The Fifty Success Habits

So I thought that I might write a quick review of every self-help book ever written all right here in this one little post. Simple enough. I love the easy jobs. Surely it couldn’t be that hard, could it? I figured that maybe I could take the important lessons from every self-help book I’ve read and every life experience I’ve endured, condense all that into fifty key points and save everybody a whole bunch of reading time. Sure, global book sales in the self-help field might take a down-turn for a decade or so, but I’m willing to take that chance and put in a solid sixty minutes (or so) work for the good of humanity; my gift to mankind.

Selfless I know.

I thought that perhaps I could follow Stephen Covey’s lead (the Seven Habits) and come up with my own list of say… Fifty Habits (in truth, some of them are more qualities, than habits). It couldn’t be too difficult to distill all those millions of words, tens of thousands of books and that vast well of information, inspiration, wisdom and insight which has been collated over the centuries into one teensy-weensy post by the ex-fat kid right here on medotcom. Who else could be better qualified?

Don’t answer that.

Habits of successful people….

1. They look for and find opportunities where others see nothing.

They find a lesson while others only see a problem.

They are solution focused.

They consciously and methodically create their own success, while others hope success will
find them.

They are fearful like everyone else, but they are not controlled or limited by fear.

They ask the right questions – the ones which put them in a productive, creative, positive mindset and emotional state.

They rarely complain (waste of energy). All complaining does is put the complainer in a negative and unproductive state.

They don’t blame (what’s the point?). They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes (or lack thereof).

While they are not necessarily more talented than the majority, they always find a way to maximise their potential. They get more out of themselves. They use what they have more effectively.

They are busy, productive and proactive. While most are laying on the couch, planning, over-thinking, sitting on their hands and generally going around in circles, they are out there getting the job done.

They align themselves with like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team. They create win-win relationships.

They are ambitious; they want amazing – and why shouldn’t they? They consciously choose to live their best life rather than spending it on auto-pilot.

They have clarity and certainty about what they want (and don’t want) for their life. They actually visualise and plan their best reality while others are merely spectators of life.

They innovate rather than imitate.

They don’t procrastinate and they don’t spend their life waiting for the ‘right time’.

They are life-long learners. They constantly work at educating themselves, either formally (academically), informally (watching, listening, asking, reading, student of life) or experientially (doing, trying)… or all three.

They are glass half full people – while still being practical and down-to-earth. They have an ability to find the good.

They consistently do what they need to do, irrespective of how they are feeling on a given day. They don’t spend their life stopping and starting.

They take calculated risks – financial, emotional, professional, psychological.

They deal with problems and challenges quickly and effectively, they don’t put their head in the sand. They face their challenges and use them to improve themselves.

They don’t believe in, or wait for fate, destiny, chance or luck to determine or shape their future. They believe in, and are committed to actively and consciously creating their own best life.

While many people are reactive, they are proactive. They take action before they have to.

They are more effective than most at managing their emotions. They feel like we all do but they are not slaves to their emotions.

They are good communicators and they consciously work at it.

They have a plan for their life and they work methodically at turning that plan into a reality. Their life is not a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes.

Their desire to be exceptional means that they typically do things that most won’t. They become exceptional by choice. We’re all faced with life-shaping decisions almost daily. Successful people make the decisions that most won’t and don’t.

While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

They have identified their core values (what is important to them) and they do their best to live a life which is reflective of those values.

They have balance. While they may be financially successful, they know that the terms money and success are not interchangeable. They understand that people who are successful on a financial level only, are not successful at all. Unfortunately we live in a society which teaches that money equals success. Like many other things, money is a tool. It’s certainly not a bad thing but ultimately, it’s just another resource. Unfortunately, too many people worship it.

They understand the importance of discipline and self-control. They are strong. They are happy to take the road less travelled.

They are secure. They do not derive their sense of worth of self from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

They are generous and kind. They take pleasure in helping others achieve.

They are humble and they are happy to admit mistakes and to apologise. They are confident in their ability, but not arrogant. They are happy to learn from others. They are happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

They are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

They keep themselves in shape physically, not to be mistaken with training for the Olympics or being obsessed with their body. They understand the importance of being physically well. They are not all about looks, they are more concerned with function and health. Their body is not who they are, it’s where they live.

They have a big engine. They work hard and are not lazy.

They are resilient. When most would throw in the towel, they’re just warming up.

They are open to, and more likely to act upon, feedback.

They don’t hang out with toxic people.

They don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

They are happy to swim against the tide, to do what most won’t. They are not people pleasers and they don’t need constant approval.

They are more comfortable with their own company than most.

They set higher standards for themselves (a choice we can all make), which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

They don’t rationalise failure. While many are talking about their age, their sore back, their lack of time, their poor genetics, their ‘bad luck’, their nasty boss and their lack of opportunities (all good reasons to fail), they are finding a way to succeed despite all their challenges.

They have an off switch. They know how to relax, enjoy what they have in their life and to have fun.

Their career is not their identity, it’s their job. It’s not who they are, it’s what they do.

They are more interested in effective than they are in easy. While the majority look for the quickest, easiest way (the shortcut), they look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

They finish what they start. While so many spend their life starting things that they never finish, successful people get the job done – even when the excitement and the novelty have worn off. Even when it ain’t fun.

They are multi-dimensional, amazing, wonderful complex creatures (as we all are). They realise that not only are they physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. They consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

They practice what they preach. They don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

So there you have it, your days of reading self-help books are done!

Okay, maybe not. I may have missed a few. Feel free to add a habit or two of your own to the list.

* Let us know your thoughts on this post by clicking on the comment thingy and sharing from your own experiences or thoughts. If you’d like to receive articles like this automatically, simply click on the ‘subscribe to this feed’ thingy at the bottom of this post and become a subscriber.

If you liked this article, subscribe to my blog and receive my FREE eBook. Click here: I want a FREE eBook. If you’re interested in having me work with your organisation you can contact me here.

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron March 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Craig, have you been reading my diary again??? :)

Awesome post, and as I said in my comment on Stumbleupon, it’s a list worth reading if ever there was one. People would be well-advised to print it out and tack it up on their wall.

Thanks for taking the time to put this together, Craig!


Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 7:14 am

I just did!Thank you!!!


margaretforster March 17, 2008 at 4:49 am

. . . . . Y E S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

. . . . . .LUV IT !!!!!!!

. . . . . .Margaret


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 7:24 am

Hi Aaron.

Glad you enjoyed it… have a great week.


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 7:25 am

Thanks Magaret.

( )


Chris March 17, 2008 at 10:21 am

This must have taken a long time to put together. Thanks for such a comprehensive list. That will save me time reading any more self help books.


Morris March 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

Awesome list Craig. I found #44 interesting – They don’t rationalise failure. It is easy for all of us to find reasons to fail. These obstacles are very important in developing our skills to overcome and adapt.


sarah March 17, 2008 at 10:35 am

Fantastic Craig! Thanks for putting that list together.
And can I just say how much I admire you.. I’m sure you’re a very busy man with a million and one commitments, yet you still find the time to reply to each and every single comment somebody leaves you for your blogs.
You’re awesome
Big hugs


Brightfeather March 17, 2008 at 12:25 pm

A superb post that is worthy of lots of link love, I say. ;-)


Megan from Imaginif March 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm

LOVE it Craig.
It is simple and achieveable – why we humans continue to take the road less traveled (that is actually quite busy) I’ll never know. Success is ours when we begin to do things differently.
Why continue to do things when they clearly are not working for an individual.


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Hi Chris.

You’re welcome.


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Hi Morris,

thanks for dropping by.


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Hello Golden Globe Girl Sarah.

It’s a win-win relationship Sarah – blogging for the last year and a bit has taught me a huge amount.

Thanks for your kind words and here’s a hug for you ( )


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Thanks Brightfeather… lots of link love would be good!

( )


Craig Harper March 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Hi Megan.. yep.

Thanks for saying hi.

Enjoy your week. ( )


Elroys World ( la la la la) March 17, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Craig- this is Brilliant.

Can I borrow them? Can I print them up on nice little coloured pieces of paper and then cut them all out and then put them in a box , swish them around, and then pick one quote out each day and stick it to my fridge???

You know, if I wasnt married already, I would propose to you??? LOL…:)

Lucky we are moving overseas in 3 months huh? Very lucky for you…ha ha ha.

this was a great article Craig- thankyou :)


Skellie March 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Amazing list! Have you ever met anyone that ticks all of these boxes?


Jen March 17, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Wow! Just came across your blog. Gotta say, very impressive! You have probably been around forever and I am the last one to know about you.


Tami March 18, 2008 at 1:11 am

This is a great post!
Definitely worth sharing…
like Success for Dummies!

I must say… these are 50 rules to live and grow by…

Thanks for sharing your wisdom…



Fearless Dreams March 18, 2008 at 3:25 am

A great list that keeps hitting at the reader and says, “Get going already!”

A couple of possible additions:

-They pursue the truth. They want to see clearly what they’ve done, and what they can do. They want to see clearly what needs work in themselves, their business, their society. They occasionally delude themselves like anyone else, but their desire to know the truth overpowers their desire to hide from it.

-They are serious AND playful. They know that the world is full of meaning and extraordinary possibility, and that it matters what we do.
And they pursue that meaning with joy, and a certain lightness that allows them to readily question themselves and course correct.



Grahame Brown March 18, 2008 at 7:39 am


I only discovered your site this weekend and I have found your list as well as some of your other posts inspitational at at a time when I was in serious need of inspiration.

Thank you



Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 8:04 am

Hi Elroy.

Nice to hear from you…

( )


Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 8:05 am

Hi Skellie… nope!

Maybe one day.



Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 8:06 am

You’re welcome Tam ( )


Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 8:07 am

Thanks for the additions Joel.



Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 8:09 am

Hi Grahame.

You are very welcome.
Enjoy your week.


Dirty Joggers March 18, 2008 at 9:50 am

Hi Craig. So many things jumped out at me when I read this.
“While they may be financially successful, they know that the terms money and success are not interchangeable.”
Hear Hear! I should send that to certain family members who are obsessed with amassing vast amounts of money. What the hell for?? He’s still miserable.
“successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.”
That really helped me this week. It’s not just the physical stuff, it’s the mental stuff that you need to work through and that reminded me that when it comes to tough times (mental stress, trauma) you’re going to have to work through it rather than stick your head in the sand. After all, if you don’t work through the tough times, you’ll still be dealing with the crap 6 months down the track and wondering why you haven’t moved forward….

On a more personal note…. ELROY!! You can’t leave!! I can’t afford the bus fares to come and annoy you!!


Ben March 18, 2008 at 11:21 am

Hi Craig,

This is a really good summary of common sense – I’ve come across most of these in the self-help books that I’ve read over the years.

I’d like to add the following habits; 1) They express gratitude for the meaningful things, be that famliy, friends, good health etc in their life & 2) They reflect on what goes right in their life instead of what goes wrong.

I don’t think the self-help publishing industry is under threat because there will always be those that strive for a more positive and meaningful life.


Michelle Vandepas March 18, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I love this list. I can tick off quite a few that are easy for me, and others that I work towards. I think I’ll print the list and focus on where I can improve! #49 is my favorite. Complex…. yes. that’s me!


cooper March 18, 2008 at 2:07 pm

This is a great list, and I thank you because I don’t have time to read all those books anyway.

Do people with successful habits actually read self help book?


Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Hi dirty joggers.

All true.. .thanks for sharing.



Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Hi Ben.

Thanks for stopping by


Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm

We’re all complex aren’t we Michelle?

Thanks for saying hi.


Craig Harper March 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Hi Cooper. You’re welcome.

Yeah, some do read them.
In fact, many high achievers are prolific readers (of everything).



Evelyn March 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Hey Craig,

It’s my first visit here, I think. I’m already becoming a fan! Love your post on the 50 success habits – it helps that I can find them all in one place!!!

All the best,


MizFit March 22, 2008 at 2:17 am

In my mind number thirty one is the key to a great deal of things in life.

thanks for this,



Michael | University Scholar April 17, 2008 at 7:41 am

Great List!

I’m going to print it out and post it on a few classroom bulletin board.


Craig Harper April 17, 2008 at 8:17 am

Thanks Michael!



Nicholas Powiull (Conscious Flex) May 21, 2008 at 6:48 am

51, Listen to Craig Harper, he knows his stuff.

Beautiful post. I added my Digg. Thank you for being here and doing what you do!


Craig Harper May 21, 2008 at 7:25 am

You’re welcome Nicholas…


Johnny Von Zipper June 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Wonderful to read such inspiring, uplifting and dare I say it, MOTIVATIONAL comments. What an amazing time to be alive on this spinning planet. The universal intelligence / life is waiting to help us – hope this train of thought is not too WOOHOO for you guys.


Cynthia June 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I absolutely agree with Nicholas. Listen to Craig, especially when nothing else works.
I frequently take print outs of Craig’s blogs, and now I’m going to take a print out of this.


PizzaForADream October 12, 2008 at 1:54 am

Great observations. I’ve never seen anyone break this concept down so thoroughly.


B.S. Pradeep. October 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm

great post must read for you to be up there with who are really making the changes in this world.

Thanks a lot


MK2 January 9, 2009 at 5:13 am

Blimey. Just a bit of light reading before work !!

I found myself going through the list thinking to myself “Yep”, “Nope..have to work on that”, “Nope”, “Nope”…bugger “Nope”, “Yep”, you get the idea.

Another project to add to Evernote so that I can carry it around with me and yet ANOTHER Craig Harper bookmark.

Yes. It’s me. Still working through the 600.

Thanks again


Lynn January 18, 2009 at 2:22 am

This reminded me of how I came to feel after reading parenting books for years. I knew I’d never be able to pull it off being one of those wonderful people and decided to just do the best I could and trust my own judgement. I never wanted to see another parenting book again, and still don’t.
It would be great to have or develop those characteristics, but it made me want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head! I love self-help, motivational stuff, but I guess I need it in very small bits. Or something.


Jack Zufelt January 22, 2009 at 6:16 am

Wow. That’s a daunting list. Thanks for sharing.


Sharon Wilson January 22, 2009 at 6:22 am

As a practicing life coach I commend you on your insight. I know this list will be very inspirational to your readers.


Kasia June 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Yes, it’s all about me… ;-) , so accurate.

Thanks for that.


RebeccaIntuit June 17, 2009 at 11:17 pm

This was fab…. have tweeted it!


Moshi David September 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Oustanding stuff, it has given me moments of self reflection as I read through. I indeed feel that I am called to motivate others. Reading your article strengthens further my aptitute.


duggyscooter December 25, 2009 at 11:03 am

duggy <=====thot he had it made ; economy changed that ; the list of 50 will be very helpful in getting out of the rut ; i like to call it : getting out of the comfort zone ;

i do get out of my comfort zone in karate class ; sensei is great at finding the wall and pushing you a bit further ; when he calls for situps or pushups etc , i do a few more than the number ordered ; i am training me ; i am not there to get by or be praised or impress others ; i am there to use the time to maintain and even improve my fitness ; i am just glad that i do get fit and energetic ;

when i am called upon to help out by instructing the kids in the class or to warm up the regular students , i emphasize that they are there to make themselves stronger ; faster ; more disciplined ; not to just get though the class.


jay March 23, 2010 at 1:51 am

i noticed too that most successful people i know arround my neighborhood is that they have a routine habit which hard to imitate. they always sleep late at night but wake up early in the morning. i’m often wondering whats in their system that it seems they cant wait chasing the rising of the sun. and i really dont know how significant this routined habit to contribute for success in every man’s endeavor to elevate his position in life.


Gabriel April 26, 2010 at 7:30 am

You hit right on the $. No pun intended! I follow some already, but their are some I need to work on! I’ll let you know how it goes.


Ali Parvini May 4, 2010 at 1:02 am

I loved it Craig, because they are real, true and exact. :)
Thank you for your effort to humanity success.


Maylene May 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Thanks Craig that’s list is very helpful. And I really enjoyed Sunday.


Ezekwo Udoka Ifunanya June 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

am in the state of nothing how can i get something out of life


Wombat August 25, 2010 at 9:55 am

This list is now a permanent fixture next to my desk at work and at home. And no doubt It will generate some discussion and I can’t wait to tell the story!

Nice work.




Ret September 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm

These 50 are powerful habits. They must come from powerful principles. Principle is the origin of habits. Habit is the origin of talents. Talent is the origin of systems and strategies. All of these things should work together.


duggy dugg September 27, 2010 at 2:19 am

to ezekwo:
dear zeke , try to find a mission ; those who leap out of bed have a calling ; a mission ; a purpose ; an emergency ; some one or some thing needs them ; they then forget the sore neck they got from sleeping wrong ; the sore foot ; the too little sleep ; etc ;

i don’t always have this ; it is tough to find ; if , like craig harper , you are on fire with your mission ….or , somehow , your mission found you , great ! if not …get pen and paper ; make the list ; that is your mission untill you find the big one ; good luck …strike that ….good success !


stephen December 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Nice piece of work here. Informative, practical and motivational. Whenever I’m having a bad day or faced with problems, this work will re-energise me. Thanks.


duggy January 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm

self discipline is the guiding principle of robert ringer ; successful author and success coach ; i am trying to wrap my mind around that concept ; it makes sense ; i don’t think it is easy to adopt ; i bet it pays big dividends though ….


Rob Hartley April 13, 2011 at 12:52 am

This is an awesome list. I want to use some of them in my own blog and let people know that these are a must. I will give you all the credit and I hope it will drive people to you. Thank for the insights. Only 50 incredible thoughts, but one can spend years following up and doing something about each one. Thanks, I’m a student of yours now!


duggy April 13, 2011 at 8:17 am

stop f……………….ooling around ! seems to be the theme of the piece above left ! that would seem to incorporate the idea of self discipline ! also relevant : show up and get on with it !! ! !


Ankur Sharan May 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Hi, great job, keep motivating..
keep updating.
Good Luck


Amrita Sharma June 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

It’s really very effective.
Thanks for all…
Good luck.


duggy June 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm

ankur and amrita ….get specific ! “good luck” is not a plan ! vague meaningless ….. :(


Mumarella October 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

:) I do follow most of these and find it leads me to a pretty rich life (emotionally) tho I think another good one to add would be
* Is considerate and empathetic to others and their situations but doesn’t focus all their time and attention towards the problems of others, they offer a ear and a shoulder without taking on their burdens!… this is one I have personally struggled with and have found being to Empathetic has held be back and created allot of hurdles!…
I stumbled across this whiles looking for a Motivational speech the take apart for my Diploma of Business!…. not what I was looking for but a REALLY good read! :)


Anonymous January 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I would like to add that successful people fail, correct their mistakes and do it!


Nilesh N Parakh February 22, 2012 at 12:12 am

Nice work thanks for the work craig


Anonymous March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Think about it. What could be the single most important element that is the origin or a pointer of all these qualities? That holds them together?. Of course the people who had it did not practice one by one. Can you think abt this?


Slavica May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

Thank you! You made me feel OK to be me an it comes at the perfect moment. I could write a novel on all that this meant to me. But I think you will be able to feel the quiet power of silent gratefulness where the heart speaks with no words needed.


Shely June 12, 2012 at 9:32 am

Wow, this is my husband….all of it! Me on the other hand, have spent years trying to do most of these things and usually come up a bit short…no, make that a lot short. I see the advantages of being one of these people, it would save me so much time not worrying about everyone and everything while not really getting too much done.


duggy dugg November 21, 2013 at 4:59 am

make a list of 6 things …now throw it away ….now make a list of 3 things …the first is your alpha plan…the next is tentatively your beta plan [ plan b ] next is plan charlie…

what is your alpha ? cleaning the attic ? going to the foot docltor ? taking a college course ? patenting a toy ? putting up a greenhouse ? learning to sew ; weld ; sing ; paint ; sell your software idea ? ….that’s your can’ t do it 24/7…but you can return to it time and time again …each time doing a chunk or a chip ….baby steps or big steps …hope it helps
i emailed frequent encouragement to a 52 year old friend who decided she wanted to go to med school…she took baby steps …sure , side steps ; down time ; personal time but kept returning to plan alpha …she is now dr gwen at age 55 :)


Sirius Star July 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Nice post. Its all accurate. Have tweeted it… :)


Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Luv the way your write Craig! its as though you have documented exactly how i wish to live my life!


ERNEST OPPONG September 4, 2012 at 1:59 am



Joe Medlen September 12, 2012 at 2:31 am

Awesome Post!!! I will have in the hands of everyone I associate with!!


Clare September 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hi Craig I love it, printing it out as I need to remind myself each day to get cracking, I am not a spring chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!
so many things I want to achieve in life but seem to sleep my life away at the moment.


Anonymous February 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm


Again, thank you for your gift to those of us who are ready for your teachings. I truly appreciate your hard work and generosity of spirit.



rachid February 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

great article thank you so much for sharing these tips with us


Harry July 14, 2013 at 5:48 am

Great list.

Setting goals and taking consistent action is also a great habit shared by most of successful people.


duggy dugg July 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

when you get overloaded and / or overwhelmed it is tempting to do nothing or do something escapist…the antidote , if you can’t do a chunk …do a chip …or as dave ramsay says ; take baby steps …i did that today ..rounded up tools to change chain on motorbike…found one piece missing …now i have a chip to do tomorrow…go to harbor freight and get the missing 27mm socket wrench ..if i hadn’t done the chips [ baby steps] i would not have identified the next chip and the job would not have progressed …if you have a clear chip [ baby step ] your focus is lazer like…easy …cross off list…yeah i know , i know , the multi taskers and very capable megga acomplishers would laugh at this miniscule approach …for us mere mortals who get stuck sometimes , it is the answer, the way to get it done…


Tony November 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

that was one awesome list ……….. i just know now how to be a man….


duggy dugg February 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

baby steps still apply …now that the economy is sliding, prepping is the alpha plan….food ; water; solar


Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: