All of us want to be successful, and most of all, we want to feel what success feels like. But each of us has our own version is what that looks like.
Most of the time, we grow up adopting the success vision of an authoritative figure that we trusted. So then we begin chasing any number of external things like fame, power, wealth, college degrees, symbols of status, relationships, and so forth. Yet we never stop and ask ourselves one little thing: What exactly is success?
This simple question eludes us. We can’t seem to provide a solid answer. This is especially true when we’ve followed someone else’s vision of success. Believe it or not, this is very common in our society.
Why people chase the wrong dreams
This is why people work their butts off to earn a law degree and then discover they don’t want to practice law. The truth is that they were brainwashed by well-meaning parents who once dreamed of being a lawyer themselves.
We must understand that this is a fact of life. Our lack of a dream or vision – which is linked to how we define success – creates a vacuum around us. And that vacuum will get quickly filled by someone else.
Did you ever hear the story about a guy that retired from his company? And his story began with, “I thought I’d try working here for a while because there was nothing else available. Thirty years later, he retires from that company. This story is told by thousands of people every single day.
Do you know why?
Because that company filled his lack of vision and his lack of a dream with theirs – because he had none. Now, to be fair, if the man was content and happy working there, then good for him. I’d call that a success.
The question is, do you want to have your dream fulfilled this way? The fact is that the overwhelming majority of workers in our society do not like their jobs. They do not feel contented and happy; instead, they feel trapped.
Four ways to define success that will make you successful
Among successful people, there are four key components that experts have discovered repeatedly. Each person has not only achieved these four steps, but they’ve also found ways to create their own version of them. And this is really the secret of success – achieving in your own way.
Cultivate a growth mindset
Researchers have defined two distinct mindsets in how people view themselves and their abilities. There is the fixed mindset, and there is the growth mindset.
People who have a fixed mindset believe most things – like intelligence – are not changeable. They tend to think that success comes from having specific talents rather than from things like hard work.
And because of this, they believe that people are either born with these kinds of talents or not. So from their limited mindset, they are the first to give up when the going gets tough.
Conversely, those having a growth mindset believe they can change and improve through hard work and effort. Since they are growth-oriented in their thinking, they are willing to work much harder to be successful.
They believe they have complete control over their lives and the results they experience from their own efforts.
Ways to build a growth mindset
Believe that effort makes a difference. Instead of believing that your abilities are fixed or limited, foster the belief that growth can be obtained through hard work.
Learn new skills. Anytime you are faced with a new challenge, start looking for ways to overcome the obstacle. This is done through new knowledge and skills.
View failures as lessons. A failure is just evidence of something that didn’t work; it doesn’t mean things are hopeless. This is how those with a growth mindset view failures. They never accept failure as a final result – they alter their approach and keep trying.
Develop your emotional intelligence
Experts have long believed that overall intelligence comprises many different things. Recently, a lot of credibility has been given to emotional intelligence. As more and more successful people are found to have a lot of this new brand of intellect.
Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to manage our emotions. This also means that they handle their emotions well in dealing with others too.
How to boost your emotional intelligence
Start paying more attention to your own emotions. Please take notice of when your feelings change and why they have changed. Pay particular attention to places and people who cause such changes.
Manage your feelings. Take a step back and look at things objectively. Quit allowing certain feelings to bottle up inside you – this is very unhealthy. Such feelings need to be dealt with.
Listen to other people. Part of the way you experience the world around you is by listening to others. Try putting your energy into listening to someone rather than trying to think of what to say next.
Cultivate mental toughness
Mental toughness pertains to how much resilience you have in the face of setbacks. Those who have significant mental strength generally believe every new challenge is an opportunity. They believe that they control their own destiny and finish what they start.
Ways to improve mental toughness
Believe in yourself. Get rid of all the internet negative self-talk. Focus instead on things that inspire you.
Never give up. Even when the situation looks hopeless, keep plugging away. Try to figure out what is holding you back and keep up the fight.
Set goals. Mentally tough people understand that achieving means setting attainable goals. They provide an essential energy source when things look dim – seeing that goal in their mind’s eye gives them that extra burst of energy.
Get support. A big part of enjoying success and mental toughness is by having a great support network. These are people who believe in you and stand behind you no matter what.
Boost your willpower
A massive study conducted over many years discovered that children who were willing to delay gratification were seen as more intelligent and became successful as an adult. And children who were not willing to delay gratification were not viewed as intelligent and not as successful.
One of the reasons for this was the strength of their willpower. It is willpower that fuels our persistence and how strongly we focus on our goals.
While some of us are born with more natural willpower than others, there are ways in which we can boost the strength of our existing resolve. Therefore, we can take specific steps to improve this trait within ourselves.
Strategies for improving our willpower
Distraction. Whenever we have gotten diverted away from the object of our focus, then we should use something to distract us. They will serve as a quick reminder that our willpower has dipped a little so that we can quickly get back on track.
Practice. Whenever we practice something, we get better at it, and the same goes for willpower. We can start by setting smaller goals that require willpower – such as laying off midday sugary snacks. As we get better at achieving these smaller goals, we can gradually make them bigger and bigger.