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Four Secrets of Consistent Winners

By Philip E. Humbert, PhD

As a coach and student of consistent high achievers, I'm often asked, Why are some people winners time after time, while others work just as hard but never seem to "put it all together?"

I believe the answer falls into two basic categories, one that makes a small contribution, and a second that makes (essentially) ALL the difference.

The first category, which accounts for very little of the difference, is talent. Whether you call it talent or genius or aptitude, it's clear that inherent abilities do play a (small) role. It's important to know our strengths and use them to our advantage.

If I want to play basketball, being tall and quick does help. Chuck Yeager is said to have had extraordinary eye- sight, and as a test pilot that must have made a difference. For an engineer, a gift for numbers and math will obviously make things easier.

Last week I had a wonderful conversation with a man who studied under Albert Einstein at Princeton almost 60 years ago and he noted that Einstein was NOT a particularly gifted mathematician! He struggled to balance his checkbook, but he had a remarkable imagination and the ability to immerse himself in a problem until he found the answer. THAT made all the difference.

In my study of top performers, the difference that really matters time after time is that winners have a SYSTEM. Most people tackle problems in a haphazard way and they get haphazard results. Winners don't do that!

Here's a simple four-step process that consistent winners use over and over again:

  1. First, they get very (VERY!) clear about exactly what they want. They picture their desired outcome in precise detail. They never set out to make "more" money. Instead, they set out to "make $25,000 this month." Some people refer to this as visualization, while others call it an affirmation. All I know is that winners know what they want and they picture it in detail, all day long, every day, in advance until it becomes their reality.
  2. Second, winners use precise "cognitive systems." That means they have clear strategies, they think rationally and continuously about the problem and their desired solution. They do careful research and ask experts for help. They invest in education, skills, tools and resources to put the odds in their favor. They are passionate and can be emotional, but when it comes to winning, they are calm, cool, and collected. They are good, clear thinkers.
  3. Third, winners use what I call Personal Eco-Systems to improve their chances for success. There's a reason Thomas Edison practically lived in his lab. There's a reason Martha Stewart is so elegant, even in her garden. There's a reason writers surround themselves with books and hang out with other writers. Winning athletes watch films, they study (and memorize) the stats of their heroes. Surround yourself with an environment that makes it hard to fail!
  4. Fourth, winners work harder than losers. You may not like this part, but winners work very, very hard. They practice. They study. They sacrifice and make hard choices. They are the first ones to work in the morning and the last ones to leave at night. Based on their visualizations, their carefully-thought-out strategies, and supported by the environment they've created, they take massive ACTION.
The truth is that while talent and genius are helpful, the winners in life simply have better systems. They study winners. As Tony Robbins says, "success leaves clues" and winners use strategies that have worked for other people. They surround themselves with a rich environment that inspires them, and they work very hard.

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