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- Success is an
- Techniques for
Success is an ongoing
process. In a broader view, success is more than the attainment of a
single goal; it is a way of life in which we continually press to be
more, and this "being more" has the side-benefit of
"gaining more" -- more money, more social fulfillment, and
more mastery of our life. When we view success as the development of
ourselves, it becomes a continual process with new goals arising
naturally; when we achieve a goal, it is not the end but merely a
moment to be savored before engaging in the next meaningful endeavor.
Our motivation does not come from a fear of failure, poverty, or
disgrace; those concerns can be incidentally satisfied in the general
drive toward our affirmative goals of self-fulfillment. For example,
if our goal is to express our potential in our career, we have the
determination and drive that might secure an objective type of
success as almost just an afterthought.
- Aspire to success in every aspect of your life. When success
is seen as the attainment of only one goal (such as wealth), we
might become a workaholic who ignores other aspects of life. A
broad perspective on success includes all portions of our life:
our finances, health, family, friends, intellect, emotional
satisfaction, and so on.
- Enjoy every step toward success. There is a moment when a goal
is reached -- but it only a moment. People who make the most of
their success enjoy the many moments that lead to the culmination;
they find pleasure in the self-expression, the adventure, the
experience of increasing proficiency, and the attainment of the
many little goals which are reached en route to a large goal.
Because they love to play the game, they feel an effortless
motivation, enthusiasm, and concentration -- three factors which
contribute to their success. And when they reach their goal, they
pause to celebrate -- but it is just "icing on the cake".
- See the "success" in everything you do. We create the habit of
success by noting its occurrence whenever it happens, whether the
event is a job promotion, or a good game of tennis -- "good", even
if we didn't beat our opponent. Success can even be something as
minor as "successfully" buying groceries, because any achievement
registers equally in our mind: "I'm a success; things work out
well for me." Our day can be a continual stream of attainments big
and small, each of which generates a feeling of competence and
confidence that we will do well in whatever else comes our way. We
learn the principles of success in its many forms, and we
understand the Zen statement, "If you can do anything well, you
can do everything well."
- Follow your own standards of success. We feel successful only
when we reach the goals that match our values. Those values come
from within ourselves, not from external standards and images of
wealth, position, influence, or reputation. We select goals which
are meaningful, and we know why they are meaningful. Then, when we
attain an objective, we feel successful and fulfilled,
rather than expecting a superficial standard (or society) to
give us those feelings. Our values can change from moment
to moment; last year's goal might have no meaning today, so we
need to re-verify that our previous goals are still important to
us. We have no obligation to our past -- past goals, previous
careers, or college degrees. And there is no obligation to climb
ever higher; in every part of life, we find plateaus which satisfy
us for a while or forever (and we find that this contentment makes
us happier than does a compulsive, "never-satisfied"
- Prepare for the psychological demands of success. We are more
likely to achieve, retain, and enjoy success if we prepare
Get support. In any endeavor, we get ahead only with the
cooperation and support of other people. Successful people help
other people to meet their own needs, because support comes to us
only if we support those people. We recognize their desires,
ambitions, and emotions -- and we find ways to reveal those same
things in us. People are more likely to support us if they believe
we are likeable, caring -- and talented (so we are actually
deserving of the goal for which we want support).
Take action toward success. In addition to the psychological
components to success, we also need to develop goals, make
specific plans for achieving those goals, generate a high energy
level -- and do the work that is required, directly and
vigorously. We learn and practice the essential skills: technical,
social, psychological, leadership, and so on.
We can learn about the archetype of Success. On the archetypal
level, there is no scale; we can gain complete education and
satisfaction on even the smallest scale. Therefore, we can
experience and cultivate the thrill of the Success archetype as
fully when we "successfully" type a memo as we would do if we
"successfully" won the Boston Marathon.
We come to terms with failure.
- Self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem creates meager
goals, and then pursues the goals indecisively because he or
she believes that they are neither attainable nor deserved. And
if success is reached, the person feels uncomfortable with it
-- or he or she tries to compensate for the low self-esteem
through a display of arrogance.
- Optimism. We know that success is natural; it is to be
- Control of fear. We might encounter the "fear of success"
as our lives increase their speed and intensity, and as we lose
certain friends and familiar routines.
- Motivation. Will our motivation dissipate when we reach a
goal, or will we continually refresh ourselves with new goals?
The concern that we will lose motivation causes some of us to
deny ourselves the pleasure of seeing ourselves as
- Flexibility. Our lives change as we develop new
friendships, make bigger gambles, budget more money, and
encounter other new responsibilities and pressures (especially
if success comes in the form of a more complex job).
- Failure does not have to be viewed as a disaster nor
disgrace; it is simply an occurrence -- one from which we can
learn and improve.
- Failure is a part of life. Failure is an aspect of
everything that we do, because every ending is short of
perfection (though many of those imperfect endings are still
satisfying). Life is full of successes and failures; we can
find poise that raises us above that swinging pendulum, and we
can have an enthusiasm that sustains our grip no matter how
hard we are flung in one direction or another. With a shrug and
perhaps some humor, we say, "You win some and you lose some."
- Failure is just a "result." We perceive our failures caked
with emotion -- disappointment, anger, frustration. But apart
from the emotion, all that remains is simply "what happened";
we did that action, and got this consequence. The failure is
mere feedback. In fact, we were successful; we successfully
produced a certain outcome, but we would have preferred a
different one. Take responsibility for the cause and the
effect, and then move on. We might change our approach, or we
might change our goal to one that is more achievable, but still
- In failure, sustain your self-esteem. Failure doesn't make
us less of a person; it means that we are part of the
human race, participating in the usual ups and downs of life.
Instead of claiming a one-sided view of ourselves as a loser or
winner, we can honestly see the many parts of ourselves -- the
segments in which we are successful, and the ones that need
more improvement. And if other people think less of you when
you falter, their view can injure you only if you have first
injured yourself by believing that same viewpoint. Those people
belittle you because they have been beaten by their low
self-esteem, and they get relief by making you appear to be
even lower than themselves. Be proud of your effort and of the
perseverance that leads you to try again.
- Learn from your failures. Failure is an element of learning
-- the experimentation, the attempts. As we try various
methods, we learn which ones don't work, and we gain
understanding of the nature of our subject -- what it is and
what it is not. (This is also an opportunity to learn more
about ourselves.) Only when we see our errors can we improve
and make things right. And when the small failures and
successes have led us eventually to mastery, only our new
proficiency remains, while the memories of the trials fade
- Remember that Winston Churchill said, "Success is going
from one failure to the next without a loss of enthusiasm."