What are the six things the world’s most successful people do every day?

What are the six things the world’s most successful people do every day? By successful, we include the self-made billionaires: Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, and many others. Although distilled from various sources — interviews in Rolling Stone, Fortune, and others — the list brings together six things we should try to act on every single day. You certainly don’t have to be a self-made billionaire to benefit from these tips. And, most interestingly, it starts with “overcoming fear” — one of the main things that hold us back.


One thing in common to all successful people


One thing in common to highly successful career people is a well-rounded life — outside of the office. Without this, your performance in the workplace is likely to be mediocre, unmotivated and not very fulfilling.

The great business leaders of today, whether you admire them or not, have six things in common, many not directly related to their day-to-day jobs:

1. Confront a fear.
2. Read a book — unrelated to your profession
3. Set goals based on personal motivators
4. Be generous
5. Work out every day
6. Get outside as often as possible

This list is adapted from a story by Dustin McKissen (CNBC)[1] — although his focus was on billionaires and the six things they do to become successful. Before you dismiss this as lightweight, fluffy advice, remember the source: Warren Buffett, Elon Musk Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey.
The story went as far as to headline the feature “if you don’t make time for these six little things every day, you’ll never be successful.” In some cases, it’s useful even to schedule some of these in your calendar at work.


Elon Musk 2015 photo Joe Duffy Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Elon Musk credits science fiction books as one of his inspirations in a Rolling Stone interview.


Our six steps are taken from a different perspective — considering most of us are not self-made billionaires. That is, how do we distil the wisdom of those great business people into more down-to-earth “things.” Success isn’t arbitrary. It is what you make of it. Your version of success is different from every other person you know. But, we’ll start with something difficult. Fear.

1. Confront a fear.

Dustin McKissen calls it “getting sweaty.” It makes sense that the main thing that holds most of us back — whether it’s a pending job interview, or a presentation of our latest marketing plan, or just the pitch to the next customer — is fear.

Developing courage is essential in careers. That thing we are most afraid of is likely the main thing preventing us from going to the next level in our jobs. It could be public speaking, or cold-calling, a performance review, or even a job interview. Getting outside your comfort zone every day, just a little bit, helps train you to overcome your fears when it matters.

2. Read a book — unrelated to your career or profession.

Most employers are watchful for well-rounded, educated, articulate people. Well-rounded doesn’t mean you’ve mastered “the art of the sale” — so put that book sales book aside. It means mastering the art of living. Elon Musk — according to a Rolling Stone interview, said, “I was raised by books. Books, and then my parents.” His main read was science fiction — which apparently inspired his life as the founder of Tesla and Space X.

Also, of course, it’s vital to unwind, to let the brain relax. If you use your spare time reading professional books, you’re not “unwinding” you’re “spooling up.”

3. Set goals based on your personal motivators.

Ask yourself, what triggers your feelings of satisfaction? What rewards motivate you to do even better? What is the next goal you can set which is just slightly beyond your reach now, but achievable in the future?
Let’s face it. Without motivators, we cannot excel. Whether your motivation is as humble as getting all your work done so you can enjoy a holiday with your family without worrying about the office; or as lofty as achieving a significant promotion at work; or as noble as, doing a good days work for the benefit of others — there is one certainty: without goals, we cannot do well in anything.


Oprah Winfrey by Bob Suir Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Opray Winfrey makes time every day for exercise. Photo Bob Suir. Wax figure.


4. Be generous

Being generous, as defined by these greats, isn’t necessarily the Bill and Melinda Gates thing — founding a charity and giving away half of their fortune. (That’s great if you can do it, of course!) This refers to daily generosity. It is being generous with your time at work. If someone asks a question, answering on the spot, not brushing them off. Being generous means thinking of others first, making them feel good, instead of bolstering your ego. These little things make you popular in your workplace, and there’s no doubt that pays off in terms of performance reviews and job satisfaction. And, of course, be generous outside of work. Volunteering time is one of the most generous things you can do. It’s not about money.

5. Work out every day

One interesting defining characteristic of most self-made billionaires is exercise. Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson schedule in daily exercise. Even just a walk at lunch is helpful. It’s not just about extending your life, and the quality of life. Aerobic exercise in particular, according to research, actually enhances cognition and energy levels. Some workplaces, especially in the IT industries, encourage exercise with staff gyms, walking desks and yoga breaks.

6. Get outside.

No, your walk to the garage doesn’t count. Here, we’re referring to “thinking time.” Especially in cities, and certainly in the winter, most people don’t even get enough sunlight per day to generate necessary Vitamin D.

Here, the advance from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson is the “meeting on foot.” They take their crews outside to meet as they walk. Or, they take a walk to clear the head and brainstorm an answer. Sometimes this is the break from the stale office environment you need to solve the current problem on your desk. Schedule time in your agenda for “outside time.”

Do you need help motivating your team at work? Do you need help with organizing your own career? Contact the expert consultants at Pivotal HR Solutions:

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[1] Self-made billionaires make time…”

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