Success has become an obscure word we throw around nowadays. We desire the attainment of success without knowing precisely what the word means to us.
We must have a clear idea of success by defining it for ourselves. Otherwise, others will define it for us.
The attainment of success is hard. But realizing what success looks like for us is the first step and is a significant leap forward.
Fortunately, many successful people, past and present, could become a template for us. These people can show us that often success is a great balancing act between priorities, deriving meaning and purpose from our passions, and maintaining a focused effort and unrelenting motivation to achieve our goals.
The paths of genuinely successful people could be something we could examine and learn from; therefore, here is a list of lessons we can learn from purpose-driven successful people.
When we look at a “successful person” out in the limelight, accumulating a level of fame and fortune we wished we had, we don’t have the whole picture.
The wisdom of many real successful people, past and present, shows us that success is part of a balancing act, where we derive meaning and purpose from our passion, daily habits, and skills to come together to create value to make the world better.
In many ways, genuinely successful people leave trails of the wisdom of how they became successful. We can follow this path made available for us to examine and learn, and this is a list of lessons we can learn from them.
“Life is an inside job, and we must do our best.
1. Purpose-Driven Vision
When asked about how he was able to accomplish building Amazon from an online book retailer to a gigantic retail behemoth, Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO, had a surprising answer. He talked about envisioning a goal that eventually drove his purpose. But instead, he saw the end before he started.
In many interviews, Jeff Bezos has given a spiel about looking into time and seeing his older self. Within that vision, he could manifest his real goal, which he would devote his time to accomplishing.
In defining our purpose in life, we target what makes us feel happy and prosperous. We avoid getting bogged down by misconceived advice, such as working harder than everybody else. Without questioning the result, we must start with the WHY.
“I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘OK, I’m looking back on my life. I want to minimize the number of regrets I have.’ And I knew that when I was 80, I would not regret having tried this. I would not regret trying to participate in the Internet, which I thought would be a big deal. I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that. But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day.”
— Jeff Bezos
Indeed successful people are purpose-driven.
The most important thing to success then is to find a purpose in what you do; this is done not by working harder but by working strategically, intelligently, mindfully, and reflecting on our fundamental goal. The idea is “knowing thyself,” which is essential in defining success and purpose-driven life. Our purpose becomes a signpost along the way to the goal we set for ourselves.
A purpose-driven life is a life not mired in self-satisfaction. Instead, it is a life used to serve to better the world. The reason why this leads to success is simple. The Universe rewards those who contribute to the world’s betterment. This idea is not an ideological point of view but the one core truth in genuinely successful people.
We cannot fool the Universe. How we say and what we say matters less. Instead, the Universe looks past our words and actions, diving deep into our intentions. Intentions are the core of our inner being. It is what truly drives our thoughts, our actions, and our feelings. It is our truth.
In its purest form, the law of attraction is often summarized as this: “what you put out, is what you get back.” I like this summary because it encapsulates this universal law well. However, it is misinterpreted as many will superficially translate this law, thinking as if the Universe is some audience, a viewer of their movie, and the actors on a set.
However, the Universe is a field of consciousness; therefore, our actions, thoughts, and the intentions that result from it all, mainly the authentic inner script that drives everything, are out in the open.
So, in turn, the Universe, using the universal law, this law of attraction, works in the background to deliver what we want that it sees, which is our intention.
Therefore, those who misconstrue the law of attraction are less mindful of this truth and continue to construct a shiny veneer out of their actions superficially. As a result, they are less in-tuned with their most genuine intentions.
The most successful people I know of are aware of this truth about intention.
I recommend reading the book “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav, which thoroughly explains this concept in great detail.
To live a successful life, we must live to follow our genuine intentions. We must be responsible for our thoughts and feelings, which is hard as we are bombarded daily with negative or positive stuff, but we must choose wisely to ensure we define our intentions.
According to Stephen Covey, one of the pillars of personal greatness is the ability to project oneself outward and observe oneself as if one were a completely different person. Can you do that for the sake of personal growth and success? A large part of the process of changing involves understanding how we see ourselves and how others see us and understand us. This is a genuinely challenging task that will take some time to cultivate.
Cultivating objectives and turning them into intentions that deeply take root in ourselves is a clear path to being truly successful. You become more successful in the process because there are virtually no limits when you set objectives and intentions. Money certainly is not the most significant hindrance, for example, if you want to establish a new business. Like I said previously, what we often see in others is the outcome of a life’s journey, but we don’t consider the bigger picture.
There is a “personality ethic” and a “character ethic,” as written by Stephen Covey in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We uncover these two sides of the coin when approaching self-development.
The personality ethic focuses on attitude adjustments and other superficial ways of change.
The character ethic dives deeper, focusing on the inner self, the character — and using habits to create change.
Successful people know that to have a long-term change, we must dig deep into our true selves’ core. This process includes examining our paradigm, the map showing how we see the world and ourselves in it. To foster inner change, we must re-examine our models and re-evaluate whether it is truth-based.
A paradigm shift will require examination and building new positive habits. Our new paradigm should be a comprehensive map of the world, how we interact with ourselves, and how the world treats us. For example, Stephen Covey’s first habit is to “be proactive,” which is also #4 on this list.
Successful people build habits to form character. Habitual patterns are not quick-fixes but require the self-discipline to create and ingrain into our personality. However, once instilled, they become the foundation of our success. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is simple; successful people have better habits, period.
Some of the best habits that successful people have can include:
- Praying or meditating daily to foster spirituality.
- Go to the gym or adopt a training regimen to ensure the body is physically healthy.
- Eat nutritious foods and avoid junk foods with zero nutrition, such as sugary snacks and sodas.
- Give to charity every year.
- Pay yourself 10+% of every salary earned to build wealth.
- Invest for retirement and have 6-8 months of an emergency fund.
Check out my other blogs that discuss these here and here.
Part of the challenge of creating new habits and allowing good changes to flow into one’s power paradigm is understanding one’s unique language. But unfortunately, we tend to think of language as static and something everyone must plainly understand.
In many instances, we fail to see that we understand the world differently; therefore, we all possess a secret world language. This language may not be understandable to everyone, but it is a valid language, and because it contains the entirety of your understanding of the world, it matters.
In the context of success and developing new habits to support one’s drive to success, it’s essential to understand how your maps work. Personal maps are based on stimuli and response—how you respond to the world at large and handle situations.
Viewed from today’s modern context, with the economy doing its thing and everyone just getting by with the pandemic, we begin to see how important our personal maps are to success and survival.
4. Be Proactive
Becoming proactive is one of the best habits that we can foster. It essentially lays the responsibility for our life, our mistakes (and the mistakes of others), and how we react towards every situation solely within our control. The burden of responsibility is at our doorstep, laid exclusively towards the person staring back at us in the mirror. We are forced to choose how we react to every situation, whether we accept the negative or positive side of ourselves.
To be proactive means becoming the responsible choice of our responses in every situation instead of blindly reacting based on our default way of thinking. Instead, we must step back and reflect to slowly choose the reaction to things and circumstances that are more positive and life-affirming towards our ideal self.
Becoming proactive means, we must become the leader, not the follower of our life. We must not let others dictate the direction of our life, and so we must plan and do the due diligence to ensure we carve the path we want for ourselves. Also, this, in turn, ensures we must own up to every mistake without blaming others. Becoming proactive means saying goodbye to blaming. Why? Because if you blame others, you are choosing to put the responsibility on them and not on yourself, which is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
Being proactive also means having the vision of your ideal self and doing your best to become that person at every moment. Successful, truly successful people have this vision of themselves, which is their best self that they work hard to grow. Becoming proactive lays the groundwork for us to create that opportunity to become this person instead of letting others, our current or past situation, create us.
“Be proactive!” – This statement has been endlessly repeated over the decades. Some understand it fully, while others just use it as part of the general toolbox for business management and leadership. It’s a bad situation when a manager or leader fails to understand what proactivity means. The term “active” base hints at what a proactive person must do. Proactivity means finding solutions and thinking of turning a situation in a more desirable direction. Consider the following examples:
- I’ve lost track and don’t know what to do anymore.
- I can’t change because this is how I was born.
- My boss makes me so mad.
- Nobody will agree with that idea.
- I need to do it.
- If only it were this way and not that.
- It’s essential to look at alternatives to find another approach.
- I can choose to use a different way of doing things.
- I can feel a certain way, but my emotions do not control me.
- I can convince people by presenting the idea in a way that will convince them.
- I will think of a more appropriate response if I feel I mustn’t do it.
- I will do it and navigate the difficulties.
Families, businesses, community organizations, and groups of all kinds can take the initiative. They can bring together the inventiveness and resourcefulness of proactive people to develop a proactive culture. For example, suppose you have a business. In that case, you can take the initiative to fulfill the common ideals and purposes of the participants rather than being at the mercy of the environment. Being proactive in this context also means being prepared for unusual circumstances and problems that bar you from carrying out your processes and objectives.
Remarkably successful people focus their time on very few things and vehemently pursue those things until it is done right and to their satisfaction. But unfortunately, this pursuit is not smooth and requires focus on developing ability in something at a master-class level.
Focus means dedication. It also means hard work. These are two factors that highly successful people are not afraid to face. However, we must not follow the herd to perform at a master class level. While others are pursuing multiple tasks or multiple goals at once, truly successful people only focus on one or two things and put everything else by the wayside. To entirely concentrate on something requires giving up on things that may temper this focused resolve to develop and excel.
Take, for example, Warren Buffet’s advice.
The story goes as follows — Warren Buffet was asked by one of his pilots of ten years asking for career advice. In no order, Buffet first asked the man to list his top 25-lifetime career goals. He then instructed the man to circle the Top 5 most important goals out of those goals.
The pilot then assumed he should dedicate most of his efforts toward the 5 top goals and minimal effort to the others. Buffet then proceeded to correct him. “No, you have this all wrong. Everything you have not circled is your “Avoid-it-at-all-cost.” No matter what. These things should not get your attention until you have completed your top 5.”
This power of minimal simplicity and extreme focus is the root of success. If we focus on too many things, we become average on a few things. However, if we have targeted attention towards one or two goals, we can develop a master-class level ability better. Therefore, we must develop only one or two skills to ensure we can gain our highest potential.
Motivation is often synonymous with the word driven, but I think motivation is more apt. Driven is often seen as an urge or force which propels us to start. However, if life is a marathon, motivation is the fuel to get us to the finish line.
Motivation is a strong force that incredibly successful people use to propel themselves to do what others are not capable of doing. They are ‘driven’ by a motive to take the extra leap of faith to pursue their goals. There is an inner motivation that they feed on to get up in the morning and perform productively.
Motivation is a critical factor that distinguishes those that are mediocre and those that are great. Malcolm Gladwell came up with an arbitrary number of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert and top-notch performer in any field. Super successful people are motivated to perform their best and work hard, often hitting this number of deliberate practices.
“It takes 10,000 deliberate hours to become an expert”
— Malcolm Gladwell.
Motivation is not a common trait, one that is acquired. However, it is a mindset that targets the core of our goals and why we want to accomplish something. The goal must be significant, passionate, and daring; not achieving it will mean something is genuinely lacking inside us. It’s like we are submerged and require air to breathe; therefore, we must paddle to the surface. It is just that immediate, no one can stop it, and the act of not doing it will mean the end.
Motivation is something that is not left to chance. It is something we must seek within ourselves and outside of ourselves by finding stuff to watch, listen to, and read that will uplift us towards our goals. Those who remain motivated do so because they seek motivation daily.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar
As Zig Ziglar has said, motivation is something that does not last. Therefore we must do our best to motivate ourselves. The successful person is the one that is the most motivated. Since success is a marathon and not a race, we must find the energy to continue through the finish line despite all physical and mental obstacles.
If you want to get wealthy, seek inspiration from wealthy people and motivate yourself to save, invest, and create opportunities to make money. If you’re going to lose weight and have a healthy physique, seek those that have already done it, and get in the mindset of diet and exercise by finding mentors that uplift you. Motivation is looking at the direction of our goals and walking the walk.
The wealth we accumulate in this world is never ours to keep. We are merely the custodians of that wealth. Material things do not bring happiness as happiness is a state of mind, a level of consciousness. However, we live most of our lives trying desperately to attain wealth or power in the hopes that these things may afford us some degree of joy and comfort.
The abundance principle is the art of letting things go and becoming. It is a state of being. The act of giving is an excellent catalyst for abundance. Those in the state of mind of wealth are more giving because they know that blessings flow like water into rivers and oceans. These are blessings that are never depleted and flow naturally.
Those who do not have a state of mind of abundance hold things tightly. They are equivalent to stale and stagnant water that begins to rot, evaporating instead to the ether.
“For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
— Matthew 13:12, Bible
Becoming successful requires the mindset of giving and abundance, as these things go hand-in-hand. We must give of our wealth, time, and effort. We must direct our passion for giving to the world without any cause for getting anything back. This idea is the actual being of abundance.
I recently saw a movie called “An Inspector Calls,” based on a play. The movie’s premise is a chain of events within a wealthy family; wherein each family member somehow contributed to the demise of a young girl’s life. The girl lost her job, became destitute, and suffered at the hands of every member of this wealthy family without knowing what each one had caused due to their greed and hypocrisy.
The detective walked them through the whole chain of events but, in the end, left with the following speech:
‘But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone – but there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering, and the chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, with what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men do not learn that lesson, they will be taught it in fire, blood, and anguish. Good night.’
We must become mindful that every one of us is interconnected when we give to the world and ourselves. We are one entity and one being. We must help each other along the way; this is the real moral lesson that every successful person knows.
Self-Mastery stars with mindfulness. Mindfulness is being in-tuned with our body, mind, and soul to act with the right intention, values, and purpose. Mindfulness is not a religion but a state of mind. It is a calmness that leads to higher ideals and consciousness.
We define true success by aligning with real purpose in synchronicity with our most exact soul and intention. Unfortunately, the world has many people who can be viewed as successful but lack in many areas of life that honestly matter. Alternatively, they barter other parts of themselves to gain wealth and power. They then attain these so-called successes only to be left empty and in despair.
Mindfulness is a deeper purpose that powers us towards our objective, authentic success, which can only be gained by knowing or remembering the real reason we live this life. We have lessons to learn, and our highest being, called Source, God, Buddha, the commander of the mothership, is navigating the deep recesses of existence with us, the other ships in line to travel through the path.
We have a goal or purpose that our “Mother Ship” wants us to learn. Our job is to align with it. This video of Wayne Dyer and Oprah Winfrey talking about this concept should shed light on the matter.
By becoming mindful, we quiet the outside world, the ego, and the ideas of others who can influence us in many ways. Instead, we must listen to our deeper selves and find our real purpose. We all have magic and talents to develop and contribute to this world. Our job is to define this, set a goal, plan it, and execute it in alignment with our most authentic inner self and purpose.
Mindfulness is best practiced as a lifestyle.
Living thoughtfully means being present in the moment and reawakening to the now instead of ruminating on the past or planning for the future. Being attentive means objectively observing and labeling one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily experiences. Since challenging emotions can be recognized and managed while avoiding self-judgment and criticism, mindfulness can be a helpful technique.
Buddhist and Hindu traditions are the foundation of mindfulness. Buddhism contains a path leading to enlightenment, and the idea of “sati,” which comprises paying attention, mindfulness, and being present, is seen as the starting point. The word “mindfulness” was approximately translated from the ancient language Pali. As mindfulness became popular in mainstream research and medicine, it became a crucial therapeutic approach.
Awareness and acceptance are two essential components of mindfulness. The ability to concentrate on one’s inner processes and sensations, such as the experience of the present moment, is known as awareness. Instead of judging or avoiding those streams of thought, acceptance is the capacity to notice and accept them.
Mindfulness aims to develop a perspective on one’s consciousness and identity that can lead to more serenity in one’s relationships and mental state. Additionally, mindfulness can be applied in mindfulness-based therapies to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain and relax.
The state of flow occurs when a person is engrossed in a task and loses self-awareness. Deep concentration is required for flow and mindfulness, but only flow includes goal-directed action.
Flow, in contrast to mindfulness, directs attention totally to the present moment. Still, it may also incorporate previous and future thoughts and the judgment of those thoughts as it directs attention toward skills and goal achievement.
One type of meditation is mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of the techniques used in meditation to calm the mind or reach a higher state of consciousness. In any activity, such as going for a stroll or having a discussion, mindfulness can be practiced inside and outside formal meditation.
Time is subjectively experienced by each individual and is greatly influenced by their emotional state. It might be challenging to truly appreciate the present when one is plagued with worries and anxieties about the past and the future. The secret lies in developing attention skills.
One can practice mindfulness during meditation sessions or in more casual settings throughout the day. You can start by sitting down and taking a few deep breaths to help you develop a state of mindfulness. Concentrate on each breath and the present-moment senses, including sounds, smells, warmth, and the sensation of air entering and leaving the body.
Then, turn your focus to the feelings and thoughts you are having. Allow each idea to come and go without condemning or judging it. Sit with those ideas in mind. There can be a significant emotional response to the event. Investigating that response may present a chance to deal with or overcome underlying issues.
Observe your thoughts, feelings, and reasons for why they may be present as a way to develop awareness. Avoid judging or shoving aside negative ideas to foster acceptance. Everyone experiences emotions, which is why embracing them can help you better understand yourself and go forward. You can use mindfulness to stay in the present throughout the day.
You might pay attention to your breathing and how your body gradually gains energy as you awaken. You might include a quick meditation in your workday, perhaps during your lunch break, to concentrate on and savor the mealtime experience.