I’ve been thinking about success, something that most of us strive for at one time or another, whether it is work-related, to do with our relationships or health-related – stopping smoking, cutting down alcohol or getting fit. Whatever it is, success is always related to change – it’s about something in our lives being different.
It’s hard sometimes to feel successful, especially when we don’t really know what success means or how it would look. We set ourselves goals that are not clearly defined and then we berate ourselves for not meeting them. We see what we haven’t achieved, and often forget what we have achieved, because the small successes quickly become part of our lives, like an old chest of drawers that we no longer notice.
I have finally realised that success is doing the best that you are capable of at any given time - it is not about gaining status, material possessions or financial accumulation and it is certainly not about that which can be measured against someone else. We are all different, with different abilities and skills, and our gifts are all piled up against the backdrop of our lives, much of which is not under our immediate control.
Part of achieving success is recognising what is not under your control - primarily other people - though other things in the short term may fall into this category, such as financial security, country of residence or work-related stress. However, we can take small steps towards changing those things over time and our own behaviour is within our immediate control. We can choose to be different, to take chances and to accept opportunities.
The opportunities that are offered to us are varied and might include counselling, but it is not the right option for everyone and it is certainly not the only option, although it can help most people in some way. You may choose change instead through making a new friend, starting a new class or just going for a walk every day. Success is doing the best you can in any given situation and this may mean sitting tight for a while until an opportunity comes your way or until you’re ready to change or if may mean going out right now and finding something. Success for you might just be about forgiving yourself when you fail on the way to success, because success always includes failure from time to time, like with small children when they’re learning to walk.
I watched a video by Coach John Wooden (UCLA) on the TED.com website, a site that provides free access to short talks by experts all around the world. It is what inspired me to write down my thoughts. It is 17 minutes long, but at least listen to the first few minutes. If you get bored, turn it off and don’t berate yourself. Maybe it’s not the right message for you and that’s okay.
After I watched this video, another link popped up (also on the TED.com site). It is by analyst, Richard St. John, and offers the eight ‘secrets’ to success.
Passion – whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Do something for love and not for money. If you work for something you love, the money will sort itself out.
Work – put the effort in. You don’t get something for nothing, so you have to be prepared to work.
Focus – put your full attention into what you are doing, when you are doing it. Keep your eyes and ears open for things that are relevant to your goal – things other people say, opportunities that come your way to further your goal.
Persist – keep going. His acronym is push through the CRAP – push through Criticism, Rejection, A**holes and Pressure.
Ideas – speak with other people. Listen to what they say. Think about things.
Good – make yourself better. Listen to advice and suggestions. Keep trying to make yourself the best that you can be.
Push – keep going. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Push yourself. Most obstacles are created in our minds and are not present in objective reality. If you struggle to push yourself, accept this and ask someone else to push you. Apparently, this is what mothers are created for – to push us when we can’t push ourselves, but there will be someone else in your life (if not your mother) to keep you going when you think you’re ready to drop.
Serve – don’t think about how to serve yourself, but how to serve others. It is through helping others that we find success, because we see the bigger picture and we focus on how to change our world for the better.
I hope something in all of this helps you, because it helped me. None of us are perfect and we’re all in this together, learning how to be the best that we can be.
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