How do you define success?
We all measure prosperity in different ways. But it doesn't really matter what your personal goals are. The key to getting better at anything is summed up in one word:
That's why the most successful people, regardless of what they're trying to accomplish, strive to incorporate five simple rules into their daily habits.
If you want to be a successful learner, make sure to:
1. Read. A lot.
When you first discovered the joy of reading, a world of knowledge was made available. But are you still making the most of those skills?
Scientific research indicates that the benefits of reading go far beyond learning particular facts or insights. Accumulated over time, the consequences of good reading habits multiply exponentially, increasing your range of cognitive abilities.
In other words, reading doesn't just make you smarter--it increases the ceiling of how smart you can become.
No one becomes skilled at anything without practice. And of course, every failure hurts.
But although it's natural to feel bad after making a major mistake, successful people learn to control what happens next.
They know mistakes are a part of life, so they don't wallow in self-pity. The key to gaining benefit from failure is to pick yourself up, analyze what went wrong, and take measures to prevent repeating those mistakes, as much as possible.
It's a continuous process, but one that makes you better.
3. Learn from others' experience.
It's been said that experience is the best teacher. Most interpret that statement to mean learning from their own successes and failures.
But why not focus on learning from others?
Our current experience is limited by our lifetime. By studying those who have already reached the goals they're striving for, successful people increase their "experience"--and the benefits that come along with it.
4. Ask for advice.
A mentor can be a great source of experience, but you shouldn't limit yourself to this type of relationship. We are surrounded by those with strengths that are different from our own. One of the keys to success is knowing when to ask for help.
If you're afraid that asking for help will make you appear incompetent, don't be: Research shows that those who seek advice are usually perceived as smarter than those who don't.
5. Keep a student's mindset.
My colleague Mandy Antoniacci perfectly described the danger of considering oneself an "expert" in a recent column:
For me, referring to yourself as an "expert" in any field assumes the position that you have reached your fullest potential. It implies you have attained a thrilling pinnacle in your career and that your thirst for knowledge in a particular subject has been quenched.
In contrast, I love Antoniacci's recommendation to exchange the term "expert" with "student." If we continue to consider ourselves as students--those who are always questioning, searching, exploring, and observing--we'll continue to grow.
And that's what sets truly successful people apart:
They never stop learning.