Patterns of Success

Countless self-help books and business books have tried to find the patterns of behaviour that make people successful. The idea being if you know what successful people do repeatedly, you can model the same patterns of behaviour to become more successful yourself. Stephen Covey was probably the most famous of the success-by-pattern gurus. His book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People sold more than 25 million copies. Here are his seven habits:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. (Imagine a good outcome.)
  3. Put first things first. (Set priorities.)
  4. Think win-win. (Don’t be greedy.)
  5. Seek first to understand then be understood.
  6. (Use teamwork.)
  7. Sharpen the saw. (Keep learning.)

Scott Adams, author of The Dilbert Principle would like to add a couple of other habits to Covey’s list that I think are smart additions.

  1. Lack of fear of embarrassment.
  2. (the right kind.)
  3. Exercise

A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. It’s what makes a person take on challenges that others write off as too risky. It’s what makes you take the first step before you know what the second step is. Adams says, “If you can’t handle the risk of embarrassment, rejection, and failure, you need to learn how.” Then there’s education. The practice owner with the right kind of education will achieve far more success and fulfilment from their practice than someone who lacks the right education. If you’re running a business the right kind of education means a strong working knowledge of selling, marketing, management and leadership. Educating yourself thoroughly and continuously in those areas will massively stack the odds of successfully achieving your goals in your favour.

Exercise is a pattern that Adams talks about a lot, and I agree with him. Good health is a baseline requirement for success he argues because of the extra energy that good health brings. “I believe exercise makes people smarter, psychologically braver, more creative, more energetic, and more influential. Many studies back this notion that physical fitness and daily exercise are correlated with success in business and life.”

Give yourself permission to look after yourself, take time to do something active every day, eat well, and get enough sleep. It’s not a superfluous luxury. It’s a necessity if you want to be successful. It’s good for you and everyone around you will benefit from the ‘smarter, psychologically braver, more creative, more energetic and more influential’ you!