It’s interesting to wonder why some people are more successful than others, especially if you yourself are aiming high. What do people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have that feeds their ongoing excellence and propels them to the highest levels of success? The answers are complex, of course. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be learned. Each of these successful people shares certain smart mindsets–mindsets that any one of us can emulate, that will do us good no matter what level of success we aspire to.
Here are seven of the top examples:
1. Successful people don’t take failure too seriously.
They see failure as the opportunity to begin again, but this time more intelligently. They know it’s not a defining event, and they don’t treat it as a problem unless it begins to become a habit. They win as if they are used to it, and they lose as if they’re enjoying the challenge.
2. Successful people accept who they are and what they are about.
If you keep putting yourself down, there is no way for you to move forward. Successful people know the smartest mindset you can have is self-acceptance–refusing to be in an adversarial relationship with yourself.
3. Successful people set goals and work to achieve them.
Having a dream is great, but having a dream and goals is smart, because goals are how dreams become achievable. The most successful people are constantly setting and working toward goals to make a positive difference. Goals turn the invisible visible; they let you structure your thinking to always be looking for something you can do to bring you closer to what you want to achieve. Goals lead you to ask every day, “What am I doing that will move me toward where I want to be and what I want to achieve.?” Successful people not only set goals, they set them high. And they don’t stop until they reach them.
4. Successful people don’t leave things to chance.
Instead of passively hoping for the best, they take control to make things happen. You always have a choice: You can control your mind or you can let it control you. Refusing to leave things to chance shows inner strength, decisiveness, and a strong will. Incredible things happen when you decide to take control of what you can control and let go of the rest.
5. Successful people don’t let themselves get sidetracked by problems.
If your mindset is negative, problems will grow in strength and constantly pull you down, sending you on detours of thought into some bad neighborhoods. On the other hand, with a positive mindset you will think of problems as a reason to be creative and come up with innovative solutions. The biggest problem is thinking of problems as problems. Successful people know that when you focus on problems you have more problems, but when you focus on possibilities you have more opportunities.
6. Successful people are decisive.
The most successful people are deft decision makers. They don’t waffle or second-guess themselves. They take in the information they need, then clear out their mind and pick the best option based on what they know. If it turns out to be wrong, they learn from it. But they won’t be guilty of not deciding at all.
7. Successful people are continually learning.
If you want to go far, borrow the mindset known in Zen Buddhism as shoshin, or learner’s mind. That means you don’t pretend to know it all but are open to learning and growth and development, with a mind that’s fresh and enthusiastic and free of bias. Experience holds lessons for us all, but you have to remain teachable to take advantage of them.
If you’re serious about being successful, cultivate these smart mindsets and see where they take you.