“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” – Hugh Downs

I’m always wary of any quick-fix solution or overnight formula for success. In my opinion, they don’t exist. Success takes hard work. With that said, I would like to share something I recently shared with a close friend. The intention was to encourage her to break through the rut she was in, and to start implementing positive changes to her life.

I believe practising these ten behaviours are vital keys to living a more meaningful life.

  1. Decide what you stand for

What are your values? What do you stand for? What are the organising principles that guide your life? What are your core beliefs? What virtues do you aspire to? What will you not stand for? What would you sacrifice for, suffer for, and even die for? These essential questions are only asked by a small minority of people. That small minority tends to consist of the real movers and shakers in our society. Strive to become one of them.

  1. The power of clarity

Clarity accounts for probably ninety percent of all success and happiness. Lack of clarity is perhaps more responsible for frustration and underachievement in life than any other single factor. People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period than people without them could ever imagine. Every week of my life, I see so-called average people with clarity run circles around geniuses without clarity. This is true everywhere and under all circumstances.

  1. Embrace the Golden Hour

Living in a state of urgency tells the mind you are going to be relentless until your goals meet with success. Urgency provides immediate focus to the tasks that must be done. Before you know it, momentum builds and catapults you towards the achievement you seek. Waking up at 05:00 or 05:30 each morning would be unimaginable to some. Still, it is my way of preparing to be a capable thinker, speaker, writer, consultant, and business owner. This first hour of each day is the golden hour of achievement. Getting up early is simply a case of mind over mattress!

I remember once hearing a mentor say, ‘Beware of the dangerous person who wakes up an hour before you.’ There’s a lot of truth in this quote. That person is getting an extra six and a half weeks a year worth of calm, focused, quiet work time compared to the later sleeper. With urgency and focus, you perform at a higher level of accomplishment.

  1. Exercise regularly to stimulate endorphins and maintain an energetic life

Strive to enjoy excellent health and vitality. Create a desire for good health, to be free of pain and illness, and to have a continuous flow of energy and feelings of well-being. Your health is so central to your life that you take it for granted until something happens to disrupt it. An old Persian proverb states, ‘If you don’t make time for your health today, then one day you must make time for illness.’

  1. You must educate yourself through reading

Commit to lifelong learning. The one quality of leaders and high achievers in every area seems to be a commitment to on-going personal and professional development. They view themselves as self-made people, as continuous ‘works in progress.’ They never become complacent or satisfied. They are always striving toward ever-greater heights of knowledge and understanding. Become a reading glutton. Readers become leaders.

  1. Treat money with care and attention

What is your mindset towards money? Money is spiritual. Why? Because, like everything else, money is energy. Money is very much like a lover. It must be courted and coaxed and flattered and treated with loving care and attention. It gravitates toward people who respect it and value it and are capable of doing worthwhile things with it. It slips through the fingers and flees from people who do not understand it, or who do not take proper care of it. If you don’t decide what to do with your money, weird s#!t will consume it!

  1. Always watch your inner dialogue

Most people negatively talk to themselves. As much as ninety-five percent of your internal dialogue tends to be about the things you fear.  Your worries, the people you’re angry at, your problems, your concerns, and so on. You have to consciously keep your words, your inner dialogue, consistent with what you wish to accomplish. Make sure your internal dialogue is positive. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important you will ever have. Make it a good one!

  1. Control your thoughts

Whatever you dwell upon grows in your reality. You create your entire world from the things you choose to think about and how you choose to think about them. Energy flows where your attention goes. Wealthy, successful people fill their minds with thoughts, words, pictures, and images of wealth, affluence, success, productivity, and solutions. These thoughts trigger the reticular activating cortex, the part of the brain that makes you more alert and sensitive to things you have decided is important to you. Change your thinking, and you change your life.

  1. Practice the Law of Reciprocity

There is a psychological and universal law of reciprocity. It states, ‘If you make me feel good about myself, I will find a way to make you feel good about yourself.’ In other words, people will always look for ways to reciprocate your kindness toward them. When you look for every opportunity to do and say things that make other people feel good about themselves. You will be astonished at not only how good you feel, but also at the beautiful things that begin to happen all around you. You will get everything you want in life as long as you help others to get what they want.

  1. Control your reactions and responses

There are a few differences in the reactions of optimists and pessimists. The first difference is that the optimist sees a setback as temporary, while the pessimist sees it as permanent.

The optimist will see an unfortunate event as temporary, something that is limited in time and has no real impact on the future. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees adverse events as permanent, as part of their life and destiny. Always remember, a failure is an event, not a person. Circumstances will sometimes challenge you. Your interpretation of these challenges and how you react and respond will be the measure of your personal power.

Action exercise

Evaluate how you practice each of my ten recommended steps. Commit to raising your awareness of these steps by improving your thinking about your circumstances and your life.

“Challenges are what makes life INTERESTING and overcoming them is what makes life MEANINGFUL.” – Joshua J. Marine

An extract from my book, Smart Thinking for Crazy Times