Successful people are easy to spot. In fact, the cheat-sheet method of achieving your goals is simply to focus on what successful people are doing and emulate their actions.
After all, successful people are always displaying their attitudes, habits and work ethic for all to see – if only we pay attention. On top of that, the libraries and internet are chock full of books, videos, blogs and other information about achieving success. If we are willing to do the work to learn, success is possible for everyone.
But the important point about a narrative is that it entirely in your mind, which means getting the right mindset is crucial to success.
Messages about what will make us happy bombard our brains every day from endless directions. And yet happiness can never come from external sources. Happiness is a personal journey that is always evolving, not a goal or something that can be found like a pebble on the beach. Happiness must be created and no matter where we are in life, there’s always something to enjoy. Equally, our happiness is constantly under attack as well. An unexpected bill, a fight with a loved one, a rough day at work all have the power to dull a good mood. Successful people know how to let that feeling wash over them, feel the frustration but then immediately get back on track to generate new happiness.
In the previous post, I pointed out the danger of frantic activity, rather than working towards a clear goal. The same goes for the idea of “commitment.” There are different levels and types of commitment. For example, a parent can be committed to protecting their children which is a laudable goal. But a parent who solves every issue for their children or swoops in at any sign of discomfort is not setting their kids up for success. Without letting them tackle obstacles, a child can never develop a robust ability to solve problems. Similarly, while an entrepreneur should be committed to an approach this can quickly lead to an attitude of “my way or the highway.” In reality, every process can be improved through feedback. Commitment is an ingredient of success, but so is knowing when to pull the plug on a goal, process or approach
Giving vs. Getting
The late Zig Zigler once said if you help people get what they want, they will do anything to help you get what you want. But many have the mindset of taking with very little intention of giving. They want to see how late they can get to work, how much they can mooch off their friends and see what they can get away with before anyone tells them to start giving a little more. The truly successful know how to become valuable to other people, not just see them as reservoirs to be emptied on their way to a goal. Success should be about improving everyone’s life, including your own. If you want to become amazing, help other people become amazing.
The ability to make a good decision is vanishingly rare these days, even among top leaders. When they hear the word “decision,” most people envision the moments like when to buy a house, what college to attend, where to go on vacation, when to retire and other major life moments. However, we make thousands of tiny decisions each day: what to eat, what to wear, picking up a book instead of a remote, what to say when answering our cellphone. It may not be obvious but learning how to make better decisions on the micro scale is the only way to make good decisions on the macro.
One fallacy I keep seeing is that better decision-making requires discipline and willpower. Decision-making is much more complicated than that. For instance, what if you are stressed or worried about money? Maybe you lack people in your life who can support you. Are you getting enough sleep? All these variables can have an enormous impact on your ability to make good short-, medium- and long-term decisions. While it’s true that a single bad decision may not affect much of your life, a person who knows how to make good decisions will almost certainly experience more success over time.
Do you let obstacles slow you down or let them propel you to success? How a person chooses to deal with obstacles is important for achieving amazing success. Challenges aren’t simply about pain and suffering; success demands that we reframe them as ways to learn and develop new strengths. Obstacles only turn into roadblocks if we let them.
We all have assumptions about what we think success is and what we what success actually is. There are infinite ways to achieve success, and there are many factors that we ignore on our journey to success that affects small and big decisions. In order to achieve success, you need to have a narrative about success.