Success is a great mystery that only can be earned by working hard.
A successful person has luck, which matters, but it is also a behavior that helps them a lot.
So just what are those behaviors?
Over on Quora, there’s a thread dedicated to sharing the essential habits of highly accomplished individuals. Shana Lebowitz gathered 11 of those habits, which are mentioned below.
You’ll notice that none of these habits require major life overhauls. Instead, it’s about making small tweaks to your daily routines that could potentially result in huge payoffs.
1. They talk to themselves
Quora user and author Michal Stawicki says that, during research for his books on success, he discovered:
At the highest level of professional sports, they consider skills and techniques a given. You can’t reach that level without them. What allows them to beat their opponents is not more time spent honing their skills, but more focus on perfecting their internal dialogue.
Meanwhile, research suggests that talking to yourself like you’d talk to someone else in the same situation can help you deal with stressful experiences. Specifically, use the pronoun “you” or your first name instead of “I.” For example, “You can do it, John.”
2. They keep a journal
Stawicki points out that several historical figures who kept journals, including Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
But you don’t have to aspire to world domination to benefit from keeping a diary. One recent study found that journaling about thoughts and emotions helped college students deal with stressful events.
3. They meditate
Two Quora users cited meditation as a primary habit of successful people.
Indeed, research has found that meditation has several mental and physical health benefits, from improving memory to increasing compassion to boosting the immune system.
And bigwigs from Jack Dorsey to Oprah Winfrey say that they practice meditation daily.
4. They manage their emotion
Successful people “are emotional people like others,” writes Himani Kapoor, citing a Lifehack article. “But, they manage their emotions smartly.”
As psychotherapist Amy Morin told Business Insider, mentally strong people are acutely aware of how their emotions influence their thoughts and behaviors, and they monitor the fluctuations in their emotions throughout the day.
5. They read
Waqar Ahmed pointed out that many of the world’s most successful people, including Bill Gates, are avid readers.
Investing legend Warren Buffett reportedly spends about 80% of his day reading. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg pledged to read a book every two weeks in 2015. Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said that he learned how to build rockets by reading books.
Ahmed’s advice for becoming a bookworm? “Just read what you are interested in” and start with a few pages a day.
6. They communicate clearly
Janis Butevics cites the same Lifehack article, which notes that successful people “are good communicators, and they consciously work at it.”
You can start improving your communication behaviors by checking out these seven key skills of master communicators, including using the appropriate tone and body language and being direct and candid.
7. They practice self-control
Butevics highlights another point from the Lifehack article: Successful people “understand the importance of discipline and self-control.”
The classic “marshmallow study,” led by psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s, found that kids who were able to delay the delicious gratification of eating a marshmallow wound up more successful as adults.
8. They stick to routines
Amy Yeole points out that successful people “have specific routines and rituals set for the start and end of every day.”
For example, John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Patron tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, starts every day with five minutes of quiet reflection.
9. They value solitude
Yeole mentions that successful people “have some ‘me-time’ every day.”
According to Morin, the psychotherapist, mentally strong people don’t fear alone time because it’s a chance to reflect and replenish their energy. She recommends taking a few minutes every day to be alone with your thoughts to process what’s happening around you.
10. They’re conscientious
Kyriacos Antoniou writes that successful people are typically highly conscientious.
That means that they’re organized, responsible, and hardworking and can control their impulses.
Research has found that conscientiousness is the only major personality trait that consistently predicts success in terms of factors like income and job satisfaction. That’s partly because conscientious people are better at setting and achieving goals, especially in the face of obstacles.
11. They’re persistent
Smita Balaji highlights persistence as a top habit of successful people.
That goes along with theories from a neuroscientist and a psychologist, who say that your first thought is hardly ever your best one. Successful people know that, so they keep coming up with ideas until they finally hit the jackpot.