10 THINGS TO REMEMBER ON BECOMING SUCCESSFUL
I believe success is a very deliberate and conscious action. I believe that there are things we do and things we don’t do which determine whether we ever reach a level of success that many of us strive for. I hope that my head-on approach at divulging into some of my observations from what it takes to be successful will benefit those who are reading this, as I believe it is very important that in 2015 we ‘get real’ about what it takes to make it! Happy reading 😀
1. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WORK HARD IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
Many of us become lost in work in the hope of bulldozing our way to success. Lost in the idealism of reaching an end goal of becoming something so vast that it’s easier to busy ourselves in ‘hard repetitive work’ rather than ‘smart work’ which would bring about specific, planned results. What ever it is that you want to be, it’s important to understand what it takes to become that person. Unfortunately, many of us have become blinded by cliches and comforting quotes that would have us believe that if we blindly slave away at a dream that it will eventually come to pass. The truth is, yes you can achieve great things, but even dreams require planning and strategy.
If you are reading this then I assume that you are naturally creative and have a special gift at something. I urge you to take that gift and develop it beyond repetition of just creating over and over again until your best works become lost in a sea of doubt. Research what it actually takes to become successful in your field then work hard in that direction. Talent is not enough, I’l say that again, TALENT IS NOT ENOUGH. It takes smart work, understanding how your industry operates and effectively taking steps in that direction doing new things if you want to see any significant progress.
2. DON’T LET SUCCESS SLOW YOU DOWN
Achieving is great, winning feels amazing, reaching a milestone of success fills us with an energy and satisfaction that makes everything seem worthwhile. However, don’t let momentary success allow you to become lazy, satisfied and comfortable. Being the best at something today will quickly have you being left behind and old news tomorrow if you don’t balance celebration with growth. I like to think of success like the levels on a computer game. What I mean is, after you have battled your way through so many obstacles and finally defeated the end boss, you know that it is time to ‘level up’.
You cannot go on to the next level expecting the same level of difficulty or even doing the same things that you did previously. And you can not wait too long before starting this new level because it only takes a fraction of time for you to come out of your winning zone, so yes have a brief moment of celebration but stay focused because the road gets harder and will require more of you each time you succeed. Treat any success you experience as a reminder that it’s time to get ready for a new level.
3. IF IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU HAPPY, IT PROBABLY WON’T MAKE YOU RICH.
I think we all need to remind ourself sometimes that we only have one life and time is precious. We spend more than half of our life at work. This means that if you don’t enjoy your work, you are effectively sacrificing HALF OF YOUR LIFE. Every time I think about this it makes me realise how easy the world can have us blinded by fear and ‘worker bee’ systems. Spending half of your life doing something you do not want to do, and i’d even go as far to say as makes you unhappy is a very damaging and life wasting thing. The worst of it is, is that usually, giving half of your life to a job that doesn’t even make you happy doesn’t even bring about any rewards other than basic survival.
I don’t say this lightly as I understand that life will throw curve balls and responsibilities that feel like we have no choice sometimes, but I urge people to try and use what they have and do what they can to create what they want so they can live as they have dreamed. Work hard, work smart and pursue the path that makes you happy. Theres a science to making an income from almost anything, so figure out what it is that makes you happy, get good at it, and then put your energies into finding a way to get paid doing it.
4. A ONE MAN BAND ONLY WORKS FOR SO LONG
As independent as we strive to be, great accomplishments are rarely done alone. Many of us miss opportunities or run out of time and energy simply because we try to do everything by ourselves. Part of the journey to success starts out in isolation, figuring out who we are as a person and developing clear ideas and goals. As we grow, our dreams grow, our visions of possibilities expand and soon they become bigger than us, yet many of us will still assume that we can reach them by ourselves. Surround yourself with smart, good people, aim to be the least knowledgable in the room so that you are away striving to grow and pushed beyond your comfort zone. Without this, I can almost promise you that you will continue to get the same results and that ‘greatness’ you’re looking for will always be one step ahead that no matter what you try to do you just cant seem to reach. There is a magic in a strong team, the feeling like nothing is impossible and an energy that encourages limits to be challenged.
5. LEARN THE POWER OF SAYING NO
‘NO’ is one of my favourite words, at first it may sound harsh but it literally saves my life sometimes. As you grow and your talents develop you will be presented with endless requests and opportunities to do or be part of something that may not be good for you or inadvertently sacrifices your own dream to build someone else’s. Any time you are asked to do something or be a part of something, you really need to be clear about how it brings you closer to your dream or goal or how it is benefitting the world in a positive way. If it doesn’t fit into these boxes, then I would be very careful about signing up for something that will usually cost you more than you think you’re gaining and instead leave you obligated to being someone elses puppet.
Understand that there are many ways to help people, and there also many ways to aid someone in their own disfunction under the guise of helping. Be effective in what you do and HOW you help others. I’m a big believer in helping those less fortunate than you, but entertaining someones requests when they don’t even know what they really want will usually result in both of you wasting time, so be sure you understand the ‘why’ before giving the ‘yes’. Sometimes you have to realise that time is all you have, it’s is more valuable than money so spend it wisely. If you wouldn’t give £100 to every and any one whom may ask, then treat your time with the same, if not more value.
6. LEARN TO FLY BEFORE YOU LEARN TO CARRY
I’ll cut right to the chase, if you try to carry too many with you on your way up, they will only keep you grounded and you will never have the strength to leave the ground. A nest of birds would die if every time the mother bird had to carry her children in search of food, sometimes you have to leave the nest to feed the people. You were only given one back, and two arms, there is a limitation to how much you can carry. It is dangerous to assume that on your way to greatness you can bring everyone with you, yes you want to be able to support your friends and family and help those who you can, but you will never be able to help effectively if you allow people to keep you down who are not contributing to your development. Accept that people will talk bad of you, accept some people will be jealous and accept that even close friends may not understand your transition on your way up. If you allow the opinions of others to constantly hinder you, then you will never leave the position you are currently in. Learn to fly first, it can be isolating and at the expense of some comforts, but a necessity if you truly want to help people by being the best version of yourself that you can become.
7. IF IT DOESN’T SCARE YOU, IT’S PROBABLY NOT WORTH DOING
Ever noticed that the people who operate in their conform zone don’t usually ever elevate to higher positions in life? I can promise you this, almost always, if you want to achieve what may seem impossible, then you will have to do things that seem bigger, scarier and more unfamiliar than you have ever done before. Do not go in the direction of your dreams thinking you will simply ‘create’ and do what comes naturally to you until your prize is handed to you by some mystical force.
There is a wall that stands before us all, that wall is usually the same wall that has us working a 9-5 job that we don’t enjoy, or has us sat at home creating awesome examples of work that no one will see or hear, simply because we aren’t willing to take the risk of climbing it. Even worse than that, this wall will have many of us banging our heads against it until 40 years have passed with nothing to show except the stories and excuses as to why our repetitive actions never brought about major success. Unless we are willing to scale that great height, willing to climb heights with no safety harness, leaving people and things of comfort behind, we will never see anything except an on going cycle of ‘almost made it’s’.
8. HAVE A PLAN, WITH CLEAR STEPS
This may seem pretty obvious but it’s surprising at how many of our plans are actually quite vague in nature. Our plans will usually reflect an end goal, or some monumental achievement without any clear or at least guided way to get there. I believe a reason why many of our plans fail and we fall short of that A4 vision we have printed on our walls is due to the fact that we don’t set a path on how to arrive at this given place in more detail.
I think an important element on reaching a BIG goal is to write down SMALL steps on how to get there. Many focused small steps will take you closer to your big vision if done strategically, and also will give you the much needed feeling of success upon completion which will fuel you on to the remaining steps.
Plan with clarity. It’s good to know where you want to be, but even better knowing how you’re going to get there.
9. NO ONE SAID THE ROAD WOULD BE EASY
That’s actually a line out of a song my mother bought me as a child and it’s always stuck with me. Along the way in reaching our goals, we will see some tough days, days so hard that they make us want to quit and question if it’s even worth it. Before setting out on this journey to success, we are aware that such days are ahead of us, but when they actually come about it’s a whole other story. We have to accept that the road to success is not an easy one, if it was, everyone would be sailing down it. Understand that sometimes we will be faced with obstacles that feel like there is no way of carrying on, but it’s those very obstacles that define our own story. They aren’t there solely to stop you, they are there to shape you into the character that is necessary and seasoned enough to bare the reward of success. If many of us were given what we wanted before due time, it probably wouldn’t last too long and do more damage than good.
That’s why there are so many instances of lottery winners who are broke again in no time. Because they haven’t had to go through the process of understanding the efforts it takes to accumulate such wealth and in return how to manage it effectively or have the right people around them to add guidance on such maters. The hard road to success is a necessary training ground, you will become a new person at the other end, a person fit for what they have worked for.
10. 99 NO’s
This is a point I have to contend with regularly. Many of the most successful people in the world were faced with rejection after rejection, constantly told that they weren’t quite right for the job, or their art wasn’t quite arty enough to be successful, and after being told no 99 times, finally they got that 1 ‘YES’ that they were looking for, and that 1 ‘YES’ transformed their life beyond their wildest dreams. This is why we can not give up just because we don’t get what we want the first time round, or when our first ideas and attempts don’t pan out the way we expected. Learn from the history we have been given, understand that success is rarely a one-take shot. It takes endurance, it takes the strength to pick yourself back up after constant knock downs and realising that you may only be 99 no’s away from living your wildest dreams.
Written by Daniel Alexander
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