The keys to the success

keys to success
If only there were literal keys you could use to find success.

We all want to experience success in our lives, though what that means to each of us is different.

Keep reading as we will talk about the 12 keys to success.

Commit to growing daily

We’ve all heard of the overnight success, but it rarely works out that way. Most overnight successes take years in the making.

To find success, you need to be committed to a process of forever improving; it can’t be something you do today but not tomorrow. Thinking of your favourite athlete, did they wake up one day and decide to be the best? No, they worked at it for years, which is how they became successful.

You need to work at your craft every day. You usually don’t win big on your first try.

Anything worth doing takes time, so the best way to put in that time is to commit to a daily effort. You don’t need to spend your whole day focused on your goal. Plus, it is easier to put in 1 hour a day over a week than 7 hours on one day.

Big tasks take lots of time, so it is better to work a little each day than to find a whole bunch of time on one day. Also, working at something every day ensures that you have the chance to improve and keep working towards your target.

Value the process, not the destination

If you focus too much on the destination, you will get discouraged quickly. Significant results take considerable effort and large amounts of time.

It is more important to figure out a process than focus on a destination. If you want to write a book, you can’t do that in a day or two. More likely, it would help to write every day until you are finished. But if you don’t like writing or don’t like the process, it is unlikely that you will ever finish writing your book.

It is crucial to enjoy the grunt work; otherwise, you will quit before you even get started.

Most creative efforts take time and practice to get it right. You might have some early success or think you know what you want, but you need to keep working at your trade to figure out your place in it.

Too much focus on the end takes away from the day-to-day effort, and you need that effort to get to the end. Overthinking the future will discourage you from putting in the effort you need today.

Don’t wait to be inspired; keep moving.

When I was much younger than I am today, I wanted to be a writer, but my only problem was that I didn’t write very much. I was always waiting for the inspiration to write a fantastic story or article, but it never seemed to come.

Later on, when I committed to writing every day, it became much easier to come up with good ideas. But that wasn’t because I was suddenly more creative; instead, I’d just pumped out so much stuff that some of it ended up being good.

Inspiration will never come, so keep creating, and good stuff will come out.

Execution is what matters most when it comes to creating things. The more we make, the more chances we get to create good things, even if most of what we do is crap. If we wait for the best ideas, we will never find them, or we won’t even realize we have them.

We may imagine lightning striking and creating a perfect piece of art, but the reality is that you often need to create lots of works before you make one that is worth sharing.

Be willing to sacrifice for opportunities.

Eminem said, “opportunity comes once in a lifetime.” I’m not sure if that is the case; we likely get many different sorts of opportunities in our lives. 

But if we want to find success, we need to focus on taking advantage of the opportunities we are given. This may mean we sometimes miss out on parties or other fun opportunities because we have work to do.

Sometimes we get a chance to prove ourselves, so we must focus our effort and say no to the distractions.

If you expect life always to be fun, then you aren’t likely going to find success. Success comes from effort, and effort pays off best when focused on the right opportunities.

If you’ve been given a chance to prove yourself, focus and be willing to say no to everything else for a while. It is best to take advantage of an opportunity now rather than waiting for next time, which might not come.

Take advantage of your luck.

Sometimes we get good luck and are in the right place at the right time. If you want to find success, you need to realize when luck is on your side and take advantage of it.

When I was in college, I had to do an internship to graduate, I’d talked with a company, and it sounded like they had a job for me. A couple of weeks before school ended, they told me there was no job; this was bad luck. But a couple of days later, I got offered a job working with the college, which turned out to be fantastic luck, so I took it.

When luck is on our side, if we act right, we might get fast-tracked towards our goals.

Fantastic things often happen, and we can’t explain why; this doesn’t mean we should step aside and ignore them. Instead, we should take advantage of the chance circumstances that will help us reach our destinations faster.

If you have been given an opportunity, take advantage of it, as luck isn’t always on our side.

Dream big

You probably aren’t dreaming big enough. One of the keys to success is being sure to dream big enough cause even if you miss your target, you will be further ahead than if your goal was smaller.

Dreaming big means shooting for the stars; almost anyone can find a starting job somewhere, but becoming the CEO is huge and much less likely. It’s not that you want to choose a dream that can’t come true; instead, you want to aim for more than you think you can have.

Failed big dreams are further ahead than small successful dreams.

What you want from life is up to you, but you only have one life to live, so why try to accomplish something small that won’t take much effort. Try instead to aim for something that you think may be impossible; even if you fail, you will still have done something impressive.

Not all our dreams can come true, but at least if we dream big, something worthwhile may happen.

Be clear about your goals.

Be clear about what you want, and be precise about your goals. You have almost no chance of getting there without clarity about what you are working towards.

It is great to have goals, but if you say something like, “I want to retire when I am 50 years old.” That sounds great, but it doesn’t help guide your actions. Retiring at 50 could mean travelling the world, but it could also mean sleeping in your car.

Be clear about what you want; otherwise, you can get it.

No matter how much work we do, if we aren’t working towards a clear target, we are most likely wasting our time. This doesn’t mean you can’t stumble into what you want; that is always possible. But if you dedicate your time to something, you might as well be clear about what you are working towards.

An essential key to success is knowing what you want. If you only have a vague sense, you might waste your time with nothing to show.

Plan and prioritize

If you’ve worked at being clear about what you want, then it will be much easier to make a plan that has a possibility of working out. And once you have a plan, you know what you can say yes to and what to avoid. In turn, this clarity makes it easier to prioritize.

For many years, I felt like I was spinning my wheels; I had an idea of what I wanted to be, a writer. But at the same time, there wasn’t anything specific that I was doing to make that a reality. A couple of years ago, I did a course that focused on having a plan, so I made a plan, and I’ve been following it.

Once you know what you need to do, it is easier to say no to what you don’t want.

So often, we say yes out of obligation or because we think it is what we are supposed to do. Sometimes it helps us, but other times it takes us away from what we should be doing. If your friend asks you to go out to a bar, that might be fun, but it also means you won’t be getting work done that night.

A plan is critical to the success of any project; without a plan, you are mostly just guessing. But once you have that plan, you must dedicate time to what matters and avoid what doesn’t. A goal without priority is the same as no plan at all.

Give up when it is time to

It is common to think that giving up means giving in or quitting, but sometimes quitting is the best thing to do. If your plan isn’t working out, it is better to regroup than keep pushing at something that won’t pay off.

After graduating from college, I built a photo-sharing iPhone app; it was like Instagram around the time it came out. While the project was fun, I had no chance of succeeding, as I was far away from silicon valley and had no connections. So I released the app and moved on to other things, eventually leading to writing and this website.

There is no point in wasting your time on battles you can’t win.

Winning is often a result of failure leading to success. We can’t always win at our efforts, but we can learn from them if we keep the proper perspective. An essential key to success is knowing when to give up and move on to better opportunities.

If you enjoy what you are doing, keep doing it. But if you are trying to win and know you will lose, it is probably time to move on to something new where the odds are more in your favour.

Learn from those who already have success

We learn so many lessons along the way that we are much better prepared by the time we succeed. From this perspective, those who have found success have a lot to teach us.

Your parents might always have something to say about your decisions. And while their advice might get annoying, they most likely come from a place of caring and compassion; they want to share the lessons they have already learnt.

It will help you skip steps if you learn from someone who already has success.

Other people’s options are filled with bias and misunderstanding of their success, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to share. Listen to what other people say, and pick and choose the parts that make sense and will help you on your way.

Not everyone finds the success they are looking for, but those who do find success probably have something valuable to share.

Learn from your mistakes

With the proper perspective, every failure is a learning opportunity. This means that failure can lead to disappointment, but it can also lead to success.

“To error is human.” 

We all make mistakes, we all make bad choices, and we all get a chance to improve ourselves for the future. If you never fail, then you probably aren’t dreaming big enough. On the other hand, if you consistently fail, maybe you are dreaming too big.

Success doesn’t come from previous achievements; it comes from failure.

The worst way to let yourself down is by failing to learn from your mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and improve the next time, but you need to be willing to take something away from your past.

Don’t let the rough patches in life get you down; use them as opportunities to improve. Successful people might have had lots of luck, but they’ve also had many chances to learn lessons along the way.

Take time to appreciate your successes.

Even if you haven’t achieved your big goal, you’ve still already achieved something, and it is important to appreciate those successes.

In a previous article, we talked about the importance of gratitude. The lesson was that we get more when we are thankful for what we have gotten. This doesn’t need to be magical; it can just be a matter of noticing the good happening all the time.

Appreciating small successes will lead to tremendous success in the future.

If you don’t take the time to be thankful for what you already have, it will be hard to be happy with whatever you get in the future. Life doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition; you don’t need to be the most successful person in the world; you need the success that will make you happy.

Appreciating your success so far will encourage you to keep trying; it will also make it easy to find more success because you will be primed to look for it. Even if you don’t believe in the power of positive thought, it is still logical to think that your perspective influences your outcomes.

Success isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a commitment to a plan and continued effort with the proper perspective.

Have you found the success you seek in your life? Have you noticed any common traits in the people you consider successful? Do you have any keys to success that you would want to share with the world?

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Robert Carr

Over the years, I've learnt to see things in a different light. This website is my place to share those insights and give my unique perspective on living a meaningful life.

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