I have recently come across a skyrocketing number of posts that list things successful people do in a myriad of situations. After waking up, at lunch, before going to bed… I must say I find very disturbing the underlying meaning of this kind of posts: That a huge lot of people is constantly browsing the internet looking for advice on how to build their life around the utopia of that success can be achieved through nonsensical schedules. Let me illustrate this with some examples:
“The morning is the perfect time to spend some quiet time inside your mind meditating or visualizing.” (5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM, Forbes)
“Many successful people take the time just before bed to reflect on, or to write down, three things they are appreciative of that happened that day.” (9 Things Successful People Do Right Before Bed, Business Insider)
“It’s not just about the smile…it’s the spirit of optimism behind it. […] Optimistic, joyful people produce more and do more.” (The 16 Most Popular Habits of Highly Successful People, Julliete Millien)
“There’s two kinds of people in this world, there’s winners and there’s losers. Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don’t give up.” (Little Miss Sunshine, Richard Hoover)
Oh, yeah, sorry, that last one comes from a movie character intended to be a parody of all these successful-carreer-advisers. My bad, it sounded so much like the real ones…
So, if you are one of those advice-seekers, let me burst that bubble for you: If those habits were the real key for success, the people writing those articles would probably not be working for more-or-less popular websites, but enjoying a life of wealth and luxury in their four-storey mansions.
Yes, organization, planning and scheduling are important in your day-to-day work if you don’t want to see yourself flooded with unfinished tasks. And yes, some bits of advice given in those articles do actually make sense. Sleeping eight hours a day is important, regular exercise and a healthy diet are good for your health, and reading books is nice. But attempting to do all of those things not because it’s ok to get full rest over the night, or because taking care of your body is advisable, or plainly because books are fun, but as a way to achieve success, is just nuts. And also the fastest way to stress, unhappiness and frustration.
Success is a combination of expectations, luck, good ideas and hard work. But it is also important to enjoy life, be close to your loved ones and rest and relax, now and then. And realizing that success is not only measured as the amount of money in your bank account. That maybe, just maybe, you will be happier and feel more successful being able to spend your evenings watching a TV show or reading a book with your wife or husband sitting next to you instead of “visualizing how you will succeed tomorrow”.