What is it that makes people successful and I mean really successful compared to you or me? Are they smarter or do they work harder? Are they risk takers or have powerful and influential friends?
The financial newspaper Investors Business Daily
(IBD) asked these same questions a few years ago and started a
multi-year search for the answer. They studied industry leaders,
investors and entrepreneurs to understand the traits they all had in
common that contributed to their success. Reproduced here is their list
of 10 Secrets to Success along with my commentary on each no-so-secret,
I decided to reproduce the list here and comment on each of the
traits in hopes of motivating you and myself in the process. It’s time
for me to take my own advice and start on the path to my dreams. I hope
to motivate you, by using myself as an example.
I originally came across this list when I was staring at some papers
on a refrigerator owned by someone who was very successful – both
personally and financially. My family and I had just spent the night as a
guest in a great house in the suburbs of Boston. We were living life
large as we played pool in the rec room, drank wine from the wine
cellar, and enjoyed a dip in the hot tub. The problem was, neither of
the couples in the house owned the property or the life we were
pretending to have. You see, my friends were house sitting for the
original owner and they had invited us to stay for the weekend.
It wasn’t until the morning after our little ‘party’ that I noticed
something taped to the refrigerator – something that impacts me each
time I read it. It was the IBD 10 Secrets to Success. Once my head
cleared, I quickly copied them down and read them over and over again.
After our vacation I made copies and posted them in my home office and
inside a journal I decided to keep.
The problem was, after a couple of months I forgot about the secrets
and they fell by the wayside. And so did my actions towards my goals. At
the time the articles 7 Ways to Grow the Action Habit or How To
Motivate Yourself – Self Motivation didn’t exist and I lost my
motivation. Well, I re-discovered the list and want to share it with you
now. I hope you take these not-so-secret, secrets to heart and realize
your dreams – whatever they may be.
1. How You Think is Everything.
Always be positive. Think Success, not Failure. Beware of a negative environment.
This trait has to be one of the most important in the entire list.
Your belief that you can accomplish your goals has to be unwavering. The
moment you say to yourself “I can’t…”, then you won’t. I was always
given the advice “never say I can’t” and I’d like to strike those words
from the dictionary.
I’ve found that from time-to-time my attitude waivers. A mentor of
mine once said “it’s ok to visit pity city, but you can’t stay and there
comes a time when you need to leave”. Positive things happen to
2. Decide upon Your True Dreams and Goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
Write down my dreams and goals? Develop a plan to reach them? You
mean like a project plan? Yes, that’s exactly what this means. You may
have heard the old adage: A New Years resolution that isn’t written down
is just a dream, and dreams are not goals.
Goals are those concrete, measurable stepping stones of achievement
that track your progress towards your dreams. My goal is to start a
second career as a freelance writer – what are your goals?
3. Take Action. Goals are nothing without action.
Be like Nike and “Just do it”. I took action by reaching out and
started writing. Every day I try to take some action towards my goals.
It may be small, but it’s still an action. Have you taken action towards
4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training & acquire skills.
Becoming a life long learner would benefit us all and is something we
should instill in our kids. It’s funny that once you’re out of school
you realize how enjoyable learning can be. What have you learned today?
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
I think every story of success I read entails long hard hours of
work. There is no getting around this and there is no free lunch. But,
if you’re working towards something that you’re passionate about,
something you love – then is it really work?
6. Learn to Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
I think you have to strike a balance between getting all the facts
and making a decision with incomplete data – both are traits of
successful people. Spend time gathering details, but don’t catch
7. Focus Your Time And Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.
Remain laser focused on your goals and surround yourself with
positive people that believe in you. Don’t be distracted by the
naysayer’s or tasks that are not helping you achieve your goals.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate: Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
Follow through on that break-out idea you have. Ask yourself “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”
9. Deal And Communicate With People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.
Successful people develop and nurture a network and they only do that
by treating people openly, fairly and many times firmly. There is
nothing wrong about being firm – just don’t cross the a-hole line. How
do you deal with people?
10. Be Honest And Dependable: Take responsibility, otherwise numbers 1 – 9 won’t matter.