Doing the things you want i.e. achieving your objectives.
How to be successful
1. Purpose and principles
- doing something useful and worthwhile. So think about what you care most about.
- practising your principles and values.
Your life will be judged on your love and help for others, not your money, fame and
2. Challenge with patience
- write down a challenging ideal for your life in one sentence (e.g. put people first)
and always live by it!
- continually set yourself ambitious aims, but don’t forget your values – see point 1.
- be inspired by your ideals and positive about the future.
- be patient, conscientious and learn from your mistakes and failures – nobody is an
3. Do your best at what you do best
You’ve got to be different to be successful and do something better than everybody else. So:
- always find new skills and experiences.
- be determined to make the most of your potential.
Your success in anything depends on effort, ability and external factors like luck and the people you know.
4. Lifelong learning
Remember that knowledge is power – it gives you self-respect and influence.
So become a lifelong, effective learner (through a love of learning, curiosity, listening,
fast reading and improving your memory and concentration).
creativity and continuous improvement
Be prepared to change what you do and continually improve in your different roles (parent,
child, friend, employee, etc.).
So be creative by
- continually challenging what people think.
- looking for new and better ways of doing things.
6. Thought into
Quiet reflection gives you tranquillity and time to think about the right thing to do.
Once you’ve decided, do it now! Don’t put off doing something difficult.
Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can fully exploit your strengths and
minimize the impact of your weaknesses.
8. Influence others
Win people’s respect with your competence, character (from practising your principles) and charisma – see
You can’t do anything without your health, so:
- Keep fat and sugar low in your diet.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day).
- Drink lots of water – only 5% dehydration (when you’re not feeling thirsty) can reduce your ability to
concentrate by 20%.
10. Remember the 4 C’s
Success will involve:
- Competition (being first and the will to win).
- Co-operation (working well with others).
- Compassion (helping others).
- Change (continually learning, improving and reinventing yourself).
Key quotes explained
“The first wealth is health”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (American philosopher, pictured right)
Success depends on your health, so look after yourself!
Emerson said that enthusiasm, principles and ambition are also vital. “Hitch your wagon to a
star”, he said.
Shakespeare also emphasized the
importance of challenging yourself:
“Tis but a base, ignoble mind that mounts no higher than a bird can soar”, the Duke of
Gloucester says in Henry VI part
“To thine ownself be true”
- Polonius (in Hamlet by Shakespeare, pictured right).
Be yourself and live the life you want based upon what you think is right and worthwhile (not necessarily what
will give you fame and fortune).
“Far better to dare mighty things...than live in the grey twilight that
knows not victory, nor defeat”
Roosevelt (American president, pictured right)
Stretch yourself and strive to do great things. It is better to try and fail than never to try at all.
So the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu,
said that “failure is the foundation of success”.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” ,
said the British prime minister, Winston
“Seize the day”
Horace , Roman poet (pictured right)
Make the most of every day, and “evaluate it as if it were your last”, said the Roman emperor
and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius.
“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself and to copy oneself is
more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility”
Picasso (Spanish artist, pictured
Imitation is the enemy of success
“if you’re not distinct, you’re extinct”, said the American management writer, Tom Peters.
You should always be uniquely better than everybody else and be prepared to change, if necessary.
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”, Benjamin Franklin, the American inventor and
“God helps them that help themselves”
Franklin (the American
inventor and politician, pictured right)
Your success is your responsibility, and you can’t blame anybody else, if things go wrong.
Your future is how you make it, so work as hard as you possibly can to achieve your aims and ideals.
Benjamin Franklin believed that living a useful life is much more important than earning lots of money.
“Poor and content is rich, and rich enough”
Iago (in Shakespeare’s Othello)
Contentment is worth more than money, but success can cause discontent.
The American songwriter, Irving Berlin (pictured
right) , said “The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a
Stephen Covey (pictured right) , The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
1. Be proactive
Get up and do something positive, don’t just react to people and events.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Set yourself clear, useful objectives.
3. Put first things first
Do what’s important first.
4. Think win-win
Seek mutual benefits in your relationships with others.
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Value empathetic two-way communication and see things from other people’s point of view.
Seek creative co-operation with others in groups.
7. Sharpen the saw
Self-improvement with four aspects that need to be kept in balance:
- social/emotional (relationships with others),
- spiritual (values and peace of mind)
In another book Covey added an eighth habit – to “find your voice and inspire others to find
theirs” (i.e. you and others doing something unique and useful).
(For more detail see The
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in the Business Books section.
(pictured right), Unlimited Power (1988)
This book popularized the idea of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), created by John
Grinder and Richard Bandler.
NLP says that success is dependent on:
- creativity (looking for new and better ways of doing things).
- empathy (responding to other people’s needs and putting yourself in their
(pictured right) , Who Moved My Cheese?
A story about two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two mouse sized people (Hem and Haw), who (in their search for
cheese, the book’s metaphor for success) learn from the mice that they must:
- anticipate, enjoy and quickly adapt to change.
- continually learn from mistakes, get new skills and overcome their weaknesses.
Norman Vincent Peale (pictured
right) , The Power of Positive Thinking (1952)
Think positively – obstacles are there to be overcome, not used as an excuse for failure.
Sheryl Sandberg (pictured
right) , Lean In (2013)
Facebook's Chief Operating Officer says that success depends on fighting for your rights and work/life
She shared family duties with her husband and leaves the office at 5.30 pm every day.