What are the most common habits of successful people today?
In this post, we curated the top 25 daily habits of highly effective people. These are the same character traits that successful people in the world practice every single day!
Rewind back to 1989, will you! That is, of course, if you were over 18 by then, and you happened to be an avid book reader.
In 1989 an era-changing event was taking place.
That event is the publication of the late Stephen Covey’s now-classic tome entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.”
What was it about this particular book that made it tick?
Is it because this book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, ignited a literal tidal wave of change in how we view the “haves” and “have-nots” of success?
Covey’s model of moving from independence to interdependence might best be exemplified by the late mathematician John Nash’s “Nash Equilibrium.”
7 Habits of Highly Successful People
Inspirational quotes by Stephen R. Covey
In its day and age,
Nash Equilibrium turned 100 years of economic theory on its head!
According to Nash Equilibrium, the best outcome always comes when each person aims for their success. And the success of the group.
In 1994, Nash co-won the Nobel Prize for his interpretation of what is now called the non-zero sum game theory.
Covey, Nash, and other literal game-changers have something to teach the rest of us. They teach about what it takes to build and live a highly successful life on a micro-cosmic as well as a macro-cosmic level.
These 25 character traits and daily habits of successful people can help you set your personal and professional compass towards the true North of lasting success. One disciplined and deliberately lived a day at a time.
What are the habits of successful people?
- Define "success" for yourself
- Tap into your passion - for real
- Expect good things daily
- Set up a structure of discipline
- Cultivate and trust your right brain
- Surround yourself with supportive "choice architecture"
- Plan out your day the evening prior
- Remain teachable
- Never lose the spirit of adventure
- Keep your whole self in alignment
- Open your ears before you open your mouth
- Write it all down
- Stay grateful
- Learn to say "no"
- Multitask creatively
- Safeguard your sleep
- Spend more time outside
- Acknowledge your fear
- Always adapt, no matter what the day brings
- Build an early "win" into each day
- Don't end your weekend early
- Kick FOMO to the curb
- Take a break from your phone
- Resist polling the masses for their opinion
- Keep some you-time set aside and sacred
Success is not something that you can achieve overnight. Success is not impossible to achieve. We've compiled 25 habits of highly effective people
Habits Of Successful People And Success Character Traits
What does it take to be a successful person in today’s challenging world?
Do you need to be born into the right family to be successful? Perhaps it is all about the school and college you attend. Maybe it’s their sheer power and determination to never give up until they achieve success.
Success has many contributing factors, including those mentioned above.
The character traits and habits of successful people we discuss on this page are not the sole determinants of whether you can be highly successful, but they will put you on the right path.
Most people can implement these habits of highly successful people in the world and within a short time frame, they will change their lifestyle in a big way.
If you set your mind to it and are disciplined to form daily habits, you can also be successful. Here are some of the best practices and habits of successful people gathered from the habits of highly effective people in multiple fields.
Table Of Content – 25 Habits Of Successful People
Define “Success” For Yourself
If you’ve ever activated Siri, or Alexa, or any virtual assistant you use, I’m sure when you first started you must have heard, “I didn’t understand” countless times.
I know. Siri, and Alexa, that is a talk for another day!
They can get into your nerves but basically, that is what happens when you set about pursuing success before you know what success means to you personally.
Of course, in our intensely Westernized, career-focused culture, it is all too easy to assume “success” refers to your career.
But is that really all success means to you, your career?
Tim turned our entire westernized concept of workaholism on its head, choosing to focus on doing more in less time to create a life that also gives him room to have a life, so to speak!
Spend some time considering the big picture of what success looks like to you. Write it down. Or draw it, if you are more of a visual learner.
Understand how your successful life is going to be.
Define every detail and get very, very clear. Only then is it time to make your move and begin to create what you already see so clearly inside your mind’s eye.
Tap Into Your Passion – For Real
To hear Stanford researchers tell it, passion is a loaded word these days.
Depending on who you ask;
Following your passion will lead you right to your most successful self or send you on a wild goose chase that ends in the proverbial navel-gazing.
Perhaps a better – or more modern – word would be energy.
Notice where your energy consistently goes.
And when you are not at work, what are you doing – or dreaming of doing?
That is likely where your real effort, energy, passion, whatever word you want to use, lies. And where your effort goes, your success will likely follow.
Expect Good Things Daily
Whether you call it the science of positivity, the law of attraction, or even reprogramming your survival-focused mammalian brain, there is one thing you can count on: expecting good things feels better than expecting bad things.
Here, expectation doesn’t mean you sit back with a cup of coffee and watch the morning news while waiting for your skills and talents to be discovered.
It means that you believe in yourself and in what you have to offer to the world in the form of your unique skills and talents and you’re putting in your best efforts.
It also means your mindset and focus is one of seeking and finding the next open door, the next opportunity, the next handshake, or the next collaboration.
Or, as Forbes puts it, “success follows the optimist.”
Set Up A Structure Of Discipline
Discipline is not one of those words we tend to love. Say “margarita” and watch everyone’s faces light up. Say “discipline” and notice how the room quiets down.
But discipline, according to master intuitive teacher and author Sonia Choquette, is not about pain, hurt, suffering. In her book “Your Heart’s Desire,” Choquette redefines discipline as “learning.”
Discipline may mean you begin your morning with meditation, a brisk run with your dog, or a cup of coffee with your favorite mentor.
Enacting this type of discipline reminds you that you take yourself, your success, your life, seriously.
Cultivate And Trust Your Right Brain
There is a reason why the author Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” has won so many awards. It now resides permanently in the “Self-Publishing Hall of Fame.”
First published in 1991, the book has now sold more than four million copies worldwide and birthed numerous spin-offs, including a 12-week online course and book versions for different age groups and stages of life.
Did Julia Cameron, who started as an aspiring filmmaker, ever think her adventures in right-brain focus would lead to such stunning success.
And yet she continued to cultivate success by not giving up when her first film was panned, and then her first manuscript was rejected, and so forth and so on.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Choice architecture is the term co-authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein give to their theories of social connectivity, outlined in the Yale University Press book “Nudge.”
In a nutshell, “Nudge” outlines how the company we keep can influence us by “nudging” us towards more or less life, health, and success-affirming behaviors.
It’s wise to surround ourselves with people who mirror back to us, our highest aspirations, best qualities, and the most open mindset.
Motivational quote by Richard Thaler
If we do so, then we are more likely to achieve any goal we set in life, whether it is losing weight or launching our own business. It is important to understand that choice architecture extends out to the proverbial six degrees of separation.
In other words, people you don’t personally know who know the people closest to you also factor into your choice architecture.
If you’re looking for data supporting the importance of team-building for lasting success, Sunstein and Thaler’s work might just be it.
Plan Out Your Day The Evening Prior
If you were the type to choose and layout your school clothes the night before, this daily habit would come naturally to you.
Planning out the details that can be pre-planned will not only help you ease your mind and enjoy more restful sleep, but this can also free up your morning time for meditation, exercise, brainstorming, and other habits essential to your success.
Quote by Benjamin Franklin
If you’ve ever watched the Stanley Kubrick cult classic dramedy “Dr. Strangelove: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb,” you already understand the priceless value of remaining teachable.
Attaining a position of power, leadership, and authority can be addictive.
It can lead to making some very, very bad choices. It can quickly and without any warning whatsoever turn into stupidity.
Or it can become a vehicle to change the world forever for the better. It all depends on how you handle the mantle that now hangs over your shoulders.
Inspirational quote by Israelmore Ayivor
Inc. uses a rather odd word to describe this concept: “unoffendable.”
Being unoffendable lies at the meeting point between student and master, confidence and humility. Perhaps the Dalai Lama says it best in his now-famous quote, “Whenever possible, be kind. It is always possible.”
Just substitute the word “teachable” for the word “kind,” and you have the right idea.
Never Lose The spirit Of Adventure
Maintaining a spirit of adventure is a critical habit of entrepreneurship and success that some colleges have even added courses on the topic to their curricula.
For the truly adventurous, you might substitute the word “fun” for the word “adventure.” After all, succeeding can be so much fun!
Having adventures is what we lived for as kids.
For most of us, if something didn’t sound fun, we didn’t want to do it, period.
The growing-up process, what author and teacher Don Miguel Ruiz, calls the process of “domestication,” may have instilled in us the dogged determination and discipline to do the unfun stuff as well.
We probably have never learned to like it any better.
Quote by Paulo Coelho
In contrast, having adventures probably still sounds like a lot of fun! So what if, instead of working towards your success, you instead reframed it as adventuring your way to success?
Doesn’t that sound like a lot more fun?
Ultimately, the spirit of adventure is what has carried humankind to the moon, the world wide web, and now ever farther out into the galaxy to search for alien life.
A healthy dose of adventure can move you towards your dreams of success as well.
Keep Your Whole Self In Alignment
When you are working towards success in any one area of life, it can be easy to forget you are not just a mind, or a body, or a heart, or a part of the greater connected whole. But you are. You are all of these elements and more.
If one aspect of yourself is weakened, whether from overwork, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, non-nurturing relationships, or something else, the rest of you is impaired to a degree as well.
To this end, there must be a reason why Entrepreneur magazine cites exercise as one of the most significant competitive advantages of today’s successful entrepreneurs.
If you like to multi-task, then adding exercise to your day can be a great way to network or even meet colleagues or co-workers to brainstorm.
Success quotes by Colin R. Davis
On the other hand, if you are more of an introvert and need time alone to recharge, exercise is the perfect way to take it.
Most importantly, just like so many mega-popular hit songwriters like DJ Khalid say they got that great idea for a hit song while they were in the shower, taking time out to move your body can help you move your mind out of stuck places.
Before you even realize you were stuck, you will be unstuck and headed off into the creative zone again, paving the way for even more success yet to come.
Open Your Ears Before You Open Your Mouth
Unless your idea of success is meditating in a cave alone way up in the Himalayas, if you want to achieve your dreams of becoming successful, you are eventually going to have to win the trust of others.
Trust isn’t always built by having the right answers or even the right questions.
One of the most powerful ways to build trust is simply by opening your ears instead of your mouth. Becoming willing to listen first and for as long as necessary is an exercise in vulnerability, that is for sure.
Brene Brown’s research highlights (see number 7 above), only the most active and most confident leaders understand just how powerful a well-timed display of vulnerability can be in building teams that are destined to succeed.
Once you get used to it, it can feel reassuring to remember you will never become too successful in being able to learn something new from someone else that can keep you relevant and even help you reinvent yourself.
It is a formula that has worked well for the likes of Madonna, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg, and many others.
They have faced significant obstacles or challenges on the road to success and used their ears – not their mouths – to lead them in new and exciting directions.
Write It All Down
What do you know about neuroscience?
If you answered “not much,” you are definitely in the majority.
But neuroscience has something to teach us all about success and how it happens.
For example, the latest research on goal setting and achievement shows that individuals who can vividly picture and describe their goals are between 1.2 and 1.4 times more likely to achieve those goals.
Now that you know that consider this:
Just 20 percent of people polled say they write down their goals.
So now imagine you write down your goals – or at least build such a vivid and detailed mental picture of you achieving your goals that you could entertain friends for hours describing exactly how it is going to happen.
How much more likely than at least 80 percent of other goal-seekers will you then be to achieve your goals? Pretty darned likely is the worst-case scenario.
What does this all have to do with neuroscience, you might be wondering?
Let’s say you write down your goals in detail on a piece of paper. You then head to your file cabinet and file that piece of paper under “goals in progress.”
This is the external version of encoding.
As you’re writing down your goals, this is what is happening inside your head; Your brain is doing the neurological equivalent by “writing” down all the details of your goal and “filing” it in your short-term and long-term memory banks.
Your brain is locking away all the elements of your goal and its achievement so that you can recall it at any time, add to the “file” as needed and continue to flesh out the success you are building now for future-you to enjoy.
Remember Tim Ferriss of the “4 Hour Work Week?” (See number 1 above.)
Guess what he has in common with Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Paul Mitchell founder John Paul DeGoria, the late poet Maya Angelou and others?
If you answered “a daily practice of giving thanks,” you are the lucky winner.
What did you win?
You won a better-then-average chance of succeeding at your chosen goals because gratitude paves the way for success no matter how you look at it.
For some entrepreneurs and successful leaders, sticking to a daily gratitude practice is so essential for them that they reserve the first few minutes of every day for this particular focus.
Gratitude reinforces every other personal quality that could smooth your path towards success. When you feel thankful, you naturally listen more and talk less.
Despite all the ups and downs of life, the challenges and opportunities, it is better to seek balance in giving and receiving and stay mindful of our shared humanity.
Most of all, gratitude itself breeds success because it points out little steps forward that you might not have otherwise noticed yourself taking.
When you can see and celebrate the small achievements, it just makes sense that the more significant successes are sure to follow.
Learn To Say “No”
As Forbes points out, the word “no” is a complete sentence in and of itself.
Success requires the use of two words: “yes” and “no.”
Both are complete sentences.
A simple “yes” or “no.” is an incredibly powerful sentence.
How you use the words, yes, and no have the potential to create or end your chances for success. Those 2 words are reputation-building or reputation-breaking sentences.
Here is an example that perfectly illustrates the power of a simple “no.” If you are in the habit of making lengthy daily to-do lists, you will easily relate to this.
Let’s say an average daily to-do list for you has 10 items. The items at the top of the list are really important – big items that will take a lot of time and energy but are essential to achieving your success goals.
You have gotten into the habit of starting at the bottom of your to-do list each day because the lower-level items are easy and fast to do, and you feel good about being able to check things off your list.
There is just one problem. By the time a typical day ends, you have only gotten up to number four or three on your to-do list, and you never get any higher.
So your top-level items – the ones that are critical to your success – never get done. As a discipline, challenge yourself to whittle down your to-do list.
Add only two or at the most three essential items to each day’s agenda. Start at the top and work your way down. Use your “no” to keep smaller, less impactful things off your to-do list, so you have time and energy for the big stuff that matters most.
If necessary, post your list on your phone or laptop. If any request comes through that doesn’t match up with your to-do list items, it is an automatic “no.”
Only if you learn to say “no” to the smaller stuff will you then ever have time and energy to say “yes” to the big thing your success dream demands from you.
As a success-minded leader in the making, you will be wearing multiple hats.
You are probably already wearing multiple hats, especially as you seek out that ever-receding mirage of work/life balance that can seem so elusive today.
So you already know you will need to find ways to multitask.
A good example is to use time on conference calls to sneak in some fitness – perhaps a brisk walk at the park or interval training on the exercise bike.
When done in the right manner, multitasking can keep your brain sharp, your body fit, and maybe even inspire your team members to do the same.
Safeguard your sleep
What if you could improve your memory, stave off scary diseases like Alzheimers and dementia, and so much more, would you do it?
Again, what if you knew you could do just one thing to stay mentally sharp and physically healthy, lose or maintain your ideal body weight, look and feel younger, come up with great new ideas, would you do it?
What if you discovered that one thing is sleep?
It is true many notable inventors, entrepreneurs, and leaders famously went without much sleep, slept erratically, or struggled with insomnia. But think how much more these individuals could have achieved if they had a proper sleep!
Sleep researcher Matthew Walker’s new book, “Why We Sleep,” couldn’t be more explicit in emphasizing just how important sleep is to our quality of life.
While our modern culture continues to prize workaholism and sleep deprivation in service to greater success, sleep science soundly disproves this theory.
To succeed in your full potential, you need to safeguard your sleep.
Spend More Time Outside
Diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol – these are the names of our most pernicious modern-day serial killers.
According to Science Daily reports, each-and-every one of them recedes when we do one thing – spend more time in nature.
In fact, in Japan, there is now such a thing as “forest bathing,” where people go to the forest and lay down to inhale phytoncides, natural organic by-products produced by trees as they “breathe.”
Of course, depending on where you live and the pace of your daily life, it may only not be possible or feasible to make it to the local park or even outside to get a breath of fresh air courtesy of a local oak tree.
In-office settings, this can mean adding more green plants to your office space, changing out lightbulbs to those that provide more full-spectrum balanced light, adding an air purifier, choosing an ocean view on your desktop screensaver.
Perhaps you work in a pet-friendly place, and you can bring your pet to work and encourage your teammates to do the same. (If you aren’t aware of the pets in the workplace movement and all the positive benefits this program has for the whole office, this is a great time to get familiar!)
Nature helps us to shed stress as quickly as a dog shakes off water after a rain shower. Lower stress equals better everything – including success.
Always Adapt, No Matter What The Day Brings
Let your mind go back to the last time you woke up and your day completely went south on you from there. How did you respond? Did you cope well?
Were you able to move fluidly with the changes like a pro boxer outsmarting their opponent? Or did you spend the rest of that day trying to arm wrestle your schedule to the ground and make it go the way you had planned?
Inspirational quote by Albert Einstein
Did you know that sometimes the best surprises hide inside those days that refuse to go according to plan? We all wish and hope that things happen according to our plans, but life is something else.
The more you can adapt, adjust, stay flexible, and open to changing things up, the higher chance you have of hearing opportunity knocking in the unexpected chaos.
Acknowledge Your Fear
“Boy was that easy, and I wasn’t afraid at all,” said no successful person, ever.
We might have an enormous prefrontal cortex today with all the higher faculties that afford us, but deep down in our ancient limbic reptilian brain, we are still just trying to survive for one more day. And we are still riddled with fear.
Acknowledging fear as the elephant in the room that it is can often free up energy and focus to get back to building success one terrifying step at a time.
If you can’t get rid of fear, at least you can acknowledge its existence, laugh about how scary it is, and then get back to work, knowing that if there is one thing you and your teammates all share in common, it is fear.
Motivational quote by Jack Canfield
Build An Early “Win” Into Each Day
Think of the most motivational thing that makes you feel like unstoppable.
Now imagine you start every day doing that thing.
Entrepreneur calls this “winning the morning,” and it is a standard ritual for many of today’s most respected and well-known successful leaders and entrepreneurs.
Don’t End Your Weekend Early
Depending on your industry and lifestyle, your “weekend” may come on Saturday and Sunday, or it may occur in the middle of the week. Regardless, when it comes around, TAKE it.
And don’t give in to the temptation to end it just a little bit early.
Your brain, body, and heart will thank you by using the time to process what needs processing, file what needs filing, discard what needs discarding.
Kick FOMO To The Curb
You know FOMO, Fear of Missing Out!
FOMO has a stranglehold on pop culture.
Did you know that the original girl-preneur Paris Hilton once announced on a Netflix special that she was afraid to die because death was “beyond boring.”
There are worse things than discovering being dead is boring.
One of them is the genuine possibility of missing out on your life because you are so busy worrying about missing out on your life.
Take A Break From Your Phone
The culture we live in today puts a premium on staying accessible at all times.
You may feel guilty for stepping away from your phone, tablet, or laptop.
Here, the real challenge isn’t “breaking up with your phone,” as the New York Times labels it.
Your phone can even serve as a barrier to your success if you focus on it to the exclusion of other success-building activities you need to attend.
Resist Polling The Masses For Their Opinion
In her book “Daring Greatly,” international best-selling teacher, author, and shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown, Ph.D., gives her take on casual criticism and the often nameless, faceless critics who offer it.
Think about the last time you asked someone – anyone – for their opinion on something. You probably got it, right?
With the relative anonymity of social media as their ally, casual criticism is rampant, and there isn’t much any of us can do to stop it.
Instead, take a leaf out of Brene Brown’s book. Get a notecard (or use your favorite e-note program) and write on it the names of the people whose opinions you genuinely value and trust.
Those are the people you can ask for ideas, advice, guidance, feedback, constructive criticism (and don’t forget to add your name to that list).
As for the rest of us –
Well, “put it where the sun doesn’t shine” seems to sum it up nicely.
Keep Some You-Time Set Aside And Sacred
Pursuing success can become addictive, sometimes with scary results.
Take the billionaire Howard Hughes, who made his fortune in exciting industries like film and aviation.
Yet at the end of his life,
Hughes spent the majority of his time alone, unwashed and unclothed in hotel rooms, eventually passing away without even leaving a will.
Psychological autopsy results posit that Hughes buried his lifelong germ phobia in his work during the early years. Still, later, it came back with a vengeance to keep him from enjoying any of his hard-won success.
Would he have been better equipped to deal with it had he taken more personal time while he still had the youth and energy to heal from his past?
It is hard to say.
Inspirational quote by Eleanor Roosevelt
Hughes’s life offers a powerful example of what happens when work/life balance is chronically neglected. Your life experience offers you high chances to succeed, but it is also there to be enjoyed, savored, lived.
Make sure to build in some you-time to rest, relax, celebrate the small steps.
Remember to give and receive, forgive and forget, be a wonderful you because, in the midst of all things, you’ve firmly resolved that you are doing to succeed.
25 Habits Of Successful People And Success Character Traits You Can Adopt
Success is something that everyone wants to achieve in life.
Because life is complex, many people aren’t sure how to achieve success. Success is all about your mindset. Here’s a compilation of the best inspirational and success quotes by the most successful entrepreneurs today.
Regardless of what you’re doing, there are ways to set yourself up for success.
Most people who have achieved success in the world have become successful in different manners, but they all had similar habits, which helped them get there.
To that end be sure to implement these habits of highly successful people.