Stop imitating the habits of successful people; it is causing you more harm than good. Save yourself some time and money and stop reading articles and books that promise you the secret equation of success.
Success articles and stories are designed only for one purpose; the goal is to make you feel good about yourself. After reading such an article, you either identify as one of the successful people or try hard to imitate such people. In both cases, you will end up feeling good about yourself without any added value to your life.
Such articles sell false principles to the readers. They manifest the illusion of a clear path to success. Even though these articles or books do not say it directly, they sell people the “snake oil” for getting rich. Yes, I said it — People, myself included, correlate becoming successful and becoming rich together. Therefore, such articles are profiting from the hope of becoming rich.
Let’s address these principles one by one, shall we?
Side note: I’m not trying to convince you that the set of habits you adopted is wrong. However, it might not suits everybody else.
There is no one habits’ bundle to serve them all.
False principle №1: The Perfect combination
Titles such as “X number of habits successful people practice every day” lead the readers to believe that the X habits are a perfect combination. Better yet, it leaves the reader with the impression that the reader has to adapt all habits to become successful.
Let’s imagine a writer who wakes up at 5 a.m., brushes their teeth, goes to a run, showers, and starts working at 8 a.m. If one day, this writer woke up at 6:30 a.m. instead of 5 a.m, would this affect their performance? The answer is no because the main task is writing and not waking up early, and assumingly this writer is good at it.
Imposing a set of habits on someone looking for success in life can sway them away from the original goal of becoming successful. Instead, they will be more focused on integrating this bundle of habits into their lives. They will stress over the habits and forget the main goal.
For example, if an article proposed that successful people wake up as early as 5 am and meditate for 30 minutes. A person might set his goal on waking up early to meditate. By doing so, this person stresses more over the waking up early part than his actual original goal.
Studying successful people and understanding their success is helpful. People might learn a lot from such studies. However, correlation is not causation. For example, if a successful person wakes up early, it does not mean he is successful because he wakes up early. Both facts correlate with one another, but one fact does not cause the other.
Correlation is not causation
False principle №2: The same habits apply to everyone
The habits of successful people are not constant to all people. Bill Gates’ habits are probably different than Kanye’s habits, and his habits are other than Aaron Rodgers’ habits; nevertheless, all three men are successful. Each of these men has a different set of routines to support him in his chosen career path. Other people adopt different habits’ sets, yet all of them are successful.
For example, let us discuss the most common advice we read online: Successful people wake up early. Let’s imagine two stock traders; one lives in New York while the other lives in California. The trader in New York can wake up any time before 9:30 a.m to start trading when the market opens. However, the trader in California has to wake up before 6:30 a.m. Pacific time to begin trading at the same time.
In the previous example, both traders are successful, and both traders have their own habits. The trader in New York does not wake up as early as the trader in California. Nevertheless, he is not any less successful.
Success does not come only from habits; it also comes from the circumstances around us. The right circumstances allowed Justin Bieber to become famous, regardless of his habits before fame.
False principle №3: A timeless recipe
Don’t your habits change over time? At least mine do, and it is normal. New technologies, a new perspective, new revelations, and new studies contribute to changing our habits. Habits change over time, and this applies to successful people too. Bill Gates today is not Bill Gates 10 years ago.
Before smartphones, I would wake up immediately, make a coffee, and watch the news briefings before going out to classes. Now, I sit in bed and read the news app from my phone app for 5–10 minutes. I stopped drinking my first cup of coffee at home, and I drink it now at work. This change in my habits was a result of smartphones.
Reading habits, exercise habits, and planning habits all change over time. A smart person knows and acknowledges this in his daily routine. He does not allow it to affect his focus on the primary goal of being successful.
False principle №4: A finite number of habits
Titles such as “X number of habits successful people practice every day” lead the readers to believe that there are only X correct habits, and everything else is false habits.
Believe it or not, the number of habits is infinite, and do not let people tell you something different. If all of us read the same books, did the same exercises, and dressed the same way, life on this earth would be intolerable.
Instead, we should acknowledge differences in habits and learn from each other. Every one of us has a unique perk. Do not erase this uniqueness just to copy a successful person.
Be yourself, imitation leads to dark places
I want to leave you knowing you will be yourself. Imitating others to reach their success is not guaranteed, nor is it the right way to live your life.
Part of life is the journey, and the best journey is the one you planned and undertook on your terms and capabilities.
Learn from the success of others and ask yourself what can I change to become successful like them. Please do not ask what can I do to become them. No one likes a copycat, and not all successful people are the same. Even if we analyze successful people from one sector, you will notice they are not the same. They are all unique, yet all are successful.
Walid Al Otaibi -WAO- is a top writer in Gaming. He works at an engineering company in Germany. He comes from a multicultural background and is located in Germany since 2003. He is writing about Arab Culture, Multiculturalism, Finance, and Trending topics.