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11 Habits That Exude Success

Consider this: You can polish your mind with knowledge until it is a blinding shine, but if you don't externalize it, no one will recognize it. Success is all about being noticed. You get noticed by showing the goods.

By adopting the following habits, you'll televise your qualities to the world (discreetly, of course). Just watch how people react to you.

1- Brag discreetly

I cannot emphasize the word discreetly enough. If you trumpet all your achievements and pricey possessions, you will lose everyone's respect. You want people to know that you're making it without coming off as a boaster; slip things into conversation casually. State your accomplishments as matter-of-factly as possible without the detailed trimmings, or slip them into stories.

For instance, say: "I went to New Zealand on vacation. I had some extra money from the bonus I got for increasing our sales one year." This presentation allows you to stick to the facts and incorporate an achievement into a pertinent story.

But don't make it all about you. Give credit where credit is due. By recognizing success in your peers, you invite praise to be reciprocated in the future.

2- Be a good communicator

Do you ever wonder why companies today spend so much money on PR? The reason is that effective communication has never been so important. You need to have the right words to communicate the right meaning, and remove any room for misinterpretation by people that are hungry to point out flaws.

The trick?

Choose your words carefully. Be specific and pay attention to context. Words can be warped beyond recognition if used carelessly. Relating only the bare essentials helps in this matter. And if you don't have anything nice to say about people, don't bother saying anything at all.

Listen to others. Really listen. Don't just nod while you wait for them to finish talking. You never know what valuable information could be couched in simple banter. Listen everywhere, even to conversations around the office. Sometimes, there's gold to be found in gossip.

3- Exit graciously

Sometimes, you just need to cut a conversation short or leave important company on a dime. You could just stand there listening politely, but you have better things to do. A successful person knows how to steer conversation with class, and can end one just as gracefully. Don't make excuses for your departure, because you don't have to. Besides, excuses sound dishonest. Instead, thank the other party for their time and bid them farewell. That's it. It's all about taking command of situations with style.

4- Know about life's finer things

You may be able to fire off the RBI of every Yankee batter since 1930. Big whoop. So can a lot of trailer-trash bumpkins. The successful man is a connoisseur, a bon vivant , a man whose character can only aptly be described by French words. Your knowledge of the finer things shows class and culture. It shows that you can be a peer among statesmen and business leaders. So get some books, hit some museums and get classy.

I recommend that you familiarize yourself with food, wine, cigars, art, and literature. You can't go wrong with this approach, as they comprise the standard set of fine-living goods. Oh, and you're welcome to actually enjoy them, too.

5- Have good manners

Your frat days are over, pal. Like it or not, good graces still play a big role and go a long way. And I'm not talking about excusing yourself after passing a thunderous burst of gas. I'm referring to old-school manners, such as treating women like ladies and shaking the hands of strangers that you meet. People do notice these little things and will give you the props you deserve. These are some basic manners to follow:
  • Open doors for women
  • Let others pass first
  • Say "please" and "thank you"
  • Look people in the eye when you talk to them
  • Have proper table etiquette
  • Don't interrupt others
  • Don't swear
  • Don't sleep with your boss' wife (okay, that one's a joke, but it's still strongly discouraged)

6- Make public speeches

It's about time you lost that fear of public speaking. Very few great men have gotten away with being recluses. Join your local Toastmasters or practice speaking in front of friends. When you can comfortably address a crowd, you gain a new audience to showcase your knowledge to. Here's another bonus: A good speaker is rare, and therefore always admired for his confidence and ease.

7- Keep a network of contacts

The more people you know, the more good opportunities will present themselves. But also think of a network in terms of image: Knowing lots of people shows that you are likable and in high demand. To maintain a pool of contacts, however, takes work. You should return phone calls and e-mails promptly. Work towards being seen as trustworthy and reliable.

Talking to people everyday works wonders. Anyone from your baker to the person on the bus next to you could be a potential connection to something good. Beyond that, your knack for small talk with anyone will demonstrate openness and a willingness to accept new things and ideas. It also shows that you treat everyone with respect.

Now this is crucial: You should do people favors even if you don't expect to get them repaid. Most people know how to be grateful, and your kindness will come back one day, perhaps twofold.

8- Travel

No, getting a tan while watching topless girls in Daytona Beach doesn't count. This is about broadening your horizons by going someplace different. When you travel, it shows that you're curious about the world and that you want to soak in other cultures.

A well-traveled person also has interesting stories to tell. He charms people with tales of foreign lands. He has experienced sounds, flavors and sights that many haven't, and is happy to share them. Translation: He's open-minded and less likely to clutch onto fanatic ideals.

9- Have a positive attitude

Have you ever spent an afternoon with a total curmudgeon and looked back on it as the best time you ever had? Of course not. No one likes a wet blanket. You want to radiate positive energy that people can bask in. You want to be a well of inspiration and show that you're confident and in control of your destiny.

So quit being the guy who always worries. Worrying gets nothing done. But smiling, being a source of pleasure and making the most of the present does.

10- Dress well

Your physical appearance is the first thing people see, and the first thing that they judge you on. This should be a no-brainer, but the persistence some men put into looking bad is the stuff of marathon athletes.

Here are the basics: Dress sharply in contemporary styles. Groom yourself well and have a clean shave. Smell nice, but not too strong. 

11- Be worldly

The successful man makes the effort to know what's happening in the world around him. He has informed opinions about current events and can engage intelligent people in friendly discussions. On a globalized planet, no man is an island. So get smart; it's not that hard. Pick up a newspaper and take in the world.

Good habits to hone

Successful people need to show their success to be noticed. With good exposure, only more success can follow. But you can't just flaunt it. Radiate it subtly in your everyday habits, and your success will shine through.

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