1. A Positive Mental Attitude
Having “Positive Mental Attitude” as number one doesn’t mean you cannot be successful with a negative mental attitude also. Just look around you, or if that doesn’t do it, catch the news on TV. Success, after all, depends on how you define it. “Positive Mental Attitude” is required for enduring success that’s deeply satisfying for you, the people around you and the world at large. It’s not an option, but an imperative. A definition of “Positive Mental Attitude,” if you need one, should be easy to find, thanks to the large number of books and articles out there. In a nutshell, if you’re unhappy and expect success will make you happy, you’re thinking you’ll have a positive mental attitude once you are successful. That’s not how it works. Also, everybody knows that a positive mental attitude by and of itself won’t bring success. Be prepared to throw in lots of positive doing, too. However, without the positive mental attitude, you’d have a ladder without rungs.
2. Know What You Know
To begin with, know what success tastes, looks and feels like—to you. To be successful by other peoples’ criteria will only cause stress and, potentially, unhappiness. Look into a mirror and ask who you are, and the only person permitted to answer is you. Answer to yourself what success is in each of your dimensions: physical/health, family, career, financial, adventure, variety, love, connection, relationships, growth, contribution. A method often used in defining success is the Wheel of Life. If you need one, just google it (I just did; there are many examples available for free).
The reason most people fail to get what they want is they simply don’t know what they want, or they let their fears stop them. Don’t be one of them. It is never too early, nor too late, to be what you might have been.
3. Always Focus On Your Desired Outcomes
Make a habit of separating means from ends, and always focus on the ends, i.e. on the desired outcomes. Put differently, always focus on the Why you do the things you do (in the pursuit of success) versus What you have decided to do.
I volunteer with an organization that delivers meals to the homes of people who cannot prepare their own. The other day the distribution center, staffed by volunteers also, was late in preparing the packages. We were waiting around to get started with the deliveries when one among us got angry at the delay. I know of no better example of the need to always focus on the desired outcome. If something bothers you about what you are doing, making sure you have a clear view of your goal can help you avoid getting bogged down in small frustrations and help you proceed with good spirit and creativity towards success.
4. Learn From Every Experience
Make learning—from every experience—a lifelong habit. The reason most people stop learning is for fear of looking ridiculous in the eyes of others. Holding on to the long-stemmed champagne glass with elegance, it’s useful to remember all of us learned to drink water out of a two-handed sippy cup (or equivalent). Isn’t it a good thing we’re given open minds during the phase of our lives where we had to learn everything? Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well. Kids know. Adults would do well to remember.
5. Build On Your Strengths
Much of society is about making you believe there’s something missing in your life. It’s easier to sell you something when you believe you must have it. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it only means that’s the way it is. The point is that building on your strengths is a challenge in a world where you’re constantly reminded of your weaknesses. It’s a myth to believe that as you grow, your personality changes. The opposite is true. As you grow, if you grow, you become more of who you are intended to be. To get more meaning, passion and success into your life, build on what invigorates you (indicator of your strengths), and stay away from what drains you (indicator of your weaknesses).
6. Get Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
If your goal is to always be comfortable, chances are you’ll end up very uncomfortable. But if your goal is to be successful, chances are you’ll end up comfortable. To be successful means you are prepared to do whatever it takes, whether it’s inside or outside of your comfort zone. You become successful by adopting the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people have the habit of not doing. You become successful not by always liking these things yourself, but by just getting on and doing them, regardless of how uncomfortable it might feel.
There is a scene in Slumdog Millionaire in which, to reach his goal, a boy jumps, literally, into a pile of shit. I’m not suggesting you try it at home. However, this one scene in the movie reminds us of three key components of success: 1. Know your outcome. 2. Be prepared for whatever it takes. 3. Jump.
Implied in the previous six imperatives, success requires the willingness to jump. Once you have your mind made up, there must be no room for hesitation. There’s risk in jumping, no doubt, but without it there’s no success. Where the risk is failing and the reward is success, the fear of failing can be the stronger of the two. In these situations, the only safety consists in deliberately jumping.
These seven are not the only imperatives of success, but seven is a manageable number. That said, we wish you much ? success!
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