The path to success (both personal and monetary) is different for everyone. We all have our own pace, ways of learning, and life experiences to take into account.
I think that being naturally optimistic, determined and focused are helpful traits, but there are no hard and fast rules.
Here are five concepts that I have found helpful with regards to achieving success:
1. Surround yourself with Master Minds
One of the things I’ve learned from my favorite book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, is that to be truly successful you should surround yourself with a group of Master Minds. What is a Master Mind? Hill noted that it’s a “coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
You can create both personal and economic advantages by surrounding yourself with people who hold specialized knowledge in your chosen field. A solid group is necessary to provide advice and encouragement. Your group can consist of 5 or 50 people; quantity isn’t as important as quality. In my personal experience, a Master Mind also possesses the traits of unconditional trust, complete belief in the chosen vision, and never engages in the dreaded group think phenomenon. If you surround yourself with trustworthy people who tell you the truth and commit to supporting you through the highs and lows, you’re bound to succeed. Who you choose to associate with says a lot about who you are as a person.
2. Visualize exactly what you want to achieve and you’ll eventually get it
“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.” -Paul Arden, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be
How can you possibly reach your goals if you’re not even sure what those goals are? One of the biggest obstacles to success is lacking a definite purpose in life.** The easiest way to begin the process is to make a list of goals and achievements. It sounds terribly cliche, but it works! Always date these lists; it’s important to have a reference point when looking back. I make lists almost every day, some of the items very minor, like “Make hair appt.” and “Scan new artwork,” but there’s something rewarding about crossing off all those tiny items, one by one, and meeting your daily goals. It’s okay if you don’t get everything crossed off; revise your list weekly, carrying over old items until everything is finished.
Besides daily lists of minor things, make a major list of what you want to get out of your life. What will make you happy?
If it’s money you’re after, write down how much you seek, the date you’re going to have it, and what you’re willing to do to get it. This is important because once you have a concrete goal, the mind has a way of transmuting goals into reality.
If it’s a certain career you desire:
A. Go home tonight and revise your resume. This article is full of helpful tips to tweak it into a subtle masterpiece!
B. Begin researching schools that specialize in in your chosen field
C. Find people (IRL or on the internet) who are doing what you want to do and ask them for advice- chances are, they will be flattered and provide you with tips and information that took them years to learn!
D. Search Google or haunt Craigslist for internship and volunteer opportunities in your field. Even if you have to keep your day job and / or don’t have the time to go to school, sometimes companies will be willing to take a small risk if you show potential.
There’s also no harm in taping a list of goals somewhere where you can see it every day. Perhaps next to a mirror or by your bed? Positive reinforcement (increased likelihood of a behavior due to the addition of a reinforcer after a behavior) will do wonders! When I was having a hard time a few years ago, re-reading my list of goals reaffirmed where I wanted to go with my life and helped me get back on track.
**If you’re still not sure what your purpose in life is, here are some must-read articles:
A. How to discover your life purpose in about 20 minutes by Steve Pavlina
B. I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life! by Gala Darling
C. Finding Your Life Purpose Isn’t Easy by Success from the Nest
3. Hard work and determination do pay off in the long run
Once you’ve figured out your purpose in life, set aside some time every single day to focus on it. Taking baby steps is better than taking no steps at all! Sometimes, you may have only 10 minutes to work towards your goal. Instead of being discouraged by the lack of time, make the best of it. If you add up the work produced over a year, you’ll see that true progress has been made.
If you’re an artist, aim to create one new series per year. If you’re a writer, aim to create one book per year; write a new chapter per month and do this for 12 months; you’ll end up with a sizable project!
4. Throw fear and self-doubt to the wind
If you want to be wildly successful, your mind, body, and soul must be ready to receive it. Fear is nothing more than a state of mind that must be overcome. If you’re full of negative thoughts, they will begin to morph into their physical equivalent. The truth is, you and everyone else has the ability to control your thoughts through positive reinforcement. Fear and self-doubt are unattractive and will not draw Master Minds to your cause. And, the road to success is a hard one to go alone.
5. There’s no such thing as get rich quick schemes. And if there is, refuse to take part!
Why? Chances are, if you’re not prepared and are handed success overnight, once the excitement wears off, you’ll start questioning whether you deserved it, whether anything is really that different. If you truly haven’t worked hard at something, it may be difficult to fully appreciate what you have. This creates a black hole, a sense of emptiness that can take ages to untangle. Look at all the so-called celebrities and other people who gained instantaneous fame- it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
On the other hand, if you put all your blood, sweat, and tears into your passion and it eventually pays off, there’s nothing more rewarding! Earning success slowly and solidly often means it’s built to last. Some of the most successful people in history didn’t get a taste of it until after the age of 40. In this age of technological overload, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unaccomplished. Re-read your list of goals day and and make contact with one potential lead every day. Whether it’s contacting a gallery, forwarding your product onto a blog or searching out a mentor, keep the momentum going. The universe has a way of rewarding persistence.
One of Napoleon Hill’s most famous quotes is, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
In closing: define what success means to you, draft a list of concrete goals, and get to work! It’s time to live up to your full potential; nobody can make you happy and whole but yourself…