17 Things Successful People Do Differently

1. They Design Their Own Blueprint
Clever people understand that they have to set a S.M.A.R.T goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal); but a wise man will know the need to create his own blueprint. This is because a goal only defined what do you want to achieve; but, a blueprint will tell you what to achieve and also, most importantly, how to achieve it. Successful people know what to achieve and they have a very specific and defined approach to make it happen.

At the end of the day, having a goal is like having a north star shining upon you. It is important so that you won’t get lost as long as you proceed towards the direction of the north star. But, in order to reach the destination, you must also know the exact method to achieve your desired result. Everyone can have the same goal, for example to build a house, but only those with a blueprint will know exactly what kind of material do they need, how much human labor do they need, and then ultimately be able to build their dream house successfully. Thus, you need more than a goal to be successful, you need to customize a blueprint for yourself.

“Every well built house started in the form of a definite purpose plus a definite plan in the nature of a set of blueprints.” ~Napoleon Hill

2. They Get Their S.K.A.H Right From The Beginning
Successful people always have the right S.K.A.H which allows them to excel in their respective field. S.K.A.H represents non other than skills, knowledge, attitude, and habit. A lot of people refrain themselves from taking action because they think that they do not have to the skills and relevant knowledge. However, in many situations, skills and knowledge can be easily obtained through reading and practicing. It is the attitude and habit which is hard to be obtained. This is because attitude and habit is part of the reflection of a personal characteristic, which is formed under so many different influences such as culture, religion, environment, etc. It takes a lot of time to shape one’s character, and to change is definitely not a simple task.

Many people find it is hard to change their habits because it has been part of their life after so long. However, in order to become successful, you must identify your bad habits, the negative habits which drive you away from your success, and then change it. The funny thing about transforming your habits is that the best time to change your habit is always now. The sooner you take effort to change your bad habits, the easier it is for you to change your habit successfully. Get your S.K.A.H right from today in order to achieve success. Related post: How to get your new habit stick

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” ~Colin Powell

3. They Have The Undying Burning Passion Of A Hundred Suns
I have never seen a successful man without passion in my whole life. Each and every successful man I know walks, sleep, and breath in their own passion. Passion will fuel your success. It gives you the drive to go on when everyone around you would understand even if you give up. It is the true force which pushes you to learn more, and the magical elements which make all your work a fun thing to do. Most importantly, it makes you a very confident and charismatic person. Success or failure, your passion will still be very infectious, powerful. It will help you to create miracles in the situation where most of the others would have normally given up. Even if there’s a failure, it will only be a short term one. As long as you hold the same undying passion for it, you will attract the right things/people to help you to achieve success eventually one day. Related post: 5 best ways to discover your passion

“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.”— Anthony Robbins

4. They Conquer Themselves, Then The World
Many times when you try something new, strive for a better result, something inside you, your inner voice, will attempt to stop you or to slow you down. “Don’t do this, you might get yourself into some unnecessary trouble”, “Your current situation is already acceptable, there’s no need for you to do this”, does all of this inner voice sounds familiar to you? This inner voice of yours is meant to be there to serve as a protection barrier. It is meant to protect you from getting hurt. However, it is the same protective barrier which has prevented a lot of people from moving forward, from making a difference in their life. You must understand that if you want to achieve success in your life, you need to do something extraordinary. This means that you will have to try a lot of paths which others forgone, and make a lot of painful mistakes which others choose to avoid in the first place. All of this arises the fear within you. You need to convince yourself that it is worth for the trial, so that you will achieve what you truly want in your life or the success which you have defined in your own words. Dalai Lama XIV once said “True change is within, leave the outside as it is”, and I totally agree with that. In order to achieve success, you must believe that you can achieve the success from the bottom of your heart. If you do not believe it, no matter how much money and time you spend, it is very unlikely for you to achieve the result you desired.

One very common example of people fail to achieve what they truly want because of their own inner voice is contradict with their goal. The relationship is one good example. I have seen people with intense desire for love, but they are also afraid to start a relationship at the same time. What really happen behind the scene is because they are under the influence of their own inner voice. Their inner voice is telling them that they might get hurt and it might be very painful if the relationship does not work out in the end. If the inner voice is too powerful, they might decide not to get into a relationship at all. Even if they do, they would not give in all they have into the relationship because most people think that giving more in a relationship means that the pain will be more intense in case if it does not work out. Unfortunately, this kind of half-hearted relationship rarely works out because getting together is a mutual relationship after all. So, you see, unless that person communicate well with his inner voice, he will not be able to find his true love no matter how intense is his eagerness for love. The same goes for success in terms of performance. A salesman can never achieve excellent sales results if his inner voice is rejecting selling and servicing people. If you were to achieve your defined success, you will need to make sure that you have conquered yourself first, and then only you can be 100% committed to achieve it.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” ~Lao Tzu

5. They Don’t Wait For Perfection
A lot of people demands perfection before they try their best. There are people who always complain that the time is not ready, they have not acquired all the necessary skills and knowledge to do it, etc. On the other hand, there are people who just give their best shot, learn from their mistake, make improvement, and then proceed further. Based on my observation, most of the time, the one who takes action first instead of the one who wait for things and time to be perfect achieve greater success. I believe there’s some logical explanation behind this phenomena. First of all, to be able to excel and to become an authority, sufficient experience must be acquired. Experience can only be acquired through taking action, making all the mistakes one can make. Oscar Wilde once said “experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” If you take some time to think about it, you will come to realize these words are so simple, yet so true in nature and powerful. The more action you take, the more you learn from your mistake, and the more perfect you are.

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” – Niels Bohr

6. They Recruit Powerful Allies
Notice that I’m not using the word friends, but the word allies. There is a little difference in the definition for both of these words, but the impact is profound for those who can distinguish the meanings. A friend is someone who like you, trust you and will help you in needed time. On the other hand, an ally is someone who shares your devotion to a cause, cooperate and march along with you towards for the same purpose. If you want to be successful, you will need to form allies with some of the key people, the authority in the field. If you have them as your comrade, you then have greater skills, knowledge pool. This increase your capabilities to achieve more in a shorter period. Having a group of allies allows you to have someone who fighting along with you when there’s huge challenges. This greatly increases the chance for you to break through some of the most time consuming and greatest obstacles, and then excel in the field.

I have been reading about blogging tips lately, and I notice one very common yet important advise mention that: bloggers do not write alone, bloggers always stay connected with the other bloggers. I found this same advise appears repeatedly over the famous blog which I follow. It only indicates one thing: having an ally is truly important. There are times a blogger needs to interview the other blogger, to gain more exposure, to promote his own products/services, and all this time requires a blogger to form allies. This is the same for you. If you want to excel and become an authority in certain field, you will need to form allies with the key person in the field. After all, one can gain credibility instantly if he is acknowledged by the established authority figure in the field, isn’t it? Imagine how powerful it is if you can have Tony Robbins acknowledge your work if you are in the self-improvement field? Yes, it is extremely powerful.

7. They Push Themselves Until It Hurts
Successful people are not afraid of mistakes and the subsequent pain. They always work outside of their comfort zone. Each time when they feel relaxed on the common things they do, the next thing they will do is to step out from their comfort zone again and to explore more new things. In many situations, exponential growth comes after you hit the tipping point. But the problem is that you can never know how much you must do and how long do you need to wait until you hit the tipping point. Thus, many people feel content for what they already have, unwilling to go for more. It is a good thing because happy for what you already have currently does make you a happier person. But, the question is, do you really feel happy and content to stay on the same stage for the rest of your life? If you want to be successful, you need to make sure that you continually expose yourself to a different area in the field. It helps you to widen your horizon and you may never know one day what you have explored will bring you some unexpected benefits. Steve Jobs once said: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.”

Most people quit when they are being thrown out of their comfort zone, when they feel they lost control. But, sometimes in life, if we decided to look at the bright side and continue to work outside of the comfort zone, we might be able to achieve an unbelievable thing. What would you feel if you set up a very successful company and then you are fired from the company itself? Most people will feel devastated because they now lost everything they have. Uncertainly crawls into their heart and the fears eat them up, but not this man , Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was being fired from Apple at his 30, but instead of quitting, he decided to continue his adventure, his exploration. During the next five years after firing from Apple, he started a company named NeXT, and another called Pixar. Pixar went on and become the most successful animation studio in the world. The Apple bought NeXT, Steve Jobs return to Apple then, and guess what happen? All the technology he developed at NeXT become the heart of Apple’s current Renaissance. All of this cannot be achieved if he was not being forcefully thrown out from what he already has and achieve in the first place. He said: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life”. I hope you can now see how important it is to get yourself out of your comfort zone and marching forward. You will never know what you will come across one day that it is so huge, so influential and changes the rest of your life. The core lesson here is that you might fall and get hurt when you move out of your comfort zone, but it is only by doing so you will learn new things, make improvements and bring yourself to the next level.

8. They Apply The KISS Principle To Their Work
KISS is an acronym which means Keep It Simple, Stupid. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than complex. If the current strategies you apply in your work is too complicated until you can’t really understand what you are doing, then perhaps it is the right time for you rethink about your strategy once again. People tend to make things complicated subconsciously, thinking that the more complex it is, the more branches it has, the more robust it is. However, this is not true sometimes. There are times where the questions are complicated and the answers are very simple. The idea here is that you should make things simple to the level which you can explain, so that you understand what you are doing exactly. Albert Einstein once said: “ If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well. Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. Everything should be simple as it can be, yet no simpler.”

I do not deny that when we steps out of our comfort zone, we are basically exploring into something new and trying to learn new things. However, the core message here is that you must at least understand what you want to achieve, and the reason behind of your decision and action. One very good example is the strategies businessman use to handle new competition, where one can try to lower the price, to give away bonus and membership, to promote the brand name, to differentiate the product line, etc. There are so many methods to compete and one cannot really know how effective the method is until he really tries it out. But the most important thing here is that no matter what kind of method he will choose at the end, he must understand his objective and the consequences of his action. Lowering the price can be a good method if the company has a competitive advantage in getting supply at a lower cost, but if it does not have such competitive advantage, it might initiate a price war which might hurt instead of help the company. It is very important to keep things simple, so that you understand and have full control over your strategies and you action.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

9. They Track And Measure Their Progress
A lot of people do not understand why there is no obvious improvement after they try so many things and have taken so many different actions. Well, one of the most common mistakes they make is that they take a lot of action in the same period. First, they lost their focus, and second, they forget to track and measure their progress. Tracking is important because it tells you the source which brings you the result you want to achieve or obtain. On the other hand, measuring is important because it allows you to identify which source or method you used brings you the best result. Tracking and measuring your progress is very important because success does not come overnight but based on small improvement you make each and every day. If you are able to identify and choose the most effective and efficient method, you will be able to fast track your path to success.

10. They Focus On The Process, Not On The Result
There’s one very successful insurance agent share his opinions with me on why many rookie agents quit very soon after they started. And according to him, it is because they focus too much on the result, the sales, instead of the process. The logical explanation behind this is when a rookie agent newly enter the market, there’s still a lot of things requiring him to allocate time and effort to learn. This things includes the product knowledge, the selling skills, communication skills, presentation skills, etc. Learning all this skill is not tough but mastering them is a different story. To gain enough experience for one to master a skill requires a lot of practice and this takes time. This means that it is very unlikely for a new agent to do very well immediately after he join the field because he has not yet acquire the correct S.K.A.H as mentioned above, which is the skills, knowledge, attitude, and habit.

Based on the statistics, the average stats for closing a sale is 10:1, which means out of the 10 leads, only one sale will be closed. Of course, this does not happen all the time, the number here is only an average. However, these stats show and says something very important. If the rookie agent A, and let say he emphasize a lot on the result, how will he feel if he can only close 1 sales after doing all the hard work? If he takes the result too heavily, he will definitely won’t feel happy because he will need to handle objections and rejection for 9 times before he can close 1 sales. It seems that he has done so much, yet the return is too small. And because of this, this discourages a lot of new agents who emphasize on the result. The unhappiness they had yesterday is carried on to today and subsequently make them unproductive, unwilling to put in more effort into today’s work, and ultimately fail in the long term. On the other hand, if the agent B is willing to emphasize on the process, then he will be happier and more motivated to carry his duty. For example, the agent now focuses on the process. He will feel satisfaction because his goal now is to meet people, and try his best to service them. Let say each of the agent A and agent B only meets 10 people a day and make a sale. Agent A will consider he fails 9 times a day and only achieve his goal once because he emphasized on the result. On the other hand, agent B who emphasize on the the process, which is to meet up with his potential client, will consider himself achieve 10 successes every day. As a result, agent A gets demotivated every day and his performance only tends to slump, while agent B gets motivated each day and because of that, he works harder and are likely to achieve better performance in the long term. Of course, there are many variables involved in the illustration above, but I think this is a very good example to show that how you allocate your attention, either on the process or the result, can greatly influence the consequences. If you’re disappointed about your performance lately, then perhaps you should learn to emphasize more on the process, not the result. Remember, many things in this world require time to learn and master, if you’re too impatient to achieve your desired result, you will be discouraged, but if you emphasize on the process, you will eventually achieve your goal one day.

11. They Befriend With Mistakes
Success does not come overnight. It comes at a small pace every time you step forward. Our life journey is like a road full of invisible stones. You can only know it existed at a particular location only if someone else or you yourself have fallen over it. Many people quit after they fall a few times along their journey of life but not those who determined to achieve success. Each time they fall, they will take it as a valuable lesson instead of a failure. They will also remember it by heart, so that they will not make the same mistake if they have to travel along the same road again.

12. They Stay Productive, Not Busy
Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, emphasize a lot on the importance of being productive instead of just keeping your schedule full. He said: “In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type “ and he further said “Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” I believe to some extent, many of us are fond of the result-by-volume approach, which we think we accomplish more if we can finish more tasks. However, that is not very true because the value of each task is different. Successful people know how to prioritize their daily tasks. They are fully aware of which task is more important than the others and thus they put more effort into it. To stay productive, it is a necessity for you to eliminate the unimportant portion of your work and only focus on the part which really brings value to you.

“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity” ~Bruce lee

13. They Take 100% Responsibility
Successful people take all the responsibility when failure happens. Thus, they are able to learn and to adapt another way to convey the message in a better way. Successful people are able to excel because they put the locus of attention on themselves instead of the external things/forces. For example, when they cannot sell any products, they believe their selling skills is not good, instead of saying the product is hard to sell. When miscommunication happens, they believe they are the one who didn’t communicate in an effective manner instead of blaming the message receiver. This is very powerful because it grants them 100% control over the matters. This will empower them to make changes and see a better result in the future. If one were to blame all the external factors but himself, he will not develop the need to change, and subsequently he will not improve himself. When problems happen again, he won’t be able to cope with it. The cycle just keeps rolling. The only way to break the circle, one must learn to take responsibility over the problems or failure.

“Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility . . . . In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility.” ~ Michael Korda


“The price of greatness is responsibility.” ~Winston Churchill

14. They Believe In The Law Of Circulation
Many successful people choose to give back to the society. A lot of them holds the believe of give first and you shall receive. You can see the concept is beheld in the way they conduct their business and especially in the way how they treat people around them. Robert Allen in his book, The One Minute Millionaire, devoted a full chapter on the importance of giving back and he advises people to give back 10% of their income.

Believe or not, the Law of Circulation states that everything in the universe is always flowing in circulation but at an ever expanding rate. This means that whatever you gave away, you will receive it multiplied from a different source. So, a good advice here is to always give away whatever you want. If you want more love, then give love. If you want knowledge, then share your knowledge first. If you want trust, then have faith in others first. Whatever you want more in life, you just need to give it away. One very simple example is smile. Michael Lewis says “It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain- there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having”. Furthermore, clinical research studies show that just as happy emotions can drive happy behaviors like a smile, a smile can also drive happy emotion. This means that, when you give a simple smile to someone, you might receive a smile from him/her. At the same time, you become happier and have more positive energy with you. People like being with you because of your positiveness and then the more smile you will receive from people around you. If you would like to learn more about the power of a smile, you can google for smile therapy and see how it can help to break the problem-centered mindset of anxiety and anger. It is extremely powerful to turn a disaster into nothing in many situations. In a nutshell, if you want to become successful, you must learn to give away. A gift can be in many forms. It does not need to be in monetary form all the time.

“Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away.” ~Elbert Hubbard


“To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.” ~Muhammad Ali

15. They Invent Opportunity
Stephen R. Corvey, in his #1 bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, mentions the first habit as being proactive. He wrote “Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.” A lot of time, people wait for the perfect moment for things to happen but the successful people work the opposite way, they choose to create the opportunity for themselves even in the worst situation.Thus, if everything looks bad, you do not despair, you just need to be proactive and try your best to change the situation.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” ~Bruce Lee

16. They Act With Integrity
One of the most important quality one can ever develop in life is the integrity. Like courage, integrity is a value, and having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. Warren Buffet once said “Honesty is a very expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.”

Integrity is very important because it is the foundation of a character and those wo have high integrity always accomplish the highest quality of work in everything they do. Besides that, every time you keep a promise that you’ve made is an act of integrity. It allows you to earn trust, which is probably one of the most valuable things you can receive from the others. It is critically important for you to lead and influence other people join forces with you and to help you accomplish your dream. The Law of Attraction says that things and people are attracted to you because of the person you are. Having integrity yourself will attract good people with integrity into your life. They are the key you need to have in order to be successful.

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
― Oprah Winfrey


“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

17. They Strive For Balance In Life
When asked “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”, the Dalai Lama answered: “Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” You have to strive balance between health, life, and work. If you do not have health, there’s no point to own prestigious awards for your achievement because you can’t reap the fruits of your labor at the end of the day. If there is no life, that is even more sad, that you have never truly live before. And lastly, if you do not put some time into your work, it is hardly possible for you to surpass your competitors and excel. Any one of these elements is crucial in our life, but in my opinion, health is more important than the other two. This is because once you lost your health, it is almost an irreversible condition. So, take care of your health first, and then your life and your work.

30 second speech by Bryan Dyson- Former CEO of Coca Cola

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the four others – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be scuffed, nicked, damaged, even shattered. And it will never be the same.
Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give proper time to your family and friends, and take a decent rest.
Value has a value only if its value is valued.”



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Darren Chow writes at www.InspirationBoost.com. He truly believes that positivity is contagious, so does your smile. Thus, he founded Inspiration Boost with a core vision: to spread inspiration to as many people as possible.



  1. Great article! Love it!

  2. Hi Amanda Madu, thanks a lot for your compliment.
    Do share with us if you feel that I’ve missed some good points in the article yeah =)

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