4 Habits the Highly Successful Have Mastered

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Whether it’s a famous CEO, professional athlete, superstar entrepreneur or anyone who is thriving at the highest level of their profession, chances are they didn’t just wake up one day and be in that position that they are in. There is no doubt about it that there are some who are ridiculously gifted at what it is they do and were destined since day one to make it to the top, but even then when you dig a little deeper, you will come to the realization that their habits is what ultimately drove and determined their success.

There may not be anything more important to ensure future success than to adopt world-class habits and master them daily.

 

Here are four habits that the highly successful have mastered.

1. They use failure and adversity as a springboard to greater success.

No matter how big or small it may be, we have the choice whether or not failure and adversity is going to serve as a roadblock for lack of achievement or springboard to greater success.

The highly successful use their failures and adversities throughout the course of their life to help them grow and reach new heights of success. If you can adopt this often-challenging but greatly rewarding habit into your life, you are putting yourself in a fantastic position to win and become the best version of yourself.

2. They are obsessed about energy management.

We hear all the time about time management and how important it is, but I strongly believe that energy management is more important than time management. You can manage your time well, but that does absolutely no good if you direct all of your energy towards low-rewarding and tedious tasks. The highly successful are fanatics about time management, but they also are even more obsessed with where they direct their energy every minute of every day.

Something that I am always looking at is ROE (return on energy), and that’s how I eventually decide what gets my attention on a daily basis. Time management is important, and I think you should constantly look for ways to better manage your time, but don’t forget about the importance of energy management. Stop wasting valuable energy on low-rewarding tasks that don’t inch you closer to the achievement of a major goal of yours or living out your purpose.

3. They never stop learning.

The highly successful are lifelong learners. I have never met someone at the top of their game and doing magnificent things in the world who weren’t lifelong learners and always searching for ways to develop the skill set and expand their knowledge. A sad reality is that most people stop learning the second they finish their formal education. Don’t be like most people. Commit to becoming a lifelong learner, and join the ranks of a very small percentage of people that get to reap the tremendous benefits of doing so.

4. They have an incredible vision for their life.

Having a great vision and seeing yourself beyond your current circumstances is a habit, because it is something that you must do every single day. The older we get in life, the more we experience failure and adversity. One day you can be extremely happy and then the next day you can be completely miserable. Having an incredible vision for your life must be an everyday habit that you not only incorporate into your daily life, but also work to carry out that vision every minute of every day.

The highly successful visualize themselves succeeding and achieving their loftiest goals and dreams in life way before they actually do so. Having an incredible vision for your life is only half the battle, believing that you fully can make it come true and then working daily to bring that vision to life is what brings everything full circle. Start to create an incredible vision for your life if you haven’t done so already, and then develop your self-belief while working diligently to bring that vision to reality.

Becoming the best you and reaching your full potential all comes down to your daily habits. Incorporating the above four habits into your life can be a complete game changer for you.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

 

Why Talent Alone Will Never Be Enough

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One of the great mistakes of life is to think that talent alone is enough to be great and become a high achiever. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen talented people get cut from the sports team, go bankrupt after a few years in business or just completely get flat out beat by someone with a lot less talent.

I first came to realize how very little talent means in the long term during my athletic career. Some of the most talented athletes in the world are the ones who you don’t know or never hear of. I was amazed and never could fully wrap my head around how some of the best players I played against in high school never made it to college or how the best players in college never went on to have lengthy NFL careers.

Everyone had a different journey, so I’m not saying that every single case was the same, but when I began to dig a little deeper, there was a remarkable trend that I started to see dating all the way back to when I played sports as a little kid. There was always that extremely talented kid who seemed he or she could do it all. He or she was light years ahead of everyone else and you instantly started to think to yourself how far this kid is eventually going to go. But then as time went on and the older he or she got, everyone around them started to get better as well, and he or she was still relying on talent alone.

On the flip side, you have the kid who wasn’t very good, but through hard work, dedication and perseverance, eventually went on to make it the furthest and even surpass the kid with all the talent. I have seen the exact same scenario in the world of business: The man or woman who is extremely gifted in a particular skill, has a little bit of success and thinks that they are going to go down as one of the greatest in the world. As time goes on, he or she stops nurturing and developing his or her talent and before he or she knows it, a less talented person comes along and knocks him or her out of business.

Here are two ways why talent alone will never be enough.

Someone with less talent is coming with a major chip on their shoulder.

Doug Flutie, Oprah Winfrey and Muggsy Bogues are a few of high achievers who maybe weren’t the most talented or destined for major success from an early age, but through a second-to-none work ethic with a major chip on their shoulders went on to do what others thought was the unthinkable.

 

Just because you are extremely talented at something doesn’t guarantee that you will have long-term success, and the moment you stop nurturing and developing your talent, someone else with less talent is working day and night to beat you.

Talent alone can only get you so far.

You might make a ton of money, reach a certain level of success and even think you made it at some point, but if you stop there, you will eventually fall down. Just as there are so many less talented people who go on to beat the people who are 10 times more talented than them, there are also those who are incredibly talented but who work like they have no talent whatsoever.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of my favorite examples. I used to be amazed at how the two of these men are arguably the greatest to ever play the game but also work harder than anybody else. How in the world does that happen?

Will Smith, one of the great actors of our time, credits his major success in Hollywood to his sickening work ethic and mentality to die on a treadmill rather than get off before you do.

We are all talented at something, but if we stop there it will more than likely end a disaster. Do something every day, even if a little, to develop and nurture your talent. Adopt the champion mindset that Jordan and Bryant have. Make it up in your mind that absolutely no one will outwork you, regardless of how talented you may be.

I want to leave you with a quote from Tim Notke that sums up everything I have been trying to hammer home in this column:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Why You Should Strive to Be a Lifelong Learner

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Many people wonder what they can do to become well-rounded and competitive while increase their rate of success. An often overlooked yet simple way to improve is to increase your knowledge by being a self-starter.

Traditional, structured education is very important, yet much success is derived from highly motivated individuals that have dedicated their lives to the concept of lifelong learning. These individuals prioritize the creation of time in their busy lives each day to educate themselves on new concepts and ideas. These individuals understand the importance of creating plentiful opportunities in all spheres of life.

Your business is only as strong as the people behind it. There’s a direct correlation between individuals who strive for growth in their personal lives and those who thrive in their professional lives. This can be accomplished by committing to the concept of lifelong learning. In an ever-changing market and world, it’s more important than ever to stay current, competitive and up to date.

Pursuit of knowledge is easier than it has ever been before, as technological advances can relay information instantaneously to our fingertips. It’s a modern day privilege to take this convenience and utilize it in productive ways.

First and foremost, you must be willing to expand your mind. Rid yourself of assumptions and convictions so that you can be open and receptive to new information. This at times may even contradict what you have always believed to be true. You will eventually come across information that challenges your worldview. Rather than remaining static in your comfort zone, use this time to stop, reflect and shed light on these ideas in a way that can develop and expand your vision.

When you come across new information, take the time to think about what you believe and why. Is your outdated mindset preventing you from advancing in a modern world? Be willing to question new information and research it further. Digging deeper will separate you from the crowd and allow you to see the value in developing an independent mind.

Cultivating the mind prior to seeking information is as essential as cultivating a field prior to a harvest. It is a necessity to weed, fertilize and create space where information can blossom and grow. As the soil of the Earth needs to be fed to blossom, our brains are the absorbent sponge waiting to be fed with new ideas and concepts. Water it daily to stimulate growth, and you will yield a bountiful harvest of information and knowledge.

After the mind has been prepped, the next step is application. Create a to-learn list just as you would a to-do list. These are ideas and concepts you have great interest in learning more about.

Many people may think with their hectic and already overflowing schedules there is simply no extra time to learn anything more than what is absolutely necessary to get through the mundane tasks of everyday life. To simply develop enough skill to adhere to your job description or be informed just enough to get by is a sure pathway to mediocrity.

This is where the self-starters get ahead. They understand the importance of time management and prioritizing daily growth. They are constantly striving to know, learn and do more. This competitive edge they have created propels them to success in other areas of life.

There are many simple, effective and realistic ways to implement daily learning opportunities that do not have to inconvenience your life. Learning on the go has actually never been easier! For those who are auditory learners, audio books are the perfect way to incorporate knowledge with a simple press of the button. While stuck in traffic on that 30-minute commute to and from work, simply play an audio book that suits your interest. Rather than listening to the same songs in rush hour, listen to a political debate on talk radio. If music is a passion of yours, try listening to music in another language.

Learning information you can utilize in your daily life is very important to having a continuous desire to further advance your education. Skill-based learning, for example, is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on auto maintenance isn’t the same as physically changing the oil or tire on your car. Reading about art isn’t the same as picking up a brush. If your knowledge can be directly applied in a functional and fun fashion, put it into practice! Many people learn by being hands-on.

Make time one weekend to seek a mentor or attend a personal enrichment class. Culinary, fitness, dance or art classes are all fabulous ways to attain hands-on learning and experience. Volunteering at a shelter or children’s hospital are great ways to learn and culture yourself or your children and on worldly issues that may have otherwise been nonexistent to you.

Think about all the wasted time you spend sitting in doctors’ offices, waiting to pick the kids up from school or in a long check-out line. You could be reading a few pages of a book of your choosing. A simple 15 minutes a day could have you completing a new book every other week!

It’s estimated that Americans are spending 23 hours every week texting and on social media. Imagine spending that time every week on your craft or your personal enrichment. You could speak five languages and be a walking fountain of knowledge by changing your habits and mindset.

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and try to always take something valuable away from your daily interactions. Many people are professionals in their field and have valuable information and insight to share. If you have questions, ask them! Never be too prideful, for each question you don’t ask is a missed opportunity!

Go ahead and challenge yourself today. Commit to expanding your mind, continuing your education and becoming a student of life. Utilize the world as your classroom, and no matter how big or small, always come away with a lesson. Remember to cultivate your mind so it is prepared to expand, blossom and grow. And share your fountain of knowledge. My bet is you will slowly begin to notice you are not only achieving everything you are setting out to accomplish, but you have stimulated a perpetual hunger that drives you for more in both your personal and professional lives.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

5 Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Productivity Levels

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“How can I become more productive?” is a question that will continue to always come up.

Everyone wants to get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment as each day comes to an end. There are a million different productivity tips out there, but here a five ways to increase your productivity levels that have worked wonders in my own life.

1. Arrive early, stay later

Living in a congested city such as Chicago, I have found that if I start my workday before everyone else, I can save time by beating traffic and getting to my most important tasks right away. Sitting in traffic will do nothing but frustrate you and set a negative tone for the rest of your day. The same goes for when the end of the work day rolls around.

Your ability to save these extra hours can not only increase your productivity levels drastically, but help you become one of the highest paid and most productive people in your field. Arriving early and staying a little bit later could make all the difference in the world.

2. Plan each day the night before

This is a total game changer. If you spend just 15 minutes before you go to bed the night before creating your to-do list and prioritizing it, you will have a head start on your day when the morning rolls around. After I create my to-do list, I pick the most important tasks and put a little star next to them reminding me that these are the tasks that need to be done to push me forward with achieving big goals.

3. Leave the office for lunch

This is something so small that can have such a powerful effect on how you work for the remainder of your day. Getting out of your work environment for lunch can ease stress levels, refresh your creativity and help you to re-focus for when it’s time to go back to work. I often take a short walk to clear my head and think about how I want the rest of my day to go.

4. Minimize distractions

This seems self-explanatory, but in this day and age, distractions are everywhere. If you work from a computer, as most do, there is the temptation to check social media and surf the Internet, among many other things. When it’s time to work, work! If possible, close your door and have a “do not disturb” sign hanging on the door so your co-workers know not to bother you.

Every company has those employees that love to talk about what was on TV the night before instead of actually getting important things done. Don’t let these average achievers hold you back. Set boundaries and try your very best to abide by them daily. Your ability to minimize distractions as much as possible can single handedly increase productivity.

5. Keep your goals in sight at all times

After setting extremely big and exciting goals that you want to accomplish, keep them in sight at all times. I keep a list of my goals in my phone, a note card that I carry in my pocket and in a spiral notebook. The main objective is to keep your goals in a place where you will end up seeing them many times throughout your day. When I glance down at my goals, my motivation levels to get things done goes through the roof.

Start to picture yourself as the most productive person in your field. How does it feel? What tasks are you spending the majority of your time on? What is your philosophy on personal performance? Be in competition with yourself to see how much you can get done. Have fun with it. Make it a game.

Always try to beat the person you were the day before. Keep track of your results and work every single day to be a highly productive individual and watch the small daily victories begin to transform your life.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com