I know why you’re here, you like most people, are either confused (am I successful or not? Do I have the right strategy to achieving success), helpless (damn! I wanna be successful but I just don’t know how to go about it) or curious (hmm… success. What has this dude got to say about it that I don’t know). Well, whichever individual you are, this piece is going to satisfy all your needs. I’ll be defining what success is and giving you step by step guidance into how to achieve. So fasten your seatbelt, relax and get ready for this exciting journey I’m about to take you on!
WHAT IS SUCCESS?
There are several definitions and meanings given out there by different folks. Some say success can be measured by material wealth, others give a backlash at this belief and say it is about the impact you make in society. There are literally hundreds of opinions on this, but it really shouldn’t be that complicated.
Success is achieving a set goal or aim.
It’s that simple. Every individual has a goal they would love to achieve. Be it wealth, becoming a bestselling author, traveling the world, getting an awesome girlfriend/boyfriend, owning a business, etc.
To achieve success, there are certain steps needed to be taken. However, before I go straight into giving practical advise on achieving success, we need to first tackle some limiting belief system and mindsets. These limiting mindsets would slow you down or totally prevent you from gaining success. Here’s a list of the limiting mindsets:
Talent = greatness
This might sound controversial (I wish it didn’t but the truth has to be said for your benefit), so brace yourself.
In recent times, the society we live in has done a lot of harm in relation to the belief system it has ingrained in it’s citizens. Individuals now walk around believing they are great and perfect the way they are. They don’t need to tweak anything about themselves, in fact, they deserve an award just for breathing.
To take this further, marketing companies create ads that run along the lines:
“Wanna get a car and can’t afford it? Come take a loan so you can get the car you deserve!”
“You are special, you are unique, and that’s why at *insert name of company* we provide exactly what you need. Show how awesome you are with *insert name of product being advertised*.
Some guy who still lives with his parents at age 35, spends his whole day playing video games and doesn’t even care to take steps to achieve great things hears this and internalize it.
Yes I’m awesome! I just finished trashing all of my friends on FIFA. No one can do that. Now let me reward myself by getting that loan so I can buy a car and the latest Chelsea jersey.
Are You Really Special?
No, not exactly.
I know this might sound shocking to a lot of you and might even offend others. But it’s the reality.
Let me ask this, list the things that make you special.
I can play multiple instruments
I can draw anyone
I can multitask 3 things at a time
I am from *insert country, state, race, etc*
Are you done?
Now google whatever special attribute you have to see if there are anyone else out there who have it too.
How many search results come out. One? Two? Or hundreds?
Now how do you feel about being special knowing thousands of people can do the same thing?
That’s how absurd it sounds whenever I hear these things. If there are lots of people that can do what you do or have the same knowledge as you, why do you fall for the facade society feeds you with.
I’m not trying to lower your self-esteem or make you feel bad but you just have to be realistic with yourself.
Blacks have always believed in hardwork and gradual improvement, fighting obstacles to become great men and women.
In more recent times, however, Black societies have adopted an outrageous attitude. All those talks about how blacks are awesome, dynamic and a unique race and how being black automatically makes you great. #MelaninPopping. #BlackPower. When you go black, you never go back and all of that similar propaganda.
The truth is that when a person or group of people begin to think they are losing power or importance, they try so hard to be relevant by asserting their importance on other individuals.
A king doesn’t go about shouting he’s the king and reminding everyone that cares to listen to obey him. Imagine if the leader of your country, in every one of his public conversations, blurts out to everyone “I am the President!”, “I have the highest executive power!” Everyone is going to be worried sick that he’s losing it and that worry would be legitimate.
Anyone who goes about reminding people of how awesome he is is most likely feeling that he is no longer awesome.
A typical scenario would be a father arguing with his child. “I am your father!” He yells. This makes it obvious that he’s already losing any power he had over his child as a father.
Black societies and countries have been experiencing lots of difficulties: violence and terrorism, crime, poverty, failed governments, etc. It sucks, to be honest. But unrealistic mindsets and ego-boosting is unfortunately not the solution. It only makes you lazy and not open to self-improvement. You stick to the status quo, oblivious to the fact that you can do much better.
Do not fall for the feel-good propaganda. You need much more than that to achieve greatness. I’ll be letting you in on what to do to achieve success, in a bit. But first, let us talk about the second unhelpful mindset.
Victim mentality is the belief that other individuals or external factors are the cause of your failures or negative experiences and not you. For better understanding, let me give you an example.
If it’s 10 pm and you’re coming back from an outing. You decide to pass through a dark alley and in the process you’re attacked by bandits who stationed themselves at this exact place. They point a gun at you and collect all the valuables you have on including your phone and money. How do you react to this situation once your anger has subsided?
Do you think:
Damn it! This country is so unsafe because of our leaders. How can they overlook security and make me experience this? Humans are just evil, I should be able to walk anywhere and anytime I want to without any negative consequences.
Wow, I can’t believe I just experienced that. I really need to be more careful when out at night. I shouldn’t have passed through a dark alley, it was a bad decision.
The former is the reaction of someone with victim mentality, while the latter is a healthier way of looking at things.
From the example, you can tell that anyone with the first reaction is more likely to have a repeat of that bad experience since he hasn’t learned anything from it. On the other hand, the second reaction is that of a person who has taken into account his fault and has made a plan not to experience it again.
If you want to succeed, you have to rid yourself of victim mentality and take charge of your life.
Whatever situation you’re in at the moment, you let it be. It might be hard to accept, but do realize that there are lots of people who have been in similar (and even worse) situations than you but they turned things around and achieved their goals. They were able to achieve this cause they realized they had the power to lead their lives to whatever destination they wanted, whether someone decided to help them or not.
No one owes you anything.
At first, it might sound cold and scary, but once you understand how much power this gives you, it becomes exciting. You realize that everything is in your hands.
My father didn’t send me to school. Okay, I’ll just go learn a skill, make money and pay my way through college. Or I could become an entrepreneur, no formal education needed!
TALENT = GREATNESS
A lot of people take pride in the talent they have. I can play a guitar. I’m a mathematical genius. Cool! But how far have you gone with that? Are you the dude that plays the guitar to impress a few girls or are you a successful guitarist that performs on stage to millions of die-hard fans? Are you a primary school math teacher or are you an author of mathematical books that have sold millions of copies?
I’m not saying it’s bad to woo women with a guitar or to be a math teacher, I’m merely pointing out that to achieve great potentials, you need much more than talent: you need drive.
Talent is Never Enough
Yes, it’s not. Heck, there’s even a book with this title by John C. Maxwell.
Talent is as cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hardwork.
To achieve greatness and success, you need to practice. Do! Everyday improve on that thing, take a step to achieving your goal.
If you’ve read On Writing by Stephen King, he advises that to become a great writer, you should read and write a lot, no excuses. He mentioned that he writes 2,000 words per day. This is the advice from one of the most successful writers of all time. He didn’t say you need to have great writing skills, rather he said, just keep writing.
In fact, times have proven that you don’t even need talent to achieve success. You just need enough determination. Some examples of this, and people I’ve personally drawn inspiration from Jack Ma and Elon Musk
Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, the largest online retail store. Prior to this, he was an English teacher. He knew nothing about business, programming, digital marketing or human resource management. He didn’t have the necessary talents to build a successful e-commerce business. But it didn’t stop him. With enough drive, he learnt everything he needed to as he built a billion-dollar business.
Elon Musk is one of the founders of PayPal. He achieved great success with it. Just when everyone thought they’d figured him out: he’s a great programmer and internet entrepreneur. He shocks the world by going into space travel. He became the first entrepreneur to commercialize space travel.
How does a man move from conquering the world of internet to space travel when he had no experience or “talent” for this. Elon Musk later shocked the world by going into car manufacturing, creating the first commercially successful line of electric cars.
This isn’t talent, it’s drive. Elon Musk keeps on breaking boundaries as he pursues impossible feats in different fields of science and technology.
Let go of your Limitations to Achieving Success
I’ve listed the 3 limiting mindsets to achieving your goals: I-am-special-just-the-way-I-am, Victim mentality and Talent = greatness. Before we move to the practical guide to achieving success, you have to first let go of these 3 success stealers.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL
Now that we’ve tackled the limiting mindsets to achieving success, let’s dive into the practical part which is how to acquire success. Here are the steps:
- Define what you want
- Gather as much information as you can on it
- Create a plan
- Take a step
- Keep on doing until the goal is achieved
1.DEFINE WHAT YOU WANT
Ever seen a kid in a toy store with his parent?. You’d experience how indecisive they can be. They’d first point at a teddybear, as daddy is about to pick it they’d then point at some funny looking doll. This same cycle would repeat itself countless of times till the parent gets exhausted. This is how a lot of people pursue success: they don’t really know what they want. They jump from one bandwagon to the other.
I’ll give you a shortcut on defining what exactly you want. Close your eyes (okay, maybe not) and think deep. What is that one thing you always fantasize about. Where do you see yourself when you’re lost in thoughts. What is that thing you feel if you achieve you’d be the happiest man on earth.
A race car driver? A movie star? An internet millionaire? Finding the cure for cancer? Reducing poverty in your continent? Becoming the president? Or less grandiose looking ones like becoming a doctor? Having cool friends and an awesome social life? Migrating to China to become a monk?
Don’t be scared of your dreams, acknowledge it.
Know that whatever you want to achieve, someone else has done it (well except finding the cure for cancer, but maybe you’d be the first. There was a time malaria was incurable and many died of the disease, remember? Aha!).
So now you know what you want, what next?
- GATHER AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN ON IT
This is very crucial. You need to have enough information on the goal you want to acquire and how to go about achieving it. The information you gather does not have to be perfect, cause you’ll learn by doing, but it should be enough to give you a headstart. Surf the web, ask people, visit the library and read necessary books.
So for example, if you want to become a movie star you can watch online videos on acting, find out about acting classes, learn about auditioning and read biographies of great actors.
How about reducing poverty? Find out the statistics for poverty rate. Understand how NGOs work and if you need to create or partner with one. Find out the cost needed to drastically reduce poverty in the continent and how to go about getting donations. Read about existing NGOs and the necessary quid pro quo.
It is that simple.
I must warn though, don’t get stuck in this step. There’s too much information out there to easily fall into analysis-paralysis. Always remember that the best information you can get is by doing and learning from your errors. Reading does not give you success, doing does.
- CREATE A PLAN
This shouldn’t take much time at all. It’s as simple as saying (if you want to be a writer), I’ll write 2,000 words everyday. Or I’ll take acting classes if you’re an aspiring actor. It should be a step by step plan though.
If you want to become an internet millionaire, you can have a plan like this:
- Learn programming
- Register a company
- Build a website
- Offer valuable service
- Create traffic to my site and leads by learning digital marketing
- Grow my business into a million dollar company
- Sell the company, make an IPO or keep expanding the business
That is how you make a plan. Once you have outlined your plan based on the information you’ve gathered you’d realize one thing: it takes time to achieve each step. It’s not a day’s affair. Success doesn’t come easily.
Also, I’d love to warn that you don’t spend too much time planning. Things never happen exactly how you planned it. Facebook started in a college for students to socially communicate only for it to expand and become the largest social network in the world. Move onto the next step.
- TAKE A STEP
If you don’t do, you won’t become.
You need to take a step, you already have the plan, go do something!
I know it can be hard. Man is adverse to change. I have experienced it a lot of times. I want to achieve something, I have the perfect plan, but to take that first step, it’s always hard. One thing I can promise you though is that it gets easier with time.
The Rise of Motivational Speakers Means a Decline in Action Takers
Have you noticed the rise in the number of motivational speakers? Dudes that get paid a lot of money to tell you to stand up from your couch and go do something. Has it become that bad? Look at your environment, your current situation, aren’t things bad enough for you to say no! I must take action?
Imagine this scenario. You unwittingly planted your leg on an anthill. There are hundreds of ants on your legs and they seem to have mistaken it for a slice of bread as they feast hungrily on it.
Tell me, do you need some guy in a fancy suit to tell you to take off your feet?
C‘mon Mary, you can do it! All you need is to believe. Say I can do it! Repeat after me, “I can take off my feet!”
That would be ridiculous right? That’s how ridiculous it sounds when people talk about the need for motivational speech.
Find your Passion
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against motivational speakers, they serve a purpose. However, you should be your own greatest motivation. Look around you, look inwards too, there must be something that you hate so much that you want to change. Find it!
The fear of becoming average. Poverty in your country. A burning desire to own a ferrari. The need to impact millions of people. Find your passion!
Let your passion drive you.
- KEEP ON DOING UNTIL THE GOAL IS ACHIEVED
Now that you’ve started you can’t give up. You need to keep practicing, keep getting better at what you do. On your journey to achieving success, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll tweak things and you’ll gather new information. It won’t be easy, if it was everyone would be successful.
You should know that It’ll take a while to achieve your goal, most likely years of hardwork. Enjoy the process and picture your conquest, because everything you do brings you a step closer to actualizing your dream and becoming successful.
3 Bonus Tips
Here are some extra tips that’ll help you on your journey to achieving success.
a.Join a Community of Likeminded Individuals
It’s not easy doing it alone, you need to be in company of those that are on their way to achieving said goal or have already done so. This can be online forums or registering in an exclusive social club.
b.Make Friends with Individuals That Have Similar Goals
This is very important. Your friends and the people you have around you (like family or a lover) have a great influence on you. They can either egg you on, slow you down, or worse, derail you. Family you can’t choose, but friends and lovers you can, so choose wisely.
A mentor is a person that has achieved what you want to and is willing to guide you. A mentor cannot take the burden from you, you still have to be the one doing. Listen to them, be humble and do as they say. With time you’ll become a mentor yourself. For now though, earnestly seek for a mentor.
And that’s it! You’ve been armed with what you need to achieve success. Are you going to read this and then tuck it away or would you take action?
To those who will take action, cheers,