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How to be successful: start winning at life with these tips

a man looking forward to his goals knows how to be successful

How do you define success, and what does it mean to be successful?

We often hear stories about people who made it big by reaching for the sky and achieving their goals.

But what is it about successful people that constantly drives them toward greatness? Is there a secret formula for success? If you want to get rid of bad habits and finally become the best version of yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone, you've come to the right place.

Are you ready to take control and change your life once and for all? By the end of this article, you'll know how to be successful, equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to ignite that spark and begin anew.

Table of contents
1.
What is success?
2.
How to be successful in life
3.
Success lies in self-discovery

What is success?

The lines between something being successful or unsuccessful are pretty fuzzy.

And the word 'success' itself can escape definition. Trying to define it is a bit like trying to explain a word like "bat" to someone new to English. Without any context, they wouldn't know if you're talking about baseball or a flying nocturnal mammal. It's the context you mention it in that gives it meaning.

Defining abstract concepts like this can be a real challenge. Defining success is difficult because the term is so dependent on every individual's goals, dreams, and aspirations. There are about as many definitions of success as there are people on Earth.

Let's give it a go, anyway: success is when things work out the way you wanted them to.

If you own a company, success for you might mean building your brand and doing what it takes to become a leader in your industry. For your friend, it might mean making just enough to retire and move to a farm in the Midwest before turning 50.

Let's assume you both achieve your goals. Which of you now leads a more successful life? It all depends on who you ask, right? The good news is that even though true success is subjective, you can change the way you think so you can do more and achieve your long-term goals faster – whatever they might be.

How to be successful in life

Unfortunately, the way to success is usually long, filled with obstacles, unwanted surprises, and misfortunes. Not everyone finds personal success in life; sometimes they're denied due to misfortune, through no fault of their own.

Sometimes, though, it's because they're not as focused, determined, and persistent as they need to be. No matter what you want from life, realizing that dreams take time and effort to materialize is crucial to any endeavor.

Find Your Passion

We see famous people smile on the covers of magazines, and we can't help but envy their expensive lifestyles. But the truth is we know nothing about their life, their journey, their dreams, and the sacrifices they made to reach the top.

If you want to be successful, you need to be passionate about what you do. And you shouldn't just daydream about the end result and perks that come with career success – that's never going to be enough. To reach the finish line, you'll have to remain motivated and put in consistent effort every single step of the way.

What does it mean to be passionate? Here are some exercises/thought experiments that mentors use to help their students figure out what drives them:

  • What's the first thing you think about when you wake up?
  • It's a stormy Sunday afternoon, and there's no WiFi. What do you do to pass the time?
  • Do you often find yourself lost in reverie as you consider all the different ways you plan to achieve your goals?
  • Do you enjoy everything about doing the work as an entrepreneur/writer/actor/singer/whatever, or are you mainly fascinated by the idea of being successful?

If you don't love what you do, you'll struggle to find motivation and push forward when things get tough. You'll seek short-term satisfaction, and you'll encounter roadblocks everywhere. You don't need to be obsessive about it, but you must be willing to dedicate plenty of time and energy as you take small steps toward success.

More importantly, you need to be able to take that crucial first step. If you have plenty of ideas but you're feeling lost and don't know where to start, you'll benefit from our Start Fast coaching program. It will help you find the energy needed to get started and show you how to turn your ideas into action.

Work Hard

Don't fool yourself: the element of chance plays only a small part in success. Ask any successful person, and they'll all tell you the same thing: they worked hard to achieve their goals. They weren't procrastinating or going through their social media when work was piling up. They showed up and pulled their weight when they had to.

Even though that's common sense, many people aren't really willing to put in the effort required to succeed. You can't pull weeds and keep your garden clean without getting some mud and dirt on your hands.

Yes, people do get lucky, and some are fortunate enough to be born talented, wealthy or socially connected. But most of the time, they still have to put themselves in the position to get lucky in the first place.

Hard work will help you build discipline and prepare you for the challenges that come with success – no one said it would be easy. If you're willing to work hard, persevere and find creative ways to solve problems, you'll stop postponing life and start creating opportunities where there were previously none.

And of course, hard work will bring results. It won't make you an overnight success, but it will give you enough to keep going, building momentum as you journey your way through life. Working toward your goal step-by-step, you'll revel in the small wins, enjoying and making the most of the whole process.

Set better goals

If you want to be successful, you'll have to set actionable goals that you can realistically achieve. As we've already discussed, most people's vision of success is solely based on results – not passion, love, or motivation. They aspire to be rich, famous, and respected, but they have no idea how to get there. The problem with such goals is that they're too vague, hardly actionable, and difficult to define.

People with such goals are rarely successful because they lack vision, struggling to find happiness and fulfillment in what they do. As Freud puts it:

"Happiness is the belated fulfillment of a prehistoric wish. For this reason, wealth brings so little happiness. Money was not a childhood wish."

Money-making on its own doesn't fuel passion, and it doesn't bring fulfillment either. Imagine you wanted to grace the world with the biggest bookstore in history. When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in his garage in 1994, he had a vision about the future of shopping. His business idea was based around that vision, and he became a billionaire through passion, hard work, and perseverance (along with good connections and a bit of luck). He didn't just wake up one day and decided to become the wealthiest person alive.

One way to set goals that will bring you closer to success is to follow the SMART goal method. Your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Measuring your goals against these parameters will help you stay focused as you concentrate on the bigger picture. Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • I want to save at least $15,000, so I can start my own online business as soon as possible, preferably in less than 18 months.
  • As part of my personal development, I want to quit my day job before the year ends. I already have a few clients, so I'll kick off my freelancing career, be my boss, and work on my own terms.

Our Goal Catcher chat-based coaching program can help you inspire and motivate yourself, equipping you with the knowledge and tools needed to achieve your personal goals and move one step closer to success.

Strive for excellence

Success and mediocrity are two things that don't go well together. If you're aiming for the stars, you'll have to walk the extra mile. Planning, passion, and hard work are all important, but above all, you need to be exceptional at what you do to achieve greatness.

Excellence is all about identifying your potential, letting go of your insecurities, and allowing yourself to grow. Whether you want to become a successful entrepreneur, star in Hollywood movies, or master ceramic art, you need to be kind and patient with yourself.

Highly successful people are rarely born exceptional. At some point, they were as mediocre and average as any. But unlike most of us, they didn't give up when things didn't go their way – fear of failure and negative thoughts hinder growth. They kept growing, always learning, and slowly building their careers with patience, discipline, and perseverance.

The only constant in life is change. You may not consider yourself exceptional now, but if you cultivate a positive mindset and keep at it, things will look a lot different in five, ten, or twenty years. Sure, innate talent gives some people a head start, but don't ever underestimate the power of growth.

Imagine how different the world of music would be if Mozart, after playing his first bad notes as a child, decided he was terrible at playing the piano and never touched the instrument again. Did Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven know they were incredibly talented? Certainly, but they also knew that diligent training, unwavering willpower, and a thirst for greatness shaped the virtuoso's path.

Focus, focus, focus

Time is one of the most valuable and limited resources we have. You might have a thousand awesome ideas, but at the end of the day, they'll remain just that if you don't have time to bring them to life.

Without a set plan and clear milestones, you'll never manage to realize your long term goals. You can set multiple goals, but you'll finish tasks much faster if you're only doing one big thing at a time. Not every goal will be as important to your vision, which is why you should make a habit of prioritizing tasks and seeing them through before moving on to new ones.

And even when you're locked into the right mindset, you still have to actively battle the hundreds of distractions that make procrastination in today's world oh-so-easy. How can you concentrate on playing the piano or write that romance novel when your phone is constantly flashing, dinging, and vibrating? Then there are TVs, Netflix, and smartwatches, all vying for your attention.

It's not that you should throw all those useful devices out the window. But if you want to hone your knowledge and learn a new skill or two, you should make an effort to limit their use as much as possible, especially when working. Here's one solution to this modern problem: Dedicate only a few hours a day to checking your emails, replying to friends on social media, and updating your feeds on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and the like.

If you feel the urge to check your phone while working, remind yourself that abstaining from social media will help you remain focused, and think about how this healthy habit will have a positive impact on your specific goals. If you want to improve your abstract and strategic thinking as you gain a broader perspective in work and life, you might want to give our Big Picture Thinker coaching program a try.

Success lies in self-discovery

If you're successful, then you're achieving your goals, whatever those goals may be. All the tips we've mentioned so far can help you hone in on what really matters to you, take your aim, and fire without letting fear hold you back.

One of the most important things to do in your quest for success is to be kind to yourself. While you do have to hustle hard and embody a growth mindset, your attitude towards failure can make the difference between sinking and swimming. Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong – learn from it, take some time out, then get back out there.

Success means what you want it to mean. And it's up to you to find out how you'd like to define it.

The best, most satisfying results require deep reflection and a better understanding of the self. At Fingerprint for Success, we use research-based assessments to help you realize your true potential: start coaching for free today and discover how to be successful as you lead a fulfilling life.

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