What do successful people do differently? In fact, what makes one successful? Or better yet, what is “success”?
Let’s start with the dictionary definitions of the word “success”:
- The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
- The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
Let’s break down the first definition. I believe it boils down to “accomplishments of your goals”. Someone who is successful was able to set a goal and see it through to the end. What I like about this definition is that it puts “success” in your reach. You have to start small and build on it.
All you need to start is to set a goal, which means a target to shoot for (how about lose 5 lbs or save $1000) and a time frame (let’s say in a month) to reach that target. When you hit that target, set the next goal, and so on. It’s important to have the big picture in mind of course (using above examples, it could be overall weight loss or getting out of debt), then breaking it down into small, “bite size” chunks, putting a time frame to it and getting after it. After all, how do you eat an elephant? Well I’m glad you asked – One bite at a time! It takes perseverance to overcome obstacles, including yourself, but in the end, a successful person is able to overcome failure and themselves and keep moving forward towards their goal.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
The second definition takes a different swipe at success. It talks about end goal such as an attainment of wealth, which for a lot of people is success in itself, but I think there is a lot more to it than that. A successful person is really, I mean really good at something. Think about someone you admire (maybe an athlete, an actor, or an entrepreneur, etc.), they all got to where they are because they are really, and I mean really good at something. It could be “hard skills” like an expertise in a certain field or soft skills like ability to work well with people, or combination of both. It takes years and years of practice and progressive improvement in an area of your choice where each step is built on a previous success. This has to be something you are passionate about, otherwise you will lose motivation quickly.
I believe success can be learned and trained like a skill. With that said, I would have to acknowledge that some people have a better disposition to become “successful”, just like some people are naturally faster, stronger, smarter, etc. But, like with any skill, you can train it and get better.
Your environment also plays a key role. Someone who grow up in a supportive environment and is constantly exposed to examples of successful people, will also have an added advantage. There is a reason why our parents were so concerned about who we were friends with.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Success is not accidental, nor happens overnight. It’s a conscious choice, meticulously planned and executed with discipline over a period of time. Surround yourself with the right people, stack advantages in your favor, and get after your goals.