I’ve studied a number of successful people over the last several years, paying particular attention to identifying common elements and themes. In this article, I describe the 10 principles I discovered that drive successful living. By success I don’t mean anything related to money, power or status. What I mean by successful is an act or person that is aligned with pursuing one’s highest possible potential. If you achieve that kind of success, the money, power and status is more likely to follow.
The 10 patterns that tie together all the individuals I’ve studied over the last several years are all intangibles that, for the most part, go unseen to the untrained eye. They are present in the moment, they ask incredible questions, they listen, and they make sure they understand what they are hearing. They thrive in this world by doing less and creating more. They build their foundation by enhancing, not expanding. Once a stable foundation was established, it served as a platform from which to launch the greatness that others see and recognize.
From my three-year study of receiving mentorship from executives of Fortune 500 companies, a President of one of the top universities in the world, and a retired CEO, here are the 10 patterns that all these successful individuals had in common:
1. Direct Focus On One Thing
The only formula these individuals seemed to need was the 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto Principle. What it says is that 80% of your success comes from only 20% of your effort. And the principle applies not only to their business lives, but to all areas of life, whether health or relationships or anything.
They do less but accumulate more.
2. Treat Yourself With Self-Compassion
The people I studied all engaged in a simple process for being successful: Becoming a master. And the only way you become a master is through action. Perhaps you’ve heard of the 10,000 hour rule, which gives you an idea of the kind of time you have to put in to become world-class at anything.
Too many individuals fear failure, but the path to success is to put in your best effort all the time. You will fail, but failure is merely a bump on the road to success. Successful people don’t beat themselves up over mistakes. They are gentle on themselves, creating an internal environment to reflect and learn, not to rant and rave.
3. Practice Self-Awareness
Self-awareness has to be accessed and cultivated daily, but once a certain level of self-awareness is attained (and for everyone that special point differs), it will bring great value and clarity to your life.
Self-awareness will give you a clear perspective of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, values, beliefs, and motivations. This awareness is how decision-making happens among those who are decisive.
4. Be Present In the Now
Successful individuals seize not only the day, but each moment. And the only moment that’s worth anything is the one happening right now!
Timing, as they say, is everything.
5. Show Up To Life With Passion
This is where it all starts.
The energy that the people I studied bring to life an energy that radiates outward, and you can actually feel it. It’s both contagious and magnetic. This energy is what attracts the people, the money, and the resources. This is what allows them to “work” long hours and still have the energy to spend time with family and friends.
This passion allows them to “show up” in all aspects of their life.
6. Live A Purpose-Driven Life
The successful people I’ve met all have a vision of who they want to be and what they want to do. This purpose isn’t just thought about, it’s both felt and known.
Although the specific expressions of this purpose may change over time, such as in a career path, the overall message is constant.
7. Learn to Give and Receive
They lose themselves in others. Giving and receiving in love is important to all of them.
By giving to others they became aware of their abundance and become flooded with gratitude. Appreciation of others and themselves becomes an uplifting experience. In today’s age, I’ve seen more individuals lack success because of the inability to receive anything.
Receiving the gifts of others is the only way one can create abundance in life. Accept the greatness of others when it is given to you.
8. Listen To Understand
Individuals of this caliber realize the full power that is inherent in listening. They listen to others in order to understand them, not to be understood.
Too many people fail to listen because they’re busy crafting their own response, usually with the intention of being understood, rather than first taking the time to understand the speaker. Failing to learn and live active listening is a recipe for costly mistakes in life.
9. Subtract, Not Add, to Your Lives
It’s not in adding (whether it’s cars, clothes, prestige, or money) that we find happiness and growth, but in subtracting.
Successful individuals realize this on a deep level. They also realize that the only reason they don’t have what they want is because of their own limiting beliefs about what they can accomplish.
Successful individuals consciously or unconsciously eliminate beliefs that don’t support their vision, replacing them with beliefs that do.
10. Set Goals With Deadlines
Successful individuals have a clear vision about what to focus on and how to accomplish their goals. They have deadlines and stick to them, holding themselves accountable for their progress. Their word is everything, so much so that It’s the easiest way to literally speak their reality into existence. Once they say they will do something, they do it!
The people I’ve studied aren’t successful by chance. They chose to be successful and then made it happen by first nailing down their vision. They don’t ask for permission and they don’t search for acceptance. Thesuccessful individuals I surround myself with don’t win by getting angry or using force. They win with love, which is the definitive difference between force and power.
Choose love. Gain power. Be in the now.