At one time or another we all get that feeling when we wish those little ‘flashes’ of success would happen on a more frequent basis so we can experience success for life. We ask ourselves questions such as ‘what can we do to become more successful?’ or ‘how can we excel in all areas of our personal AND professional lives? ‘. The answers seems to elude us often, so we continue on our search for the ‘Secret’ and certainly over many years there have been many books and publications tempting us with promises of such knowledge.
For my own part, I believe that success for life is a tree with many branches, with no-one single stem holding the ‘golden nest of success’ that we seek. However, throughout all of the written wisdom there can be found some essential fundamentals which if applied can certainly create a solid foundation to build our success on. Treat these five points like a guiding star & you’ll surely be going in the right direction on your road to success.
Being Proactive: Scholars of personal success literature may recall these words as one of the now ‘classic’ Seven Habits of Stephen Covey, but Covey’s work on this actually based largely on the writings of POW camp survivor & psychologist Viktor Frankl who wrote a very powerful book called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. From his concentration camp experiences Frankl realised that between a stimulus & the response there is a ‘gap’, & within that gap lies our freedom; in this case, he was referring to being able to choose our thoughts & actions in any given moment, regardless of circumstance. Just like Frankl, we should be the creators of our destiny, the conductors of our own orchestra of life experiences. Everything starts in the mind, and then ripples out, so what happens around us is a reflection of our inner ‘gardens’ ; whether we grow weeds or plant seeds is our choice, & therein we find what it really means to be proactive.
Take Responsibility: Since we are now aware that we have the personal power to choose our experience, we also need to accept responsibility for this. Now, such a concept may weigh heavily on the shoulders of a few people, but if we look & realise that although not everything in life is necessarily a direct result of our own thinking, but what we attract in life is, to a great extent, a reflection of our own thinking. A good deal of this will occur at a subconscious level, with the subconscious mind in turn dancing to the tune played by the ‘thinking mind’, and so changing our thoughts can literally change our world & we are responsible for this. As Winston Churchill once said “The price of greatness is responsibility”
Be a Great Leader: We cannot be effective in any area of life unless we have good leadership skills, which is an art and each of us needs to find our own approach to it. In essence, we need to understand how to lead ourselves and develop an inner compass that guides all our actions. As we lead others, in whatever capacity that may take, we need firstly to lead by example and the key to this is making our values crystal clear and the fact that we live by them; we walk our talk, so to speak. Any incongruence between our words and actions is fatal as these will be spotted & paralyse our effectiveness; duplicity and double-standards are nails in the coffin of our ability to lead. Simply doing the things we say we are going to goes a long way to becoming a great leader and gaining success for life.
“A true leader is not the one with the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders.” ~Neale Donald Walsch
Don’t Fear Failure: Don’t fear failure – failure is inevitable and necessary. Look at the life of any successful person and you will see a litany of failure. This failure is the foundation of success, so long as we learn from it – failure is great teacher if we take the lesson. It has been quoted a few times that successful people literally fail their way to the top, which is certainly an interesting way to see it; another way to view failure is that it is not a destination on the road to success – merely a detour.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
Keep on Learning: One of the common traits of a myriad of successful people from all walks of life is the willingness to keep on learning. Think of it like this – if we fail to learn, we fail to grow and this means we stagnate & die. Life offers us limitless opportunities to learn & quite often the more challenging the situation, the more we are likely to learn.
We can learn from other people, we can learn from our environment & most importantly we can learn from watching ourselves – how we react & reflect deeply on what motivates us
You cannot open a book without learning something ~Confucius
In conclusion, if you master the above five traits and install them as habits, they will lead to success in life in all areas; they are not by any means a short cut, but a solid foundation for a life lived well.