Wednesday 19 July 2017

The Key to Success in Life

The Key to Success in Life

Focus your energies

The truth is, no matter how much you want to do in life, those who accomplish the most are the people who choose to focus on being as good as they can on only a few things.

The old adage is true: you can be a jack of all trades, but usually it will go along with being a master of none. If you want to have incredible success in your life, you need to find one or two things to really focus on and become an expert in. To give yourself the best advantage to being as successful, you need to have focus and clear direction. If you dedicate yourself to only one or at most two particular fields, all of your efforts can go to making yourself better in those areas. People will start to recognize you and trust you to know what you’re doing or talking about when you show them that you have years of experience in doing something right, rather than it being just a passing interest to you. If we’re seeking medical advice, we’re much more willing to listen to someone who finished their medical degree rather than someone who did a single year of seven different degrees.

If you really have a wide range of interests and have a lot of different goals in life, try and find a way to make your goals complement one another. For example, if you want to be a medical doctor and a writer, try writing about health issues so that your books can boost your medical career and vice-versa. Build up a public profile as an expert in as narrow a field as possible, and then you can expand by doing different things within that field of expertise.

This is called finding a profitable niche. Look for something that you’re both naturally talented at, that you are passionate about, as well as something that people are interested in or already spending their money or time on. Do your research before deciding how you want to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, within the very profitable niche of smartphone apps, you might find one that makes people’s lives a lot easier or gives them a great new experience that no other app can give them. If you find some way to set yourself apart in an already profitable niche that you’d love to pursue, focus your energy on that and pursue it.

Narrowing your focus might make it sound like you’ll be missing out on being everything that you can be, but this is a misconception. Having a strong focus allows you to reach the greatest heights of success and experience that wouldn’t be possible if you scattered your energies. Most people who achieved great success usually did it with one thing that they were great at. Olympic athletes focus most of their energy on their sport, and only through their constant dedication to this one focus are they able to win medals. Most great writers have a clear, single voice or message that they are known for, and that is why they keep on selling books. Find that one thing that you would be happy to spend the rest of your life, or at least many years, working on in order to be the best that you can be at it.

Focusing your energies also means that you spend the hours in your day on improving the things that will help your area of focus. This involves a lot of sacrifice. If you want to be a guitarist, you might have to stop gardening as much as you used to so that you can spend more time practising the guitar. Jimi Hendrix had to practise for hours each day in order to be as good as he was. He spent a large amount of time listening to other talented musicians and learning as much as he could. All of this dedication was the reason he is now considered one of the greatest musicians of all time. Because of his strong focus he was able to achieve what very few others could.

Work extremely hard to get what you want

This is the one step that can’t be ignored or avoided.

The truth is that it takes an incredible amount of work to fulfil your potential. There is no way to reach real success without a lot of hard work. It will mean more work than you even imagine at the outset to really reach your big goals in life.

However, not all hard work will get you to where you want to be. Lots of people work long hours but do not progress in their careers, doing jobs they hate but needing to stick with these jobs because they have no other options. The poor in our societies especially have little career mobility or control of their time, and working hard for a boss only makes the boss rich instead of fulfilling your potential.

This kind of work, while it might be necessary, won’t help you to make your dreams a reality. If you want to live up to your potential, you need to find ways of expanding beyond these jobs in order to really build a worthwhile career for yourself.

You need to work hard in ways that take you closer to what your personal goals are. If you are currently working two jobs in order to make ends meet, but you really dream of being a teacher, you could consider making time for a night class so that you can educate yourself. You could get some free financial advice online or at a community center to learn how to save a bit each month, giving yourself a bit more financial freedom. You need to make time to do the work that will really get you to where you want to be, rather than just doing work that will keep you in the same place. If you ever want your life to change, you need to change how you are spending your time.

You need to develop a strong work ethic. Push through the pain and discomfort of doing the things that you need to do so that you can start doing the things that you want to do.

Soichiro Honda, the founder of the multinational automobile and motorcycle manufacturer Honda, started out as an extremely poor and uneducated apprentice in a garage at age 15. He saved for years and eventually started his own auto-repair business at age 22. Two of his manufacturing plants were destroyed in World War II, but Honda persevered and through innovation he was able to expand his company into the multi-billion dollar manufacturer that it is today, producing the best-selling motorcycles in the world. Only through hard work was he able to follow his passion and make it a success.

The easiest way to work hard is to love what you do and to know why you are doing it. If, like the many examples listed throughout this book, you can really find something that excites you and makes the work feel worthwhile, you will have a reason to keep going. Knowing why you want to achieve your goals will give you more drive and determination to make them come true.

This still does not mean that you will love every minute of it. Sometimes the long hours can be very frustrating. It might feel like a distraction working towards your dream when you could rather be earning more money doing something else. Remember in these times that your real, authentic potential can only be unlocked by sticking to something that you believe in. Live your life to be the best that you can be. Aim to thrive, not simply to survive.

Most people will tell you to work smarter, not harder. Remember the 80-20 rule: roughly 80 percent of your success comes from only 20 percent of your actions. Only a very small amount of positive effects comes from the remaining 80 percent of your actions. This means that if you work on your new business every day, you might spend most of your time tidying your office, but this only improves your business by a tiny margin. Instead of wasting your own time on this, hire someone else to do it and spend more time on the things that actually lead to more success.

Find out what gives you the best results, and cut out wasting time on other things. Maybe a whole branch or department of your company is only bringing in a tiny amount of your profits. You might have to make the tough call and stop wasting resources on it, no matter how sentimental you feel about it.

However, if you want to really fulfil your potential, you’ll work both smarter and harder. You’ll do even more of the effective things every day than other people are doing. You’ll dedicate yourself even more to your goals than most other people are. The rich and successful are not lazier than the rest of the population. In fact, many extremely successful people still work very hard every day. The difference is that they love what they do and they’re the masters of their own time.

This is all much easier said than done, and it will be very hard for you to do in practice. But hard work that takes you closer to your goals is the only way to reach success.

Develop habits for success

Successful people usually follow very similar habits in order to reach the levels of success that they have. These might not be what you’re used to, and you might find them annoying or difficult to follow, but if you start acting more like a successful person, it’ll be easier for you to become a successful person.

One of the most important habits shared by many successful people is making the most of your mornings. The mornings are a time of feel rejuvenated, alert and ready for action. Your midday or afternoon slumps haven’t happened yet. Make the most of this time and get some important things done.

You could try getting up an hour earlier and getting a head-start on doing the important things for the day. Reflect on your list of priorities and visualize success at any important appointments or activities you have scheduled. Psych yourself up for making the best of the day. Have a good, healthy breakfast and perhaps spend some time stretching or do a short workout to build your energy.

Now, once you’ve given yourself a great start every day, get rid of a lot of your anxiety and do that one thing that you really dread doing today or that causes you the most stress. If you need to write up a report by the end of the day, instead of letting this task loom over you and cause you unnecessary stress, get it done as early as possible. Do your one big task even before checking emails, and you’ll feel a lot freer to deal with whatever else comes along knowing that you’ve done something really productive already.

Have every hour of the working day scheduled. Even be sure to schedule breaks and rest time. Try and find a rhythm that works for you – some people definitely need more breaks than others. But don’t leave things up to chance. Know exactly what you need to do throughout your day so that you can track your progress. Then give yourself some sort of reward when you finish important tasks. I like to reward myself with watching an episode of a comedy show that I love. The laughing and leisure make me feel good about life and create a positive association with achieving things that might have been difficult.

Another important habit of success is to value and nurture relationships. This could mean relationships with your bosses, coworkers, subordinates, or family and friends. Relationships are important for success, and most people will tell you that they have not achieved anything substantial in life without the help of others. People who are well-liked might even be considered for promotions over those who are hardworking but don’t spend time on relationship building.

You might send out an email once a week to someone who has helped you to thank them, or arrange a networking lunch with a few colleagues. You might even reach out to someone that you haven’t spoken to yet who works in a similar field. It’s important always to see relationship building as places of giving. The more you give to people, and the more you can offer them, the more they will feel like they can trust and rely on you. They’ll be more willing to help you in the long run as well.

Successful people also often have consistent healthy habits to look after their minds and bodies. If you are not already exercising regularly or eating well, start now. There are very few people who achieve great things in life if their bodies aren’t up to the challenge, and it’s hard to make tough decisions if your mind is undernourished or not stimulated. Showing yourself the care and discipline which it takes to stay healthy gives you a good foundation for success. Find an exercise routine and eating plan that works for you, take up hobbies that challenge and stimulate you and become an active, lifelong learner.

Finally, at the end of the day, you can use some time to reflect and to plan ahead. What did you accomplish in the day? What did you fail to do? Schedule time tomorrow to do it instead. Be sure not to give yourself the same reward that you would have gotten for completing your tasks – rather save it for tomorrow. You can also remind yourself of your goals at this time and be pleased and grateful that you’ve done things throughout the day to get you there.

This is how most successful people live, and adopting this lifestyle will help you to unlock your potential.

Take pride in everything you do

In order to create long-term, sustainable and growing success, you need to create things and do work that you are proud of. You need to provide quality to others to make sure that your name and brands are respected and widely marketable. If not, you could lose credibility and you might eventually hit a dead-end in your career once people realize that your work is not worth investing in.

Providing quality and taking pride in your work helps you to build trust with those who you are serving through your work. If you’re a journalist who continuously writes fabricated or poorly written stories, you’ll be out of a job very soon if you’re at any sort of respectable news agency, and it’ll be very difficult for you to be hired again based on your poor portfolio. But if you’re someone who takes pride in your work, even if you’re at a small newspaper, you’ll start to build loyal readers who trust what you write, and eventually you’ll be able to apply for bigger and better jobs.

You’re definitely allowed to have a few hiccups and off days. Sometimes we all just do something that we’re not particularly proud of. But people will respect you if you pick yourself back up, learn from your mistakes, and have a long list of positives to your name to counteract the few bad days.
Producing quality work will also show people that you have integrity and that you’re someone who can be counted on. For most people, they’ll rather hire someone they can trust to do the job well, or buy a product from someone whose name is tied to honesty, quality and integrity. Give yourself the advantage of knowing that whatever you’re trying to do will really benefit the people who receive it.

You need to think about building a legacy through your actions. Do things that you can market yourself on and that make you proud to put your name on. Each day, aim to do something that adds to your legacy or moves you closer to your dreams.

You should also aim to do something that makes the world a better place. Whether you’re bringing people beauty, laughter, new solutions, happiness, connection, motivation, information, education or positivity, if you really know that you’re giving people something worthwhile, you’ll find that success can come a lot easier.

However, providing quality doesn’t mean that you should wait forever until you feel that something is “perfect” before running with it. The truth is that there is no such thing as perfect, and nothing you do will ever be perfect. It’s better to do as much as you can to make sure that you’re proud of something, and then let it go.

A good practice is to give yourself a time limit. If you think that you’ve worked really hard on something and it makes you proud, but you’d like to do a bit more work to get it better, tell yourself that you have to let it go after a certain amount of time. This could be a week or a few months. Be very clear about the time that you still have to work on it, and don’t delay it past that point. You won’t ever have success unless you put something out there!

Be consistent

It’s very unlikely that your blog will take off if you only post once every six months. It’s unlikely that you’ll get lots of subscribers to your YouTube channel if you only post one video and forget about it. People want to know that they can expect certain things from you before they’re willing to invest their time and energy in you.

If you want to be successful, you need to be consistent with your efforts. If you work hard for a short while, then give up for months afterwards, and suddenly decide to come back to it, you shouldn’t be surprised that you lost a lot of interest and momentum during that time off. This is not to say that you should just abandon projects that you might have been neglecting, but only through consistent effort can you make these projects grow.

When you’ve discovered your profitable niche, and you’re committed to producing quality, be consistent with your efforts. Commit to create one new YouTube video every two weeks, at least. Or to write a new blog post once a month. The more regularly you show people that you have something useful, fun or entertaining to offer, the more they will show up with their support.

Be open to change and opportunities

Ask anyone who has tried something new, and they’ll tell you that most of the time it didn’t work out exactly as they had planned. Very few things run completely smoothly, and very few people took exactly the road they wanted to take to reach success.

You need to be able to very quickly adapt in order to find the best way to move towards your dreams.
Be perceptive of markets out there. If you love writing about insects but very few people really want to read about insects, try and find a way that you can sell your work in a new package. For example, you could redirect your focus to writing children’s educational fiction about the relationships between different insects. There might be a much bigger market for this, and you can still do what you love while finding greater success with it.

The people who really reach their potential are innovative and willing to compromise. Don’t be stubborn or inflexible with your dreams. Rather, look at your circumstances and the realities you’re faced with, and find ways to be successful within them.

In order to be well-received, you need to make sure that people are looking for what you are offering, in the form that you’re offering it. If not, try something new or try to sell it in a new way. It’s useless trying to sell ice to Eskimos. But some of them might be art-lovers and instead you could sell them beautiful ice sculptures.

Maintain your integrity and follow your initial dream, but still try to find ways to make your work accessible to a large audience. The best way to do this is through research. Do as much research into your industry and the markets available as you possibly can. Find out what people are already buying, study the most popular products in your niche, and then visit message boards of the communities who would be your likely target market. See what they need, and ask them if you need to. These will give you a good idea about how you can be innovative and find better ways to reach your goals.

You might need to be very experimental to find out what really works and what doesn’t. You might know that you want to work with music, but the rock band that you want to start just isn’t taking off. Instead, you could do a part-time internship at a recording studio, and see what record labels are really looking for. You could put out demos on SoundCloud and see how people respond to them. You could join indie communities and talk to other musicians about how they succeeded. Be willing to try anything to get to where you want to be.

The sad truth is, you might not get exactly the career that you want. You might simply not be talented enough as a singer to be the rock legend you want to be. But if you continue to explore your passion for music, you might find that you work much better as a producer. Eventually, you could help to launch the careers of many other artists and even own a record label and have a great level of success in that way. Be flexible with your ambition and you could end up in amazing places that you never even expected.

Be willing to put yourself out there

Don’t be afraid of making yourself vulnerable in order to get what you want. If you’re not willing to do things that might fail, you’ll never put yourself in the position to eventually succeed.

You need to be willing to potentially make a fool of yourself, and then dust yourself off when it happens. Most people who attain great success have a very long list of failures behind them, but they needed to take the chance in order to succeed.

Henry Ford’s first company failed. He left his second company and his third faced financial disaster. At that point, he might have thought that he just wasn’t cut out to be a businessman. Despite this, he persevered and founded the Ford Motor Company, going on to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history. 

Each failure gives you the opportunity to learn and do better next time. Even if it feels like a really big failure, try and take from it as much as you can and keep on working towards your dreams.

Putting yourself out there also means being willing to market yourself. Don’t be shy to tell people who you are and what you stand for. Claim your identity and your dreams. If you know that you’ll be a great sportswoman one day, introduce yourself as a sportswoman. Being ashamed of your dream will get you nowhere, but if people know what you want in life they might be able to offer you help or support. Talk about your dreams instead of hiding them away.

It’s important to remember that you won’t start out as an expert in the field you’re working in, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take chances. You need to fake it ‘til you make it. Show people that you’re confident in your abilities and that you’re willing to work hard, and you are setting yourself up for success.

The final step to putting yourself out there is to ask for help when you need it. If you’re focusing your energy on being great at one thing, that necessarily means that you’re lacking in some other fields. Find the help and advice you need instead of taking it all on alone. Usually, people are very willing to help you if you show them that you’re confident in what you’re doing.

Learn from the success stories of others, and listen to their advice

Chances are, you’re not the exception to the rules that other people had to follow in order to be successful. There are certain steps within every industry that you might need to take in order to achieve certain goals, and trying to bypass or circumvent these will usually only lead to failure. Your ignorance is not an excuse here – you need to know the industry you are working in as well as you can, and find out what worked for other people.

When people have been through all of the steps to success before, they usually have some great advice to offer you. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Listen to what these people have to offer you. Read autobiographies of the people you admire. Read books by people who have achieved success or who know a lot about your industry.

The person who reaches his or her full potential is constantly learning and growing. Learn the steps that other people followed, try all of them, and see which ones work for you. The best way to do this, again, is to ask others for advice and do your research. The more you know about the industry you’re working in, the better you’ll be able to navigate your road to success. 

At the very least, asking for advice will be great for relationship building. Become an active member of the industry of your dreams. People will start to recognize you and you might find a lot of allies to help you towards your success.

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