In 1922, Albert Einstein was in Tokyo when he learned that he was going to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Out of cash, his “tip” to a bellboy at the hotel was a handwritten note, which he told would be worth more than a tip someday. It was. At a recent auction that note went for $1.3 million. What was on that note? His recipe for success, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
The Golden Six
Here are six behaviors that you will want to think about. If you embrace them, however, and make a commitment, you will enjoy success in work and in life.
- Get Off Autopilot
Think about your daily routine. We get up, go through the same morning preparation for work, and then go about that work in almost robotic fashion. We commute to work or we sit down in our home office, as I do, and begin the same daily grind that consumes at least 8 hours of our time.
My epiphany came from a single experience. I had had a late afternoon meeting with a client and, as I was walking to my car, I passed a concert hall where a gospel group was performing. I could go home and hammer-out the details of the contract or I could take an hour or so and have a new experience. Something drove me through those doors. What I discovered was not religion, but passion. I didn’t make huge life changes, but what I did do is reflect on what I felt passionate about.
2. Talk Less, Listen More
Sometimes we are not really listening to what other people are saying. I was so bad at this that I could not even remember the names of people being introduced to me in meetings. It took a simple half-day workshop on communication to make me see the error in my ways.
I have changed a bad habit. When I am introduced, I repeat the individual’s name in my response (it helps me remember that name); I ask a question rather than launch into “talk.” What this change has accomplished, I cannot place on a graph or chart. However, I can say that when I listen rather than talk, I build business relationships that result in contracts.
3. Moderation in All Things
This has come from ancient Greek philosophy and it holds true today. The operative word here is a balance, in work, in play, in diet, and in relationships. When you lead a balanced life of all things in moderation, you are actually more interesting to be around. You have more general knowledge; you have more things to talk about. People come to enjoy you more, and you can relate to their interests too. If you are obsessed with football, for example, and watch every televised game, follow the rankings, etc., you will have little else to talk about. When you meet with a potential customer, client, or even in a job interview, what else can you talk about?
If you have never read Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, read it now or pick up other contemporary books on the matter. Here is the point: Our thoughts control our actions. Your mood controls everything from your physical posture, your projection of confidence and enthusiasm, and your approach to others. It’s hard sometimes. But one thing I have done is this: I have a sign on my fridge door – “Gratitude.” I see it every morning, and it reminds me to list, in my head, all of the things that I have to be grateful for, including the skills and talents I have. Try it – it works.
5. Learn Something New Every Day
We cannot become stagnant. It makes us less interesting to others and narrows our horizons. The most prominent successful people state that you have to set aside time for self-improvement – every single day.
What do you do for self-improvement? You learn something new.Give yourself one hour a day for learning – read, think, journal – or any combination of activities.
When I was in college, I had a course in economics that I detested. When a paper was due, I contacted an online writing service and simply said, “Write my essay.” They did. As I read it over, all of a sudden, there were concepts that made sense to me – something clicked. Now I have an abiding interest in economics and read about it all the time. I can talk about it with some measure of expertise.
6. Read Case Studies
Want to get better in your career field? Dig in and do case study research. Whether these are stories of individual successes in your business niche or company successes through new ideas and unique practices, you can gain powerful ideas that you can either emulate or that will stimulate some creative thought within you about actions you can take.
There is no magic formula for success. But successful people do have some things in common. They exude positivity; they have passion and enthusiasm for their work; they have found a good balance between work and life; they continue to learn new things; and they get off autopilot and, as Robert Frost once said, they “took the road less traveled.”