Successful People Versus Average People: Things They Do Differently



By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)

Most people think when it comes to successful people versus average people , the difference comes down to hard work or luck or a combination of both. But there is much more to the story.  Success is a Jigsaw Puzzle, the shape of which differs from person to person, because everyone’s definition of success is different, and  hard work and luck are only two pieces of that puzzle.

There are so many other different things that have to  come together for a person to be able to be truly happy and believe from their heart that they have achieved the success they desired in life. The truth is there are many fundamental differences between how successful people and average people behave and the number of these differences is probably in hundreds. But in this article we will focus on 12 key things Successful people do differently. So here they are. Let’s go!


1) Average people complain about their weaknesses. Successful people focus on their strengths

While average people are busy crying about their weaknesses, successful people  identify their strengths and then turn that strength into a skill that is of value to the market. This is true for sportsmen, artists, musicians, successful freelancers and even many entrepreneurs. They figure their own core strengths and then figure out how they can serve the customer best using those strengths. They know that if they try to do everything by themselves, even the things they are not good at, they will be mediocre at best.


2) Average people define success through societal norms. Successful people define their own success

Average people live by society’s standards of success, whether it is a big house, a big car or a big fat salary. Truly successful people do not live by those standards. They define their own standards. What matters the most to them is matching the benchmarks they set for themselves. They do not waste time worrying whether society thinks of them as successful as long as they know they are on the right path and are happy along the way.


3) Successful people truly live their life, average people waste it.

Successful people realize that we all have our own unique talents and ways in which we can serve the world and serve our own happiness. Most people go through life doing neither, they watch as the years go by and then die with a sense of regret. Successful people or those on the path to success, see their life as a joyful journey which is also a mission. The mission is to contribute the best they can before they die but also not forget to enjoy life along the way.

4) Successful people set goals and keep making course corrections. Average people go the wrong way and wonder what happened.

Do you know that the air planes we travel in are not on course most of the time? Yet it is amazing how they mostly arrive on time because the flights undergo  many course corrections during the journey. Because they keep correcting their paths very quickly, they ensure that they reach the destination on time. If the flight systems were not so proactive about course corrections, almost all flights would be late.

In the same way most successful people are aware of where they need to go and the paths they need to follow to achieve those goals. The moment they see themselves going off track they quickly bring themselves on course. Average people rarely bother to do so and so and  by the time they realize they are in trouble, things have gone so wrong that it is very hard to come back on track.


5) Average people like to complicate things. Successful people keep them simple.

Our thinking has led us to believe that all good things need to be extremely complex or complicated. The fact is that most problems do not need complex solutions. Average people keep looking for an elusive key to change their lives and achieve what they want. Successful people know that if they just stick to the fundamentals, follow them rigorously and get rid of the unessential, much of what they want will be achieved in an extremely simple and straightforward manner.

6. Average people focus on effort and think rewards will come automatically. Successful people focus on the result as well.

Conventional wisdom says focus on the effort, not the result. The idea behind the saying is that if you keep focusing on the effort the result will take care of itself anyway. The saying is right only under one condition, when the  the effort itself is right and in the right direction. If the steps themselves are incorrect, you can work as hard as you want and you will never get anywhere.

This is why people get disillusioned when they don’t see their hard work paying off because a lot of times that hard work was not strategic. It was built on the hope that somehow a divine figure above would reward them t even for putting in the wrong effort. That kind of thinking is unbelievably stupid. Successful people realize that effort is extremely important but they also keep a keen eye on the goal and do everything they can to ensure that the steps they are taking will lead to the right result.


7. Average people try to do everything themselves. Successful people delegate, automate and make the best use of their time.

The truth is each human being is talented at only a few things and not everything in the world and even if they were talented at everything in the world, time is limited. In order to produce something of high quality a lot of things need to go into its development and there are only a few things that you can do alone, which are your strengths. Average people try to re invent the wheel, they try to do everything from scratch and thus glorify their struggle. The problem is nobody cares about your struggle if better things are already existing. Successful people are humble enough to know what they are not good at and thus utilize tools to simplify the process or outsource that work to someone else. Most of the work they themselves focus on is what others cannot do or where they know they can handle it without giving up on time that would otherwise be used to do much more productive things.

8. Average people correlate effort with reward. Successful people correlate value with reward.

This is an extension of point 6. It has been drilled over and over again that you do the work, then you get paid,  you do the work then you get paid and there are no two ways about it. However, most of people that have become super successful know that this kind of thinking produces servants, not leaders. Most of the people who have become wealthy or successful have leveraged something or the other that ensured that the effort they put in gave them a reward that is more than the actual effort put in, because they ensure that effort generates tremendous value. This is how movie stars earn millions of dollars for acting silly in front of the camera, this is how sports people earn millions from hitting a tennis ball with a racquet or kicking a football, this is how Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire from writing software code. They realize that more than the effort, what matters is the value they provide to people, whether it is in terms of productivity, entertainment, or pretty much anything. That is why they are obsessing over how to provide value rather than obsessing over how hard they worked.

9. Average people think money only comes in when you work. Successful people know it can be done even when you sleep.

Successful people first work for money and then make their money and awareness work for them. They do not believe that you always have to trade your time for money, they know that by saving and investing what they earn, and putting them into areas that grow over time, they can make money while they sleep because the money itself is working to generate more money. This too is a skill to a certain extent so successful people train themselves in learning how to make money by investing in whatever area they are comfortable with.


10. Average people stick to deadlines given to them. Successful people create their own deadlines.

Have you heard of the Parkinson’s Law? Simply put, Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time available. In other words if you give yourself  six months to complete something, you are going to take six months to do it and probably be feverishly completing it in the last few days, that is if you do not miss the deadline. But if you give yourself a deadline of one month to do the same work, you will complete it within that time period. The work is the same but your productivity went up tremendously when you gave yourself a very short deadline. I am not asking you to kill yourself with exhaustion but whenever possible, set the shortest deadline possible for you to complete your work and you will be amazed to how productive you become. That will then free up a lot of your other time which you can then either devote to leisure or spend it on doing even more great work on time. Successful people recognize the psychological power of the Parkinson’s law and thus shorten their deadlines whenever possible.

11. Average people think learning stops after school. Successful people devote their life to learning.

Everyone who has achieved success in their field does so by a constant commitment to improvement. Look around and see the people around you have achieved success in their field, no matter what their field is, they are always trying to learn more and more and get better and better. A successful and committed sports person will always keep practising to learn new techniques and improve their game. A master musician will always be learning new ways of improving their skill or trying to improve their creative ability of coming up with new compositions, a successful businessman will always keep learning new skills and techniques to make his business better. Average people subconsciously enjoy complacency and stagnancy even if they complain about it, which is they mostly complain but never do anything about it. Successful people never become stagnant, they know that the meaning of life is constantly improving and becoming a better version of yourself.


12. Average People Sacrifice their health for what they think is success. Successful people know good health is a part of success.

Average people think it is okay to let go as they get busier because their career is more important than their health. They think that deteriorating health is a given anyway as you age, and so it is okay to completely ignore their health while they are in the rat race for status, power and money. When the body starts giving up they run from hospital to hospital trying to get back the same health they sacrificed and took for granted. Successful people know that good health is a part of success and lead a balanced life. Successful people diet, workout and do everything in their capacity to pay great attention to their health. They will never compromise their health for any sort of career success because they know the only way to enjoy the fruits of hard work is to stay healthy.


13)  Average people think they are too small to make a  big difference. Successful people know that they are big enough to make a difference, however small it maybe. 

A man was walking along the beach. A sea tide came and when it receded he saw the thousands of starfish had been left behind. It was certain that if they were not thrown back in the water soon, they would die. The man picked one of the fish and threw it in to the water. Then he picked up another one and threw it in the water as well. He kept doing that with each of the starfish he found. Another person saw this and said, “There are thousands of starfish, how many can you help? It doesn’t make a difference. The man picked up yet another starfish, threw it in the water and said ” It makes a difference to this one.” Average people think they are too small to make a difference. Successful people know that you don’t have to change the entire world to make a difference, you just have to change someone’s world.


About the Author

The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times,, Leicester Mercury and many others.

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