We all yearn for success in one way or another, but many of us fail to become successful in the way we want. Often this is because we simply don’t have a clear picture of how to become successful. Especially for those of us with many goals and ambitions, and particularly for aspiring entrepreneurs, understanding the subtle nature of success is highly important. Like our health, our fitness, or even our marital satisfaction, our success is something we can learn to cultivate and exert a great deal of control over, but doing so takes patience, humility, and perseverance. Understanding the following three concepts is critical when it comes to maximizing the influence you have over your own success, and can provide the foundation you need for achieving it.
Success Is Dynamic, Not Static
Whether or not we see ourselves as successful really comes down to how we define success. This means that becoming our ideal self, and achieving the level of success that we desire, is more of a psychological endeavor than a physical one. This holds true regardless of whether our intention is to become a martial arts expert or a self-made millionaire. The most successful people are those who have learned to practice success as a habit, rather than viewing it as an achievement. For them, success is not the end goal, but the process itself. You can learn to do this using a two-part method.
The first step is realizing that the end goal you have in mind is actually the culmination of countless small victories. The second step is beginning to grow your success by seeing every small challenge as an opportunity to gain those victories. You can think of each opportunity as a door; on the other side of every single door is a success waiting to be yours, and the only way to truly fail is to not open it. This kind of mindset allows you to re-frame the setbacks you encounter as opportunities to succeed, rather than seeing them as backwards progress. As you embrace this way of thinking, you’ll begin to identify more and more areas in which you are, or can be, successful, in both your personal and professional life.
Similarly, if you find yourself discouraged by a lack of success and aren’t certain how to get back on track, it will help to remember the phrase success starts small. At home, this may translate to simply remembering to floss as often as you should. As a sales representative, it may involve changing your habits to include viewing everyone you meet as a potential client. In the entrepreneurial environment, it may mean improving the structure of your routine little by little or devoting time to an overdue chore. It really doesn’t matter what these small victories consist of; it only matters that you view them as victories. This will jump-start your success circuit, refreshing your mindset and reminding you that success is all around you just waiting to be yours.
Master the Art of Making Mistakes
Making mistakes in our pursuit of success is all but inevitable, and serves as part of the process rather than as an interruption to it. Learning to see our blunders as beneficial, and even necessary, can play a critical role on our journey to enjoying the success of our dreams. If our intentions are the soil out of which sprouts success, mistakes are like fertilizer; while not absolutely essential to growth, they can be extremely helpful, both by saving time in the long run and increasing the yield of our efforts.
Making too many mistakes, however, like adding too much fertilizer, has its downsides, and is capable of stunting growth or even stopping it altogether. Luckily, there is an easy way to keep ourselves from making the most common mistakes, which are frequently also those with the most undesirable consequences; we must simply be vigilant in identifying and understanding the mistakes that others have made in order to avoid being caught in the same traps.
Making a mistake is not failing; it’s like opening a door to success and being immediately confronted by another door. Learning to think this way is just a simple mental exercise, and it may help to remember that while winning a game is an accomplishment, playing a game is also an accomplishment, and you must play in order to win. In many cases, you have to play more than once; sometimes over and over.
Success Enjoys Company
If you want to be a professional hockey player, you will want to spend as much time as you can with professional hockey players. This may seem obvious, but the underlying concept is often taken for granted when it comes to entrepreneurship and other personal aspirations. Although opposites do attract, we also tend to share the habits of those we spend the most time around. This takes place on a conscious and subconscious level.
Firstly, we learn more quickly and easily to copy the actions of others when we observe them in person and have the privilege of asking questions and clarifying what we do not understand. Additionally, science has shown us that we subconsciously mold ourselves to become more similar to those we consider our peers, an adaptation that helps us survive and thrive socially. This means that when striving to be successful, it can prove extremely beneficial to place yourself in the company of people whose success you wish to emulate; not only do you want to be able to imitate their physical actions, but more importantly, to cultivate the mental habits that build the framework for their success, such as perseverance, confidence, and self-discipline.
You will notice the truth of this more and more as you observe with the thought in mind; when you hear of an astronaut whose child is an Olympic athlete (or vice versa), or when you read of one famous artist who mentored another, or simply when you realize how similar your mannerisms are to those of your spouse’s or best friend’s.
There is no doubt that chance is a factor in the measure of what we are able to achieve. However, to mistake circumstances for limitations is a hallmark of those who have not yet mastered the mindset of success. Taking responsibility for the outcomes we create, and learning to explore the possibilities that surround us are habits that allow us to re-imagine our ability to succeed, and give us the power to build the life of our dreams.