Discover the Ingredients for Success

You have probably heard the common saying that there are three ways to acquire great wealth: to be born into it, to marry into it, or to earn it. Unlike wealth, success comes by only one path: you must earn it. You cannot be born into success; you cannot marry into it; it is never a matter of luck. True success involves the development of your potential for personal leadership and achievement, and that depends entirely upon you.

People have frequently sought the “secrets of success” by studying the words and actions of those who have been great leaders. For the most part, their search proves fruitless because they look only on the outer person rather than examining thoughts, habits, attitudes and emotions – the intangible ingredients that make those who succeed stand a little taller than average. But a careful study of these qualities reveals certain success essentials common to all those who have achieved major success. These qualities are called by different names, they are expressed in unique manners, and those who possess them may even be unaware that they have them. But these qualities are present. If you want to develop the self-motivation necessary for effective personal leadership, you must also acquire these five success essentials.

Crystallized Thinking

You must crystallize your thinking to identify the specific goals you want to achieve and to identify where you stand now in relation to those goals. Like most people, you have probably had serious moments of soul searching when you asked yourself exactly where you stood and what you wanted from life. But chances are you did not pursue these questions because the answers were vague, illusive and hard to pin down. It is not easy to know yourself because your personality is complex. Your motivation is subject to certain basic needs and drives that exert influence from inside yourself. You are also subject to many outside pressures – to the conditioning influences of family, society, environment and institutions. But even your conditioned habits are fashioned by your own free choice, and that same freedom of choice directs your goals program.

Knowing yourself and where you want to go involves decision making. You must make a decision and stick to it. Crystallized thinking is the process that makes it possible for you to reach confident decisions about the goals you choose to pursue.

Success comes in the progressive realization of worthwhile predetermined personal goals, one after another. A basic part of knowing yourself is knowing your present status and knowing what you want to achieve. Once you have crystallized your thinking to produce a clear and concise analysis of your present position and have determined your own value system so that you have a vivid mental image of your goals, you are ready to take the next step toward achievement.

A Written Plan

After you have crystallized your thinking and know what goals you want to achieve, the next success essential is developing written plans and deadlines for achievement of those goals. Although you have chosen a star to shoot at, a goal line to cross, or a hurdle to overcome, you must have some plan of action for realizing your dream. Set out workable guidelines that elevate your goals above the realm of daydreams. Make plans so detailed and so clearly drawn that confusion and conjecture are eliminated. Then you can put theory into practice, turn theoretical knowledge into pragmatic know-how, and convert thought into action.

Written plans and deadlines for their achievement minimize procrastination. They create within you an inspirational discontent with things as they are. They help you clearly visualize each goal as an accomplished fact before it is actually achieved. Writing crystallizes thought, and crystallized thought motivates action. The mere fact that you put your goals on paper serves as an act of commitment.

A Burning Desire

The third success essential is to develop a burning desire for achievement of your goals. Desire makes the difference between a goal and a wish. Desire puts action into your plans and intentions. Without desire there is no motivation to achieve, no matter how worthy your goal nor how workable your plan.

Although you were born with the desire for leadership in its broad sense, you have also experienced a certain amount of conditioning that has, to some extent, hampered the flow of your creativity and desire. Rediscover the freshness, vitality, optimism and enthusiasm of the desire you possessed as a child – before you lost some of your capacity to dream impossible dreams and to desire so fervently that you could feel, taste and see a dream as your own. Stoke the fires of desire with emotion, stir them deeply, and you can achieve success in personal leadership.

In the process of discovering how to arouse, develop, and test your desire against your value system, you learn to judge whether the goals you have written are real goals or mere daydreams. The intensity of your desire to achieve the goals you have listed determines their priority. Those you most desire will have the highest priority. They will operate as forces to provide you with dramatic self-motivation. Without desire, your goals are destined to remain unrealized.

Supreme Self-Confidence

Making the changes necessary for growth in personal leadership is difficult if you try to change conscious actions without changing attitudes and habits that automatically trigger behavior patterns. It is necessary to begin first to alter attitudes and basic habits of thinking as a key factor in activating your plan. When you are purposely working to develop success attitudes, you begin to believe that achievement of your goals is possible. You develop great self- confidence.

Self-confidence allows you to be realistic instead of dependent on vague hopes. When you are realistic, you do not wait for time and circumstances to come along and transform your dreams into reality. You take the lead and work progressively toward achievement; and most important, you have confidence in your own ability to lead, to grow, and to make the internal changes necessary to reach your objectives. You believe in the concept of continual change. You know that you are indeed a creature of change. Your response to new experiences is that they are natural and to be expected. They pose no threat to you.

Unshakable Determination

Develop an unshakable determination to follow through on your plan regardless of circumstances, criticism, or what other people say, think, or do. This is often the breaking point for good intentions. Many people live their lives in the shadow of public opinion, drifting with the tide of criticism, and wind up wallowing in the backwash of mediocrity. Set a realistic standard for yourself. No one else can determine your desires, needs, or wants because no one else knows your priority of values or understands your potential. Once you know yourself and set your goals accordingly, determination is natural because you know that you are right and you know why you are right. You have information no critic can ever have, and armed with this inside information, you are impervious to unjustified assaults. Determination is neither stubborn defiance nor unreasonable inflexibility. It is, rather, firm resolve, quiet confidence, and unshakable persistence.

These five success essentials are inherent in every great leader. Follow all of these five success essentials as a general plan for living and your proficiency in goal setting will increase by leaps and bounds.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission


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