How is it that some people just seem to succeed at everything they set about to do? Is there a path that can be followed by anyone to ensure success in everything we do? Observing the world around us and studying successful people, we soon realize that there is indeed a well-worn road to success. And, this path can be followed by anyone willing to stay the course. All you need is the right attitude and method.
When we look at people who succeed and others who fail, we notice that there are some common characteristics and habits for each. No matter what the endeavor, there are laws that govern success and they are clear and fixed. This guide will lay out the path that you can follow to ensure you succeed at everything you do. Follow this plan and, as you will see, success is certain.
What is Success?
If you ask a hundred people to define success, you will probably get a hundred different answers. However, success boils down to one thing: achieving your goals. If your idea of success is to become a doctor with many patients, then once you achieve this goal you have succeeded in this task. If your goal is to have a family, a nice house, children who you can be proud of and a respectable career, it is only by realizing these goals that you can say you have succeeded.
But who defines your success? You alone do. Whether or not you think you do, you have created the conditions in your mind for your own successes and failures. If your definition of success is to be alive, then every day of your life you are successful. If you feel you can only truly be successful if you make a billion dollars a day, then it will be much more of a challenge for you to be successful.
Here is my own definition:
“I can only fail if I give up and learn nothing and in no way improve myself. If I see something through to the end, learn even one useful thing or improve myself in some way, I have succeeded.”
According to this definition, success is completely within my control and it is virtually impossible for me to fail. I set myself up to succeed. Now you may scoff at this, but because of this belief, I go into every endeavor knowing that I can’t fail.
Imagine having this feeling, knowing that you cannot fail. Having this belief, you lose your fear. I am not afraid to try something new, I have no fear of failure and because of this, have enormous confidence. Because of this attitude, I am able to effectively handle all my affairs and achieve the goals I set for myself. I have set myself up for success from the start.
Perhaps you don’t feel the same way, and that’s just fine. You don’t need to. Regardless of your definition of success, I can show you the simple method you can follow to ensure you always succeed. Depending on your goals and your definition of success, however, it may take longer or shorter. Regardless, the path to success, the method for achieving it, is always the same.
The 5 Steps to Success
Looking at success, in all of its forms, we realize that the road to success is composed of 6 steps:
- Decide what you want.
- Declare, with certainty, that you will achieve it.
- Focus your efforts on realizing your goal. Take action, even if you don’t how you will achieve it.
- Observe what happens and adjust your approach until you succeed.
- Take the time to be grateful and enjoy the success.
That’s it. Look at successful people and you will see that this is the pattern that is used. There are an infinite number of examples of this that can be studied.
With these steps in mind, the first thing is to figure out what you want.
Step 1: Decide What You Want
Never move beyond this step, until you are clear on what you want. If you do not really want something, you’re not going to be motivated. If the picture in your mind of your success is not compelling enough, you won’t persist through the difficulties and stumbles along the way. You have to know your destination.
Getting clear on what you want can be the most challenging task. How can you get clear on what you really want? Here is a simple exercise that can help.
Take out a piece of paper or your computer. At the top write “What do I REALLY want out of my life?” Then write an answer. Any answer and don’t think about it at all, just let it fall out of your brain. You have no commitment to it so it doesn’t matter what it says. Then write another answer. And another. Do this again and again until you find an answer which overwhelms you with joy and you know it to be a cherished desire.
You may have other desires, but once you find one that resonates deeply with you, decide then and there to make that your next goal.
Step 2: Declare That You Will Achieve It
In Napoleon Hill’s classic “Think and Grow Rich”, he relates a story about Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. In short, the tale goes as follows:
Ford decided to produce a V-8 motor, and when the design was given to his engineers, they unanimously declared it to be impossible. Ford responded, “Produce it anyway.” Without any other option, they set about trying to find a way. For months, they tried everything they could think of, but to no avail. They repeated to Ford the impossibility of the task. Ford simply replied, “I want it, and I’ll have it.” And lo and behold, they eventually discovered how to make it. Ford’s determination won over the impossible.
Declaring your vision as the birth of its corresponding reality is the second step. As Albert Einstein said:
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Step 3: Focus In and Take Action
Focus is power. We live in a world that is full of distractions and noise, constantly competing for our attention. Once the first two steps have been taken, the third step is the natural result which follows, though it is necessary to make efforts to sustain your focus.
Once you are focused in on where you want to go, you will feel compelled to action. And, if steps one and two have been committed to, you will naturally work towards your goal.
While you may not know how you are going to succeed, it matters not. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Step 4: Observe and Adjust
It is not enough to simply take action. You will make mistakes along the way, but the key is to trace the effects of your actions. When you were first learning to walk, you tried to stand up and fell back down. You got up and tried it again, and each time you tweaked things a bit, until you got it right.
Careful attention and adaptation are necessary. Once again we can turn to the words of Einstein:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Step 5: Gratitude
There are simply no words sufficient to emphasize the importance of taking the time to be grateful for what you have. With practice, gratitude can become interwoven throughout the comings and goings of life. When we feel grateful, so many wonderful things accompany this feeling, and it propels us on to further triumphs.
To feel gratitude, try saying, out loud, the following zen affirmation:
“Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”
Say it again and again until you feel deep feelings of gratitude.
Then, repeat the 5 steps and leave behind you a legacy of success.