How many of you remember a teacher in grade school saying, “Today’s lesson is on how to be successful in life”? Probably no one has had that experience. Schools have never included the path to success in their curriculum, despite the obvious fact that had they done so could, they could have saved each of us much stress in later years.
More innovative approaches to education may now be starting to include learning about success, but most of us are way past the classroom stage of life.
We may not have learned it in school, but we should now be able to recognize that there are two apparently simple two steps required for putting ourselves on the road to the achievement we seek. First, we must determine exactly what success for ourselves is, then follow that up with discovering how to get there.
Success is something different for each of us. Some of us dream of wealth or becoming a celebrity. Others are chasing spiritual healing or a relationship that is stable and lasting.
You may not realize it, but regardless how each of us defines success, every one of those different definitions is the embodiment of human nature’s longing for our acceptance and appreciation. The acceptance and satisfaction that we long for may even turn out to be self-appreciation.
While most of us, at some level, desire success, the fact remains that the meaning of that success and the means of achieving it are not always clear to us. The starting point is to recognize and name the part of life in which you want to succeed.
The next step seems even simpler. That is to remember what you have chosen. Once you have focused on your goal, the level of achievement you reach in that area is entirely dependent on how willing you are to make it happen.
Do you suppose they reached their goals by hoping they could?
Alternatively, is it more likely they each knew something about being focused on a plan and working it?
Admittedly, the chances of one of us becoming a billionaire CEO are less than tiny, but if that were your goal in life, you must agree that having some knowledge of succeeding would be slightly helpful.
The realization of success depends on to a great extent attitude. How you perceive yourself can make or break you. Most of us learned along the way that believing you cannot do something is the sure way to fail when you try it.
Your belief in yourself sets the standard for how others see you. Would Ali have become the world heavyweight champ if he had not been sure he could do it? You must follow that way of thinking and look inward for the strengths you possess.
Give yourself credit for all that you can do and then proceed to prove, first to yourself, then to the world, that you can do so much more if you only set your mind to it and focus. Aim for small victories to grow your self-confidence and continue to strive for bigger and better accomplishments.
Set your sights on the outcome of an effort rather than trying to meet expectations. Measuring our efforts by preconceived expectations is a failure waiting to happen.
Rejoice and replay the things that you manage to accomplish instead of beating yourself up about missing an expectation that may have been unrealistic. Take some risks, but only after you have weighed the possible consequences and payoffs.
Accept the crucial role that your work plays in success and commit to doing what it takes. Start out with a well-thought-out plan.
As you make your plan, put it in writing with your goals and your timelines.
Check your plan regularly, both to see how well you are sticking to it as well as to update it as needed. Be relentless, as giving up is not a key to succeeding. Think of the difficulties that very successful people have overcome.
What would life today be like if Ben Franklin had felt a jolt of electricity down his kite string, said, “Ouch!” and given up on that silly experiment with electricity? The road to success may not be paved, it might be missing a bridge here and there, and direction signs could be faded beyond legibility. Keep pushing yourself down that road if you want to achieve your goal.
Another way of looking at the requirements of success is to say you need to be consistent in your determination and in the effort you put into things. We think of being consistent as doing the same thing in a regular, practiced way. Parts of your path need that repetition, but it should not be blind repetition just for the sake of being consistent.
The consistency should be in your approach to reaching the goal, not necessarily in the particular task you set for yourself. Regularly check your attitude to ensure its positive nature; frequently refer to your plan and carry it out; continually remind yourself that you have accomplished many things, passed many barriers and can conquer any that lie ahead. This is where consistency comes into play.
The undisputed leader when it comes to your list of things you must do to become a success is to believe in yourself.
Without that, you will fail. Know that you can reach this goal. Tell yourself each morning how well you are going to do that day. Be your cheerleader.
You can even create your cheer. Mine is “You are so great, there’s no debate. Do it! Do it! Do it!” Written here it appears a bit silly, but when I chant it to myself on the way to work, I find it coming out in increasingly emphatic fashion, and I walk into the office in the mindset of “Do it!” What a positive way to start the day.
The plan we have laid out here is simple. Define what success is for you and lay out your plan to achieve it. Believe that nothing is beyond your capabilities. Dedicate yourself to the project, do the work it requires and regularly recalls why you are doing it.
If you look at each day that passes, you shall realize that your life is full of successes. The key is to focus the achievements so that they fall into the construction process of that thing you have identified as what success means for you.
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