The Secret of My Success
Why is it that a few people “get all the breaks” while most seem to be starring in their own version of “Groundhog Day” for the better part of their lives: renting themselves out by the hour, everyday, for enough to pay the bills, buy a few distractions from the dull throb of frustration and spend their time away from work trying to forget what they did all day?
Karma? Luck? A silver spoon? The hand they’re dealt?
I’ve written about the vanity underlying the messages in "The Secret" as well as the vacuum of materialism . Here, though, I want to present some basic steps that anyone can follow to realize their own definition of success.
When I was little, my dad was always saying things like, “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins,” and he would often quote Robert Schuller:
When faced with a mountain, I will not quit
I'll keep on striving until I climb over,
Find a path through, tunnel underneath,
Or simply stay and turn my mountain into a gold mine.
I will not quit.
As a child I didn’t grasp the enormity of these simple passages; but as an adult having to constantly adjust to change, I now realize that there are some not-so-secret ideas that are the keys to true success:
Know Exactly What You Want
Ask most people, “What do you really want in life?” (and I do this often), the answers are generally vague and what I’d call “safe”: “I want to be happy”, “I want a lot of money” or “I just get through the day.”
But what is happiness? How much is a lot of money? After you “get through the day” for enough years ... then what? Few are very specific to confidently assert exactly what is their driving passion. When I finally sat down to do this, it was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated and, to be honest, I’m always refining.
So, for example, you want a beautiful house. What kind of house is it? What color is it? How many levels does it have? Corner house or middle of the block? Carpeting or hardwood?
Bottom Line: Knowing exactly what you want is the only way to actually get it. Be specific.
Make the Plan and Write It Down
How will you get what you want in life? Whether it’s material comfort, a mate or true enlightenment you’ll need a map for getting from where you are now to where you want to be. It may seem obvious after you read it, but many people never take control of their own fate: they wait for someone to reward them with approval and recognition or, sometimes, with money.
Part of the map to reaching your goals is to do what you do best. Think back over time, make a list and don’t skip over the things that you think might be insignificant; what’s unique about you might be the key to your personal treasure.
Bottom Line: Journal what you want, including how and when you will achieve it. Write in the first-person present tense and use positive language.
Form the Group
Do you sometimes feel like the same person keeps appearing in various incarnations throughout your life, moving on from one relationship (friend, family, coworker, etc.) only to find that the next one seems like déjà vu all over again?
The people you associate with – particularly those closest to you – are, essentially, reflections of how you see yourself (and vice versa). When you are determined to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself, you naturally tend to associate with people who will help you achieve this goal.
Keep in mind that the people you attract depends on your goal, and if your goal is one that is negative (i.e. harmful to yourself or others), so will be your associations.
Bottom Line: The people you choose – and who choose you – will be your Mastermind Group. You will collaborate on achieving common goals, sharing mutual desire and support.
Keep the Faith
I read about a guy who left his home in the Midwest to seek fame in Hollywood. He got work as a limo driver, a mover and the guy in a chicken suit who handed out flyers on the street for a restaurant. Undeterred by these jobs that were unrelated to his goal, he remained persistent in his desire to become an actor. He could have given up because the competition was too great or that he didn’t find fame and fortune right away.
So I wonder what Brad Pitt thinks about now when he remembers his beginnings.
Whatever you tell yourself about yourself is true; you are what you think you are, and life has given you what you’ve asked for. If you’re not satisfied with it, follow these steps to reach a new goal. And believe you will achieve it.
Bottom Line: The faith you have in yourself, and a strong degree of persistence, can determine when (or if) you reach your goal (see above quote from Dr. Schuller).
Some things to keep in mind as you are now on the road to success:
- Don’t wait for the “right time” to start; the right time is now;
- There will always be competition;
- There will be failure, but they are merely temporary setbacks. You are still moving forward because you are persistent;
- Some people might tell you, “You’ll never make it.” When you look back, you’ll see that those people are still exactly where you last saw them.
Reach for the stars; you just might get the moon.