You Don’t Need Motivation to Succeed in Life

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Tom Corley boats - cropMotivation is a short-term burst of activity that can lead to incredible breakthroughs, incredible performance and incredible productivity.

When motivated, you can work many more hours in a day than the average person. When motivated, you can create a prodigious amount in a short period of time. When motivated, you can push yourself to perform at very high levels.

But, motivation is fleeting. It is hard to sustain.

Those who rely on internal or external motivation do not get very far in life. Eventually, they all lose their motivation. And when that happens, they then burn through their willpower reserves. When they run out of willpower, activity, progress and performance declines significantly or may even cease.

This is why habits are so fundamental to long-term success.

Habits do not rely on temporary bouts of motivation. Habits do not rely on willpower.

Habits, by their very definition, are unconscious behaviors that a person engages in every day, whether or not they feel like it or want to.

Rich Habit #6 – Everything in Moderation.

This is a seemingly short, simple and innocuous little Rich Habit.

Except that it’s not.

Moderation means to moderate everything in your life: How much you work every day. How much you eat every day. How much you drink every day. How much you exercise every day. How much you read every day. How much you (fill in the blank).

Moderating your activities enables you to engage in those activities, every day, every week, every year, for your entire life.

Moderation is all about consistent activity. Those who forge this Rich Habit are able to engage in daily activities that, over time, lead to incredible success.

Survive Until You Thrive – The Daily Mantra of Every Entrepreneur

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“Luck favors the persistent.” – Jim Collins

Thirty-three percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study had accumulated $4 million or more during their lifetime. Ten percent had accumulated more than $5 million.

What I found interesting, however, was that 93% of the self-made millionaires in my study did not accumulate that wealth until after age 50. And 79% did not ring the bell until after age 55.

That’s a long time pursuing a dream.

In describing these millionaires, I often like to say – They survived until they thrived.

Literally every month these future millionaires battled just to stay in the game. In fact, some were tossed out of the game – 34% of the self-made millionaires in my study failed at least once in business.

But they were in my study because they got up off the ground and went at it again.

Failure teaches a lot of lessons. Hard lessons. Lessons that are like scar tissue on the brain. Those lessons are only learned, however, if you keep trying. You figure out what to do only after you figure out what not to do.

For those who did pick themselves up after failing, there’s another very interesting little factoid I discovered in my research – the persistent eventually get lucky.

Eighty-seven percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study said they would never have become rich if not for luck. At some point during their very long march towards success, luck found them. And boy did it transform their lives.

They went from struggling to pay their bills and fighting to make payroll, to a financial windfall that seemed to come out of the blue. But that windfall did not come out of the blue. It was something each self-made millionaire in my study was building up to year after year.

Success is a process. A big part of that process is persistence. You never get lucky if you quit. You get lucky when you persist. Luck is the reward for persistence.

Never quit on your dream. Luck does not visit quitters.

The Rich Are Frugal – The Poor Are Cheap

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Cornelius Vanderbilt, the richest man in the world in the late 1800’s, controlled much of America’s transportation in two sectors – the steamships and the railroads.

He was revered for his ability to minimize costs. His attention to financial details was unsurpassed during his reign.

For example, when he took over the New York Central Railroad, one of the first things he did was remove all of the brass from all of the trains. This cost him a lot of money in removing all of the brass from his rail cars. People thought he was crazy.

Why did he do it?

Brass needed to be polished every day. No brass, meant no more need to pay people to polish it every day.

Eliminating the expense of polishing the brass far and away exceeded the cost of its removal, saving his railroad companies an enormous amount of money in the long run.

Rich people find novel ways to stretch their money.

Poor people, on the other hand, spend their money foolishly. They focus on the short term – the cost of the product always comes first. Quality rarely enters their mind.

They will buy a cheap product, just to have it, despite the fact that the quality of the product is suspect. After a few years, the product wears down and they are forced to buy another cheap product or do without.

Be frugal, not cheap. Being frugal is a Rich Habit. Being cheap is a Poor Habit.

Self-Awareness is a Superpower

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The unaware are all around you.

The person who walks through a door, oblivious that you are right behind them, letting the door slam in your face.

The driver who cuts you off on the highway.

Or the overweight person, eating junk food, watching TV, oblivious to the fact that they are destroying their health.

It’s not selfishness that drives these people. It’s not even an entitlement or elite mindset.

It’s a lack of self-awareness.

The fact is, most people lack self-awareness. They are completely unaware of what is going on internally – their thoughts, emotions and behavior. They are also unaware of what is going on externally – their environment.

There are plenty of studies that support this. There are even videos of people completely unaware of their external environment. Here’s one I like called the bear on the porch.

Self-awareness, however, is a real superpower for the few who possess it.

Self-awareness allows you to recognize your own thoughts, emotions and behavior. Self-awareness also allows you to see what is going on all around you in your environment. Self-awareness enables you to pivot in order to avoid obstacles, pitfalls, mistakes and toxic people who get in the way of your success.

Self-made millionaires make a daily habit of developing this Self-Awareness Superpower Habit. And it’s one of the reasons they become self-made millionaires.

Self-awareness helps you do many things:

  • Self-awareness enables you to see your strengths and weaknesses. This helps you to focus on what you are good at and find others who are happy to do what you are bad at.
  • Self-awareness enables you to identify your good and bad habits. This helps you to identify habits that help you succeed and eliminate habits that get in the way of success.
  • Self-awareness enables you to identify toxic people. This helps you to avoid being used, abused or dragged into other peoples troubled lives. Toxic people are like potholes along your path to success. They make the journey bumpy and difficult.
  • Self-awareness enables you to see dangers, obstacles and pitfalls that are oblivious to others. This saves you time, money and emotional anguish.
  • Self-awareness enables you to identify the lessons found in mistakes. This helps you grow and improve.
  • Self-awareness enables you to step into the shoes of others and see what they see. This helps you empathize with others. This also helps you when you are negotiating with others.

Self-awareness is a Superpower Rich Habit that is critical to success. Without it, success is virtually impossible.

Everyone Wants to be on Top of the Mountain But Few Are Willing to Make the Climb

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When things don’t go as planned, most people quit the struggle and move on to greener (meaning – easier) pastures.

And the world is filled with quitters.

Without pursuing success, life is a struggle. Even for the vast majority who are content with just coasting along, life is still filled with problems. Most people want to minimize their problems. They don’t want to add more problems to their lives.

That’s why self-made millionaires are so rare.

According to my Rich Habits research, only 3% who pursue a dream, stick with it until they succeed. At some point, 97% quit.

Here’s why. The pursuit of a dream, big goal or major initiative means – more problems. More obstacles to overcome. More pitfalls to crawl out of. More conflict. More stress. More emotional heartache, especially when things don’t go as planned. And when you’re pursuing a dream, big goal or major initiative, nothing ever goes as planned.

The pursuit of success is all about facing problems. And realizing success is all about solving those problems you face along the journey.

Not surprisingly, most avoid pursuing their dreams. They look at the mountain they must climb and say to themselves – “too many problems”.

For the courageous few who throw caution to the wind and take action on their dreams, their life becomes a seemingly never ending battle to overcome problems.

There’s just no sugar coating it – the pursuit of success is an uphill climb that requires many years of problem solving.

But, for the 3% who refuse to quit on their dreams, success is inevitable. Those 3% learn an enormous amount during their journey as a result of solving problems.

Plus, when you persist, eventually you get lucky. Luck favors the persistent. That unexpected luck, like a ski-lift, carries you effortlessly up the rest of the mountain.

The key, therefore, is to persist until luck finds you.

When you get to the top of your mountain, the first thing you will notice is that there are not that many people. That’s because all of the people are at the bottom of the mountain looking up at you.

Everyone want to be on top of the mountain. It’s just, not that many people are willing to climb it.

Consistent Success

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Everyone wants to be successful, but few know how or where to begin.

Success is a process. Just like failure is a process.

The struggle to become successful, I learned from my Rich Habits study, is figuring out that process.

Most pursue success the hard way – Trial and Error.

After years of taking action on their dreams, they learn what to do and what not to do. They learn from their mistakes and failures.

According to my Rich Habits research, this Dream path takes about 12 years. Twelve years of trial and error.

Unfortunately, this long time horizon causes most to quit long before they ever realize their dreams.

But there is a better, easier way.

Consistency, I discovered is the key to success.

The self-made millionaires in my Rich Habit study pursued success every day by forging good daily habits that automated success.

Forging good daily habits, or Rich Habits, is the way you gain that consistency.

Good habits put you on autopilot for success because they automatically imbue you with consistency.

When you have good habits, you don’t need passion. You don’t need motivation. You don’t need willpower. You don’t need confidence.

Success doesn’t require any of those things.

In fact, most of the self-made millionaires in my study succeeded because they did not rely on passion, motivation, willpower or confidence. Instead, they relied on habits.

When you forge good daily habits, your path to success is virtually guaranteed because, every day, you are consistently doing what it takes to succeed. Consistency is the path to success and good daily habits are the key that opens the door to that path.

Passion, motivation, willpower and confidence, come and go. Good habits, however, are there to stay. Once forged, they never come and go. They just go. Every day.

Good daily habits overpower everything that stops success in its tracks: loss of passion, loss of motivation, loss of willpower, uncertainty and doubt.

Focus on forging good daily habits and the pursuit of success becomes a consistent daily habit.

Three Cs To Avoid

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I’m not a big fan of affirmations but there is one affirmation I use every day and it’s this:

Never Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Each one of these Poor Habits drags you down, creating a negative mindset.

You want to avoid them like the plague.

They have the opposite effect of a magnet – pushing people away from you.

You want to be a magnet for people, not a deflector beam that pushes people away from you.

Those who constantly criticize, condemn and complain are negative, toxic people who must be avoided at all costs. They will drag you down with their negativity.

Plus, because they are constantly offending others, if you are associated with these toxic people, you too will be labeled as toxic and that will negatively affect your ability to build relationships with others.

Toxic people spread their negativity like a virus throughout their social network. And they are very easy to identify because they – Criticize, Condemn and Complain.

Good Habits – Friends With Benefits

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The more you peel the onion of success, the more confusing it becomes.

One book tells you – Success Requires Grit.

Another tells you – Success Requires Passion.

Yet another tells you – Success Requires Daily Self-Improvement.

It can be so overwhelming, you just want to quit on success.

But, here’s a little secret:

Good habits automatically come with success traits built in.

Good daily habits are like a freight train engine. Behind that engine are all of these railroad cars that each good daily habit pulls along with it:

  • Persistence
  • Focus
  • Grit
  • Self-Improvement
  • Work Ethic
  • Passion
  • Patience

Because habits are automatic, so too are all of the benefits that are attached to them.

For example, when you have the Rich Habit of Daily Deliberate Practice, maintaining and improving your skill or craft, this one daily habit automatically imbues you with: Persistence, Focus, Grit, Self-Improvement, Work Ethic and Patience.

Another Rich Habit, such as Dream-Setting, comes with all the same benefits plus another success trait –  Passion.

By focusing on forging good habits, you don’t need to worry about having acquiring success traits, because everything you need to succeed is already attached to each Rich Habit. All of the success traits required for success are automatically integrated into every good habit.

So, all you need to succeed are good habits. You don’t need anything else. That’s because good habits come with benefits.

For Entrepreneurs, Rich or Poor is a Very Fine Line

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Believe it or not, there are not that many things which separate the rich from the poor.

According to my Rich Habits research, the differences between those who grab life’s brass ring and everyone else, often comes down to just one or two daily habits.

For Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon and former Presidential candidate, there was only one habit that separated him from the rest of his peers in the ghetto – his daily Rich Habit of reading for self-improvement.

For Benjamin Franklin, one of our most famous founding fathers, there were three habit differences:

#1 Curiosity – His curiosity habit led him to the invention of bifocals, the lightening rod, the Franklin Stove, the public library, the first post office and the urinary catheter.

#2 Desire to Improve – Franklin identified 13 virtues he wanted to have. He created a worksheet, listing each virtue, which he tried to transform into daily habits.

#3 Read to Learn – Franklin was a voracious daily reader. His homes were jammed, floor to ceiling, with books had read.

For Arnold Schwarzenegger, his one big habit difference was Dream-Setting. Arnold made a habit of pursuing his dreams.

  • His first dream was to become the world’s #1 bodybuilder.
  • His second dream was to become a successful real estate investor. Long before he became a Hollywood star, Arnold was already a multi-millionaire real estate investor. This allowed him to pick and choose his acting gigs.
  • His third dream was to become a famous Hollywood actor. He succeeded in becoming one of the highest paid actors in the world.
  • His fourth dream was to become the Governor of California.

Arnold forged the daily habit of pursuing each dream at a time and would not quit until he succeeded.

The lesson here is to focus on only one Rich Habit and then devote yourself to it for many years. As my research shows, there are often only one or two habits rich people have and the poor don’t have. And one habit can completely change your financial circumstances.

Here’s Why We Sleep

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Believe it or not, sleep is still little understood.

But that’s changing. In the last ten years there have been many studies on the purpose of sleep. Here’s some of their findings:

  • Sleep Repairs Cell Damage – When we sleep, our cells repair themselves. Old, end of life cells, are replaced by new cells. Damaged cells are repaired. The Glymphatic System is called into action, sending lympatic fluid where it is needed in order to remove dead cells.
  • Sleep Creates Memories – During the REM stage of sleep, new information we acquire during the day is looped back and forth, thousands of times, between the hippocampus and the neocortex.  Once stored it becomes part of our long-term memory. Long-term memory is also known as Long-Term Potentiation.
  • Sleep Clears Out Waste Material Within Each Cell – Glucose or Ketones are the primary fuel source for every cell within our body. This fuel enters every cell. It is then converted to ATP, which the mitochondria (power plants within each cell) use to power the cell. During this conversion process, Free Radicals (free electrons) result. Free Radicals represent dangerous waste material. Unchecked, they will bounce around inside every cell and can damage the Nucleus (where our DNA and genes reside – causing cell mutations) or they can damage the inner lining of the cell wall. In order to prevent them from mutating or damaging the cell, these Free Radials must be removed. During sleep, oxygen is deployed to soak up these Free Radicals, carry them outside the cell wall and into our blood. Our blood then carries them to the lungs, converts the Free Radical-soaked oxygen into carbon dioxide, which is then exhaled into the environment. Goodbye waste.
  • Sleep Helps Grow & Repair Muscles – During sleep, the pituitary gland releases a growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth and repair. 
  • Sleep Erases Memory – During sleep, the brain will do a self-diagnosis with respect to stored information. Information (memories) it deems irrelevant, are erased – forever.
  • Sleep Grows & Distributes New Brain Cells – During sleep, new brain cells are created and dispersed to various parts of the brain, where they are most needed.
  • Sleep Oxygenates the Eyes – The purpose of Rapid Eye Movement (one of the 5 sleep stages) is to oxygenate our eyes. This is the only way our eyes receive the oxygen they need to survive.
  • Sleep Restores Willpower – When willpower is depleted, we become unable to focus and think clearly, causing us to be distracted and to make poor decisions. Sleep helps to restore our depleted reserves of willpower.
  • Sleep Reduces Inflammation and Helps You Think Clearer – Sleep slows down your Sypathetic Nervous System, reducing stress. This not only helps you think clearer but also helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with all sorts of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Individuals who do not get enough sleep make poor decisions, suffer from chronic inflammation and are susceptible to disease.
  • Sleep Cleans Brain Cells – Amaloid is a protein that builds up on the neural receptors of every brain cell. The uncontrolled build up of Amaloid is believed to result in Alzheimers. Sleep flushes away these Amaloids.

How much sleep do you need?

The average adult requires between four to six sleep cycles a night. Each sleep cycle is composed of five separate levels of sleep: alpha, theta, delta, rapid eye movement (REM) and then back to theta. The first three sleep levels last approximately 65 minutes. REM lasts 20 minutes and the final level of sleep, theta, lasts 5 minutes. So, each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Four sleep cycles is about six hours of sleep. Five sleep cycles is 7.5 hours of sleep and six sleep cycles is approximately nine hours of sleep.

The number of hours you sleep is less important than the number of complete sleep cycles your brain requires every night. Five sleep cycles a night, or 7.5 hours, is considered optimal.

This is why some individuals require more or less sleep than others. It all depends on how many sleep cycles your brain requires each night.