For many of us, the idea of success can seem distant, like a mirage shimmering on the horizon. How do successful people get to where they are? And what can others learn from them? The answer lies in habits—namely, the power of good habits to produce success.
It is human nature to form habits. We follow patterns which often become unconscious over time. This works for better or for worse; we can easily slip into negative habits that limit us and sap our energy, sapping us of satisfied and rewarding experiences. Conversely, forming positive habits can open up a gateway to success. A habit is an ingrained pattern of behavior developed through regular repetition. As Charles Duhigg states in his book, The Power of Habit, “Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness or can be deliberately designed. They shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.”
We all know someone who wakes up early to exercise before running off to work, or somebody who always writes down their to-do list before bed, but with enough tenacity and effort anyone can implement this kind of routine. Good habits result in lives filled with productivity, reliability and creativity; bad habits keep us bound in self-imposed stagnation.
The thing about habits, though, is that they don’t just appear out of the blue; they are formed by the decisions we make each day. Successful people are even more careful and intentional when it comes to developing good habits. From waking up early and reading several books a month to writing down their goals and having family dinner together, successful people prioritize building positive habits that sustain them in their career or life. These can provide them with a much-needed edge in today’s competitive world.
The most important habit that sets successful people apart from everyone else revolves around intrinsic motivation. These people continually question themselves and push on even when it becomes difficult. They have an intrinsic drive and internal commitment to put maximum effort into whatever they are working on. They understand that winning and losing isn’t about short-term gains, but rather about consistently striving for excellence.
Successful people also focus on the quality of their thoughts and the attitude with which they approach each day, each goal and each task. Instead of being bogged down by failures, they focus on learning from mistakes and growing from them. They also take the time to visualise what they want to create and align that with their actions, each and every day.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that success belongs only to a select few. The reality, however, is that success is available to everyone and everyone can become successful--it all comes down to mastering the right habits, those habits that set successful people apart. By recognizing our blind spots, understanding our strengths and weaknesses, and committing to personal growth, we can make the conscious decision to develop these habits and start making small changes that will eventually have large implications in our lives.