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Ever wonder why some people become financially successful while others seem to struggle their whole lives? Two people with similar backgrounds and opportunities will start at the same line and one will end up a multi-millionaire by 40 and the other struggles to pay his bills. You don't need an Ivy League degree or for that matter any college degree to be very successful. What's really important is how you view the world and how you plan for success. While the is no secret formula that you can mimic to magically become an overnight success, here are five common attibutes of the ultra-successful:
If I had to name only one trait that most successful people share, it would be tenacity. People mistakenly think that successful individuals are blessed with a series of lucky strokes that propel them to the top of the mountain. That's seldom true. Successful people are handed setbacks and get knocked down too. The difference is that they tend not to quit. Like the song says, they get up again because you can never keep them down. Like the Terminator in the original Sci-Fi classic, they manage to rise to the challenge and complete the mission no matter how many obstacles get shoved in their way. Read the autobiography of almost any super-star entrepreneur and see how many setbacks they had on the way to making their fortunes. Ask any successful small-business man if they had to cope with setbacks and don't be surprised if they scratch their head and can't think of a single thing that didn't go wrong in their business. If you're going to be successful, you need to learn the fine art of persistence and determination.
Have you ever tried doing five things well at the same time? Good luck. I can't and very, very few people can. Most professional baseball, football, and basketball players are incredible athletes. If they wanted to, some of them could probably have played professionally in two or three sports. Your wide receiver could have taken a different path and might have played third base. Your point guard might have been good enough to hit .260 in the major leagues. But almost no athlete can ever play two sports simultaneously. It can happen of course, as it did with Bo Jackson in the 1980s, but it's extremely rare.
Successful people don't succeed at everything. They focus on a few things and become very, very good at them. Their career, whether it be a five star chef or a Internet entrepreneur is front and center and everything else takes a back seat. If you try to do it all, you'll likely suffer from the Jack of all Trades, Master of None syndrome.
Sit down with a financially successful person and ask them what they are looking to achieve this year or this month and expect a very clear answer. Successful people have a road-map to where they want to go. It's no accident that they are successful, they first envision their success and then they achieve it. The ultra successful don't happen upon success, they plan for it.
For many of them, goals aren't just annual exercises but happen on a daily basis. They take their annual, quarterly, and weekly goals and figure out exactly what they need to accomplish every day to make that happen. Great plans are a sure path to reach well formulated goals. You'll find a lot of successful people spend a significant part of their day working on their plans.
I know a business owner that shows up to work at 6AM for the sole purpose of planning what he'll be doing for the rest of the day. He doesn't use a computer or a calculator - just yellow pad. Everything revolves around setting up daily 'to do' list. He spends about 90 minutes planning out exactly what he needed to do during the course of the day. When I talked to him about it, I thought it was absurd. Why would anyone spend an hour and a half planning out a 9 hour day? It seemed so incredibly inefficient. What I came to realize is that planning is like rehearsing your lines for a play. When the show starts at 8 AM, you're ready to perform. Just scrambling around and doing as much work as possible is like ad-libing. If you want to succeed, set your goals, set them high and review them often.