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10 Daily Routines Overachieving People All Have
If success is usually pretty noisy, the actual process of achieving it, on the other hand, is way more discreet. But it’s this process that happens behind the scenes that makes all the difference. Regardless of their skills or jobs, overachievers share many of the same systematic daily routines. Here are ten things they all do and repeat daily and quietly.
1. Consistent morning rituals
Starting the day in a calm, mindful state, makes it easier to focus and get the right things done. But when we wake up and stress is already upon us – phones ringing, emails dinging – we spend the whole day reacting, instead of being in control. We’re simply responding to what gets thrown at us and are not working on your priorities – the things that drive our personal success.
Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible. A trusted routine can be extremely effective in helping you feel in a control and non-reactive state. This will considerably reduce anxiety and stress, and therefore makes you more mindful and competent.
— Bottom line: How you start the day has an enormous effect on your overall effectiveness.
2. No needless tasks
If you always wonder why it is so hard to get everything done, it is probably that you're doing too many of the wrong things. If you want to be more successful, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first wondered if you actually need to do this at all. Time management and productivity methods often focus only on how to get things done quickly, when the vast majority of things people end up doing quickly should not be done at all.
— Bottom line: Do your best to focus on what is truly important, and not much else.
3. Procrastination is not an option
You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress without taking action. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Ask all the most successful people you know: knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action. Golden rule: a decent plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed someday. Overachieving people don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right (impossible!) circumstances”, because they know these expectations are based on nothing more than fear.
— Bottom line: Take action here and now – because that’s where real progress happens.
4. Challenge your comfort zone
Getting into a routine is great. Flow is great, too. But neither is the best way to learn. It needs to be uncomfortable sometimes. That’s how our brain grows. We learn better when we’re at the edge of our ability. No struggle, no growth. You want to stretch yourself a few minutes everyday, making mistakes, learning from them and then stretch yourself even farther.
— Bottom line: It’s better to spend a high-quality ten minutes growing than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place.
5. Place intuition first
Intuition is never wise to ignore, as it comes straight from your subconscious mind and is derived from your previous life experiences. If everyone else is telling you "yes" but your gut is telling you otherwise, it’s usually for a good reason. When faced with difficult decisions, overachieving people seek out all the information they can find, become as knowledgeable as they possibly can, but most of all know that trusting their intuition means trusting their true self.
— Bottom line: The more you trust your true self, the more control you have of making your personal life goals come true.
6. Focus on the positive
A recent scientific study showed that optimistic salespeople outsold their pessimistic counterparts by over 50%. Regardless of our skills or jobs, it turns out that our minds are programmed to perform at their best when they are positive. It doesn't mean that we can never get upset, but our effectiveness in all walks of life will be higher if we’re able to mindfully let go of negative emotions, rather than constantly dwelling on them.
— Bottom line: Think a little less about managing your problems and a little more about managing your mindset.
7. Create visual reminders
You want to build a more profitable business, but when you’re caught up in the daily grind, it’s easy to just do what’s familiar instead of what’s required for growth. Few good things come easy, and when the going gets tough we often take the easy way out – even though the easy way takes us the wrong way. To combat this, successful people create tangible reminders that pull them back from their weak impulses. For example, a lot of overachieving people I know fill their desk with family photos, both because they love looking at them and because, when work gets really tough, these photos remind them of the people they are ultimately working for.
— Bottom line: When you're likely to give in to impulses that take you farther away from your goals, use visual reminders of those goals to interrupt the impulse and keep you on track.
8. Keep track of what matters
If you want to get somewhere in life, you need a map. Overachieving people always track their progress and mistakes in some kinds of notebooks, where they capture important thoughts and track where they've been and where they intend to go next.
— Bottom line: Notebooks are one of the most underused, yet incredibly effective tools available to each of us.
9. Find mentors to learn from
Yes, 10,000 hours of diligent practice can make you an expert, but what makes you dedicate 10,000 hours to something in the first place? The answer is having a great mentor. Or two.
If you study the lives of overachieving people, it becomes obvious that most historical performers in all fields – athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, etc. – had mentors, coaches or role models who made the activity of practice worthwhile and rewarding. "They did it. I can do it too." It may sound overly simplistic, but spending time studying people who are great at what you want to achieve can unlock a tremendous amount of motivation.
— Bottom line: Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, you cannot do it alone.
10. Welcome criticical feedback
Follow in the footsteps of overachieving people by learning to effectively process the criticism you receive. Doing something that’s out of the ordinary is a huge part of being successful. It also opens the door to criticism. Listen to it, assess it, let go of the negative one – which is at best a failure to understand, when it's not plain jealousy – and always take into consideration the constructive one. Only solicit feedback from people whose opinions you value – and, if possible, people who have been where you want to go.
— Bottom line: Be gracious when receiving feedback; when you are, the people around you will be more likely to give you their support and honest insight in the future.
Last but not least...
Admit that you can be mistaken. That you may need help sometime. That you owe your success to others too. There are no absolutes in this world. We are all just exploring here. Learn from everyone and don’t forget to have a good time along the way. That’s what overachieving people do.
If you only remember two words from this whole text, let them be: "Stretch" and "Observe". Stretch: as in… stretch yourself. Always push yourself to the edge of your ability, so you can expand it and grow. Observe: as in… observe those who are more skilled than you, so you can emulate them.