How do we become successful is such a relative question and can only be first answered by defining what it means to you to be successful. ’I want to be a successful musician, artist, lawyer, baker etc.’ is too loose a way of looking at success because you are not defining the parameters. Without shooting for a specific measurable goal you will not ever feel truly successful. You will always be aiming higher without feeling satisfied with how far you have come.
It is essential to your own sense of fulfilment to first and foremost define what being a successful person means to you. For example, perhaps a fashion designer may define being successful to them as having their clothes featured in vogue or a lawyer might deem themselves successful if they can win 2 out of every 3 cases. For every person their definition of success will be different. But when we do define it and then see how far we have come it can help build our own sense of self esteem tremendously.
Once you have defined what success means to you there is no getting round it you have to work hard for what you want. Malcom Gladwell contends that based on studies in elite performance that “in an incredible number of fields…you need to have practiced…for 10,000 hours before you get good.” There are copious of amounts of people who would attribute part of their success to the amount of work that they put in. From Mozart to Einstein to the Beatles, these people did not get to being great without hours upon hours of focused practice. We can not just hope to be successful and not actively do anything about it, we have to put in the work even when we don’t feel like it.
Maybe you have an innate skill in something but it doesn’t mean much if you do not take the time to hone it and develop that skill. If we get realistic there are 7 billion people on this planet there are bound to be at least a couple of thousand people on Earth who possess the same innate skills that you do. The determining factor of who gets anywhere with those skills is partly down to who put in the work. A way I like to think of it is 90% perspiration, 5% inspiration/talent and 5% luck. Obviously these are by no means definitive percentages but I believe that you only need a little bit of an innate skill in an area to succeed and the rest is sheer determination, hard work and a little bit of luck.
Now while hard work is essential to success there are a few other factors other than hard work which can not be waylaid if we want to further our chances of being successful. One essential factor to increase your chance is find a teacher or mentor. Find someone who is better than you in the field you wish to grow in and you will learn doubly fast. Whilst we can learn a lot on our own, it is is often a far slower process than by learning from people who are already experts in their field. This is because they can help you with techniques and advice that you may not otherwise have found and also help you avoid common pitfalls that people encounter. Ideally, if you want to be great at what you do, learn from the greats. Find a teacher who really inspires you and you will learn so much more and get better so much faster than endlessly sifting through the vast amounts of knowledge in books and online.
Another factor is our ability to plan our way to success. This plan will be unique to you perhaps for one person it means quitting their job and dedicating all their time to their craft but for another person it will mean taking a little bit of time each day to work on their dreams whilst having the safety net of a side job. Both can be great routes to success. Which route you take depends on your life circumstances and what kind of person you are. Some people need to be all in to focus and achieve while others need to feel more stable. In order to be successful you have to determine which will be the right path for you. Create your own roadmap to success, set mini goals to help you step towards your main goal that will help motivate you along your journey. Again make them measurable so that you can feel fulfilment when you achieve them.
The last factor is to be adaptable. In life there will always be curveballs and things that we couldn’t see coming, it is part of the beauty of life. But in order to be successful we must learn to adapt and learn to either find our way around the obstacle, solve it or move on and redefine what success means to us. Trust in your ability to figure things out, ask for help and look at things from every angle. Where there is a will there is most assuredly a way.
Have courage to reach for what you desire and enjoy the journey wherever it may take you. I wish you luck on your route and I hope you find your way to feeling fulfilled and successful, whatever that may mean for you.
Much Love Naomi Leila Xx