Last week we started counting down the top 50 habits of all time.

Let’s continue the countdown…

40. Positive role models

Who are your heroes? Who are your role models? Who do you look up to?

Who are your favorite celebrities? Who do you idolize?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions because who you look up to says a lot about the way you think and what you value and it also plays a massive part in the way you talk, act, dress, eat, spend your time and how you live your life.

Unfortunately most people have been brainwashed and manipulated by the media into having terrible role models. Young kids, teenagers, and dumb adults, are taught to look up to gangster rappers, reality TV stars and self-obsessed celebrities as if they were something to be admired. They then start acting the fool like their heroes do.

Why do we worship celebrities? Because the media has brainwashed us to and strongly encourages it. Every talk show in America presents actors/athletes/celebrities as if they were Gods. Women are trained to scream hysterically and lose their minds on TV at the very sight of a celebrity, and the audience on late shows and sitcoms is trained to laugh on cue like a bunch of brain dead idiots at every single stupid thing a celebrity says.

Fuck that. Think for yourself. Don’t be an idiot. Wake up. Don’t just like who the media wants you to like and worship who they want you to worship. Jay Z and Beyonce aren’t your heroes. Neither are Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj or the Rock.

Be smart and consciously choose role models that will make you a better person and the world a better place. People like Elon Musk, Tony Robbins and Oprah, instead of a bunch of egotistical, narcissistic, idiotic drama queens.

39. Play to win instead of playing not to lose

“The rich are those who play to win. The middle class plays not to lose.” – Robert Kiyosaki

One of the biggest differences between ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ is this:

  • Winners play to win
  • Losers play NOT to lose

What’s the difference?

Playing to win is about:

  • Going for what you really want in life
  • Living outside of your comfort zone
  • Focusing on thriving not just surviving

Playing NOT to lose is about:

  • Playing it safe in life
  • Staying inside your comfort zone
  • Letting fear guide your decisions and actions
  • Letting a fear of failure hold you back

Are you playing to win or playing not to lose?

Are you going for what you want in life or are you holding back due to a fear of failure?

Here are 10 reasons I strongly encourage you to go for what you want in life:

  1. It’s the only thing you want to do
  2. You’ll regret it if you don’t
  3. You’ll get it out of your system
  4. You’ll be a more interesting person
  5. You’ll be happier and more enthusiastic about life
  6. You’ll create great memories
  7. It will change your life for the better
  8. You’ll face your fears and grow
  9. You’ll learn a lot
  10. You will inspire other people to follow their dreams too

The biggest problem with playing not to lose is that it will cost you your dreams and prevent you from living up to your potential. Yes your risk is minimal but so is your potential reward.

38. Visualization  

“I’ve seen myself as the champ from day one before I even started training. I always saw myself as the champ. I visualize myself already there, I visualize everything, I visualize the walk out, I visualize everything going on, I’ve seen everything in my head, and now it’s going to happen.” – Conor McGregor, UFC World Champion

Visualization works. That’s why Olympic athletes and world champions do it and why you should do it too.

Whatever it is you wish to achieve in life visualize it over and over again and see yourself succeeding. See yourself being promoted. Getting the raise. Giving the presentation. Making the deal. Signing the contract.

Think about your goals constantly and fill your mind with thoughts of success. Read articles, blogs and books about it. Listen to audiobooks, interviews and podcasts about it. Watch documentaries, TV, movies and YouTube videos about it. Think about it. Imagine it. Visualize it. Meditate on it. Make it your inner reality. Create yourself a vision board. The more real it is internally, the more likely it is to become real externally.

Increase the power and strength of your visualizations by getting some hands on experience with the thing you wish to achieve too. Don’t just make it mental, make it physical too. It’s much easier to visualize yourself moving to another city or country if you’ve already been there for a holiday or changing careers if you’ve already got a little bit of experience in the industry. For example: If you want to visualize your success in Hollywood go visit Hollywood. Go to Burbank. Go on tours. Visit film sets. Work as an extra on TV and movies.

37. Persistence

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President 

I’ve spoken in depth about persistence in some of my other articles – particularly when it comes to getting your dream job

Persistence is more important than skill, talent, ability or anything else.

Persistence is everything. If you want to succeed you must be willing to persist through everything life throws at you, every challenge, hurdle, obstacle, problem and setback.

Your attitude must be ‘failure is NOT an option’ and ‘it’s not over UNTIL I win’.

People often quit when their goal takes longer to achieve than they thought it would. But that’s the way life is. Everything always takes 10X longer than you thought it would. But that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and think it’s ‘not meant to be’. It just means you underestimated how long it would take.

Did Colonel Sanders think it wasn’t mean to be when his idea for KFC got rejected over 1, 000 times? No. Even at 67 years old he just kept on going until he won.

Did Sylvester Stallone think it wasn’t meant to be when he got rejected as an actor more than 1, 000 times? No. He just kept on going and wrote the screenplay for Rocky and went on to becoming one of the greatest action film stars of all time.

Did Thomas Edison think it just wasn’t meant to be when he failed in his attempt to produce the electric light bulb more than 1, 000 times? No. He simply saw each ‘failure’ as a minor setback, and just one more way that didn’t work therefore bringing him one step closer to the one thing that would work.

Did the Wright brothers think that their idea for flight wasn’t meant to be, because no one else in the history of the world, no inventor, scientist, thinker, or anyone else was able to fly? Or did they just keep on going and persisting until they finally succeeded? Luckily for us they kept on going and that’s why we have the miracle of flight.

You need to make a commitment to yourself that no matter what happens, no matter how many obstacles or problems you might face, no many how many times you might fall or get knocked down, you will not give up, quit or stop until you win.

Nothing of value I’ve ever achieved in my entire life, has ever come to me via any other method than relentless persistence and stick-to-itiveness. I just keep on going, putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what.

It’s not over until you say it is. It’s never the end unless you decide to give up.

A never give up, never quit, never say die attitude is crucial to success.

36. Learn from your mistakes

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” – Dalai Lama

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. No one learns without making mistakes or screwing up. It’s an inescapable and unavoidable part of the learning process. Sometimes in order to find out what does work, you have to first find out what doesn’t work through trial and error.

The most important thing however is to learn from your mistakes because failures and mistakes aren’t for no reason. When you fail or lose there is always a reason why. Failures are feedback that something you’re doing is ineffective and needs to be changed and/or improved upon.

The next time you make a mistake instead of getting angry or defensive or trying to point the finger and blame someone else for it, ask yourself:

  • Why did I lose?
  • Where did I go wrong?
  • What was my mistake?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What could I do differently next time?

Another good way to learn from your mistakes is to ask others what mistakes they see you making. Sometimes it’s easier for others to see where we’re going wrong because we’re too close to the action and they’re not, and most of the time other people will be happy to point out the error of your ways!

When I started learning BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) I got submitted all the time. But I learnt from my mistakes and started asking my opponents questions such as:

  • Where did I go wrong?
  • How did you beat me?
  • Why did I get submitted?
  • What advice do you have for me?

I learnt a lot from this process. It really helped to shortcut my learning curve because my opponents were much better than me and would often point out subtle things I never would have thought of that weren’t immediately obvious to beginners and newbies.

Finally, I recommend you take a big picture approach to your mistakes and focus on the major ones not the minor ones.

For example: If you’re working as a waiter and not making much money you might think your mistake was working the wrong hours or for the wrong company when your real mistake might simply be that you’re working as a waiter in the low paying hospitality industry.

Or maybe you go out to a casino one night and lose thousands of dollars gambling.

You might conclude that your biggest mistake was not sticking to your limit or that you played the wrong game or that you got cocky.

But your real mistake was trying to make money gambling when the odds of beating either the bookies or the casinos are terrible.

35. Learn from the mistakes of others

“Instead of learning from other people’s success, learn from their mistakes. Most of the people who fail share common reasons, whereas success can be attributed to various different kinds of reasons.” – Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba

It’s OK to make your own mistakes, it’s a necessary and unavoidable part of the learning process, but if you have to make every mistake yourself in order to learn from it, you’re going to waste a LOT of time, money and effort.

By learning from the mistakes of others you can save yourself thousands of hours and thousands of dollars and shave years of your learning curve. You can learn what to do and what not to do, where to go and where not to go, what’s inefficient, what to avoid and what doesn’t work.

Whenever you see someone fail/lose/make a mistake, learn everything you can from it and ask yourself:

  • Why did they fail/lose?
  • Where did they go wrong?
  • What caused their defeat?
  • What mistakes did they make?
  • What should they do differently next time?

Let’s look at this on a more personal level. Take out a pad and paper and write down your answers to the following:

  • What are the top 3 mistakes your mother makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your father makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your brother makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your sister makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your best friend makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend makes?
  • What are the top 3 mistakes your boss makes?

What do they do that you should NOT do?

“From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.” – Publilius Syrus

34. Kill the monster whilst it’s small

“The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.” – Witter Bynner

If you are smart you will kill the monster whist it is small and deal with problems as soon as they come up.

As soon as you get a little overweight, change your diet and start exercising immediately.

As soon as you get a little in debt, pay it off immediately.

As soon as there is a problem with a family member or friend, deal with it immediately.

Don’t let things get out of hand. Kill the monster immediately. Rip out the weed as soon as it appears. Or better yet, prevent it from being born in the first place. Prevention is often better than the cure.

33. Examine the statement – not the speaker

“Examine what is said, not the speaker.” – Middle Eastern proverb

If there was only one bit of critical thinking advice I could give you it would be this: Examine the statement – not the speaker.

According to most people:

If Adolf Hitler said something – it’s automatically evil and wrong.

But if Albert Einstein said something – it’s automatically true and wise.

Bullshit.

It doesn’t matter if it was said by:

  • Jesus
  • Buddha
  • Krishna
  • Shiva
  • Lao Tzu
  • Confucius
  • Gandhi

Or any other great religious or spiritual teacher – it’s NOT automatically true.

It doesn’t matter if it’s written in a great religious or spiritual book:

  • The Bible
  • The Bhagavad Gita
  • The Quran
  • The Tao Te Ching
  • The Upanishads
  • The Vedas

It’s NOT automatically true.

It doesn’t matter if it was said by:

  • Aristotle
  • Albert Einstein
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Isaac Newton
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Stephen Hawking

Or if any other great scientist – it’s NOT automatically true.

It doesn’t matter if it was said by:

  • Adolf Hitler
  • Fidel Castro
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Kim Jong-un
  • Mao Zedong
  • Pol Pot
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • Al Qaeda
  • ISIS

It’s NOT automatically untrue.

So examine the statement not the speaker, and start treating statements from people you don’t like, in the same way you would if they were said from someone you did like, and vise versa.

When you hear a quote from Albert Einstein – pretend that Adolf Hitler said it.

When you hear a quote from Gandhi – pretend that Osama Bin Laden said it.

When you hear a quote from Oprah – pretend that Saddam Hussein said it.

Then see how smart it sounds.

And don’t dismiss advice or information just because it’s hypocritical or comes from someone you don’t like.

Just because someone is a child molester, hypocrite, liar, rapist or serial killer, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. If a smoker tells me not to smoke cigarettes because they’re bad for my health, are they wrong just because they don’t ‘walk their talk’ and ‘practice what they preach’? Should I ignore what they say and start smoking cigarettes just because their advice was hypocritical?

Examine the statement not the speaker. Valuable information might come in the way of criticism, screaming or shouting. It might be said aggressively or condescendingly. It might be said from your worst enemy or from the most arrogant and unlikable person on the planet. But listen anyway because they might be the only person who will tell you the truth.

Don’t be fooled either: Just because someone speaks in a reasonable tone, that doesn’t mean they’re being reasonable or telling the truth. The news media speaks in a reasonable tone all day long, and everything that comes out of their mouths is a lie.

“You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.” – Maimonides

32. Networking

“I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking.” – Tom Farley, President, NYSE

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for business, career or social opportunities, networking is crucial to your success.

Here are some reasons why:

Why you should build your network

Business, Career, Job Opportunities

Having access to a large and powerful network will give you access to inside information and some great opportunities (business, career, investment, social etc.) that other people won’t know about.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. People like to do business with, (and hire) people they know, like and trust.

It only takes ONE person to change your life 

The great thing about networking is that it only takes one contact, one friendship, one relationship, one meeting, to change your life forever.

Your network = your net worth

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Your network is often in direction proportion to your net worth. It is said that your income and net worth is the average of the 5 people you hang out with and spend the most time with.

Analyse your current network

Take a look at your current network:

  • Who is in your network?
  • Who are you connected to?
  • Who are they connected to?
  • Who could they connect you to?
  • Who would you like in your network?
  • Who do you know that could introduce you to who you need to know?
  • Are you using your contacts, contacts and your networks, networks?
  • What is the ceiling on your network? How high does it go?
  • Who are you going to reach out to and connect with today?

Networking tips 

Identify who you want in your network

Who do you want in your network?

Who would be ideal? If you could have anyone?

Put yourself in a position to succeed

Where are you MOST likely to find the kinds of people that you most want to meet?

  • Which towns/cities?
  • Which environments?
  • Which clubs?
  • Which social networking websites?

Do your research. Look online. Ask around.

Where do they spend time? Where do they hang out?

How could you meet them? How could you get an introduction? Who could introduce you?

Obviously certain towns, cities, social clubs and websites are going to be better for networking and finding the kinds of people you want to meet than others.

Ask people you know for an introduction

If you want to meet someone but don’t know them, ask someone you know who knows them for an introduction.

When someone is referred by a friend, they are much more likely to agree to a meeting than if they are cold called by a complete stranger.

Also: If someone in your network has done you the favor of introducing you to the person/people you most want to meet, return the favor and ask them if there is anyone in your network they would like you to introduce them to.

Be the right kind of person

If you want to meet the right kinds of people be the right kind of person!

People will want to connect with you if they see value in it.

What would make someone want to join your network?

Be Proactive

When people ask me how I built up a LinkedIn network of 20, 000+ people I tell them: I made a conscious effort to do so. I didn’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. I made it happen. I spend at least one hour a day on LinkedIn, 7 days a week, building my network for months.

I receive between 50-100 LinkedIn connection requests each week and I grow my network by at least 10 people a day. I accept everyone no matter who they are. CEO, Executive, Director, Student, Unemployed, it doesn’t matter. I don’t discriminate.

Because my LinkedIn profile says “recruiter” I guess it’s a little easier for me than it would be for most people, and the fact that I now have 20, 000+ connections may make me seem influential and worth connecting to.

You have to be proactive about building your network and make it a habit because no one else is going to build it for you.

The best people in the world aren’t going to knock on your door to come and find you. You have to go out and find them and introduce yourself.

Have a multi-faceted approach

The best way to build your network is through a multi-faceted approach:

  • Cold calling
  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • Other social media networks
  • Networking events
  • Parties
  • Social clubs

You can probably think of many ways that you could use to build your network right now. Start doing them ASAP.

How to improve your LinkedIn profile  

I’ve spoken about how to improve your LinkedIn profile before in my article “How to get your dream job 

Here are 4 quick tips for building an impressive LinkedIn profile:

  • Have a professional looking photo
  • Look at the top 10 LinkedIn profiles in your industry and steal all of the best ideas and make them your own
  • Get endorsements and recommendations
  • Write blog articles

31. Open-mindness 

“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” – Wayne Dyer

Smart people are OPEN minded and able to listen to ideas which may contradict their own without needing to argue, interrupt or defend their position.

Most people however are NOT open minded. They’re defensive and guarded about their beliefs and quick to dismiss ideas and information that doesn’t fit within their preconceived ideas of truth.

Why most people are closed minded

“If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated.” – Wilfred Trotter

As children our minds were open and we were punished for it.

We believed thousands of things without ever doubting or thinking twice about it. But as we got older, we realised that we were being fed one lie after another nonstop from everyone: Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, family, friends, teachers, strangers, newspapers, radio, magazines, movies, TV, the internet, etc.

We found that if people could pull the wool over our eyes and deceive us for their own personal gain, they often would.

We went from having an open and receptive mind, to one that was closed, mistrusting and skeptical.

Also, since 99.99% of what we see, hear, read, watch and listen to is complete and utter crap, it’s understandable why most people are closed minded. We’ve learnt the hard way that if we just believe anything we hear, we’re begging to be lied to and misled time and time again.

The problem with being closed minded

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” – Epictetus (c.55-c.135)

The biggest problem with being closed minded is that you cannot and will not learn anything you think you already know.

Why listen when you already have all the answers?

Why ask when you already know?

Why seek the truth when you already have it?

Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be so sure of yourself. Drop your pride. Stay humble. Stay hungry. Open your mind. Get out of the habit of assuming you know best.

By opening your mind to other ideas and possibilities you are going to learn a lot more and you are going to get a lot smarter.

If everyone on earth was closed minded science and technology wouldn’t be able to progress because no one would be open to any new ideas and so we would still be stuck in the dark ages. It’s only by opening our minds that any kind of evolution, progress and improvement has ever been possible in the world.

10 signs of a closed minded person

Are you closed minded?

Here are 10 signs you might be a closed minded person:

  1. You’ve already made up your mind on the matter
  2. You assume the answer before you’ve even asked the question
  3. You’re not really interested in what anyone else thinks because you already know what the ‘truth’ is
  4. You think your opinion or perspective is the only ‘correct’ and ‘right’ one and that all other opinions and perspectives are ‘wrong’
  5. You’re slow to listen, but quick to argue, disagree and interrupt
  6. You get angry, defensive and frustrated if someone disagrees with you or has another opinion. How dare they think something else!
  7. You’re very defensive, guarded and protective about what you believe
  8. You’re dogmatic and rigid in both your beliefs and personality. Many religious people especially are incredibly closed minded and tend to dislike and resent anyone who disagrees with them, and anyone who does is simply ‘wrong’. The end!
  9. You’re very confident, smug and sure of yourself. PS: It’s generally the case that the most ignorant and stupid people, are also the most confident, certain and sure of themselves. They’ve got all the answers and it all worked out. They have no doubts whatsoever that they’re right. They know all that they need to know. You can’t tell them anything.
  10. You tend to see things in a very black and white way and have very fixed and firm beliefs about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘true’ or ‘false’ etc.

How to open your mind

Want the truth more than you want to feel good

Most people have a preference for believing one thing more than another and when someone says something they don’t like or agree with, they’re immediately dismissive and ‘don’t want to hear it’.

Seek out opposing opinions from people who disagree with you

If you want to open your mind seek out the very best arguments, evidence and information from experts on the other side that strongly disagree with you. Find out why. Even if you don’t fully agree with everything you hear it might help you to refine your views and strengthen your comprehension and understanding of the subject matter.

Try to prove yourself wrong

Argue against yourself as best you can and try to prove yourself wrong.

How would you prove yourself wrong if you had to?

Books

Read books from smart people who have different beliefs and opinions than you.

Meditation

Meditation is great at opening your mind. There aren’t too many closed minded meditators.

Psychedelics

Psychedelics are probably the fastest way to break outside of your reality tunnel and get outside of your own head. They permanently expand your mind to new dimensions.

Psychedelics such as Ayahuasca, DMT, Iboga, LSD, Magic Mushrooms etc. make it almost impossible to be closed minded.

Travel

Travelling the world is one of the fastest ways to open your eyes and open your mind next to meditation and psychedelics.

It opens your mind and expands your horizons and shows you other cultures and people.

It’s pretty hard to be closed minded or to believe in only one way of doing things if you have travelled and experienced life all over the world.

Variety

A change is as good as a holiday.

The more variety you have in what you eat, wear, read, watch, listen to and where you spend time etc. the more your mind will open.

RECAP

Let’s do a quick recap:

40. Positive role models

39. Play to win instead of playing not to lose

38. Visualization

37. Persistence

36. Learn from your mistakes

35. Learn from the mistakes of others

34. Kill the monster whilst it’s small

33. Examine the statement – not the speaker

32. Networking

31. Open-mindedness

This is Part 2 of a 5 part series: The Top 50 Habits of all time

Part 1 of this series: Top 50 Habits – Part 1

Part 3 of this series: Top 50 Habits – Part 3

Part 4 of this series: Top 50 Habits – Part 4

Part 5 of this series: Top 50 Habits – Part 5

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Footnote:

Arnold Schwarzenegger image credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
Oprah image credit: Krista Kennell / Shutterstock.com 
Slyvestor Stallone image Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Tiger Woods image Credit: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com