The world is full of people wanting to improve and be more successful, but who aren´t willing to do anything about it. In many cases, this is due to not knowing what to do or thinking they aren´t good enough. fast enough or clever enough, so they accept what life gives them instead of going out and creating things for themselves.
The steps to being more successful and outcompeting most others, however, do not depend on ability or how you were born, they depend on living with intent, purpose, and direction.
Follow the steps below and you will live with intent, purpose and direction as well.
Get up when the alarm clock goes off.
Never snooze. Get out of bed the instance your clock goes off. By doing this you start the day with extra time and a win. Most people cannot do this, so by doing this one step, you are already ahead.
Get up early.
Get up as early as possible, and start with a morning routine that sets you up for a great day every day. Do heavy and meaningful work in the morning, as this is when your brain works the best.
A new kid on the block, yet very important. While meditation has been around for centuries, practiced by Eastern monks in various forms, it is quickly taking its hold in popular culture, powered by the adoption by many successful people. People such as Tim Ferriss, Ariana Huffington, and many others swear to it, and contribute a lot of their success to meditating. Need help getting started? Try the guided meditations apps Calm or Headspace.
Exercise. There is no way around it. Most successful people swear to their exercise, and most of them do it early in the morning. There has never been a person who blamed anything negative on exercise. Yet still, many of us don´t.
Remember, exercise can be many things. If you haven’t done anything in a long time, start with brisk walks. The trick is, do something every day without exception, and make sure it gets your heart rate up.
The western world is in the middle of an obesity epidemic. We know more than we ever have about what´s good for us or not, yet we don´t follow it. Instead, we eat more fast foods, sweets, snacks and convenience meals than ever before. Eating junk satisfies an urge right now, but kills you over time. Eating junk is giving in to weakness and displaying poor self-discipline. Eating right gives you more energy, a healthier body, a better functioning brain and many other health benefits.
You are what you eat (almost). What do you want to be?
Write things down. Anything and everything. The sooner you start journaling, the sooner things will be clear to you.
Write down how to tackle a problem.
Set and write down your goals.
Write down how your days are going to be in the morning.
Write down how your day was and what you liked about it in the evening.
Write your dream life.
Write about subjects that interest you. Writing about a subject makes you better at it. Post those articles to Medium.
Make your own reality by writing it down. Try it, you will be amased by the clarity it produces.
Set goals for yourself. Set goals for next week, next month, next year and 5, 10, years ahead. What do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve them? If you don´t set any goals you will go where the world pushes you, instead of pursuing your dreams. Revisit these goals often daily and in-depth weekly, monthly and yearly. Use them as your guide, your sail, but revise when necessary.
Never be satisfied.
Never get complacent. Never think “I´ve made it” or “this is as good as I´ll get”. When reaching a goal, set a new one. You celebrate when you achieve something and reach a goal, but don´t let it allow you to then stop. Keep pushing.
Always be early.
Everywhere, no matter what. Never let people wait for you. Don´t be disrespectful of others time. Don´t be known as the one that can´t be counted on. Instead, be known as the one who is always dependable, always early. If you for some reason cannot make it to an appointment on time, cancel it in advance, apologise for the inconvinience and already have suggestions ready for rescheduling.
And don´t worry so much about having to wait for others if you are early. Always carry a book and a notebook and you will have plenty of things to do while waiting!
Just don´t. Complaining doesn´t change or solve anything. The only thing you get out of blaming is that you think more negatively and others will stop wanting to be around you.
Don´t expect things, earn them.
Don´t expect the world to give you anything, instead put in what´s needed to earn what you want. Adopt a mindset of “What do I need to do to get what I want” instead of “Who is going to give me what I want”.
You alone are the architect of your life. Everything is your responsibility, so take ownership and take it now. If you want to get up earlier, get up earlier. If you want to eat right, eat right. If you want to get a promotion, study those better than you, read books and hone your skill and go earn that promotion.
Do the work, no matter what.
Put in the work and hours needed to get what you want. And it doesn´t matter if you hate your job, the specific task, the class, your boss or whatever. Always put in the hours, always work hard, always hone your skills. But don´t do it to appear busy, only appear as busy as you are.
But work smart, not only hard.
Working hard does not mean mindlessly performing a task repetitively in an unproductive way. Get better, learn new ways, techniques and tricks and employ them while still putting in the necessary hours and effort. You will find that you will improve, rise through the ranks and be more successful.
Be consistent and persistent.
Don´t give up. Don´t stop. Apply discipline to stay at things even when they aren´t fun, when you aren´t motivated, when it get´s tough. More often than not, it is not skill or ability that separates the success from the not, it´s persistence. Keep producing, keep improving, keep trying and keep learning, and you will get there. Give up at the first sign of resistance or lack of motivation and you will get nowhere.
Still be aware and mature enough to understand when you need to quit something. But know that giving up on one thing frees up time to churn away at something else.
Embrace failure, mistakes, and fuck-ups.
Failing is great for you! It is a unique learning opportunity that taught you something that didn´t work so you can go and try something else. Not a single successful person in the world has gotten to where they are without stumbling many times on the way. The only difference between them and those who don´t end up successful is persistence. You must adopt a mentality where you don´t fear failing or making mistakes, but embrace it and learn from it.
Don´t worry about looking stupid.
If you want to improve, you´ve got to put yourself out there. If you put yourself out there you are bound to make to look stupid to others sometimes. Don´t fear this, embrace it! Use it to practice your humility. Laugh at yourelf. Learn from the experience and improve.
Always offer your help to others, with anything. Focus on how to make others succeed and look good, not on yourself. Don´t take credit for anything that isn´t yours, and even then, make sure to mention any that has helped you. Do this, and you will benefit from it as well.
Be generous. Be generous with time, money, advice, recommendations, etc. Just be generous. If you are generous, others will be to you as well.
Study and learn, and never stop.
Life is about learning, and you should never stop. Unfortunately, this idea that “education” only happens in life´s formative years has made many of us stop trying to learn. The rest of life we spend on mindlessly executing.
This is wrong, you should always be learning. And learning does not only mean going to school. Learning means to read, to visit new places, to get to know new people, to challenge yourself, to engage in discussions, and most importantly, to talk with people of different ages, races, culture, and opinions than you. Remember, everybody you meet will know something you don´t. So be humble and learn.
Focus on how the world is changing and assess as soon as possible if there are new skills you need to learn or directions you need to take to adapt to the changing world before it is too late.
Never get complacent, never get stuck. Always push yourself in every way you can. Challenge yourself to do better in exercise, to work better, to meet x new people in X week, to do bungee jumping, to read a book that holds the opposite opinion to you, to be more grateful, to not get angry, to speak in public, to write a book. Whatever really, but never stop challenging yourself.
Meet new people.
But stay in contact with old. Always try to get to know and talk to new people, but never forget old friends and family. Life is about seeing new things and people, but also nurturing relationships and showing gratitude to those who have had a positive influence on you.
Surround yourself with inspiring people.
But let go of negative people who do not have a positive impact on your life. Being around dishonest, greedy and selfish people will make you dishonest, greedy and selfish. Being around lazy, complaining and expectant people will make you expectant.
Being around inspiring, productive, successful people will make you inspiring, productive, successful. Choose your friends.
Don´t ever again go away from something thinking “wow, that Barrista was really good, I should have told him” or anything similar. In fact, train yourself to spot and appreciate the little things people do above and beyond, and make sure to show your appreciation. This can be to the bus driver, school teacher, colleague, partner, parent, etc.
Stay honest, always.
Practice honesty in everything you do. Honesty to yourself and to everybody else. Personal integrity is at an all-time low and only going down. Stay ahead of the pack by always being honest. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you are unable to, alert in advance and apologies. If you ever wrong anyone, apologise.
Say no to things that aren´t important, to free up time for things that are important. Prioritise what is important to you and stick to it. But also accept that these priorities might change. Maybe at one point, every networking event you can go to is important to you, but later, being with your partner is more important. Remember, things may seem important without being so. Be ruthless, honest and consult your goals. Always leave time for your “down time”, family time, OWN time or whatever you call it.
Take care of yourself.
Listen to yourself. Give yourself time and space when needed. You might feel like superman (or superwoman), but if you don´t get the adequate rest and recovery time, you will crash. Don´t let it happen to you and be smart in advance. Plan in restitution time, for body and mind.