Success

Who Do You Want To Be? 

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It’s a great question, but so few people have actually thought much about the answer.  It’s easy to avoid this topic, especially if you have been caught up in the world’s version of success.  You have probably been too busy to think this through logically but you can now. 

Answer this question now.  Don’t just write: I want to be a good person or a better spouse or a better parent.  Describe your life in detail.  Look at every facet of your life.  Write about your relationships, finances, health, spirituality and any other area of your life that you would like to change or improve.  Why are you doing this?  Because you become what you think about.  The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “A man’s life is what his thought makes of it.” 

The Beginning: Real Success 

The first thing you need to determine is who you are now.  This may seem like an easy task at first and it should be easy, but I believe that there has been so much confusion about who or what a person should be, that they might be unable to define who they are.  The good news is that after a short time, it will become easier to answer the question: Who are you?  Once you are able to answer this question clearly and truthfully, it will be easier for you to determine who you want to become. 

Things To Remember While Pursuing Success 

There are several things I ask you to keep in mind as you are learning to grasp this new concept of success.  These tips will help you to thoroughly evaluate where you stand with regards to real success in your life.  Some of them have been mentioned already and all of them will be mentioned again.   

The first thing to remember is that “experts” complicate things.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t seek help or ask for guidance when you need it.  I think seeking advice is very important.  Plans are established by seeking advice…”ix  I am saying you should ask people who are getting the results you are seeking.  Don’t ask someone simply because they are an “expert.”  Also, don’t avoid asking someone, simply because they are not formally educated on a topic. I remember when I used to pay hundreds of dollars to have the brakes done on my car.  The mechanic would make the procedure sound difficult and complicated.  Then one day, without enough money to get a much-needed brake job, I decided to do some research.  What I found was how amazingly simple doing a brake job is.  If you can change a tire you can fix your brakes.x  I have since saved thousands of dollars because I stopped relying on “the experts.” 

“Self-Help” Programs Don’t Help 

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I remember when I was really young, probably my early teens, I read an ad in a magazine about being able to do or be anything I wanted.  So, like many other people, I decided to give it a shot.  Guess what?  It didn’t work.  I was out about twenty dollars, but even worse, my wallet was open.  I pursued these programs, buying new ones as they came out.  After all, once a publisher or distributor of “self-help” programs sells you one, you are then on their mailing list and you begin to receive catalogs describing how good things can be, if you only spend a little more money.  Like most people, I spent a ton of money, but got nowhere.   

What Failure Isn’t 

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As I previously discussed about what success is and is not, I think it is appropriate to have the same discussion about failure, before I move on.  If you are to experience any success in life, then it is almost certain that you will experience setbacks along the way.  In fact, the more success you have, the more “failure” you will encounter before, during and after that success.  Remember this and keep it in front of you continually.  Print it in big letters and keep it in front of you.  Refer to it often. 

What Success is: The Starting Point 

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Now that we know what success is not, how do we define what it is?  Maybe what you always thought was true has now been turned upside down.  That’s okay.  That’s more than okay; you are now at the starting point of an incredible journey.  One that may even take you places that you never dreamed you would go.  You may even see some old childhood dreams re-emerge.  One thing is for sure, if you stay on the path you have now begun, and work at it continually, you will have real success.  Most of all have fun!  Dale Carnegie once said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” 

What Success Isn’t 

Before defining what real success is, it is important to discover what success is not.  The world and our troubled

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society have had a lot to do with most people’s current definition of success.  If you were to take a field trip to your local mall and stand at one of the entrances, you would get a fair cross section of society.  If you asked each person who walked by you to define success in their life, you would get many different answers.  The answers would be just as varied as the people who pass by.  I would be willing to bet, though, that the vast majority of these answers would revolve around the following themes: power, prestige, fame and the big ones, money and possessions. 

Have You Failed Most of the Time? 

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People who succeed know one important fact; In order to get to success, they must experience failure on a massive scale.  For anyone who has read self-help or motivational books, I will not go through the pains of boring you about the countless Hall of Fame baseball players who have failed over 75% of the time (and these guys are the best at what they do).  You are probably not a professional baseball player, nor is it likely that you are trying to secure a spot for yourself in the Hall of Fame.  The point is, that the best of the best know this “secret.”   

Real Success Starts With Failure 

I know many people will dislike the above words, but they are true.  The kind of real success that I am talking about is much more than society’s version of success, i.e., a big house, a fancy car and a wad of money.  Funny thing is that I happen to know people like that, we all do.  Many times those people are not successful because there is no sense of fulfillment and not much to life beyond their career and quest for money.  There is the crowd who went to college, got a good job and has been climbing the corporate ladder, never looking back.  I am really happy for those types, if they want me to be, but I’m appealing to someone else here. 

Change Your Motivation 

It has been said, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”ii  I think this truth has been lost in the world today.  People run around trying to accumulate things.  They work long hours in an effort to get more stuff.  They sacrifice time spent with family and friends to feel successful.  What is the fruit of all this materialism?  Everywhere marriages are falling apart; children who never get the benefit of a relationship with their parents, and emptiness and despair as people reach for more of everything.