9 Unconventional Habits of Extraordinary Success

9 Unconventional Habits of Extraordinary Success

As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think BIG.
-Donald Trump

I’ve picked-up these habits gradually over the years while working beside some impressively successful people – seven figure internet entrepreneurs, best selling authors, talented CEOs, etc.  Even though these aren’t the typical success habits you’d read about in a self-improvement book like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, they’ve been extremely effective in my life by helping me align my daily efforts with a winning mindset.  I’m confident they can do the same for you.

Here’s what I would do if I were you:

1.  Help at least one person a day.

The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion, compassion, humor, generosity, and kindness, and using these tools to make the world a better place.

Smile, and help others smile too.  If you don’t have the power or strength to write someone’s happiness, then try to help them remove their sadness instead.  And don’t let the numbers overwhelm you.  You can’t help everyone at once.  Focus on assisting one person at a time, and always start with the person closest to you.

If you can lie down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone’s day just a little brighter, you had a successful day.  Read 365 Thank Yous.

2.  When you feel like giving up, ask yourself, “Can I give more?”

The honest answer is almost always, “Yes.”  And once your mind realizes it can, it usually does.

One of the unique things about the human mind is that it can do only what it thinks it can do.  The minute you say, “I don’t have the energy” or “I’m not capable of that,” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations.

Low expectations mean low results.  So watch how you speak to yourself.  And when you reach that point of struggle in your mind where most people would give in and give up, do the opposite and give it another shot.

3.  Respect everyone.

When you respect people it gives you a special kind of access to them.  No, you don’t automatically get the key to their hearts.  What you do get is an increased understanding and rapport, and that can be priceless.

If you’re a business owner, respecting your prospective customers will bring you more of their business.  If you’re a teacher, respecting your students will add increased effectiveness to your teaching.  If you’re an athlete, respecting the other team will help you build an effective strategy to win the game.

In all walks of life, respect opens the doors of opportunity.

4.  Accept exactly where you are, wherever you are.

One of the great secrets to being happy and successful is accepting where you are in life and making the most of it.  You won’t always know where you are going, but as long as you keep moving forward the journey will be rewarding.

One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, time has a way of gradually showing you the way to what truly matters.  Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.  Read The Untethered Soul.

5.  Seek lots of new life experiences.

The people with the greatest wisdom are the ones who have been through the most.  So start strong, stay strong, and finish strong by always remembering why you’re doing it in the first place.  It’s all about learning and growing along the way.

The most valuable lessons in life cannot be taught, they must be experienced.  When you reflect on your life, you will likely see some pain, mistakes, and heartache.  But when you look in the mirror, you will see the strength, growth, and wisdom that made it all worthwhile.

6.  Maintain a diehard belief in yourself.

A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.  Your individual thoughts and beliefs are similar to chapters in a book.  When you put them together, you have the belief system that becomes your life story.

If you are going to be successful in creating the life you dream of, you have to believe that you are capable of doing so.  You have to believe that you have the resources, talents, and skills necessary to create your desired results.

7.  Walk your own path.

A good life is not living the life everyone else intended for you.  Be true to yourself.  Stand firmly by your core values.  Your life is your spiritual path.  It’s what’s right in front of you.

You can’t live anyone else’s life.  The task is to live yours and stop trying to copy the ones you think are more acceptable.  Because if you water yourself down to please everyone else, to fit in, or to not step on anyone’s toes, you will lose the passion, freedom, and joy of being who you really are.

8.  Find an opportunity in every outcome, positive or negative.

Sometimes things happen exactly as you had expected, and then there are other times when nothing goes as planned.  In either situation, there is a way to respond triumphantly.

Your victories bring happiness and feelings of self-achievement.  Your defeats bring wisdom, strength, and determination.  Both outcomes bring new opportunities.  In this way, life moves continually forward.

In each moment, you can build upon whatever has come before.  Right now, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  Because right now, you are in the only time and place where you can actually make a difference.  Read The Happiness Project.

9.  Need less.

Instead of focusing so intently on what you want to get, consider the things you can let go of.  Eliminate some excess baggage, lighten your load, and feel a weight lifted.  So many of the things you think you need, you do not need at all, you simply want them.  And as your wants diminish, your freedom and abundance grow.

Because long-term fulfillment in life is not about getting all that you need; fulfillment is knowing the freedom to be all that you are without the excess.  It’s about wanting what you have at any given moment, and making the best of it.

Bottom line:  Ambition, intention, and disciplined effort will bring you great things in this world, but there is more to success than acquiring the commonly celebrated milestones of success that society confers.  In the long run, less is often more.

Photo by: Severin Sadjina


  1. Judian Coney says

    Great article. Very good summary of some less common (at least for the majority) principles of successful people. 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.

  2. says

    Marc and Angel,

    In researching the web for material to support concepts for my school’s leadership and development session tomorrow, I found your blog post. I will be sharing your ideas here with the class. Excellent material and ties right in with our personal growth discussions. Thanks.

  3. Gaurav says

    Hi Marc,
    Point #2: When you feel like giving up, ask yourself, “Can I give more?”
    Lovely point. I believe it’s simple to ask this question, and I can understand how it would have a positive effect as far as outcome potential is concerned. I will give it a try for sure… :)
    – Gaurav

  4. JJ says

    Awesome! Thanks for writing such wonderful, inspiring blog posts. This one is packed full of productive advice. A fantastic collection of useful pointers that can be implemented immdiately.

    Time to start implmenting… I’m starting with my favorite: Need Less.

  5. says

    “Instead of giving up, give more” is a powerful credo to live by. Those who consistently apply this priciple will take their lives to heights they never even knew were possible.

    In almost all cases we can give more. The human will is far stronger than we give it credit for. Which means that *we* are far stronger than we give ouselves credit for.

    Learn to tap into that deep well of strength and you will find yourself capable of achieving whatever success it is you seek.


  6. Challenge destiny says

    It’s amazing to me how we sometimes don’t see the forest for the trees. #3 tends to escape most people. It has become apparent in today’s society that not only do people lack a regard for fellow human beings they lack respect for themselves.

    It appears that the golden rule has escaped them. Not to do unto others as you would have them do unto you but so many have taken that rule of life and added their own twist…do unto others before they do it to you. So many are insecure to the point that they dash their beliefs in other peoples goodness to the point of killing themselves a slow lonely painful death from the inside out. I am glad you point out the importance of respect.

    Great list as always.

  7. Yashwanth says

    I love how you touch on the same core principles in many of your articles, but you write about them in a different way every time which is so refreshing… Keep writing and inspiring.

  8. Krish says

    Hi Marc,
    In point#9, you have mentioned about needing less, and at the end you have mentioned about ambition as one of the driving forces for a successful life, but I have a conception that ambition means a need someone obsessively craves for. This is also preached by many to be free from desires and on the other hand to make desire as your key to success. What does this contradiction mean?

  9. Wendy says

    What is “success?” Making more money than you can possibly use in a hundred lifetimes? Creating a big corporation that produces millions of plastic widgets that no-one needs? Instead of calling this “success,” let’s focus on leaving the planet a better place than how we found it. Please, for the love of the earth – let’s redefine “success.”

  10. says

    @Judian: A wise addition and an excellent point. Thank you.

    @Trevor: Indeed. We are just about as capable as we think we are.

    @Challenge destiny: Thanks for revisiting that point. Honestly, we get what we give. If we disrespect others, eventually we run out of others to disrespect, and we start disrespecting ourselves.

    @Caroline: Awesome! I’m glad we’re providing content in English that you enjoy reading and practicing with.

    @Krish: The key is balance. Set goals, but don’t let them consume every bit of your energy. Split the difference between striving for more and appreciating what you have while you have it.

    @Wendy: I totally agree. Success is living a life that makes a positive difference – a life that leaves the world a little better than it was before.

    @All: Thank you for the kind words of appreciation and all the added insight. :) I absolutely love reading your comments.

  11. says

    Wow, absolutely amazing as always!
    I loved 7 the most because often we find ourselves following the footsteps of those we look up to, doing everything that brought them success without realizing that we’re just re-living their lives. You realize this when you start doing something different, something no one’s ever done before. When that happens, there’s no one to follow. You have to make up your own game plan. and that’s when you start truly living.
    Thanks for being such a huge inspiration in everything you write!

  12. Daniel says

    Your website has really made me understand positive thinking is a key to everything in life. I have done so much belittling of myself in the past, but I am not gonna do that ever again! As you put it perfectly , “Maintain a diehard belief in yourself!”

  13. NRubinstein says

    Thanks. I’m an advocate for women in prison in California. I’m sending this to several of them that are working to eventually be able to earn parole… And I believe these principles should be something they recognize and work on immediately.

  14. says

    Thanks for this article and a great set of habits, Marc.

    I would like to suggest a 10th habit:

    Practice gratitude, gratitude toward others who have either directly or indirectly helped you at some point in your day. Take no more than 5 minutes out of your day to feel gratitude towards others and once a week jot down 5 things you feel grateful for.

    This is a habit that has really enriched my life, and what’s more, this habit complements habits 3, 4, 8 and 9! Now I need to start cultivating those other habits…

  15. Asha says

    Hi Marc and Angel
    Wonderful article and right on time to pep up my son who is appearing for his 12th grade exams shortly. I was just trying to make him understand the importance of how to approach higher education, focus and the balance between hardwork and relaxation. Rather than just focus on marks and get admission to some prestigious college….etc…
    will forward this to him!
    Thanks!! BTW, I have also recently purchased your e-book 1,000+ Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently!

  16. Bryan says

    These are great common sense, value driven, habits that I live by hourly and daily. Working in a prison in Colorado, my team of residents (inmates) work these values daily for other resident. It does not matter who you are or where you are in life. This works. Thank you for the reminder.

  17. says

    I know far too many folks who always look for the negative in anything. Like that movie, some folks need a Silver Linings Playbook. :)

  18. says

    What an awesome list of habits of extraordinary success! Most of them I have realised and began using in my own life too my favourite is walking your own path, living on my own terms with my core values then building on this each day. Im working on needing less :) Thanks for sharing!

  19. Gillian Kelly says

    Every day that I read your blogs I walk away feeling more positive, motivated and empowered. Thank you for doing what you do.

  20. says

    The fourth one of these is always difficult for me because I look around and compare myself to my peers and wonder if I am on track. Love that many of these look outside of ourselves (helping others) as a way to gain success–it also helps with perspective and gratitude! :)

  21. Denise says

    “Need less” is so spot on. We often confuse wants with needs and we don’t realize that we really don’t have to have everything.

  22. Anna says

    A 13-year-old Vietnamese can comment right? If yes then all I want to say is your tips are great. They help me realize what life truly is about. I am learning by following all of it slowly so that I can used in my daily life as I grow.

    Thank you so much Marc and Angel! You light up my way. :)

  23. Eva Chebet says

    Spot on!! Grateful for the day I stumbled upon your blog… you light up my days! Thank you so much!

  24. says

    Just as I was reading the first bullet–help at least one person a day, a co-worker walked up to me asking for help. I took it as a sign your bullet points are not only unconventional, but also very much dead on true. Thanks for sharing your wisdom :)

  25. says

    This post is so helpful. We can make an impact to someone’s life if we show our care and concern for others. As Oprah once said, “Serve others and the rest will follow.” We all can do our share by doing what we do best. Share our talents, abilities and service to others. Keep inspiring people. :)


  1. Rock solid advice. I’m celebrating a 70th birthday soon, and I can honestly say I’ve lived my life by these concepts. It feels good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *