After watching my fair share of cult films, I’ve determined that there are some reoccurring themes, usually along the lines of “being discovered or “making it big”—essentially relying on the belief that someone great out there is in charge of your destiny and that the fate of your dreams lies in the hands of someone else.
There are people who wait for things to happen and people who make things happen. Successful people go out and make things happen, they believe in the power of the self, and why not? We live in a time where you can produce your own music videos, create your own website, and build an online business. With a global social network, you can connect to nearly anyone, and if you can think it, you can find a way.
Six Habits of Highly Successful People
- Establish real connections
Integrity is everything. It’s not the span of your network that matters but rather the depth. Successful networks build connections, not numbers. What’s important is building brand loyalty—show customers and clients that you can help them and be trusted. Respond to comments and questions and always be involved with social outreach. Having a reputation as being honest, reliable, and trustworthy is worth more than the cost of any advertisement.
- Value hard work and experiences over possessions
Money is important, but it isn’t everything. Nearly anyone can get a credit card these days, and will that instant gratification of buying things to keep up with the Jones’ truly fulfill you as a person? Sure, it’s nice to have fancy things, but what’s more important than leasing a new Benz is the journey leading up to pushing that automatic start button. Did you work extra hours? Did you grow and help others grow? Were you fulfilled with your work?
I still remember my high school teacher saying, “When you die, no one will remember the things you had—They’re going to remember your kindness, your generosity, and how much you impacted your community and the lives of others.”
- Make the best use of your time
Don’t wait until opportunities pass you by, and understand that you don’t have all the time in the world to reach your goals. For example, if you’ve been a photographer for ten years but rarely practice your craft, a potential employer may choose a photographer with three months’ experience because their work shows persistence, initiative, and a desire to grow. We’re all given the same amount of hours in the day, it’s what you choose to do with those hours that counts.
- Don’t compare yourself to others, including your past self
Comparison is counterproductive. Focus on your own goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Learn from your failures, but don’t let them define you. The only person you should strive to be better than is the person you were yesterday. As a zen proverb says, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
- Surround yourself with good people
This sounds easy enough, but surround yourself with people you admire who share similar goals and morals. Be around people who inspire you to be a better person, not people who bring unneeded negativity and make you question your abilities. When you surround yourself with the wrong people, you’re making it harder for the right people to find you.
- Be Persistent
Rejection hurts and failure is inevitable, but just how many “failures” have turned into historical success stories? Some of the most successful people have failed once, twice, or multiple times. Remember when a newspaper said Walt Disney lacked creative talent?
As American author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”