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How would you define SUCCESS? What does it mean for you personally?



Success to many of us can mean anything. For the dynamic and ambitious executive it could mean climbing the greasy pole of corporate achievement and finally sitting pretty at the top. For a new singer it could be having a record produced for the first time and watching its progress in the charts and for an actor it could be getting that coveted part on television.

For those in the public service, like a doctor, it could be saving another person's life, especially one who was not expected to live. For a writer it is likely to see that first idea in printed form, and how it is received by the readers, while for a lawyer it could be winning the next courtroom case. Yet again, for the budding entrepreneur, it could be making his/her first millions and the feeling of being rich.

Those are all tangible, material form of success. They are difficult to miss, they spell success in big, bold, sweeping letters to the rest of society, and they provide visible means for measuring one's potential, one's progress, one's journey and one's destination.

But what about the person who judges their success by other parameters? For example, by their own values and standards? By simply living up to what they believe in? By the effect they have on others? By the difference they make to their world? By the degree to which they affect other people's lives and, most of all, by the level of happiness and contentedness they feel? Is their feeling of genuine success any different from those who wish for material accolades? And how do they tangibly measure such success, especially when they cannot see the end product of their actions? Is it according to the way they feel each day?

Finally, what about people in retreat, the ones who remove themselves from their community/society to live lives of quiet mediation and peacefulness; to live by their own ideas of fulfilment and are quite happy not to even come in contact with others, or to have any material things? Are they being successful in any way?

Which form of success applies to you the most, and what would be your individual definition of success?

Knowing this important aspect before you begin job hunting should make it much easier to get on the RIGHT carer path that suits your personality and aspirations.

7 Attributes of the Most Successful People



There are all kinds of advice for success because that is one of the values we most cherish: to make something of our lives that we can be proud of; that we can look back on with joy and satisfaction and we can bequeath to the world as our own individual contribution. But what really makes a successful person in whatever strand of life one chooses? What makes the successful person different from one who has had problems in achieving their desires? If one studies the lives of many millionaires and billionaires certain qualities stand out above others.

It seems there are seven key attributes that are important for real success and they occur in the following order

1. Purpose and Vision
One cannot be successful without some kind of vision or purpose. It would be like getting into a car and heading nowhere. You might see some great sights along the way but you are sure to get lost or to be distracted by trivia and you will not really get anything to bring back with you. Having a real purpose and the vision to exercise that purpose will lead to definite objectives in achieving it. This is the foundation for all success, especially a purpose that will benefit others and ultimately benefit you through being credited for it.

2. Belief and Expectation
These underpin purpose and vision. Belief is the cornerstone of achievement. If you believe in yourself that you can make anything possible, you might not achieve the ultimate but you'll come pretty near to doing it. With belief comes optimism that it will happen and the expectation that it's just a matter of time before you get it. One cannot believe without being optimistic and expectant. That is not possible. That would suggest a lot of fear in the process, and fear and success do not go together. Having purpose and vision is like placing an order while belief and expectation ensure delivery.

3. Risk Taking and Flexibility

If you truly believe and expect, you have to be prepared to take risks. You cannot believe and cower in inactivity and fear. Taking any risk necessary to achieve that goal, and being flexible in the risk-taking, are the only steps forward. Flexibility comes through reviewing your progress at every stage and being prepared to adjust, to correct or even to change course, if necessary. We are always learning and changing every step of the way. We are not the same person on Friday that we were on Monday because our experiences during that week would have added to our knowledge and perception of ourselves and our world. Hence we have to take risks and to be flexible if we want the risks to count. We have to accept that all of life is trial and error and be prepared for some false starts before our engines are fired up to run the way we expect. As the saying goes, one has to speculate to accumulate. If you're not prepared to take risks, success is likely to prove elusive.

4. Determination and Persistence
This element concentrates your effort, keeps the motivation and optimism going, and prevents you being distracted from your purpose and aim. Determination coupled with persistence is a very powerful force because they are about commitment and sticking to that belief and expectation. The effort you expend and the sheer belief will end up giving you what you desire. Without determination, you would easily give up, yet success and failure both share the same boundary of thought. It's determination that keeps success in sight. Intention with determination always get a result. It might not be the exact result you want, but it will be a key step along the journey of success.

5. Discipline

Discipline helps to keep that determination going. Without discipline, there is no consistency, no routine, no real effort or commitment to achieving those aims. Discipline turns words into actions and bring intention into reality. Discipline comes into its own when motivation and enthusiasm are flagging because it will keep you going through the dark times of doubt and the times when you begin to wonder why you are still working on that idea or project.

6. Prolific Reading

Reading is essential to success, especially relating to materials that are of relevance to your vision and purpose or to your interests. The more you read, the more your knowledge will grow, the more you will be exposed to similar and alternate views, the more you will identify allies and rivals. Most important, you will discover new things relating to your vision, and what is already in view. Furthermore, as you read, the more confident you will feel in achieving your aims. "Leaders are readers", as one writer said, and reading is certainly an indispensable activity. Without constant reading you cannot build your vocabulary, you are dependent upon old and outdated knowledge to guide you and you will be limited in your thoughts and intellect. In short, we turn into fossils being left behind by the rushing tide of time and events.

7. Mastery of Opportunities
Successful people master the potential for spotting opportunities by keeping an open mind, believing in themselves and trusting both their intuition and their head (especially when their intuition is never wrong and there'll be lots of people to discourage them). Our subconscious knows more than we do. Once we trust that part of us to act while keeping a firm footing in conscious reality, the results can often be magical. Trusting our thoughts and intuition means that we are more open to what is possible, more open to recognise our talents and what we could do to affect a situation, more prepared to allow real success to come to us - and with the confidence to make the most of it, too.

You can use these attributes to assess the weakest links in your quest for success. Which of them is missing from your daily effort to achieve your desire? By identifying what you are not doing at the moment you will ensure your success for tomorrow.

How do these essential success elements apply to you?
Try this QUIZ now.

8 Simple Steps to Achieving the Success You Want



You might hear a lot about how to achieve success and, especially on the Internet, there are zillions of advice as t how to reach personal goals. But the simple steps outlined below shows how we interact with success and how we can help it to materialise. These eight steps guarantee that you have the edge over others who might be ignorant of them

Experience, and lots of achievements, have taught me that every thought and creation is marked by eight stages:

1. Excitement
2. Possibility
3. Fear
4. Belief
5. Faith
6. Action
7. Commitment
8. Result

Most people get stuck on stage 3 (FEAR) which kills both the excitement and the possibility of something good happening, so very little happens to them to reinforce the talent and ability they know they possess. Many people have few fears so they get a result EVERY TIME, even if it is not the result they expected. That only fires them up to keep trying until they get the desired outcome. There is nothing more exciting than creating your own reality, seeing an idea take life from nothing, except your thought, and watching it evolve.

Others might only reach stage two (POSSIBILITY) in their ideas but lack the encouragement or resources to take it further, so they end up without any action. A few might make it to stage six (ACTION) but lack the stickability to produce the right results, while the ones who also have four essential ingredients: self-belief, faith in their abilities (and a higher power), the willingness to pay the price in focus and commitment, and the courage and patience to see it through, will triumph in the end. They will reach a result, no matter how long it takes. If you believe it, you can create it. Your focus and thought processes will eventually find the means and resources to attempt it and your commitment will give it life. This applies particularly to finding the right soulmate.

If you believe someone special is there for you, your faith, action and commitment will bring him into your world. It's your level of resistance and non-belief that will keep him/her away. Self-belief and faith are two powerful tools in getting us what we require, but without the action to bring it to life, and the courage and commitment to stick with it, we will always remain dreamers.

Self-belief and faith are also governed by our past experiences. If we have not done very well in our own eyes, or have not achieved the success we have sought, both of those ingredients gradually diminish as we brand ourselves 'failures' and hide behind our fears. We come to dread trying and experimenting with anything new because we fear having to face the consequences of any action which fail to come up to expectations. Yet consequences are part and parcel of results. We cannot escape them. The only way to cope with them is to keep trying in order to get more of the results we desire.

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What's the Greatest Single Asset we Possess?



Confidence is the greatest single asset we can possess because it often moves mountains. It is a product of self-esteem which, in turn, is dictated by self belief, self love, and self-value. When those three elements are absent, it is impossible to have true confidence in one's self because the essential foundation would be missing. We would have very low self-esteem which means equally low confidence to match. Low self-esteem is driven by fear: the fear of not being good enough, not being wanted and valued and being worthless and insignificant.

That is why many tips for 'boosting' one's confidence are ineffective because they ask people to do what they are not capable of. For example, one tip an article gave was this:
"Make a conscious effort not to compare yourself to others. Affirm your uniqueness. Remind yourself of your talents and strengths."

Low self-esteem is about feeling worthless. It is well nigh impossible not to compare one's self with others and be found wanting. Additionally the low confidence person cannot affirm their uniqueness if they do not value themselves enough to appreciate that uniqueness in the first place! They also cannot focus on their talents and strengths if their weak self-belief tells them that they don't have any! It would be very difficult for them to see those strengths. Such tips are merely putting the cart before the horse!

Another tip said: "Accept yourself. Admit your mistakes and move on."
That's a really silly tip because the basis of low confidence is a lack of self-acceptance, always thinking the worst of one's self. How does someone of low esteem suddenly accept himherself? Not possible! That's what a confident person does, one who already possesses the self-belief to do so.

That is why people who simply follow 'confidence tips' might be able to cope with an immediate situation but are soon back to their normal fearful selves because the root cause of low self-esteem has not been addressed. The only sure thing to boost one's self confidence is to focus on WHY the person lacks self belief, does not love him/herself or believe they have no value.

The reasons usually lie in how we are treated in childhood or in a faulty relationship somewhere. Once we can identify them and begin to understand the negative ways they affect us, and how we can turn them around to our advantage - mainly through emotional exploration and self education - we are on our way to appreciating our unique selves and building true confidence within us.

However, many people, especially men, fear that emotional exploration; fear the answers they might find, and resist it. So the low confidence and esteem continue to dog them while they put up with behaviour which is not appropriate for them just to feel valued.

What is YOUR confidence like this very minute? Are you ready to achieve what you desire? Take the Confidence Test and see.

The True Power of Desires to Shape Our Lives



We have no other choice. People go after unlimited desires simply because it is programmed within them to do so.

Desires are essential to our development, our ability to create, to innovate and to grow. They are the key to our existence.

We are programmed to chase unlimited desires because the achievement of every one of them demonstrates our potential, our capacity to make things happen, to build our world and also reinforces our self-belief. Remarkably, at the same time, we are evolving through the fulfilment of those desires, developing in awesome, new ways we never thought possible. As we evolve, the results of our actions ensures that we we desire new things in order to mature and progress on our individual journey.

If we did not chase desires, or we just chased a few and stopped, we would not reach this technological stage of evolution that we now enjoy. We would have reached a plateau where nothing much would happen. We would stagnate as we lose sight of our purpose and potential. But the mere fact that we are never satisfied with life, that every fulfilment leads to even greater yearning is a clever ploy by God, Nature, the Universe or whatever, to ensure we continue to grow until the day we die; that we never rest on our laurels because we are always moving our own goalposts to new heights of excellence. Desires ensure we have no time to sit and stare, that we are always striving to develop our world and ourselves. Without desires, and the curiosity and yearning to achieve them, we would still be back in the dark ages as primitive beings.

Desires make or break us. We cannot live without them because they shape us into whomever we wish to be and ultimately become. We gradually materialise into our dreams that are formed from desires. In turn, desires keep us on track, every step of the way, through chasing their fulfilment.

The First Secret of Success



A few years ago, I was absent-mindedly watching the regional news on television when I was suddenly rooted to the spot, overcome by feelings of surprise, elation and excitement. I had to share the moment with someone else and, in my rush to get my husband to see what was rapidly reducing me to a babbling state of incoherence, I knocked over the cup of tea, caught my jumper sleeve on the door handle and grazed my knee on the coffee table.

I had never seen anyone I actually knew on television before, and there, being interviewed large as life in front of me, was the owner of the local furniture shop who had sold us our dining room chairs only the week before. I was so thrilled, anyone would have thought that I was on the box. Television suddenly gave her superhuman status and, having actually spoken to her, that somehow made us part of the unfolding scene. For days I could talk of nothing else.

This event returned to mind when I received a Christmas card some months later from a girlfriend I hadn't seen in seven years. Her brief note said simply, "Saw you on television again recently and told everybody I knew you." Having seen me as a panel guest on a programme, she had reacted in exactly the same way, wanting to share vicariously in the brief moment of glory.

Seeing Barack Obama making his magnificent speech last week, surrounded by so many enthusiastic people who liked him, believed in him and was anxious for him to win, brought these experiences back vividly to mind. I felt I was there in the midst of those people, sharing that wonderful moment. It also reinforced the key part RECOGNITION plays in success in modern times because of our media age. If it is not confirmed by the public or the media in some way, success is not really defined in social terms. Having that recognition in all aspects of our lives is essential and it is clear that Barack now has his in abundance.

In fact, television holds the key to why we push ourselves to the limit to achieve our ambitions. It is the overwhelming desire to be somebody, if only for 60 seconds of our lives. It also explains why some people would do anything to appear 'on the box', especially on reality programmes. Yet this sort of fleeting success is not the real answer to what we individually seek because it seldom lasts as long as we would wish. What each of us secretly craves, yet do not often admit, comes in three interrelated forms: recognition, respect and, ultimately, reward, the key elements of SUCCESS.

Though we do routine acts for their intrinsic enjoyment and value, the real thrill of carrying out a particular task or favour comes from hearing someone else say how 'good' or 'brilliant' it was. These words of appreciation – of genuine acknowledgement for our efforts – provide the essential oils to keep the light of motivation burning and to grease the wheels of endeavour. When we do not hear them we become doubtful and fretful of our ability to perform well and begin to question our own competence. We also become watchful of others, resentful of their success and inevitably critical and envious. This is not surprising because nothing kills the human spirit quicker than to be repeatedly ignored, constantly passed over and criticised when one is trying so hard.

We all like to feel our efforts are being recognised and, if there appears to be favourites who seem to be always getting the perks, and the attention, we tend to agonise, become uncooperative and low in self-esteem. We begin to wonder why we are treated differently and failure to get honest answers will negatively affect our perspective and production. External differences (like race, gender, disability) also become the focus as possible causes of the injustice. There are countless companies with increasingly low output because of gross mismanagement of staff. This is because all those words of encouragement are the vital forms of recognition we need to affirm our worth. When they are missing, our motivation goes with them too.

We are all too conscious of extrovert employees who are skilled at attracting attention to themselves, the chief executive officers of industry - and politicians - who can award themselves big pay rises, or middle managers who are perceived to have done wonderful things, while the ordinary worker is overlooked in the rush for recognition. Yet the smallest faulty cog in the largest machine can bring the whole thing to a halt, a fact which often underlies substandard production through the mismanagement of human resources. We feel wanted when our contributions seem to count and are encouraged. When this is not the case, our opinion of ourself becomes questionable and our self-esteem falls dramatically. We are likely to minimise former achievements and to believe everyone else is 'better' and more deserving.

Barack Obama started out with a quiet dream, known only to him. Then, with encouragement from family and friends, he began to put that vision before the public. If his dream hadn't been recognised by the very people he was trying to convince (sponsors and supporters), he would not have even got off the starting blocks. He would have been a footnote in American history. But people could visualise his dream of change and his sincerity in wanting to realise it, and slowly began to recognise the possibility of his vision and his ability to deliver. Once that public recognition came (just before he won Ohio) he was on his way. That is why critics who belittle his phenomenal achievement do him a great disservice because he was up against one of the best in the field, Hillary Clinton, with so many factors against him, not least public scepticism, yet still outclassed her in the end.

Changing Negative Labels
Without recognition, no matter how small, we have no value in our own eyes. Many adults believe they are 'failures' because somewhere in their childhood they have been repeatedly told they are either 'stupid', 'not as clever' as their brother/sister, or they're 'heading for disaster' , etc. They internalise these negative comments and, in time, come to believe them because no one else has told them otherwise. Even as adults, they often find it difficult to change these negative labels. With few positive reference points around them where it matters, they lack the confidence to believe in themselves, regardless of their potential.

Recognition has to be continuous too. We feel wanted when our contributions seem to matter and we are encouraged to actually make such efforts. If not, we immediately feel inadequate because we begin to doubt that we are as good as we used to be. That is why many people are often less bothered about a pay rise than getting the recognition they believe they deserve. For them, the extra pay may relieve financial burdens or improve their standard of living, but it is not a true barometer of their worth, neither does it affirm their value and competence in the eyes of peers who may also be getting the same pay. Without adequate recognition, once the novelty of the pay rise passes, they would be back to having feelings of self-doubt and low morale. Thus wherever pay is given the highest priority, there will also be very anxious individuals who often use the demand for extra money to compensate for their chronic lack of recognition.

True recognition comes in the form of gradual self-discovery followed by the acknowledgement of peers and superiors. Given the recognition, Barack Obama has been on his own journey of self-discovery, tapping his inner resources to reveal the awesome leader he is. Thus, to be widely recognised for who we are and what we have achieved is the ultimate in public accolade because it often reinforces what we believe of ourself, as Obama has displayed in an amazing manner. It raises our status above others, making us potential role models to be emulated.

Recognition through acknowledgement then precedes the next success stage, respect.

The Power of Words to Ensure Success



On the face of it, it can seem that some words, especially negative ones, have a superficial affect because they are not as damaging as physical hurt. But words can often be far more powerful in their impact. They can actually make or break life with their effect. Any physical damage can heal with time but words usually have emotional consequences that actually affect our present and our future in two major ways:

1. Words can boost self-belief, self confidence and self esteem.
Those three states lie at the heart of success. When they are reinforced, they become much more effective and they are validated through words. If we hear words that are affirming, reinforcing of who we are and desire to be, we are likely to accept them as an accurate description of who we are, which then increases our motivation to fulfil and enhance that description even more. Positive words uplift us and empower us. They remind us of our worth and value and inspire us to find our true potential. That is why quotes and sayings by other famous and successful people are so powerful in themselves. They come from sources who have benefitted from such words, who know their true value; and they motivate us to use them in ways that can benefit us too.

Words of praise, a compliment, a thank you and words of agreement are all aspects of words being very effective in changing our behaviour and perceptions; in motivating us to rise above ourselves and in giving timely reminders of our worth and value. Positive words become the armoury that protects us from the brickbats of life and reinforce the path we seek for our own fulfilment.

2. Words that damage self-perception and esteem.
If we hear nothing but constant criticisms, put downs and negative reinforcement, words that can do long-term damage to our psyche, they will affect our perception of ourselves in a very corrosive manner to the effect that we gradually come to reject ourselves. If a child from an early age keeps hearing how useless he is, how ugly she is, how he is and how stupid she seems, they will eventually internalise such negative descriptions of themselves, they will come to believe it and actually act like it.

Words that are negative have long lasting emotional consequences in our development. They have the power to erode our confidence and self esteem by making us believe that we are not who we think we are; that we lack the capabilities we think we have and that we'll never achieve what we expect. In effect, negative words kill the spirit, especially from an early age, or in a work situation. They have the power to destroy ambition, potential and even a life.

The reason why words have the power to affect others so much is related to personal identity. We are validated by the people around us. They confirm who we are, our part in society and encourage us in what we wish to be. When we hear words which negate that identity and perception, it sets up a dissonance within us which is difficult to cope with, unless we have other positive words to the contrary that disprove the negative ones.

Words are very powerful and will always affect others in either affirming or critical ways. That is why it is very important to be quick with that praise and reinforcement, while being careful about the negative things we say to others we value, especially if we don't really mean them! With some very simple words we could be having a profound effect on the lives of others, one way or another, and for a long time to come, without even realising it.

The 7 most important words for Success in your life!



We all have words that are of special meaning to us, and some will have greater resonance and relevance than others, depending on their positive or negative associations with our experiences. However, in a global and collective consciousness, there are certain words that unite us all. They soar way above others in what they mean for the quality, success and actual purpose of our lives; words that are like beacons in guiding us to our destinations and keeping us focused. They are above all other words we use because of their power to affect our lives, to give us what we desire and to add sheer enjoyment, satisfaction and fulfilment to our existence.

These seven words have no equal. Taken individually or together they are in a class of their own because they embrace other key words within them. Imagine those words as the building blocks of your personal house, and this is how they would be used in the construction:


Self love is the foundation of your house. Everything else grows or falls on it. Armed with this word in your daily existence you just cannot go wrong. It is the essential basis for love, compassion and respect. It is the key to successful relationships and the quality of our interactions. It dictates the perception of our world, the attitude we have toward others, the empathy we feel for them, the forgiveness we are able to make and the love we freely give. If we do not love ourselves we find it hard to love and respect others too. Wherever someone is looking outward to the negative things in life, being quick to judge others rather than seeing their goodness, or to criticise rather than to nurture and love, there's huge self love missing from that person's experience. This results in a lack of confidence, lack of self-appeciation and value and a whole lot of fear.

We do not see the world as we think it is, we see the world as we are, based on the amount of self love we have. This dictates whether we feel good or bad, happy or sad, isolated or befriended, positive or negative. If we are happy and full of self love the world seems an enriching and wonderful place, no matter how terrible some situations might be. If we lack self love, we also lack trust in others, and love and empathy for others; the world seems a crap place to be. Quite simply, we can only give to others what we have to share within us. If we have no self love, we have no love to give and that has a marked effect on four main areas of our lives: our sense of belonging, the security we feel, our level of trust in others and the relationships we have.


Without belief, especially in ourselves, we are doomed. We might as well pack it in and take an early departure. If self-love is the foundation of our personal house, belief forms the pillars of it, the blocks that will hold up everything else. Belief engenders trust and faith, key words that underpin it. When we believe in anything, we trust what we know, we have faith in people's ability to deliver and we surrender to forces we might not understand but which have the power to take us farther in life than we can do by ourselves. We know that there is no limit on what we can do and achieve except what is inside our heads; we control less and enjoy life more; we can be patient as well as enthusiastic and impulsive and we can respect others too for their beliefs. 

Belief liberates us from fear and insecurity because we know that whatever we believe in - whether God or little green men - it has the power to help us make things magical. That belief, and faith in our belief, bind us all together in a shared purpose of living. Life ceases to be a drudgery and becomes joyful and fulfilling because we know, and believe, that we have the power to make our life what we want it to be. No one else is responsible but us. We do our best, believe in ourselves, trust in others (and even a higher power) to do the rest and with the faith to motivate us! The results can often be miraculous.

Values are the roof of our house. They protect us when the rains of adversity are raining down upon us; they remind us of our identity and purpose and keep us focused on our priorities in life. If you know what your key values are, you will always feel a sense of peace, security and contentment because you will be living to them. In a recent survey, some executives were asked for their top priorities in life. Without hesitation most of them said 'my family', which one would expect. However, when they were asked to itemise all the major activities in their week to see how that value was put into action, hardly any activity related to their family! They all related to money, success, achievements and status - career concerns. Family was something that sounded good when they said it.

The words might have made them feel good about themselves but the actions to match it were sorely lacking. Money doesn't make a family, though it might provide some comfort. However, money and other concerns tend to destroy a family when the focus on them is too much. In fact, many of those executives would be living with perennial guilt because they were not living according to their top values. They would be trapped emotionally between the gap of their intention and continued lack of action. Until they really put family first by aligning their actions with it, they would be fooling themselves. 

Values are the things that define us, the priorities we make in life, the codes we live by. Some secondary values will always change, according to what is happening in our life at that time, but the core ones (like justice, fair play, honesty, integrity and valuing life) will never change. They stay with us forever. When we are not living to our core values (like married spouses who declare their undying love for partners but are having affairs, or someone who does something just to please someone else even though they hate it) we get a lot of frustration, worry, stress, resentment and emotional pain. We find it difficult to be happy, contented and at peace because there is a dissonance between our intentions of good faith and our actual actions. We are then tempted to look outwards and blame others than to look inwards to address what is making us unhappy and how we can alleviate it.

Our creativity is what makes the human race as a whole survive from one day to the next. It is like the walls of a house that surround us from day to day, to keep out the elements and ensure our survival. Creativity keeps our species going by turning our desires into material things that give us artistic beauty, personal comfort, improved health, prolonged life and stretches us intellectually. Desires are not accidental things. Thanks to our natural curiosity and our ability to keep wanting and expecting, we have developed our world over the centuries to the amazing one we now live in. Creativity is about how proactive we are; our willingness to fulfil our desires without fear, to use our imagination (the most powerful tool we possess), the knowledge gained through curiosity and the motivation we feel to continually forge our existence for the benefit of ourselves and others.

Creativity allows us to leave a legacy for the next generation, to prolong the chain of life itself. People who are reluctant to use their own creativity and prefer to depend on that of others tend to be takers, not contributors. They make use of the creative flow of others without realising their own dreams for others to benefit too (like the people who daily use the Internet just for their own gain without adding something to it for others to share). They are not fully utilising their own skills and talents in order to give life to their creativity, while helping mankind as a whole.


The windows of our house give the vision we need to see what is possible for us. Our vision allows us a much wider view of life, but it is usually blocked by the curtains of fear: the fear of where we are heading and the inadequacy we feel. Vision gives us clarity and boosts our motivation. Vision provides a panoramic view of life, while hope, faith and trust help us to cover the terrain. Without vision, we have no confidence in our abilities and our potential. A lack of personal vision feels debilitating because it keeps us in limbo, there is no real purpose in life and it robs us of the motivation to even get up out of bed each day and the real excitement of living. Without vision we simply exist because we are likely to be physically and emotionally drained of the joy of living.

With a clear view through your own windows, there is a sense of urgency and vibrancy in your life - an impatience for action and a need to get on. There is much anticipation and self confidence in what you can enable through your own efforts. All things are possible.

Choices are the doors of our personal house. We either use them regularly by keeping those doors open to possibilities and moving briskly on in our lives, or we fear to exercise those choices, hark back to the past with regret, and remain in a rut. At the heart of our choices are the decisions we make. If we make no decisions regularly nothing happens. Even worse, others are likely to make those decisions for us. The choices we make are about how we exercise free will, how we deal with the consequences of our actions, the responsibility we take for them, the expectations we have of ourselves and others and how we exercise those choices once they are made.

Many people are afraid to make choices. They lack the maturity to face the consequences of their actions and so live in fear instead. Or they want everything to be so perfect, and lack self-belief so much, they do not believe they have the power to turn their choices into great decisions which will magically affect their lives. Instead they keep their emotional doors firmly shut, fearing to open them even an inch, and then wonder why they are stuck in the same places, doing the same things and feeling the same inadequacy, failure and pain for months and perhaps years.

This forms the sturdy floor of your personal house, solid and unchanging. Without discipline, you can be distracted by triviality; you can be blown this way and that; there would be no solidity or security in your journey because you would be plagued by vagueness and ambiguity. Discipline is the foundation for our behaviour because it is about commitment and consistency, first and foremost. Commitment to the things we value, to our beliefs, to the choices we make, to the creativity we exercise, the responsibilities we assume, the priorities we have and to the sacrifices we are prepared to make to achieve what is important in our lives. And consistency in our actions, whether we can be relied upon or are simply fair-weather people, changing with the wind primarily for opportunism and results without any clear direction. 

Without discipline we would be on a continual see-saw of inconsistency, perhaps starting and seldom finishing, always wishing yet never realising and often intending but not usually acting. Discipline is the glue that reinforces our actions, that takes us from one point to the next and keeps us focused on everything that is important to us.

The Second Secret of Success



We are all after one crucial thing in our lives: RESPECT. We respect people for what they do, their birthright and the role they play, because we recognise them for doing it. If we did not acknowledge and validate them as the source of that status, action or expertise, we would not show them respect.

Respect isn't automatic either, after the initial first impressions. It has to be earned over time. It is difficult to respect someone even when they are being negative and hostile so we tend to wait for people to 'earn' that respect, though it tends to be 'given' at the beginning. A kind of respect with probation.

Neither does respect come easily. The very act of respecting someone means putting them either on par, or above, ourselves, in estimation. We tend to respect people only when we personally recognise them as the source of a particular knowledge, action, expertise and leadership, not just through their work or social status. We have to feel we can trust them. That is why some people who are simply 'in charge', and have failed professional expectations, are not respected.

We have to believe someone is responsible for some display of talent, special activity or earned status before we are inclined to give due recognition, followed by respect through personal admiration and trust. Respect is likely to come through any, or all, of the following seven sources:

1. Fulfilling another person's expectations (i:e making their wishes come true).

2. Being better at a special task or skill.

3. Being knowledgeable in a particular subject, like a media or academic 'expert'.

4. Having a unique position by virtue of birth (the Queen) or for very special achievements (a great sportsperson).

5. Helping others to achieve their goals (perceived as having 'power' and 'influence')

6. Having a reputation for being generous and kind (like rich philanthropists funding selective social projects).

7. Being a successful, self-made person with the freedom of action and personal control desired by others (Richard Branson of Virgin and Oprah Winfrey, for example).

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Facing Challenges
For example, Bob Geldof was just another pop singer until he launched LiveAid. It was an unusual and ambitious idea but it galvamised his colleagues into action and has been enormously successful. He had the confidence to do it, despite the huge organisational problems which were anticipated. The subsequent advantages of the huge amount of money and the impact it made in Africa not only vindicated his initiative, but it also led to enormous publicity and countless other imitations.

No matter what he does now, the respect for Bob's action will always be there, raising his status far above ordinary mortals. His being fiercely individual and non-conformist comes as no surprise. You have to believe in yourself and others to generate real confidence and commitment and be prepared to lead from a lonely position of self-belief; to take risks and face challenges, regardless of scepticism and the consequences perceived.

Without respect from others we have problems of adjustment, feelings of insignificance and alienation, loss of confidence and low expectations. In other words, little likelihoood of success. This explains why some minority groups perceive themselves to be outside of the mainstream instead of being a vital part of the action. Not recognised for their individual competence or endeavours, except in terms of their race, disability, religion, age or sexuality, they cannot contribute in the same meaningful terms to the wider society until their recognition becomes more professional and less personalised.

It is also difficult to succeed entirely on our own because success is defined by the recognition of our action and the sense of achievement which accompanies it. We can be mad scientists creating new gadgets every day which might personally benefit us, but unless others share those advantages in some way, our genius will never be recognised. Others would get the glory and respect for our inventions. We would only be successful in our own eyes and this is not sufficient in itself to allow us to make a social impact.

It does not matter how fantastic we think we are, unless others recognise it too, give us due respect, we can only move forward in a limited way. With recognition comes respect for our unique talents and, hopefully, the success we crave.

The Five Factors at The Heart of Successful Living - How many do you have?


Just before Christmas, a lady I barely knew was complaining about how badly life had treated her. Being grateful for my attention while we shared a table in a coffee shop, she proceeded to tell me the catalogue of problems that had beset her which began with losing a promotion at the beginning of the year and ended with losing the actual job in December. Her tale was a very sorry one, especially as she seemed the type who might find it hard to be positive in the face of adversity. She expressed the hope that the new year would be a little kinder to her.

I listened intently and tried not to judge or comment. But while she was recounting tale after depressing tale around her career and relationships, I couldn't help noticing a yawning gap in what had repeatedly happened to her and what was actually necessary in her life, and the more she spoke, the more that gap became obvious.

Success in life can be rather elusive. Sometimes it seems to happen to everyone else in a highly random and selective way, and never us. But there is nothing random about success. The most successful people have the five crucial factors embedded in their approach. Success becomes elusive only when one or more of them is missing. These factors are like a tight chain circle, each connecting to the other. Break any part of the chain and success becomes much harder to achieve because part of its backbone would have been missing.

The five factors that determine true success are the following, and in the order listed:

1. Belief

2. Faith

3. Expectation

4. Action

5. Determination

1. Belief

This is the bedrock of success. If you do not believe you can, you simply won't. Why? Because everything you do, the way you perceive, the way you approach situations and the way you act, will confirm your belief that you will fail. For example, you wish to start a business but don't believe it will be successful because you need a loan to launch it. You don't believe the bank manager will give you the loan, or you won't get enough money from an investor either. That belief will prevent you from appearing prepared, capable and professional to impress the bank or investor. You might sound convincing to them to some degree, but you won't sound passionate about your enterprise capabilities because you truly don't believe it yourself. And if you don't believe your own aspiration, why should anyone else believe its potential either?

So, if you have no self belief, stop right there and try to build some first through confidence and self-esteem training. Identify the source of that lack of self belief and do something about it, because no matter what you are doing - whether applying for a job, for a promotion, starting a business, taking part in a competitive event or simply achieving a cherished goal, belief is where you have to start - the strongest acceptance that you can do it. President Obama's election to office on the "Yes, we can" slogan is the most amazing example of belief in action. It is the foundation of success and if it is not there, everything else is unlikely to materialise too.

2. Faith

Faith is an extended form of belief. Belief begins the whole success process but faith is needed to see it through in the dark days ahead when things might look bleak. That faith will keep the motivation going, especially at the difficult times. Pointless having a strong belief in your idea, but no faith that it will deliver. Or a belief that you are the best person for the job at the interview, but no faith that you will make an impact in it. Faith goes hand in hand with belief and determination, a kind of bridge that links the start to the finish. Without it, belief never gets the chance to turn into success because there would be nothing there to see it to fruition.

3. Expectation

This is the single biggest determinant of what happens in our lives, whether we are successful or unsuccessful. If we start off with negative expectation, as many people do, that things just won't happen, or only bad luck happens, we turn those expectations, slowly but surely, into self fulfilling prophecies. For example, take being single and wanting a date or partner. If we don't expect to meet anyone suitable, or believe that Internet dating is rubbish, we do two things instantaneously. First, we would become suspicious of every person we meet because we have already decided in our head that we won't meet anyone suitable so expectations will be low. We give off that negative vibe to people we meet, they are then turned off by how they are treated, and each meeting becomes unsatisfactory because our suspicious behaviour naturally gives us the result we want: someone not acting in the manner we expect. Or we might expect a kind of perfection which potential dates find very hard to live up to.

Second, we are likely to ignore the Internet when choosing dates and miss out on millions of potential dates who are now using the Internet (8 million last year in the UK, not to mention treble that in America). By restricting our pool of choices so drastically, we are likely to take much longer to find a date, or not find any at all, especially if we are also in perfectionist mode which would exclude most human beings!

4. Action

This is the factor most people find difficult to complete. Action requires commitment, capability, resources, time, knowledge, confidence and motivation. Any of those can cause headaches if they are missing from the success equation. Most people fall down on this factor in the success stakes because it is far easier to have the plans (belief and faith) and to expect great things to happen, but far harder to put them into effect. Many people fear failure and rejection so much, they would rather not act and just keep their dreams as dreams. The idea of actually making them reality and then having to bear the consequences, especially if they are not positive, is enough to scare some people senseless. Yet without action, nothing at all will materialise: no goals achieved, no success, no wealth and, worse still, no feeling of self worth because one's talent and capabilities would not be reinforced!

5. Determination

We can have the strongest belief, the greatest faith, high expectations and prompt action but unless we have the determination to see it through, success will not cross our path. That determination to keep at it, no matter what, will serve us when others have lost their faith in what we are doing, when they expect the lowest from us and when everything seems to be against us. Determination is driven by faith. Without much faith in our endeavours we won't have the determination to see it through, especially in the early stages when things might not look as rosy as we expected. Having taken action, we have to be determined to see the end result and to stick with it until we are convinced that nothing more can be done. By doing that, doggedly, we will provide the longest time for that action to take life and become reality in the way we envisioned it.

Consistency lies at the heart of determination. When we are not consistent, we chop and change constantly, we give up easily and can blow with the wind, or other people's opinion, instead of our own gut feeling. Determination both protects and challenges our inner resources, because it is precisely when others have lost faith in our actions that we need to find that grit and stickability within ourselves.

The Third Secret of Success



There are three key elements in any form of SUCCESS: recognition of your talent and contribution, respect for it and finally the reward to go with it. Reward matters greatly because we need something to reflect our presence, to indicate where we are on the cycle of personal development and to reinforce our worth. Hence the need for public acclaim through print, radio or television and the proliferation of so many blogs. Everyone wants to be heard. The competitive nature of society confirms and promotes this need to be somebody, especially in entertainment, business and sports.

To be rewarded for something we have done is the icing on the cake. Reward does not have to be in financial terms. In fact, praise from a parent or friend, any promotion, a 'thank you' letter from a patient showing signs of recovery, from a student completing an exam satisfactorily or the act of being recommended to someone else, are all forms of reward.

This illustrates why unemployed people, especially those made redundant, are temporarily disorientated and demoralised. Being unsure about their position in life in relation to others, and without a work 'handle', they readily believe their skills are worthless. They also lose out on vital recognition, even though the respect for past achievements may still be there, but there is often little reward forthcoming from any source. At such times, many people fail to remember that a temporary loss of status through unemployment does not mean a permanent loss of talent or competence. Instead, it should be a time of review, retraining and redirection in order to claim a sufficient share of the essential elements of success.

Being famous or wealthy are extremes of success as not everyone can be well known or filthy rich. Yet many people mistakenly define success purely in terms of money. If you are still unhappy after making your millions, you are not really successful. Despite the fact that some people earn a salary and drive an expensive company car (rewards), some are still unhappy in their jobs. Such unfulfilled people lack the other essential elements (continuous recognition and genuine respect) for the part they play in the overall success, reputation and smooth running of the organisation.

Teachers tend to be particularly bad in this area. They have few rewards (either through salary or promotion) unless they are very senior; they get little recognition (unless the school has a good 'reputation') and the fruits of their actions are not immediately apparent until the results of exams are known. With the continuing debate on underachievement and indiscipline with certain sectors of society, teachers are always in the spotlight, ready scapegoats for failed education policies and deviant student behaviour.

Teachers and their discontent
Regardless of how committed they are, many teachers regard their work as a career which they sometimes enjoy, yet they are not able to say precisely why this enjoyment is not more consistent. They might blame low morale, hard work, poor pay and lack of self-fulfilment. But even if they were rewarded with the greatest pay rise in history, it would not improve their situation in the long term after the initial euphoria. The extra money might temporarily sweeten the pill of discontent and resentment but it would not resolve the endemic problem of low morale and lack of self-esteem. There would still be precious little appreciation of their efforts through recognition and they would still have little respect due to the need for scapegoats for society's ills.

Each time you attempt a given task, whether in the home or at work, if you feel disappointed with it or any feeling of resentment, this could be because you have not been given either recognition, respect and/or reward for your efforts. You might have been criticised, or your efforts taken for granted, which means no recognition. There was probably no respect due to the lack of deserved credit, or not being taken seriously in your suggestions, or, most likely, there has been little or no tangible reward (through praise, money or otherwise) for your input.

Any one, or all three of these elements, could be the real culprit behind any lurking feelings of failure or lack of success you're currently carrying inside your head. The only way forward is to identify the key ones causing you concern, address their source and try to remedy them in time to take advantage of all the opportunities which are likely to come your way from now on. You will then be able to enjoy the results of your efforts with much greater confidence, motivation and expertise. In effect, to feel truly successful in your self-perception and your life.

How to tell if you're successful in life



Being successful in life purely depends on your values. Anything that reinforces, maintains and enhances those values to affirm who you are tells you how successful you are. Your success is not defined by the rest of the world but by you. For example, you could be very rich as a public mark of success, but if you took vows which rejected money (like nuns), or money was not a priority for you, no amount of wealth would make you feel successful. It would take something else which aligns with your personal values and desires to give you that feeling of true success.

For some people like me, just waking up each day in good health is the greatest mark of success because everything else flows from life and health. But genuine success tends to come from anything we desire, anything we have worked hard for, have been determined to get, with the hunger and perseverance to match. When it is realised, especially if it has taken a long time and vindicated our belief, success feels all the more sweeter because of that.

Success is not measured on the yardstick of others, but on what matters to us, whatever gives us a challenge and makes us feel worthy. So you can tell if you're successful in life when you feel really happy in that life, no matter what you possess. When you feel a sense of calm, serenity, peace and fulfilment, and with a great sense of joy and purpose, regardless of what you are doing and have achieved, you truly are successful.

How do YOU measure success?