Because I never trusted my talents, my looks or my luck, and I had no connections, I studied what successful people did and tried to mimic that. Then I studied what unsuccessful people did and tried to avoid that.
While there are many things that seem to differentiate those who are successful from those who aren't, I’ve noticed one simple difference that stands out the most—successful people are often more willing. What exactly are they more willing to do than others? Here are five key activities:
1. They Go to Work to Prosper
Those who are more successful often go to work to get something accomplished. They work to make their dreams a reality, not just to get their eight hours in. They often have a drive, even a greediness or self-centered push to get something done. There are millions of people who go to work every day, yet many don’t put themselves in a position or mindset to prosper.
Unsuccessful people often approach their work with a more limiting mindset. They may refer to work in a negative way: “the 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 of it, your contribution and what you learn from others—is what typically leads to goals being met and dreams becoming reality.
2. They Exercise Incredible Drive
The most successful people I know are driven, and they push and shove until the job is done and targets are hit, and then they go again. They're able to stay focused on getting results. These folks often keep doing the hard things long after others are only doing what's comfortable.
Unsuccessful people appear to spend a lot of time in emotions and considerations that cause them to stop or settle and then rationalize how these feelings should be satisfied. What they don't seem to understand is this mechanism of drive is a muscle that can be developed by practicing nonconformance with society’s definitions of success.
3. They Never Make Excuses
Regardless of how many excuses they make, successful people often know that it will not change the outcome. Even justified excuses don’t automatically make a project or person successful. When things go wrong, the successful person often sees it as an opportunity, not an insurmountable hurdle.
Unsuccessful people tend to spend a lot of energy and time making excuses, blaming the economy, the customer, prices or competition. Even if the "excuses" are all true, just complaining about it likely won't improve the outcome, and successful people know this. No matter how justified you are, try never to make an excuse for any outcome.
4. They Focus on Their Goals Daily
Successful people tend to be focused on success. For instance, the first thing I do every morning is write down my goals—I’ve been doing this for years. It's my experience that if I can stay focused on what I want, I will get it no matter how absurd the goal. The idea is to make the things you want and haven't yet accomplished so real in your mind that they become real in your world.
Less successful people seem to allow anything to drift into their environments—they aren't controlling what they focus on. Every day presents an opportunity to set and reach goals regardless of how large or small they are.
5. They Are Willing to Fail
The old saying, “no risk, no reward” seems to apply to those who are successful. These people often go for it almost with a willingness to fail. Of course, they aren’t interested in failing, but they know that if they don’t put themselves in a position to fail, they'll never create the ability to win.
Unsuccessful people seem to play it safe. They may not speak up or offer ideas because they operate from a place of fear. They may be afraid to fail because they're 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 every mistake is an opportunity to learn.
Begin to willingly do these five things, and you may soon see things change for the better in your business and life. Because doing what others refuse to do can give you the edge you need to find the success you want.
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This article was originally published on July 23, 2014.