23/06/2017 09:02 BST | Updated 23/06/2017 09:02 BST

How To Win At Life: The Habits Of Successful People

Success means different things to different people. It might mean landing a number one hit single, winning an award for the best local business or simply being able to spend plenty of time with loved ones without having to worry about paying the rent.

But regardless of what you want to achieve with your life, there's plenty of wit and wisdom out there to inspire you, as well as heaps of advice from happiness experts, career gurus and successful celebrities to guide you along the way.

If you want to win at life, it comes down to three key things - the way you act, the way you talk and the way you think. Here's why.

Acting Successfully

If you want to be successful, you need to put the work in. Bestselling journalist, author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell famously made the assertion that if you want to be an expert at something, you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice.

That assertion has since been challenged, with one Princeton study finding that practice accounts for only 12% of the difference on average - although in some fields, such as gaming and music, it makes more of a difference than others. Either way, it's certainly true that people who work hard at something are more likely to become a success, whether they're learning to play guitar or whether they're trying to pass their driving test.

Thought-leader Gary Vaynerchuk has re-popularised the term 'hustle' to refer to putting the hours in on a passion project. Entrepreneur and author Gurbaksh Chahal adds extra emphasis with his call-to arms: "If you genuinely want something, don't wait for it - teach yourself to be impatient." You can be successful if you want to be, but success won't come to you - you need to go out there and take it for yourself.

But impatience is one thing and discourtesy is another. We've all heard stories of famous people who let their ego get out of control, like Christian Bale freaking out at a director of photography and Kanye West's entire career. Don't let your ego get the better of you. Don't walk like you own the world - walk like you don't care who does.

Talking Successfully

The way that we talk can have a profound effect on both our own mental attitude and on the way that we're perceived by the people around us. One study even found that the structure of language affects our view of the world. If we speak a language that makes less of a distinction between the present and the future, we're more likely to see them as related and to prepare for the future as a result of it.

Most successful people are optimistic with their use of language, avoiding phrases like "that's impossible" and "I can't". They tend to give every conversation their full attention, resisting the temptation to check their phones or to let their eyes glaze over. And, according to author Dave Kerpen, successful people talk about concepts and ideas while others are busy gossiping about friends and co-workers.

In fact, if you want to be successful, it's often better to say nothing at all. It's certainly true that you can often learn more by listening than you can by speaking, and if you have nothing to add to the conversation then why waste other people's time just to get your voice heard?

Thinking Successfully

The way that we think has the same effect on our outlook as the way that we speak, and positive thinking has long been heralded as a factor that can influence the odds of success. That's partly because taking the optimistic view can reduce stress, declutter our thought process and actually allow us to focus more on the job in hand - making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts, which is fine if you're being chased by a tiger but which can be a huge distraction when you're trying to achieve something. Many people doom themselves from the start with negative thoughts like "I don't have time" or "they're never going to give me the job."

Of course, you should always consider the worst case scenario so you can make a backup plan. But at the same time, you should focus on what you want to happen and work towards it, reminding yourself that, like Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."


Only you can decide what success looks like, but ultimately it doesn't matter - these tips will still apply whether you want to become a competitive gamer, the country's leading expert on dinosaurs or the best dad in the universe. With enough passion, talent and commitment, you can be a success at anything. Good luck.