How do I become successful?
That’s a question you probably ask yourself every now and then. You take a look at your sports heroes or celebrities on TV and you wonder how they got there. Chances are you might even grow envious sometimes.
Success is something we all want at every stage of our life. Maybe it’s because being successful often leads to happiness. And being happy is awesome. Everyone has different definitions of success:
- Some people want to get a great job and make a lot of money.
- Others want to raise a great family.
- A few people might want to win a championship in professional sports.
- Entrepreneurs want to change the world with their creations.
… and the list goes on.
But the premise of all of this is that everyone has a goal that they are struggling to achieve every day. It seems that all the ‘successful people’ have it figured out – so what is one thing that they all have in common?
Entrepreneur and blogger Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, really got the brain moving when he mentioned the key to finding success:
Think about this for one second: every single successful inventor, athlete, product, or leader has affected many people. Affect many people and you will know that you have reached success. You don’t necessarily have to affect the whole world to be successful – even affecting your nearby circle in a positive way can equate to success. As long as you are focused on helping others positively, you’re on the path to success.
How To Be Successful
- Help Others Get What They Want – This sounds cliche and might seem like a given, but many people miss out on this point. Focus on helping others and don’t expect anything in return. You’ll soon find that some people will start to reciprocate and new opportunities will start to appear. And if they don’t, it’s no big deal – you will enjoy the fulfillment of being able to help solve a problem!
- Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People – Hang out with people that have the same burning desire to succeed that you have. You’ll be able to discuss the same topics and bounce different ideas off of each other. It’s also motivating to see your peers doing different things to make the world a better place.
- Make Mistakes (And Learn From Them) – “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill. If you want to succeed, you need to be willing to make mistakes. For example, KISSmetrics founder Neil Patel lost close to a million making different business mistakes. But it made him a much savvier business person.
- Exercise – Entrepreneur Richard Branson mentions the key to productivity is exercise. Exercising helps refocus your mind and gets your creative juices flowing again. I often think of some great ideas while I’m working out. After my work out, I feel refreshed and I’m ready to get back to work. When you look and feel healthy, you naturally find yourself in a more productive state.
- Start a Blog – Blogging has a number of benefits – your writing ability improves, it helps connect you with other bloggers, it motivates you, it teaches you how to manage your own website, and more. Here’s a bonus: focus your blog on helping others with your expertise – you’ll find it to be more fulfilling.
- Keep Learning – Success doesn’t have a finish line. No matter what you do, things are continually evolving and there’s always more to learn. Passing up the opportunity to learn more means opening up a door to let competitors blow by you.
- Create an Action List Of Important Things To Do – The keyword here is important. People often take time to make lengthy to-do lists with items of low importance. Focus on the macro items that will affect you the most. You can start by creating a list of heavy impact items for the day, week, and month. Using that list as a guideline will increase your focus on completing useful tasks.
- Stop and Listen – “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” — Larry King. Listening to others is perhaps one of the most important tools you can keep in your repetoire. Often times, you might find yourself in a heated discussion and you’ll be tempted to defend or debate your position immediately. But stop for one second and hear out the other side, you’ll learn a lot more rather than add fuel to the fire. Jason Fried of 37signals recently blogged about how in earlier years, he was a hotshot that found himself finding a way to disagree with anything others said. He eventually figured out that listening helped him learn more.
- Get A Mentor – Having a mentor that has been through similar experiences can be invaluable to you. Try to find a good mentor so you can learn from their mistakes and get advice on tough situations.
Examples of Successful People
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas J. Watson
One thing you’ll find in common with successful people is that they will go all-in on whatever they are working on. This means working longer and harder than anyone else. Because they put in more work, they end up failing more than others. The upside to all of this is that all these micro-failures lead to micro-improvements that eventually add up to become a giant improvement.
Successful athlethes study more film than any of their peers. They also get to practice before anyone else does.
Successful entrepreneurs will work overtime as they continually mold their life-changing products.
Successful webmasters will continually build relationships with others and grow their traffic.
It’s important to also note what these types of people keep in mind:
- They ignore what critics say
- They’ll continue to do the hard, tedious stuff that matters
- They stay focused
- Failure is OK
- They possess unwavering faith – Not even the toughest of times will cause them to quit.
“It’s not that I’m so smart , it’s just that I stay with problems longer .” – Albert Einstein
Who said you need to be the most gifted athlete on the court? Basketball sensation Jeremy Lin shattered racial barriers earlier this year by showing that anyone can play basketball as long as they put their mind to it. Here’s what Jeremy faced to get to where he is now:
- Endured the racial stigmas as he was growing up.
- Did not receive a scholarship from a Division 1 NCAA school coming out of high school.
- Was undrafted coming into the NBA.
- Was cut by multiple teams, moved to the development league, and last on the depth chart before getting his first start due to injuries
“There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.” – Christopher Morley
Tom Brady is an NFL quarterback with 3 Super Bowl championship rings – today we all know him to be a surefire Hall of Famer and arguably the best quarterback playing today. But he didn’t get there the easy way – here’s some of the adversity he faced:
- In college, he was buried behind 6 people on the depth chart. He fought hard to get the starting quarterback job at Michigan.
- In professional football, he was passed over by many teams before being drafted 199th in the 6th round.
Plain and simple, nothing was ever handed to Tom Brady. Football scouts thought he lacked athleticism and arm strength to become an elite quarterback. He proved everyone wrong by showing them how bad he really wanted it by working hard.
Putting It Together
At the end of the day, all you need to do is continue your hard work and eventually, it’ll rub off on other people and you’ll start to affect others. Most importantly, do something you think is worthwhile. Then you’ll become a role model to other people because they start to feed off of your success. They want to emulate your success in their own lives so they start to follow you. Then they start to tell others about your exploits and your brand spreads like wildfire through word of mouth. Sure, there will be haters along the way. Want to know why that’s a great thing? Because it means that you’re doing something right.
It sounds boring and it’s also cliche but it’s the truth – working hard pays off.
Key Takeaway: Ignore all the critics. Bust your ass and you will affect many people.
What are some other ways to be successful?