1. They get to work.
You’re tired when you get home from a long day at the office. So are they. You want to relax, watch a show, see friends, and start your side hustle another day, when you have more energy. So do they. Everyone’s got their personal set of roadblocks that stand in the way of productivity. The handful of individuals with true feats of greatness to their name have knocked down more roadblocks than they can count. The number of fun invitations they’ve turned down and group chat messages they’ve ignored would make your head spin. Through and through, they honour their commitment to getting their work done. They shift their priorities as if the project was a new relationship, and they love their alone time with their project. They chip away until they’ve made at least a sizeable dent in it — then they’ll step back, kick their feet up and admire it for a while.
2. They don’t waste time on envy.
Envy is a cruel and counterproductive emotion. It reminds you that there will always be someone better at your craft than you are, who will get to where you want to be faster and receive a more generous helping of praise. But, there are also people out there who don’t allow their confidence to be crippled by envy. They simply tune it out, like you’d tune out a voice you no longer care to listen to. Envy is just a voice telling stories without any truth to them. Tune it out, train your focus on your own lane, and forge ahead.
3. They act quietly.
Does your favorite author post a lengthy paragraph on Facebook about how incredible their next work is going to be? Does the creator of a highly successful startup go on self-important rants about how much they accomplished that day? Those who are truly getting shit done are, in fact, too busy getting shit done to share it. They tell their closest circle what they’re up to and disappear into it. They seek no validation and do it for no one but themselves. And only when they have something to show for it do they indulge in the status update.
4. They‘re great at saying no to themselves.
“Creativity is 95% work and discipline and 5% inspiration’’ — my boss loves this quote. The other day, she casually mentioned to me that she wrote a book last year. An entire book, start to finish. I asked her how she did it and she only gave me one piece of advice: make yourself write at least four pages every single day, no matter what. Even if those pages get rewritten the next day, it’s repeating the act of saying no to doing what’s easy and comfortable and yes to doing what is challenging that will ultimately get you further in every way.
There’s a reason why self-discipline is called the bridge between goals and accomplishments. It is literally the most important ingredient of great work. Without it, you will always find yourself inching across the bridge, wondering why it’s taking so long for your accomplishments to come into view.
5. They fail with relish and gratitude.
Failure is a wonderful and necessary part of the journey, and successful people know that better than anyone. Many of them will tell you that their most significant moments of leaning came from their most significant failures. Failures, mistakes, setbacks — they serve a purpose. They’re the feedback that comes with taking a risk. They’re the voice that says, Yes, you did it wrong — but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re choosing to do it wrong over not doing it at all.
6. They’re okay with it taking as long as it takes.
Most of us have a mental timeline for when we’d like certain things to take shape in our lives. The right salary and relationship status matched up perfectly to the right age, X followed by Y followed by Z. While it’s definitely helpful to have these mile markers on your life map to keep yourself moving in the right direction, those who know better don’t follow that map too closely. They know where they want to be, but they’re okay with arriving whenever they do, even if it’s far behind schedule. They welcome every inevitable detour and look forward to where it takes them. They choose acceptance over anxiety.