Our culture loves to idolize smart, successful people. Although I might argue that society’s real heroes can be found in classrooms and farm fields, we need these brilliant outliers to shake things up and show us what’s possible.
Incredibly smart, successful people make it look easy, developing revolutionary technologies or creating works of art that astound us for generations. What you don’t often see is the hard work and discipline that allowed them to achieve their dreams. You also don’t see the embarrassing stuff, the dirty little secrets that may only come out when their lives are reproduced in Hollywood.
Although there’s no one sure path to success, you can’t deny that most smart people have a few things in common. Good habits helped to keep them on the right path, despite personal setbacks or professional failures. On the flip side, some could have enjoyed much longer and productive lives if they’d had more control over bad habits.
Normally, I’d advise against trying to live like someone else, but emulating these key habits can do the same for all of us. Just make sure it’s the good habits you copy, and not the destructive ones.