Being successful is en vogue. It always has been. Having success can lead to a happier and better life. Some people are happy because they live a happy family life. Some are happy because they have been able to get a job, climb a mountain or got to date someone. Being successful means different things to different people - but becoming successful might require the same steps for many of us - generally speaking.
It is my passion to see people moving from what they are to what they could be.Having been inspired by the likes of John Maxwell and entrepreneur Daniel Ally, his journey, his approach to success and life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvBaRf9LHDs) and being guided by the belief that you will only ever reach your fullest potential if you make it your mission to help others reach theirs - I have decided to use this article to write down some of the most valuable advice I have ever come across. Here are three things that have worked with me.
I. Read books.
Reading books will really help you to get ahead in life. Some books give you several decades of life experience of some of the most successful people that have ever lived. If you make their experience the basis of your decisions instead of jumping off every cliff life is presenting to you - you will save an enormous amount of time and energy and drastically boost your overall efficiency and focus. Let the likes of Napoleon, Churchill and Steve Jobs inform your acting and thinking and allow them to have a voice in the different situations of your life.
Your time is always very limited and reading a book can take several days. The fact of the matter is that you don´t need to read all the books in the world. Why? Because you don't need to solve all the problems in the world - you just need to solve your problems. Read the books that are relevant for your problems and your strengths. Be specific. If you want to know more about money: read the best books about money. If you want to know more about influence - read books about influence. If you want to know how to cook or how to raise attention read books that answer these questions.
Today it is relatively easy to approach the author of a certain book personally. Many authors love to talk about the ideas of their own book - especially in case you provide an interesting podium for them to share their ideas in front of a very huge or very select audience. Make use of that opportunity to personally get to know some of the leading people of our time. Make their wisdom your wisdom!
• If you approach things the same way Warren Buffet approaches them you might start to see his success in your life. Use books to learn from the most interesting people in history, increase the value of your thoughts and make their experiences your experiences.
• Be highly selective with regards to what you read.
• Getting in touch with the author of a book will give you even more insight - plus it can be relatively easy. Arrange a meeting in front of a very large or a very selected group to further advance your chances and increase your impact.
Ask yourself: Do the authors of the books I read provide an example that´s in line with their suggestions? Make sure to only read the books of people that provide the strongest example in their respective field.
Do the books I read provide an answer to my questions?
Do I have a personal contact with the author of the book I am reading?
Have I talked with people about the book that have a higher understanding of the subject matter than I have and that are able to add to my reading experience?
Have I had a look at the book on apps such as Blinkist before I have read the book in full?
II. Choose your 7 closest friends very carefully.
The bible, Konfuzius and common sense are quite clear about this: You are more or less the product of what your surrounding is putting into you. The people around you will determine your direction, your emotions, your knowledge, your money, your success and failure.
Make sure you have got the right people around you. They are the ones giving you ideas, feedback, encouragement or discouragement - they are the ones that are lifting you up or talking you down. Your friends determine what you speak about, how you speak about it and whether or not you gain or lose social capital and network. Your friends are the ones responsible for a project to work, for a meeting to happen and for a problem to be solved. The bigger, the wiser, the more intelligent your friends are, the bigger, the wiser and the more intelligent you will become.
Interestingly enough many people don´t spend a great deal of analysis about who they hang out with. They miscellaneously meet someone somewhere and in case the other person is active enough they intensify and keep the contact. If you look into the abyss the abyss looks back into you. Miscellaneous friends lead to miscellaneous results. If 4 of your friends are poor you are going to be the fifth. If 4 of your friends are criminals -chances are you are going to be the fifth. If 4 of your friends are rich - chances are you are going to be the fifth. If 4 of your friends are wise - chances are you are going to be the fifth. It is therefore not only important to look out for the right people - but to disassociate yourself from the wrong people. Hanging out with the wrong people will ruin your life. Their problems will become your problems, their mindset and network will hugely influence yours. Define categories your friends have to meet and make decisions whom you are going to keep out and whom you are going to take in. Smartly develop your inner circle: Proactively approach some of your friends with a mandate to give you feedback in certain areas of your life and deny this access to others.
Another thing to be aware of is that you always attract who you are. If you are lazy you will attract other lazy people whilst putting hard working people of. If you are superficial you will also attract other superficial people and so on. You change who you attract by changing yourself.
You shall know them by their fruits. You will always be able to tell the quality of a relationship by having a look at the fruits it is producing. Good relationships will always produce good fruit, bad relationships will produce bad fruit.
• Your friends will have an enormous influence on where you are going to end up in life. Choose them carefully.
• If 4 of your friends are poor chances are you are going to be the fifth. If 4 of your friends are rich, successful and/ or influential chances are you are going to be the fifth.
• Proactively reach out to people and give them the mandate to speak into a certain area of your life.
• Deny certain people access to certain areas of your life.
• Miscellaneous friends lead to miscellaneous results.
• You attract who you are. You change who you attract by changing yourself.
• Good relationships produce good fruit. It is impossible to have a good relationship with someone without seeing good fruits coming out of this relationship. Likewise it is impossible to have a good relationship with someone whilst only producing bad fruit.
Have I made a conscious choice about which friends I have?
What are the criteria that define who is a friend?
Have I unfriended the wrong people?
How do I decide who has something to say in my life?
Do I allow anyone to speak in all of my life's situations?
Do I actively legitimise people to have a say in particular areas of my life?
Do I exclude certain people from speaking into certain areas of my life?
How many close friends do I have?
What has come out of my relationship with my close friends?
Do my relationships provide good or bad fruits?
III. Set yourself a limited amount of goals and attach a concrete plan of action to it - then follow it through.
Having an idea, an impression or a resolution is nice. However if you want to get real about it you will also need to have a plan to turn it into a reality.
Oftentimes setting yourself a goal or coming up with a new years resolution is completely pointless because you haven´t developed a plan of action to follow through on your idea. Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said: "If you fail to plan - you plan to fail." If you want to lose weight, if you want to gain muscle, if you want to stop smoking or become a marathon runner, a member of Congress or the chairman of a large company - having the goal alone won´t get you very far. You need a specific plan of action and concrete and workable steps to achieve what you want over a longer period of time. Always remember that you won´t reach your goal in a day but by taking daily steps.
Planning takes time, determination and commitment. Naturally the concerted approach will significantly reduce the number of ideas you´ll be able to pursue. That means you have to be smart which project you decide to implement. Watch your return on investment and ask yourself whether you are really behind your projects.
Once you have decided to go for something it´s a great idea to identify 28 ways that will help you reach the goal that you have set yourself. Be sure to engage in activities that will make it more likely to get to your desired destination.
• If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Having a vision or a dream is nice - but in most cases success is no accident that falls down from the sky - you need a plan to make it happen.
• Having a plan will change the outer world according to your inner world.
• It is not so much about having an idea as it is about implementing one. Make sure that the things you really want to do are followed by a concrete plan of action that lays out what achieving your goal means for one day, one week, one month, one year, two years and five years. Monitor that plan.
• Don´t try to implement too many ideas at once and give a priority to pending projects. It´s not about having hundreds of ideas or searching for the only true business model but rather about getting something started and done. Getting a small idea done is better than dreaming about a big one.
• Once you have decided to something specific search for 28 ways that make it more likely to get you what you want.
How many ideas do I have?
How many of those ideas are really good?
Do I have a specific and detailed plan of action to follow through on my ideas?
Have I written this plan down?
Have I had other people review this plan?
Do I actually implement the plan?
Which areas of my life do I plan?
Have I come up with 28 ways to increase the likelihood of what I want to see come true?