8 Habits of Successful People

What Successful People do

Often, people make the assumption that to make money and be successful, you have to have either money or power. Or both.

This is not true. Success is a decision, a mindset, an expectation. Anyone can be successful. Every successful person can be more successful. Circumstances can make achieving success harder or easier, but they do not decide if we will be successful. We decide that.

Here is the thing: If you come home and the power is out, and you hear music and see lights in houses surrounding yours. Would you think that the universe has set you up for a power outage? That you will never have light in your living room?

No. You would think that a wire broke, or a fuse jumped and figure the problem out and solve it. That is how successful people go about setbacks in personal relationships, careers, and business ventures. But many people who suffer failure or setbacks in their professional lives feel that the universe is responsible for it. They unconsciously make setbacks their status quo and failure their attitude.

The laws of the universe are precise and perfect. They apply to everyone, and it is up to us to use them to our advantage. That is what successful people do.

Here is the good news: Nature is neutral. Nature does not care if you are successful. It does not sort people into those who are allowed to make it and those who are not.

So, what differentiates successful people from others?

Positive thinking

We hear this expression so many times that we are starting to get tired of it. But often we do not understand what it really means. Successful people think positive. Positive thinking can be trained.

Occasionally, we are not aware that we have negative thoughts. We might chant “I will not fail again” as an affirmation without knowing that this very negative thought will set us up for failure. A positive thought will not be influenced by a negative experience. Your brain is pretty stubborn when it comes to negations and when you mention “failure” that is what you get.

The thought has to correspond with your belief. If you do not truly believe the “positive thought” it will not work.

Getting rid of limiting self-beliefs is the way to go. It takes about 80-90 days to retrain your brain and form new habits – persistence is key.

You need to believe that you are worth the success you are trying to achieve. You need to believe that you will achieve the success you are striving for.

Successful people have positive thoughts that correspond with their beliefs, and that will become their reality.

You are well advised to surround yourself with positive, successful people and eliminate energy thieves and negative people from your life. As much as you can. Obviously, if your mother-in-law is a negative Nelly, you will still have to deal with her.

Confident expectations

Successful people believe that things will turn out great for them.

The most successful salespeople expect that they sell every time. The most successful leaders expect that they are destined for greatness. They expect that even if they fail, they will gain valuable knowledge on how to do it better next time. Therefore, they can never be disappointed.

Your expectations are your thoughts. Your thoughts send marching orders to your brain. Your brain will make sure that you get what you ask for. Your brain cannot be tricked.

Positive expectations of others is another important factor. Often, people deliver on your expectation. Many successful people express positive expectations of others, even if they are not 100% convinced.

Your self-esteem is critical too for setting your expectation. You have to be convinced that you deserve what you expect. Generally, you will not achieve more than 10% more or less of what your self-believe is. And if you do achieve way more before you are ready, you are in trouble.

Maybe you have wondered why so many rock stars, famous actors, and lottery winners end up impoverished and show sometimes rather bizarre, self-destructive behavior. It is simple and easy: The money they made, the success they had, was not corresponding with their self-concept and beliefs.

Therefore, they engage in this compensatory behavior patterns.

Successful people have confident expectations that correspond with their feeling of self-worth.

They Work

Books and Movies like “The Secret” make many people believe that all you have to do is to sit there and think about what you wish for. That is not how it works.

Sitting on your couch imagining dollar bills is like watching a workout video and expecting you get lean and fit just by watching it.

Successful people know that the right mindset and expectations will attract the corresponding opportunities and people into their life.

They also know and live that it is up to them to seize the opportunity and act.

If hard work or upgrading their skill-set is required, they will do it.


A positive attitude is the single largest factor for your personal success. Not only do successful people have a positive attitude towards themselves. They also have a positive attitude towards others.

That also applies to what you want to attract into your life. If you have a negative attitude towards success or money, it will not come to you.

If your image of successful people is negative, you will not become one. If deep inside your belief is that money is dirty, you will never make a lot of it.

Successful people have a positive attitude towards themselves, other people, and their goals.

Your potential is fixed and cannot be changed. But your attitude decides which percentage of your potential is available for your use. Your attitude can be changed in a minute. Your expectation also forms your attitude.

A good trick is to fake it until you feel it. Imagine that you have already achieved what you are longing for. See yourself speaking at the first shareholder meeting you will hold after your company went public. Listen to yourself talking to the fans after your book has been published and is going viral. Enjoy president's club and taste the Margarita you will be having. Enjoy the gratitude of the people in a development country after you have implemented medical care.

See it, feel it, smell it. At one point, you WILL believe it. Your feelings become your thoughts. And voilà, you took an important step for your success. By thinking like the person you want to be, you will start to act like you already were that person. And you will attract things like that person.

Another exercise is to think back of a moment where you had success. Or made money. Or were deeply in love. Close your eyes, let go of all sorrow, breathe calmly and enjoy the sensation of the thing that made you feel so good. Multiply the feeling.

Remember, your attitude is 85% of your success. Your attitude is what makes or breaks you. Successful people have a positive attitude.

They lead

A leader will usually end up in some high managerial position. The term leadership in itself does not mean to be in such a position.

The topic “what is a leader” or even “how leadership is changing” are too complex to discuss here and will be the subject of another article.

A few thoughts upfront:

A leader is not afraid to step outside his comfort zone. That manifests in two ways: First, he is not afraid to set goals high. He does not wait for the approval of others to proceed with his vision.

I came across a video of a German DJ. On the first look, it has nothing to do with leadership, and I am pretty sure the DJ would be really surprised to find his video in my article. It is the third part of a series about an autistic person. A person who faces rejection but never gives up.

Don't mind the music.

So, what happens here?

  • Someone has an idea. He is not afraid of what others think about him. He acts and just does it. He faces a lot of rejection and setbacks. But he keeps on dancing. Even when he hurts, he does not lose his positive attitude or positive self-belief.
  • The second person, the first follower, has been won. The first follower is as important as the leader because he makes the difference. Until now, the leader was just a crazy person doing something strange. Now, after the first follower stepped up, it is not that strange anymore. The leader engages with the first follower (significant!) who sells it until:
  • More people join in (another crucial group) until finally
  • Everyone wants to be a part. The weaklings (I apologize for my wording, but this group is not all that indispensable. They will neither help your success nor hinder it.) join in as the point is reached where it seems more appropriate to be a part of the movement than not to join in.
Who sold it? Was it the leader or the first follower? Or the group of people who stepped up after the first leader and made the movement a socially accepted status quo.
Independent of that – the leader will get the medal.
Successful people know that they cannot succeed alone. They invite others to share, carry, sell and fulfill their vision.

Dance as uninhibited and fearless as you can.

They overcome fear

Fear is the one and foremost success blocker. Clicking on the link in the first word will lead you to an article I wrote about how fear works and what happens in your brain. It is called “Neuroscience and Fear”.

One of my first articles on how to overcome fear and doubt can be read HERE

The point is not to be free of fear. If you were never afraid, you would either be a very dumb person or a sociopath.

The fear of failure is the most common destructive fear. Most of our fears are either irrational or based on experience. Emotional Intelligence, a high EQ, is what helps you deal with irrational fear and the ghosts of the past. You might enjoy this article: Emotional Intelligence and Success.

Successful people can rationalize and analyze their fear and finally overcome it.

Love, and Self-Love

If you think I will go all esoteric hippie on you now – think again.

Self-love is the single most important factor defining your level of self-esteem. If you dislike yourself, you will not think very highly of yourself. That leads to lowered expectations.

Lowered expectations lead to smaller results. Also, the universal laws kick in, and the perception others will have of you will not be much better than your own.

A high level of self-esteem is attractive and convincing.

Often, kids who were the victims of conditional love are struggling in their later lives. Conditional love means that, i.e., parents raise their kids with the constant fear of love being taken away from them. “If you do that you are in trouble” “You have to do that to make mommy happy”.

These kids live in the constant fear of love being taken away from them unless they fulfill the requirements to “deserve” love.

In their business life, they have a harder time to take risks. They are dependent on the opinion of others. They fear criticism and cannot see it for what it is: feedback and not personal rejection. Negative feedback to them is like: I do not love you anymore. They were conditioned to believe they have to be a certain way to be “loved”.

Successful people take risks. They do things that might be criticized heavily by others. They take negative criticism as a chance to grow and improve. Furthermore, they love and value themselves too much to get destroyed by failure, critics, hardship, or setbacks.

To have a good feeling of self-worth, you have to love yourself. To love others, you have to love yourself first. To successfully lead others, you have to love them. To be successful, you need others.

Finally, to gain the strength to achieve a difficult goal, you have to love what you are doing.

If you love yourself, you feel you are worth it to invest (skill-set upgrades) in yourself, and you are worth great success.

Successful people love themselves. And they love others. They keep investing in getting better because they feel they are worth it.


Here is what successful people know:

To be successful. You have to have a vision. And you have to have a goal. You also require a plan of action with milestones and deadlines, and you have to see it through. Successful people take action and responsibility.

Successful people challenge their comfort zone. A good goal has to scare you. Setting a big goal on the other hand also will help with your self-esteem. You will like yourself more as a person who sets big goals.

Successful people do not think about what other people would think should they fail their goal. They define success as having taken advantage of an opportunity.

They do not give up when facing problems, and they never lose focus of their goal.

“Higher goals” are easier to achieve. A simple “I want money” or “I want power” is not big enough to set free the passion and determination needed. Instead of “I want money” think about why you want money or power. Will you make decisions that help other people? Do you want to feel free?

I heard a (potentially made up) story about a native tribe that lives in a dry area. They have a 100% success quote of making it rain with their rain dance. Do you know why their success quote is 100%? Exactly. They dance until it rains. That is what successful people do.

There are several tricks and techniques to make scary big goals easier to achieve. A simple and effective trick is to define milestones (small goals) that provide instant gratification.


Maybe while you read this, you are at a stage of your life where you feel like these principles do not apply to you. Or your current situation is so bad that to you this sounds like empty motivational speech that died in the 90ties.

Many coaches talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

Is it easier to say than to do? Yes, most definitely. Change is scary. So is admitting the need to change.

Successful people experience setbacks. The higher you climb, the harder the fall. Some recover and come back strong – some don't.

What makes the difference is how they deal with it AND that your self-esteem is based on non-material achievements, nobody can take away from you.

I recently had my fair share of setback too. After over 8 years of extreme stalking by a psychopath (the kind of “hate stalking” that does not seem to follow logical rules and often hits people of the service industry, like lawyers) that destroyed my successful Sales/Coaching career as well as my social and personal life, I left my home country, Germany. With just a suitcase, I relocated to the States.

I lost everything I owned and loved (and that was a lot).

My first night in the States was in a rotten apartment in a town called North Chicago (potentially one of the worst neighborhoods to be in). In that first night, I heard the first shooting of my life outside while I was lying on the floor (I did not have a bed yet). It was dark because there was no electricity yet. I was very excited in expectancy of all the new opportunities that will open up for me.

Instead, I became sick before I even had health insurance.

So, here I was … in a new country with 0 network (as you can probably imagine also without the possibility to contact my old network in Germany). Medical bills together with the need to all of a sudden work from home created a rather unpleasant scenario. Especially as my English is far from perfect, even though I work on it every single day.

I started to offer psychic readings. While I do believe in intuition being what makes good Sales Managers and Leaders, it is not really how I was planning to make a living.

In parallel, I upgraded my skill-set. I worked on my English, took some classes at Harvard online, got a Holistic Nutritionist certification and started this blog. Writing in a different language was my big fear. I had to start my social media from scratch and I had 0 technical knowledge.

Was I scared at times and even wanted to give up? Sure. I was. Sick, alone in a strange country without any support after a few horribly hard years, is terrifying.

But all the time I knew that good things will come back to me. Better than ever before. At no point had I lost my self-love or feeling of self-worth. As long as your self-esteem is based on non-material items, nobody can ever take it away from you.

I embrace this setback to form the life I truly desire.

Now, great opportunities have started to open up in the sales/coaching industry and great people slowly start coming back into my life.

Life is great. Any second, the next opportunity can open up.

Nobody is safe of failure. And everyone can achieve success. The attempt to protect yourself from failure will only “protect” you from one thing: Success.

Finally: Success is not = career success. Successful people know that to achieve success that also have to tend to their health, personal relationships, and mind. A rich person who is unhappy or unhealthy or alone is not successful.

  • The Universal Laws apply to anyone and everyone
  • Everyone can be successful – everyone will experience failure
  • Habits of successful people can be trained and adapted
  • Successful people can be more successful
  • Your mindset decides what you will attract and achieve
  • Anyone can implement new beliefs that lead to new habits and retrain their brain
  • It takes up to 90 days to form new habits and retrain your brain