5 rules that will make you successful in life

It’s 7:37 am, the first day of the month. I’ve already earned 80% of my monthly salary.

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I got payments from four different sources. Admittedly, next payments will not be as hefty as the ones I got, but my side hustle will exceed my day job salary yet again.

Today is my wife’s last day in her day job. She finally trusted that my business will provide enough income so she doesn’t have to go to the work she passionately hates.

Those aren’t the grandest successes in the world, but big enough for my small corner of it.

Five years ago

I had no business and no clue what to do with my life. I was aimless. I had another day job at that time, and it paid 30% less than the current one. I was killing the existential void with computer games and excess fiction reading.

I changed and achieved success in all aspects of my life, not only in the financial aspect, because I followed the five principles I enumerate below.

“Success leaves clues.” — Tony Robbins

I didn’t have to figure them out on my own. There were others before me who did the heavy lifting. The only thing I had to come up with was my personal implementation of those principles.

1. Your Habits Make You

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn

Success is not a grand thing. It’s not winning a gold medal at the Olympics. It’s not saving a billion people from starvation like Norman Borlaug did. It’s not coming up with a new theory that explains better how the universe works.

Success is small disciplines that lead to those things. It’s training, studying and pondering on a daily basis. Only if you have such preparatory habits can you achieve those huge things.

When it comes to financial success, my most important discipline is writing every day. I have been doing that since 23rd of September, 2013. For the last few years, I aimed to write 1,000 words a day.

I am not an especially brilliant writer, but this discipline helped me to achieve my moderate successes — publishing 15 books and selling over 30,000 copies of them.

2. Your Habits Can Break You as Well

“Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” — Jim Rohn

Entropy is real. If you don’t cultivate good habits, bad habits creep in. And they will break you.

Your habits make you no matter if they are good or bad. Your life as it is right now, is mostly the result of your actions. Your actions are in huge part the result of your habits.

If you are overweight, it’s most probably because of your crappy eating habits. If you have a handsome emergency fund secured, it’s most probably the effect of your money-managing habits. If you are well educated, it’s most probably because you had good enough study habits. Your colleagues who preferred hooky over school are not educated to your level.

However, you have the power over your habits. You can watch them, break the bad ones and build the good ones.

You simply need to be aware of the Principle #2; otherwise, you will ignore this important subject.

Five years ago, I paid no attention whatsoever to my habits. They just were what they were for me. And I was who I was.

I had been losing an enormous amount of time on computer games, excess fiction reading, TV and commenting on news sites. And I was average in every aspect.

My good habits didn’t materialize on their own in my life. I put a lot of effort and dedication to developing my writing habit to the current level.

3. Change Is a Team Play

“You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.” — Jim Rohn

I love the precision of Jim Rohn. It’s not impossible to find a rich hermit. It’s only fricking hard. There are some vocations where a lonely hero journey is still possible. I can recall exactly one guy who is a rich hermit — Cormac McCarthy, the author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men.”

By the way, what does change have to do with success? Well, if you are not successful right now, you need to change, don’t you? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The only sure thing in pursuit of success is constant change.

“Isolation is the enemy of excellence.” — Aaron Walker

Yet, we have this picture of a lonely hero firmly hammered into us. Every self-help book says: “Do this, do that, and you will be a success.” In fact, they should say: “Go, find people who have been there and done that and hang out with them.”

That’s the best success formula you will ever get. If you cannot find mentors or coaches, find folks who are as clueless as you and want to achieve similar things as much as you. That’s your second best option. If you want to lose weight, find a friend who wants to shed some pounds and do it together.

If you want to fail, try to change yourself in a social void.

Life and business are team plays as well. When I started self-publishing, I read one very good book, and I thought I knew it all. I worked hard on implementing what I learned for a few months. My results weren’t encouraging. I hustled half a year for an equivalent of two hours of my overtime.

Then I started to get involved into self-publishing communities, interact with my peers and follow mentors. Suddenly, other people appeared by my side, and I started to succeed. Hynek Palatin made new covers for my books, and my third book sold over 100 copies in its first month. Chris Bell helped me to edit and market my fifth book. Steve Scott promoted it to his email list. The book became my first bestseller.

I got a publisher, found editors, proofreaders and narrators. I organized and participated in online book events and giveaways. I promoted books of other authors. I wrote guest posts and accepted them on my blog.

And my business grew each month. However, it all starts with Principle #1, and mastery of your habits comes before any business success. You desperately need at least one other person to help you with your personal change.

4. Know Thyself

“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves — their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” — Peter F. Drucker

The true success that means fulfillment and serving others to the best of your abilities always came to those who knew themselves. In the past, you could be misplaced and prosper. Nowadays, it’s impossible. Statistics confirm that 70% of employees are not engaged at their work. They feel miserable, and they export this vocational frustration to their family life and also make their families miserable. It spills over like a plague.

But if you know yourself, and you do exactly what you were called to do, you are destined for success. You are simply the best in the world at what you are doing, thus you are appropriately rewarded.

I studied for 18 years before I graduated from the university. I was 25 years old, young, adaptable and bright when I started my IT career. I’ve been working in that field for 13 years. I participated in international projects, I worked on multiple positions, and with several companies. I gained a lot of experience.

But I was misplaced.

Five years ago, I discovered I want to be a writer. In five short years, I published 15 books, started a life coaching practice off the ground, and along the way learned a ton about online marketing because self-publishers have to be self-promoters as well. I did that NEXT TO my day job and while living my “normal” life, taking care about my wife, three kids and our household.

In five years, my side hustle income exceeded my day job income because I was meant to do this kind of work. Helping people drives me. It’s my reward and addiction. I can write, coach, speak and help others all day long.

And I still didn’t narrow my “core genius” to be the best in the world. I’m still in the process of self-discovery. But those five years of doing “my thing” beat 18 years of studies and 13 years of IT practice.

5. Be Grateful, Be Positive

“When the brain is positive, every possible outcome we know how to test for rises dramatically.” — Shawn Achor

You’ve heard it correctly. Every single measurable outcome is better when you are positive. Health. Wealth. Relationships. Savings. Fitness performance. Chances for promotion. Sleep. Net worth. You can continue the list ad infinitum. Scientists have not found a single exception.


But how to make your brain positive? It seems to be a tough riddle. Truly positive people are very rare. Of course, if you have money, friends, security, health and fame it’s easier to be positive, right?

You have it backwards. People who live abundantly usually started from a positive mindset and ended up rich, healthy and famous.

Rewiring your brain into positivity is very simple: every morning, write down three new things you are grateful for. Three bullet points. That’s all.

Research concludes that it’s enough to practice this tiny discipline for 30 days to rewire your brain, even if you were a pessimist for decades and have a pessimist’s gene.

I say, if it does work and works so well, and it’s so simple and easy, why not do it for the rest of your life?

Five years ago, my life motto was “Expect the worst, thus you will have only positive surprises.” Does that sound like a shiny optimist?

Five years ago, on 26th of September, 2012, I started my first gratitude journal, about my wife. I’ve kept this discipline and started a couple more gratitude journals within the next few months.

“Strangely” enough, every possible outcome in my life rose dramatically. Health. Wealth. Relationships. Savings. Fitness performance. Friendships. Sleep. Net worth.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn

“Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” — Jim Rohn

“You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.” — Jim Rohn

“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves — their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” — Peter F. Drucker

“When the brain is positive, every possible outcome we know how to test for rises dramatically.” — Shawn Achor

Follow those 5 rules, and you will become more successful. Ignore them or neglect them, and you will not. It is as simple as that.

This article first appeared on Medium