What is the determining factor of success? What is the catalyst that lights a fire within us to push us in the right direction for achieving our goals?
I often ponder these questions in search of ways to bottle up the ingredients for success. Yet, so often, the reason someone is successful is not only based on luck but because the person has the drive, focus, and determination to continue walking the road to achieving their goals.
“The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself”from the book Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!
— Anthony Robbins
To get to the answer, we must arrive at the right questions. And precisely this thinking could lead us to discover why successful people somehow could achieve a lot more than most others.
These are the questions we use for introspection, to uncover our most authentic intentions, to find out what success means to us and what drives us to wake up every day motivated to achieve our goals. So here are the eight profound questions we must ask ourselves to succeed in the next decade.
1. What Are My Top Three Goals in The Next Decade?
To start achieving success, we must first start with the goal. For most of us, we may not have any goals. For others, we may have many goals. The first step is to think. We must list our goals and prioritize them. We are picking only the top 3 to focus on and achieve.
The most successful people know that time is our most sacred resource, so achieving our goals requires careful planning and prioritization. Limiting ourselves to only three goals in the next decade can mean saying “no” to the other goals we have on our list.
The most successful people only focus on three goals at a time. And even the top 1% of successful people dedicate all their time and energy to only one primary goal. However, by focusing on one specific goal at a time, they can achieve what looked impossible to the rest of us, who dissipate our energy among multiple goals.
In this exercise, it is helpful to think and list all the goals we want to achieve in a decade. Then narrow down that list to the top 3 goals and forget the rest. Here is how Warren Buffet, the most successful investor of all time, put it:
“The difference between successful people is that successful people say no to almost everything.”
— Warren Buffet
Long-term goals are often tied to success that genuinely matters to us. According to a critique from the Harvard Business Review, there’s a unique relationship between objective reality (the world) and our subjective response to it.
What we perceive as success may differ from our personal goals that bring us happiness and satisfaction. This is a significant reason why aligning our version of success with our goals is essential.
Indeed, there will be sacrifices when we begin thinking of success in this manner. Maybe the things that bring us the most happiness are entirely distinct from the great success we have right now.
2. What Does Success Look Like for Me?
What does that image look like if we close our eyes and imagine ourselves successful? For some, it may be an image of wealth. For others, it may be sitting in the sunset with a loved one. Our vision of success is as unique as our personality; therefore, it is different for us than others. We must honor that, and by not thinking about it first, we lose any grounded reasoning as to why we want to be successful in the first place.
The tale of the fisherman and the businessman is not just a cautionary tale but one filled with wisdom. But first, we must think about what success means to us.
When we look into the inevitable future where we have achieved our goals, success could mean being healthy, having loving relationships with our family and loved ones, having financial abundance, being spiritually grounded, and so on. For others, it may mean owning a luxury automobile or a mansion.
There is often shallowness and vanity to a success that is only “for the show”; however, if we ask ourselves honestly what success means, we can dig deep and find the answer. In the end, what good is a McMansion when we are lonely? What good is a lot of money if we’re not healthy? Success must mean contentment and happiness, and we must genuinely examine what that picture looks like for us.
Another way to look at success if we are not one for drastic life changes or big moves is by examining the different parts of our life and career and asking ourselves: what is the ideal situation here? For example, a manager in a large firm may love the work that he’s doing, but he remains unhappy because he struggles to form better relations with staff and other managers.
The bottleneck in his work makes it appear that he’s not in the right place, but he might feel more successful if he worked on improving his communication with others.
Grabbing at every possible brass ring is not a wise choice in almost every situation.
Chasing after every imaginable scenario where we feel we might be successful does not necessarily translate to success or happiness. Instead, suppose it’s satisfaction from life that we want. In that case, we must learn to be more selective about what we chase in life because, ultimately, we’ll be allocating time, energy, and resources to that new effort on top of what’s already on our plate.
3. What Am I Willing to Sacrifice to Achieve My Goals?
Life is filled with many activities and opportunities to enjoy. Most people spend their time finding ways to be entertained. Watching television or playing video games can be great, but spending too much time on them can mean wasting time doing more important things, such as fulfilling our goals in life.
If we think about life as a journey and we as cars driving to a specific destination, these activities can become metaphorically like “parking spaces.” They can derail us from accomplishing much of anything.
When we become “driven” to achieve our goals, we prioritize activities that can yield great things in the long term. We must sacrifice mindless entertainment for doing work that can produce the achievements we want out of life.
In addition, achieving our goals is knowing what we are willing to sacrifice and give up. This means saying “no” to things and often other opportunities that do not align with our goals or move the needle toward our goals.
A word of caution, though, we must have enough wisdom to differentiate from giving up things that do not bear fruit to those that will be good for us. For example, perhaps saying no to going out with friends on casual nights out is okay, but saying no to visiting a loved one may rob us of participating in a meaningful moment that can deepen that relationship. Another example is saying no to playing video games vs. saying no to working out is not equivalent. The former is entertainment, and the latter is good for our health.
Franklin was a proponent of daily planning.
4. How Can I Plan My Day, Week, And Month to Achieve My Goals?
“If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail”
— Benjamin Franklin.
Successful people did not become that way out of luck. Instead, they strategically planned their way into success. Therefore, we must take the time to create a plan to achieve something meaningful.
We can start with our goal and break it down into milestones. For example, if our goal is to finish building a house, we can plan to put up the foundation by a specific date. These are tasks and milestones that pave the path to the finished goal.
Most people who have not achieved much in life don’t work on their goals on a daily or monthly basis. Perhaps they only work on it when they are motivated to do it one day. However, achieving our goals requires putting in the workday every day. It is this unrelenting focus and work that leads to the finished product.
Zig Ziglar was a mentor and a great motivational coach.
5. How Can I Motivate Myself to Keep Pursuing My Goal?
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar
There will be days when we don’t feel like working or even getting up to work on pursuing our goal. Yet, at those times, we must muster the energy to put in the work by motivating ourselves. This motivation could come in various forms, and it could be something we seek to replenish our spirit.
Motivation can come from our mentors or heroes. When we examine someone’s achievements, we can find ways to get inspired. We can also seek motivation by consulting with someone who has already succeeded. Their wisdom and knowledge will uncover ideas we can use to enhance our work.
Jane Goodall dedicated her life to studying chimpanzees and her work in understanding their communities.
6. How can I make the world better?
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
— Jane Goodall
Aiming to achieve a goal that will help make the world a little bit better is a noble pursuit. However, if the goal we selected is only self-serving, accomplishing that goal may bring temporary happiness, but if it harms people and the world, it can have the opposite effect.
Asking ourselves how our goal can help make the world better is a great way to assess our motives and clarify our mission. A goal that will do good for people, including ourselves, will have a better chance of motivating us to continue when times get rough.
If we want to achieve our goals, we must seek the proper support that can be found in our family, friends, and social circle. Support helps keep us grounded and motivated, and both are important for chasing down every dream that matters.
A great support system to stay motivated is having like-minded and supportive people to talk to. While some geniuses thrive in isolation, isolation is the problem for the rest of us. Humans are naturally social creatures, and we can work better when we have people to channel our creative energies.
And finally, remember that achieving goals is a marathon, never a sprint. We can sprint through the different steps required for a goal, but we can’t sprint the entire goal in one day, a week, or a month.
Realistically, great goals take months or years to mature and complete. Think of the task of accomplishing a goal as planting and growing a tree. There’s no rushing a tree, earth, or nature in general. Instead, we must allow the process to take place and revel in the beauty of the journey to growing a tree.
The key to success is continuous self-improvement.
7. How Can I Make Myself Better To Achieve My Goals?
Achieving our goals require us to be prepared to meet opportunities. The way we can do that is to improve and become better always continually. We must ask ourselves how we can become better every day.
Achieving our goals could require more studying and further learning. It may require us to find a mentor who has already done what we are doing. It may also mean we need to further continue our self-development and self-improvement in all facets of our lives.
The process of working on our goals requires us to work on ourselves. The road to the journey toward success will challenge our spirit, change our mindset, and widen our intellect.
8. What Is the Legacy I Want To Leave In This World?
“My legacy is that I stayed on course…. from the beginning to the end because I believed in something inside of me.”
— Tina Turner
Whether we believe in leaving a legacy or not, the fact is that we leave the work we finished behind when we depart this world. We leave a mark, and that mark may be positive or negative.
To achieve our goals, we must consider what legacy we will leave for others when we are no longer alive. This may be something we think is minute, such as how we treat others kindly, to something greater than ourselves, such as our impact on our children and the people around us.
In the world, leaving behind a legacy means making a positive difference in many people’s lives, especially our loved ones. We create long-lasting impact when we think of ways to serve others and focus on our business and its success in the long term, long after we are gone.
In terms of legacy, neither age nor length of service matters. Our legacy is the total of our work throughout our life as we lay the groundwork and gain the experience necessary to make meaningful contributions, innovation, and opportunity in our work and life. Our legacy is the work we leave behind and the relationships we cultivate throughout our life.
To be successful and effective, we must constantly reinvent ourselves, learning new things that will shape our perspective, abilities, and experience. Our ability to make an ever-lasting impression and increase our success is a skill we hone throughout our careers. As we progress, we’ll find mastery in our business and careers, giving us the ability to succeed further. We must start today and work towards our daily goals to achieve success in the next decade.