Everyone wants "overnight success." Even the most realistic people you know dream at times of making it big in an instant -- of becoming famous or rich or suddenly shredded from one single move of brilliance.
But unfortunately, overnight success simply doesn't exist. And pining for it is a waste of time. In fact, if hitting upon overnight success is your only source of inspiration -- the only thing that gets you up in the morning or that informs your decision making -- you might not ever become successful.
Wealth, notoriety, respect, six-pack abs -- they're all the product of one thing: sustained hard work.
That's why, instead of slogging through each day hoping for a miracle to happen to you, what you should focus on is developing good habits -- habits which you can perfect and replicate and use every day to eventually become the version of yourself you want to be.
Here are three of the most important habits to start with.
1: Find the good.
Unsuccessful people focus entirely on what's wrong with the world. They think about the people holding them back, the bad advice they've received, the variety of reasons why they should not work harder in pursuit of their goals -- because what's the point?
Successful people do the opposite. They look for and focus on and appreciate the good in the world. The beautiful parts of it. The things they should be grateful for.
Studies show that people who do this -- who practice gratitude -- are happier, more productive, and healthier. What's more? They get promoted more often and are generally more ambitious. Simply put, everyone enjoys spending time with happy, grateful, positive people.
It's harder to focus on the good, yes -- in fact, in some ways it feels like we're hardwired to be pessimistic and negative -- but it gets easier the more you practice it. Success starts, after all, in your mind. It's a product, at least in part, of the perspective with which you assess the world and the opportunities within it.
2: Don't blame.
Another thing all successful people don't do? They don't blame others for their shortcomings.
They take responsibility, in other words, for both their failures and their wins. Which is to say, they take ownership over their lives and hold themselves accountable to be the type of person they want to be.
Too often, we do the opposite.
Because it's easier, and justifies our continued uncertainty.
To do that, though, is to hold yourself back. On the road to success, you'll inevitably fall and make mistakes. If you blame others for those mistakes, you'll never grow or learn, which means you'll never reach your potential or your desired destination.
3: Listen for clues.
Finally, all successful people pay attention to what in their life and in their routines seems to be working -- which actions seem to be generating positive results -- and what is not. They seek clues to inform their future decisions.
If in the gym they find that running a mile every day is finally helping them lose weight, they'll keep doing that. If at work they find that arriving an hour early helps them stay productive throughout the day, they'll continue doing that. If in their relationships they find that greeting their partner with a kiss when they get home makes that partner happy, they'll keep doing that.
And if they find that something they're doing isn't working, or is producing negative results, they'll stop doing that thing.
It's a matter of remaining self-aware and operating strategically.
Success, at the end of the day, is all about identifying what works and designing habits to help you stay purposeful and productive.
Look, unsuccessful people often hold themselves back.
They do this by refusing to take accountability for their lives, blaming others for their perceived shortcomings, and focusing on the negative.
What you should do, then, in your pursuit of happiness and success, is build habits which help you do the opposite.
Plain and simple.
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