Philosophers have differed widely about definitions of “success.” A school of thought focuses on connecting it with material possessions and achievements, and another school associates it spiritual, familial, and non-material achievements, and another school insists on combining them to strike a balance between the two. Whatever your definition of success is or your areas of interest are, formulas of success are broadly the same. Whether you are aspiring to develop yourself physically, professionally, or intellectually, there are five elements (and questions) that you need to address.
Before you move any step forward and before you do anything, the very first thing that you need to determine is vision. You need to establish a very clear inspiring vision; this is the phase where you day dream and imagine various scenarios and evaluate them vis-à-vis your values, principles, and philosophy in life. It is important that your vision is consistent with your values and principles in order to maintain a strong degree of harmony with yourself.
As Stephen Covey suggests in his famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, one way of working out your grand vision is to imagine yourself in your death bed, and ask yourself: What do I wish that I have achieved in my life? What do I wish that I have focused on? What are the things that I would like to have accomplished?
“Create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture as if it were already true.”
After developing a reasonable working draft of your life vision, the next step is translating that vision into a set of clear, practical measurable goals. Create a few large categories that encompass goals that fall into similar themes (physical fitness, intellectual or professional development, etc.), followed by a few more specific sub-categories that can be integrated easily with your daily and weekly schedules.
Of course, both your vision and plans should be flexible and make a lot of allowance for various changes and unexpected events in the future that may disrupt your plans. The ability to be flexible and adjust with the unexpected and to sail your way through the unexpected violent storms of life is one of the key defining characteristics of successful and resilient people.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
To successes in any area and to develop any skill you have to engage in certain activities regularly and repeatedly. There is simply no way around that. You will have to love routine so long the activity you are engaged in is part of your grand vision.
After a few days or weeks of commitment, we tend to begin to lose drive. This is where a clear vision comes into play. It is your vision that fuels your day-to-day hard work and keeps you committed. Hence, it is extremely important to develop a vision that your really believe in.
“Without self-discipline success is impossible, period.”
Periodic assessment of your performance is essential to the success of your plan. It is critical that you be direct with yourself and transparent in evaluating your strengths and your weaknesses, your points of success and mistakes. Mistakes and failures are a rich source of free lessons that are tailored specifically to you. An experience of failure is a unique opportunity to learn and understand your modes of operation and what to avoid doing in the future.
“Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”