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7 habits of successful people

that’s my daughter graduating high school….see her in the front left? yea….kind of hard to make out.

Before I could begin the search for a list of habits of successful people, I had to define for myself what success is.  My definition of success, at least for this purpose, is from the free online dictionary:  the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.  So here we are in this life trying to make some kind of a go of it, and whether we want money, happiness or something else, it is the achievement of that thing that defines success.

I think that Dr. Stephen Covey hits the nail on the head.  He published his remarkably popular book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ in 1989.  His habits number 1-3 allow us first to define that ‘thing’ that signifies our success. Dr. Covey breaks his habits down into 3 categories:  Independence, interdependence and continuous improvement.  The descriptions that follow are my interpretations of Dr. Covey’s explanations.

Independence

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive.  Take initiative, make choices and take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
  • Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.  Discover and clarify your most important character values and life goals.
  • Habit 3: Put first things first.  First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth.

Interdependence

  • Habit 4: Think win-win.  No one need lose in order for another to win, there is enough to go around so genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  Learn to listen empathically.
  • Habit 6: Synergize.  Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork in order to achieve solutions no one person could have found alone.

Continuous Improvement

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the saw.  Create a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life (physical, social/emotional, mental, spiritual).  For example, 
    • physical:  beneficial eating, exercising, and resting.
    • social/emotional:  making social and meaningful connections with others.
    • mental:  learning, reading, writing, and teaching.
    • spiritual:  spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service.

So habit 7 is pretty huge.  That’s why this list is so much shorter than the prior 2 lists for wealth and happiness. Next post is a comparison of the three lists.  I’ve already got a few habits that I’ll be wanting to focus on.

 

10 habits of rich people

summer attire: me, my sis and my aunt in 1963

summer attire: me, my sis and my aunt in 1963

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this.  Actually I am….I feel kind of creepy.  My parents were both depression era babies so I grew up in a home that was very thrifty, where happiness was based on things that had nothing to do with the things that money can buy.  Although we were comfortable, when we traveled we stayed at Motel 6 (when it really cost $6) or at a relative’s home, and a big night out to dinner was at Denny’s.  And I occasionally got a stern “not this time Les” when I tried to order the prawns.  Being rich was never something that I aspired to.  If anything both  the thought of aspiring to wealth and having wealth make me feel uncomfortable.  In our house we buy what we need, give what we can, try to teach our children that stuff doesn’t make people happy and generally focus on other things that we truly value.  

But some people do aspire to wealth.  And Tom Corley has written a whole book about it.  He has a list of 10 things that rich people do (and  poor people don’t).  Although he freely admits that this is a work in progress, his methods have been heavily questioned, and in my opinion rightfully so.  But I’m not posting this because I agree or disagree.  It’s just a list.  Tomorrow  I’m going to find and post habits of happy people.  The next day I’m going to see what I can find about habits of successful people. Then we can compare and contrast and see if we all think that wealth, happiness  and success have anything to do with one another.

Before we start, do you want to be rich?  If you were rich would you be happy?  And what do you think success is?

1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.

2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.

3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.

4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.

5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.

6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.

7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.

8. 80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls vs. 11% of poor

9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor

10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.