We are the result of our repeated behavior. Or as Aristotle put it, “Success is not an action, but a habit.”
Here, top entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles weigh in on the one mental habit that drove their success and how to cultivate it in you.
- Visualize your goals
There’s no right or wrong way to visualize your goals. It’s a matter of setting time aside every morning or night to close your eyes and play a movie in your mind of what your life will be like when you’ve achieved your dream. This practice primes your mind to believe your end goal has already happened, so when the time comes to perform, you’re confident and ready.
- Update your mental tapes
We all have old tapes in our head that we put on replay whenever a new opportunity arises. I was a terrible student in school, so for years, the tape that ran in my head reinforced old, negative beliefs about myself. I would play the tape and go into a meeting convinced that I was not likely to succeed or get what I wanted.
I soon realized that my old tapes had outlived their usefulness and were getting in my way. So, I formed a new mental habit of updating the content of these tapes. I swapped out, “You’re not very good at this!” for “You’re just amazing! Show them what you’ve got!”
Recording over my old mental tapes was the one habit that has contributed most to my success. —Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on “Shark Tank”
- Rewire your beliefs in just five minutes a day
While visualization and goal-setting are essential, one simple, daily practice can bring your goals to life. Set aside five minutes each day to write your goals down in the present tense with a specific result, as if you have already accomplished them. The act of writing and rewriting your goals daily from memory rewires your nervous system to create a unique singularity of focus. It also gives you total clarity on what your subconscious should be focusing on every single day.
- Arrive 15 minutes early to everything
Punctuality alone will get you very far in life. Being late to a meeting inevitably starts the discussion off on the wrong foot. It’s very hard to recover from that poor first impression. Being late essentially says, “My time is more important than yours.” These are words no businessperson ever wants to hear. For those who have not cultivated this essential skill and are perpetually tardy, my suggestion would be to make a conscious effort to arrive 15 minutes early to everything you do. Whether it’s your gym class, a dinner reservation, or the business meeting of your dreams, be early.
This will give you time to collect your thoughts and soothe any anxious feelings you may have. As the great philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “In the ordinary business of life, punctuality is … necessary.”
- Go for ‘No’
Everyone yearns to hear “Yes,” but the way you handle hearing “No” will make you great. Most people only set their sights on “Yes” targets throughout their day; they worry about hearing “No,” and feel deflated when it happens. But in trying to avoid “No,” you place too much pressure on yourself, leaving you uptight, not having fun, and ultimately, less successful.
“No” is an important part of the “Yes Process.” Embrace it. Rather than avoiding “No” “Go for No!” The difference between “Wanting No” and “Avoiding No” makes all the difference. Natural fear of rejection practically goes away.
Remember: all of the “Yeses” you want are buried in a sea of “No’s.” Set a goal for how many “No’s” should you target each day. “Go for No!” I bet it’ll become the number one habit that builds your empire.
- Remove all distractions
I’ve always been fond of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry quote, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
With so many available distractions, the true essence of progress is deep thought, coupled with simplicity. To achieve simplicity, you must remove the unnecessary.
Give this a try: log your daily activities for a few days. After a fixed period, assess. You’ll be astounded by the amount of unnecessary and time-consuming distractions you have in your life.
Remove these distractions, and you’ll have time for the life-changing deep thought and profound advances in your career that can only come if you make room for them.
- Put yourself in a bubble
Defying the “norm” and focusing on greater mission makes it harder to relate to the average person. However, to pursue excellence, you sometimes have to distance yourself from the average.
Ultimately, the willingness to make the social sacrifices necessary to prioritize your mission helps you succeed more than anything. Focus your time on the things that matter; it will change your whole perspective on people and business.
- Invest in yourself and take action
Success is the ability to do what you love every day. To be successful, you have to know what you love, who you are at your core, and be courageous enough to take action.
Investing in yourself requires perseverance and determination. You can do anything you set your mind to, but to achieve your goals, you must be willing to face your fears. You may feel scared investing in yourself. However, not investing in yourself is actually worse, once you realize what your inaction has cost you: opportunity, time, learning, and your potential.