The Seven Rules Of Success
The Seven Rules Of Success
July 29, 2013
Winston Wayne Wilson
Outside of the trifecta of love, happiness and good health, success ranks astronomically high on the list of the most sought after prizes. At some level, all of us want to taste the nectar in the ambrosia-filled gourd of success and also have it enduringly etched in our daily diets. And why not? That said, success is a prize that must be earned. Generally speaking, there are two types of success – (1) public success and (2) private success.
Public success is highly visible and mostly comes with material rewards and great recognition – financial success, a luxurious lifestyle, fanfare, a giant raise, a promotion, or a desirable award. Attaining this kind of success, which everyone else desperately craves, requires that you weather some stiff competition.
Private success involves attaining aspirational things like climbing a mountain, running a marathon, graduating college with honors, being a great parent, being an inspirational community leader, losing weight or beating an addiction. With this kind of success you are really competing with yourself. When you win, you feel awesome about yourself. These accomplishments might not bring fanfare or even be recognized by others; however, the prize you get is personal satisfaction.
Irrespective of the kind of success you are after, it requires work and there are rules on how to succeed. Here are seven rules that can help you to enhance your chances of winning whatever prize you are after.
- Know what prize you are after and establish a plan. Many of us want success but we have neither taken the time out to identify the prize that we are after nor have we come up with a plan on how to win the prize. An example a prize is: Owning a $300,000 home. An example of a clear plan to win the prize is: saving $1,000 per month, as well as putting aside 100% of your tax refund each year, for five years. If your primary goal is achieving public success remember that you have to be able to compete and win if you are trying to get a prize. Some people might say that they don’t care what they succeed at as long as they succeed at something – anything. Unfortunately, if you try to succeed at "something" or “anything” you will succeed at “nothing”. Succeeding at “something” or “anything” is not a clear enough goal that you can execute on. The more clearly you define the prize that you are after, including the related execution process, the more likely it is that you will be able to achieve it. A good place to start is figuring out what is your most competitive skill that can help you to achieve the prize you desire. If you cannot identify anything, then it means that you need to invest some more time and energy into refining your skill set to get you into better competitive shape.
- Keep your eyes off the prize. I know this sounds counterintuitive; however, no one has ever succeeded at winning a prize by staring at it. Most certainly, you will not become successful that way. Instead, you should keep your eyes focused on the disciplined process to get the prize. The good news is that success has a decipherable audit trail or a formula – focus your eyes on that. Many people are motivated by goal setting and visualizing themselves living in the houses they want, having the financial success they crave or achieving whatever success they are after. All of that is perfectly fine. However, the most important part of success is the disciplined process that follows the dream. Specifically, success is contingent on how well you study the audit trail and execute your plan. Stare at the prize all you want but you cannot outstare the competition. You can, however, out-discipline the competition to win the prize. For example, the process of disciplined saving might get you your dream house; the process of disciplined exercising might get you to your ideal weight or health target; the process of disciplined work might get you a promotion; and the process of disciplined investing might get you financial freedom. So, disengage your eyes from staring at the prize and engage your hands and feet to execute that disciplined process to achieve your goals.
- Focus on one prize at a time. Two of the biggest mistakes people make, in trying to become successful, are being overambitious and impatient. In other words, they try to achieve too many prizes all at once. Here’s the deal - the old adage “Jack of all trades, master of none” supports the fact that the more tasks you try to simultaneously accomplish the less you will accomplish. If you are going to be great at something, you have to consistently put in a great amount of time and energy into that thing. If you are trying to get a promotion, go back to graduate school, train for three marathons, get married, start a family, buy and renovate a house, climb Mount Everest, and make a million dollars all in the same month, I would say that is a bit ambitious – even for an overachieving overachiever. You most certainly can do all of those things over a couple of years but you significantly reduce your chances of succeeding at any of these things if you stack them all into the month of January. Success is about patiently pacing yourself as well as respecting the fact that success occurs in stages. Of course, it would be great to instantly adorn the resumes of your life with all the things you have on your success checklist; however, your best bet is to build up expertise in, and succeed at, one thing at a time. Remember, the more you treat success like notches on your belt, the less likely you will achieve it. Also, remember that success breeds success. Once you have demonstrated that you can succeed at something, your confidence and reputation increase, which also increase your chances of having more success.
- Passion wins the prize. It is no secret that our greatest, and most meaningful, successes occur when we do what we love. Hence, one of the most salient features of successful people is that they are passionate about their areas of expertise – they really love what they do. True they have deep knowledge and expertise and they have all met the Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour criterion for outlier-type success, but it is their passion for what they do that is infectious. Passion is a positive energy; therefore, your passion will make people connect to you more and root for you to be successful in winning the prize you are after. On one of my trips to Japan, a master sushi chef, in one of the top Japanese restaurants, told me that it takes 10 years to master the art of making sushi and the first three years are primarily spent on learning how to make rice. If you think making sushi rice is easy, think again. Sushi rice must be perfect every time. The rice is the foundation for a number of the sushi dishes. Hence, if you cannot master something foundational then you cannot become a master sushi chef. In addition, a sushi chef spends many years learning how to select the right fish as well as how to cut it correctly. Similar to making the perfect rice, if you cannot cut the fish correctly then you cannot create the right texture….and there goes the sushi. What was remarkable to me, though, was the passion with which the chef talked about making rice and cutting fish. These things might seem banal to us but to a great sushi chef these are not just two indispensable skills but, more importantly, two magical skills. The more passionate a trainee is about these two skills the greater his chances of enduring the 10 years of training to become a top notch sushi chef.
- It takes teamwork to win the prize. Success rarely, if ever, occurs in a vacuum because, as the saying goes, “There is no “I” in success.” People who succeed do so on the shoulders of others – whether that is a trainer, a coach, an advisor, a network, a group of dedicated team members, a supportive family, a group of friends, or the gracious universe. In short, success is a team sport. Even though it is your goal, your dream and your efforts, you always need other people’s guidance or help and you need the universe to grant you favor so that someone can give you a lucky break. It takes a lot of things to go right for you to succeed. Half of these things are in your control – and you must excel at your half. However, you must also respect the other half that you have no control over and maintain the right attitude and energy so that your karma will be good. When your karma is good it will attract the right people as well as the graciousness from the universe that is required for you to succeed. You can try to do it all by yourself but you might not succeed.....at least not for long. No matter how great you think you are, it is tough to succeed alone. The path to success is laden with guidance and support but only if you reach out and leverage the knowledge, expertise and wisdom of your team. If you insist on going solo, then you diminish your chances of successfully winning the prize. No matter which race you are running, or which prize you are after, unless you are a pioneer, someone else has ran that race and won that prize before. Hence, it might be in your best interest to learn from others so that you can maximize your training process and avoid some of the pitfalls in the race.
- Never anchor your self-esteem on winning the prize. The sole source of your pride and self-esteem should never come from successfully winning a prize. Try to also be proud of other things. For example, you should take great pride in being: a good parent; a respectable person; a loyal and trustworthy friend; a fiscally responsible person; or someone who matters in his or her community. These things might not sound glamorous and might not be things we aspire to; however, they are priceless attributes that stand the test of time and can overshadow and outlast many of the prizes we seek. In short, your self-esteem should be primarily anchored on being proud of who you are as a person. The public prize you earn in life is the icing on the cake. Also, no matter how successful you become you are still a mere mortal made of flesh and blood. It does not make you a better person than your fellow man. Public success, in particular, might make you richer and more accomplished but never better than anyone else. As mentioned above, there are many private successes that you can have in your life that are worth more than material things or flashy accomplishments. Yes, you should be proud of any public success that you achieve but always remember that merely having these accolade does not mean that you will matter to others and make a real difference in this world.
- The prize must be shared. What? Yes, the prize must be shared. One of the biggest secrets to success is that success is never just about you - it is never just for your consumption only. One of the requirements of being successful is that you share the wealth by teaching others how to become successful, too. You must lift others up as you climb the golden ladder of success. Therefore, every time you crack a code to success, teach someone else the trick. We are all teachers, remember? Teaching someone how to succeed is among the most empowering things you can do in your life. It also aligns you with your ultimate purpose of being a teacher. Anyone can become successful and go into hiding to live high on the hog with his or her family. However, the more people you help to succeed the greater your chances of also staying successful. Remember that “To whom much is given, much is required.” If you dishonor this universal law, your success will be transient. Sharing your success prize, however, will be the gift that keeps on giving.
My challenge for you this week is for you to identify two prizes that you are after – one that relates to public success and one that relates to private success. Come up with a solid plan that can help you to win each prize. Don’t forget to leverage others who have won those prizes before. Good luck!