For most people with big goals and dreams, success comes from developing good daily habits. As philosopher Will Durant once stated, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
So what specific habits make the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don't? Well, there are many, but I posit that you'd be off to a fast start on your journey toward success if you employed these six daily habits.
1. Focus on the positive.
If you pay attention to the circumstances of your life, you'll find positive events outnumber negative events. The problem is we tend to get sucked into the negative by being around the wrong people. To reverse this tendency, make it a habit to notice the good things that happen around you, and choose to be around people that add value to your life. One expression of a positive nature is gratitude, which studies have found leads to greater happiness and has a lasting positive impact on the brain.
2. Listen more than you talk.
With technology and social media ruling our lives, we are becoming less adept at developing our listening skills, and less aware of its effect on business as a competitive advantage. The ability to actively listen to other people, really listen and understand, is crucial for solving problems, building trust, and winning the hearts and minds of people.
3. Take more risks.
People who embrace uncertainty and take risks instead of taking the easy way out will experience one of two things: success or failure. Failure is not something to fear, because you gain knowledge and wisdom from it. Virgin founder and billionaire Richard Branson actually encourages failure. At Virgin, there's an underlying theme that without trying something new and failing it's virtually impossible to innovate and grow.
4. Never stop learning.
Want to know the true difference between successful and unsuccessful people? Successful people improve by reading and learning and exposing themselves to new things every day. Unsuccessful people stop growing once they let their egos dictate this false belief that they know everything. When you stop learning new things and cease to challenge yourself with new ideas, intellectual and mental stagnation sets in, and you become a fossil.
5. Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
Warren Buffett once gave this advice at a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting: "It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction." He taught us a life lesson about absorbing the very qualities and traits of successful people further down the path -- people who've demonstrated skills and traits that will make us better as leaders, investors, employees, and human beings.
6. Have a relentless focus on your purpose.
Successful people aren't distracted by "the next best thing" or swayed by other people's opinions or their own fleeting emotions. They know their true purpose and personal mission in life and will keep them at the forefront of their minds as they set out to accomplish short-term goals and long-term goals aligned with that purpose.
So there you have it. As you take these "habits of successful people" for a spin, the most important thing to remember is to confidently believe you can and will be successful, and to have all the resources and tools you need to get there. The rest is like learning to ride a bicycle. You practice, practice, practice and make things familiar enough that it becomes second-nature (habitual) as part of your day-to-day activities.