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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.

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.

The True Power of Desires Over 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.

How Learning to Ask For What You Want Gets The Results



There is a little saying that the loudest voices attract the most attention and there is a lot of truth in it. Learning to ask for what you want is a skill that takes time but is guaranteed to get results in a number of ways, particularly in helping you to achieve intended objectives.

Many people do not get what they want in life through simple fear: the fear of being denied it; the fear of being thought badly of by asking for it; the fear of not deserving, or being entitled to it, and fear of the consequences of asking, especially if one is not successful. Learning to speak up for yourself clearly and assertively helps to get rid of that fear, to enhance your presence among others and to ensure your are not left behind in the race of life.

There are five ways in which learning to ask for what you want gets you the results you hope for.

First, it gets you the attention you need. If you are not noticed, you are likely to be passed over by others, ignored, sidelined and deprived of what you truly deserve. Society is a very competitive one where too many people chase after too few opportunities and resources. Not asking and remaining reticent might get you to your destination, eventually, but it is likely not to get you there at all, especially if others around you are more vocal and aggressive in fulfilling their own needs!

Second, learning to ask for what you want gradually boosts your confidence to communicate with others even more successfully. Repeated successes in achieving your desires gradually increase your self-belief, raise your self-esteem and heighten your feeling of capability and competence.

Third, learning to ask for what you want makes you more assertive. By being assertive you not only stick up for your corner, but you are also sensitive to the needs of others, a key factor in assertiveness. By asserting yourself in sensitive ways, particularly in the recognition that the other person is as important as yourself, you enhance your position and ensure you are not taken for granted or denied what is due. By asserting your presence you ensure you are not invisible and reinforce your value.

Fourth, constant practice in learning to ask for what you want actually improves your interactional skills. You learn how to be assertive without fear, how to get what you want while enabling others too and how to engage others in a mutually beneficial negotiating process, where necessary. It also avoids ambiguity, helps to clarify what you seek and also your specific direction.

Finally, learning to ask for what you want helps you to achieve tangible objectives which is the cornerstone of success. The greatest results are seeing dreams and goals slowly materialise through your own endeavours. By setting specific goals and being prepared to ask for them, or work towards them, every step of the way, you are more likely to ensure their fulfilment.

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 in human existence



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.

3 Important Keys to Self-Growth & Success



Some work, some do not. However, these suggestions are in a class of their own. They are very simple, yet highly effective, if they are done regularly, because they automatically lead to other things, often unexpected.

The first key is: Learn Something New Every Day of Your Life.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who said: "Live as though you will die tomorrow and learn as though you will live forever." Powerful encouraging words for our development that demonstrate the importance of learning to the quality of our lives. Trawl the Internet for information, it is the greatest repository of trivia and facts in existence, and put that knowledge to good use. If you feed your body and consider it essential, why not your brain as well? It has to do most of the work to keep your body intact.

You might have heard that knowledge is power but, for me, that is not so. To have knowledge without doing anything about it might make you more aware, but you will be no better down the line. What is truly powerful is applied knowledge, acting upon that information to make it work for you or others. While I was researching for my books, the greatest joy was seeing what other people thought about the subjects covered; being able to reject, ignore or accept their opinions and to compare them with mine to give a more balanced view. There is nothing to beat that when we are educating ourselves. Recent research has found that people who read a lot and keep an active mind are less prone to Alzheimer's disease. So keeping our brains fed and watered obviously affects our bodies too.

The second key is: Emphasise Your Strengths.

Keep away from focusing on your perceived weaknessess. BOTH your strengths and weaknesses give you that crucial balance in your personality and competence. Give yourself credit for everything you attempt, whether successful or not. At least you made the effort when you could easily have resisted. By focusing on what you can do, your efforts are applauded instead of just the end product. Starting from a base of what you should, and can, do also helps you to live within the bounds of your limitations while gradually extending them in a comfortable way. Make a list of the things you do well or want to learn, attempting one of them every day or week. It is easy to forget the things you are highly competent at doing, especially when you get little positive feedback.

Continued frustration and having to attempt things we dread, or have real difficulty with, can lead to feelings of inadequacy, especially when our success is dependent upon the approval of others. We then place all our value in their hands and sometimes wait in vain for their feedback. But if that reinforcement is not forthcoming from the significant others around us, and in the form we expect, it will destroy our positive feelings. Relying upon such feedback is what children do out of necessity, because they do not have the inner resources, maturity and life experience adults have. Being older, we have to learn how to create and maintain confidence by emphasising the things we value and appreciate in ourselves, whether it is our own names, customs, successes or endeavours. Surround yourself with positive people because negative ones will never see your perspective and will only drag you down in their own emotional mire and negativity.

The third key is: Set Realistic Goals.

Live purposefully and with clear goals. Often fear kills our motivation when we decide to dream big and so we become overwhelmed by the sheer thought of its development and what it might mean to our lives. You should always start with the basics, very simply, and progress slowly in that way. It means setting realistic goals for YOU, no one else, because you are the one who will have to work at them and achieve them.

Set goals that will meet your expectations. Small incremental successes over time will gradually improve your capabilities, self-belief and self-worth. Avoid making the same mistakes again by learning from them, while remembering that every setback makes you wiser and stronger. Keep your focus on the substance, not just on the form or the glossy structures. Any failure simply means you are not successful yet, but your turn will definitely come if you have the faith, resilience and the patience, and also take time out for regular self-development.

The First Secret of Success: RECOGNITION



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.

8 Obstacles That Prevent Personal Success.
How Many do You Have in Your Life?



There will always be stars and admirers, people wanting their 15 minutes of fame because what matters to every single one of us is to be ACCEPTED, to be SIGNIFICANT and to be VALUED. When those three things are missing, there is a deviant person in the making; one who will be plagued by low confidence and, even worse, low self-esteem and the feeling of not being appreciated, being invisible and excluded. Hence the constant craving to be accepted.

Lack of confidence and a craving for recognition does not come overnight. It gradually evolves through the following eight factors, which are listed in order of the magnitude of their effect:

1. Negative life experiences. From school to home these keep you feeling frustrated and impotent, developing and polishing your feelings of inferiority and hopelessness to perfection. A lifetime of hearing: "You're no good. You can't do anything properly. You're just like your dad. You're so ugly, you can't be related to me. You're useless. You're stupid. You're not as good as your brother/sister", without any corresponding praise, would have done nothing for your morale and sense of worth.

2. Too much pressure. This usually comes from parents and/or peers to meet their demands and expectations, the ones they didn't achieve themselves, that they now wish to live through you, regardless of what you want. This deprives you of the opportunity to develop your own goals, identity, independence and autonomy.

3. Loss of a key family member or close friend. This could include your parents' break-up or even death; moving away from home for the first time and breaking up with a friend/lover. Often we do not allow ourselves time to grieve, or we blame ourselves for the event, and the consequences soon reveal themselves in other distressing ways.

4. Fear of failure. You internalise and interpret any negative result to mean that you are a 'useless' person instead of seeing yourself as a perfectly capable individual who had an off-day and can always attempt that task again, like attending another interview or learning a new skill. When your job becomes redundant you equate yourself with the uselessness of the position and see yourself as the one being rejected. Suddenly you perceive yourself as a worthless person who will never get another job again – a perception which dictates how you deal with the loss and the actual outcome.

5. Judging or criticising yourself and abilities too harshly. In your search for perfection, you never allow room for error or learning, for being a mere mortal. Instead, you mainly listen to your own negative voice, that confirms your perception and fears, when it comes to any appraisal of your efforts and worth.

6. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Often, this is an attempt to seek approval and attain the unreachable. However, as you may not be quite ready for them, such actions mainly encourage you to procrastinate and to lower your achievement rate. They also increase your disappointment and confirm your worst fears.

7. Negative evaluations. You assess the outcome of situations as much worse than they really are in order to confirm your deepest fears about yourself, while deliberately ignoring or downplaying your strengths.

8. Dwelling unnecessarily on negative events. For example, on your failures and disappointments, instead of using them as learning experiences. The longer you stay in the same position, the harder it is to move forward. As the saying goes: "Often we are so busy staring longingly at the closed door behind us we fail to see the open one ahead!" That is the classic case for most people who lose their jobs. Personal growth comes through a willingness to accept change from daily endeavours. But we are hampered by a fear of the consequences, a fear of taking risks, of creating opportunities and even a fear of handling success. It was Nelson Mandela, giving voice to Marianne Williamson's poignant words, when he said that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are 'powerful beyond measure'.

"We ask ourselves," he says, "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be?.....As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same (and) as we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others." Respect to that!

However, some people's low opinion of themselves is so deep-rooted, and their resistance to change so strong, it would probably take years to show them that they are unique, talented human beings who can control their own future to great personal satisfaction. Negative thought processes deter us from positive acts simply because of our fear of change. There are many people like this alive today because of a preoccupation with the past and the desire to avoid, or not to repeat, any mistakes. In effect, they are caught in a continuous and futile attempt to be perfect.

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The Third Secret of Success: REWARD



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.

7 Key Ways to Earn Respect and 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).

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.