Success has always fascinated me. Why do some people with apparently many advantages fail to achieve anything worthwhile in life while others with huge disadvantages succeed beyond all expectation. Often achieving amazing goals.
Why do some refuse to let repeated failure stop them but others give up at the first hurdle.
We can study goal setting, positive thinking, The Secret, set up vision boards, chant mantras and affirmations, read all the right books, listen to inspirational audios every minute we are in our vehicles, go to all the right workshops and still fail dismally.
Some one else who does not have the opportunity to do all that “essential” motivating stuff, who has not read how bad the economy is, does not have a TV to become depressed by watching the slaughter in Syria, antics in Afghanistan or revolting students causing mayhem in Montreal, quietly goes about making a success of his or her life.
I am an ardent believer in Napoleon Hill’s maxim “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve”. Belief is vitally important, without it we get nowhere, but belief on its own is not enough. We can believe and conceive to eternity, but without taking action, actually doing something, we will not succeed at anything.
Action on its own is no guarantee either, the world is full of very busy people, active as ants but going nowhere. It is too easy with all the new distractions like email and social media to be busy for hours without producing a single ounce of value. Now with Pinterest we can do it with pictures too.
I have always been a believer in having clearly written goals and looking at them every day, I still think that is an important ingredient of the recipe, but no guarantee that the cake will rise. Some of my most difficult goals were not written on paper but in blazing headlines in my mind. My goal of completing my first ultra-marathon was in my mind almost every minute for 3 years, I lived it, dreamed it, breathed it, it didn’t need to be written down, it was a huge part of me.
Without belief, written goals can be counter productive, no matter how well written, nicely prepared and frequently read, if we don’t believe they are attainable, we will stop working to achieve them.
So what is it that makes the difference?
I suggest that it is not one single thing, that it is a combination of a few essential values. Each of us will have a different mix of these values, some will lack some completely and compensate with a greater share of others. I also suggest that these values have little to do with academic success, standard of education, religion or nationality. But a lot to do with inherited values, upbringing and real life learning.
What are the values that we need in the mix?
- Belief Already mentioned, without it we are non-starters.
- Focus Think of a racehorse leading the Kentucky Derby, it does not think about the weather, the economy, politics or what car its neighbour is driving. Every ounce of its energy is focused on keeping its nose if front of its nearest rival. Absolute focus on the few activities that will move us forward is critical.
- Determination Goes without saying that without it we will not succeed.
- Persistence Do the same steps tomorrow as we did today, and the next day until we succeed.
- PerseveranceThe strength to keep on keeping on, every day no matter what.
- Resilience The ability to pick ourselves up when the wheels fall off and start again.
There are others, many experts talk about desire, without desire, then all our goals are merely nice-to-have-wishes, without desire we will not have the belief or any other of the vital ingredients, we will not even get started.
Those are my 6 key ingredients, some people have more of one than the others, but we need to work on all of them to succeed.
Which ones are the primary cause of failure? From what I see in the world today, any one of the last 3. Most people seem to start off believing, many do focus well, a lot show real determination. But when results do not happen as quickly as expected, a lack of persistence or perseverance shows. Throw in one unexpected hurdle that overcomes resilience and suddenly determination falters, action becomes unfocused and pretty soon belief is a distant memory.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in a comment.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
Here’s a resource I recently found that helps me to stay motivated: Be Motivated Today (affiliate link)