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The Four Engines of Life-Long Success

By Philip Humbert

Every human being wants to be successful. For many, success is measured in terms of power, fame or financial income, while other people measure it in less tangible ways. Whatever your criteria, I assume you, too, are interested in success. The question then becomes, "What skills or traits are required for extraordinary success?"

For many years, social scientists have tried to measure the causes of success, and one of the most frustrating things as a Coach is the degree to which they have merely confused the issue. Many people have heard that successful people tend to be taller, prettier, younger or have some other characteristic over which they have NO control. What these studies fail to tell you is that all these factors combined account for less than 10% of the variables that drive long- term, repeated success!

Race, age, gender, family history, all of that COMBINED make almost no measurable difference! On the other hand, what's exciting is that the things that DO make a difference are almost entirely under your control! That's exciting, and tremendously hopeful!

What are the things that actually MATTER in long-term, repeated success? Here are some of my key observations from years of working with unusually successful people:

  • FIRST things first—Personal stability. High achievers usually live quiet, structured lives. They tend to settle down, have good relationships and mind their own business. They get to bed on time, eat well, get a bit of exercise and pay their bills. Their lives are organized and orderly, free from distractions and worry so their daily chores do not interfere with achieving their goals. To achieve great things, get organized! Get a good night's sleep and start with a good breakfast. Every single day. In the quest for success, boring is good!
  • SECOND—Positive Self-Direction. High achievers know where they're going and how to get there. For most, this means clear written goals, although many successful people describe it as an "inner confidence" or a "sense of purpose." Whether it's a list or a vision, successful people know what they want and permit few distractions. They are not tempted by short-cuts or get-rich-quick schemes. They have chosen their direction, goals or themes in life and like a compass, they always point straight ahead.
  • THIRD—Personal Urgency. I am not talking about impatience or jumpiness. Far from it! Successful people have "all the time in the world." They are patient, persistent, determined and resilient, but they do not waste time. They focus on things that make a real difference. They think in terms of priorities, progress, and action-steps, but they are not rude about it. They focus on priorities and have a healthy eagerness to move forward.
  • FOURTH—Constant Learning. Successful people are curious and learn faster than other people. They read more, ask more questions, take more classes, try more things. They make mistakes, but rarely make the same mistake twice. No one is born knowing how to walk, talk, or write software. Successful people LEARN to invest, invent and create. They have mentors, MasterMind groups, and coaches. They know that practical, immediately-useful knowledge is the key to solving problems and achieving their dreams.

The most important thing about these "engines" is that each of them can be learned! No one is born with a stable life, a sense of self-direction or urgency! These are habits that each of us can absorb and master, often with very little effort.

Success is not about luck or lucky genes; it's about learning appropriate skills, then using them to create the life you truly want. I've often written that a GREAT life is actually easier than living a complicated, confusing or mediocre life, and I'm convinced it's true. Keep it simple. Keep it focused. Play by the rules and learn to win the game of life.

And, perhaps we should acknowledge a fifth engine—great coaching. I know it's an "ad" since I make my living as a success coach, but the truth is that we all do better with good coaching, great ideas, and a bit of encouragement. In fact, almost no one ever achieved greatness all by themselves! Whether we admit it consciously or not, we depend on coaches to show us the way!

If you're ready to achieve more, with less work and greater personal satisfaction, send me an email. We'll talk it over, see what makes sense, and decide the best way forward. You deserve success! You deserve great coaching.

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