Cultivating good habits is not easy. It takes effort, patience and perseverance.
But success is the result of learned behaviors.
Some of these “learned behaviors” may sound strange. Author and former hedge-fund manager James Altucher wrote some interesting advice in this
5 Good Habits One Former Hedge Funder Says Can Be Done In 5 Minutes A Day.
His advice seems a little quirky, I’ll admit. But it’s worth noting that I tried all those tips and they work very well … Except one.
First, here are the ones that worked:
1. “Watch stand-up comedy five minutes a day.” The idea here is that it can make you a better speaker and communicator, plus the obvious benefit being “laughter is good medicine.”
2. “Like people” on social media. Don’t let Facebook dominate your schedule, but make time to “like” the things your friends like. You’ll feel happier as a result.
3. “Use $2 bills as tips.” Get a stack of them at your bank and hand them out liberally. Servers and bartenders and cab drivers will always remember you, and you’ll get better service.
4. “Play every day.” Whether it’s a crossword puzzle or a board game with a friend, scheduling playtime will give your creative mind a chance to come forward. When you return to work, that creativity will improve your business brain, as well.
And which tip did NOT work for me?
Altucher suggests replying to forgotten emails from years ago like nothing happened. Alucher says “miracles happen when you do this.” You can reconnect with an old friend. You can rekindle a business proposition that got left behind. You can remind someone you love that they still matter.
Well, I tried this and it was exactly what you would expect. People were like, “Dude this is from five years ago??” Needless to say, it was awkward.
So I wouldn’t recommend that one.
One study found that 40 percent of all the decisions that we make are driven by habits. And building good habits mean building systems of daily action. You can’t just flip a switch and reach your destination; you have to incorporate daily practice into your routine, stick with it, and trust that the journey itself is the goal.
What are some of your habits for success? I’m not talking about the little things like “exercise every day,” “drink a glass of water when you wake up,” “Pick tomorrow’s clothes out before you go to bed,” and that kind of thing–although those are great habits as well.
I’m talking about the things you really have to work at, but which yield great results if you make them a part of your daily life. Not all of these are going to be right for you. And I certainly wouldn’t try to start them all this week. Pick one and work on it a little each day. After a month or so, you’ll have a good habit and you can pick another one.
Here are three that I like.
Make time to read books. It’s hard to find the time to do it, but it’s one habit almost all successful people share. Reading gives you the chance to learn from others’ mistakes and think about things in a way you would never have considered.
Donate (Money if you have it, time if you don’t). Successful people allot time to give back to their community by working with charities, volunteering and donating. Tom Corley, author of Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, reports that 73% of the wealthy people he studied volunteer at least five hours per month. Think you are too busy to work at a food bank or lend a hand at the homeless shelter? Are you as busy as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg? Because they all donate their time to community charities every month.
Keep a schedule. And stick to it. Most people go through life day by day. If they’re somewhat organized, they may have half-hour and one-hour tasks scheduled on their calendar. However, truly successful people use all 1,440 minutes in the day. Keep a schedule that maps your day out minute by minute (within reason). If you master the minute, you will master your life.
Make time for quiet reflection. Here’s another example of making time to do something that you probably think you don’t have time for. But I promise–if you make a little time every day to sit quietly and reflect on your values, goals, and progress, this quiet time will invigorate you and lead you to make better decisions with the rest of your time. What have your victories been? Where can you improve? As your tasks aligned with your big goals? What can you improve? How can you be of service to others. Just 20 minutes a day to meditate on these things could make all the difference in your life.
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