The 17 Most-Read Articles of 2017 on SUCCESS.com
Unlike any other time in human history, we must continually keep up with expanding knowledge and perpetually develop new skills to stay relevant and sustain our lifestyles. This is something you, as a reader, already know and accept: the fact that you’re responsible for your own development and, ultimately, success as you define it.
We know you’re here because you have the desire to be better and the drive to improve your life. As your guide for personal and professional development, we want to help you achieve your goals.
You read a lot this year, but this is the inspiration, motivation and training you liked the most:
I have found the habits embedded in my morning routine to be instrumental in getting things done and keeping myself on track. Habits in general are, in my opinion, the very foundation of success. I highly recommend that everyone adopt a morning routine that addresses both mental and physical well-being, while ensuring that you’re taking the necessary steps to be successful in whatever it is that you’re doing. May your morning routine serve you as well as mine has served me.
It’s been said that the brain is the most complicated and mysterious thing in the entire universe. The five books below are not only the books that most shaped my understanding of the brain, but they are the ones that will help you unlock some of those mysteries and in the process completely supercharge your mind. Understanding is the key to unlocking your full potential. Read on, but only if you want to become a total badass.
I know success leaves clues. It’s why I’m so interested in the routines and habits of the most successful people. I’ve found once I implement behaviors that have been proven to work, I always experience positive change. And how do I know that these behaviors are proven? Because of the results that they create for tons of successful people―and because they are backed by science.
Books are special because they have the power to help us change so many aspects of our lives, their pages full of inspiration. Thanks to the stories we read, we know we aren’t alone in our doubts, fears and limitations. That provides us with a level of comfort and peace of mind—and lots of motivation.
I’m going to start waking up at 4:30 a.m. every day for a month. The goal is, in theory, to become more disciplined in general and do something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time—to see if Type A early risers and old-fashioned grandparents have been right all along: that the key to success is simply to get started before most people can bear.
To dream a dream, plan for the dream, and then watch your dream turn into reality. Here’s what’s really powerful about creating game plans: You can see your future right before your eyes. So on those days when your energy isn’t up to par, your enthusiasm is a little low, your ambition isn’t pushing you forward and your attitude isn’t on the positive side, use your game plan to see how far you’ve come. Take the time to visualize exactly where you’re headed.
“He can’t help it; he’s set in his ways.” The folk wisdom that adults can’t change is being challenged by new research. Our personality is not cast in stone in childhood; the brain is highly reprogrammable at any age. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways, interconnections between parts of our nervous system. This happens after injury but also in response to our environment, thoughts and emotions.
As with building muscle, the more we “work out” certain neural pathways, the stronger they become. Robust pathways become our favored psychological “highways.” We can generate more happiness, calm and kindness in our life simply by practicing these emotions.
Look at yourself. Who do you see? Superhero, muscles bulging, cape flying—ready to conquer the world? No? If you don’t believe you can conquer the world, then there’s no way you ever will. You might not be superhuman, but you can combat the villain of low self-esteem.
Whether you’re leading a company or just want to be a better parent, building mental muscle will help you reach your goals. When you’re mentally strong, you become the best possible version of yourself. Building mental strength is the key to greater life satisfaction, enhanced performance and increased resilience. It’s about creating the kind of life you want and being bold enough to live according to your values.
We use the word busy way too much. We say it when friends ask us how we are doing, as if being busy is an emotion. We use it as an excuse to procrastinate on unpleasant tasks. We use it to sound important at work, because being busy somehow equates to being successful.
But you’re never too busy for 10 minutes, which is all it takes to improve yourself just a little each day. You can de-stress using meditation, yoga or reading. Track your unhealthy spending habits. Learn a new language. The possibilities are endless. Stop prioritizing the busy parts of your life and make time for the important things, such as the constant development of your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
For 30 days, starting on Dec. 17, 2016, and ending on Jan. 16, 2017, I kept a spreadsheet that accounted for every hour. If a person was with me for the majority of an hour (phone calls counted), I typed his or her name into the corresponding box on the spreadsheet. At the end, I tallied the results. Then I considered whether I needed to make any changes in the group of people closest to me. Messed up, right?
With so much to do in so little time, it’s hard, seeming next to impossible sometimes, to squeeze in some TLC. But, especially for the on-the-go types, creating Zen space is not only good for de-stressing, it’s also good for maintaining good brain health—a good reason to start a meditation practice if you haven’t begun already. So what first steps can you take?
Confidence isn’t a skill like biking, typing or juggling balls. A skill is something you only have to learn once and then you’ve pretty much got it for the rest of your life. Confidence is an emotion, which helps explain why it wavers at times (or is sometimes entirely absent when you need it the most). It’s shaky confidence that makes you sometimes feel like you’re on a roller coaster—experiencing highs upon receiving great news and then plummeting a few seconds later back into the valley of insecurity.
There is so little we control in life. But we can control our confidence. Confidence can be developed and managed. It starts with employing the right strategies.
You might believe it’s impossible to take even short timeouts from your particular brand of madness. We’ve heard some of our clients say, “My boss requires that I always answer quickly!” and “Everything needs my attention immediately because my co-workers count on me.” But there are workarounds to address almost any challenge.
How you spend your time could be the difference between dreaming about the life you want and actually getting it. Big or small, you should push yourself to do the things that bring you one step closer to greatness—even when you don’t feel like doing anything at all.
We all have rules we live by. Some of them are inherent, such as smiling when walking past a stranger or shaking someone’s hand when introducing yourself. But others we have to develop over time until they become habit. Good habits, practiced daily, can make all the difference in your life.
Make a decision to go all the way to the top. Up to now, you’ve thought about it. Up to now, it’s passed your mind. But now make up your mind to go all the way to the top, and your life will take off. It’s the most extraordinary thing.
Your life is like a shadow going up the dark side of a hill—until the moment you decide that I’m going to be the best at what I do. And suddenly you rise into the sunshine, and your life is forever after different—wonderful. Get serious. Don’t fool around anymore.