I woke up in the morning frantic. I can’t believe my alarm didn’t go off. All month I had been doing so well following my 2018 goal of waking up before 7AM and this was the first day I screwed that up.
I rushed over to the bathroom and turned on the hot water to the shower. As I was throwing off my clothes across the room at my hamper the craziest thing happened.
My alarm went off.
I was so confused. Wait, did that mean… I woke up on my own before 7AM without my alarm! After a few weeks of relying on my alarm the seemingly impossible task of waking up earlier was finally becoming a habit.
That got me thinking… we all have lots of daily habits that control much of our lives.
We get up in the morning, take a shower, brush our teeth, and drink our coffee without even thinking about it. We can mindlessly travel through these motions without much thought.
Are there certain habits that the world’s most successful people such as Elon Musk, Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos tend to have?
It turns out there are. Many great leaders have very similar habits. For instance…
Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading and Bill Gates reads 50+ books a year.
Sam Walton chose the name Wal-mart over Walton-Mart to save money on signage and Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary won’t spend $2.50 on a Starbucks because he’d rather save it.
Learning and incorporating habits of these icons won’t guarantee you’ll be landing rockets on Mars anytime soon, but it certainly can help get you on the right path for massive success.
Good habits are not only about doing the right things but also avoiding the wrong things. Below is a list of 14 effective habits the world’s most productive and successful people.
1. Networking with Other Smart and Successful People
Steve Jobs at 12-years old looked up the co-founder of HP Bill Hewlett’s number in the Yellow Pages and called him to ask for computer parts, landing himself a job instead. Bill Clinton made contact cards for all the important people he met to send them personalized letters starting at 22-years old and had over 10,000 contacts while running for governor of Arkansas.
Many times it’s not what you know it’s who you know.
2. Saving and Investing Your Money
Mark Zuckerberg drives a $30,000 car. Bill Gates wears a $10 watch. Warren Buffett still lives in the same house he bought for $31,500 in 1958.
As Buffett said “Don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
3. Not Worrying About What Other People Think
Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because his editor said Disney “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Anna Wintour was a junior fashion editor who got fired before starting Chanel because her shoots were considered “too edgy”.
As the Philosopher Aristotle said “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
4. Prioritizing Product over Profits
Mark Zuckerberg refused to run advertisements while building Facebook because he didn’t want to hurt the user experience. Jeff Bezos has become the richest person in the world despite Amazon having just a handful of profitable quarters in its two-decade history.
Focus on building the best product with the best people possible and then the profits will follow.
5. Not Following the Status Quo
Henry Ford, who founded Ford and built the world’s first mainstream automobile, said “If I asked what people wanted they would’ve asked for a faster horse”. Elon Musk, as he tries to colonize Mars, offers “Advice I would give is to not blindly follow trends. Question and challenge the status quo.”
As the saying goes at first they’ll laugh at you and then they’ll ask you how you did it.
6. Reading and Developing Your Mind
Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day. Elon Musk read books to learn how to build rockets. Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015.
Success starts from the inside out: train your mind and you body will follow.
7. Not Getting Deterred By Failure
Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team. Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company.
No one will care about what you wanted to do only what you did. Don’t let failure deter you learn to use it as a stepping stone for your success.
8. Obsessing Over Your Goals
Best selling author Grant Cardone believes “You must be fanatical about success so the world knows you will not compromise or stop. Until you become obsessed with your mission no one will take you seriously.”
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
9. Waking up Early
Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45AM and gets a head start on email. Michelle Obama is working out by 4:30AM. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up before dawn for a 6-mile run.
As Benjamin Franklin said “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
10. Not Losing Focus
Steve Jobs famously said “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” Best-selling author Jim Collins believes “A great enterprise is more likely to die of indigestion of too much opportunity rather than starvation of too little.”
The more you narrow your focus the more extraordinary your results will be. Don’t be a 1-year expert on 20 different things be a 20-year expert on 1 thing.
11. Setting Large Goals but Taking Small Actions
Jeff Bezos created the largest e-commerce store in the world but started by selling just books online. Mark Zuckerburg built the world’s largest social network but started with just college students.
As the Chinese proverb goes “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
12. Not Engaging in Negative Self Thinking
Will Smith went from being divorced and near bankruptcy to becoming a megastar and believes “You just decide- and the universe is gonna get out your way.” Sean Diddy Combs, despite his dad dying when he was 3, went on to build a $700M+ net-worth in entertainment and thinks “Positive attracts positive. You get out of it what you put into it.”
It’s much harder to turn a negative mindset into positive results than a positive mindset into positive results.
13. Helping Others Become More Successful
The Dali Lama believes “If you want happiness for an hour take a nap. If you want happiness for a day go for a hike. If you want happiness for a year win the lottery. But if you want happiness for a lifetime help others.”
Help others become more successful and your success will follow.
14. Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
The Dali Lama was in exile for a majority of his life starting from when he was a kid. When asked how hard it must have been to never have a home he said because he has been in exile he’s been able to travel all over the world and make everywhere his home. He attributes that to helping him gaining worldly knowledge and become the renowned leader he is today.
Similarly, Nelson Mandela spent much of his life in prison which he looks at as a “long holiday for 27 years” as he spent his time reading and writing to help him become the leader he was.