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The Success Science : Five Laws
Think about a hero or heroine who you admire, from either the past or present. Now think about what it is about them that inspires you. What it is they do (or have done), how they think, how they behave and what it is about them that make them stand out from others?
There could be a whole range of names that came to mind with this exercise; Mahatma Ghandi, Richard Branson or Florence Nightingale to name just a few – and of course, a diverse set of reasons that they stand out. Although I am confident that there would be a number of traits common to virtually any hero or heroine listed, for example:
Yet if we examined the science behind their status, success or fame, I wonder what we would observe. Is there a formula we could follow or is it just luck and coincidence? So let us explore this a little using Five Laws to Success, which is based on the new science that surrounds how to master our success, happiness and fulfilment.
First Law of Success – It is Personal.
Firstly, I would like to explore what success looks like to see if there is some hidden magic we can access. Let us examine the characteristics of success, experienced through the eyes of three very different industries; Business, Sports and Entertainment.Consider what the Top 10 success characteristics might be from each of these worlds; consider their behaviours/actions, their mindsets and how they need to feel to achieve success in their respective categories.
Given that we have explored three different sectors and undoubtedly found that there are some crossovers in terms of success characteristics, does this give us a formula for OUR success? What if I asked you to assess your current success against these criteria – how would they fit for you? I suspect it would not be a perfect fit, as there would be some characteristics that just do not feel right for you. They might well be a great fit for an entrepreneur, tennis player or even an actor, although when it comes down to it, often those criteria just do not cut it for us personally.
The definition and characteristics of success are completely unique and a highly personal affair.
When we understand this, we begin to recognize that we do not need to measure ourselves against other’s ideals. We simply need to focus on what success means to us and we are half way there.
Find out the Uniqueness in Yourself
If we are going to truly be successful and perform at our best, then the first thing we must acknowledge is that our definition of success will be completely unique to each of us. So there is no one formula for us to follow – there is just our formula. This is such an important realization, as we so often try emulating big sporting heroes or business gurus, and yet their perceptions, values and beliefs about what success looks like, will be completely different from each other.
Second Law of Success – Definition creates Mastery.
Interestingly, when we follow the sound of another’s drum, we tend to lose a little of ourselves and our potential with it. This is certainly something I can relate to as I spent many years putting people on pedestals, trying to be like them; then later in life, realizing this was a fruitless task. When we learn to be true to ourselves, everything falls into place and success becomes effortless.
When we decide to take the reins of success and master the game of our life, then one of the first exercises we really need to do is define explicitly what success means to us. This isn’t just a wooly excuse of a mission statement – this is a profound statement that declares clearly what success looks, feels and sounds like for us and states the results it would give us.
When we begin to play our game, we naturally find that our performance alters. When we rely on compliance to other’s rules, we have to find energy to play, motivation to stay with it and ‘blood, sweat and tears’ to continue performing at their desired level. Whereas, imagine if we set our own rules and followed them passionately – what happens to our performance then? It raises a level and naturally develops a rhythm that takes us towards the very essence that is our success. Everyone is a winner when we engage with this game.
So my second Law of Success is getting REALLY clear on and defining what success means to us, which then gives us a robust starting point to our own, personal success formula.
Third Law of Success – Success is Happiness?
We have been lured into a false sense of security that when we achieve success, then we will be happy, as if it were a final destination for us to head towards. When did we get the notion that success meant happiness? As if success were an object that once acquired would ensure a specific outcome – in this case, happiness!
Success is so often seen as something outside of us and is frequently attached to an object or a symbol that gives us ownership, power, status or position. Now it is not to say that they are wrong, although when we are misguided towards those being the result of success, then that is when illusion clouds our pursuit of happiness. When success is defined as the achievement of something outside of us, then our positive experiences are only temporary. Plus we are conditioned by society, well-meaning parents and organizations that if we, ‘Work harder you will achieve greater success, which will then bring you happiness.’ So we have created a false belief that hard work is the only way to happiness.
This belief is flawed because every time we achieve what we class as ‘success’, then we alter the benchmark of what success looks like in the future. For example being promoted means that we have to work towards the next promotion; achieving a qualification means stretching ourselves towards the next academic challenge. There will always be just one more goal for us to achieve.
If we believe that happiness is the other side of success, we will never get there. We have made happiness impossible to achieve because we have attached it to an ever changing vision of success.
So we need to redefine the success = happiness formula and focus on happiness being the fuel of success, not the other way around. When we invest our energy in doing what makes our heart beat, then we become happier. Our motivation, energy, inspiration and performance thereby alters, and so, by the natural order of things, we become more successful. Notice in the model below that the Happiness and Success circles are not connected. This is because success needs to be seen as a direct output of happiness and not an influential factor of happiness.
90% of our happiness is predicted by the way our brain processes the world. So if we can rewire the way our brain has been conditioned to see things, then we can begin to shape our own formula and ultimately design our own future. We will cover this in more detail later, although here are some tools that help us to rewire our brains and create a personal happiness = success formula:
- Experience gratitude for what we have.
- Become more positive about the good in our lives.
- Engage in more heart-centred activities that have meaning and purpose.
- Change our lifestyle to create more health, vitality and energy.
- Develop knowledge about how best to feel motivated.
Now success can flow naturally.
Fourth Law of Success – Is it Luck or Creation?
I am sure you have heard successful people say, ‘I was just lucky’ or, ‘I was in the right place at the right time.’ So is it luck, timing, other people’s influence or is it sheer hard work and determination? I would offer that none of these are true. The Happiness-Performance-Success partnership is one that is created by us. As the quote from the Hollywood Blockbuster, Invictus so aptly puts it, ‘We are masters of our fate and the captains of our soul.’
We have a choice about the way we experience the world, how we think, how we feel and how we respond to people and events. Whilst there is no doubting the primal, reptilian part of our brain that can keep us in a very reactive mode, this can be contained and minimised, allowing a huge potential for crafting our own destiny. When we let go of blame and victimising thoughts, we are free to take responsibility for our own actions and with this mindset, we can experience a reality that brings us the happiness we deserve. We are not dependent upon others or external factors for our happiness, however much we might think that this is true. Whilst they may well enhance our happiness, the truth is, that we alone are the captain of our life’s adventures.
The very pathway through Success Laws empowers us with the self-awareness, the personal insights and the confidence to seek our own Happiness-Performance-Success recipe and create the future we desire. As Arnold Palmer, one of the most popular Golf Champions responded to a reporter who commented on how lucky he was to win yet another championship, ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get.’
Fifth Law of Success – It must be Holistic.
Happiness and success must be considered from all angles for it to be authentic and long-lasting. It must incorporate Body, Emotions and Mind. Imagine if we had a healthy body and lifestyle and yet had a mind littered with negativity. Such is the power of the brain that this would seriously impact upon our entire well-being, albeit at a subtle level. What if we had a fabulously positive mind in control of our emotions and yet had an unhealthy diet? That would equally be unbalanced and would not give us long-lasting happiness.
Learning to explore our happiness and success from within this intrinsic Body, Emotions and Mind triad is crucial if we are going to sustain a positive life experience. After all we are one whole being and neither part can afford to be ignored. Tuning into this fact means that we can become more aware of areas of unhappiness or ‘dis-ease’ and change.
This may be an alien concept, or perhaps it feels familiar, especially if you practice meditation. Either way, let’s explore this idea. Read the following statement:
'I Am A Powerful And Magnificient Being'
Now notice what is happening in your body as you read the words two or three times.
Firstly, think about your body. Does it straighten up and feel powerful when you read this statement or do you sense yourself recoiling in discomfort?
Now what about your emotions? Does it feel uncomfortable, exciting or do you get a sinking or sick feeling when you acknowledge this statement?
Finally, think about your mind. What thoughts are you having around this statement? What internal dialogue are you noticing coming up here?
If any part of our body, emotions and mind are out of sync they will have a subtle yet undermining effect on us, which will be evident in our performance. When we learn to tune into how our mind and body are communicating, then we can develop an extremely effective barometer that allows us to make intelligent changes to our performance and our life’s experiences.
Imagine how much more effective we could be if we became aware of our Body, Emotions and Mind triad during an interview, an important business meeting or presentation. Rather than reacting to a primal set of internal triggers, we could instead, with awareness begin to harness our performance and potential. We can tune into the messages we are receiving, acknowledge them and then subtly rebalance any resistance or discomfort that our body is communicating.