7 Habits To Get You From Good To Great

Image via Unsplash/Joshua Earle

The difference between good and great is so subtle, yet makes all the difference. It comes down to identifying our habits, taking inventory of the actions that shape our behaviors. Our lives are the sum total of our habits; if you’re able to change or build the right ones, a minor adjustment will lead to major improvements.

Whether in business or life, these seven habits can be the subtle shift that will turn your life from good to great:

1. A Healthy Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist is typically criticized. Rightly so, when it paralyses you from getting any work done. But there is a healthy perfectionism, for greatness is found in setting a high standard and refusing to compromise for anything less.
Finding that balance between perfection and production is key. Your high standards should never hold you back from getting work done. Have high expectations, but produce consistently.

2. Rituals

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, great achievers start their day with a ritual. Oprah doesn’t leave her home without her time of meditation; Bill Gates spends an hour on the treadmill; Steve Jobs asked himself this question every morning:

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

As soon as you wake up, engage in a set of personal practices to set your mind on target and launch you through the rest of your day. Humans are creatures of habit and ritual; it’s essential to form them from the minute you wake up.

3. Reframing Negatives

Those who’ve achieved greatness don’t carry perfect scorecards; their victories are matched by their defeats. In fact, it’s in their losses and failures that they find strength.

Thomas Edison, who ‘failed’ his way toward the light bulb, is the perfect example of reframing negatives. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

4. Saying “No”

Productivity is often synonymous with success, but there’s a difference between busy and effective. Becoming great means delegating and directing your time only toward what’s most profitable.

Have a good idea of what your destination looks like, and don’t let tempting opportunities and alternatives derail you.

5. Being A Bookworm

Warren Buffet is known for spending most of his day reading. It seems counterintuitive considering the amount he accomplishes. However, every decision he makes is a game-changer; he has researched and knows his subjects inside-out and is always ahead of the game.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Greatness comes from constantly sharpening your mind through reading.

6. Finding Your Unique “Zone”

The renowned writer and poet Maya Angelou had the unusual habit of renting a hotel room in every town she’s lived in. She’d never stay overnight; it was only her place for writing. She would take everything off the walls and get in the zone for creating great work.

Popular author Jonathan Franzen writes with earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold. Others take a notepad into the sauna, or keep one in the bathroom to jot down great ideas that come during their shower.

It’s easy to get carried away with a panacea for greatness, but everyone is different. Going from good to great means finding your unique way of tapping into your flow.

7. Gratitude

Focusing on all the goodness you’ve experienced in life will be the fuel that propels you to greatness. Psychologist Shawn Achor explains that gratitude causes the brain to release endorphins and oxytocin, lowers stress, and increases optimism. His studies show that people who regularly practiced gratitude were more productive and happy at work.

Think of five things to be grateful for each day. Gratefulness will lead you to greatness.