4 Things Really Successful People Say ‘No’ To

All failures are unique, but all successes look similar

Alan Trapulionis
4 min readJun 30, 2021



Warren Buffet usually wakes up at 6:45 AM in his $652k house in Omaha, where he lived for most of his life. He then grabs a $3.17 is a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a glass of Coke from McDonalds on his way to the office.

In the office, he simply… reads. Financial statements, news, journals, business reports, books — everything that might lead him to better investment decisions. He estimates that about 80% of his work time is spent reading. “I just sit in my office and read all day,” he once said.

He has also famously said that

Successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.

What is he referring to? Some things — like sleeping in or spending all your money on luxury purchases — are obvious.

Here are four less-obvious things really successful people give up in order to reach and maintain their success.

They say ‘no’ to feeling sorry for themselves.

Failure is an essential step in anything worth working for. However, it’s tempting to think that each of your failures means there’s something wrong with you. No, there could have been a million other reasons why you didn’t succeed that time.

Successful people view each failure as a stepping stone towards finding the thing that actually works. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, has famously said that

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work, — Thomas Edison

Despite getting a $180 million pay check after selling his PayPal shares, Elon Musk went broke to save Tesla. Here’s how the legendary founder sees failure:

“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

They say ‘no’ to useless networking.

I personally know people who take great pride in the people they hang out with. They’ll boast big names on their contacts list and present the achievements of their…