Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Success Secrets*

            "Action is the foundational key to all success." - Pablo Picasso

Success is achieving your goals, what does is take to do this?  Action.  You must get up, out of the cave kill something and drag it home.  That is how is was anyway, now it looks a lot more like driving to the office and sitting still in your cube.  That is a big problem it is easy to look successful and slide by.  In the days of yore it was not working meant not eating.  Now it is easy to do just enough to get by.  If you want success that is not good enough.  The good news is it would appear there are not many that know this.  Many many people are busy doing just enough to get by.  A little effort will catapult you toward the  the top of your field.  Not that it is easy, success is not about easy most things worth doing are not easy, hard work and consistency are required. 

Typically success is a good thing, joy and happiness follow success closely.  Not always, success can bring sadness.  Success in parenting means the little birdies leave the nest.  Success in other ventures will bring a similar result.  A short term sadness associated with the end of the assignment but in the long run the reward is great.  Also there is a greater good associated with the project as  whole.  For the most part however, success is about increasing the joy and happiness  of the lives we live.

            "I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than be a success at something you hate." - George Burns

Success means different things to different people.  It means different things to the same person for that matter.  There is internally recognized success and external success.  Internal success is when you accomplish you own goal.  External success is you accomplishing someone else's goal.  Someone else may be you boss, your family or society in general.  Becoming wealthy or famous is a societal goal.  Many things are a combination of the two.  Mowing the grass, spending time with family and things like that are internal and external goals.  The same goal can mean different things at different times.  Buying a car can mean any jalopy that can get from point A to point B, later sporty and red may be added to the requirements.

            "I'm a loser baby……" - Beck

Winner and Loser relate to success, these ideas of are closely tied to external ideas of success.  That is winner is usually tied to other peoples idea of success.  A winner looks cool, a winner has lots of money, a winner gets the girl and so on.  Loser is simply the opposite of winner.  A really successful person should be able to separate from other definitions of winner and loser.  A real winner takes time to teach their children, a real winner takes time to learn what is needed for success.  These are alternate definitions of winner, you must make your own.  You must decide what your definition of winner is you can decide what success is for you.

            "Failure is success if we learn from it."  - Malcom Forbes

Titanic, Challenger, that thing that missed Mars.  Complete failure?  Lets hope not.  Failure is an integral part of success.  It is rare that success is achieved in a straight line unhampered by failure.  A road to success is paved with gold and unimpeded may be considered an ominous sign.  A complete failure does not need to be.  Nearly always there are lessons to be learned, a key to pulling success from failure is finding these lessons.  Add more lifeboats, develop better failsafes, check you units.  What can you learn from recent failures?

            "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." - Bill Cosby

I think Mr. Cosby really hit the nail on the head with this one.  Being a people pleaser is a sure fire way to go nuts, you will find yourself agreeing to competing objectives and working long hours for no good reason.  Projects suffer from the same fate, adding a feature here and a feature there soon the project is massive and focus is lost.  The group or individual must at the outset decide what success looks like and regularly measure against that, deciding if movement is  toward the original goal or if the goal must be changed.  This must be done regularly and on purpose or success will quietly slip away while you are not looking.

            “The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss

Zig Ziglar, W Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill and a ton of other people have written on success.  There is a lot of material prescribing different methods to attain success.  I suggest the reader read these works with care.  Make sure the idea of success presented in congruent with your own.  There is a lot of good material, there is also a lot of fringe martial that is a bit out there.  Be careful what you put in your mind, the same will come out.

*Yes I know there are no secrets here.  It make a good title though and from casual observations of the world around me it would appear that some of these things are secret.  Go prove me wrong, make a plan and follow through, claim your success.