Joy is a divorced woman with two kids. She works as an airport clerk. However, her career did not last long due to her uncompromisingly tactful attitude. Everyone thinks she is a loser — a visionary without a vision. Few years later, she built a company.
Is this story familiar to you? Not to mention Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence was the star of this film, “Joy” in 2015.
Millennial generation can easily adapt to this art of “not-giving-up-without-giving-it-a-fight” mindset. Joy, for instance, is an epic portrayal of the four faces of habits this article is about to unleash.
If you are the type of person who would settle for a mediocre achievement in fear of not being able to sustain it, be warned, this article might hurt your ego. Otherwise, if you are that visionary who longs for far deeper meaning of success, good news — no matter how few — you are not alone.
Losers Hate the Unconventional
“You are in a room, and there is a gun on the table. The only other person in the room is an adversary in commerce. Only one of you can prevail. Do you pick up the gun, Joy?”
— Trudy (Joy’s stepmother, in doubt of releasing initial funds for her business)
Many will view this statement as selfish, immoral, and unethical. Unsuccessful people hate the unconventional. They tend to trivialize the benefit of looking outside and inside the six sides of a box.
Being successful is not an accident. It is a product of habits that have been developed and retained — then redeveloped — for a long period of time.
If this is the case, only successful people then, have the capability to spend time thinking and doing, rather than talking and slouching.
Reflecting on this idea, the gun on the table is not meant to kill the adversary. Besides, there is no adversary in the scenario. You are not your own adversary, either. It’s a cliché. Nobody’s gonna kill himself knowing that he is his own enemy. Nobody would admit that, even you. Adversaries are ghosts created out of fear of the unknown. It haunts everyone who thrives in luck. The gun on the table is more than just a tool for killing the ghosts. It’s your power to choose — to kill the ghosts, befriend them, or be the ghost.
Habits Dictate Success
"Listen, never speak on my behalf — about my business. Again."
— Joy (reprimanding her older stepsister, Peggy, about bad business negotiations)
Your personality does not define your habit. Regardless of what type of personality you have — introvert, extrovert, or ambivert — habits are set of skills practiced on a regular basis. It’s fluid and fragile. It cannot be transferred from your parent’s genes. If you fail to succeed after countless trials, it is you and only you who are responsible for your actions. This is what Joy does. She hates people misrepresenting her success into fiasco.
Let’s look at Aristotle as a remarkable epitome of excellence. He is more than a scientist. He is an advocate of persistence and self-growth through trial and errors. He once said that, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”.
5 Stupid Habits That Will Destroy Your Future in 1 Week
The Faces of Habits
Success, on the other hand, can be vague and deceiving. People possess different measuring scales and therefore success cannot be generally quantized.
A single mom who never finished college, yet was able to raise up a lawyer and a doctor by herself can be considered successful in motherhood, yet not in terms of academic achievements. An influential and charismatic CEO at age 35 who never had a family and has a stage 4 colon cancer, can still be called a successful business person, but has a limited time to enjoy life. Both are successful. Both are flawed.
Johari’s Window (created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham), depicts a person’s personality awareness with himself and others. This technique can also be applied in analyzing habits as essential contributors to success. The “windows” pertain to the habits viewable by a certain party. Each of these windows, when maneuvered in just the right direction, will lead to “ultimate” success. Success that cannot be quantized.
Face #1: Evident to You, but Hidden to Others
Let’s call this window the “theater act”. You portray, they believe.
1. BIAS FOR ACTION
How many times have you acted based on your own instinct? There’s no logical explanation for this. Instincts are innate patterns of behavior in every living things, that is in response to a certain trigger or stimuli. Only you can hear this voice inside you telling you to go or not to go. Practice this habit and be astonished by how well you quickly make a solution out of thin air. It’s fulfilling. Learning how to promptly decide on emergencies is not an act of procrastination. It makes you even aware of the things that are to come through patterns of events you have unconsciously logged into your brain.
2. PRIORITIZE AND EXECUTE
Let’s face it. When you see a rich person, you effortlessly label him as arrogant, fussy, and unapproachable. It’s easy to regard a negative connotation to the word “rich” than to appreciate the “process” out of it. Successful people know what-to and what-not-to-do as of the moment. Surely you can multitask, but the weight of effort expected for each task will be divided to other simultaneous tasks performed. Mastery of priority will lead to lesser stress and happier life. Remember that jobs are always never 100 percent completed in one day. Make prioritizing a habit, and watch how execution of a task becomes more focused, unparalleled, and targeted.
3. SET 10X YOUR GOALS
When an engineer is about to take the national board exams, a coach from the review center conditions his mind to aim for a topnotcher position. The coach knows that not everyone is capable of acing the board exam. But setting this mindset will make room for safety net and fail-proofing. Setting your goal 10 times will put 10 times of your effort at stake, not your expectation, to the result of the task. Imagine if you just aim to pass the exam, and in the end fail it, the reality is always lesser than the ideal. Better aim for 10 times your goal, so even if you do not rank amongst the top 10, at least you passed the board!
4. CONTROL AND OWN YOUR ATTENTION
Babies are the best creatures in seeking attention from others. They have all the rights to do so — as they are unable to feed themselves and clean up their own mess. As babies look cute even in distress, you are not. Attention-seeking is not a good idea to succeed in any tasks imaginable. This habit is attained by owning the stage you are standing on. The spotlight is in you. You have to give justice to the spotlight by giving 100% of your performance because the limelight is not always at your favor. While it is, perform well.
Face #2: Evident to Others, but Hidden to You
Let’s call this window the “blindfold”. They see you, but you can’t see them.
5. Build on Small Achievements Each Day
According to Jeff Haden, author of the book The Motivation Myth, motivation is the result of small successes achieved on a regular basis. It is repeatable and predictable. Success is a process disguised as the tip of the iceberg. He also said that the reason why successful people are still surprised by their success and not pay much attention to it, is that they are busy “doing” than “fantasizing”. People see the result of the rigorous process you’ve been through to achieve your status; but if you do not celebrate the small achievements you’ve done, you will easily lose sense of your success and not be contented on whatever opportunities there may be.
6. Setting Clearance to Avoid Collision
When you drive through highway toll gates and fast food ‘drive-thru’ order kiosks, you will see a sign overboard saying “vertical clearance, 2.5 meters”, for instance. People who set themselves up a vertical clearance signage are at low risk of colliding and damaging the tower of their own success. As you get busy achieving goals to reach your final destination, a time will come that you will forget your limit. Set this clearance beforehand to avoid unnecessary pain and becoming the talk-of-the-town.
7. Spark Energy and Maintain It
Household fires are hard to exhaust when the wind is strong. The wind therefore maintains the intensity of the fire, and makes it even bigger in time. You have the spark of fire in your heart. You know it deep inside that you can make it through; but you know your weakness when it comes to maintaining that spark lies within your reasons to continue it. The rushing wind symbolizes the tremors you can’t avoid — gossip, doubt, misconception. Harness your will from them and turn yourself into an invincible fire. Change the game. Turn assaults into your strength.
8. Question the Necessity for an Act
Einstein once quoted, “not all that glitters, is gold.” Opportunities are never-ending. It is not true that they only knock once. They knock multiple times, but wearing different robe in every visit. Remember that when you open your door, a lot of spectators are staring outside your house. They are suspicious of everyone who comes inside your home. This time, make it a habit to be suspicious as well on who to let in. What is the intention of accepting this opportunity? Do you need it to leverage on the existing opportunity? Do you still have time to accomplish this? Because if you are not watchful, these opportunities might drain the soul out of your body and drag it on the street.
Face #3: Evident to Others, and Evident to You
Let’s call this window the “naked model”. You take off your clothes, they see everything.
9. Influence Your Surroundings
Brendon Burchard, a New York Times best-selling author of the book High Performance Habit, says that to be successful “one must accomplish a task beyond standard norms over the long term to avoid plateauing”. Often times people get excited to reach the peak of success. They work so hard without appreciating the process and the vision after the process. Once they reach the top, they don’t know what to do anymore. They feel a boredom that leaves a questionable hole in their heart. To avoid this, influence your surroundings. Make it a habit to help other people reach their own tops, too. This is a mission everyone has to fulfill. Your life doesn’t have to end in the luxury of your own selfish success.
10. Show Courage When Everyone is Afraid
Courage is not a virtue. It’s an action. What is moral standard without its act? Following Brendon’s High Performance Habit book, he talked about a highly skilled woman in the corporate world. She’s been on impressive promotions in a row. The boss confronted him and offered another promotion. Surprisingly, she declined the offer out of fear of not being able to meet the expectations because she was failing the recent promotion she just received. In contrast to this illustration, genuine successful people are not afraid to take on another level. Going up one way higher should not be considered as an additional burden. Show courage and set an example of how to handle such expectations when everyone else is afraid.
11. Aim for Consistent Productivity
There is a huge difference between fresh olives and a bottle of olive oil. First, the price. Second, the process. In order to extract the best in you, it is necessary to expose yourself under stressful and difficult (though sometimes painful) processes to become the purest of the oil that you could ever be. Same as being “consistently” productive. Being productive alone does not guarantee long-term results. You have to be “consistent”. This habit takes a lot of time you could ever imagine. Whatever it is, start now and stop whining about the things you should have started earlier. The clock is ticking.
12. Make Win/Win Decisions
Successful people never step on other’s rights. To demonstrate this clearly, think of the people who live in a democratic country where they can do whatever they want and fight for whatever they think is right. Government rules are established to equalize individuals rights. But sometimes the government, too, is biased. So instead of blaming anyone, make win/win decisions. This habit will make you a likable person. The limit of one’s right is recognized when it intersects other’s rights. In your quest to success, make your ways clean.
Face #4: Hidden to Others, and Hidden to You
Let’s call this window the “unknown road”. An unseen force directs everything in order.
13. Understand First, Before Talking
You will not notice this habit, but if you aim to understand first everything, you will notice a colossal transformation in your view of success. People around you will not see the immediate repercussions of your newfound knowledge, until you start changing your words, followed by your actions, then by your habits. In today’s digital age, it is easy to skip reading articles by just relying on the clickbait headlines. Time has become so easy for millennials to trade off quantity with quality. In times when everyone else is rushing to find the dragon’s egg in the garden, take time to understand the clues. It will make your life easier.
14. Fill the Well, Occasionally
Recent studies have shown that the more you read and learn new information, the higher the number of neural connections in your brain are created. Nobody knows everything. Acting so will lead to shame and mental retardation. Business magnate Bill Gates reads 50 books in a year. The A.I. tech giant Elon Musk have read the entire Britannica Encyclopedia at age 14. You don’t need to be like them in order to be tremendously successful. Most of the game changers in Silicon Valley are college dropouts. Their common denominator is that they consistently fill their minds with new knowledge, leading them to invent and innovate more stuff for the betterment of the future.
15. Take Calculated Risks
Nobody has ever succeeded without risking something. It may sound dire but it is the reality. You cannot place a ton of eggs in one container and expect the bottom pile to be intact. They will break, one way or another. If you want to achieve something, be realistic and open-minded about the things you will lose in the long run. Remember what Spider Man says? With greater power comes greater responsibility. Therefore with responsibility comes time. And time is the most precious gift you are losing whether your motive is for good, or not.