In order to turn small achievements into a solid foundation on which to build your life you need to develop the qualities of a successful person.
Many people say they want to write a book or run a marathon and some even try. But when faced with the first difficulty -- writer's block, a rejection, an injury, or interference from a toxic person or sheer laziness -- they give up.
Those who succeed in publishing a book or running the marathon are the ones who embark on the journey knowing that they need to be committed to the goal, that it won't always be easy and that they need to do whatever it takes to make it.
A failure, just like a success, is circumstantial. Some people accumulate many failures but they use them as stepping-stones to achievements that lead to one huge success. For instance, Thomas Edison failed numerous times before he invented the light bulb.
Other people pile on achievements but can't manage to make them lasting or profitable and they soon find themselves again engulfed by failure. For example, someone who lands good jobs but can't manage to keep any of them.
So far I've overcome an eating disorder, faced unemployment, reinvented myself professionally, survived poverty, published a number of books, and come out on top. That does not prevent any of these challenges from happening again, it just makes me feel better prepared to deal with them, should they arise.
Some of the qualities of successful people:
1. Patience -- Don't expect to see results immediately. If you are a writer and submit your manuscript, get used to waiting weeks, months or even years to see your work published.
2. Perseverance -- Be ready to work "in the dark," without knowing if what you are doing is taking you where you need to go. Trust your instincts, trust yourself and keep on going, no matter what.
3. Resilience -- Develop the ability to bounce back from failure, from poverty, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, illness -- everyone goes through rough patches in life. If you are resilient, you will thrive.
4. Creativity -- Be creative in finding solutions to life's problems. Creativity is not restricted to the arts. Think beyond the "normal" ways of doing things.
5. Adaptability -- Be open to change, always. Life is change. It may sound trite, but you need to embrace this. If you hang on to old ways of doing things, you will not be able to go forward.
6. Joy -- Of course there will be times in which you will feel sad or depressed. But, exercise the muscle of joy, and you will become a joyful person, even in the direst circumstances.
7. Compassion -- Put yourself in other people's shoes, often. Look at things from their perspective. It will prevent you from blaming and complaining and you will feel empowered.
8. Productivity -- Talent is a good thing to have, but if you don't produce, nothing will happen. Don't wait for things to happen: make them happen.
[This post originally ran on Viva Fifty!}
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