Infographic: The 5 Habits of Highly Successful People

We all daydream of being rich and successful. Dreaming is powerfully attractive. It allows you to create any possibility without fear of failure or judgment. Unfortunately, the problem with dreams is that they are nothing more than a contemplation of a possibility of doing something.

And no one has ever become rich and successful based on a possibility of doing something. In order to become a high achiever, those dreams must become grounded in growth. Intentional growth is what separates high achievers from those that simply daydream.

Some of the most successful people in the world intimately understood that to achieve their dreams they must grow, in -- self-awareness, character, skill-set and relationships.

Oprah Winfrey was raised in poverty, she had dreams, and today has a net worth of $3 billion. Howard Schultz was raised in the projects, he had dreams, and today is chairman and CEO of Starbucks.

These high achievers intentionally grew by creating good habits, like:

  • Writing down their goals
  • Keep TV viewing to a minimum
  • Reading more than 30 minutes every day
  • Networking with people that could help them
  • Teaching good success habits to their children

“Keep a growth journal. And incorporate what you’re learning into your everyday life. You cannot change your life until you change something you do every day.”
— John C. Maxwell

This infographic by Business Management Degree lists a number of good habits that some of the most successful people are using to build an awesome life. I suggest that you grab a growth journal and add one 1 habit per day. You may never become rich, but I am confident that your life will be awesome.


 

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.


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How To Create A Working Life That Does Not Suck

Do you ever sit at your desk in horror that you will never have an Awesome working life?

I mean, think about it -- you're not getting any younger and the distractions of the world are only getting more demanding. These demands are suffocating your ability to pursue a passionate working life.

But don't panic it's OK, it's really not your fault -- you're busy. You are very busy with lots of important things like watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Internet. Yep... very busy.

But think about this... on your deathbed how will you remember your very busy life? Will you lie there thinking -- If I could live my life again...

  1. I would pursue my passions without abandon
  2. I would be a lean, mean learning machine
  3. I would be more courageous

Do I have your undivided attention? Good -- because it's not too late to live an Awesome working life. In all honesty, it's never too late to do work that has Purpose and in this post I will tell you how.

The Worst Advice Ever

At some point in your life, someone told you -- follow your passion! 

I am certain that you have given the same advice to someone else. Who unwittingly, gave that very same advice to someone else. It's what we do because it sounds like great advice. 

Unfortunately, the advice is awful. 

Why?

The advice assumes that we have a pre-existing passion and many of us simply don't. 

We begin to question our purpose and act out of fear so we choose a career that is part passion, partly forced choice with a dash of financial security. This is a great recipe for anxiety and failure.

So it's not surprising that many of us spend our entire  career working at a job that is less than satisfying. According to a research report by the Society for Human Resources Management -- only 43% of U.S. workers are "somewhat satisfied" with their current jobs.

A Very Basic Question

Cal Newport is a professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Newport explains that in order to build a career that you are satisfied with the right question is not "What job am I passionate about doing?" but instead "What way of working and living will nurture my passion?

So what we need to stop doing is looking for a job title. We need to focus on a very basic lifestyle question: "What do I want to get out of my life?"

That question will help guide you in creating your Awesome. Here are 3 of my lifestyle goals:  

  • To be financially independent
  • To work from where I want to
  • To make a positive impact on the lives of others

These are huge goals but most importantly I now understand what I want to get out of my life.

The Work That Must Be Done

Now this is where the hard work begins. If you want that rare and valuable lifestyle, then you need to offer something rare and valuable in return. The fundamentals of economics makes this very clear -- your most prized assets are your skills.

So if your passion is writing, then you need to feed that passion with the rare and valuable skills that will make you Awesome. This is done by creating a learning journey map.

The simplest method of creating a learning journey map is to use a mind map strategy. This will help you design and grow the skills you need to become an Awesome writer. 

Once you have, your learning journey map fleshed out it's time to create goals. This is where many people struggle because goal setting is seen more like a chore than an instrumental tool.

Here is a brief summary of what Michael Hyatt covers in the Best Year Ever:

  • Believe in the possibility -- you must believe that you can accomplish your goals
  • Inventory your past -- helps you understand what you did right and what you did wrong
  • Design the future you want -- this goes back to the lifestyle question
  • Find your "why" -- why is this goal important to you
  • Make it happen -- begin executing your goals

"Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told to."
-- Alan Keightley

When You Are On Your Deathbed

Creating a working life that is full of Awesome is very hard work. You will need to make sacrifices, you will lose friends, you will doubt yourself and people will tell you -- "you're crazy."

But think about this... on your deathbed how will you remember your very Awesome working life? Will you lie there thinking -- "If I could live my life again... I would not change a thing."

Awesome Tips:

  • Systematically grow your skills by creating a Learning Journey Map -- make them rare and valuable
  • Develop a plan to set the goals and then accomplish them -- use Michael Hyatt's Best Year Ever
  • Once these skills have caught the attention of the marketplace you can leverage them to obtain your lifestyle traits

3 Ways To Take Charge Of Your Day To Day

I consider myself to be a productive person. I have a solid command of practical routines, which allow me to manage my ambitions proactively.

The Emptiness Of It All

So I was surprised after my yearly review, that my level of productivity had devolved. I was being reactive to the world’s demands and not proactive with my dreams.

Instead of building blocks of time to work on my goals. I spent my limited time preoccupied with emails, Twitter, Google+ and other day-to-day activities. Oh, and, of course -- squeezing in a few goals when the time permitted.

As creative people, we need to build effective routines that allow us to proactively pursue our ambitions, instead of reacting. Scott Belsky, explains that we are now in the Era of Reactionary Workflow.


"Through our constant connectivity to each other, we have become increasingly reactive to what comes to us rather than being proactive about what matters most to us."
-- Scott Belsky

If we are to truly pursue our ideas and make them happen -- we need to be deliberate in drawing the line between our ideas and the world's demands.

1. Finding Your Focus

I have spoken with many creative people about their ideas and the opportunity for making those ideas come to life.

The surprising thing about creatives is that idea generation is rarely in short supply. Unfortunately, the execution of those ideas are under constant attack, from the world's demands.


"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention..."
-- Herbert A. Simon, Political Scientist

When I ask about the adverse effects of constant distractions the answer is essentially universal -- distractions add very little value to solving hard problems. Making matters more complicated for the knowledge worker is that distractions are institutionalized.

We are always being asked to be available for -- email, chat, conference calls and the obligatory "open door policy."

Each of these disruptions is a cost center to the knowledge worker's productivity -- retarding the quality of work he produces.

2. Retool How It’s Done

The solution would be an administrative reform which would significantly minimize distractions. But expecting that type of transformation is unlikely.  The next best solution is to focus on what we have a direct influence on -- our own habits.

The goal of building better personal habits is to maximize our ability to apply undistracted focus to those hard problems and to minimize distractions. 

Professor Cal Newport calls this solution -- the focus block method. This is something that I have been experimenting with for the last few months. And it has allowed me gradually increase my undistracted focus.

I have also found that only using the focus blocks solves part of the issue. These blocks of uninterrupted time must be coupled with resistance to distractions. So this means:

  • No email
  • No phone
  • No Internet

3. Optimize Your Time

Implementing the focus block is like adopting any new habit -- it must be introduced gradually:

  • Start with small focus blocks. I started with scheduling 1-hour blocks, per weekday, on my calendar. I have gradually increased those blocks by 30 minutes over a few weeks. Today, my focus blocks are up to 2.5 hours; my goal is 3 hours.
  • Address a clearly identified task. If I am writing an article, I will have most of the research completed and printed out. I use my Kindle for reference and set Evernote to fullscreen. This habit ensures that I have set myself up for the best writing experience.
  • Consider moving away. When I am writing articles, I tend to be somewhere else. I will generally sit in a quiet coffee shop, a local library or on a beautiful day I will sit in the park.

The Era of Reactionary Workflow is a real problem for creative people, teams, and businesses. Being reactive to the world’s demands significantly decreases the value of work a creative can produce. The focus block method does not solve the problem, but it can be used to shield against the constant demands of the world.