How successful people think

Have you ever wondered if successful people have minds built entirely differently from the rest of us? In some ways, they’re just like anyone else. In others, they do see the world a bit differently. That shift in outlook doesn’t have to be huge, but it has a huge impact, because successful people don’t view a few key things the same way other people do. Things like competition, failure, and time are important to successful people in fundamental ways. Once you learn how these top thinkers and entrepreneurs view business and the world, you can emulate what you know to find more success in your own endeavors.

What successful people think

Successful people face the same daily realities we all face. They only have 24 hours in each day. They have to deal with frustrating people, setbacks, and irritations. But they differentiate themselves by seeing and dealing with these issues in unexpected and productive ways. If you want to be successful, you have to be a little single-minded about what you want. Set your focus, value your time, and always have the optimism to keep moving toward your goals. At first, training your brain to work like this will be hard, but even a small amount of this mindset will help you.

Optimism is key

One key ingredient successful people have is optimism. Imagine taking a new idea you’re not sure is even going to work and turning it into a successful company. Someone without optimism isn’t going to be able to do that. While you can still have great business acumen, optimism means overlooking a certain amount of risk because you truly believe your idea is going to work.

Successful people hang on to that optimism throughout the stages of business. Optimism easily translates into enthusiasm about new products, innovations, and the future of the company. It’s also catching, so if you’re optimistic, chances are your team will feel the same way.

You have to learn from your mistakes

Facing up to failures and mistakes is always hard. Most of us would prefer to forget about them and move on. Successful people, though, aren’t afraid to dig into those mistakes to find out why they happened. Whether it’s a failed business, a failed marketing campaign, or a failed relationship, you should be willing to sift through the hurt to figure out where you went wrong.

Ultimately, it’s about how you see failures. Are they opportunities, or things for you to be ashamed of? A failure just means you tried something and discovered it didn’t work. You can see it as a stepping stone on your way to success, answering the larger question of how you reach your goal. Don’t let failures beat you down. Learn from them, and turn them into valuable experiences that are part of your ultimate success.

Always develop new ideas

Here’s the thing about coming up with new ideas: It’s a skill you can actually learn. Some of the most successful people make a habit of coming up with new ideas every day. Some of those ideas won’t be very good, but others are worth pursuing. The more ideas you generate, the more likely you are to come up with something amazing.

Working your ideas is like working a muscle. At first it takes a while and feels awkward. You might not make much progress. Keep pushing, though, because the most innovative people have active minds that are always churning out ideas. Make your mind an idea creation machine and see what it comes up with.

Use the 80/20 strategy

You may have heard that you should use 80 percent of your energy on the 20 percent of your work that’s most important. That’s how successful people divide their time, more or less. They don’t spend a lot of time on the nitty-gritty aspects of running a business, like answering emails or keeping the books. Successful entrepreneurs often realize that outsourcing those tasks to people who are better at it is a great way to free up time.

It can be hard to let go of micromanaging your new startup or small business, but you have to. To be successful, you have to let your mind wander in innovation mode. Develop the most important of your skills, and delegate the rest to employees you trust. You can’t do everything, so focus your energy on the most important things you can do. After all, multitasking is nobody’s friend, and it’s a productivity killer.

Find value in other people

Successful people don’t go it alone. In fact, they understand how valuable other people can be. Enriching your mind by talking to other people, bouncing new ideas off other people, and focusing on innovations from other parties, is key to being successful. These people may be business contacts you meet at conferences and networking events, or they might be your own employees.

How do successful people think about competition? Well, they keep an eye on it, but they don’t feel threatened by it. Competition is a great way to spur yourself into doing a better job. Competition means you have to do better for the customer, whether that means finding ways to lower prices, innovating great new products, or upping your customer service game. Even direct competitors are people in whom successful entrepreneurs can find value, because after all, those competitors are also successful. You can learn some great things from them, too.

Be in control of your schedule and your time

Successful people don’t think they’re out of time to do what’s really important. If that means stretching your day to include more hours of work than you’d like, then you have to pursue those hours. You must be willing to devote time to the tasks that are important to your entrepreneurial endeavors.

On that same note, successful people are great at time management and organizations. Lists of tasks always start with the most important things, and those things always get crossed off first. The last thing you want to do is get bogged down with unimportant tasks, exhausting your energy so you’re tapped out by the time you need to do what truly matters. How successful people think about their own time is very indicative of their success: Ultimately, they value their time. So you should value yours.

Understand when it’s time to start over

How successful people think about failure is different from how others see it. For example, ending a business that isn’t doing well feels like a failure to most people. In some ways, it is. But a successful person understands that wasting time and resources on a failing business is simply keeping them from taking the next step. As discussed already, failure doesn’t have to be the end of the story or the last step on the road. It is simply another learning opportunity, and another step on your path to success.

So take a shrewd look at the projects that aren’t panning out for you. Are you hanging on to them because you truly think they have potential, or are you attached for another reason? Fear of failure is natural, but you need to face that fear and overcome it. Only when you embrace failure as part of life will you see how it can actually make you more successful throughout your years.

Never let go of personal growth

Successful people aren’t work machines. Personal growth happens outside the office and away from the business. Some of the most successful people diligently pursue hobbies and spend time with their families every day like clockwork. Part of what makes you successful is your personality and your humanity. If you let those things go while you’re pursuing your business, you’ll be running yourself dry. Keep yourself fueled creatively, and stay fulfilled by not losing touch with the things that matter to you outside of your business.

These mindsets alone don’t award you success in all endeavors. But they do allow you to work smart, see opportunities, and learn from your mistakes. Success is as much a thought process as it is a set of actions. Instead of waiting for success to find you, realize that it’s up to you to pursue it. Everyone feels discouraged and down sometimes, even the best of entrepreneurs. Keep your goals in mind and never stay down for long.

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