Last week’s Alchemist’s Updates Newsletter identified four sets of characteristics that separate those who are successful from those who are not. An email newsletter has space limitations, I decided to expand on the subject in this post.
It’s a subject that has fascinated me since my military training days when I watched how some men could handle the responsibility of leadership while others could not. I have observed how some people were successful in the corporate world while others quickly reached their “level of incompetency” and remained stuck and frustrated for the rest of their careers. Similar patterns were apparent in large and small businesses, across industries, amongst commercial farmers and in the many different countries in which I did business.
Education and aptitude were not the most important factors for determining success.
There are other factors that contribute to success or failure, but these are four of the most important.
4 of the most important are:
- Focused vs Scattered
- Taking Effective Action vs Being Busy
- Consuming vs Creating or Producing
- Positive vs Negative Attitude
They are all important, both individually and in their ability to aggravate the effects of the others. Frequently one triggers another in ever-increasing circles of either progress or failure.
Both sets can be represented graphically by spirals, upwards for the success factors, downwards for the limiting ones.
The spiral can be entered, the direction changed and movement up or down accelerated, by switching between the opposites in each pair of factors.
Moving away from action to busy work – spending hours reading emails or non-marketing activities in social media – can lead to being scattered instead of focused, consuming instead of creating, a negative mindset and lack of results.
How do we ensure that we stay on the right side of the spiral and keep moving upward towards success?
Setting goals, determination to reach them, creating work habits, routines, and schedules to prioritize and use time effectively are all part of the solution.
Being scattered, with a lack of focus, spending hours on busy work are all easy, more so working on a computer permanently connected to the internet. Being focused, taking action and creating are more difficult. However there are many tools and techniques to make it easier to stay on the productive side of the equation.
In a previous post I referred to “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” that is an excellent way to think about focus.
Detailed, weekly and daily action plans, avoiding email or indiscriminate internet browsing until late in the day, doing one hour creative work first thing in the morning are all good tactics. Always having a non-fiction book or e-reader to read, paper and pen for writing, voice recorder, smart phone or tablet to do all that, lets us turn otherwise unproductive waiting time into productive creating time. A voice recorder or smart phone app lets us use driving time to make notes or create blog post outlines.
It all starts with the determination to be effective, achieve our goals, make a contribution to improving our own and other’s, lives. Yes it does take effort, it is more difficult than watching amusing You Tube videos, but the results are infinitely more rewarding.
How do you stay on the upward track of the spiral?
Wishing you success and an extraordinary life.
p.s. In the newsletter, I mentioned Nudgemail, a free email reminder service, I have been using it for a few days, it is good for scheduling emails that can be dealt with later in the week, setting up reminders as a back up to an on or off-line calendar, it’s worth trying.
Success / Failure signpost Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net