My New Year Resolution each year is to procrastinate less and to be more productive. In spite of making to-do lists and carving out a plan to get my work done, I end up binge-watching series and falling asleep, only to wake up feeling guilty. Some days my plans work, somedays they don’t. That’s not right though. Each day has to be productive in some of the other ways. I often define success based on productivity. Since success is often subjective and can mean two different things for two individuals. Building habits is often the first step towards success. Successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Ratan Tata have defined habits which are an integral part of them. We often ask ourselves what is it that makes them successful? Given that everyone has the same 24 hours a day, what practices do they follow in a day? What are the common habits of these successful people?
Here are some habits that successful people:
1. Read voraciously:
Bill Gates, the 2nd richest man in the world reportedly reads a new book every week and carries a book with him wherever he goes. Elon Musk used to read almost 10 hours a day before he built Tesla. Warren Buffet also spends up to 80% of his day reading. Reading teaches new things and is the best way to gain new perspective and insights. Reading can make us better leaders and if the busiest people on Earth can make time for reading, so can we. Podcasts and audiobooks are a great alternative to books if you don’t like reading or cannot find time.
2. Learn and Experiment:
The most successful people in the world spend considerable time learning new things and devote time to experiment. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Jack Ma follow the 5-hour rule i.e. they spend 5 hours a week or an hour a day learning and experimenting. They read, write, reflect and experiment. Jack Ma suggests reading about a particular topic and putting it into practical use and thereby testing your understanding. Google gives its employees 20% time to focus on innovative projects or their pet projects.
3. Prioritize health and wellbeing:
Jack Dorsey of Twitter rises up at 5 A.M to exercise and meditate. Oprah Winfrey and Ray Dalio, attribute their success to their daily meditation practices. Ariana Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post sleeps eight hours every night and believes that the more sleep we get, the better we work towards our goals. Bill Gates sleeps for seven hours a night.
4. Spend time with family and loved ones:
Elon Musk spends his weekends with his sons and Bill Gates takes his children horse-riding and takes them to their favourite spots. Barack Obama also devotes a lot of time for his daughters. Successful people know that family is most important and spend enough time with them doing fun activities.
Most successful people volunteer with different organizations and non-profits. They spend both considerable amounts of time and money for causes they are passionate about. They work towards uplifting communities across the globe. Bill Gates and his wife actively involve themselves in the Gates Foundation. Singer and Songwriter Taylor Swift actively supports organizations such as the Red Cross and Children In Need.
These are just a few of many habits that these successful people practice. Apart from these, they focus on their goals and even plan for each day. They even make time to focus on their creative side and pursue hobbies and unwind. Former US President would spend time playing the saxophone after a long hard day at work. Ratan Tata who is extremely fond of dogs, often spends time with his pet dogs. He also has initiated many shelter homes for stray dogs and is often found advocating for animals. Narayana Murthy, Founder of Infosys likes to listen western classical music and read books written by his wife Sudha Murthy, Shashi Tharoor and Ramchandra Guha.
Successful people also understand that habit-building is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight and requires perseverance and consistency. As Rupi Kaur, author of The Sun and her Flowers says, “You do not just wake up and become the butterfly- Growth is a process.” It takes time to form habits and is surely a tough job, but not impossible.
Successful people make time for things they are passionate about. Despite running billion-dollar companies and writing bestselling novels, they work on themselves and give themselves space to learn and grow. We can focus on our passions too and form habits which will eventually transform us to our best possible version. We are all work-in-progresses and finding our way. Success isn’t impossible and self-confidence is key. The good news is that anyone can be successful. Ask yourself about your passions and reflect on your growth. Think about how far you want to go and think about how far you have come. It isn’t impossible.