Believe it or not, there’s not just one secret to success in life. Success is measured differently by different people. We all have different goals and ambitions. We can look at someone and see success, when they themselves might not believe that they have achieved success yet.
So where does real success lie?
Success is something that you have to both define and create for yourself. The freedom in that terrifies a lot of people. The good news? I have a few secrets that I’ve picked up along my own journey towards success. Things that I believe everyone needs in order to succeed, regardless of how you define success for yourself.
7 Secrets I’ve Discovered on the Path to Success
1) Commitment matters more than motivation.
Motivation and inspiration are great. When that spark strikes, a lot of great work can happen. But if you’re sitting and waiting around for inspiration to strike, or waiting to get over a creative block to work, let me tell you: you’re never ever going to find the success that you want in life. Motivation and inspiration are fickle and fleeting. You can go months without either coming to you. That’s time you can’t afford to waste.
Instead of waiting until you feel motivated, forget feelings. Rely on commitment instead. If you’re committed to your craft and committed to success, you’re going to work regardless of how you feel. You’ll train yourself to power through and do it anyway. Sure, some days, good work isn’t what’s getting done. But you’re doing something. And building that habit of focusing on follow-through based on commitment not feelings is invaluable not only for work, but for relationships.
2) Master the art of social interaction.
This one is rooted in science! University of California Santa Barbara economist Catherine Weinberger conducted a research study that revealed a correlation between success and the social skills of business people. While in the 1980s, being both intelligent and socially savvy wasn’t a crucial combination for success, today it’s much more valuable.
Being able to carry on conversations, have charm, and work a room will carry you far professionally. Courteousness, a friendly demeanor, and well-rounded social skills go a long way.
3) Delay gratification.
We live in an age of instant gratification. If you want it, you take it. One of the keys to success is to delay that gratification. We do that for a few different reasons. One, it allows you to examine whether or not you actually want the thing in question. Acting impulsively creates a ton of regret and decreases future room for things that you may actually need. Two, it helps you develop valuable aspects of good character, like patience and willpower. Three, delaying gratification is a great financial strategy. If you hold off, you can save money, avoid charging things to your credit card, and save for when you’re truly ready.
4) See rejection and criticism as valuable.
In order to grow towards being the successful person you know that you are, you have to learn how to take criticism. You have to be able to handle rejection. Neither of these things are inherently bad. Both mean that you’re putting yourself out there and actually trying. That’s good!
Criticism, when constructive, can also spur you to improve yourself and your methods. See these things not as personal attacks or as things that are keeping you from success, but as tools that can help you reach the next level.
5) Invest early.
As soon as you can invest and start making your money work for you, start doing it. Personally, I’m a big advocate for real estate investment. If you can invest and start creating streams of passive income, you’re going to have more money for retirement, more money to support your dreams, and more money to achieve your goals. Invest. Don’t let your money collect dust in a bank account.
6) Appreciate the present.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when it’s so easy to yearn for what’s ahead to such a degree that we totally miss what’s happening in the present. Maybe it’s dissatisfaction with where we are. We want to be more successful, we want to be married, we want to have kids, we want to retire. We want things to be different—so we get caught up in trying to fast forward through life to get to the good part.
Listen: this is the good part. It’s all the good part. Maybe there are some hard things.
Maybe it’s a challenge and a struggle right now. But I guarantee that once you move into a new stage, you will look back and there will be things you’ll miss about where you are right now. Don’t be in such a rush. Make the most of where you are. Live in the present.
7) Focus on what truly matters to you.
People who have outward, superficial success but are unsatisfied inwardly have a focus problem. Maybe all of their energy was on getting rich, and then they found out that money didn’t really make them happy. Maybe they wanted popularity, but found out that a sea of shallow acquaintances didn’t bring the true love and fulfillment they wanted.
Before you chase after your vision of success, you have to figure out what really matters to you. It might be one thing, or it might be several. But ultimately, you have to put your focus on the right things. What makes you get up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? What makes your heart beat faster?
Where do your passions really lie?
What do you think are the secrets to success? Share them with me in the comments.