their work-life in a negative way for example, as a “daily grind” or “my life as a drone.” They typically complain as opposed to looking at work as a means to an end, to create a life of abundance. Work, the passion for it, the creation, your contribution, and what you learn from others, is what leads to goals being met and dreams becoming reality.
2. Be Driven
The most successful people I know are driven and push and shove until the job is done and targets are hit and then they go again. They don’t get lost in how others feel or what feels good, but are able to stay focused on getting results. They are driven to do the hard things long after others are only doing those things that are comfortable.
Unsuccessful people appear to spend a lot of time in emotions and considerations causing them to stop or settle and rationalize how these feelings should be satisfied. This mechanism of drive is a muscle that can be developed by practicing non-conformance with society’s definitions of success.
3. No Excuses
Successful people know that regardless of how many excuses they make, it will not change the outcome. Even justified excuses will not make a project or person successful. When things go wrong the successful person sees it as an opportunity.
Unsuccessful people spend a lot of energy and time on making excuses, blaming the economy, the customer, prices, competition. Even if this is all true, it just will not improve the outcome and the successful know this. Never make an excuse for any outcome not matter how justified you are.
Successful people are always focused on success. For years, the first thing I do in the morning is write down my goals. It is my experience that if I can stay focused on what I want, I will get it no matter how absurd the goal. Make the things you want and have not yet accomplished so real in your mind that they become real in your world.
The unsuccessful seem to allow anything to drift into their environment. They are not controlling what they focus on. The average American is consuming 4 hours of TV and internet a day and writes his goals once a year. Every day presents an opportunity to set and reach goals regardless how large.
5. Willing to Fail
The old saying, “no risk, no reward” really applies to the successful. These people go for it with almost a willingness to fail. They aren’t interested in failing, but know that if they don’t put themselves in a position to fail, they never create the ability to win. At some point in life, you will have to go for it or, you will live the rest of your life regretting not doing so.
The unsuccessful play it safe. They don’t speak up or offer ideas because they operate from a place of fear. They are afraid to fail because they are overly concerned with the judgment of others so they do the minimum and try to “fly under the radar.” Never be afraid of failure because behind a mistake is an opportunity to learn.
I once saw a study that suggested the most successful CEO’s read an average of over 60 books a year, while average American reads one. Warren Buffet spends most of his day reading. While the way people consume content and learn is changing due to technology, I still find that there is something different that happens for me when I read a book.
Unsuccessful people tend to “not have time to read” or fill their minds with fluff as opposed to useful information. They just want to “zone out” and in doing so they miss out on exposing themselves to ideas that can inspire success.
7. Shameless Sales People
The successful are shameless sales people who are relentless at gaining attention for their products, services and ideas. Randomly select your top ten, most admired, successful people and notice their common thread. All of them are constantly SELLING. Whether you are selling the board, the investors, the public or the customer, to create massive success, you must learn to sell.
Unsuccessful people don’t sell. They don’t sell themselves. They remain in their own heads lacking confidence in their gifts and what they can potentially contribute. The most important sale is selling yourself on YOU.
8. Money Motivated Plus
You often hear people say they don’t ‘do it for the money.’ Blasphemy I say. While the very successful may not talk about money as a motivator, trust me, they are counting money.
It’s unfortunate that this idea of getting rich is now so politically incorrect, that the big hitters, the successful can’t talk about money for fear of alienating so many and being labeled a greedy capitalist.
Explain to me why the billionaire continues to stay in the game and grow his wealth. The most successful people want money because it is a form of measurement. They also want to accumulate everything else that comes with it – power, recognition, acknowledgement, status, freedom, and more. The successful know there is no shortage of money and want to be rewarded for what they are doing and are driven by the possibilities.
Unsuccessful people also ‘do it for the money’ but with a different motivation behind it… FEAR. They accept a job that is not in line with the person they are and what they want out of life because they ‘need the money.’ They are afraid bills won’t be paid, that they’ll end up out on the street.
Successful people are extremely disciplined, showing up day after day, willing to do the uncomfortable things to the point they no longer even see such tasks as difficult. This is the result of discipline, practicing the same rituals over and over.
The unsuccessful appear lazy, tend to seek comfort and are likely to put off tough tasks. They allow interruptions, distractions and other clutter into their lives, taking them away from setting and meeting goals.
10. Hungry and Paranoid
The most successful people are able to continue to operate like they are hungry long after basic requirements have been fulfilled. This is an extremely important difference between those that do well and those that make it huge. The ability to continue to operate with a new hunger, a new motivation and a new insistence to get to the next level is what leads to continued, consistent success.
Those that create the massive success seem to be connected to some reality or past experience when they have witnessed conditions reversed and are continually propelled by some paranoia that things can change at any time.
Unsuccessful people are too easily satisfied with average achievement and average success. They aren’t hungry to do more than the minimum and tend to measure themselves against by such adages as “it could be worse” rather than seeing how far they have to go to really reach their potential. As a result, they tend to just get by and end up short when it’s time for retirement or there’s a dip in the market. Being satisfied with average is a failing and very dangerous formula.
Want to be successful? Do those things the average person refuses to do.
Remember, you are great. To be anything less is a lie.