My Eight Success Secrets
(part 3 of 3)

Here they are, my eight success secrets.

This is my shortlist of abilities, skills and personal characteristics that virtually all consistently successful people possess. The first of my eight success secrets

1. Energy

I've heard it said that energy follows attention. Translation: whatever you put your thoughts on, your body automatically generates the energy necessary to go do it. This is an important thing to know.

Maybe you've met someone who constantly thought about only one hobby or one idea. Such people tend to have tremendous energy for their one main interest, but can generate little energy for doing anything else.

On the other hand, you've seen folks who have hundreds of competing interests, duties, "ought-to-do's" and "shoulds" sucking away their time. Often, these people can barely drag themselves through the day.

So now you know how to generate lots more energy.

You concentrate... you focus... you specialize. You pick the one thing that's most important to you, and you give most of your attention to that one thing.

As long as you let your attention be pulled this way and that by anything that pops up in front of you, energy will continue to be a problem for you.

Of course, you're going to tell me that you couldn't possibly stop spending your time and energy on all those things cluttering up your life.

Okay... that's one way. Is it working?

The second of my eight success secrets

2. Decisiveness

The ability to make decisions fast but change them slowly (if at all) is one of the markers of high achievers. Meanwhile, the opposite -- lingering long over decisions, but changing them often -- that's the most common characteristic of non-achievers.

The ability to be decisive is a skill just like any other, and it CAN be developed. How do you do it? Read on... there's another aspect to this trait.

The third of my eight success secrets

3. Persistence

I should point out one additional thing. Winners have another trait that's twinned with their decisiveness.

That twin trait isn't always noticed in this context, but here it is: when high achievers make a decision, they then go out and MAKE that decision work. Bulldog-like, they persist. They do whatever it takes to accomplish what they've made up their mind to do.

Want proof of this? Go read some biographies. You'll see this pattern emerging again and again.

Early in the last century, Calvin Coolidge wrote...

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

So are you persistent?

Do you keep on? If not, you can develop this skill. It starts with deciding to.

The fourth of my eight success secrets

4. Discipline

High achievers are also disciplined. This trait keeps them focused and prevents them from scattering their energies and time in all directions.

Executives who set schedules for themselves consistently outperform those who drift through their workday. Many managers say that when they start checking email only twice a day, they get more done. And when they set limited hours for co-workers to drop in with a "quick question," their productivity goes up even more.

Discipline isn't complicated. It isn't really even hard. It only takes deciding to set some guidelines and limits, then sticking to them. Yes, even when you're getting bored with the task at hand and it doesn't seem very creative at the moment. This, too, is a part of becoming tough-minded.

The fifth of my eight success secrets

5. Unrealistic Expectations

Study after study has shown that highly motivated, highly successful people are just not very realistic. Their psychological profiles reveal them to be far more optimistic than average about possible outcomes.

They really do expect things to turn out well. Even in the bleakest of situations, they're convinced that things are going to work out okay for them. These expectations keep them going, keep them scrambling forward, keep them from quitting when the smart money says "fold your cards and go home." They have a knack for ignoring "facts" that stop more realistic folks.

And it's these overly optimistic people who end up doing the impossible things that inspire the rest of us, winning when the odds are all against them.

The sixth of my eight success secrets

6. Being Willing to Learn

If you want work that uses only what you know right now, go get a nice, boring job... one that'll never light up your mind, never inspire you to greatness.

The top executives, the greatest entrepreneurs, the highest achievers also have this important trait in common. They are voracious learners.

The things they want to achieve always require more knowledge, more skills, more expertise, more awareness - require that they become a bigger person than they are now.

So they go out and get what they need. They learn the knowledge. They practice and acquire skills. New viewpoints and perspectives and understanding of themselves and others. Whatever it takes, they learn it.

Usually, they don't fool around with night classes in junior college. They'll typically go straight to the source. Hire a highly rated coach who knows the territory. Seek out introductions to leading people in their field of interest. Dive into total-immersion experiences headfirst.

Their goal is never to waste time; it's to get things done, preferably in as straight a line as possible.

The seventh of my eight success secrets

7. Being Willing to Make Mistakes

Achievers don't mind making mistakes. The reason they don't mind is because they don't stop and stay there. They quickly assess results, make adjustments, and try something else. They move forward.

They make progressively smarter mistakes, involving increasingly smaller errors, until their mistakes are indistinguishable from bullseyes.

This is important. In the fields of direct mail and Internet marketing, the most successful people are fanatical testers. They'll pick a single variable, do a mailing, gather data, adjust something, then test again, gradually refining their sales material. It's all those progressively smaller "mistakes" that make them so many millions of dollars in sales.

The same thing is true in any field. Medical researcher... structural design... automotive engineering... experimental art... professional dance.

And sports. Ever read how many hours top players devote to practice? What is Tiger Woods doing when he practices? A gradual refinement of technique, error, feedback and control.

Mistakes are good -- when you know how to use them properly.

The last of my eight success secrets

8. Move In Another League

One of the most important characteristics of all for achievers is the way they actively seek out other, even higher achievers to be around.

EXAMPLE: On our vacation recently, the flight from Bangkok to the US was long and tedious. On such flights, I often get up and go stand around in the back of the plane to stretch my legs. And usually I meet other travelers and get a chance to chat.

On this flight, I met a man, a retired US Air Force Colonel, who was now running his own manufacturing business. This guy was a real achiever -- he'd traveled in some 50 countries, and was just returning from visiting one of his factories in Thailand.

It would have been easy to be intimidated or overawed by his record of achievement, but instead, I stood and talked with him as an equal, and felt my awareness of my own potentials stretching in interesting new ways. This can't happen and you won't ever expand if you always avoid people who are "out of your league" or "over your head."

But don't despair!

Now, if you don't have these 8 winning traits or feel that you can share my eight success secrets, don't get discouraged. Nobody has all of them when they start. No, not even the highest achievers. They work at it, developing their skills and their character over time, becoming more tomorrow than they were yesterday.

And you can too!

So I ask you again: are you really going to accomplish the next thing you decide to do?

Whatever that "next thing" may be, you CAN develop the personal traits and skills you need. You CAN be more determined, stronger and more persistent than you were in the past.

You'll make mistakes, sure, but now you know how to make progressively smarter mistakes. Mistakes that will carry you forward to higher and higher achievement. And a pride in knowing that you DO get the important things done... you DO change your world for the better...

... and you DO count for something in your world.



'My Eight Success Secrets' Part 3
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