When you hear the words “elite achievers,” who comes to mind? For many, it will be people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey. For others, athletes like Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders, and Tiger Woods. Regardless of your definition of “elite,” one thing’s for sure: to join the ranks of the elite, you need to understand what elite achievers do—and what they don’t do.
Here’s a look at 10 things you won’t find top performers doing.
1. They don’t only spend time on thinking and planning.
Elite achievers are action-oriented. They spend time learning, and then go apply what they have learned. Underachievers do the opposite. They get caught up in analysis paralysis and don’t take action. If you want to be an elite achiever, start by creating a to-do list every day, and record the actions you take to get closer to your goals. Those little actions compound over time.
2. They don’t have only one plan.
Elite people take risks because they know that’s how they’ll reap the biggest rewards; however, they know some of these risks will undoubtedly fail. So what do they do? Create back-up plans. The lesson here is simple: hope for the best but plan for the worst.
3. They don’t wait for opportunities.
Elite achievers grasp opportunity by the laurels and run with it. They don’t wait for opportunities to come to them. If you don’t know your life purpose, go find it. If you’re sick of your job, explore other industries. If you want to learn a new skill, read everything you can, and then go apply what you learned.
4. They don’t give up.
The elite keep going until they get there. Life isn’t fair sometimes. But you always have two choices: give up or keep fighting. This doesn’t mean blindly doing things that aren’t netting results. Michael Jordan said, “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Those are words to live by.
5. They don’t let anyone stand in the way of their dreams.
You will inevitably encounter people who try to hold you back, put you down, and make you feel terrible about yourself. Elite achievers dismiss these people with a shrug and go on with their day. The only voice that matters is your own. Don’t listen to the haters and the naysayers. You don’t need them.
6. They don’t stop learning.
88 percent of elite achievers read at least 30 minutes a day and 63 percent listen to audio books during their daily commute. The lesson here is this:never stop learning. Seek knowledge every single day. Try and read at least one new book a month on a topic you’re interested in. And use your downtime (like when you’re in the car) to listen to audio books that educate you about the things you want to be successful at (e.g., starting a new career or losing weight).
7. They don’t try to do it all alone.
Elite achievers know what they know, but they also know what they don’t know. It’s okay to ask for help. Most top performers do. Find someone who is really good at what you want to be good at, and ask him or her if they’ll be your mentor. Most people will be honored and humbled that you’re asking them.
8. They don’t neglect their body.
Think of your body as the most sophisticated engine in the world. When you put cheap, processed fuel in your “engine,” it will not run at an optimal level. In other words, you are what you eat. When you stuff your face with fast food week in and week out, your body will respond accordingly. But when you exercise and fuel your body with real foods that are actually good for you, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. That’s why most elite achievers are healthier than the general population.
9. They don’t expect instant gratification.
The elite know great achievements don’t happen overnight. While you hear stories about elite achievers accomplishing monumental things, nobody mentions the daily effort and persistence it took for them to get there. However, these small, seemingly insignificant efforts performed on a daily basis eventually compound into huge accomplishments. Focus on the journey, and you’ll get to the destination.
10. They don’t put themselves first.
Elite achievers go out of their way to do nice things for other people. Because along the path to greatness, everyone needs help. The more people you help, the more they’ll want to help you.