How to be successful
If we want to know how to be successful, there are a few principles and a few habits to follow. In his book the 7 habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey highlights the first and most basic habit of every successful person: proactivity.
By definition, proactivity means making things happen or change rather than reacting to events. This is to say that we can take initiative and even consider it as a responsibility to make things happen.
Proactivity involves living consciously. We are aware that we don’t have control over certain things. But we can do something about other things.
For example, we can set goals and decide on the actions to take. We can try to control our thinking. On the contrary, we don’t control the weather, the sunshine.
How to be successful: take full responsibility of your life
Successful people understand that they have to take 100% responsibility for their lives. We are here today because of all of the thoughts, actions and decisions we took until now. We’re going to be where we are in 10 years, thanks to the thoughts, actions and decisions we –consciously- choose starting from today.
Blame is one of the traits that characterize unsuccessful people. They blame their parents, the economy, and their lack of money. Never would they think that their circumstances are created by themselves.
Bill Gates emphasizes: “If you were born in a poor family, it’s not your fault, if you die poor, it’s your fault”.
How to be successful in life: Be responsible
Responsibility: response-ability implies our ability to choose our responses. It’s not what happens to us that matters, it is how we react to the situation. For instance, if we encounter failures on our journey, how we perceive and interpret it changes everything: we can either blame ourselves or just consider it as part of the process and carry on.
Successful people understand the power of decision
In his book, “Awaken the Giant within”, Tony Robbins asserts 3 types of decision that shape our destiny:
Decisions about what to focus on.
Your decisions about what things mean to you.
Our decisions about what to do to create the results we desire
Unfortunately, most of us fail to make conscious decisions in these areas. For us to have different results, we also have to make things differently. Insanity is doing the same thing all over again and expect different results.
Therefore, we can decide exactly what we want to accomplish in life. We must take massive actions and monitor/evaluate whether we get closer to our goals or not. When things get tough, it’s where the second type of decision enters into action. How would we interpret those events: as a challenge to overcome or obstacle used as an excuse?
We have to set clearly what we want to achieve, be as specific as possible. And then, we have to pay the price, regardless of the cost and sacrifice.
They set goals and execute
Proactive people use their minds for the attainment of their goals. They are proactive and not reactive.
It is the act of transmuting our thoughts into reality.
High level of conscientiousness
Our level of consciousness remains one of the factors that determine our success or failure. In the Big Five Test, we evaluate our extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and intellect/imagination. It turns out that people scoring high on conscientiousness are consistently successful.
To give you an idea, personalities high in conscientiousness:
– Work until completion
– Dislike wasting time
– Will do what they promise to do, without excuses
– Do well in academic settings
– Concerned with detail
– Spend time preparing
– Are very thoughtful
– Like having a set schedule
– Don’t react well to failure
– Suffer from shame and guilt when unemployed (even if it’s not their fault)
– More concerned with hygiene, moral purity and achievement
– Can be micro-managing and controlling
Personalities low in conscientiousness:
– Will only work if pushed
– Have no problem wasting time
– Tasks are likely completed late, even if there isn’t much reason for the tardiness
– Tend to make excuses for their lack of follow through
– Not decisive
– Not future-oriented
– Often find themselves distracted
– When engaged in a creative task, they don’t do things by the book
– Relatively free of guild, shame, self-disgust and self-contempt
– Not too concerned with failure
– Not judgmental towards themselves or others
– Can handle periods of inactivity or unemployment with ease
– Good at relaxing and living in the moment