To Get Ahead, Do 21 Things That Others Don’t

Many people want to get ahead.

Yet, most sit back and critique those who are successful.

They wonder how a few are able to excel where the majority struggle.

Ironically, there is no big secret. It is simple really.

Those who succeed do what other people do not.

They even do the things that other people will not.

What Other People Won’t Do

When people wonder how some people succeed where they fail, they usually they write if off to luck. Or, maybe even to more to devious reasons and methods.

However, the answer usually lies in hard work.

If you want to get ahead, there is not a quick fix. It is about doing the right things each and every day.

“Winners do the things that others don’t or won’t do.

They go the extra step. The extra lap. The extra mile if necessary.

They give it their all, long after others have gone home.”

Are you doing the things that those who succeed are doing?

If not, how can you expect to get the same results?

21 Things That Others Don’t Do

If you want to get ahead, there is not a shortcut or secret.

However, one place to start is to do the things that successful people do. The things that other people don’t or won’t do.

Here are “21 Things That Others Don’t Do…”

  1. Get Up Early – Not enough time in your day? Get up earlier. Starting your day before others do, empowers you to get more done while others are sleeping. You will soon find that you accomplish before the day begins than most people do all day.
  2. Prepare for Your Day – Head into your day prepared. Do your homework. Prepare for the events of your day whether it is school, your job, or even having fun.
  3. Exercise– Too many people say that they want to workout, but few do. Do some sort of physical activity each and every day. Keeping your body in shape, motivates your mind and productivity.
  4. Finish Ahead of Deadlines – It seems that our society had become numb to the concept of deadlines. However, to avoid lost opportunities, penalties, and other life friction, ensure that you finish ahead of deadlines whether for a simple task, a bill, or a major project.
  5. Have Goals – Successful people have goals. There has been a rising trend lately, to “not have goals.” All this ensures is that you won’t fail because you haven’t tried to attain anything. Instead of going wherever life takes you, set goals and choose your own path.
  6. Take Chances – No one ever won by sitting in their comfort zone. You have to get up and get out. You have to be willing to take risks… sometimes big, sometimes small. Only going outside our boundaries can we grow.
  7. Don’t Complain – Complaining is a waste of time. It is procrastination in disguise. Instead of whining about something, do something about it.
  8. Dream Big – Many people dream too small. Think big… then dream bigger! Push yourself to even higher levels than you thought possible. We are all stronger than we think.
  9. Have a Hobby – All work and no play doesn’t do the body or mind good. Have a hobby and let your passion breathe energy into all areas of your life. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it drives you.
  10. Learn New Things – Many stop learning the day they leave school. Successful people are lifelong learners. Never pass up the chance to learn a new fact or a new skill.
  11. Say No – The ability to “say no” is an important skill. Many think that winners always “say yes,” but in reality they are very choosy in their endeavors. They know when to pass up something that is not a priority.
  12. Defend Your Time – You can get more money. You can get a new job. (You can even get new friends.) However, you can never get more time. And you never truly know how much you have left. Defend your time, it is your greatest asset.
  13. Do it Today – You are your habits. And your habits are what you do today and every day. Don’t put off good intentions or actions until tomorrow.
  14. Help Others – Never underestimate the power of helping others. Life is often a team sport, and you never know when your teammates will be there to support you. Always be there for them.
  15. Make Decisions -Don’t be shy with decisions. Most people don’t make them, and life ultimately decides for them. Choose deliberately. Don’t fear the bad decision. You learn from them and there are few decisions in life where you can’t change your mind later.
  16. Learn From Your Mistakes – Take chances, make decisions… even make mistakes sometimes. Just ensure that you learn from them. Every mistake should lead to new wisdom. Don’t repeat lessons.
  17. Make Your Own Luck – Don’t wait for things to come to you. Go out and get them. The winners in life did not wait for things to be delivered to them. They made their own luck.
  18. Listen – Sometimes you need to stop and just listen. If you rush through life, you will miss the important things. What people are trying to tell you… both good and bad. And of course, listen even harder with friends and the ones you love.
  19. Change Yourself – Most people don’t change. They might grow older, grow bigger, but they often stay the same person. The most powerful people are those who can change themselves. (See #3, 6, 10, and 16.)
  20. Do The Work – There is no shortcut to success. You have to do the work. You have to do the practice. You have to spend the time on the things that you want to accomplish.
  21. Don’t Quit – A final word, never quit. Too many people quit just short, even in sight, of their dreams. Almost as if they don’t really want to get there. Winners keep going after the quitters have given up.

Do What Others Do Not

If you want to get ahead, you must do what others do not.

Results don’t just happen, they are the outcome of hard work.

Do you want to accomplish what others do not?

Then, do the things that others don’t do.

Question: Which of these do you do? What would you add to the list? Please share in the comments below.

93 thoughts on “To Get Ahead, Do 21 Things That Others Don’t

    1. @ladybugw Thx, Wendy! Appreciate the kind words. Best wishes up there in Canada. 🙂

  1. @bettina_johnson Get for yourself a walmart voucher. Everything you need to do is respond walmart’s question! See my profile page!

    1. @cityscooter_lv Thx, & best wishes way over there in Riga. (Yes, I had to look that up…) 😉

  2. @PinchOfOregano Get yourself an walmart coupon. All you have to do is respond walmart’s question! See my profile website!

  3. I love 17 – Make your Own Luck. I’ve personally witnessed and have been mentored by enough successful people to know that luck has little (if anything) to do with where you want to be in life. Stop complaining and get to work!

  4. @TMNinja Thanks for sharing- I have decided that your blog is among my top 5 daily reads. Bravo

  5. Awesome stuff, I love the get up early part. I start my day at 3:30am. Getting that early start in the gym gets my energy flowing for the rest of the day. I love it!!!

    1.  @MikeWilliamsPro Wow, Mike… you get a head start on me in the morning! That is dedicated!

  6. @dougvernon Thx, Doug! Best wishes out there in MO. Used to be in Manchester myself. 🙂

  7. Wow – this is what I needed right now. After surviving a round of job cuts where I work – I needed ways to make myself more “valuable”. I also plan on sharing this with my 9 year old son to show that shortcuts and laziness are not the way to get ahead.

    Also didn’t realize we were so close – I am in Effingham IL and go to St Louis and the surrounding areas quite frequently. Thanks for sharing your site with us!

    1.  @CorineMc Thanks, Corine! Best wishes.
      Great idea… I need to share with my son, as well! 🙂

  8. @azuidhof Dag Arjan, Ik mis ontspanning als tip 22. Vind de eerste 21 eerlijk gezegd nogal stressvol – jij niet?

    1. @PattyvanZiel hmm..eigenlijk niet, zonder actie kom je niet zo ver. Ontspanning is wel een mooie aanvulling.

  9. Love your tips!! Check us out on FB At Your Service Group! Please like us on FB. Thx 2u!

  10. I love this site. I am very interested in time management because I agree we can always get more money but our time is limited. I also love that we all get the same amount of time. Its how we manage our valuable, priceless time that makes the big difference in how we live, what we achieve and what we accumulate, be it money or objects.
    Some of the above that I already do: get up early, exercise, take chances and set goals.
    Thanks for a great post!

  11. Great post! I live and love most of the tips on your list and doing so has undoubtedly been a factor in my health, happiness, and success!
    Out of 21 tips for success, there are 2 I am not known to do: get up early and finish ahead of deadlines.
    I love my sleep! To get a solid 7-8 hours I’d have to go to bed earlier to get up earlier, and evenings are usually my productive time. Of course there’s always some time wasters that happen in the evenings, too. The beauty of getting up earlier is that time feels more precious because I got up early for it! 🙂
    I am also known for finishing deadlines on time instead of ahead of schedule. Reading this tip hit a chord with me today and I recognize I can only gain by completing my tasks in advance. Finishing early allows room for error, unexpected emergencies, or illness. Perhaps it’s time to shift my own blog writing schedule ahead a day or two!
    Thanks for the inspiration! Have a grateful day!

    1.  @livelovework Thanks, Chrysta… appreciate the sharing. 
      I would agree with you that you need to get “enough” sleep or else getting up early can be counter-productive. 🙂 Best wishes!

  12. This is really wonderful ! Thank you for the post and keep the inspiring work !

  13. @justinlevy Thx, Justin! BTW, are you headed to BlogWorld in June? Love to connect sometime.

    1. @TMNinja I’m hoping too and would love to connect. Have some big things coming up for @workshifting soon.

      1. @TMNinja Definitely will! Just read the newest post on working from home. Amen! 🙂

  14. When I’m doing what others do not, it’s easy to feel out-on-a-limb and eccentric, instead of “ahead.” Thanks for a timely reminder to keep doing what I’m doing, and then be even more eccentric–because that’s what it takes!

    1.  @Veronica Brown Love this. You are right… it can sometimes seem a bit lonely when you are “out front.” I find that if you are doing the right things, that there is usually a group right behind you… following your lead and wanting to support you. 😉

  15. A friend once commented, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”….  Funny how true that seems when you consider what you have to do that others will not…. Applies also business services that pay well….. Thanks for the reminder

    1.  @Sallyann That is a very true thought! It is amazing how lucky you get when you are out there doing the work. 😉

  16. @TMNinja Got am Internal Server Error when I clicked the link. 🙁 I really want to read that post!

  17. Craig,
    This list represents things that successful people are doing 🙂
    One thing that I would like to add (and which relates a bit to point #8) is challenging yourself.
    When you do something you are afraid of doing, you are already successful (overcoming the fear). For example, if you are a shy guy and you still decide to take a public speaking course – now that’s a great achievement!
    I guess that one thing that most of the people are not willing to do is to step outside their comfort zones.

    1.  @TimoKiander Absolutely! Love your thought there, Timo.
      If you don’t push yourself… you will not reach new levels. It is by stretching our limits that we move our boundaries. 🙂

  18. Excellent article.  Maybe too many things to embrace in one lifetime though… but I’ll try! I would add that tracking one’s time is also really important. It’s too easy to get stuck on things that don’t move you forward. Tracking time meant I could shift things around, delete and delegate and create some work / life balance (if that’s not an oxymoron).  I use a time tracker called OfficeTime. It’s inexpensive (and even has a no-cost version in the App) and it has virtually no learning curve. You can download it at

    1.  @Mary Agnes Antonopoulos Thanks Mary Agnes for sharing!
      Love to hear how tracking your time has changed your activities. 🙂
      And how others are using time tracking apps.
      Best wishes! 

      1. I’d like to jump into this subthread. Tracking my time has been amazing for me. I needed to do it to keep track of billable time. The fringe benefit is that I know where my time goes, and which activities are luring me off track. 

        I built my own time tracking spreadsheet that shows “Planned vs. Actual” hours spent for my entire day. Seeing that totally changes the answer to the question, “What am I gonna work on next?”!

      2. Veronica,
        I think that tracking one’s time can be an enlightening exercise to show just exactly where your time is being spent. Two thoughts… what were the major revelations you had when you started tracking your time? And second, are you tracking it all by hand or using an app/software?

      3. Craig,
        Tracking my time showed me where time was slipping away from me. It made me aware of the “goof off” time I spent wading through emails or Facebook posts, and also made me aware of how much time I really was spending on billable work. For example, last week I estimated that a short technical paper would take me 6 hours, but with the graphics it took me 8. Going on memory alone, I would have estimated that I had stuck to my estimated 6 hours, but the numbers told a different story. (BTW, I was able to bill the client for 8 😉

        Geek that I am, I created my own spreadsheet to do this. It shows my plan for the day side-by-side with my actual day, and it highlights the differences. Whenever I start a task, I highlight a category (e.g., Networking Meeting, Client X Tech Paper), press Ctrl-Q, and it adds a timestamp to my list of things done today. I blogged about it here:

  19. @TMNinja great post! I’m going to take on quite a few of those items today!

  20. Great list! I’ve put some of these points to use to get to where I am today. I think I’ll share this post with my martial arts students. It’s timeless advice! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  21. Wow!  Great post!  I just discovered your site and I’m excited about all the resources.  Thank you so much!

  22. Great post, Craig.  These are all so important…a great reminder for me to keep doing some of what I’m doing (ie #14) and get better at others (ie #11)!

  23. This is an outstanding list! Great post — I appreciate you writing this. One suggestion I’d like to add that I believe is very important is to let go of those people and things that do not contribute to or even try to block your growth. It sort of falls under the “Defend Your Time” point, but I think it deserves its own prominence. Your circle and sources of influence can drag you down to the depths quicker than a millstone cast around your neck.

  24. The first one brilliantly right. You got to wake up. Great tips above here.
    Positive Thoughts, Self Confidence, Hard Work is the mixture for Success. This is what I am following.

  25. Really motivating – Makes you think about how you are living life, and how to get the most out of it

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