7 Key Steps to Personal Success
In any form of success, ultimately personal attitude is more important than skills. With the right attitude, almost anything can be learned.
Malcolm Gladwell has taught us that 10,000 hours of grinding away at almost anything will give us skills mastery but the irrepressible attitude of the winner is quite a different skill from those usually promoted.
The old image of glass half full or glass half empty is as true today as it was in the 17th century when the expression first appeared. Your vision of the world and of the people you live with will ultimately define your personal success.
Money is only a small part of the equation. Data demonstrates that income over 75,000 a year seems to contribute nothing to a feeling of personal success.
But what does? An attitude that makes you look at every situation as a winner and defines your approach to being supportive and positive seems to be a key characteristic of those who are life's winners.
You can learn this. The glass half full can be practiced. Putting yourself in the driver's seat with a smile and a chirpy attitude is the keystone to success. Basic to your thought of success is that the full responsibility is yours - 100%.
What often stops us from achieving success is the paralyzing effect of failure. Our failures in the past haunt us and keep reminding us that we're no good and, as such, will never attain success. So, as we take the driver seat in our trip to success, here are the things we need to do:
1. Change the Picture
Sweep the ashes of bad experience that are tripping you into repeating the bad experience again and again. Picture clearly the success you want for yourself. This is your dream... your vision for your life right now. If you don't have one you will certainly go someplace, but not where you hope!
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
--Harper Lee (1926-2016), To Kill a Mockingbird
Have a Vision Board. When you do your vision Board, do not think...hmmmmmm... that is so expensive...never in my whole life will I ever accomplish that....no judgment, please. What will help is to paste pictures on your board of what represents a life of success for you.
Paste on your board all the elements of the life you dream for yourself. Look for the pictures that best represent these elements and let these pictures shape your vision. Have fun. You are creating your life. Once it's completed, place this on the wall that you often look at so each time you look at that wall, there goes your Vision inspiring you.
2. Build a personal success profile
In a world of negatives, there are always successes. Look at your own experience. How were you programmed? Are you still getting ready for your grandparents depression? Are you still waiting for a "crash and burn" outcome of your life's flight? Are you still guided by what your parents told you?
Time to create your own I. And make sure, it is positive.
Yes, the way we are brought up has a major influence on the success blueprint that we hold in our mind. Sometimes, we are not even aware of these influences.
Most of these influences are negative. They make us medieval determinists rather than celebrators of free will. It is like a silent conductor making the music of our life, making the cadence go up and down without control or even input on our part. How can this failure of the human spirit be possible?
I have seen this in my own personal life. My husband and I are living a life many only dream about. People say we live a blessed life but we still continue to hammer away at the blueprints our parents, families, teachers passed on.....the negative conditioning our cultural backgrounds hammered into us and the values our age pushed us into.
Don't give up. It is an unending journey. Enjoy it and give yourself a pat in the back once in a while.
As Jennifer Khan in New York Times Magazine has said, "our minds have been cobbled together over thousands of years by that lazy craftsman, evolution, and are riddled with bad mental habits that underpin much of our unhappiness".
A constant practice of a positive approach spread over a lifetime is as close to a guarantee as we can get to a successful life.
3. Put Yourself in the Driver's Seat
Now that you have shaped your dream life on your Vision Board, and have assessed the negative influences on your path to success, draw up a strategy and a plan of action.
Yes, you need to make this life happen. Have a plan, a blueprint for success. Remember, a vision without a blueprint will always be a foggy dream. But a blueprint without a vision will leave you with a tall ladder leaning against a wrong building.
So draw up this blueprint or strategy with a plan of action that defines SMART goals. That is goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, clear results and time-bound. This way, you can monitor your progress much more effectively.
4. Make it happen
Yes, craft that better version of yourself now. What helped me are not those 5 year plans that after you have finished doing it, you have no more energy to make it happen.
What was more effective for me are tiny, bite size commitments I challenge myself with each day. When I am able to do it, my steps are lighter and closer to what I see on my vision board. I am encouraged.
These steps are tiny even just to learn how to meditate and practice it for 5 minutes a day. Write in your journal every day. Save a dollar a day or do simple exercises each day. Tiny though they are, when we stick to them each day, our inner strength to take on bigger tasks improves.
5. Learn from Experts and Role Models
Yes, look for role models or attend some workshops. They just might be the best investment you've every had in your life.
When I started, I was still organizing courses to help our teachers and one of these was on Affirmation and Visualization.
I learned about how we had been programmed and how to change that. So, encouraged with this new found insight, I practiced it and I was surprised at the changes that took place in my life....the dreams that were realized to the detail, too, of what I have affirmed and visualized. This prodded me onward.
There are a number of articles online on self-development planning and doing affirmations and visualization. But be wary as most self-help appeals to us because it promises real change without much real effort. What is key is to take on your plan and do one act a day to realize it.
6. Keep Going
Just keep going. Trudge on. Train that will power. Yes, most of us make our plan and set our goals. But only few have the persistence in exercising that will power. We often dismiss successes of other people as genetic, genius or genie's help.
Far from it. Those people have spent the 10,000 hours Malcolm has set as the benchmark for mastery. Many and I include myself just jump often at the invitation of a friend, a neighbor's chat or just plain laziness. The television or that magazine you haven't checked out recently are just too inviting.
But wait a minute. Do not also overtask your will power. Why? Because by doing so, you become more vulnerable and are more likely to give up on staying on track. Find yourself some wholesome distraction or give yourself a break.
7. Celebrate your Success
As you take on a benchmark in your blue print, toast yourself. Invite a cheer leader friend and share it.
What steps have you taken yourself towards success? Share with us.