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What do the world's most successful people have in common?

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There is no clear-cut way to ensure you are successful within your working life. Talent, determination, social skills and knowledge can all play a role -- or it may come down to a single flash of inspiration turned into a profitable venture.

However, if we look closer at some of the most successful people out there, patterns do emerge -- whether they belong to the realm of business, academia or research.

The Week explains how some simple mantras on life can make you more successful in your career -- and to start with, hard work is key.

Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer examined the habits of over 150 successful writers, artists and scientists. Pritchett writes in his findings that "the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing." In total, most clocked in 60 - 65 hours of work a week.

However, even if you're going to work that much, frequent distractions or being asked to complete tasks for others will limit your accomplishments . Learning how to say 'no' is a key skill that most successful people master.

Hard work and saying no are all good and well, but how do you explain the lucky breaks that successful people seem to have? According to author of "The Luck Factor," Richard Wiseman, certain personality types have more "luck" than others.

By being outgoing, open to new ideas, following your instinct and staying optimistic, Wiseman says you can create opportunities for yourself. To test the theory, Wiseman created a "luck school" which taught these precepts -- and found that on average, people who attended said their "luck factor" increased by almost half through following these ideas.

Another key pattern is the ability to make mistakes, fail, learn from them and move on. Experimenting and being willing to fail can, in the long run, open you up more to entrepreneurial and creative ideas -- and will often yield impressive results.

Learning from your own mistakes is key, but also learning from others can only improve your own chances of success. Whether you are running a successful business or setting up a startup, finding mentors and peers to exchange ideas and advice can make you more of a success in the long run.

Read on: The Week

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Image credit: Flickr


— By on May 20, 2014, 11:02 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure