19 Tips For Success From Superachievers
What do superachievers all have in common?
Authors Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield set out to find the answer with their book, The Art Of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do And How They Do It So Well. They interviewed dozens of superachievers from all professions and found some underlying traits that they share.
One of the biggest things they found was that success doesn't come with an instruction manual. Instead, there's a lot of t rying, failing, and constantly struggling: " What we found in our conversations with these superachievers was that success did not come to them in the thunderclaps of their Eureka! moments," they write. "Talent was just the beginning ... their progress toward their goals was furthered by their fierce dedication to the day-to-day struggle for achievement."
Thanks to Sweeney and Gosfield for permission to publish some of the best advice from the talented people they interviewed for their book. When you try to emulate someone successful, you end up with a second-rate version of it.
When you try to emulate someone successful, you end up with a second-rate version of it.
Mark Fraunenfelder, Blogger and founder of Boing Boing:
"If you try to emulate a successful blog, you'll just be a second-rate version of something already out there, and who needs that? Make the blog that doesn't exist yet, but that
you'd want to read ... Depending on your idea, starting a blog might not be the way to make a lot of money, but it is a way to live a fulfilling and engaged life." Source: The Art Of Doing You can't always change your conditions, but you can always change the way you deal with them.
You can't always change your conditions, but you can always change the way you deal with them.
Jessica Watson, Australian teen who sailed solo, nonstop around the world:
"One of the big tricks when you're out there [in the ocean] is to not over think things. I'd stop myself and say, 'hey, it's cold and I'm in a bad mood, but I'm going to get through the day, and eventually I'm going to warm up and feel better.' You can't change the conditions, but you can change the way that you deal with them. I learned to accept it when I was in a bad mood or lonely. I learned to accept it when I was tired or cold ... I ended up being a lot better at coping with my emotions than I'd expected. And anyway, chocolate always helped!"
Source: The Art Of Doing If everyone else thinks your idea is ridiculous, then you have no competition, and higher potential rewards.
If everyone else thinks your idea is ridiculous, then you have no competition, and higher potential rewards.
Bill Gross, founder and CEO of business incubator Ideallab:
"Going against conventional wisdom with a new idea can be risky if you're doing it just to buck the trends. But if you have a solid business plan for that idea, it can be a high-reward opportunity. If everyone else thinks your idea is heresy, they won't compete with you."
Source: The Art Of Doing Keep being kind even when things are at their worst.
Keep being kind even when things are at their worst.
Laura Linney, Actress:
"When things go wrong, when you're having a rough day, you have to be kind. You have to be kind to yourself. You have to be kind to the people around. Kindness can be a look that says, 'It's okay. Keep going.' It's almost telepathic ... During the run of the play Time Stands Still, my father died ... My costar, Brian Darcy James, carried me through. We never spoke about it, but I could have shattered into a thousand pieces and he would have made sure that none of them touched the ground."
Source: The Art Of Doing You can't influence people unless they genuinely like you.
You can't influence people unless they genuinely like you.
Guy Kawasaki, Entrepreneur, Apple Fellow and bestselling author:
"Think about this: have you ever been enchanted by a person you didn't like? You cannot influence people unless they actually find you likeable. When I first met Richard Branson, he asked me if I flew on Virgin. When I told him that I didn't , he got on his knees and started to polish my shoes with his jacket. That's likability. And now whenever I can, I fly Virgin Airways."
Source: The Art Of Doing Being bland won't engage anyone. Flaws are often the most compelling thing about someone.
Being bland won't engage anyone. Flaws are often the most compelling thing about someone.
Sam Yagan, Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Christian Rudder, OkCupid founders:
"Getting people to kind of like you is a waste of time. You're looking for the two or three people who will love you as you really are. If Dungeons and Dragons is your thing, you want that person who will say,'Oh my God! You love D and D? I do too! ... So if you have something that makes you unique, even if some might consider it a flaw, flaunt it. Flaunt your big nose, curvy full figure or weird snaggletooth, and you'll attract the kind of person who finds it exciting."
Source: The Art Of Doing You can't create or believe in your company's core values until you figure out your own.
You can't create or believe in your company's core values until you figure out your own.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos:
"Before you can determine your company values, you have to discover your own personal values. First map out a timeline of your life. Examine the peak moments. You will see that one or more of the values you prize was present ...Then look at your low moments. These will reveal the absence of certain values you prize ... Defining your own personal values is the first step to creating the core values of your company."
Source: The Art Of Doing Swing big. Otherwise, it's not worth people's time, and it usually ends up working out.
Swing big. Otherwise, it's not worth people's time, and it usually ends up working out.
Alec Baldwin, actor:
"When the writers have written something crazy — either acting-wise, where I play Tracy and his whole family, or some complicated technical production, like split-screen or me talking to me — I'll say 'Robert, are you sure about that? How are we going to shoot it?' And he'll say, 'It's a big swing ...' But it usually works out."
Source: The Art Of Doing Never count yourself out, no matter how intimidating the opponent.
Never count yourself out, no matter how intimidating the opponent.
Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! Champion:
"When I played Jeopardy! against an IBM computer, Watson, I was down by tens of thousands of dollars after the first game. But I didn't give up. I actually made a Hoosiers-like comeback on the second day. I didn't win in the end, but it's important to remember that it's never over, no matter how
over it seems. During my streak, some people thought I was Superman and psyched themselves out of the game before it even started. So I had a huge psychological edge." Source: The Art Of Doing Recognize that there's a very good chance that you're dead wrong.
Recognize that there's a very good chance that you're dead wrong.
Jill Tarter, TED prize-winner and leader at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute:
"As in any scientific experiment, it may turn out our methodology is misdirected. which is why one of our rules at the institute is to reserve the right to get smarter. To try and predict what is going to exist 50 years from now is impossible. We may discover we should be searching for extraterrestrial life in entirely different ways. We have to be open to new ideas constantly.
" Source: The Art Of Doing You can't succeed unless you're willing to put everything you've got into it.
You can't succeed unless you're willing to put everything you've got into it.
David Chang, Chef and owner of Momofuku restaurants:
"My goal with Momofuku was simply to open a restaurant, arguably one of the hardest things in the world to do ... It was a heartbreaking lonely process until I found someone pissed off and frustrated as I was, Joaquin Baca. We were young enough and dumb enough to do stupid things ... We did all the shopping, prep, cooking, waiting, busing, and washing dishes ourselves. I would have died for Momofuku. And I thought, 'I'm going to give it everything I can. Maybe we'll fail, but it's not going to be from lack of hard work.'"
Source: The Art Of Doing You can't turn a side project into something amazing. You have to commit.
You can't turn a side project into something amazing. You have to commit.
OK Go, rock band:
"I left college thinking, 'I want to spend my life making music. But, come on, what's the likelihood of that?' When we started OK Go, I was working two jobs I really liked. But after awhile, there was no way I could devote enough time and energy to the band to make it work. It was the first time in my life when I had to deliberately close a door. I was actually going to have to choose paths: either it's the day job or the rock band. You can't do both."
Source: The Art Of Doing Staying the course and pretending things are normal is the riskiest thing you can do.
Staying the course and pretending things are normal is the riskiest thing you can do.
Randall Grahm, Vintner and founder of Boony Doon Vineyard:
"The riskiest thing is to stay the course and pretend that things are normal. Nothing is normal; the whole world is upside down. You have to be fairly extreme to have any shot at succeeding. I actually dreamt of a place where I could start my experiment to grow vins de terroir ... I had to tell myself, 'Okay, Grahm ... Life is short and if this is really what you love about wine, well, for Chrissake just go for it.' And so I did."
Source: The Art Of Doing Sometimes the only way to accomplish a goal is to fight and ignore fear.
Sometimes the only way to accomplish a goal is to fight and ignore fear.
Constance Rice, Civil rights lawyer and activist:
"Sometimes the best approach to a situation is persuasion. But when the only way to accomplish a goal is to fight — my opponents know I'll come at them like Xena the Warrior. I don't have the fear gene. I'll walk into Klan meetings. I'll walk into gang meetings with Crips and Bloods. I went after LAPD when that was a dangerous thing to do. It's only afterward I'll wonder 'What was I thinking?' But soon enough I'll say to myself, 'That went well. I'm going back down there again.'"
Source: The Art Of Doing Killing yourself over one project is a waste. 'It's a marathon, not a sprint.'
Killing yourself over one project is a waste. 'It's a marathon, not a sprint.'
Barry Levine, news director of the National Enquirer:
"No matter how big a story is, you can't let it overwhelm you, because you have to be back at your desk at eight o'clock the next morning to work on other stories. Years ago, I was afraid to leave my desk. But these days, no matter how busy I am, every day I'll leave my office, walk around the block, get lunch or go to the gym. It's a marathon, not a sprint."
Source: The Art Of Doing In the end, only you can make the split second decisions that help you win. Trust your gut.
In the end, only you can make the split second decisions that help you win. Trust your gut.
Helio Castroneves, race car driver and three-time winner of the Indy 500:
"Your team prepares you, and your strategist and spotter advise you during the race, but ultimately, you're the only one in the cockpit of the car. You're the only one who can make that split-second decision that can decide the fate of the race. At Indy in 2009, Scott Dixon, the defending champ, was in front of me. After a late restart, as soon as the green flag dropped, I went for it. Our guys on the radio were saying it was too early to pass, but I felt the adrenaline ... I passed Scott and held the lead the rest of the way."
Source: The Art Of Doing Talent isn't enough. You have to be smart about the choices you make.
Talent isn't enough. You have to be smart about the choices you make.
Anne Netrebko, opera's top soprano:
"When I started out, I met a lot of extremely talented singers. Everybody thought, 'Oh this one or that one will be a star.' But after a very short time, many of the disappeared. Talent, which is a gift from the gods, isn't enough. You have to be incredibly smart about your choices. At 18, I knew perfectly well that I didn't want to finish college. It would have been a waste of my time ... If you don't have these smarts, this intuition, there are too many paths to follow and you may be seduced by those that seem easier or more flattering. To put it simply: keep what you need, drop what you don't."
Source: The Art Of Doing Always try to get the first and the last word to make sure you control the story.
Always try to get the first and the last word to make sure you control the story.
Michael Sitrick, CEO of public relations firm Sitrick and Company:
"When a high-profile client calls and says, 'CBS Evening News is outside my door. What should I do?' we have to get the facts, assess the situation and establish a strategy in a matter of minutes. We have to know immediately who to contact and how ... Some people worry about having the
last word; my concern is getting the first and the last word. Get your story our first so you can set the tone for the coverage that follows." Source: The Art Of Doing Be open to strange and sometimes irrational associations.
Be open to strange and sometimes irrational associations.
Richard Restak, neuropsychiatrist and author:
"If you think outside the box, playfully altering your perceptions, and try to look beyond the obvious, you will improve your imagination, thinking, and other cognitive processes by creating new linkages and new networks. Being open to and experiencing art or music can help us with this ... Every day take some time to interpret images, objects, or events in the world according to your own personal and sometimes even seemingly irrational associations."
Source: The Art Of Doing