As I searched within myself, drawing from my experiences in life and what I have learned from other people’s experiences, deep wisdom gained in my time understanding the Bible, I have identified five elements of success that I will like to share. Before we go any further, let’s define success. Earl Nightingale defined it, “a progressive realization of a worthy ideal”. In essence, it is making progress towards a worthy goal. To give this even deeper and more relevant meaning, I define success as progression towards one’s own purpose and calling in life. You succeed to the degree you move towards fulfilling the reason for which you were created.
These five elements of success can be applied in various areas of our lives; career and business. They are timeless principles that have taken people from obscurity to relevance in life. I have applied them personally, and have had my conquest as I proceed towards my own Promise Land.
These five elements of success are:
2. Hard work
Relationships – Nobody was created to be an island. All through human history, people have thrived in communities. Our connection to those around us either make us or break us. Many people pride themselves as being “self made”, but if we truly look into their stories, there is always a support group of people that encouraged and challenged them, aiding them to be the made people they profess to be. Make it your responsibility to cut across spheres. Don’t be a recluse, treat people with dignity and respect. Be generous with your praise and appreciation of who they are. Seek to learn from them, and seek to further their cause. This is really what business/career networking is all about. At first it may be scary, but with practice it becomes a part of you. Always remember leadership is about influence, but you can only influence people if you can relate with them and communicate with them.
Hard work – There is no success without hard work. Many religious people think their success in life comes through their prayers; I will never discount the relevance of success, but God graces us in various areas of life, and expects that we work out the fullness of our potential. As we work hard, we must evaluate how we direct our efforts. This is what smart work is all about. In a world where everything is fast paced and 24 hrs just doesn’t seem to be enough, people believe the solution is to work harder and faster. Yes, work harder, but let it count. Let your hard work be channeled in areas that are relevant to your progress. Choose what is important and apply yourself to it.
Discipline – There’s no accomplishment that is to be reckoned with that was not achieved with immense discipline. Discipline involves taking control of yourself (spirit, mind, and body) and conforming to rules that will keep you focused and making progress towards your goal, also called “the straight and narrow”. You must be your own trainer; deny yourself “pleasures” that are detrimental to achieving your goals. Push yourself to go the extra mile. Albert E. Gray in his popular speech, The Common Denominator of Success, said “The common denominator of success – the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful – lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
Integrity – Integrity reflects the core of our being. It is our brand and can be developed to hold great value if we invest in it. We must learn to do what is right with the understanding that our names are tied to our actions. I’ve learned that the cost of doing the wrong thing (even if it appears I can get away with it) in the long run outweighs the cost of doing what’s right. Chose integrity rather than expediency.
Faith – No great feat in life has ever been achieved without faith. Great people have believed in great dreams that are born of the greatness within them. Beyond believing in one’s own self and aspirations is believing in the God who has given you life and a purpose on this earth. The conviction that your life is worth more than just mundane and ethereal things inspires purposeful action. Faith drives us to continue to do what we believe in even though our experience tells us otherwise. For as long as the goal is clear in your heart, that’s what you keep looking at. Your life is not defined by your experiences, rather it is the conviction of your journey towards fulfilling purpose that gives life meaning.
As you apply these, remember success is a journey that takes time. What’s most important is that you imbibe these elements as a part of your daily life. It will be challenging, but with daily practice you will get better.