100 Things Successful People Do: Little Exercises for Successful Living

100 Things Successful People Do: Little Exercises for Successful Living

by Nigel Cumberland


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100 Things Successful People Do: Little Exercises for Successful Living by Nigel Cumberland

Do you have what it takes to succeed in life, in work and in your relationships?

100 Things Successful People Do is a guidebook to achieving success in any aspect of your life. You will discover the habits that are common to successful people and find out how to adopt them into your own life so that you can be successful too. Mixing simple instructions with activities to get you started, whether you are looking to succeed in your family life, at work, in sports, at school or in retirement, you will find, mindsets, habits and techniques here that will help you get the results you want.

100 Things Successful People Do is an attractive hardback - perfect to give as a gift or keep for yourself

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781857886627
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 283,534
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Nigel Cumberland is a coach who helps people optimise and enhance their effectiveness. He has coached and trained execs at various organisations including at the World Bank Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Google, Bureau Veritas, the Dubai Government, Kaercher, the UAE's Al-Futtaim Group, Saudi Airlines, GASCO and Saudi Arabia's largest bank, NCB. He is one of a global network on just 40 Marshall Goldsmith approved coaches. He is also a member of Harvard Business Review's Advisory Council.

Read an Excerpt

100 Things Successful People Do

By Nigel Cumberland

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Copyright © 2016 Nigel Cumberland
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-85788-662-7



'You will live a much better life if you pursue your passions. People who work on the things that they love usually enjoy life more than everyone else does simply because they are chasing their dreams.'

Richard Branson

Dreams are the fuel for your success. Without them there can never be any meaningful and lasting success in your life. Like a car engine without high-quality fuel you risk living a life that never quite gets started.

Behind every successful person there is a dream fulfilled. I have coached dozens of successful people and all have come to their success through achieving at least one of their dreams. It may have been a dream from their childhood or a dream that appeared later in their life, but there is always at least one dream linked to their achievements – something that motivated, drove, excited and captivated them. This dream becomes the goal that pushes you to believe in the impossible, to make unexpected life changes, to step out of your comfort zone and to take unimagined risks.

As adults we often choose to ignore or forget what we really love. We let ourselves be driven by other people's guidance and expectations. I can speak from painful experience: at school I loved Geography but followed others' advice and studied Economics at university. I became an accountant rather than following my own career dreams. Have you made a similar choice in your life? Sometimes it is only with hindsight that you realize you were not following your own path.

Successful people never forget what they love to do and are passionate about. They quickly learn to follow their own path and to make the right choices, no matter how crazy or unpopular they might appear to others. Just look at Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, who quit studying at a prestigious university to pursue his dreams.

Put it into action

Know your own dreams

What is your dream? What do you really want to achieve? What dreams should you be chasing?

Make a list using a mixture of words, doodles and pictures. This can help you see connections between your ideas and discover long-forgotten goals and desires. The following questions will help you:

• As a child what did you love to do and want to become?

• If money was not an issue, what kind of life and work would you choose to have?

• What parts of your life today do you really love and want more of?

• What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

• Which aspects of your friends' or colleagues' lives do you look upon with a little envy?

Optimistically believe in your dreams

Think about how you will achieve your dreams and observe if your mind starts being fearful and negative. Perhaps your mind says 'I am too old and it is too late to do this', 'Now I am married with a mortgage I cannot make any big changes to my life' or 'My parents will never support my ideas.' Successful people will tell you that there will always be reasons not to do something. You simply have to find the strength and courage to step forward and start.

Create solutions to achieving your dreams

Knowing how you will achieve your dreams can seem daunting and scary. The remaining 99 chapters in this book will provide you with the tools and solutions you need to remove the fear. The key is to recognize where you are now, where you want to be and explore how to close any gap. It is not easy and I encourage you to enlist the help of those closest to you, ideally aligning your dreams with theirs so that together you can aim to achieve some common dreams.



'Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.'

Vaclav Havel

Saying 'I don't know' takes guts but it's an immensely positive reaction and a clear sign that you don't take yourself too seriously. Knowing when you don't know the answer and being honest about it is one of the greatest skills you can have. If you aim to be perfect, you'll only end up disappointed. When you admit your blind spots, people will flock to support you.

Too many people act is if they know what to do in situations where they're desperately out of their depth. Too many people try to project confidence in what they're doing or saying, when what they really need is help. There's immense pressure, both at home and at work, to act as if you have all the answers.

The secret is to know when to say: 'Wait a minute – I have absolutely no idea.'

When events challenge you it's tempting to fight back and hold firm to what you once said or believed, leaving you blind to other people's opinions and suggestions. Successful people are happy to admit that they were wrong or that they just don't know.

Life is unpredictable and uncertain. You can never be right all the time. Sometimes the best thing to do is to chill, step back, admit you could do with some help and stop taking yourself so seriously.

Put it into action

Find your blind spots

Think about the following question:

Have you ever stubbornly held on to a view or opinion, refusing to explore if you might actually have been wrong?

What were you blind to and why was that so? Can you see a pattern emerging of how you act? Do you always like to win arguments with your partner? Do you never take into consideration what younger people say to you? Have you always hated losing and live with a 'win at all costs' mindset?

Be willing to change behaviours and become more open-minded. Over the course of a typical day making decisions, forming opinions, giving answers, practise asking yourself 'Am I missing anything? Is there a side to this that I am not seeing?'

You need a jester

Uncovering blind spots can be difficult. Enlist the help of family, friends or colleagues to be your jesters. Just as in a medieval king's court, they can tell you when you are being too stubborn, making a fool of yourself or taking yourself too seriously. Which would you prefer: to be told by a jester that you have made a mistake or to be laughed at by others?

Learn to laugh at yourself

Successful people are normally very good at making light of themselves, their mistakes and incorrect thinking. Be ready to happily eat humble pie and always laugh at yourself.



'The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.'

Leonard I. Sweet

Successful people never rely upon chance or fate. You might look at someone successful and think they got lucky – a case of being in the right place at the right time perhaps? The truth is, every piece of good fortune is the result of hours, or even years, of hard work and preparation.

It is not enough simply to have dreams and a plan of how to achieve them. Putting a plan into action involves telling yourself that you will create your own future; that luck or fate will not solely determine what happens. You need the right mindset and you need to take control. Be ready to persist, work hard, sacrifice, and take risks, and to simply do what it takes.

Never resign yourself to what the future holds. I coach too many individuals who have given up on trying to influence their future. They have abdicated responsibility, giving all kinds of lame excuses, blaming bad luck or other people for their lives to date and what the future holds. It is too easy and simplistic to feel that, if you have not succeeded yet, you will not succeed in the future. Overcoming fatalistic thinking is essential if you really want a great future.

Many successful people have had to overcome adversity to achieve their goals – think of Winston Churchill who failed in his political career over many years before eventually becoming the UK's Prime Minister.

Not allowing what happened in the past to determine your future starts in your mind. What you think and feel is key. Are you able to say and believe that you are creating your own future or, to paraphrase the William Ernest Henley poem 'Invictus', that you are the master of your fate?

Put it into action

Do not let others bring you down

You may be keen to share your dreams with your family, friends and colleagues, but do so with care. Too many people take a 'glass half empty' view of life. They may be cynical, jealous, negative or sarcastic. People I coach have shared their goals with loved ones only to be told: 'You must be joking' or 'Get your feet back on the ground.' People may not understand your plans at first, so give them time to come around.

Seek supportive environments in which you can create your future. This might entail pulling away from certain people who are unable to accept and be positive about your plans.

Reframe your view

Are you are having difficulty believing that you can create a fantastic future for yourself? Limiting beliefs can be hard to overcome but it's easier if you understand where they come from. Today, note down all the negatives that are stopping you. It is perfectly normal to fear the worst, to think things are harder than they are. Once you've captured all the limiting beliefs, attempt to reframe your thinking by looking for the positives in negative situations. For example, if you have been fired from a job, recognize that this has given you the freedom to seek new opportunities.

Take a good look at your future plans and dreams and ask yourself what you are most concerned about. Think about the worst that can happen and ask yourself whether that outcome is really likely to occur. Is it a reason to stop you creating the future you desire?



'Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll

Have you been guilty of reacting without thinking, getting angry too quickly, acting jealously or being too easily provoked? Losing control of your emotions can damage your chances of living a successful life. It can easily be the difference between success and failure.

Examples of poor emotional intelligence (EQ) are all around us – people arguing on the bus, parents shouting at their children on the street or someone swearing at their boss while angrily handing in their resignation.

EQ is an essential ingredient of a balanced and fulfilled life. It is the foundation for being a successful partner, parent and work colleague. Successful careers, marriages, families and business partnerships are destroyed by moments of emotional madness.

It's easy to laugh at someone like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who swears and shouts in his kitchen, but to ensure a successful life you must avoid making others sad, unhappy or fearful. To do this, you have to learn to keep your emotions in check. If you need to get upset or angry with someone, do so in a very conscious way so that you don't lose control or react without thinking. You cannot spend your life apologizing for having lost control of your emotions.

Being able to put yourself in other people's shoes and see life through someone else's eyes is a sign of high EQ and empathy. Highly empathic people rarely lose self-control, making them better equipped to deal with what life throws at them.

Put it into action

Pause before reacting

Avoid operating on autopilot and immediately reacting in a way you might regret. This involves being honest with yourself about what you are feeling in that moment, be it jealousy, hurt or anger. In such moments take time out before giving a verbal or non-verbal reaction. Do not speak for a few seconds and sit down if you are standing. People are always calmer and more composed when sitting. If those around you expect you to say something, buy time by saying 'Just give me a moment to think about this.'

Tiredness, overwork or stress cause you to react emotionally. I always advise those I coach to sleep on things and respond the following day. If you need to write a difficult email to someone, it is always better to wait 24 hours after you've drafted the wording before you send it, giving you time to reflect on it and reread it.

Be highly empathic

Recognizing how others are feeling and what they are trying to communicate is a fantastic skill to have. The most memorable bosses have this skill and they are loved for it. Which role models can you turn to for inspiration?

True empathy is not about waiting to understand another person; it is about proactively seeking to do so. It takes effort to give another person your full time and attention; to ask others how they are feeling and if they coping well with things. And don't overlook those closest to you. Never take anyone for granted. Avoid being too preoccupied to sit down and talk with your children, partners and colleagues.



'Look at what the majority of people are doing, and do the exact opposite, and you'll probably never go wrong for as long as you live.'

Earl Nightingale

Unless you think that the majority of people are living successful lives, chances are that at some point you will have to act differently from those around you. Success can take many forms and it is often about standing out from the crowd or being above average, spotting when the crowd moves one way and making sure that you move the other.

Thinking and doing the opposite of what the majority is doing isn't about being different for the sake of being different. There are lots of times when the well-trodden path is the right one to take. Your challenge is to know when it will be in your interest to do the opposite:

• Your friends might talk about studying more but not act; you could commit to completing that much-desired part-time degree course.

• When prices fall, people may panic and sell their shares or houses; you could buck the trend and hold on to them.

• Few people exercise regularly enough and eat healthily; you can be the one who walks to work, goes to the gym and eats healthy food.

• Many people only talk about quitting their jobs to follow dreams of self-employment; you could be the one to break out on your own if your own dreams point this way.

Doing the opposite might make you feel uncomfortable. It can be scary and make you feel lonely and exposed. It is never easy to be seen as going against the grain and ignoring the advice of your colleagues, friends or family, but if you are prepared to explain what you are doing and why, they will come round.

Put it into action

It is OK to act alone

Get used to being uncomfortable and being the odd one out. You really do not need to justify your decisions. Others might question your logic or even sanity – just let them. I gave up a lucrative career in finance to be self-employed. When I did this, many people thought that I was mad or that I was having a breakdown. It hurt me at the time but it didn't change my resolve to become my own boss.

Practise acting the opposite

In what parts of your life are you not achieving your desired results and goals? Are you doing the same things over and over again and getting the same results? Think about what you might do differently to get a better outcome. Here are some mini-case studies to start you thinking:

• Each year at work you try to get noticed in the hope of being promoted. After three years you have not been offered any promotion. Do the opposite – stop trying so hard. Have an honest conversation with your boss to understand why you are missing out. Perhaps better opportunities await you elsewhere and you will need to resign and move on.

• You want to save more money but find by each month's end that you have very little cash left. Do the opposite – rather than trying to save what is left at the month's end, put aside money as soon as you receive your salary. Place it in a fixed-deposit account that you cannot withdraw from and live on the remainder of your salary.

• You want to meet someone new but don't like organized blind dates. Do the opposite – take up more sports and social activities and meet people in a more unplanned way.



'There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it will look good on your résumé.'

Warren Buffet

Do you enjoy your work? Are you happy to get out of bed each morning and dress for the office? If you answered 'no' to either of these questions, you are not alone. In a 2014 Conference Board survey, 52 per cent of Americans claimed to be unhappy at work and in a recent CIPD study 23 per cent of Britons claimed to be looking for a new job. In the same survey only about one-third claim to feel engaged with their work. You can see the effects of this in absence, stress and depression. In fact, you can see it in the rush hour in the tired-and-sad-looking faces of so many commuters.


Excerpted from 100 Things Successful People Do by Nigel Cumberland. Copyright © 2016 Nigel Cumberland. Excerpted by permission of Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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100 Things Successful People Do: Little Exercises for Successful Living 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
EveC1975 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful guidebook - helping me map out how I can make 2017 and beyond as fulfilling as possible. The author's selection of 100 things each taking a short 2 page chapter is so cool and easy to digest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am enjoying reading this neat little hardcover by the same author as a great career guide - Secrets of Work Success. This 100 things is full of some really unusual and quirky chapters with titles including: Grow Old Disgracefully.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is about the 4th book I have read by Mr Cumberland. It was given me by my son as a Wedding Anniversary present - just need to encourage my other half to also read. It is truly an amazing guide to how we all need to live our lives to really be at peace, fulfilled and genuinely successful in today's busy, 24/7 world.
Jane Becker More than 1 year ago
This is about the 4th book I have read by Mr Cumberland. It was given me by my son as a Wedding Anniversary present - just need to encourage my other half to also read. It is truly an amazing guide to how we all need to live our lives to really be at peace, fulfilled and genuinely successful in today's busy, 24/7 world.