What successful people do differently. Hint: Ability isn’t the main indicator of success.

Heidi Grant Halvorson’s book Nine Things Successful People Do Differently discusses intensely studied patterns of behavior that have the biggest impact on successful people’s… well, success.

She discovered that, contrary to popular belief, ability isn’t the main indicator of stress.  Rather than innate characteristics, strategies are the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful.

Here are a few of the strategies that, according to Heidi, give you “the most bang for your buck.”

1. Focus on getting better rather than being good.  When taking on a task, think in terms of progress, rather than doing it perfectly right out of the gate.  This allows you to make mistakes and work slowly and steadily over time, which causes you to perform better.  When we expect perfection, we make tons of mistakes because we’re anxious and tense.  Anxiety disrupts performance.  So think “better,” not “perfect.”

2. Have grit.  Grit isn’t an innate quality.  It’s learned.  And it comes from your underlying beliefs about the nature of ability.  If you believe you can get smarter, become more creative, be a better leader, communicator, or socializer, then you are naturally gritty. You believe if you hang in there, you’ll get it.  People who believe qualities are fixed lack grit.  If it doesn’t come easily, they assume they lack the ability and give up.  Hang in there. Don’t give up. Believe you’ll get it eventually. There – you’ve got grit.

3. Work on your self-control muscle.  This goes back to #2.  Think you lack willpower?  Maybe you just need to strengthen that muscle and get better at self-control.  Take the long view – willpower is something you can develop over time.  You’re not born with it.  However, it will always be limited and if pushed enough, your willpower will eventually give out.  So keep the temptations out of sight as much as possible.  Think about the times of day your willpower is stronger and plan important activities around that.  Build the willpower muscle, while still being smart and protecting yourself.

4. Be a realistic optimist.  It isn’t enough to visualize success.  Visualize the steps you need to take and the obstacles you need to overcome, in addition to the end result.

5. Say what you will do – not what you won’t do.  Example.  “Next time my colleague irritates me, I will take 5 deep breaths before responding” versus “I won’t snap at my colleague when he irritates me.”

If you’ve read Ms. Halvorson’s book, we’d love to hear what you thought of it.  Also, what personal strategies have you found to be crucial to your success?

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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