18 habits of exceptionally successful people

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By Michael Yardney

Success means different things to different people, but there are timeless truths about what it takes to get to the top.

One of the most successful books of all time about success is Think and Grow Rich, which was written nearly 80 years ago by Napoleon Hill.

In this book and further texts and lectures series, Hill explored the traits that lead to exceptional success.

Here are 18 of them.

1. Successful people have purpose

According to Hill, we can all become very successful if we would just make up our minds about how much success we wanted, how we define it and on what terms we wanted to evaluate success.

He explains all successful people started with a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, planning, and desiring before they became rich.

They imagined riches before they saw them in their bank accounts, Hill explains:

“Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognise failure, will bring riches.”

2. They have faith

Growing rich and successful starts with your mindset — with belief and faith that you can accumulate wealth, according to Hill, who says “if you can imagine it, you can create it.”

3. They are decision-makers

A key trait in all the successful people Hill studied was decisiveness.

They don’t procrastinate as they recognise making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all.

4. They gain specialised knowledge

Successful people focus their attention and energy and become an expert in one field rather than diversifying.

They tend to be voracious readers and never stop learning but they recognise education and knowledge is only potential power.

The real power comes from taking action and implementing that knowledge.

5. They’re not the smartest person in their team

There are often big egos at the top of the tree but the ultra-successful seek out other smart people whose capabilities and talents complement their own.

They then form “mastermind groups” with people who share their vision, recognising that a group of creative minds are exponentially more powerful than one.

6. They exhibit self-control

Exceptionally successful people know how to control their emotions and not let disappointments crush their spirits or achievements lead to cockiness.

They understand self control is a muscle, which when exercised gets stronger.

They know pursuing a dream and the goals around this dream increases self-control.

7. They don’t give up

Hill says it’s not only necessary to withstand difficulty, but to use your setbacks as motivation to try even harder.

8. They find productive uses for their creativity

Successful people make an impact on the world by finding ways to direct their imagination to “definite and constructive ends”.

Thinking isn’t really enough – you can’t just “think and grow rich”. You need to use your specialised knowledge in a productive way.

9. They are open

According to Hill, to be a great thinker, you need to have an open mind on all subjects and all people.

That’s why successful people are not quick to judge others. Instead they independently gather all of the information they need about a person or a topic before forming an opinion.

10. They are active listeners

The most successful people don’t use conversations to fuel their own self-worth, but rather as a way of learning from another person.

11. They learn from their mistakes

A key difference between those who achieve their purpose and those who fall short is the perception of mistakes as worthwhile educational experiences rather than humiliating failures.

12. They are not afraid of criticism

Hill says if you aspire to do something noteworthy in your field, you will draw criticism regardless of who you are or how well you do your job.

Exceptionally successful people aren’t overly concerned with critical remarks. But they do pay attention to ones that have merit and learn lessons from them.

13. They practice loyalty

When it comes to loyalty, successful people understand who has a right to theirs.

This may be someone who helped them climb the ladder or who acted as a mentor to them – no matter how successful they become they remember and respect that person and remain loyal to them.

14. Charisma goes a long way

Believe it or not, charismatic people aren’t born that way.

Instead they adopt the practice of listening closely to whoever is speaking and are sympathetic to their perspectives.

15. Details matter

As well as having a big picture focus, successful people also pay attention to the details, “continually observing all that are happening around him, the good things and the bad things, the positives and the negatives,” said Hill.

16. They accept responsibility

Successful people don’t blame others or act “the victim” – instead they accept the blame if it’s due.

According to Hill, success requires no explanations; failure permits no alibis.

17. They’re not jealous

Exceptionally successful people are comfortable with themselves and don’t seek praise from others or become jealous at their peer’s success. In fact, they admire other successful people.

18. Self-reliance

The upper-echelon of successful people have a degree of self-reliance that allows them to pursue their definite purpose regardless of any circumstances or naysayers.

They trust their “sixth sense”, as Hill calls it.

There you have it, 18 traits of successful people. And the good news is Hill believed people are not born with these traits but can learn them.

So now it’s up to you…

One of the traits of successful people is they surround themselves with exceptional people and form “mastermind groups”.

That’s because alone you are vulnerable; connected we are strong.

It’s really easy it is to fall back into old habits and let negative outside influences dramatically impact our mindset and financial results when we are on our own.

Unfortunately, many investors think they have to do it all themselves or learn it all themselves.

This is partly because they think they know better than others or maybe it is because they are not hanging around the right people who are supportive and encouraging.

And these people get harder to find, the more successful you are.

But we cannot be our best selves in isolation from the world. We need other people. The key is making sure we’re spending time with people who inspire, empower, and encourage us.

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, which creates wealth for its clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia’s leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.

This article was originally published on SmartCompany.

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