What Differentiates Ordinary & Successful People

Abhishek Shah
7 min readApr 10, 2019

Successful people are the cream of the country; the get everyone talking. Success is not something to be waited for, it’s something which needs to be claimed. Truth be told, any successful person is just like you and me.

So what makes successful people stand out? Let’s find out!

1. Ordinary people talk about other people; successful people talk about ideas.

Taking interest in other people’s lives is in human nature. Gossiping and bagging others are popular among ordinary folks. They just can’t resist talking about people. These talks often arise out of jealousy.

Successful people are more interested in improving their lives. They discuss various ideas which would help them rise above and reach great heights.

Plans, goals, aspirations and innovations — these are all the aspects of discussions between successful individuals.

Also Read: What Do You Do With an Idea?

2. Ordinary people set goals; successful people set detailed plan of actions.

Most people come up with New Year’s resolutions that they know they won’t work towards. Like any other person, a successful person also would come up with a New Year’s resolution.

Only difference being along with the resolution they come up with a detailed set of actions that would help them achieve the result. Ordinary people just set goals, successful people work towards achieving their goals.

Also Read: You’re Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way

3. Ordinary people complain about life; successful people adapt to what life throws at them.

How many times have you heard somebody whining about their problems instead of taking responsibility and dealing with it? Sometimes, life can be unfair and brutal but that’s is not something which should stop us.

You see people living a better life than you, with more chances and doors just waiting to be opened. How you act regarding this fact determines whether you’re just another person in the world or a successful individual.

The truth is, everybody struggles in their life, be it a successful person or any ordinary person. You don’t know what life has in store for you. However, it’s in your hands whether you want to go through a situation joyfully or in pain.

Successful people tackle their obstacles by finding a different path to reach their goals, unlike ordinary people who just sit around and wish that life was simpler.

Also Read: Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide To Finding Freedom From Any Of Life’s Challenges

4. Ordinary people stick to social norms; successful people create their own norms.

Social norms were put into place to govern our behavior. Normal people are afraid to break through patterns which have been set. Often, the only thing that stops them is others’ opinions. A successful person has no such restrictions.

The fact is, if there would be a recipe for success, everyone could easily replicate it. In reality, however, you have to learn rules of the game and then play better than others to achieve satisfying results.

Also Read: Change Starts Within You: Unlock the Confidence to Lead with Intuition

5. Ordinary people dream of a better future; successful people create a better future.

We all want to live a luxurious, struggle free life. We want more happiness, more freedom, better health and more financial independence. To some extent, everyone works towards achieving them.

However, the difference is an average person wastes his time dreaming, while the successful one works towards reaching his dreams. One step at a time: that person knows that acting, and not just dreaming, is what makes his fantasy a reality.

Also Read: Your Rebel Dreams: Discover Your Purpose and Passions to Power Up Your Life

6. Ordinary people let their thoughts influence them, successful people influence their thoughts.

It’s a part of human nature to have doubts and negative thoughts. What many people do is let these thoughts run their life and accept it for what it is.

On the contrary, outstanding people are conscious of their negative thoughts. They make a conscious effort to make these negative thoughts work for them and not against them. You need to learn to ignore negative aspects of life and focus on the positive ones instead.

Also Read: The Science of Influence: How to Inspire Yourself and Others to Greatness

7. Ordinary people prefer instant gratification; successful people choose long-term rewards.

Everyone likes to be rewarded. But not everyone reacts the same way to gratification. In today’s world, we prefer comfort over anything else. However, successful people recognize that many a times you need to wait to get the best experiences.

While the typical person can even get addicted to the short-term pleasures (overeating, smoking, procrastinating), a successful individual will use the long-term reward as a driving force to achieve any goal.

Also Read: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

8. Ordinary people praise overabundance; successful people praise limitation.

A typical person has a weird mindset regarding materialistic possessions. They believe the more they have the happier they would be. Eventually they fall pray to being owned by their possessions.

One of the features of a truly successful person is that they have immense self-control. This helps them to focus on things which are really important rather than wastefully spending on things which they would never use. By limiting, they create an environment in which they thrive.

Also Read: Beyond Limitations — The Power of Conscious Co-Creation

9. Ordinary people see a half-empty glass; successful people see a half-full glass.

To put it simply most ordinary people are pessimists while most successful people are optimists. The way you perceive things around you has a huge impact on the actions you take and the decisions you make. Many complain they don’t have enough resources to reach success. Simply put, they believe the glass is half-empty.

When it comes to successful people, they always make the most of what they already have. In other words, they’ll work to find a joy in the half-full glass.

Also Read: My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life

10. Ordinary people judge others; successful people only judge themselves.

Judging people is one of the most horrible habits people can have, yet many find unexplained pleasure doing it. Mediocre people spend their time in passing useless judgement on others instead of going out in the world and making a mark. It’s not like successful people don’t judge. Much to your surprise they do! Only difference being, they judge themselves — their actions, attitude and their behavior.

You Should Get This One: Don’t judge my choices if you don’t understand my reasons

11. Ordinary people watch TV every day; successful people read every day.

The thing that both ordinary and successful people have in common is having leisure time. The difference being how this time is put into use.

According to a research, a typical person will spend nine years of their life watching television. Spending nine years of your lifetime behind something which doesn’t add value to your life doesn’t seem to be worth spending time on, does it?

Books are on the other side of the spectrum. Reading adds immense value to your life — it widens your horizons and enhances your knowledge in various fields. Literally, there are books which are written to answer every problem you face. Since successful people constantly seek to improve themselves, they prefer the company of books rather than mindless chattering of people on screens.

Also Read: 9 Things to Stop Doing Immediately If You Want to be More Successful

12. Ordinary people buy things; successful people buy value.

Another similarity between the two discussed groups is obviously spending money — they both do. Except one is more materialistic and the other more intellectual.

Falling for discounted products and sale offers is what a typical person would do. These products add value to your life only for a few moments after which they fade away along with the other belongings. Nothing lasts for long, including money.

Successful folks would rather exchange their money for value. Values are not physical possessions. They are skills which stay with one forever. Commonly, values are in the form of experiences, new opportunities or adventures.

Also Read: The Quest for the Better Me!

13. Ordinary people want to be better than others; successful people want to better themselves.

People often waste time in comparing themselves to others. As a result, they lose self-esteem and confidence. They base their wishes on what they could have which would make them superior to other.

On the contrary, successful individuals pursue in bettering themselves as each day passes by. What’s more, is that they are well-wishers of others as well.

Also Read: Always Remember — You Are Awesome and Someone Needs to See Your Awesomeness!

14. Ordinary people can’t say no, successful people often say no.

How many people can relate to the situation where you’ve wanted to say “No” but were never able to? Many of us hesitate to use this word without realizing how it could change our lives in miraculous ways. We say “yes” to whatever situation is thrown at us. Consequently, we end up saying “no” to the things that matter the most.

Initially, saying “no” can be scary. But then again, considering the long-term view, it’s better to say “no” now, rather than regret the subsequent consequences of saying “yes”.

A successful individual takes the advantage of saying “no” on a daily basis, while the ordinary ones underestimates the power of this simple yet powerful two letter word.

Also Read: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World!



Abhishek Shah

Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur