We all want to be as successful as possible with our time between now and the grave. I can’t say that they’ve wanted to fail. People get depressed, suicidal and repeatedly do self-destructive things, but we are not born yearning to get into these situations. We all want to be happy. We all want to do well. We all want to be successful.
However, it can be a very long road between here and success — what does success look like? How do we get there? What are we doing right? What do we need to work on? Success isn’t based on facts. It isn’t something that can be defined by some equation or instantly attained by reading a book. It’s the end product of a combination of factors like luck, effort, skill and knowledge. It is the reward after fighting the good fight and overcoming obstacles. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Fame might. Wealth might. But success is another matter entirely!
I inferred above that there’s no definite path to success. It looks different to each of us. The paths that we’ll each need to travel to become successful will all be different lengths. But, there’s something that we know a little more about. If you take a sample of the people who think of themselves as successful, patterns start to emerge. Underneath the complex webs woven by society telling us how to behave, how to think — how to be — there’s a few social cues that help to define the individuals who’ll stand a better chance of separating from the pack and getting what they really want out of life.
1: TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY
If you act like a joke, the world will see you as a joke. So then, what do you think will happen if you take yourself seriously?
Let’s first note that there’s a sizeable difference between taking yourself seriously and being serious. It’s no harm to have fun in life but regard yourself as an important asset for anyone to have on a team!
One of the major things that separate leaders from followers in this world is that leaders know their worth. They’re not necessarily arrogant or conceited — they simply know what it is that they bring to the table and they’re not afraid to share it with others.
But another strength is knowing how to express these skills in different situations — I’ve had bosses who’re good people, but self-deprecate or undersell themselves in meetings, which inspires trust and confidence in the right people. However, with the wrong people — those with strong personalities — it only makes you appear weak and lacking what it takes to get the job done.
So know who you are and what you can do to make something successful — don’t waver, and know when your confidence can be a strength and when it can be a weakness!
2: KEEP ALIVE WITH THE DRIVE
First off, you’re not going to succeed if you can’t motivate yourself to take on whatever challenges might come your way. The problem with wanting to be the best at something is that there’ll likely be a whole lot of others who have the same notion! So you’re going to have to be willing to constantly put the time and energy in to keep up with the pack, looking for the edge that’ll eventually get you where you want to be, usually despite staggering odds!
3: CREATE YOUR OWN LUCK
In my previous job, my coworkers swore that I had a golden horseshoe lodged firmly up my rear end
(insert link) due to the number of lucky things that seem to happen in my life.I don’t know about luck, but there’re other things I believe in a bit more firmly: skill, faith, trust and karma. I believe that we can CREATE our own luck by doing good deeds and BUILDING the pool of resources we’ll need by helping others and creating meaningful connections with the people we come across in life. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career without having constantly worked hard and being fortunate enough to have people recognize my talents. I wouldn’t have gone to so many events and parties had I not put myself out in the world and made an effort to meet new people whenever possible.
Luck is something that’s hard to quantify or completely understand, but you can increase or decrease how much influence luck has on your life — it’s all a matter of making sure as many doors are open to you as possible. Don’t burn your bridges or actively do things against the better interest of anyone. Don’t be afraid to take chances and to let the world know you exist. Do these and you might find that your “luck” increases, if only a little at first!
4: PRIDE WILL ONLY SLOW YOU DOWN
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s a sign that you recognize that you simply cannot do everything, and every now and then you’ll need additional skills to get something done.
You might not always get what you were looking for, but the very act of asking shows that you’re trying to improve whatever you’re working on by including people whose skills may differ from your own!
So don’t shy away from asking the questions — you never know what the answer might be!
5: KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE
The reason why so many of us get distracted from possible success is that we don’t start with a defined goal, thinking we can figure it all out as we go. Despite my preference to live life as flexibly and adaptively as possible, from my work in Project Management Offices these past couple of years, I can tell you that things USUALLY don’t work that way.
Without any kind of goal, you may as well be traveling in circles just as much as any other kind of direction. So if you want to be successful at anything, make sure you have a goal to work with!
With all that said, you won’t succeed if you don’t have the right attitude and approach to solving your problems, so if you’re not doing any of the things above, it might be time to take a look at yourself and see what you might be doing that could be holding you back!
–Casey E. Palmer