post written by: Marc Chernoff

12 Things Successful People Do Differently

12 Things Successful People Do Differently

I’ve always been fascinated by people who are consistently successful at what they do; especially those who experience repeated success in many areas of their life throughout their lifetime.  In entertainment, I think of Clint Eastwood and Oprah Winfrey.  In business, I think of Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.  We all have our own examples of super successful people like these who we admire.  But how do they do it?

Over the years I’ve studied the lives of numerous successful people.  I’ve read their books, watched their interviews, researched them online, etc.  And I’ve learned that most of them were not born into success; they simply did, and continue to do, things that help them realize their full potential.  Here are twelve things they do differently that the rest of us can easily emulate.

1.  They create and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Successful people are objective.  They have realistic targets in mind.  They know what they are looking for and why they are fighting for it.  Successful people create and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  Let’s briefly review each:

  • Specific – A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a related specific goal would be, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week for the next 52 weeks.”  A specific goal has a far greater chance of being accomplished because it has defined parameters and constraints.
  • Measurable – There must be a logical system for measuring the progress of a goal.  To determine if your goal is measurable, ask yourself questions like:  How much time? How many total?  How will I know when the goal is accomplished? etc.  When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued efforts required to reach your goal.
  • Attainable – To be attainable, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.  In other words, the goal must be realistic.  The big question here is:  How can the goal be accomplished?
  • Relevant – Relevance stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter.  For example, an internet entrepreneur’s goal to “Make 75 tuna sandwiches by 2:00PM.” may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Timely, but lacks Relevance to an entrepreneurs overarching objective of building a profitable online business.
  • Timely – A goal must be grounded within a time frame, giving the goal a target date.  A commitment to a deadline helps you focus your efforts on the completion of the goal on or before the due date.  This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by daily distractions.

When you identify S.M.A.R.T. goals that are truly important to you, you become motivated to figure out ways to attain them.  You develop the necessary attitude, abilities, and skills.  You can achieve almost any goal you set if you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.  Goals that once seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them.

2.  They take decisive and immediate action.

Sadly, very few people ever live to become the success story they dream about.  And there’s one simple reason why:

They never take action!

The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing.  Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.   So many people live in a complete daze.  Actually, they don’t ‘live.’  They simply ‘get by’ because they never take the necessary action to make things happen – to seek their dreams.

It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in Quantum Physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world progress without taking action.  There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it.  Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action.  It’s as simple as that.

Success hinges on the simple act of making a decision to live – to absorb yourself in the process of going after your dreams and goals.  So make that decision.  And take action.  For some practical guidance on taking action I highly recommend Getting Things Done.

3.  They focus on being productive, not being busy.

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris says, “Slow down and remember this:  Most things make no difference.  Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”  This is Ferris’ way of saying “work smarter, not harder,” which happens to be one of the most prevalent modern day personal development clichés.  But like most clichés, there’s a great deal of truth to it, and few people actually adhere to it.

Just take a quick look around.  The busy outnumber the productive by a wide margin.

Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, business emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their daily planner is jammed to the brim with obligations.

Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

The solution:  Slow down.  Breathe.  Review your commitments and goals.  Put first things first.  Do one thing at a time.  Start now.  Take a short break in two hours.  Repeat.

And always remember, results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.

4.  They make logical, informed decisions.

Sometimes we do things that are permanently foolish simply because we are temporarily upset or excited.

Although emotional ‘gut instincts’ are effective in certain fleeting situations, when it comes to generating long-term, sustained growth in any area of life, emotional decisions often lead a person astray.  Decisions driven by heavy emotion typically contain minimal amounts of conscious thought, and are primarily based on momentary feelings instead of mindful awareness.

The best advice here is simple:  Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence.  Slow down and think things through before you make any life-changing decisions.

5.  They avoid the trap of trying to make things perfect.

Many of us are perfectionists in our own right.  I know I am at times.  We set high bars for ourselves and put our best foot forward.  We dedicate copious amounts of time and attention to our work to maintain our high personal standards.  Our passion for excellence drives us to run the extra mile, never stopping, never relenting.  And this dedication towards perfection undoubtedly helps us achieve results…  So long as we don’t get carried away.

But what happens when we do get carried away with perfectionism?

We become disgruntled and discouraged when we fail to meet the (impossibly high) standards we set for ourselves, making us reluctant to take on new challenges or even finish tasks we’ve already started.  Our insistence on dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’ breeds inefficiency, causing major delays, stress overload and subpar results.

True perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them, always.  I have a friend who has wanted to start a graphic design business for several years.  But she hasn’t yet.  Why?  When you sift through her extensive list of excuses it comes down to one simple problem:  She is a perfectionist.  Which means she doesn’t, and never will, think she’s good enough at graphic design to own and operate her own graphic design business.

Remember, the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists.  It rewards people who get things done.  And the only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.  Only by wading through years of practice and imperfection can we begin to achieve momentary glimpses of the perfection.  So make a decision.  Take action, learn from the outcome, and repeat this method over and over again in all walks of life.  Also, check out Too Perfect.  It’s an excellent read on conquering perfectionism.

6.  They work outside of their comfort zone.

The number one thing I persistently see holding smart people back is their own reluctance to accept an opportunity simply because they don’t think they’re ready.  In other words, they feel uncomfortable and believe they require additional knowledge, skill, experience, etc. before they can aptly partake in the opportunity.  Sadly, this is the kind of thinking that stifles personal growth and success.

The truth is nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually.  They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.  And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready.

Significant moments of opportunity for personal growth and success will come and go throughout your lifetime.  If you are looking to make positive changes and new breakthroughs in your life, you will need to embrace these moments of opportunity even though you will never feel 100% ready for them.

7.  They keep things simple.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Here in the 21st century, where information moves at the speed of light and opportunities for innovation seem endless, we have an abundant array of choices when it comes to designing our lives and careers.  But sadly, an abundance of choice often leads to complication, confusion and inaction.

Several business and marketing studies have shown that the more product choices a consumer is faced with, the less products they typically buy.  After all, narrowing down the best product from a pool of three choices is certainly a lot easier than narrowing down the best product from a pool of three hundred choices.  If the purchasing decision is tough to make, most people will just give up.  Likewise, if you complicate your life by inundating yourself with too many choices, your subconscious mind will give up.

The solution is to simplify.  If you’re selling a product line, keep it simple.  And if you’re trying to make a decision about something in your life, don’t waste all your time evaluating every last detail of every possible option.  Choose something that you think will work and give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work out, learn what you can from the experience, choose something else and keep pressing forward.

8.  They focus on making small, continuous improvements.

Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” The same concept configured as a question:  How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time.  This philosophy holds true for achieving your biggest goals.  Making small, positive changes – eating a little healthier, exercising a little, creating some small productive habits, for example – is an amazing way to get excited about life and slowly reach the level of success you aspire to.

And if you start small, you don’t need a lot of motivation to get started either.  The simple act of getting started and doing something will give you the momentum you need, and soon you’ll find yourself in a positive spiral of changes – one building on the other.  When I started doing this in my life, I was so excited I had to start this blog to share it with the world.

Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they arise.  For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, come up with a list of healthy snacks you can eat when you get the craving for snacks.  It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier.  And that’s the whole point.  As your strength grows, you can take on bigger challenges.

9.  They measure and track their progress.

Successful people are not only working in their job/business, they are also working on it.  They step back and assess their progress regularly.  They track themselves against their goals and clearly know what needs to be done to excel and accelerate.

You can’t control what you don’t properly measure.  If you track the wrong things you’ll be completely blind to potential opportunities as they appear over the horizon.  Imagine if, while running a small business, you made it a point to keep track of how many pencils and paperclips you used.  Would that make any sense?  No!  Because pencils and paperclips are not a measure of what’s important for a business.  Pencils and paperclips have no bearing on income, customer satisfaction, market growth, etc.

The proper approach is to figure out what your number one goal is and then track the things that directly relate to achieving that goal.  I recommend that you take some time right now to identify your number one goal, identify the most important things for you to keep track of, and then begin tracking them immediately.  On a weekly basis, plug the numbers into a spreadsheet and use the data to create weekly or monthly trend graphs so you can visualize your progress.  Then fine-tune your actions to get those trends to grow in your favor.

10.  They maintain a positive outlook as they learn from their mistakes.

Successful people concentrate on the positives – they look for the silver lining in every situation.  They know that it is their positivity that will take them to greatness.  If you want to be successful, you need to have a positive outlook toward life.  Life will test you again and again.  If you give in to internal negativity, you will never be able to achieve the marks you have targeted.

Remember, every mistake you make is progress.  Mistakes teach you important lessons.  Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal.  The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself!  Don’t let your own negativity sabotage you.  Learn what you can and press forward.

11.  They spend time with the right people.

Successful people associate with people who are likeminded, focused, and supportive.  They socialize with people who create energy when they enter the room versus those who create energy when they leave.  They reach out to connected, influential individuals who are right for their dreams and goals.

You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you.  But if you hang with the right people, you will become far more capable and successful than you ever could have been alone.  Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.  Tribes by Seth Godin is a great read on this topic.

12.  They maintain balance in their life.

If you ask most people to summarize what they want out of life they’ll shout out a list of things like: ‘fall in love,’ ‘make money,’ ‘spend time with family,’ ‘find happiness,’ ‘achieve goals,’ etc.  But sadly, a lot of people don’t balance their life properly to achieve these things.  Typically they’ll achieve one or two of them while completely neglecting the rest.  Let me give you two examples:

  • I know an extremely savvy businesswoman who made almost a million dollars online last year. Based on the success of her business, every entrepreneur I know looks up to her.  But guess what?  A few days ago, out of the blue, she told me that she’s depressed.  Why?  “I’m burnt out and lonely.  I just haven’t taken enough time for myself lately, and I feel like something is missing in my life,” she said.  “Wow!” I thought.  “One of the most successful people I know doesn’t feel successful because she isn’t happy with how she has balanced her life.”
  • I also know a surfer who surfs all day, every day on the beach in front of our condo complex in San Diego.  He’s one of the most lighthearted, optimistic guys I’ve ever met – usually smiling from ear to ear.  But he sleeps in a rusty van he co-owns with another surfer, and they both frequently panhandle tourists for money.  He has admitted to me that the stress of making enough money to eat often keeps him up at night.  So while I can’t deny that this man seems happy most of the time, I wouldn’t classify his life as a success story.

These are just two simple examples of imbalanced lifestyles that are holding people back from their full potential.  When you let your work life (or social life, family life, etc.) consume you, and all your energy is focused in that area, it’s extremely easy to lose your balance.  While drive and focus are important, if you’re going to get things done right, and be truly successful, you need to balance the various dimensions of your life.  Completely neglecting one dimension for another only leads to long-term frustration and stress.  For some practical guidance on balancing your life, I recommend Zen and the Art of Happiness.

Photo by: Thomas Hawk

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  • Hey Marc,

    Awesome article! And great blog too! Lots of useful content.


  • Wow, #5 really hit home with me! I haven’t followed through on some of the things I felt were good ideas many times because I had not figured out how to do it “perfectly.” Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  • Really good post on this topic! You cover it all. I usually don’t comment on blog posts, but this is totally worth it. Thanks!

  • “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Steve Jobs
    Awesome article! Loved it!

  • I’ve been in tears most of the day. I am feeling so depressed today because I feel terrible about a recent personal failure. I decided to go online to find some inspiration to give me direction, and the newest blog post in my RSS feed reader is this one.

    It’s an awesome read! Thank you. I hope I can use it to move forward.

  • Great read! Thank you for sharing this advice with us.

  • Great article!

  • Thank you Marc and Angel. Another excellent read.

  • #6 was the one that did it for me.

    Come to think about it it’s finding a balance of some sort regarding setting realistic goals.

    Because my perception of being realistic is setting a 2 year goal which another person might believe could be achieved in under 6 weeks.

    But I’ve found that written goals with written plans of how they can be achieved end up being done with a shorter time frame that anticipated.

    I love this article that I think I’ll tell my blog visitors about it.

    - Musa

  • Great post!

    I love number 12.

    Leading a balanced life which both challenges and supports your values leads to growth. If you have only challenges, you cannot grow. If you only great support, you cannot grow. But if you have both challenges and support of your values, you grow the most.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Good article. It really provides some practical insight about how a successful person structures their life.

  • Awesome blog. Going to give a copy to my 18 year old son and see if he knows this already. Thanks for putting it all down so well…

  • Loved it! Best article I’ve seen here so far; I’m passing this on to friends. Thanks!!

  • Thank you for writing such wonderful and inspiring blogs! They help! This one is so practical.

  • A very good article and a timely checklist.

    Two weeks ago I heard a sermon in my church speaking about 12 in the Holy Bible viz, Twelve tribes of Jews, Twelve Disciples, 12 gates in Heaven guarded by 12 angels, etc. It was interesting and struck a chord with me.

    As an entrepreneur , who want to achieve great success I wanted to refocus my energy in my business and activities keeping 12 as a number of things I should concentrate first.

    I have been doing a serious discussion within myself and my family and friends for a 12 point check-list. Your 12 things successful people do differently came exactly at an appropriate time.

    Thanks for the wonderful check-list.


    James P

  • I thoroughly enjoy reading your lists of advice. It’s good to review these kinds of things throughout the year; I especially like to be reminded of the balance that is necessary. That can be tricky in today’s face paced, results oriented world. But when it comes to family and work, there simply has to be a balance that doesn’t short change the kids!

  • Great advice!! Thanks for the concise explaination of each goal. I can’t wait to work on all of them. That’s always been my goal- “Keep reaching, keep learning, never stop trying to get better.”

  • Thank you for a great summary. I am sharing this article with a teenager who I am mentoring. You nail each of these points perfectly.

  • Love the last paragraph about the millionaire and Surfer. Yes, Balance is a must for sustained happiness and success.

    yoga with john dot com

  • This blog post truly enlightened me and gave me direction. Kudos to you.

  • This article hit a sweet spot with me. Lately I’ve been considering the need to start from a solid center. I’ve been pondering what success means to me for a few months on my blog, and it’s always great to hear how successful people define success.

    This helps. Thanks.

  • As usual, another superb article with practical advice. Absolutely love it! Keep up the good work.

  • Excellent list! Kept nodding my head at all of them. While there are some that I need to work on, like tracking progress a bit better, I feel I’m working towards and accomplishing a lot of these things listed above.

    Thanks for the reminder and insight!

  • I was just thinking about an important blog post I drafted that I want to be perfect before I release it tomorrow. And then I thought, if perfection is the standard, I’ll never click the publish button. I’ve already put it off too long. At some point, good enough is good enough. Thank you for the timely reminder.

  • Thank you for this outstanding, informative article.

  • Very nice article!!! I think it is some of the basic things in my type of coaching. I am looking forward to reading more from you…


  • This is a great post packed with great advice. Thanks for the kick in the butt.

  • Thank you for this article! It could not have come at a better time. More power to your site!

  • Another fantastic read. Thank you.

  • Good read! No. 11 was the clincher for me.
    You guys are incredible and the kind of people I need to associate with more often.

  • This is absolutely brilliant, brilliant stuff. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom - exactly the sort of thing I need to be reading right now.

  • Great article! I’m going to start my smart goals right now! Thanks so much for the push.

  • Great Article, Marc! Very inspiring, indeed.

  • Great article and great advice!

  • We have SMART goals at work but I need to do a better job at applying them in my personal life as well. Great post overall!

  • Incredible article! All this week I felt like God has been encouraging me to step out into deeper water and stop being my own worst critic. It’s time to stand up and step out… Thank you for the motivation.

  • Great read! I use a slight variation of SMART goals:

    Action-Oriented (use action verbs)

    So instead of “attainable” I use “action-oriented”.
    Instead of “Relevant” I use “Realistic”.

  • I used to be guilty of chasing sporadic goals – never really making a S.M.A.R.T goal as you said. I’ve found that once I really got specific on my goals, I really started to obtain them.

    Of course taking action on them helped me achieve the goals. Sitting around hoping for them to manifest was not really working out for me!

  • I really liked #12. In life we all look at the rich and the free and think they have the life. When in reality they don’t have a balance and have pitfalls we don’t know about. The grass is always greener until you look down and realize the grass you are standing on is pretty darn green!

  • You guys rock. I love coming to your site every now and again to catch up on some positive life lessons.

  • @Christopher Combes: I like your modification of the S.M.A.R.T. goals formula. I’ve seen others modify it suit their needs as well. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how you twist the formula, if it works for you, you’re doing something right. Best of luck to ya.

    @All: Thanks again for another round of positive feedback and encouragement. You all rock our socks! :)

  • I came across this article by accident, but after reading it, I am encouraged and feel your article is a great platform for me to build upon my success. Thanks.

  • Great Post Marc. Thanks for revisiting the concept of SMART. Christopher’s notion of action-oriented also makes sense. So I take both as they both help in opening my eyes right now. The best I can do right now is to be SMART in life in general rather than just at work. Hence, making it a life philosophy will be my goal, although I know it’s not easy.

  • Thank you so much. This advice really came to me at the right time. You’re a blessing…

  • These are all valid characteristics that we should all develop. Nice list. One more that I’d like to add is that successful people are curious. They want to know how things work, so they find out. Then they make those things work for them.

    Your lists are so inspiring, Marc. Keep giving!

  • Hello Marc and Angel

    In researching the web for material to support concepts in my leadership session tomorrow, I found your blog. I will show the 3 articles on ‘30 things to stop’ and ‘12 things successful people do’ and ‘30 things to start.’ Excellent material and ties right in with our leadership discussions. Thanks.

  • I like number 7. in this article. Simplicity is essential.

  • Good read. Leading a balanced life which both challenges and supports your values leads to growth. If you have only challenges, you cannot grow. If you only have great support, you cannot grow. But if you have both challenges and support for your values, you grow the most.

  • Great article … Thanks alot :)

  • Great article. Very good summary. I would also add another paragraph about how successful people don’t blame others for anything. They understand that they are the source of their successes and failures. Very powerful way of being and essential to being successful.

  • Great post, Marc, thanks a lot.

  • I agree with Nadia, great article

  • Wow, 12 really thought provoking practical pointers to being a more successful human being. I enjoyed this post very much!

  • Great article. Very good summary. I would also add another paragraph about how successful people don’t blame others for anything. They understand that they are the source of their successes and failures. Very powerful way of being and essential to being successful.

  • I really like what you are saying here, but I’d like to add that you have to make the tough choices to change your life. And don’t deny yourself the success you deserve just because it means moving on from the things, jobs, commitments, etc. that prevent you from easily doing want you want to do. Make a plan to change, take the steps to make change, and make the best of what ever you have done to get to this place. Respect the path you took to get here. Its there for a reason. Why I say this is because I am doing it and making progress, and my life is amazing and I hardly even realize it most of the time. Bottom line: the hard work is worth it.

  • I’d have to admit that I have problems with numbers 3, 6 and 11. I’m there sometimes but more often than not I’m not following through on these. I’m productive in bursts and need to be more consistent. I rarely go outside of my comfort zone, feeling like the fact that I work for myself was outside my comfort zone enough. And I don’t hang around anyone at all, so that definitely impedes hanging out with successful people; I wouldn’t even know how to start this one.

    Good stuff; it’s making me think.

  • Very good advice. Thank you for putting this article together.

  • Tip #5 is very important, especially for project managers. Perfection and project management are mutually exclusive, you can’t get any project done if you are a perfectionist.

  • Very clear, concise and useful advice for life and success… keep on!

  • Good advice and inspiration for all of us. Thanks!

  • Wow! This is right on target and very inspiring, thank you so much!

  • Wow! I can completely relate to #5 and #6.

    Thanks for writing this article. This is one of the most inspiring, practical pieces that I’ve recently read. Good stuff.

  • Thank you for this article and blog. I’ve read two entries and it’s already given me a lot to think about. Thank you. I sincerely appreciate it.

  • I love the concept of surrounding yourself with like minded people. I can’t even describe how many friends I’ve had to stop being around because of the negative atmosphere they were creating around me. Thanks for these reminders.

  • Wow, this is great! I love every point, but the one that talked about mistakes is my favorite. My goal is to not let simple mistakes disturb me anymore; instead I’ll learn from it and move on with my life.

    thanks for your advise

  • I like the part about not being a perfectionist… when you have your vision in place, you realize that forward momentum toward that vision is more important than the perfection of any single step. Plus, when you do things outside your comfort zone, you’re learning anyway. So how’s it gonna be perfect? By being passionate and accepting the imperfection, things seems to turn out pretty good anyway. Thanks for the reminders.

  • I came across your post via Twitter and I couldn’t agree more. Great, comprehensive list! Most of us can immediately think of someone who either does or does not follow each of these 12 steps. I personally like what you said about “busy being a form of mental laziness.” Everyone is “busy” these days but so few people are “being productive.” I also liked what you said about “focusing on making small, continuous improvements.” Too many people get comfortable with what they know and choose to stop learning or adapting for one reason or the other.

  • Awesome! Thanks for writing such wonderful, inspiring blog posts. This one is packed full of great, productive advice.

  • This blog is great! I just do not get tired of reading it! Thanks very much for writing and inspiring.

  • Wow! I love it. Very practical advice!

  • A fantastic collection of useful points.

    Time to start doing some of them.

  • Great tips for success, productivity, and balance all in one post! I often recommend these same strategies to my clients and enjoy seeing how fast things progress for them when these are implemented. Thanks for putting this together!

  • This is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in awhile. Thank you for the book recommendations! Some key points I loved are:

    “The only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.”

    Some people look up to perfectionists but it is a struggle to have that trait and to eventually put things into practice.

    This is definitely the best advice ever but that hardest to put into practice:

    “Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence. Slow down and think things through before you make any life-changing decisions.”

    I look forward to reading your blog going forward.

  • Great article! Wonderfully constructed and instructional! Thank you so much.

  • I really appreciate this blog post - it was just what I was searching for in terms of inspiration and perspective. Great resources too - you’ve acquired a new RSS follower!

  • Great post! Thank you for writing

  • What a great article, this is exactly the kind of thing we like to share with our community. Let us know if you’re interested in guest blogging for Elexu.

  • Great article, I know these things are true as I work to live them and teach them myself.
    Thanks for the reminder… even I need to hear it from others like you


  • The advice here is very valuable! I am admiring the time and thought you put into your blog. Thank you. Bookmarked and I will share it.

  • A perfect article! Thanks!

  • Lovely post! Inspiring and practical.

  • Great Article! I’ve been postponing a lot of things that I should be doing and I was fretting about making certain decisions! But, I honestly feel like I got a shot at all this now! Thanks!

  • This is great advice!

  • Right on the money !!! Do you ever wonder why it takes most people at least half their life to figure out that “success is a do it yourself job.”

  • Great post, one of the best I have read on this topic. And you put first things first too, which is itself one of your lessons.

  • Awesome!

    Successful people work on their passion. They either stumble upon it in serendipity, realize it and remain awestruck or they keep working on it with dogged determination and enhance it day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.

  • Great post perhaps one of the most insightful posts I have seen this year, I have had the experience and luck of working with several multi millionaire clients over the last 20 years, I learned a lot from them and they learned a little from me. The most important thing in life is to be able to enjoy it, if what you are doing in your life is making you miserable take steps to find something that makes you happy.

    Making money is good but happiness that is something you cannot buy…

  • Thanks for sharing such wonderful information..I truly believe that “action” is the key word..I have seen knowledgeable people rust away because of lack of action. This article is truly an eye opener and I will be sharing it on my blog.

    thanks again :)

  • There is a secret to successful people…
    They might have failed and tried and tried. But succeeded only when they Did The Right Thing at the right time. Thats the moment.

  • Very inspiring, thanks. Hoping for a brighter future with a smarter attitude.
    Most successful people I know started with nothing and made success through hard work and picked themselves back up when they did fail and then tried even harder.

  • Every bit of this was true and uplifting. How true is that if we never take action nothing happens? I’m ready to just go for it! I believe reading that mistakes teach you that your really one step closer to your goals and that’s what made me so afraid. Thank You for the extra push.

  • I got it …next my turn will come..:)

  • wonderful article… such useful advice for me right now.

  • Successful people come from consistent effective habits plus some room for growth and change.

  • Great Inspiration! The best way to success is to learn from your mistakes or better yet from other peoples mistakes. So be very observant, be a sponge of information and sift through it quickly. Just make a decision or someone else will make one for you!

  • One of the greatest articles I’ve read in a long time. It’s not repetitive at all and it says true things that we can take for our hole lives. I’m happy to share it. Excelent work!

  • Mille grazie, a thousand thanks, Marc for this post. The piece de resistance was your Leonardo da Vinci quote. It riveted me into thinking about what makes Japanese art so exquisite: The artist’s simplicity, the ability to accept the imperfections of life, of self and to commit to bring alive the most exquisite parts of nature.

  • Really a excellent post. Inspiring. These are the things that everyone should learn and incorporate to become a successful person. It’s all about being a role model for others.

  • Hi,
    Enjoyed reading it.

    Small and continuous improvements leads to great results. Concentrate on goals and not on being perfect. I need to imbibe and practice the tips you gave consciously. Very useful. Keep up the good writing work. Also, learnt from your article that you read a lot! good…

  • I’ve read a few of your articles here on your blog and i love them… makes me stop and think. I’m now a true fan and a follower!

  • Completely frustrated with my life today, put in google search ‘how to be successful’, I found this. Great blog, thank you for writing it. Very useful.


  • Very nice read, it will helpful to for my future success.

  • Great tips for success.

  • Awesome post, very well written. Great job! Keep doing what you’re doing

    Thanks for sharing all that great info with the world.

  • This is great! Very thought-provoking. My only question is: What about passion? I need passion. I find I’m most successful when I have a vision and a burning passion for something, when I feel like it’s already my reality and I just can’t wait to realize it - to experience it in full in my life. I can’t be all left-brain logical about it. I need something to move me, something I can feel. Perhaps I should be reading “The Artist’s Way” right now lol.

  • Nice article. Helpful for new comers in the business world.

  • Great piece!! I’ve read it over a few times and keep taking value from it. Just goes to show how important planning and strategy are to achieving our goals. It seems most of us walk around half-asleep most of the time. I include myself in this. If you don’t concretise your goals then you get swept up by life.

  • Truely S M A R T!!!!!

  • I resonated with this completely. I’ve been working on an idea lately which can be overwhelming and discouraging. I’ve realized though, these feelings arise from your own mentality. We make ourselves feel a certain way about something. If things aren’t going the way you expect them to, just remember it is the way we react to the scenario is what truly matters.

  • Great article! :)

  • This was great. I’ve bookmarked your website. Thank you!

  • This post inspired a speech I gave this weekend. Lots of great value in this post.

  • Thank you so much for this very inspiring and touching blog of yours. This is definitely a big help to every one who could read. I’m sure it is also good for reflection. Now, I can say “It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to learn this”.

  • What a quality post! Covers almost everything successful people do.

  • I know that nobody that knows me would consider me a perfectionist, but the fact is that it took me a long time to realize that my procrastination problem was that I felt I had to do it perfectly.

    Once I got rid of that perception, I started getting a lot more done.

    Great list. Thank you for putting this out there.

  • This post inspired a speech I gave this weekend. Helpful for new comers in the business world.

  • maybe the millionaire and the surfer should get married. introduce them!

  • I love this article, but I’ve been really struggling with #11. It is extremely challenging for me to surround myself with the “RIGHT” people because just when I think I’ve met them, they turn out to be the wrong people who have an “ulterior motive” behind their pretending to want to help you. Instead of being authentic and caring about helping others, they’re completely in it for themselves. How do you find the “right” people????

  • Awesome post. Thank you Marc!

    Jessica Almes: I agree with you that it is certainly difficult to find the ‘right people’ and even harder when one is ‘picky’ but how about if we turn this around, why not ‘be the right person’ and see the results. I believe when you do, you meet the right ones. At least, this works for me almost every time.

  • Love it!!! Just a 12 points can turn our life around, if we act on them…!!! Thank you Marc.

  • Nice post. I have read “Zen and the Art of Happiness”, it will lead you to think differently. Some other books also inspired or inculcated postive feelings in me are “The Secret” and “The Power”. We need to nurture our minds to think postive and high, success will follow up naturally.

  • Awesome insights! Definitely a good read =)

  • I learned this lesson in Los Angeles..

    Success is like catching the flu.. If you hang with people that have it, you will catch it!

    Jimmy Crimmins

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