Seven principles to becoming successful
by Francis O’Neill
This article is now included, and developed further, in my mind, body & spirit self-help guide Steps to Health, Wealth and Inner Peace. Get a FREE copy here. This book is also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook and Kobo.
This article outlines seven principles to becoming successful. See how it resonates with where you are currently at.
Back in the 1980s I interviewed ten successful (i.e. running at a profit for five years or more) self-employed, entrepreneurs, and business owners – four of them were millionaires.
This was part of a study looking into what business people considered was their ‘recipe for success.’ In other words the guiding principles for their success.
The outcome was that I was able to hone this down to the following seven principles to becoming successful, and that they all agreed upon. I’m thinking these are as valid today as ever – and so worth sharing with you.
If you want to become successful with your life then consider applying these principles. The survey was linked to developing a project or business enterprise, but in essence it can be also applied to a successful approach to fulfilling your life, your dreams.
Seven principles to becoming successful
1. Get out of the ‘blame game’ – take responsibility
You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘a bad workman blames his own tools’. On one level this is literally referring to say, a carpenter complaining that his or her dovetail joints (does anyone still make these?) are not as well made as they could be, due to their saw being blunt.
But of course in other respects the ‘tools’ could well be people, our friends, our partners, our family, the people who live next door, or our work colleagues that are to blame for our situation. It could be the company we work for. It could extend out to our government. It could be not having enough time in the day. It could be the traffic, or the weather that’s to blame.
You may have to look behind the superficial and dig deep to understand that you are drawing circumstances towards you, consciously or subconsciously by your beliefs and attitude to life – take a look at this self-hypnosis article for further insight into this.
2. Know who you are and what gives meaning to your life
In Ancient Greece, at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Greek words for ‘Know Thyself‘ were inscribed. To know who one truly is and live by that knowledge is the obvious interpretation.
The survey outcome was more specific, taking it to mean knowing your abilities, and also knowing your limitations. It also means knowing what you want from life, your passion, and being prepared to follow your own star – not to be led so easily by others. And, although paying attention to constructive criticism, not to be willy-nilly dissuaded from your goals by others either.
Note: It was also suggested that it is usually a good idea to keep your goals, your dreams under wraps until you have developed them into a structure that has practical working application or outcomes. Then share and listen to objective feedback if you want to.
What also came up with this was the importance of being fair minded, treating others with respect, having integrity and dignity in your dealings.
3. Plan ahead – have a business or project plan
Have a plan of action for your project or enterprise. Don’t for a minute think it will all fall into place – it won’t! Have a plan of action for where you want to be in say five years time. Include any training you will need to meet your objectives.
Planning and accounting (see 5. below) allows you direction, and affords you the opportunity to gauge your route to success, and it also helps you maintain momentum.
4. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone
Failures do what is tension relieving, while winners do what is goal achieving.
What often separates successful people from the unsuccessful is (as hinted above) that they believe passionately in what they are doing. Most people are happy to go through the week with as little stress or problems as possible.
When you choose to live your life with direction and purpose, your main concern is succeeding with your objectives, your goals, which may well call on you to go that extra mile, putting in those extra hours, leaving behind safe 9 to 5 routines, doing things you never thought you would have to do or be capable of doing.
5. Become an authority
Aim to become the expert, an authority in your field of interest. Become disciplined, thorough and punctual. Keep account of your activities, projections and spending – keep a log, keep accounts, list your incomings and outgoings.
If you want to be successful you need to take what you offer seriously, and be professional about it. Strive to be the best at what you do, and do everything you need to improve. Check out the competition in your field and endeavour to be better, the best.
There was also a rider, or reminder in this that being an expert doesn’t mean you have to be a one-man band doing everything. That can be a plan for failure. One needs to be able to delegate and outsource for professional help in areas one is less capable or less expert — or indeed where one does not have the time available to do an expert job by oneself.
6. Make ‘giving up’ not an option – and be in it for the long game
This came up as a prominent suggestion in the survey. You must be fully committed to your project, your enterprise. Given that you are realistic and happy your plan is achievable. Given you are passionate about your goals and are ready to take that step to initiate heading towards them. Given you are ready to begin, then make the commitment, and make ‘giving-up’ a No-No as part of your credo.
Giving up is not necessarily the same as failing at something you have put your heart and soul into – even then there may be another way into achieving your goals.
Psychologically you can get past ‘tried and failed’ easier than ‘I gave up’ on a goal or dream. The latter can do something to one’s psyche – it can make the next project or enterprise, or step, that much less likely to succeed. And what’s more your supporters may be fewer.
7. Keep your eye on the ball
In other words, stay focussed on your goals, and avoid becoming distracted. Usually a lot of enthusiasm and energy goes into initiating a new plan of action but once underway it can become attractive to relax in one’s efforts – perhaps even more so when facing early setbacks and knocks at the coal face.
The advice is to stay focussed with your dreams and not fritter energy on non-essential matters. Almost certainly what you plan will contain challenges and opportunity to lose focus. You’ll find many success stories out there that didn’t win on an easy ride.
Final comment – Ready!?
A general consensus stressed the importance of timing and taking that leap of faith. If you are ready to pursue your dream, your enterprise, then do it now! Don’t procrastinate, don’t deliberate for too long! Remember time and tide waits for no one – and how quickly opportunity can slip by!