Life can often feel like a perpetual competition. In many ways, it is.
You're always competing for a job, a partner, better pay, better benefits, a better life. It can be exhausting and discouraging.
We'll all face obstacles at some point, both large and small. There'll be times when it feels it's impossible to get ahead, but this is an illusion. As Winston Churchill once stated:
The first quality that is needed is audacity.
Be bold, take risks and say "yes" as often as possible. It's the first step on the road to success, but you'll need a lot more to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack.
Here are eight daring qualities that will set you apart from the competition:
1. Have natural camouflage, conquer every situation.
A Chinese Proverb says,
A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.
You're alive and breathing today because your ancestors adapted to their environment. Without adaptability, nothing survives. You have to be flexible in life; you can't get anywhere if you're not willing to step outside of your comfort zone.
Be like water, and effortlessly adapt to your surroundings.
2. Be your own damn teacher. Keep your eyes open and grab the bull by the horns.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
There's nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who believes they know everything. Remain open-minded, assume nothing and stay cognizant of the fact that the only constant in life is change.
Listen to others, observe the world around you and revel in the fact that we live on such a beautiful and dynamic planet.
Never stop asking questions.
3. Only weak people need constant attention. Don't talk about it, be about it.
Ernest Hemingway said,
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
No one likes a braggart. Don't be loud about your achievements and capabilities, let your accomplishments speak for themselves. People are drawn to those who are exceptionally talented, yet genuinely don't believe they're better than anyone.
Everyone is worthy of respect. We're all human, and everyone has weaknesses.
None of us are infallible. Be humble.
4. Get off your ass and conquer the world. Right now.
Apathy is your greatest enemy and as Salvador Dali once said,
Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.
Without drive, we have nothing. You don't have to know everything you want out of life at this very moment. You do need to be willing to seize opportunities when they come your way. This might inconvenience you at the moment, but it will pay off immensely in the long run.
It's through struggle that we mold champions. Embrace challenges and recognize the value of failure.
5. You're good, but you're not that good. Cut the bullsh*t and be a team-player.
Anyone who tells you they've achieved success completely independently is a liar or delusional at best. Not even Jordan got to where he is alone. He said,
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
We get ahead in life by accepting help when we need it, and reciprocating whenever we can. Humans are an inherently social species. We rise together or we fall alone.
6. Only fools rush in, wait for your moment and don't hesitate, execute.
One of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, once said:
He that can have patience can have what he will.
Success doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. There is no shortcut. Don't give up because something is difficult or seems impossible.
You can't rush a good thing. Stay focused and recognize that defeat can be more valuable than victory. Failure helps us gain perspective and grow as people.
7. Don't take sh*t from anyone, but don't be a jerk either. Know your strengths and your weaknesses.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
That quote comes from none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. And there's a distinct difference between confidence and arrogance. Know what you're capable of, but don't broadcast it to the world. Actions speak louder than words. Don't overextend yourself, but don't doubt your abilities either.
8. Don't let anything discourage you. If the world tries to shoot you down, smile and shoot back.
Negativity is perhaps the most pointless emotion -- and no one knew that more than Nelson Mandela. He once famously said,
I am fundamentally an optimist... Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward.
Negativity will get you nowhere. Self-pity is a waste of the precious time we're given on this earth. Stay positive and realize progress isn't always linear.
Sometimes we have to take several steps backward in the short-term in order to move forward in the long-term.