Have you always wondered about the traits of successful people? Have you wondered how a successful person’s brain works, and asked yourself how they think?
Over my career, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of highly successful people, and I’ve become highly successful myself. This allows me to share with you exactly how we think, and why our way of thinking works.
Highly Successful People Think Differently
The first thing you need to understand is that highly successful people have a very different way of thinking, and that their different way of thinking is a huge factor in their success.
There are some very powerful distinctions between how a successful person thinks compared to how an unsuccessful person thinks. Once you understand what these distinctions are, you can make a choice to start thinking differently, viewing things differently, and acting differently.
By making these changes, you’ll start thinking like a successful person, and that change within you might catapult you into success.
Successful people, you’ll notice, have the capability to think long-term. Awhile ago, I had the good fortune of being invited for lunch with one of the wealthiest and most successful men in Vancouver. At the time, at the age of 52, this man was worth half a billion dollars.
I got to pick his brain, hear about the important lessons he’s learned throughout his career, and learn about his business and vision. This man was so incredibly excited and passionate when talking about his vision. He talked about what he’s going to build and what his legacy will be. He had a vision for what he was going to do for the next 50 years.
Legacy was important to him, such as setting up a business that will keep growing even after he’s gone.
He spoke about the charities he will make sure his business keeps donating to, and the foundations his business will support. This conversation is what first enlightened me to the fact that successful people think long-term.
Think A Year Ahead
Some underprivileged people only ever think about where they’re going to get their next meal from. That’s how far in advance they think – their next meal.
Similarly, some average employees only ever think as far as 2 weeks in advance, because they think ahead to their next paycheck and how they might spend it – but that’s it. These people don’t think long-term.
Some managers of corporations think ahead, but only so far as quarterly. They think about their quarterly budget and their quarterly goals – and that’s about as far ahead as they think.
A good entrepreneur probably thinks at least a year ahead. They think about what they want to accomplish in one year from now, and where they want to improve next year. This is long-term thinking.
I personally think about 5 – 10 years ahead. I like to have a 10 year plan, and reverse engineer it so that I think about what I need to do in year 9, year 8, year 7, and so on. Then I will then break it down into monthly goals, and then daily goals. Having daily income goals is important.
Successful people think accurately. One of the most powerful principles in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich is the principle of accurate thinking. Accurate thinking requires you to be realistic and view things the way they really are.
Unsuccessful people are notorious for being overly optimistic. They think that even without proper research or good business acumen, their new business will still be a huge success in a matter of months.
Successful people who think accurately are realistic optimists. They believe in the value of what they are offering the marketplace, but they are also realistic.
I believe in the importance of accurate thinking, which is why I don’t sit there and think about how perfect everything is going to turn out. Instead, I think about important questions such as: What could go wrong? What do I not know? What do I not see?
Those three powerful questions have nothing to with being negative, and everything to do with the benefits of knowing the downsides. Predicting obstacles increases the chances of a project’s success.
If you can predict some of the things that might go wrong, and you have a plan just in case those things happen, that’s a huge advantage in business. Overly optimistic people rarely have such plans, which is a big reason why they struggle.
Think About Other People
Successful people think about other people. They think about how they can deliver more value to their customers, their employees and their vendors.
More importantly, they take themselves out of the picture and instead think about how they can wow their clients.
They don’t just think about themselves and what they stand to gain. If they did, they wouldn’t care about the value they provide to their customers as much, and they’d therefore lose customers.
Successful people also think about how they can coach and retain their employees. This ability to think about others helps them retain their employees – and we all know how crucial a good team is in business.
I believe less in the ‘self-made millionaire’ concept, and more in the ‘team-made millionaire’ concept, because a business is nothing without a fantastic team holding it up.
Thinking about others leads to people wanting to support your business – and wanting to stay loyal to you.
Successful people simply aren’t as selfish, nor are they only ever wondering what they’re going to get or how much money they’ll make.
This is why successful people like to do business with other successful people.
This way, they know that whether the deal works out or not, it won’t affect either side’s life that much. There’s no needy, desperate energy seeping into the business meeting – and there’s less risk that someone will screw someone else over for a little bit of money.