What’s “the secret”? Well, there isn’t just one. But think about this: “Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge.”
In other words, when it comes to success, what matters isn’t so much learning something new but putting into practice what we already know. Here are four not-so-secret secrets of insanely successful people:
1. They have a vision.
Success starts with answering a fundamental question, What do I really want?
Whether you call the answer to that question your mission statement, core values, brand identity or just your goals doesn’t really matter. Because “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The leader has a clear idea of what he or she wants to do—professionally and personally—and the strength to persist in the face of setbacks, even failures.
The key word is “clear.” And clarity means writing it down.
In fact, two of the most statistically significant factors that set the richest people apart from everyone else is that 81 percent of them maintain a to-do list and 80 percent focus on accomplishing a specific goal.
2. They are honest.
Successful people tell the truth. This sounds so obvious that you might think it doesn’t even need to be said. But in a climate where the pressure to look good, perform well, eke out profits and win by any means necessary is constantly increasing, honesty is becoming a scarce commodity.
And yet, honesty pays.
Taking responsibility for our mistakes and admitting when we’re wrong isn’t just relationally smart—it’s financially savvy.
3. They show gratitude.
Without gratitude, you aren’t being mindful or totally thankful of the good things in life—and your perspective is probably skewed to the negative as a result. You might even have less motivation to go after more good things, if you aren’t grateful of the ones you already have.
We tend to think of gratitude as a spontaneous emotion, something that just happens to us in moments of triumph or success. In reality, though, gratitude is something we develop. And just like all the other not-so-secret secrets on this list, it is something we choose, something we make a wide-eyed, premeditated, self-determined decision to experience.
How? By actively looking for reasons to be grateful and second, by simply saying, “thank you.”
When we look for reasons to be grateful—when we make that our intentional focus—we find them. On top of that, when we call attention to those reasons, we cultivate gratitude not only within ourselves but within our relationships and organizations.
4. They are adaptive.
Success isn’t about avoiding failure. It’s about learning from failure.
Take Thomas Edison’s famous quote about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
This means is that instead of hiding from failure, insanely successful people anticipate and integrate failure into their lives in ways that transform it from an end into a means.
We all love a good secret. But the truth is, when it comes to success, there’s no such thing. So start small, but start today. Pick one of these four “secrets” and put it to work.