All of us wish to live life with a purpose and our behaviour is, more often than not, goal directed. The accomplishment of these goals instills in us the feeling of success. People who are super successful are able to accomplish their goals much more frequently than others. For these people, success isn’t just limited to stability and financial independence; their ambitions are laced with the desire to create an impact in the world around them. Inevitably they attain fame, money, power and influence. But what is it in these people that sets them apart from the ordinary?
Popular belief holds that success depends on certain talents one is predisposed to from birth; or the lack of them. However, research on achievement suggests that people who succeed in achieving their goals are able to do so not just because of who they are, but also what they do. Stephen Covey, author of several renowned self-help books, is known to have said “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Indeed there are some simple decisions that differentiate the successful from the non-successful. These secrets to success are quite simple and accessible to anyone.
Manage your time
The earlier you start, the more productive you can make your day. Aristotle has said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom.” Tim Cook starts his morning routine at 3:45 a.m. so he can tackle tasks before distractions arise.
It is crucial to set clearly defined goals. One must figure out exactly what they want to do in order to realize what steps need to be taken to get things done. The more the clarity, the easier it is to set targets. Introspection becomes key to this process. If you are aware of the change you want to bring along with your strengths and weaknesses, it becomes easy to break down a goal into multiple small, simple, and achievable targets. Do not become too meticulous in setting these small targets; the idea is to take steps one at a time and to learn from them.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings advise us to take into account that with great achievement comes great risk. For any difficult task to be accomplished, setbacks are a given. One must be prepared for such obstacles and deal with them with a “what next?” attitude. It is important to allow yourself time to acknowledge your feelings of disappointment but successful people are able to move past these feelings and don’t let hindrances invite self-doubt. They keep in mind the bigger picture and focus on finding better solutions. An approach that could be represented by a common bumper sticker slogan- winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win, usually ends up inspiring the people around you to move forward as well.
One must become a better person and discover ways for self-improvement in order to seek a better life. The truly successful strive to increase their competency. They attempt to educate themselves about new things relevant to their goals. Books are a huge source of such information and reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. When asked about the key to success, Warren Buffet pointed at a stack of books. He devotes 80% of his day to reading. The habit of reading also results in the formation of a sound philosophical foundation, allowing one to live a life in congruence with the dictates of that philosophy; something that increases self-efficacy.
Psychotherapist Amy Morin writes in her book, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” that solitude can be highly beneficial to your mental health, productivity and creativity. Giving yourself alone time helps you be more intimate with your own mind. This lets your brain slow down and process the information around you. Meditation and the practice of mindfulness are excellent aids to become more relaxed and focused. The practice of keeping a journal is fairly common among the accomplished as it lets you reflect on your progress and goals daily.
According to Steven Covey, what is he a product of?