We all desire success, but why is success so often elusive?
No matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you try, it can seem that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Despite all the effort you’ve put in over the years, it can seem as though others have success come their way easier. It can be frustrating that success is always just out of your reach.
The frustration is compounded by the waiting. Your patience begins to wane. Your faith is tested. Your resolve is weakened.
It’s normal to feel this way when we live in a world of instant everything—instant food, instant coffee, instant relationships, instant billionaires.
When the whole world wants it now, so do we. This includes our success.
As a doctor and life practitioner, I’ve learned that there are two ways to view success:
- You can either compare yourself to others and get depressed, or
- You can ignore what others are doing and focus on what you can do.
This means you can either keep looking with envy at the greener grass on the other side of the fence, or you can stop looking and focus on how you can make your grass greener.
As the saying goes:
“The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.”
There’s a ‘U’ in success for a reason, and that means you. Your success is therefore up to you.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand. Although we desire the success that comes from being who we want to be and doing what we want to do, success remains elusive for so many because of the higher value we place on material success (doing) over personal growth (being).
But the outward path (what you do) is just the physical context in which you experience being the person you were born to be.
Einstein advised that you seek values over material success, that you favour character over intellect.
It’s who you are that counts as much (if not more) than what you do. Success, then, is an inward and outward journey, of being as well as doing.
Its definition should integrate who you are with what you do and why and how you do it.
The mistake is to define success by only one path: being or doing. It is both.
There are 33 million titles on Amazon.com.
There are 7.7 billion humans on the planet (2018).
There are 100+ million official songs in the world.
So how do you stand out and succeed in the world?
Napoleon Hill’s bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, was published in 1937. In it, he discussed the success principles of those who had amassed personal fortunes at the time, with a focus on desire, faith, imagination, autosuggestion, persistence, and knowledge.
Since then, there has been countless research on ‘what it takes’ to be successful. A brief overview of what the research has identified as to what successful people do differently can be summed up in the word: SUCCESS.
S – Start!
Successful people take action! They start immediately. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not when they feel like it. But now.
They don’t delay. They act quickly and decisively. They know that life rewards action and they know that the journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.
U – Utilise their Failures
Successful people use their failures as stepping stones to success. They fail often, and they fail quickly.
They don’t get demoralised by failure, nor do they hang onto them. They use failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
C – Create Systems and Processes
Successful people develop formulas and steps to success because they know that other successful people do the same thing.
They focus on the process that’s required knowing that it will produce the results they’re after.
They take Bill Gate’s words to heart, that:
“If you want to improve something, look for ways to build better systems.”
C – Commit
Successful people commit to their goals and action plans.
They are fully invested into their success because they have fully invested themselves.
They know the reason 80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years and why 97% of people who start writing a book never write the words ‘The End’.
Lack of commitment.
E – Enjoy what they Do
Successful people love what they do and do what they love.
Despite the setbacks and failures that come with the package of success, they have great enjoyment and enthusiasm for what they are trying to achieve.
When what you do is a joy, hard work isn’t a chore.
As the character, Mary Poppins, said,
“You find the fun and snap! the job’s a game.”
S – Small Steps
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Big businesses don’t grow overnight. Children take 18 years to develop into adults.
Successful people take one step at a time and don’t get ahead of themselves. They know that each small step is one step closer to reaching their goal.
They know that overnight success is 20 years in the making, so they build their dream one brick at a time.
S – Stop!
Successful people stop any negative thoughts in their tracks. They don’t listen to the criticism that pops into their heads.
They know that self-doubt is the biggest killer of creativity and action. They don’t give their doubts a second thought, because negative thoughts lead to negative behaviours, which leads to inaction and failure to achieve.
They keep moving forward at all costs.
Success is both being and doing, both an active and passive process.
There are therefore 4 Tenets of Success to be mindful of in your journey to success and becoming the best version of yourself you can be:
#1 Success is Self-Defined
This means you shouldn’t rely on others or society to tell you what they think success for you should be.
Nobody else knows you like you do. Only you know what success looks like from your point of view.
Success, therefore, is a personal brand.
Be deaf to what others tell you is best, take ownership of who you want to be and what you want to do, and define how success looks for you.
#2 Success Comes Through You, Not to You
There’s a ‘U’ in success for a reason—success comes through you, not to you.
Don’t try to be anything other than you. Don’t try to be somebody else. Don’t even try to be ‘a success’.
Because success, even greatness, is first built on the foundation of you.
Therefore, make your foundation—your you—a rock on which to build your success.
As the philosopher, James Allen, said:
“Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
#3 Success is a Side-Effect of You Commitment to Your Life-Purpose
To focus solely on outward success is to focus on a constantly moving target, a target that is virtually impossible to hit.
But when your focus is on becoming the person you were born to be—your Life-Purpose—success is a natural outcome of that journey.
The importance of outward success is that it is the means by which you can express who you really are—the best version of yourself.
Earl Nightingale, who is considered the father of the personal development industry, spoke about success as not being an end in itself (e.g. like a target to hit) but as a process:
“Success is a progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
What is your worthy ideal? What is the Life Purpose that you are progressively realising and making real?
#4 Success is a Habit
Success is a habit of right being, right thinking and right action.
Success isn’t a secret treasure waiting for you to stumble upon. Success is an act of creation.
Any type of winning, any type of achievement, is created through a process—a process of hard work, determination and unyielding will—which is why it’s a habit.
A habit that requires determination, dedication and perspiration.
Success follows right action, but before right action comes right thought.
There is something you can do right now to set into motion the process of success. Ask yourself these catalyst questions, and keep asking until you have achieved the success you want:
- Who am I being?
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing what I’m doing?
- How am I doing it?
This is how you start nurturing your success and making your grass greener on your side of the fence.