Success is something all of us crave. However, success often seems elusive to most people. While we are taught many things in the school system, how to achieve and retain success is never on the curriculum. It doesn’t help that being successful is also never adequately defined.
Of course, making money is part of being successful. However, money isn’t the be all end all. If you won the lottery tomorrow, it probably won’t magically fix all your problems and make you a success. How many lottery winners are renowned for their success? That’s right, none!
True success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate. To achieve success, here are some things you must do:
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1. Work on yourself
“You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one,” said writer Henry David Thoreau. The first step in preparing yourself for success is to improve yourself.
The person you currently are is probably not able to earn 10 times more or have more power and influence. The only way to get there is to step out of your comfort zone, learn, grow and adapt.
As you evolve, you will naturally shift your world view, expectations, and standards. You will even exude a different energy. Invest in yourself and trust the process.
2. Create habits for success
Daily habits are the backbone of who you are. If you spent your day watching reality TV and eating junk food, would you expect to have toned abs and a fat bank account? Your current circumstances — whether too fat, too poor, too ignorant, or too lonely- are a result of your habits. The little actions you take each day determine your long-term outcomes.
Creating new habits is not easy so you have to push yourself to be consistent. Studies have shown that a new habit is established in 21 days, so be patient.
At first, set your goals so low that it’s impossible to fail. For instance, if you want to create a daily meditation habit, meditate for a one minute daily for week before adding another minute. Or if you want to start waking up earlier, set your alarm 20 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual time.
3. Stay hungry, stay foolish
As Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish. Never let go of your appetite to go after new ideas, new experiences, and new adventures.” Successful people understand that the best way to grow is to keep learning.
Warren Buffet has been referred to as a lifelong “learning machine” by the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger. “If you take Warren Buffet and watched him like a clock, I would say half of all the time he spends is sitting on his ass and reading,” Munger said in his 2007 commencement speech at the University of Southern California.
“Without lifelong learning, you’re not going to do very well. You’re not going to get very far in life based on what you already know,” he added.
To become a “learning machine” too read at least one self-development book a month, play games which challenge and train your brain, and teach others what you learn. Don’t just sit with the information you learn, apply it to your life.
4. Find better friends
Have you heard the saying that you’re an average of your five closest friends? This is backed up by the law of averages which says that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. The people you spend most of your time with affect how you think, the decisions you make, your self-esteem, and ultimately how successful you will be.
You might view yourself as an independent thinker who isn’t affected by your friends, but studies have shown that we’re more affected by our environment than we think. Befriend people who have higher standards than you and learn from them.
5. Value your time
Time is the most valuable asset one has, one which even money can’t buy. Richard Branson says: “Any successful entrepreneur knows that time is more valuable than money itself.” Once you spent time, it’s gone forever. You can’t buy more of it, rent it, or borrow it. Unsuccessful people don’t understand how valuable time is and they squander it on meaningless activities.
As Jim Rohn puts it, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” Give everything you’re involved in your 100 per cent and achieve the desired results more effectively and efficiently.
Life has a universal law of giving you what you put in, so pursue excellence in all things. To get the best results, do your most crucial work when your energy levels and brain power are at their peak- which for most people is the first three hours of their day. When you get the hang of it, you will have more time to invest in developing yourself and learning.
6. Align with your goals
As Roy Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company said “its not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” To get clarity on your goals, sit down with pen and paper and write down your lifetime goals, your yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and even daily goals.
Write down a strategy to achieve your goals and live each day intentionally. Don’t mistake being busy with productivity- you don’t have to be involved in everything. Learn how to say no to opportunities that are not in alignment with your values and goals.
7. Change your mind
Unsuccessful people often have a poor mindset and self-imposed limitations. They’re likely to say things like “I’m bad with numbers” or “I hate studying” or “I have always been big so I can’t lose weight” and so on.
As Oprah Winfrey puts it, “you are what you are by what you believe.” Trash the idea that you only have a specific set of skills and talents and can therefore only do specific tasks. Stop seeing yourself as less intelligent than other people.
To reprogramme your inner voice, it might be necessary to read/say/or meditate on daily affirmations.
8. Be nice
Emotional intelligence can’t be over-emphasised. A research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology found that 85 per cent of our financial success was due to skills in ‘social engineering’, personality, and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. According to the research only 15 per cent of financial success is due to technical ability. What this means is that people skills, or the skills usually associated with emotional intelligence are a key factor in success.
To become successful, stop saying things like “well, I’m just being honest” or “this is how I am, deal with it”. Always think of the other person and how they feel and as much as possible, leave them with positive feelings. However, this doesn’t mean that you should become a people pleaser. Being emotionally intelligent will help you handle difficult and delicate situations with tact and empathy.