They did something right. 

Melissa Locker
June 26, 2018

There are some lucky people in the world who seem to have everything fall into their laps, while the rest of have to use good old-fashioned elbow grease to get what we want in life. However, to paraphrase famed film producer Samuel Goldwyn you may find that the harder you work, the luckier you get. What often looks like “luck” from the outside often boils down to a few habits that most successful people have in common, which add up and help them succeed.

Here are a few of the traits and tips that successful people have in common. If you consistently incorporate them into your daily routine, you may find yourself more productive and more successful, no “luck” required.

They wake up early

Nearly 50 percent of the wealthy people say they wake up at least three hours before their workday starts. This doesn’t mean they sacrifice sleep, though. Albert Einstein said he needed 10 hours of sleep a night to function at his best and media maven Arianna Huffington says that “sleep [is] a performance enhancer.”

They have morning routines

Wake up, hit the gym, eat breakfast, have family time, choose whichever routine works best for you—but definitely choose a routine and stick to it. Or you can try this 24-minute morning routine.

They make time for themselves

Many successful CEOs star their days with self-care. That could be going on an early morning run, taking time to meditate (studies have shown it can help reduce depression and anxiety), or simply sitting in bed drinking coffee and perusing the newspapers. Billionaire Richard Branson even claims that staying fit doubles his productivity. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning and immediately meditates and Oprah is a fan of the practice, too.

They plan their days

Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran starts her day by sorting her to-do list into “A tasks” a.k.a. the most important ones, followed by B and C tasks. "I always schedule and tackle A tasks in the morning, as it's my most productive time," she said. "My to-do list is in charge of my life, so I give it proper respect." Take a few minutes at the start of the day to strategize. Visualize your goals, make a checklist of your tasks, and plan to tackle the hardest project first. That way you’re more likely to get it done and be able to cross it off your to-do list.

They work on their communication skills

Virgin CEO Richard Branson has said that “communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” If you’re not a naturally skilled communicator, try to improve your skills. Branson wrote in a blog post that, “If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

They never stop learning

McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc once asked, “Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?” He knew it was important for people to continue learning new skills, picking up new habits, and expanding their minds. That can be done through going back to school, attending conferences, taking classes, conversing with and, of course, reading. Some 88 percent of self-made millionaires say they devote 30 minutes or more each day to reading, according to CNBC .

They don’t sweat the small stuff

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg wears the exact same outfit every day, while former President Barack Obama told Vanity Fair that he wears only blue or gray suits, and former J. Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons eats the same thing for lunch every day. Why? To focus their decision making on what’s really important in life and avoid so-called “decision fatigue.

They don’t let setbacks slow them down

After his first screen test, MGM's scouting director described Fred Astaire in a memo as: "Can't act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire didn’t let the dismal report keep him down. Instead, he kept it over the fireplace of his Beverly Hills home as he danced his way to fame and stardom.

They don’t give up on their dreams

At the age of 22, Walt Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” One of his early ventures, called Laugh-o-gram Studios went bankrupt. He kept his sights set on his dreams, though, eventually creating an entertainment empire, winning 32 Academy Awards—the most Oscars won by an individual—and creating “the happiest place on earth.” Need more inspiration? Oprah Winfrey was told she was “too emotional” and “not right for television.” She ignored the criticism and went on to star in her own talk show and found a media empire.

They are grateful

As Oprah said, “Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you do not have, you will never have enough.” Keep a gratitude journal or just spend two minutes in bed at night remembering everything you have to be grateful for in your life.