How to Model Success

Every successful person is a direct manifestation of a set of processes.

These processes are the various rituals, habits, and routines. These are unique to every person and have been designed for the sole purpose of supporting them in achieving their long-term goals.

These processes have been tweaked, tinkered with, and specifically tailored to best streamline their journey in the pursuit of success and happiness.

Successful people are a set of processes, habits, and rituals. Just by modelling these processes, you can model success.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at the processes of a marathon cyclist.

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Ultra-athlete Rich Roll

A marathon cyclist will eat healthy foods. His diet will be centred around lean meats, leafy green vegetables, and Low Glycaemic Index carbohydrates such as quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice.

He will have to pay attention to what he eats to ensure he restores his depleted post-workout body with all the necessary macronutrients to aid muscle growth and repair. For this reason, he will try to focus on introducing natural super foods into his diet like goji berries, spirulina, chia or hemp seeds.

He will eliminate processed foods from his diet, avoid foods laced with high fructose corn syrup, flavour-enhancing chemicals like MSG. Also, he will limit sugary food intake to only fuel his exercise.  

A marathon cyclist might have a habit, a specific schedule in which he will always find the time to cycle 50-80km over the weekend. He might even cycle 10km each day, every day.

Every time he goes for a cycle, he will pack his bag with nutrition that would fuel his workout. He might have a ritual where he takes a couple of Clif bars, two bottles of water with added electrolytes, and avocado sandwiches (i.e. densely packed calories for sustained energy.)

To be sure he trains properly, he might wear a heartbeat monitor to keep his exercise within an aerobic zone.

These are only some of the processes that might govern a marathon cyclist’s success.

Any successful person has various rituals and habits that allow for incremental progress towards fulfilling their ultimate potential. They systematically go through the processes that perpetuate their achievement.

To be able to model that success, you have to deconstruct the processes that govern that success.

How do you that?

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1. Research your role models

To fully grasp and gain an elaborate understanding of these nuanced processes, you have to be willing to meticulously and methodically dissect any information you research about the person and reduce it to simple prime factors.

For instance, basketball legend Kobe Bryant has a habit of waking up early in the morning to perfect his craft by shooting some hoops.

Cristiano Ronaldo has a habit of staying on the football pitch to practice some drills and free-kicks after all of his teammates have gone home and called it a day.

For Bryant and Ronaldo, these behavioural patterns are the fundamental building blocks that have contributed to their huge success as athletes.

The success of bestselling authors is also governed by specific processes that are unique to them.

For instance, John Grisham has a very nuanced set of processes that underly his success. He says he had “little rituals that were silly and brutal but very important” for his success:

“The alarm clock would go off at five, and I’d jump in the shower. My office was five minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad, and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week.”

– John Grisham, in Making Ideas Happen

This self-imposed structure helped him channel his creativity to create bestseller after bestseller.

On the other hand, author of bestselling books Moneyball and Liar’s Poker Michael Lewis has a pretty standard way of doing his work.

Michael always writes either in the very early morning or very late night, while editing his work in the middle of the day.

Michael begins his writing by getting an idea out on the page. As the words accumulate, he starts thinking about how they need to be organized.

So if you want to get better at a sport or become a better writer, you can do so by modelling the processes that govern the success of world-class athletes or bestselling authors.

You might not be able to replicate the scale of success that these role models enjoy. 

What’s important is that you model these processes to replicate a version of their success that is unique to you. Carve your own path. 

All you need to do is a little bit of research.

“Trying to plot your map directly in the shadows of someone else is a sure-fire road to ruin. Yes, model and copy them where it will benefit you, but don’t let this endeavour consume you.”

– Edward Druce

2. Find a mentor

It is an extremely valuable experience to have a mentor. You can gain so much from simply observing someone who is working in their element and fiercely passionate about what they do.

By being in the presence of your mentor, you are learning through osmosis and are gaining instant, immediate knowledge from them.

You get first-hand insight into the various processes that have allowed for the mentor to become a master in their field.

Your mentor’s traits will rub off on you and you soak up various intangible qualities such as beauty, emotion, truth, or wisdom.

Ultimately, by having a mentor you’re cutting your learning curve into the fraction of the time it would take you to learn by trial and error.

And because we as humans are so primed for learning via observation, we can learn so much by merely watching a mentor work. Check out the 6 reasons why you should have a mentor to learn more.

3. Read autobiographies

One of the best way to gain insight into the various processes and rituals of a successful person is by reading autobiographies.

When you read an autobiography, you prime yourself for self-reflection. You examine your attitudes and strategies, and think about your goals.

Importantly, you read inspiration. It gets you in that person’s headspace. You appropriate the mindset of a successful person and learn of the processes and rituals that define that person’s success.

By reading or listening to an autobiography, you brainwash yourself to think like a successful person. You tune into that resourceful brain frequency.

This is essentially what self-help books and ‘how to’ guides are all about. When you read them, they instil in you intangible qualities that slowly shift your mindset. They often offer actionable solutions so that you start acting like a successful person.

For this very reason, I highly recommend you read Cal Newport’s How to Win At College if you are a student. You can read my review of it here.

Upon reading the book, I started modelling the processes of straight-A students and it was a huge turning point in my academic career. 

4. Socialise

How else do you find out how to become successful?

Speak to people that have experienced the success that you want to achieve for yourself.

Learn about the people that can buy any car they want. Ask them what got them to regularly fly in business class.

Have the courage to reach out to these people and you will definitely learn something. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to tell you.

They will give you insight into how to live a better life.

If you see someone wearing a cool looking suit – ask him how he managed to afford it.

If you see someone park a Porsche, ask they how they got it.

This sort of socialising is a bit like cheating at this little game we call life. This is one of the many ways to you can get ahead of your peers – by reaching out to strangers, people that more successful than yourself.

And by doing this, you are learning about the most basic and fundamental steps that you have to implement and replicate to become successful.

In a nutshell 

Research your role models

  • Discover the processes they practice that underly their success.
  • Model these processes to replicate a version of their success that is unique to you.

Find a mentor

  • Observing a mentor working is instant, immediate knowledge.
  • Your mentor’s traits will rub off on you.

Read autobiographies

  • You appropriate the mindset of a successful person.
  • You tune into a resourceful brain frequency.


  • Have the courage to reach out to successful people.
  • They will give you insight into how to live a better life.


P.S. Thanks for reading. If you liked this, feel free to sign up to my free weekly newsletter for more life-optimising stuff.

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