Something that has always fascinated me is what separates the world’s greatest achievers from everyone else in the world. What do they know that we don’t?
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lewis Howes, New York Times bestselling author and host of the wildly successful podcast, The School of Greatness. Lewis has one of the most successful leadership and success podcasts in the world; some of his recent guests include Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, Russell Simmons, Daymond John, Alanis Morissette, and Tim Ferriss. What’s interesting about The School of Greatness is that it’s less about where the popular and ultra-achiever guests are right now in their lives, but more about the process, attitude, and journey that led them to their greatness.
Here are five things that the world’s greatest achievers all have in common.
1. They all have some practice of daily gratitude.
Howes says, “Gratitude matters most. It’s one of the core themes shared by all of the guests who come on the show. These are some of the most successful people in the planet. They can be, do, and have anything they want, and every single one of them is quick to talk about gratitude.” It’s hard to be angry, resentful, upset and grateful at the same time.
How can you incorporate this into your own life? I have talked a lot about keeping a gratitude journal and writing down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for each and every morning. Another great practice to unleash the tremendous benefits of gratitude is to try a Walk of Gratitude in the morning. It can be just 10 minutes around the neighborhood before the kids get up, or it can be a walk with your dog. This helps set the tone for a fantastic and happy day ahead.
2. They set a high bar.
The guests who have appeared on The School of Greatness Show are there because at some point in their lives they decided to set the bar high and dream big. It’s all the more challenging to become the best version of yourself, make an impact in the world, and become all that you can be in the business world if you don’t do the same.
How can you incorporate this into your own life? Take your most important goal right now and expand it. If your goal is to make $300,000 next year, increase that number to $400,000 or $500,000. Whatever that goal may be for yourself, set the bar even higher. Don’t worry about how is it going to manifest or all of the obstacles that you may run into along the way. Get into the habit of expanding your thinking and the goals that you set for yourself. Even if you do fall short, you will more than likely have done better than what your original target was.
3. They work ridiculously hard for long periods of time.
Greatness takes time and persistence. As Lewis says, “most people want instant gratification and the rewards right away, but in reality, all of the seemingly overnight successes that you hear about takes 10-plus years.”
Working ridiculously hard for long periods of time isn’t nice to think about. Most people want instant success without putting in their due diligence. But line up leaders in any industry — from business to the arts — and I am certain you will hear each and every one of them talk about how insane their work ethic has been over the years even when they didn’t see much in return for their efforts right away.
How can you incorporate this into your own life? Take that most important goal that we just discussed about earlier and schedule an extra 30 minutes to an hour of working on making that goal become a reality each day. Be persistent about working longer, smarter, and harder than everyone else. You will be amazed at what evolves when you regularly add an extra 30 minutes to an hour of working on your most important goal.
4. They know they need to care of themselves.
Nothing will get done if your mind and body aren’t performing. Don’t wait until you have a health scare or lose a loved one to force you to take complete charge of your health. Taking care of yourself needs to be a regular commitment.
How can you incorporate this into your own life? Don’t wait for next month or next week to take action on making your health a priority. Hire a personal trainer, gather friends together who share this same goal and work out together, start a new fitness program, work on improving your diet, or sign up for an upcoming marathon. Keep great people around you and make sure you’re not isolating yourself. Whatever it is, take the initial step toward improving your health, which is always the hardest. Schedule it into your daily activities every single day.
5. They know the value of giving back.
Whether it’s loving what they do, loving other people, or loving the climb to the top, successful people approach each day with a “love and service” mentality. They understand that whatever they put out into the world will come back to them in some way. The greatest business leaders, salespeople, and athletes try to serve life. Look at the great life of the late Muhammad Ali. He served not only the millions of people who watched him in the boxing ring, but used his celebrity to support humanitarian causes.
How can you incorporate this into your own life? Rather than looking at it what can you receive in return, start examining the different ways that you can give to life. Donate your free time to charities. Offer to help a neighbor or friend in need. Go the extra mile to listen to someone in need. Do not expect anything in return for your service. Love the process, love others, and embrace the challenges that you will experience along the way.