I would like to define success firstly, then propose how success in life can be achieved. I don’t claim to be a huge success, what I do claim is that, in the last five years, I have made huge leaps forward in the quality of my life on a daily basis, which I attribute to what I am about to share with you.
Earl Nightingale, one of the pioneers of the self improvement industry, defined success as “The progressive realization of a worthwhile goal”, and I think that that is about as good a definition as you will find.
In his book “Today Matters”, John Maxwell makes the comment that if he spent 24 hours with the reader, it would be long enough for him to determine how well the reader was spending his time and consequently whether his life was moving in a successful direction or not.
In essence, in your finances, your career, your relationships, your health, on a daily basis you are either moving forward, plateauing, or moving backwards. Each day is like the pearl of a necklace, each day we need to make progress towards our dreams, otherwise we will not achieve that which we are capable of.
It is the cumulative results of the many small decisions we make on a daily basis that determine the direction our life takes, in the same way that the cumulative result of what we eat and drink and how much we exercise (or don`t ) on a daily basis determine our body weight and level of health.
About eight years ago, I came to a low point in my life, I was unhappy at work, going nowhere fast, and realised that the fault lay with me. I started reading self improvement books and visiting self improvement websites. I created a decision-making model that I could use on a day to day basis based on the best of the material I had read, and started using it. My life started improving, more importantly I gained greater insight into why things turned out the way they did.
I believe my model is simple to understand and makes sense. Understanding it is one thing, putting it into practice and seeing the results is another. I am not offering a “get fixed quick” scheme here. For everything worthwhile, you pay a price. In this case, the price is threefold:
1) A DECISION to keep an open mind and read further to see whether what I am saying makes sense or not
2) If it resonates with you, the DISCIPLINE to implement the model in your own life and in so doing test its effectiveness
3) The DETERMINATION to persevere toward a better way of living
The framework of the model is this:
Every human being on the planet has a unique value system that has formed over his or her lifetime and that has been impacted by their parents, their peers and their life experiences. We each have numerous values, I might value security and put my savings in the bank, you might value risk and invest on the stockmarket for example. Our values therefore guide our actions.
For society as a whole, we have a collection of laws (or rules) which define what is acceptable behaviour. If one man breaks into another`s house and steals his TV, he has transgressed a number of laws and if caught will be prosecuted.
Values therefore are our personal rules which guide our actions and determine what we consider to be acceptable. Society`s laws on the other hand are the rules which a country, nation or state puts in place to protect its citizens and to guide people into making decisions which are not contrary to the common good.
I have put together a third set of rules which guide my actions to make successful decisions in my day to day life. Since we experience life in what we think, say and do, I have created rules for these three activity areas.
If rules guide our actions, principles determine the results of our actions. No person in their right mind would jump off a 10 story building, they know that the principle of gravity would result in them falling to their death.
I have created a list of principles that fall into three different categories, namely PREPARATION, PROCESS and PRODUCT.
The Vision principle is the first principle, you have to have clarity on your desired end result and put in place a plan for its achievement to make it happen. It most likely won`t happen any other way.
The PREPARATION principles determine what needs to be in place for your vision to become reality, the PROCESS principles determine what needs to happen during the implementation phase, and the PRODUCT principles determine whether you have been successful or not.
Successful living as I see it starts with using rules and principles to inform and guide your daily decisions, as you achieve small successes on a daily basis, your self confidence and self esteem will grow, as will your faith that these rules and principles are adding significant value to your daily experience. The next stage is Relationships, you treat people the way you would want to be treated. The final stage is Service, where you strive to be of service to those out there who are less fortunate than yourself.
These three stages coexist in the sense that we are never only functioning in one stage alone. Success in relationships, however, will not occur to its full extent if we are not implementing the Rules and Principles in our daily lives.
Bill Gates recently resigned from Microsoft and is now committing his efforts to helping those who are unable to help themselves. He has determined that this is the best use of his time. Warren Buffet, the stockmarket billionaire, donated about $40 billion to the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.
Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest man in the world in the early 1900`s, spent the first half of his life amassing a fortune and the second half giving it away.