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The Difference Between Successful and Very Successful People

I recently met with a capable and driven executive and asked him, “How are you?” He gave me a rapid-fire answer of all of the things he was doing: travelling, business updates, career changes and his children’s innumerable activities. It sounded like an intense but satisfying life.

Then I asked him again, “How are you really?” And the moment I did, he became emotional and the reality of his life just flooded out of him: his stress, his frustration of trying to juggle it all, his sense that he had no time to really think, or play with his children or enjoy any of it. The (cute) summary is this: his schedule was always filled but his life wasn’t fulfilled. What is less cute is the idea that he, and many of us, have been sold a bill of goods.

We’ve been sold on a heroic ideal of the uber-man and super-women who kill themselves saying yes to everyone, sleeping four hours a night and straining to fit everything in. How often have you heard people say, “I am so busy right now!” But it almost seemed like a back-door brag.

But it’s a bogus badge of honor. It suffocates our ability to think and create. It holds otherwise hard working, capable people back from our highest contribution. Below are a few of the myths of success that hold us back from becoming very successful.

Myth 1: Successful people say, "If I can fit it in, I should fit it in."

Truth: Very successful people are absurdly selective.

As Warren Buffet is credited with having said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

As I wrote in a piece for Harvard Business Review, this means, "Not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials. Not just once a year as part of a planning meeting, but constantly reducing, focusing and simplifying. Not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but being willing to cut out really terrific opportunities as well. Few appear to have the courage to live this principle, which may be why it differentiates successful people and organizations from the very successful ones."

Myth 2: Successful people sleep four hours a night.

Truth: Very successful people rest well so they can be at peak performance.

In K. Anders Ericsson's famous study of violinists, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell as the "10,000 hour rule," Anders found that the best violinists spent more time practicing than the merely good students. What is less well known is that the second most important factor differentiating the best violinists from the good ones was actually sleep. The best violinists averaged 8.6 hours of sleep in every 24 hour period.

Myth 3: Successful people think play is a waste of time.

Truth: Very successful people see play as essential for creativity.

Just think of Sir Ken Robinson, who has made the study of creativity in school's his life's work. He has observed that instead of fueling creativity through play, schools actually kill it: "We have sold ourselves into a fast-food model of education, and it's impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies. Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement."

Myth 4: Successful people are the first ones to jump in with an answer.

Truth: Very successful people are powerful listeners.

As the saying goes, the people who talk the most don't always have the most to say. Powerful listeners get to the real story. They find the signal in the sound. They listen to what is not being said.

Myth 5: Successful people focus on what the competition is doing.

Truth: Very successful people focus on what they can do better.

The "winningest coach in America" is Larry Gelwix, the former Head of the Highland High School rugby team. His team won 418 games with only 10 losses in over 36 years. One of the key questions he challenged his players to ask was “What’s important now?" He didn't want his players getting distracted with what the other team was doing. He wanted them to play their own game.

Last week I took a tour of the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. One of the quotes there grabbed my attention. John F. Kennedy said, "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

The myth here is celebrated in modern culture: it’s someone who is capable, driven and wants to win and be popular. They have been rewarded for their willingness to take it all on, fit it all in and just make it happen. They believe doing more is better than doing less. I call this type of person a Nonessential.

Still, there is a new hero in our story. She asks, “What is essential?” and is willing to eliminate everything else. He says no to the less important activities so they can give themselves fully to the few things that really matter. It is a path that takes courage. It may require making the trade off between short-term popularity and long-term respect. It leads to a greater sense of control and even joy. But as an added benefit it also seems to be the thing that distinguishes the successful from the very successful.

Courtesy: Greg Mckeown 

This Content Originally Published by a member of VU Students.

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Really Nice

Keep sharing dear .

Exactly each an every single line is true.

my opinion regarding this:

successful people always worried about their future ,but they never ever show how much they are tensed and worried...

on other hand every successful person has go through critical and tragic situation to achieve the success. 

frst they all believe that they can be successful. How could they be successful otherwise?????

otherwise they will be successful after going through some failures in practical life.

none of is is successful in 1st attempt. ..... if he/she has experienced before it they he/she might be successful in 1st attempt otherwise all of us will get the success after the failures.

 

I think both successful and very successful people never worried about any matter, other wise they are not successful.

Keep sharing Adi

I must say, Believe in ur capabilities.

:) 

hmm, nice discussion starting by you ,Decision making, Planning, organisation, time management, positive thinking. hard work. 
Learning from mistakes, satisfaction. Understanding others.

i have a question to you Mr Abdul Ansari browillingness, responsibilities and confidence what these things are meat in only successful or very successful ppls or are in both entities????

i am awaiting a positive response to you

My teachers always said that there is a minor difference in good and excellent. Thin like thread....

So we can observe this in our surroundings. Some people just went down after doing very well. The reason is we take the failures as dead/finished. But when we talk about the successful people, history tells us that these people always take the failures as learning and experiences moreover when they achieve success they set their benchmark and always try to move further.

You have talked about responsibilities and confidence comparison in both entities. I guess there is a difference of level in both entities. Intentions are vital. as we know "AMAAL KA DARO MADAAAAR NIYYATOOON PAR HAY" 

 

yeah exactly successful people always take the lesson from failures and then he set of benchmark for getting success in further. but i see very rarely in pakistani peoples who learn from others's failure  and obey yourself for getting success before exerting a huge effort because Pakistani always away from hard work due to potential opposition or incompatibility either he depends upon psychical whether are brain storming , mostly that ppls getting success who intrinsically capable for doing something in a positive perspective also assertiveness may be help full in this flaw .

at the last you said intentions are vital with little example i agree with your point of view but there are many conflict in intentions like competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and also accommodating may be that person who exception of yourself and think independently then will be able to got 99% success in further. what i say right, if i wrong then please correction me that i can understand of your thought. i am awaiting 

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