Success often seems like a great mystery. Some people are destined for it while others aren’t, the thinking goes.
But that’s probably not the case. While luck and genetics may play a role, there are learnable behaviors that make success more likely.
Over on Quora, there’s a thread dedicated to sharing the most important habits of highly accomplished individuals. We rounded up 11 intriguing ones below.
You’ll notice that none of these habits require major life overhauls. Instead, it’s about making small tweaks to your daily routines that could potentially result in huge payoffs.
Read on to find out what makes successful people tick:
“At the highest level of professional sports they consider skills and techniques a given. You can’t reach that level without them. What allows them to beat their opponents is not more time spent honing their skills, but more focus on perfecting their internal dialogue.”
Meanwhile, University of Michigan research suggests that talking to yourself like you’d talk to someone else in the same situation can help you deal with stressful experiences. Specifically, use the pronoun “you” or your first name instead of “I.” For example, “You can do it, John.”
Stawicki points out that several historical figures kept journals, including Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
But you don’t have to aspire to world domination to benefit from keeping a diary. One University of Iowa study found that journaling about thoughts and emotions helped college students deal with stressful events.
Two Quora users cited meditation as a primary habit of successful people.
Indeed, research has found that meditation has a number of mental and physical health benefits, from improving memory to increasing compassion to boosting the immune system.
Check out one Business Insider reporter’s experience with a popular meditation app.
As psychotherapist Amy Morin told Business Insider, mentally strong people are acutely aware of how their emotions influence their thoughts and behaviors, and they monitor the fluctuations in their emotions throughout the day.
Investing legend Warren Buffett reportedly spends about 80% of his day reading. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg pledged to read a book every two weeks in 2015. Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said that he learned how to build rockets by reading books.
Ahmed’s advice for becoming a bookworm? “Just read what you are interested in” and start with a few pages a day.
You can start improving your communication behaviors by checking out these seven key skills of master communicators, including using the appropriate tone and body language, and being direct and candid.
Butevics highlights another point from the Lifehack article: Successful people “understand the importance of discipline and self-control.”
But at least one expert says it’s more about avoiding temptation. In his book “Atomic Habits,” productivity expert James Clear writes that “‘disciplined’ people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.”
In a since-deleted answer, Amy Yeole points out that successful people “have specific routines and rituals set for the start and end of every day.”
For example, John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of Patron tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, starts every daywith five minutes of quiet reflection.
And Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor of The Huffington Post, reads hard-copy books before hitting the hay each night.
Yeole mentions that successful people “have some ‘me-time’ every day.”
According to Morin, the psychotherapist, mentally strong people don’t fear alone time— instead, they see it as a chance to reflect and replenish their energy. She recommends taking a few minutes every day to be alone with your thoughts to process what’s happening around you.
Kyriacos Antoniou writes that successful people are typically highly conscientious.
That means that they’re organized, responsible, and hardworking, and are able to control their impulses.
Research has found that conscientiousness is the only major personality trait that consistently predicts success, in terms of factors like income and job satisfaction. That’s partly because conscientious people are better at setting and achieving goals, especially in the face of obstacles.
Smitaa Balaji highlights persistence as a top habit of successful people.
That goes along with theories from a neuroscientist and a psychologist, who say that your first thought is hardly ever your best one. Successful people know that, so they keep coming up with ideas until they finally hit the jackpot.
Originally published on Business Insider.
More from Business Insider:
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.