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10 Things The Most Successful People Do Every Day

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8) Remember the Five Chimps Theory

Naval Ravikant is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s been an early investor in a number of startups you just might have heard of — like Twitter and Uber.

But he’s not just another Silicon Valley tycoon heavy on the smarts — this guy is wise. He knows that we’re not as independent as we might like to think. Those around us influence us, whether we realize it or not. And if you’re not taking action based on that truth, you’ll never be as successful or as happy as you’d like. Naval explains in Tools of Titans:

There’s a theory that I call ‘the five chimps theory.’ In zoology, you can predict the mood and behavior patterns of any chimp by which five chimps they hang out with the most. Choose your five chimps carefully.

Others in the book echoed similar sentiments. Tim sums it up:

The belief, if I were to generalize it, is that you are emotionally, physically, financially, or otherwise the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Look at the people around you. Are they who you want to be? Because that’s probably what you’ll become. And by the same token, if you have kids or employees, think about the influence you’re having on them. Not your words, but your actions. As mega-bestselling author Paulo Coelho says in the book:

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

(To learn more about the science of how others influence you and how it can lead to an awesome life, click here.)


Here’s some of what Tim Ferriss learned from talking to a bunch of the most successful people:

Have a mindful morning ritual: Don’t start the day reacting. Get focused.

Turn weaknesses into strengths: Channel your inner Rudolph.

Don’t ignore the clichés: Many are spoken so often because they work.

Be able to think, to endure and to wait: Far more valuable skills than being good with Microsoft Excel.

Have an “overnight task”: Sleep on it. Your muse works while you rest.

Clear the path: Do more than you’re required to do and you’ll get to do what you want.

They’re not evil. They’re exhausted: We can all be big kids. They don’t hate you. They need a nap.

Remember the 5 chimps theory: You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely.

Know when to use your moral compass: If you start out judging, you won’t be listening.

Get a “Jar of Awesome”: Don’t just achieve. Appreciate.

What was the most surprising thing Tim learned from the “titans” that mere mortals like you and I need to know?

That they’re mere mortals too. Here’s Tim:

The most surprising thing was realizing that every one of these titans that we see on the magazine covers, and that we think of as doing things that are unattainable by mere mortals, all of these people have many flaws, as we all do. To hear these people talking about their dark periods, their moments of complete self-doubt or when everyone they approached told them they were going to fail or had no talent… They’ve suffered tremendous setbacks, but they’ve figured out how to be themselves and to form habits around one or two core strengths. Strengths which often in many, many cases they resisted for a decade or more. A strength that they thought was a weirdness they had to keep hidden.

You too can be titanic. (Not the Titanic. I don’t recommend you go head-butt an iceberg and drown.)

Stop denying your inner weirdness. Cultivate it. Accept that you’re not perfect. Neither are the people on the magazine covers. You don’t need to be superhuman to be super-successful. Now go work hard…

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