Like everyone else I've spent some time thinking about why some people are so successful in life. And what factors in success that are under more personal control than others.
Successful people might be intelligent. Or have had a socially well connected upbringings. Or be naturally energetic and open and positive.
But a lot of the factors that make some people more successful at almost anything in life are very much under their control. And much can be improved in anyone's life by learning from the people that have gone before us.
Here are some of the thoughts on success that I've come up with from reading/watching documentaries throughout the years about people such as Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt and Henry Ford. The following factors of success are just a few and I'm quite sure there are a lot more.
1. They make decisions and take action.
Right or wrong action, they take it. Either way it's always better than making no decisions and taking no action at all. As Franklin Roosevelt said:
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
2. They do things even when they don't feel like it.
I think this is a pretty huge factor. A lot of us back down when we don't want to do something, even though it may eventually bring us to a wonderful experience or goal. Successful people may not always like doing some of the things they have to do. But they do them anyway. And in the longer run that makes all the difference.
3. They do the most productive thing right now.
Instead of trapping themselves in doing productive but not so important tasks or projects they realize what's most important and do that. And after they're done with that they do what's most important again. Instead of just doing a lot of things, they think and plan before they act and try to focus as much as possible of their thoughts and actions on those few very important things.
4. They do one thing at a time.
Many of them don't seem to multi-task. Some reasons for avoiding that may be that it creates internal confusion, wastes time and spreads the multi-tasker too thinly. Instead, they do one thing and focus on that until it is done. Then they do the next thing until it is done. Focusing 100% on one task at a time will get it done quicker and better.
5. They have a positive attitude.
A negative attitude can be very damaging and limiting to one's life. A positive one can open new doors every day. It can open your mind to new ideas and input and create or sustain great relationships. It helps you through the hard times as a successful person often sees an opportunity within what others would merely see as a problem.
6. They have redefined failure.
While a lot of people see failure as a way to rationalizing the feeling of wanting to giving up or as a sign that it's actually time to do something else successful people tend to see it more as useful feedback. They may not like to fail, but they don't fear it â€“ or at least they have little fear of it – and they know that if they fail they've been there before and they can start over again and succeed. This is of course a very useful belief and keeps successful people going while the rest have already given up.
7. They don't let fear hold them back.
They overcome fear and slay that dragon whenever they face it. Or they may have defined or redefined reality so that fear is substantially decreased or even gone in some areas of their life.
Doing this enables you to take action on your thoughts. This pulls down the barriers in the mind and create new roads and opens up to whole new possibilities.
8. They have found a purpose in life
They are internally driven rather than externally driven. They do what they have a burning desire to do rather than conforming to what others think they should do. Even if what the others think may be positive and successful stuff.
The Michael Jordans, the Edisons and the Stephen Kings have figured out what they want to do in life and are doing it (or did it).
The purpose, I think, is largely why they can keep on going and be motivated while others may tire or just go and do something else that they find more purposeful. The successes love their purpose and when they aligned with it then it seems to push them forward with enthusiasm and energy through life.
9. They don't get distracted.
When others get too caught up in everyday life to do what they really want to do the successes don't. They can really focus on actually doing what's important and what needs to be done. Again, this seems to go back to having a purpose and more clear sense of direction in life.
10. They value their time highly and plan it out well.
A lot of people don't value their time that much. Successful people have a purpose in life and therefore they do. They have so much they want and an inner urge to do it and therefore need to plan well to use their days effectively.
11. They've got awesome communication-skills.
So very much of what we do in life has to do with other people. So it seems quite obvious that to be successful you'll probably have to have good or great communication-skills (or hire someone that has such skills).
People skills is fortunately something anyone can improve and develop. Have a look at Do You Do these 10 Mistakes in a Conversation.
12, They have an open mind and are willing to learn.
Successful people take the time to study and learn – and often seem to really like doing it – what is necessary to improve their skills. They are open to thoughts, suggestions, solutions, new information and change rather than thinking they already know everything, that there is not much more to learn and that everything should be as it has always been.
What to focus on?
Now, what factors are the most important ones, where should one focus the energy? I am currently focusing on improving my ability to take action, doing what I may not feel like doing and doing the most productive thing right now. To me it seems like these three factors are very important and since they are pretty interconnected they are easy to combine.
I think what you should focus on varies a lot. And it's up to everyone to figure that out for themselves. But if you're anything like me you probably already know what areas you need to work on.