6 Life Lessons the World's Most Successful Business People Have Learned That You Still Don't Get
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
What separates the most successful business people from the average white-collar professional? Aside from the fact that they can buy and sell your most prized possessions a thousand times over, it’s that they understand a few simple truths about life and business which they live by.
It’s often the case that meaningful professional success comes from a shift in mindset first, followed by a series of strategic decisions that result in desirable outcomes. Adopt some of the hard-earned life lessons outlined here, and you may just find yourself on the road to remarkable success.
Don’t be fooled by the Instagram accounts of celebrities or so-called business magnates. The truly successful know that the best way to use their money isn’t buying platinum Rolexes or Ferraris, it’s reinvesting the money they’ve already earned into other endeavors that have the potential to produce additional income.
Take Warren Buffett as an example of someone who has lived a relatively frugal life for being one of the wealthiest people on earth. Buffett re-invests the money he earns into new business ventures, rather than spending it on things that will only depreciate in value over time.
Find a way to live frugally so that you can invest the money you’ve saved in ventures that can make you money in the long run. A new car will lose value the moment you drive it off the lot, but a few shares of Amazon, or a condo in an up and coming neighborhood could earn you serious return on your investment.
The opposite of success isn’t failure, it’s inaction.
We’re afraid to fail. It’s human nature. Failure can be embarrassing and demoralizing.
But failure isn’t the opposite of success. This is because failure implies that you made an attempt. I've found that inaction is the true opposite of success. My greatest achievements have been a result of having the guts to reach for what I wanted by taking action. When I failed to act, I failed to provide myself with a learning opportunity, or even a chance at success.
Instead, people let fear of failure paralyze them. When you fail to act, and you fail to learn, you make it less likely you’ll succeed in the long run. If possible, don't look at failure as an actual failure. Just view it as one step on a longer journey that leads to achievement.
Work isn’t really work if you love what you do.
You've probably heard this a lot but that's because it's so true. Reaching the pinnacle of professional success doesn’t come easy, which is why those who love what they do are more likely to find success than those who view their work as a chore.
Transforming yourself into a successful professional will be time consuming even if you are supremely talented. That means you’re better off pursuing a career that imbues you with energy, so you're more motivated to put in the hours necessary to achieve amazing things.
Setting high standards for yourself is a competitive edge.
Excellence and success are closely related. The most successful organizations are able to attract, retain and motivate the world’s most talented people. Often, these organizations are lead by a professional who sets high standards for him or her self, and holds others to high standards as well.
Hold yourself accountable. Rather than making excuses for mediocre performance, find ways to go above and beyond in pursuing your professional goals. As an added bonus, other talented people will take notice, helping you expand your network of successful people.
Asking questions that seem obvious isn’t a sign of incompetence.
Just as it’s natural to fear failure and to put off pursuing big goals as a result, it is also natural to fear looking stupid in front of colleagues, and to avoid asking important questions as a result.
But some of the most successful people are those who aren’t afraid to question norms. In so doing, they don’t shy away from asking questions that might seem obvious to others. It’s often questions regarding the most fundamental, and therefore most obvious, principles that lead entrepreneurs to transformative business ideas.
Choice fatigue is real and must be mitigated when possible.
Steve Jobs was known for wearing a pair of blue jeans and a plain black turtleneck. Mark Zuckerberg wears blue jeans and a grey t-shirt. By eliminating the burden of having to select an outfit each morning, both entrepreneurs freed themselves to focus on more meaningful decisions.
I’m not suggesting that you donate your wardrobe, but I do suggest that you think about the many unnecessary decisions you force yourself to make each day. See if you can design a morning routine that requires fewer decisions so you can focus your energy on what really matters to your professional success.
Readers who aspire to become elite professionals take note. If you want to make it you need to start by changing your mindset. View new endeavors as a learning opportunity, rather than an opportunity to fail.
Invest your money, instead of spending it. Set a high bar for yourself and those around you, and focus your energy on doing something you love. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask questions that might seem obvious. It’s often the outsider who challenges the status quo who achieves the most meaningful results.