Where does success come from? To paraphrase Will Durant paraphrasing Aristotle, we are what we repeatedly do. Success, then is not an act but a habit. Too many imagine the accomplishment of their most ambitious goals as a deviation from their normal routines, when such achievement is actually the culmination of what a person does day after day.
Do you want to be successful? The surest way to improve the quality of your life and work is to emulate the example of other successful people:
- Read a lot
- Practice deliberately
- Work every day
- Minimize distractions
- Take care of your mind and body
Obviously, successful types also follow more specialized strategies based on their fields; Olympic athletes train differently than, say, world leaders. But regardless of the scope of your ambitions, you will go much farther by heeding Michael E. Angier’s advice: If you develop the habits of success, you will make success a habit.
How, then, can one cultivate the habits of success? You may find yourself trying sporadically to implement any or all of these good habits into your daily routine, only to find yourself slipping, skipping, and suffering. The problem is that procrastination, wasting time, and goofing off are habits as well, often far more powerful than the more productive ones we crave. The more we do something, the more ingrained that practice becomes. Thus, learning to stop procrastinating is not as easy as just deciding to be more diligent. Habit replacement, as described by Dr. Bernard Luskin, is itself a process
- Notice early signs that a habit is starting.
- Change circumstances when you identify that a habit is beginning to form.
- Intentionally do things to replace the habit.
- Learn relaxation techniques to manage stress that can make a habit worse.
Use this habit replacement loop to replace useless or deleterious habits with beneficial ones and you won’t be able to help but become more successful at everything you aspire to. Replacing bad routines with good ones isn’t easy, so enlist others to help. Building the habit of success may be difficult, but it’s worth it!