By Samuel Malone (published with permission)
Why People Succeed
Success in any endeavour does not happen by chance. It happens through the application of sound principles and purposeful actions such as:
- Setting realistic objectives. Goals give you purpose and direction to achieve the things you want to do in life. Pursuing and accomplishing worthwhile goals will bring you contentment, success and happiness. We achieve our most positive states of mind when we are striving towards some meaningful goal. People without goals never achieve much. Some people fail to set goals because of ignorance or fear or indeed they may not realise the importance of having goals. The SMARTS system of goal setting will help you set inspirational, purposeful and meaningful goals.
- Making worthwhile plans. Without plans goals will never be achieved and you will drift aimlessly through life without achieving anything worthwhile. You will need more than good intentions, wishful thinking and vague commitments to achieve the things you want in life. Goals must be supported by concrete plans in all the important areas of your life including finance, career, relationships and retirement. Things seldom go smoothly in life so that you will need to draw up contingency plans for the different things that could go wrong so that you will be able to cope with the unexpected if it arises. Draw up a personal timeline to get a perspective on your life to date and on your aspirations for the future.
- Practising good interpersonal relationships. An important ingredient for a successful life is the ability to get on with others. Successful people are good communicators and know the vital importance of developing active listening skills. Developing and practising empathy skills will increase your sensitivity and popularity with others. Networking will help you develop social skills and useful contacts. Many people with a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) but a low Emotional Quotient (EQ) fail to succeed in life or progress satisfactorily in their careers. Being able to influence people to do what you want them to do will help you succeed in your personal life and work.
- Having confidence and self-belief. Confidence is about being self-assured and having the competence, judgement, persistence and resources needed to succeed in whatever you choose to undertake in life. Those with an internal locus of control believe that they are in charge of their lives and can influence the direction it takes. On the other hand, those with an external locus of control believe that outside forces shape their destiny and thus they are less likely to be successful. Being aware of and asserting your rights will make you a more confident person. Confidence can be acquired like any other skill if you practise confidence building skills. Self-belief and confidence are interlinked as strong self-belief is an essential ingredient of confidence. Empowering beliefs will enable success while disempowering beliefs will facilitate failure. To be successful and more confident you must move out of your comfort zone, do something different and take some risks.
- Being optimistic and having self-esteem. Optimists are hopeful and positive about the future. They are positive thinkers seeing opportunities and adopting challenges where others see problems. Because optimists think optimistic thoughts their positive expectations increase their motivation and effort to achieve. They are more likely to persist when others give up and so are more likely to succeed and overcome setbacks. Unlike optimists, pessimists have negative expectations about the future and so see little point in expending effort to overcome difficulties. Self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves. If you have high self-esteem you will have more initiative and be happier than others. Self-efficacy is a constituent of self-esteem and is the belief that we have the skills and competencies to do a particular task. Without self-efficacy we can’t even get started on a job.
- Being persistent and resilient. Persistence is the quality of continuing going forward steadily or obstinately despite problems, setbacks, difficulties, disappointments, failures or obstacles. Many people are on the threshold of success when they quit. We all know that quitters are not winners. The lives of many famous people from many walks of life demonstrate that hard work, persistence, and resilience pay off. Persistence, patience and passion are the hallmark of success. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly and bounce back, survive and flourish from the trials and tribulations of life. Resilient people are successful because they have the facility to pick themselves up from failure and start all over again. Those without resilience become hopeless and helpless, adopt a victim attitude, become despondent or plunge into depression.
- Being highly motivated. Motivation is a positive attitude of mind that you are going to succeed despite setbacks and obstacles encountered on the journey to your goals. Motivation is more important than ability in determining success. Motivated people are purposeful and passionate about their lives as they realise that life is not a dress rehearsal, that they only pass through it once, and that they must make the best of it. The key factors of motivation are courage, purpose, enthusiasm and energy. Tips for staying motivated is to always have goals to achieve, to put variety into your life and find a mentor to guide you. You can motivate yourself by changing the negative words of your internal dialogue into positive words and thus free yourself from self-imposed limiting beliefs.
- Develop the habit of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Lifelong learning is a philosophy that we should continue learning throughout our lives rather than stopping when we leave school or college. Lifelong learners are motivated and self-actualised by a love of learning and a natural curiosity. If you don’t change throughout your life you will stagnate and your skills will become peripheral or outdated. Lifelong learners adapt to change enabling them to improve, prosper and grow. We have a range of natural abilities that we can develop. People become successful when they exploit what they are particularly good at. Successful people continually learn from their mistakes and make sure not to repeat them. They believe they can continually challenge themselves and grow and develop all their lives. Continuous improvement by updating your skills and knowledge will help you become the best you can be and is necessary to survive and thrive in a competitive world.
- Practising good personal values. Values are rules that guide you safely and ethically through life. They determine your character and the way you are going to conduct and live your life. Core values might include honesty, integrity, loyalty, fairness, truthfulness, kindness and being trustworthy. People with integrity inspire confidence in others because they are trustworthy, tell the truth and keep their promises. Some people with exceptional talent and potential have gone from hero to zero because of a lack of guiding values, principles and self-discipline to keep them on the straight and narrow. Other people are guided by high principles and become famous and successful winning the respect and admiration of the world. Adopting a code of personal values will help you live a meaningful and successful life.
Why people fail
People fail because they drift aimlessly through life without any purpose or sense of direction. They neglect to develop their relationship skills and antagonise people instead of winning their support. They lack the self-belief and confidence to pursue their dreams with persistence and resilience. They don’t belief in the need for lifelong learning and continuous improvement and find it difficult to adapt to change. They lack self-discipline and seek instant gratification and adopt self-destructive, unhealthy lifestyle habits involving heavy smoking, excessive drinking, drugs, and getting into debt. They lack personal values such as honesty and integrity. Procrastination and perfectionism prevents them from realising their true potential as they tend to leave things drift rather than doing them straight away.
Some people are paralysed by fear. Fears rob us of confidence, desire, commitment and hope. Insecure people have a fear of change and this keeps them locked in their comfort zone. Fear of failure prevents us from making mistakes and taking calculated risks. Fear of rejection prevents us from carrying out normal everyday activities such as approaching that person or making that important phone call, and undermines our self-esteem. Some people even fear success because of the responsibility and resentment that goes with it. To overcome fear, feel the fear and do it anyway! Become sensitised to your fears by taking on smaller challenges while gradually exposing yourself to what you fear.
Why Some People Succeed and Others Fail has an entertaining and eclectic blend of inspirational real life stories from all areas of life including business, sport, science, politics, music, entertainment, exploration and invention. Marvel at and learn from the way many people have overcome seemingly insurmountable handicaps and obstacles in their lives to go on and become successful in their chosen careers or areas of expertise. The text is interspersed with inspirational quotations, practical tips and techniques/activities to help you acquire the right habits and attitudes, and practise the skills of success.
Why Some People Succeed and Others Fail by Samuel A Malone is available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0955578183/) @ £15 or direct from the publishers: Glasnevin Publishing, 16 Griffith Parade, Glasnevin, Dublin 11 at €17 postage paid (www.glasnevinpublishing.com) or from your local bookshop.