The #1 recipe for successfully achieving goals: stick with the winners, avoid the losers

“Winners act like winners before they become winners. That’s how they become winners.” -Bill Walsh

If you want your life to be better, there’s a simple solution: stick with the winners and avoid the losers.

Losers are the people who don’t know what they’re talking about but pretend as they do.

Losers like to hear themselves talk, even if they’re not saying anything.
Losers are the people who complain about circumstances without trying to change anything.

Winners take massive action because massive action = massive results. Winners spend more time learning and growing. Winners rarely speak.

When they do, you better listen.

In The Three Musketeers, the leader of the musketeers was Athos — wise, capable, a true winner. All the other musketeers saw him with awe and reverence.

But Athos rarely spoke or gave advice. “Athos…never gave his advice before it was demanded and even then it must be demanded twice,” wrote Alexandre Dumas. Athos was not one to speak just to be heard.

There’s always a lot of junk out there about “success” and “achieving your goals.” It’s hard to sort through the noise to find the really good stuff.

But just remember: Stick the winners. Avoid the losers.

The world is trying to make sure you become a loser

As David Schwartz once penned, “All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class Street.”

Most people will never escape the pull.

There are entire departments at Fortune 500 companies with dozens of highly-trained, highly-paid professionals whose sole job is to get you to pay attention to their advertisements and activity. Your smartphone, your smartwatch, your computer, and your TV have all been meticulously designed to keep you focused on it, not the world around you.

And these people are really good at their jobs.

Many people have fallen into this trap, spending more time on distractions than making actual progress towards their goals.

There’s a reason most people won’t have great relationships; as part of a recent study, The National Science Foundation (NSF) asked 1,500 people how many friends they had that they could talk with about their personal troubles or triumphs.

1 in 4 said they had no one to talk with. That number doubled when they took out family members.

Two-thirds of Americans say they’ve lost more than 90% of the friends they had 10 years ago. Many Americans can only claim to have 2 close friends — maybe less.

Why do most people have mediocre relationships — or none at all?
Because they’ve haven’t declared that they will not give in to the world with its never-ending stream of distractions and entertainment.

One of the brutal truths I learned growing up is that the world doesn’t want you to succeed — it wants you to pay. The world acts kind of like a casino; so much time and energy has been spent in keeping you where you are, unaware of the outside world, as an obedient cog in the machine, spending money and not complaining.

Instead, choose learning and growth over the endless stream of distractions. Don’t let the world decide what you get to be.

Winners Act Like Winners Before They Become a Winner

Deep down, most people don’t think they have what it takes to be extraordinary.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, of course — if you don’t believe you can, you surely won’t!

I blogged for over 4 years and never got more than 200 subscribers. Looking back, I see now that I never really believed I could produce truly great writing. I never really acted like a winner — I acted like a no-name blogger.

But in the past couple of years, I’ve gained millions of readers. I got a book deal. I was able to quit my job and become a full-time writer.

This is because I started to take my writing seriously — started to take myself seriously.

I began believing in myself. I started acting like a winner before I found any success.

So what did I do?

Well, I started by buying online courses and reading tons of books. I started waking up at 5:00 am every day to write. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on books, coaching, courses, conferences, and all kinds of personal development since then.

I treat myself like someone who knows they’re one of the best writers on the Internet. Soon, I will be.

“No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it.” -Napoleon Hill

I’ve found that once you tell your mind what to do, it will make it happen.
Right now, one of my goals is to gain $100,000 this year.

What’s crazy is I actually believe this can happen. As a result, my mind is always subconsciously finding solutions to make this happen.

Most people will never experience the surge of excitement after beginning to truly believe enormous success is possible.

Winners act like winners before they become winners. They believe they can succeed, and their mind starts working on how to get there.

“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao

The 3 Things Everyone Needs to Sacrifice

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. “ -Herman Melville

Everyone has different, unique things they’ll need to sacrifice in order to begin living an extraordinary life.

But there are 3 things everyone will need to give up.

1. Security and Certainty

One of the cornerstones of an extraordinary life is giving up the safety nets, security, and guarantees of a normal life.

Maybe this is a steady paycheck at a job that will never allow you to reach your full potential. Maybe it’s the static 9–5 schedule. Maybe it’s a guaranteed retirement plan.

Of course, you don’t have to live in this scenario for the rest of your life. This lifestyle is exhausting at first — you’re always on your toes, never knowing when the next paycheck is coming in, unsure of the future.

But the extraordinary life gives you full control over your life and actions, at the cost of the comfort of having others call the shots.

This is one of the hardest parts to give up and takes a long time to really sink in for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs, adventurers, and risk-takers.

2. Fear of Judgement

“The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you.” -Bette Midler

If you post a status on Facebook that says, “I got the job!” you’re likely to get dozens, even hundreds of likes.

But if you post a status that says, “I finally started my own business!” you’re likely to experience little engagement at all.

Which brings us to the next requirement of an extraordinary life: letting go of your fear of judgment.

When you start hanging around with winners, you’ll feel great. But when people notice you’ve stopped hanging out with them, you might get some annoyed, judgmental responses.

Trying to explain your extraordinary life to others will begin to seem like a lost cause. Most people are afraid you’ll achieve the dreams they never did, and so they attempt to protect themselves from that failure by bringing you down.

The extraordinary life looks crazy to an outsider. They don’t understand it, and they’re afraid of it. To an individual living a “normal” life, the characteristics of an extraordinary life seem foolish, stupid, and unrealistic.

They don’t understand why you go to the gym even when you’re exhausted. They don’t understand why you’d wake up at 6 am on the weekend when you could be sleeping in. They don’t understand why you’d prefer a wild, inconsistent, frightening life full of uncertainty when you could choose the comfort and safety of a normal one.

So they judge you. They criticize you, condemn you, and ostracize you by singling you out as stupid, naive, and silly.

You must ignore this.

You will never succeed if you continue to take more stock in what your critics say than what you believe about yourself.

This is another extremely difficult thing to give up. Separating ourselves from the herd is scary, and the criticisms and warnings from others might even sound-wise.

Let it go. This is your life, not theirs.

3. Other People’s Definition of Success

In the words of Srinivas Rao: At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.

But, giving up other people’s definition of success is incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a daily habit of comparing less and creating more.

“Success” doesn’t just mean what the larger mob of society says it means: “lots of money, fame, and fortune.” Many people with fame, fortune, and lots of money have terribly empty, imbalanced lives.

Your success isn’t defined by what other people say.

No one can define your success but you. If you continue to let others tell you what success is, you’ll never reach it. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true success, because it’s not what you really valued.

No, living an extraordinary life means defining your own version of what success is. You can begin to spend your time on what really matters to you.
Do you really want 100,000 Twitter followers? Do you really need to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list? Do you really want to be a New York Times bestselling author?

Or is your version of success more narrowed, more focused, more specific?
If you want to live an extraordinary life, your definition of success must be your own. If we are always chasing what other people tell us to, we’ll never experience true success.

Let go of other people’s versions of success. Define your own success, and achieve it.

That is true success.

In Conclusion

Stick with the winners.

Avoid the losers.

Most people in your life have no idea how to get where you want to go.
Be selective with where you get your information. Trust yourself. When in doubt, take a step forward. Small progress, every day.

If you want what no one else has, you must do what no one else does. Seek out the right teachers and training. For every source, ask yourself:

Do they have what I want?

If they do, follow them.

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This article originally appeared in Medium.