Success is an interesting word. The dictionary says it's "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame," but dig a little deeper and you'll find that it means different things to different people.

Truly successful people understand that success in life includes many factors. There's success in financial and career goals, sure--but also success in relationships, avocations, spirituality, legacy, and even success simply finding enjoyment.

Here are 12 things that truly successful people do every single day--because they realize that, like excellence, achieving success is not an act but a habit.

1. They give themselves a break.

True success is a long-term game. We all have good days and not-so-good ones. So when the truly successful fall short (as we all do in some ways, every day), these kinds of people don't get too down about it. They take pride in the fact that they're only human, and remember that tomorrow will be here soon enough.

2. They ask questions--and listen to the answers.

Did you hear the one about the person who achieved great success by himself? (No, you didn't--because it never happens that way.) Truly successful people understand that there's always somebody more knowledgeable or experienced than they are, and they seek out his or her counsel, advice, and wisdom. Added bonus: They pay attention to the answers.

3. They find something to laugh about.

They don't have to be comedians, but truly successful people understand that life is beautiful--and as it happens, hilarious. As a wise man once said, "Life's too mysterious; don't take it serious."

4. They seek out new things to learn.

Truly successful people understand that the second they stop learning, they'll stop growing and being successful. More than that, however, they seek out knowledge and the opportunity to learn new things for its own sake.

5. They look for opportunities to give without expectation.

Part of true success is about having positive, rewarding relationships; another part is about contributing to the world and leaving a legacy. Both of these goals are elevated by actively looking for chances to help other people. Successful people understand that the rewards they ultimately receive are usually greater than what they've given--although that's truly not their motivation.

6. They seek out chances to express gratitude.

People generally like to be acknowledged and thanked for their contributions. The truly successful among us understand this--and they make an effort to let others know they are appreciated.

7. They screw up and acknowledge it.

This is related to simply giving themselves a break. Truly successful people understand that the road to success is normally littered with failures. Nobody likes coming up short, but the most successful people among us own their mistakes, and move forward.

8. They see things from other people's perspectives.

Empathy is the lifeblood of great relationships. Truly successful people understand that to get along with others, you must work to understand their perspectives.

9. They forgive--and mostly forget.

Life is too short to hold grudges. Successful people recognize a simple equation: Time spent on being angry about the past equals time you can't spend focused on the present--or the future.

10. They add to their plate.

Bring it on, truly successful people say--new life challenges, new experiences, new opportunities for growth.

11. They give up on some things.

Adding new things to your life often means less time available for other things. Successful people know this, and they make the tough calls to cut the fat, to make room for the newer ones.

12. They spend time with the people they care about.

You can achieve a lot in life--and yet miss out on what living is really all about. Hint: The answers will come to you from your interactions with the people you love.

Published on: Oct 12, 2015
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