It’s interesting to wonder why some people are more successful than others, especially if you yourself are aiming high.
What do people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have that feeds their ongoing excellence and propels them to the highest levels of success?
The answers are complex, of course. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be learned. Each of these successful people shares certain smart mindsets—mindsets that any one of us can emulate, that will do us good no matter what level of achievement we aspire to.
Here are seven of the top examples:
1. They Don’t Take Failure Too Seriously
Successful people see failure as the opportunity to begin again, but this time more intelligently. They know it’s not a defining event, and they don’t treat it as a problem unless it begins to become a habit. They win as if they are used to it, and they lose as if they’re enjoying the challenge.
2. They Accept Who They Are and What They Are About
If you keep putting yourself down, there is no way for you to move forward. Successful people know the smartest mindset you can have is self-acceptance—refusing to be in an adversarial relationship with yourself.
3. They Set Goals and Work to Achieve Them
Having a dream is great, but having a dream and goals is smart, because goals are how dreams become achievable. The most successful people are constantly setting and working toward goals to make a positive difference. Goals turn the invisible visible; they let you structure your thinking to always be looking for something you can do to bring you closer to what you want to achieve. They lead you to ask every day, “What am I doing that will move me toward where I want to be and what I want to achieve?” Successful people not only set goals, they set them high. And they don’t stop until they reach them.
4. They Don’t Leave Things to Chance
Instead of passively hoping for the best, they take control to make things happen. You always have a choice: You can control your mind, or you can let it control you. Refusing to leave things to chance shows inner strength, decisiveness, and a strong will. Incredible things happen when you decide to take control of what you can control, and let go of the rest.
5. They Don’t Let Themselves Get Sidetracked by Problems
If your perspective is negative, problems will grow in strength and constantly pull you down, sending your thoughts into some bad neighborhoods. On the other hand, with a positive mindset, you will think of problems as a reason to be creative and come up with innovative solutions. The biggest mistake is thinking of problems as problems. Successful people know that when you focus on problems, you make more of them, but when you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities.
6. They Are Decisive
The most successful people are deft decision makers. They don’t waffle or second-guess themselves. They take in the information they need, then clear out their mind and pick the best option based on what they know. If it turns out to be wrong, they learn from it. But they won’t be guilty of not deciding at all.
7. They Are Continually Learning
If you want to go far, borrow the mindset known in Zen Buddhism as shoshin, or learner’s mind. That means you don’t pretend to know it all but are open to learning, growth, and development, with a mind that’s fresh and enthusiastic and free of bias. Experience holds lessons for us all, but you have to remain teachable to take advantage of them.
If you’re serious about being successful, cultivate these smart mindsets and see where they take you.
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