A few years ago I met Sofie, a woman living on a council estate in London. She had two teenage children, a husband, and a dog.
“We were pretty happy until five years ago when Jeff had an accident that left him unable to work. Ever since we are living on his disability pension and my modest salary,” she said.
“I lived on coins all my life, and I’m tired of it,” she said.
“What do you mean, living on coins?” I asked
“To use any utilities: electricity or water, we have to put coins in the meter. I don’t want my children to grow up as Jeff and I did. I want a different life for them, but I feel stuck, and now, we are about to lose the apartment because we don’t have enough money for the rent.”
The council estate was a complex of U-shaped buildings with a concrete paved courtyard in the middle, quite grim to be honest.
Sofie took me to the balcony and said:
“This is the view of my life,” and pointed to an apartment in the opposite building “my parents live there, Jeff’s parents live a few floors up; we grow up here. My whole family lives here: my sister, my brother in law, us, and our parents.”
It was the first time in my life that I realized how important is what you see or don’t see out of the window.
Not just the window of your house, but the symbolic window too, the perspective you get or don’t get.
At that moment I felt so privileged for the place where I grew up. It was a tiny apartment (not even half of Sofie’s apartment), I didn’t have my room, nor my own desk, nor my own closet, but I had a window!
I saw green fields, hills, and a river. My perspective in life wasn’t constrained by the walls of our apartment.
My father was an avid reader, and our house was full of books, another window to many different worlds.
We were not rich, but I did not know that Sofie’s world existed. I did not know that what I have is one of the most precious things in life: a perspective that allows you to dream.
Sofie didn’t have dreams; she had hopes and needs, but not dreams.
That is how your success in life starts: with a dream!
Sofie lost the apartment; then she moved out of London; she has now a good, well-paid job; Jeff, as well, has a part time job and together, they are building many dreams for the future.
Your success in life starts with a dream!
How to be successful in life
1. Start with a dream
Dreaming allows you to see into the future; lets you imagine how great you can be and how to get there. Dreams are motivating and inspire you to choose the best version of your destiny.
2. Define what you want
If you take random actions, you get random results. Is it not?
Know what you want and make a doable plan of action to get there.
It sounds obvious. However, you might be surprised how many people are drifting through life without a sense of direction or roads to take.
What you want is not always straightforward. If that is the case, begin with those things you feel that are missing from your life. Start with necessities and then, go up to your desires.
Make a plan of action for your needs and wants. Follow it, step by step; be prepared to stand up again if you fall. Celebrate even those moments when the result is not exactly what you wanted because that means that you are moving forward – you know better what works for you and what doesn’t.
Define what you want and create the desire to get there.
3. Keep your mind switched on positive
What is the result of your thought?
Are your thoughts the beginning of something positive for you or the end of it?
Positive thinking is a skill. Therefore, if you don’t have it yet, you can learn it.
I guess you don’t live in a bubble. Many things are happening that are out of your control, and a part of those things are not good things. However, the majority of bad, unfortunate things have an upside too. Keeping your mind switched on positive means to search, notice, acknowledge and celebrate the good part of things and people.
Wherever you look, there are beautiful things and ugly ones. What do you choose to notice and emphasize the most are determining the chain of thoughts you have: a positive chain or a negative one.
You don’t live in a bubble. Life happens even when you stay still. Is it raining? Great, the tree you planted will grow and thrive. Did one of your friends get out of your life for no apparent reason? That means room for a new, more compatible, friend.
Remember that whatever happens has an upside: search for it and you will find it, it is right in front of you.
Change the way you speak to yourself and others. Use positive and encouraging words.
- “Remember to do [that]” compared to “Don’t forget to do [that]”
- “The way I tried doesn’t work, tomorrow I will do it differently” compared to “I’m a failure”
- “I will thrive in spite of my past” compared to “My past always keeps me down”
- “I have three amazing friends” compared to “Most people are mean”
4. Live with integrity
- Keep your word
- Be honest, straightforward, assertive and genuine
- Correct your mistakes
- Step over your vanity and fear and offer your appreciation to those that deserve it
- Strive for a win-win outcome
- Be true to your standards, morals, and values
- Apply the same standard to yourself as to others
5. Make people feel important
A tiny bit of our desire to feel important is a matter of vanity. However, the biggest part comes from our need to feel useful, accepted, valued and memorable.
Who wants to be invisible? Who wants to be left out? Who wants to be small and insignificant? I guess, no one!
Making people feel important is one of the most powerful secrets to influencing people. There is no success without collaboration and there no collaboration without trust, mutual respect, and acceptance.
Make people feel important and amplify your power of influence, win trust and respect and you will become important to them as well.
Who are the people that you like the most? Those that like you back! Who are the most influential people in your life? Those who make you feel good about yourself; those who make you feel important. Is it not?
6. Empower others
Success means almost nothing if you have no one to whom you can share it.
For virtually every bad stuff in your life, there is a specialist that can help you to get through it. However, there are no experts for sharing success and happiness. Therefore, it is down to you to help people to grow alongside you. It is down to you to empower people to improve themselves for their benefit and yours. It is down to you lift people up to meet your standards.
A leader knows that success comes from having the best team. Right?
7. Apply what you learn
Don’t be a knowledge hoarder and wait endlessly for the right time, more resources, more information, the perfect conditions and an external push to start your journey.
Success is a journey and what you have and who you are today are enough to get started!
Should I mention that hoarding knowledge and information can lead to mental paralysis?
Too much unused and untested knowledge can leave you confused and overwhelmed.
The most successful people are those who learn one way of doing something and then go with it; learning more and improving along the way because (you see?) nothing is perfect, and the unexpected is always around the corner.
Learn and then apply, wait no more, start your success journey today!
8. Make yourself known to people that matter to your plans
Who you know is important to get successful, but who knows you, is even more important.
- Who can help you?
- Who are the people that can answer your questions?
- Who are those that have a better understanding and experience of what you are about to do?
- Who are those that are willing to collaborate with you?
- Who are those that will jump to invest in you and your ideas?
9. Build self-confidence through taking action
Self-confidence is a feeling that comes from the successes and accomplishments resulting from your actions and behaviors.
Perhaps, you are not confident to jump into deep water and swim (with good reason!). However, once you test the water with your toes, you are more confident to give it a try, step by step, until you get what you want.
Take action! Set your plan and know that even if you don’t succeed the way you try first, you have other options to proceed. It is not about you not being good enough; it is about the way you try. When it is not working, try a different way.
Build up your confidence and if you stumble ask yourself: “What can I do next?”
10. Value your time
Time is precious and limited. Therefore, use it wisely. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in meaningless disputes, relationships, jobs, arguments or satisfying your vanity.
11. Focus only on one thing at the time
The human mind is not designed for multitasking. Sure you can do it, yet, it takes more time, more energy, more attention and the result is not a job well done.
Yes, there are a few jobs that require multitasking (like being a parent, for example); however, avoid dividing your attention and energy because when you focus on one thing only, your mind starts discovering new pathways and patterns. Plus, you get more and more skilled at what you are doing in record time.
When you switch your mind from one thing to another, you need some time to readjust because you are using a different part of your brain for each task.
12. Overcome fears, self-doubt and being too self-conscious
Success doesn’t discriminate you. Success wants you, and you need to want it too.
Know that you deserve to be successful. Know that success is waiting for you and it is ready to receive you with open arms.
Plus, know that success is not limited; it is not limited to a few privileged ones; time or knowledge does not constrain it; it is not designated to you by others.
Success is yours, and it is in your power to get it!
Overcome what stops you and claim your success and happiness through patience, persistence, perseverance, practice and positive thinking.
Live with passion – love life and life will love you back
Love makes you tolerant, understanding and compassionate. Loving life means to celebrate every minute you have no matter what happens. As you love someone even when they are not the best, love life as it comes. It is the most precious gift you have, cherish and honor it. Love life and life will love you back.
Live your passions
Perhaps, you are not passionate about your job or some other things that you need to do. However, being successful in life doesn’t mean to do, only what you like. Is it not?
Living your passions means to include, among the things that you don’t like doing, things that you love doing and create balance.
Whatever it is in excess, one day becomes ordinary. Therefore, view your passions as the spices you sprinkle on your food to make it tastier, more appealing.
14. Find the fun part in everything you do and focus on that
John is sitting on the steps of the house and hitting his fingers with a hammer. Steve, the neighbor, shocked by what is John doing asks him:
“What are you doing?! Isn’t that painful?”
“YES, it is; but it’s so much fun when I miss.”
Putting the joke aside, in almost everything you have to do and you don’t like, there is a fun part.
Imagine immersing yourself in cold water. It is not too pleasant, and yet it is fun at the same time. You start shivering and laughing.
Perhaps, you don’t enjoy cleaning, but you have fun dancing with the broomstick while cleaning.
Perhaps, you don’t like the morning staff meeting, but you can have a good time getting to know your co-workers better.
15. Get creative
Come up with new ideas no matter how crazy they might seem and find out how to put them in practice.
Be the Sherlock Holmes of pathways toward your success: observe, learn, imagine, invent and then put in practice.
Find out what can stop you and what will work great.
16. Get good and skilled at what you do
Offer value to others. Make yourself indispensable and appreciated.
17. Improve your character traits (if needed)
Learn who you need to be to get successful. Enter a state of mind that gives you the right behaviors and attitude which are propelling you into the hearts and the eyes of others.
18. Build long-lasting and meaningful relationships
We are a social creature. We need to feel connected to others; we need to feel useful, appreciated, loved, supported, safe, and important.
Nothing else can give you all those things more than building long-lasting and meaningful relationships can give you.
19. Be persistent and perseverant
Rarely, things get to the outcome you want without minor setbacks or hard work. Therefore, success needs persistence and perseverance.
Failure is not an option when you have many other options as well. Plus, whatever obstacles or problems occur on your journey, they have dozens of solutions because when an issue is born, the solution is born as well. Any problem appears with a solution attached to it.
20. Clean up your environment
Surround yourself with people that support you; people that believe in you and your ideas; positive people that help you to move forward; people that bring out the best in you.
Clean up your environment:
- Keep your working space well organized
- Organize your idea and priorities
- Stay away from negative individuals
- Design your working days with efficiency and productivity in mind
- Focus on one single task at the time
- Change your location if where you are today drags you down
- Eliminate from your life things for which you feel the need to complain
- Learn how to be assertive and put your foot down
- Take responsibility for the events in your life – what you cause, you can change!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate to others tasks that they can do. Yes, they are not going to do the things as well as you can; however, your time is valuable and limited. Remind yourself that a job half done is better than not done at all.
22. Be consistent
Being consistent makes you reliable and trustworthy. Plus, jumping from one idea to another, in the end, gets you nowhere.
23. Invest your love, time and energy on things you want to do long-term
Love, time, and energy are the most precious possessions you have in life. Work your journey up to success by investing your most valuable possessions in things that you enjoy doing; things that bring you satisfaction and feelings of achievement long term.
Yes, it is good to be present in the now; yet, success doesn’t come that quickly. Therefore, invest in your future because there is no point in feeling accomplished only now and then. Strive for a long-term success.
You work hard for almost everything you get in life. Each of your achievements is preceded by learning new skills, many trials, and errors, effort, and dedication. Is it not?
If you start over again and again and again, all of that hard work and dedication is serving you for brief moments of time. And each time you start over, you need to repeat the same process: learn new skills, many trials, and errors, effort, and dedication.
Has it happened to you to know something well, to be very skilled at it and successful only to discover that you don’t enjoy what you are doing?
It happened to me and, to be frank, I was disappointed and discouraged. I felt as if all those years spent on it went to waste; and that I’ve invested too much in it to stop and do something else.
But you know what? It wasn’t such a difficult decision after all because life is short and the more you advance in life, the shorter it seems.
Therefore, I cut my losses and moved on, and now I’m delighted that I did.
In full honesty, it is a hard thing to choose what will you do for the rest of your life when you are young and carefree.
It is never too late to switch from on path to another. It is never too late to accept and acknowledge that you are not satisfied with what you are doing and then move on. However, pay attention that life doesn’t give you endless opportunities and chances to start over.
Change your direction only when you are sure that what you are doing have no chance to become a passion again; when you have a clear idea of what else you want to do.
Life’s too short to do anything else other than what you enjoy and love doing.
Be successful, be happy, live your life with passion.
- You deserve to be successful
- Success is waiting for you no matter how much or how little time you need to get to it
- Dare to dream
- Claim your place in the world
- You are where you are; and where you are is the perfect starting point for a better, more accomplished, and fulfilled life.