The Three Traits of Successful People

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“The successful person recognizes his God-given talents, works relentlessly to turn his talents into advanced skills and uses those advanced skills to achieve success.” Larry Bird

Successful people develop three traits:

  1. Expert Knowledge
  2. Advanced Skills and
  3. Success

So how do you develop the three traits of success?

DAILY STUDY – Only through Daily Study are you able to gain Expert Knowledge.

FOCUSED, DELIBERATE PRACTICE – Only through Focused, Deliberate Practice are you able to develop Advanced Skills.

ACTION – Only by taking Action are you able to achieve Success.

Levels of Confidence

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You cannot think your way to confidence. Confidence is something that must be earned.  You build that confidence one level at a time.

There are there levels that will help you build confidence:

LEVEL #1 – Expert Knowledge

Having specialized knowledge in a particular field or niche is the first level.

LEVEL #2 – Expert Knowledge and Advanced Skills

Having both Expert Knowledge and Advanced Skills in a particular field or niche takes you to the next level, elevating your confidence even higher.

LEVEL #3 – Expert Knowledge, Advanced Skills and Achieving Success

The highest level of confidence is attained when you have mastered all three levels: Expert Knowledge, Advanced Skills and Achieving Success. This makes you a bone fide expert in your field or niche.

Chase the Dream, Not the Money

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There are many wealthy, successful people who hate getting up in the morning.

They hate their life because they hate their job, despite the fact that they make a lot of money doing what they do.

The reality is that they don’t really hate what they do for a living. Rather, they hate the stress that accompanies their job. They hate the deadlines, the urgency, the relentless pressure to complete projects, the workload and the never ending sixty-hour workweeks, which makes them strangers to their own families.

That’s what happens when you chase the money.

When you chase a dream, it’s very different.

A dream may never pay off financially or it may take many years before you begin to see your labor of love pay off financially.

And chasing a dream comes with its own stress, the worst of which is financial – not making enough money to support your family.

In my Rich Habits study, 82% of the self-made millionaires pursued a dream. For most, it took 32 years to become rich. During those 32 years, while pursuing their dream, they did what they had to do in order to make enough money to provide for their families. It wasn’t easy.

But because they truly loved what they were doing, because doing what they loved made them happy, they were willing to devote many thousands of hours improving their skills and expanding their knowledge. They practiced deliberately every day and, after many years, became leading experts in their industry.

Because they were leading experts, the world was more than happy to pay them a premium for the products or services they provided. And those premiums made them very rich, while maintaining their happiness.

When you chase the dream, the money will eventually follow. Money is attracted to those who add the most value to the world.

Thought Leaders Make The Most Money In Their Industry

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What is a thought leader?

A thought leader is someone who is considered a leading authority on a topic.

Thought leaders have developed a niche in a particular area. They then trumpet their expertise by sharing content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) that is read, viewed or listened to by others in the industry.

This shared content is sometimes proprietary, meaning it was created by the thought leader. This could be a book, blog, a webcast, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.

When you are a content creator, you stand out; you are unique. But this requires a significant investment of your time. Many hours a day must be devoted to creating your unique content.

Shared content, however, could also be content created by others, that the thought leader is simply consolidating and sharing. This also requires an investment in time, as the thought leader must sift through mountains of content created by others, in order to determine which content is worthy of sharing.

Thought leaders make the most money within their industry. They command more respect and have the greatest credibility within their industry. That gravitas allows them to charge a premium for whatever service or product they sell.

If you want to excel in your career, become a thought leader. Thought leaders are typically the highest paid individuals within their industry.

Inhale Hope, Exhale Doubt

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One common denominator that kept most of the 177 self-made millionaires in my Rich Habit study pushing their ball up their hill, was hope.

Without hope, all desire and motivation is lost. You cannot move forward in life if you feel hopeless.

Hope is a positive emotion. Positive emotions provide emotional energy, the most powerful type of energy humans possess.

When positive emotions exist, you can overcome all obstacles, recover from failure and keep moving towards the realization of your dreams and goals.

Emotional energy dwarfs willpower, as an energy source. Willpower energy only has a two to three hour reservoir, and then it’s gone.

Conversely, emotional energy has an unlimited reservoir. It enables you to put in long hours of focused effort. This is also known as “flow”.

When you are in a state of “flow”, you are able to focus like a laser on one specific thing for many hours, many days, many months and even, many years.

Flow, gets its power from emotional energy. The primary source of emotional energy for entrepreneurs and dreamers is hope.

When hope is alive, your dream will never die.

Find your hope by pursuing something you are truly passionate about; something that makes your heart sing and stirs your emotions.

Hope wakes you up at 5am. Hope keeps you working until 11pm. Hope enables you to overcome every obstacle placed along your path. Hope transforms failures into learning mistakes. Hope overpowers and weakens all doubt.

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” Martin Luther King

What Shall We Paint Today?

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Each new day brings with it new opportunities. Everything is in the past. All that matters is what you do today.

Will you do the same things you did yesterday? Or, today, will you do something different?

  • Will you take a risk on a dream today?
  • Will you finally start to exercise today?
  • Will you allow yourself to fall in love today?
  • Will you try to make a new friend today?
  • Will you begin writing “that book” today?
  • Will you start that business, you always talk about, today?
  • Will you start saving money today for the things that are important to you?
  • Will you stop procrastinating today on that thing you’ve been putting off?
  • Will you call an old friend today?

Today is the day. Will you take that one baby step towards changing your life, today?

Value Habits

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Habits always have a beginning. In most cases, that beginning is childhood – mirroring the habits of your parents.

But, as you get older, as you escape the influence of your parents, you forge habits through your associations – friends, co-workers, spouses, mentors, etc.

But the most powerful source of habits are your values – things you care about and which are very important to you:

  • Vanity – If you care about the way you look, you will develop habits that improve your appearance. You might exercise to tone up your muscles, eat less to keep the weight off, take very good care of your teeth by flossing and brushing your teeth often. Those are good habits. But, you might also form bad habits, such as spending too much money on clothes, shoes, makeup.
  • Strong Relationships – If you value relationships, you’ll develop habits that allow you to improve or maintain your relationships. This might include regular phone calls, sending cards, good listening skills, compassion, etc.
  • Money – If you value money, you might develop habits such as a strong work ethic, building relationships with influential individuals, saving, frugality, etc.
  • Happiness – If you value happiness you might develop habits that help keep you happy. This might include doing something for a living you love, such as writing, painting, music, teaching, etc. It might also include developing relationships with other happy, upbeat people and avoiding toxic, negative people.
  • Knowledge – If you value knowledge you might develop habits that help improve your knowledge. This might include furthering your education by getting a college or graduate degree, reading to learn every day, writing, speaking, etc.
  • Good Health – If you value good health you might develop habits that maintain or improve your health. This might include daily exercise, eating healthy, avoiding drugs or alcohol, etc.

As you get older, your values begin to drive your habits. If you have good values, you will develop good habits. If you have bad values, you will develop bad habits.

Your New Life

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Your current life is the result of the person you believe yourself to be right now. All of your behavior, your habits, your thinking, your job, the house you own, the car you drive, the money in your bank account and the people you associate with, reflect the person you believe yourself to be right now.

If you want your life to change, you must first change who you believe yourself to be. You must look into the future and see the ideal future you.

Where do you begin?

You begin by asking yourself one simple question:

Who do I want to be?

Everything you’ve done up until now, is in the past. In a real sense, everything in the past becomes irrelevant. All that matters is what you do today, tomorrow and in the future. 

When you define your new identity, you make change possible. Your subconscious goes to work in an effort to change your life to reflect your new identity.  Who you are today slowly begins to morph into who you believe yourself to be.

Your habits begin to change, the people you associate with begin to change, your thinking begins to change, your beliefs begin to change and your goals begin to change.

Example

If the new you, your new identity, is thin and muscular, your subconscious will go to work to help nudge you in the right direction. It will whisper in your ear:

  • Get out of bed and go for a jog.
  • Get off the couch and go to the gym.
  • Eat vegetables, not donuts.
  • Drink water, not beer.
  • Make friends with Anna (a lean, muscular person in your neighborhood).

It all starts with defining your new identity. That’s the first domino piece that sets everything else in motion. Who you believe yourself to be is who you will become.

This is Why Self-Made Millionaires Exercise Aerobically

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Exercise, specifically aerobic exercise (jogging, running, etc.), has well-known beneficial effects on the body and the mind. These benefits are so profound, it’s a mystery to those in the medical community why everyone doesn’t exercise every day.

Aerobic exercise, through various studies, has been shown to eliminate Type II Diabetes, dramatically lower high blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce anxiety and depression, boost the immune system and so many other things.

But if the health benefits don’t flip the switch for you, how about the competitive advantages?

Those who have forged the habit of exercising aerobically have tremendous competitive advantages over those who don’t:

  • Higher IQ
  • Better Long-Term and Short-Term Memory
  • Faster Recall of Facts
  • 20% More Energy
  • Greater Willpower
  • Higher Self-Confidence

All of these things give you a leg up over others when it comes to success and wealth creation.

There are many studies that document the health and competitive advantages of daily aerobic exercise:

  • Carl Cotmon, neuroscientist at University of California, Irvine.
  • Rusty Gage, researcher at SALK Institute.
  • Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.
  • Robert Ziltzer, MD & US National Library of Medicine.
  • Scientists from University of Guelph.
  • Scotland University of Edinburgh & Netherlands Radboud University.
  • University of Kentucky researchers.
  • National Institutes of Health.
  • University of Jyvaskyla, Finland Study.
  • Joint longitudinal (long-term) study by UCLA Medical Center & University of Pittsburgh.
  • Fred Gage, California Neuroscientist rat study.
  • Cyrus Raji, MD, PhD, University of California.
  • Cardiovascular Health Study.
  • Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Neurocore Brain Performance Center & affiliate staff at John Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Specifically, here’s what these researchers discovered about aerobic exercise:

  1. Aerobic exercise doubles the amount of brain fuel. Jogging literally adds a second type of brain fuel called ketones. Normally, your body will seek out glucose as its primary source of fuel. When you engage in an hour or more of aerobic activity, your body will run out of glucose. Once exhausted, it turns to fat, breaking it down into ketones, a last resort fuel for the body and the brain. Other studies have found that ketones provide 15-20% more fuel. Ketones, as a fuel, are more efficient and provide more energy than glucose. So, aerobic exercise not only helps you shed fat, it also increases energy.
  2. Aerobic exercise increases the number of new brain cells that are produced in the dentate gyrus, thus increasing your capacity to learn new things.
  3. Aerobic exercise decrease the build up of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques build up over time and are a trademark of Alzheimers. So, daily aerobic exercise reduces the prospect of getting Alzheimers.
  4. Aerobic exercise increases the production of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF acts like Miracle Gro for the brain. It not only feeds new brain cells, it also feeds existing brain cells, making them stronger. Lastly, BDNF strengthens synapses, the connections between all brain cells.
  5. Aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system, reducing the incidence of illness, disease and infections.
  6. Aerobic exercise improves long-term potentiation, also knows as long-term memory.
  7. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, providing the brain with more oxygen enriched blood. The brain uses oxygen to convert glucose or ketones to ATP and also as a sponge, to soak up the free radicals within brain cells. So aerobic exercise results in healthier brains.

If you want to succeed, you must build a solid foundation for success. Daily aerobic exercise helps you build that foundation and it gives you more brain power to think your way out of problems so you can overcome the many obstacles that stand between you and your dreams.

Curiosity is a Rich Habit

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Albert Einstein had it. So did Thomas Edison, Nicola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and many other historical greats who we now consider geniuses.

Curiosity leads to new discoveries and innovation. Those who practice the Curiosity Rich Habit every day go on to achieve amazing things in life and in the process make themselves very wealthy. 

Curiosity is a Rich Habit because it is the precursor to learning and growth. Those who possess the Curiosity Rich Habit never stop learning and, thus, never stop growing.

When I discovered this common trait among the millionaires in my Rich Habit Study, I adopted it. I developed two processes, two tools, to help me build my Curiosity Rich Habit:

Fact Binder

Every day I add new facts that I uncover in my daily reading. This forces me to become curious about acquiring new knowledge.

I separated these facts into categories, or topics, that allow me to add new facts to the summary sheets for each category. Here are just a few of my categories:

  • Current Year Facts – Each year I list certain facts specific to a year, such as the winners of major sporting events, current heads of government, major events that occur (hurricanes, earthquakes, scientific discoveries, etc.).
  • Summary Facts – I summarize the most historically significant facts, such as the 10 Amendments, important Supreme Court decisions, athletic firsts, longest rivers, etc.
  • History – I document significant historical facts, such as the make up of the U.S. Constitution, the Louisiana Purchase, a list of all of the Presidents of the U.S., etc.
  • Studies – I have over 300 studies that I’ve read. I document the most significant ones in this section.
  • Wealth/Poverty – I document facts surrounding wealth and poverty.

Problems/Ideas Binder

Here I document everyday problems I observe in daily living. I also document certain ideas that pop into my head: ideas for future books, solutions to everyday problems, business ideas, article ideas, etc.

Curiosity forces awareness and awareness, in turn, feeds your curiosity. Successful, wealthy individuals have these two Rich Habits: Curiosity and Awareness. Both force you to grow and continuous growth is a prerequisite for success.