Achieving success in life can be done in a variety of ways, however, there are some underlying principles that apply to everyone. If you fail to follow a few simple guidelines, your work may end up bearing little fruit.
For example, if you have high aspirations for yourself and work hard yet still hang out with extremely negative people, then you might never get your ideas off the ground due to your friends continuously shooting them down. Or maybe you really want to make a living by helping people, yet you have very little knowledge on how to do so. There are many potential blocks to achieving success in life.
It’s been almost 12 months since I started my business, so I’ve decided to reflect on what works for me, and give you a sneak peek where I work. Last year we made our spare bedroom into an office and kitted it out with a sofa bed, fitted wardrobes and a double desk. We’ve only just got around to painting the feature wall, but it’s really starting to take shape now. Just a few more finishing touches (such as hiding wires!!) to go.
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Continuously educate yourself
This doesn’t mean you need to go back to school or pay for some special training. Books and audio programs can do wonders. Some people think that learning ends when you get the diploma, degree, or certificate, but successful people understand the importance of lifelong learning. The world is constantly changing and new information is always available. Becoming a lifelong learner will ensure that what you have to offer is always relevant and up-to-date.
It’s also important to note that the highest earners are invariably the experts in their fields. Expertise can only be developed from many years of study and improvement. Adopting the habit of learning daily through books, audio programs, seminars, and experience will dramatically increase your earning potential as you steadily master your specific areas of interest.
Find 2 or 3 people to model yourself after
Many people have succeeded before you. It would be foolish to attempt a brand new approach to success, because countless people have already determined what works and what doesn’t. Don’t make things harder than they have to be. Pick a few people that you admire and wish to be like, and then study their lives in detail to figure out exactly what they do that makes them so successful. If you simply emulate their behaviour, habits, and way of thinking, you will eventually end up in a very similar position. To be great, emulate the greats.
Eliminate negative people from your life
Achieving success in life requires a positive attitude and a positive environment. It is impossible to thrive when you are surrounded by negativity. Negativity comes in many forms, but the most common form is people. Many people have negative attitudes and are jealous of successful people. They will constantly put others down in an attempt to justify their own position. They might do this in such subtle ways that you barely notice it, but pay attention to the language that they use. If you have friends or family that tend to belittle your dreams and aspirations in any way, then you should seriously consider distancing yourself from them. Successful people don’t tolerate negativity.
Plan your life in extreme detail
Many people will say that they want to be successful, but they never actually take the time to create a plan of how they are going to achieve their goals. Creating a detailed plan will give you a roadmap that makes it much easier to get to your desired destination. Without a plan, you wander aimlessly like a ship without a sail, never getting to where you want to go.It’s not even important that you follow the plan exactly. Simply having a detailed plan will give you the motivation to finally take massive action, because suddenly your dreams won’t seem so impossible to reach.
White table lamp from First Choice Lighting (£55) and Eames black bird available at John Lewis (£121.50).
Visualise your ideal life often
Many people struggle with finding the motivation to take action. This is something I have struggled with a lot, but I have finally discovered the solution. Having a plan helps tremendously, but visualisation is the secret to creating instant motivation any time you wish. The trick is to visualise your desired result.
If you have a project that is due but don’t have the motivation to work on it, then simply close your eyes and visualise yourself having already completed the project. Imagine what you will do after completing it, how you will feel, who you will talk to, and all the little details that make the daydream seem real. If you do this long enough, you will actually feel motivated to complete the project, because you have already experienced the taste of success in your mind. This is a neat little trick that will do wonders for your productivity.
This trick can be applied to any area of your life. If you want to be a millionaire, visualise yourself as if you were already living the life of a millionaire. If you want to attract a beautiful woman into your life, visualise yourself as if you had already met her. The visualisation process is what motivates us to take action in our lives. It can also do the opposite. When we visualise what we don’t want, we feel unmotivated. The trick is to visualise the life you want to live as often as possible. This will change your life rapidly if you make it a habit.
Often times, we fail to create change in our lives simply because we aren’t aware of the mental blocks that are limiting our progress. We may have negative beliefs about ourselves that are largely unconscious, and these beliefs can continue to prevent us from achieving success in certain areas of our lives unless we uncover the specific thoughts and beliefs that are the root of the problem. Practicing self-awareness can help greatly in uncovering our hidden blocks. There are two forms of introspection that I recommend for cultivating a greater sense of awareness.
- Meditation: This is a simple way to become more aware of your own thoughts. Most of the time, we go throughout our days barely aware of the racing voice in our heads. We have no idea whether or not this voice is actually benefitting us unless we can take a good look at what it’s saying. Meditation is a valuable tool because it allows us to peer deep into our minds and uncover the thoughts that are preventing us from achieving the results we desire. Meditation isn’t complicated. Anyone can do it.
- Journaling: This is beneficial for the same reasons as meditation. Writing out your thoughts allows you to see your thoughts for what they really are. When you get them out onto paper, you see them from a different perspective and can then more easily work through your issues. Since our minds run the show most of the time, it is of utmost importance that we figure out what’s going on in there. It’s also a great excuse to invest in some new some new office supplies. I recently had a office haul on the Engelbert Strauss website because they have everything you could possibility need at ridiculously low prices. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems impossible to find a good range of office supplies these days, which I never even considered until I went freelance.
Sharpen your focus muscle
Successful people are productive people, and productivity requires focus. Most people run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They are constantly trying to do 3 things at once and rarely focus on a single task for more than a few minutes. This is a recipe for disaster. The human mind is actually incapable of focusing on more than one task at a time, so when you think you’re being clever by doing 3 different tasks at once, you are actually just moving from one thing to the next very quickly like a crazy person. Don’t get me wrong, I do this too, but I have been seeing far greater results in my life as I continue to sharpen my focus muscle.
There are a couple ways to do this effectively. Start with short time-frame focus blocks. For example, set a timer for 10 minutes and focus on one single task for the entire 10 minutes without giving in to any distractions like checking your phone or email. You might be surprised at how difficult this is. Continue to do this until you have mastered the process of focusing for 10 minutes, and then move on to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on until you reach 1 hour. When you get to the point where you can focus intently for a whole hour, you will be like a super efficient machine and will be well on your way to achieving success in whatever you do.
Once again, meditate. Meditation is probably the best tool available for increasing your ability to focus. Meditation involves sitting in silence for extended periods of time with no distractions besides your own thoughts. The main goal of most meditation practices is to maintain a single-pointed focus, such as on the sensation of your breathing or the feelings within your body. Not allowing your mind to wander requires intense focus. Develop this muscle and everything else in life will become easy.
Focus on the process, not the outcome
To do your very best work, you need to be in the moment and not worrying about other things. Thinking about the end result usually only creates self-doubt and worry. This stress can kill your creative potential and prevent you from doing high-quality work. It’s important to find a way to get some type of joy out of the work you do, because only then will you actually enjoy the process and forget about the outcome.
We tend to always chase the next best thing, thinking that we will finally achieve happiness when we reach it, however, that thing we are after is always fleeting. There is always something more after it that we want. It’s great to strive for better things, but we must understand that happiness can only be found in the present moment. It is not off somewhere waiting for us. It is right here, available to us now, and just waiting for us to get into the flow and take it. That’s where the best work gets done. That’s where true happiness and fulfilment lies.
Incase you’re wondering what the reference to Float is, it’s my business name for my SEO company based in Cornwall. Does the Google logo cushion make a little more sense now? Even if it is still ridiculously geeky, I like it!