We've stopped thinking of achieving success as a matter of being lucky, and we've begun to realize that it's an art form of sorts. The people who win are those who know how to play the game. If centuries of the documented routines, mindsets and habits of the greats tell us anything, it's that "successful people" have a formula of sorts — a combination of traits, habits, and beliefs that formulate into a pattern of success. While some of these are common knowledge — have a routine, know your "why," believe in what you're doing — there are others that fly a bit more under the radar, and rightfully so. What genius would expose their last trick to the general public?
The point is that if you examine the lives of what society consider self-made "successful" people (I'm talking about people who build careers, not just stumble into superstardom) they are similar in more ways than just a few. While talking about these similarities can only be speculative (we will probably never have the full picture of what goes on behind the scenes), it's still important that we take what we can get and do our best to learn. We may not be striving to be the next Steve Jobs, but when it comes to better balancing work and family, or getting that promotion, or building our small businesses just a bit more — there's something to be said about mimicking the motions of those who have already made it. After all, that's probably what they mean when they say "fake it until you make it."
Have A Personal Uniform
You don't necessarily have to wear the same thing every day (though many successful people do), but at least wear the same few things routinely. The point of this is two-fold: erase the decision making in the morning and save your energy for what matters, and then decide on what's best representative of you as person and cohere your identity through your clothing choices. Forget about fashion — you're here to step into your own style.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day — And Make It Early
You should be knee deep into work by the time everyone else is getting in the door. The reason for this is that beginning early, especially with your most important tasks, ensures you'll have the most energy because you won't be interrupted by anybody else, and you won't already have expended any in your other tasks. Do what's most important by yourself, as early as you can. Let the rest of the day happen as it happens — if phone calls roll over, so be it; if you have to take a doctor's appointment, that's fine. As long as your routine consists of doing what you need to do ASAP.
Successful people are very selective about how social they are. (Very.) They don't have time or energy to waste on people they don't genuinely care about, and so they reserve their spare time for those who are very close to them, and that's it. This is not an unfortunate thing, as many infer (and assume, based on that whole "anti-social, boring" stereotype). It just means they've decided what's most important in their professional lives, and decided to extend that to their personal ones as well.
Read Quality Literature, As Often As Possible
I have never heard of (and truthfully, could not ever imagine) a successful person who didn't read prolifically. To be successful is to see yourself as a lifelong work-in-progress. It means that you must always be reading, and learning, evolving and expanding yourself, and thereby extending that growth to whatever it is you do each day. Yet, it's not just anything that successful people read, and in fact, it's rare that you'll find them with the latest self-help book in tow. They go straight to the source: they read ancient philosophy, or the classic psychology textbooks of our time. They're not just here for the condensed, commercialized version of self-improvement (not that I'm hating on that, though!).
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