Living an exceptional life isn't something that's just going to happen--you need to be intentional. Often, the people who achieve the most in life rise early, exercise every day, and read voraciously, plus dozens of other daily habits which highly successful individuals practice. Here are four other ways experts say you can stand out from the crowd.
1. Sit in the front of the room.
The chair you choose when you attend an event or large meeting says a lot about you. Do you sit at the back of the room and avoid attention, or grab an aisle seat so you can exit quickly? Instead, push yourself to take up the prime real estate nearest the presenter. "It's a little thing that signifies something big--that you're okay with being seen and that you're moving toward life, not away from it," writes Kate Hanley, author of How to be a Better Person: 400+ Simple Ways to Make a Difference in Yourself--and the World.
2. Be someone who embraces change.
In her book The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Businesses, Rebecca Barnes-Hogg points out that there are several key differences between high performers and low performers, and it has to do with how they deal with change. High performers are able to adjust quickly when faced with change, and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Low performers let change stress them out, bemoan the change and try to continue doing things the old way at the cost of productivity. "Everyone wants people who can be flexible," she writes.
3. Develop a courage habit.
If you want to succeed in life, you need to have guts, resilience, initiative and tenacity--or GRIT--as laid out by Scott Petinga, author of No One Ever Drowned in Sweat. It's an expletive-filled and inspiring book about how these attributes lead to high achievement. I loved his take on guts: Even if you think you're not courageous, guts is something which can be learned and with repeated use becomes habit. "Therefore, in order to increase your courage... the courage needed to overcome obstacles and reach your goals... you need to consistently face your fears, take control of your negative thoughts and emotions, and go out there on a daily basis and not let anything get in your [expletive] way," he writes.
4. Have better conversations.
High achievers spend less time on small talk and are good at making meaningful connections with others. It's an actual process described by Joshua Spodek in his book Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow. It goes like this: Ask someone what they like to do, or what they're passionate about, other than work or family. When they respond with something typical--like travel or reading--say something like this:
Cool... You know, I know [someone you know] who [does X] for [their reason] and I know [someone else] who [does X] for [their reason]. Why do you [do X]? Their response will include two or three words that are unusual or stressed. Respond to clarify what they said using those two or three words in your response.
This exercise encourages people to talk about their motivations and passions, while showing them you won't judge them or talk over them. It's a script that takes practice though--Spodek recommends trying it on people you know well, first, and then doing it about 10 times until it becomes natural. "People want to talk about their passions. In fact, they love to, just not when they feel vulnerable," he writes. "They do when they feel supported."