"Get rich quick" has taken on a new meaning in the digital age. We have watched aspiring entrepreneurs make their millions -- and billions -- seemingly overnight. The success of their products seems so obvious in hindsight.
Take the founder of eBay for example. He made his first billion in three years. The founder of Priceline did the same in a year. What was it about what they did and their product roadmaps that made them so successful?
You need to first consider that the point is not how quickly they did it. What you want to know is how they did it. What does it really take to go from zero to millions... to billions?
Overnight success is anything but. Today's newly minted billionaires did not wake up rich -- they achieved success through daily peak performance (and some good fortune). And most maintain that level of excellence today, even after becoming the 0.00001 percent.
So how do they keep hitting such high marks? The answer is focus. It is the key to any great success. And it requires continuous mental training.
If you want to find your own success, just look at the daily routines of a few wildly successful individuals. Their days are engineered for focus. Here is what they do each day operate at their peak performance.
Write down goals
Richard Branson proves that you cannot just set-and-forget your goals -- you need to keep them top of mind. The Virgin Group founder has been writing down a list of goals since he was a boy. He says it helps him with product planning as well, to "make sense of the ideas in my head, the suggestions I receive, and the progress we are making."
Make quick decisions
When you know what your goals are, you can act fast. Just look at Google co-founder Larry Page. He once said, "There are no companies that make good slow decisions." So he moves quickly and he expects those around him to do the same.
That is why you will never see him wait for a meeting to make a decision -- this only slows progress. Instead, he believes in making decisions right away to keep moving forward.
Seek mental clarity
Studies have found that meditation can help improve focus. Software billionaire Marc Benioff believes this -- he has been meditating almost every day for the past 20 years. And he wants his team at Salesforce do the same. In fact, he recently had meditation rooms installed on every floor in the company's new 30-story San Francisco building. The goal? To drive more innovative ideas through "mindfulness."
Read (a lot)
Successful people never stop learning. That is why there is a long list of billionaire bookworms that includes Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. They understand something that studies have proven -- that reading makes you smarter by boosting your vocabulary, world knowledge, and abstract reasoning skills.
Gates reads about 50 books a year and chronicles them on his blog. Look through his reading list and you will spot a common theme -- the pursuit of education over entertainment.
It is not enough to sharpen your mind -- you need to keep it sharp. That is why the ultra-successful make it a point to recharge. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos does this by making sleep a priority. He once attributed his own high productivity to quality sleep, noting, "I just feel so much better all day long if I've had eight hours."
Maybe you have the next big product idea. You might even think you are on your way to becoming a billionaire. But I can promise you one thing -- your product and company will not go anywhere if you do not have focus.
So take notes from these billionaires. Train your own mind to be sharper and work harder every day. Success will follow.