There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure. – Colin Powell
You are born to succeed. If success is eluding you, it is not because of circumstances or other people or lack of opportunities or money, it is simply because you are yet to make a commitment to be a success.
We all are keen to have more of success. This urge is inbuilt in human nature. We have survived and grown because of the urge that makes us do and think better. For improving the degree of success we presently have, we use a money, people and time as resources. Time is the only resource over which we have direct control and is, thus, a key resource for success.
What is success? What is your definition of success?
In our society, success is counted by the materialistic possessions or influential positions. Are these the true criteria of being successful? I don’t think so. I have worked with businessmen with large wealth and big names but having very poor family life. I have asked them what worth the money or the name was if relationships are strained?
Paul Meyer has defined success as: Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile personal pre-determined goals. Do you relate with this definition?
Success doesn’t come by accident. It cannot be inherited. It has to be earned by working on goals—step by step. The road to success is always under construction. You are the one who is building it—continuously.
My conclusion based on my study with thousands of people is that success is not a destination but a journey—never ending one. Every person has a desire for bigger success. The question to be asked by all those who are aspiring for bigger success is, “Do I deserve?”
What we deserve is determined by many factors. The one in our direct control is our competence—a combination of knowledge, skill and talent. Our conditioning that influences our perception, attitude and behavior, also plays an important role in the journey of success. So does our will to make and keep our commitment. In this context, it is important to become aware that time is the key resource that can be used effectively, or poorly. Time is the only resource which is directly in our control that can make a difference in our life.
Your success will always be measured by the results you produce. The results you get, come by the actions you take. Your visible action is at a gross level of body. However, the origin of the physical action is seated in the thought that prompts the action. Your thinking is heavily influenced by your perception. Thus, your perception becomes the foundation of your success. For getting higher degree of success, you will have to shift your perception that will transform your attitude and bring in change in action, giving different results.
Success equation reveals that merely changing our actions and attitudes will not be sufficient. You will have to examine your perceptions that will make the difference in your thinking, action and results in that order.
The perceptions we have and the attitudes we form, are heavily influenced by our conditioning. Let us discuss conditioning a little More.
We are conditioned people. Our perception is based on our conditioning and most of our thoughts and actions are conditioned responses. Standardization of response is not limited to humans only. Plants and animals also get influenced by conditioning. You may be aware that the Japanese decorate their homes with trees called bonsai. A plant is pruned and undernourished to make it become a dwarf. The plant never reaches the height it would naturally have.
Take the case of a circus elephant that stands meekly held with a thin chain. The process of conditioning begins when a baby elephant is tied with a heavy chain. The little creature wants to be free and attempts to do so. But, no matter how hard the little elephant tries, it cannot break the chain. In a few days, its patience gets exhausted and the elephant stops making efforts to be free. The watchful eyes of the trainer make a note of this change in behavior. The trainer concludes that the elephant has taken a decision: it is impossible to break the chain. A thin chain, then, replaces the heavy one. With the passage of time, the elephant grows to an immense size and strength, but the huge animal continues to believe that the chain is impossible to break.
Humans are conditioned through evolution, for example, to walk on two feet. We are also conditioned genetically carrying features and diseases of parents. In addition, we are conditioned in our childhood through the influence of significant adults in family and society. The traits of parents and significant adults are transferred by conditioning more than genetically.
If the family influence encourages a child to be creative, positive, persistent and disciplined, the child becomes so and is conditioned to achieve greater success in life. On the other hand, if the influence compares the child with others, discourages taking calculated risks and ridicules creativity, the child gets conditioned to respond negatively to the opportunities of life.
We are conditioned by circumstances, other people and by our own experiences. Though most of our conditioning helps us do routines of life without the engagement of conscious mind, some conditioning becomes a hurdle for traveling our journey of success.
Unfortunately, most of the day-to-day conditioning we receive through family influence, is in the form of “Dont’s” and “Nos”. The child, thus, gets negatively conditioned, though the intention of family members is to safeguard it from mishaps. Similarly, the society in its endeavor to maintain order, conditions its members to follow certain norms and rituals.
Many parents and leaders in position unconsciously do the same with their children and team members. It is amazing to see how good intentions can lead to the devastating result. Of course, the dwarfing is done under the pretext of being responsible and using the society given power to control the dependent persons. Remember, the greatest gift the parents and leaders can give to their children and team members is that of allowing their own thoughts to flower.
The challenge is not in being conditioned but the way we get straitjacketed and develop a tunnel vision. Rituals dominate reasoning.Unfortunately, this happens many a times by sacrificing our genuine dreams and wishes. This is one reason that we have mass mediocrity around us.
Our own experiences and affirmations too condition us throughout our life. In relation to time management, you can observe that we are conditioned heavily to be conscious of “money” many times more than “time”.
Three types of conditioning that hinder the success we deserve are that of making mistakes, being unsuccessful and blaming others or circumstances. Let us discuss each of these little more in detail.
In our childhood, we are dependent. We continuously learn new things in an attempt to be independent. Making mistakes becomes part of the learning and achieving process. However, significant adults around us may not permit us to experiment, lest we make a fatal mistake. Some mistakes, of course, can be expensive and injurious. But, sweeping generalization holds back parents or leaders to allow others to experiment. People, thus, get conditioned to withhold exploring their potential. This becomes an attitude. Fear sets in firmly that blocks creative visioning and enthusiasm. The desirable attitude, though, in such a situation is to ask yourself: “How did the mistake happen?”; “What can I learn from it that I prevent such a mistake in the future?”
Do you know that: Henry Ford forgot to put the reverse gear in the first car he made. Earlier the doors of railway compartments opened outside.
Isaac Newton had a cat and he cut a hole in the door for the cat to come and go without hindrance. When his cat had kittens, he cut an additional smaller hole in the door. Apparently, it didn’t occur to him that the kittens would use the existing hole.
While attempting new things of life, being unsuccessful in the first attempt is normal way for growth. However, most people label the unsuccessful situation as failure. A parent, or a teacher, or a manager, or a colleague can place so much emphasis on the consequences of not succeeding that risk-taking ability is heldback. Fear of being unsuccessful paralyzes thinking and action.
Perceptions shift from calculated risk taking to safety; from initiative to withdrawal; from taking responsibility (A Choice) to blaming others (B Choice) or becoming casual (C Choice). This adversely affects the self-image and self-confidence.
To develop an appropriate attitude towards not succeeding, you must perceive such situations as opportunities and stepping stones rather than crises and stumbling blocks.
When you set goals and make efforts to achieve, you must appreciate the fact that success and failure are the two ends of a continuum. Being unsuccessful is the middle part of that continuum. If you have succeeded in your first attempt, there is a big possibility that your aim was low. For stretch goals, it is very likely to land in an unsuccessful zone that can provide you an opportunity to learn lessons. Failure is when you quit attempting. When you appreciate the difference between unsuccessful and failure, you persist for being successful by incorporating the previous learning into your new goals. Eventually, you will succeed. Almost all successful people face setbacks at one time or the other. However, the secret of their success is in their persistence. Once you realize that persistence is a necessary ingredient of success, you develop a belief that the response to being unsuccessful is not fear, but curiosity and an attitude of learning lessons.
Unsuccessful in business at the age of 21;
Defeated in a legislative race at the age of 22;
Unsuccessful again in business at the age of 24;
Had a nervous breakdown at the age of 27;
Lost a congressional race at the age of 34;
Lost a senatorial race at the age of 45;
Unsuccessful to become the vice-president at the age of 47;
Lost again a senatorial race at the age of 49;
Who was he?
This man was Abraham Lincoln.
Yes, Abraham Lincoln, who was elected President of the United States at the age of 52.
BLAMING OTHERS OR CIRCUMSTANCES
Most people are unable to understand the linkage between what they desire and what they deserve. You deserve on the strength of your effectiveness, your competencies, and the strength of your connectivity with the super-conscious. These need you to schedule your time to develop yourself continuously. And, that is not easy.The most easily picked up conditioned response is to blame others or circumstances in situations where results are not to expectations.
When you blame others, you create an environment of de-motivation around you by the negative energy of blaming. Success is in taking responsibility of the results as the first step for bringing in the desired results. Time spent in blaming is a total waste.
The good news is that most of the conditioning of childhood that keeps us from success can be reversed. The starting point is the realization of the extent to which conditioning affects your perception that shapes your attitudes and behaviour. For this, you are required to appreciate your vast unexplored potential and take responsibility of making “A” choice—that of doing something about it rather than being casual about it or blaming circumstances and people. You are also required to understand that the reprogramming takes place the same way as the programming in the initial stage—by repetition. Persistence, thus, becomes a key quality for success. Time then becomes a key resource to achieve greater success.