Some people seem to have everything going for them. They're confident, well-spoken, happy, and working in a career they find fulfilling. If that's not exactly you, take heart. You can proactively make several small changes in your thinking and behavior that can radically improve your level of success. Here are several to consider.
1. Take more risks.
Risk-takers make more money, are perceived as more interesting, and often are more comfortable in their own skin, compared with people who are more cautious. This does not mean you should start gambling or take up base jumping. What you should do: Stretch the boundaries of what you find comfortable. In other words, say yes the next time you're invited to do something that you would rather avoid, such as speaking in front of a crowd. The people around you will notice the change and over time more opportunities will present themselves. Who knows where they could lead?
2. Exude more confidence.
Good news--you can fake it in a couple of different ways. First, mind your nonverbal communication. Smiling helps, as does good posture. In fact, slouching is nothing more than a bad habit you should vow to break. Second, tell yourself every word you utter is important and whomever you're speaking with wants to hear what you have to say. If you're an introvert, you've seen plenty of extroverts hog the stage. Now it's your turn. Alternately, if confidence is already your strong suit, make yourself look good by taking genuine interest in the quiet types around you.
3. Don't worry that others will steal your good ideas.
Entrepreneurs often keep their good ideas under wraps for fear they'll be stolen. But 21-year-old self-made millionaire Alex Shlaferman says this kind of thinking is "totally unrealistic." If you've ever built anything and brought it to market you know the kind of time, energy, and money it takes. Chances are, the people in your circles not only don't share your passion for the idea, but they're also not out to steal anything from anyone.
4. Do pushups every day.
This is a hack for people who don't like to exercise. Start with just a few pushups cheating on your knees--it takes less than one measly minute. Once doing that number is easy, incrementally increase your goal until you're doing 50 or 100 pushups every day. Think about it--bumping out five sets of 20 pushups can cost you as little as five minutes. What will you get in return? Strong, toned arms that will remind you you're a winner every time you look in the mirror.
5. Stash a bag of almonds in your car or desk.
Keeping in the vein that health equates with success, almonds are good for you and will come to your rescue every time you're tempted to visit a drive-through or vending machine because you're starving or bored. In short, eating less crap translates to a better you. Guaranteed. (Just remember nuts are nutrient-dense, so watch your portion control.)
6. Exude positivity.
Human beings walk around with an energy bubble--or aura--around them. Harbor anger, resentment, or sadness and you'll repel others, which is definitely something successful people do not do. Having a hard time getting into a happy space? Blast some music, get some exercise, or make a list of the 10 things you're most thankful for.
7. Never be at a loss for words.
Instead of ad-libbing when you bump into someone important, have a couple of thoughtful answers at the ready in the event that he or she asks you a seemingly innocuous question, such as "What's new?" or "How's business?" Also, if you tend to go blank when put on the spot, remember to slow down and think before opening up your mouth. And never plan on being only a spectator in a meeting. Always plan ahead of time how you will contribute if someone asks for your perspective.