Self Improvement Skills

Success: 18 Important Things You Should Know

Success tips | Success inspiration

Find purpose, the means will follow.

- Mahatma Gandhi


1. Put the hours in.


I have a book coming up. Didn’t quit my job to write it; just woke up an hour earlier every day to write it and posted it on my blog. Penguin eventually contacted me. All I did was put the hours in.

- Hugh MacLeod


You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

- Wayne Gretsky


2. Set the agenda by showing up first.


Tom Peter's rules:

- Get up earlier than the next guy.

- Out-study the bastids!

- Out-read ‘em!

- Work on your story! He/she who has the best story wins!

- Make this day matter.


3. Be lucky


1. Rise early every morning.

2. Work hard all day long.

3. Strike oil.

- J. Paul Getty, Oil Baron


4. Astonish them!

This is the secret of pleasing success.


5. The 10,000 hours rule

It shows why Bill Gates and the Beatles succeeded for essentially the same reason... musical geniuses such as Mozart, and chess grandmasters, both achieved their status after about 10 years. 10 years is roughly how long it takes to put in 10,000 hours of hard practice. 10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness.


There is nothing mysterious about success

Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities:


It shouldn’t be hard to figure out where the perfect lawyer comes from. This person will have been born in a demographic trough, so as to have had the best of New York’s public schools and the easiest time in the job market. He will be Jewish, of course, and so, locked out of the old-line downtown law firms on account of his “antecedents.” This person’s parents will have done meaningful work in the garment business, passing on to their children autonomy and complexity and the connection between effort and reward. A good school - although it doesn’t have to be a great school - will have been attended. He need not have been the smartest in the class, only smart enough.


(Source: 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell)


6. The effort effect

People have two kinds of mindsets: growth or fixed. People with the growth mindset view life as a series of challenges and opportunities for improving. People with a fixed mindset believe that they are “set” as either good or bad. The issue is that the good ones believe they don’t have to work hard, and the bad ones believe that working hard won’t change anything.


(Source: 'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' by Carol Dweck)


To the man in the arena:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

- attributed to Theodore Roosevelt


7. The two-things rule


If you want an average successful life, it doesn't take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:

1. Become the best at one specific thing.

2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.


- Scott Adams (creator of 'Dilbert')


8. Lasting success


Irreducible components of enduring success:

- Happiness (feelings of pleasure or contentment about your life)

- Achievement (accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for)

- Significance (the sense that you've made a positive impact on people you care about)

- Legacy (a way to establish your values or accomplishments so as to help others find future success)


Areas of focus:

- Self

- Family

- Work

- Community


(Source: 'Success That Lasts' by Laura Nash)


9. Don't quit


When things go wrong as they sometimes will;

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;

When the funds are low, and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but have to sigh;

When care is pressing you down a bit-

Rest if you must, but do not quit.


Success is failure turned inside out;

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;

And you can never tell how close you are

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-

It's when things go wrong that you must not quit.

- Attributed to St. Jude


10. Mixing highly-focused work with frequent bursts of rest


Tony Schwartz, author of 'The Way We're Working Isn't Working' (co-authors: Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy), says our brains are wired to concentrate for just 90 minutes at a time.


Related ideas:

There is the Time Boxing idea - working on one project only for a fixed, short duration.

There is the 4 minutes of 'rest & stretch’ after every hour of desk work idea.

There is Tim Ferris who tells us to work less and smarter.

There is the fitness idea of running quick, short sprints and resting in between.


11. Auto-suggestion (A psychological technique developed by Émile Coué)


Auto-suggestion is self-suggestion. Through the dominating thoughts which one permits to remain in the conscious mind, (whether these thoughts be negative or positive, is immaterial), the principle of auto-suggestion voluntarily reaches the subconscious mind and influences it with these thoughts.


There are seven major positive emotions (Desire, faith, love, sex, enthusiasm, romance, hope), and seven major negative emotions (fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, greed, superstition, anger). The negatives voluntarily inject themselves into the thought impulses, which insure passage into the subconscious mind. The positives must be injected, through the principle of auto-suggestion, into the thought impulses which an individual wishes to pass on to his subconscious mind.


The law of auto-suggestion, through which any person may rise to altitudes of achievement which stagger the imagination, is well described in the following verse:


'If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don't

If you like to win, but you think you can't,

It is almost certain you won't.


'If you think you'll lose, you're lost

For out of the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow's will—

It's all in the state of mind.


'If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You've got to think high to rise,

You've got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.


'Life's battles don't always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!'


(Source: Napoleon, 'Think and Grow Rich')


12. Avoid these 57 (in) famous alibis:


IF I didn't have a wife and family . . .

IF I had enough 'pull' . . .

IF I had money . . .

IF I had a good education . . .

IF I could get a job . . .

IF I had good health . . .

IF I only had time . . .

IF times were better . . .

IF other people understood me . . .

IF conditions around me were only different . . .

IF I could live my life over again . . .

IF I did not fear what 'THEY' would say . . .

IF I had been given a chance . . .

IF I now had a chance . . .

IF other people didn't 'have it in for me' . . .

IF nothing happens to stop me . . .

IF I were only younger . . .

IF I could only do what I want . . .

IF I had been born rich . . .

IF I could meet 'the right people' . . .

IF I had the talent that some people have . . .

IF I dared assert myself . . .

IF I only had embraced past opportunities . . .

IF people didn't get on my nerves . . .

IF I didn't have to keep house and look after the children . . .

IF I could save some money . . .

IF the boss only appreciated me . . .

IF I only had somebody to help me . . .

IF my family understood me . . .

IF I lived in a big city . . .

IF I could just get started . . .

IF I were only free . . .

IF I had the personality of some people . . .

IF I were not so fat . . .

IF my talents were known . . .

IF I could just get a 'break' . . .

IF I could only get out of debt . . .

IF I hadn't failed . . .

IF I only knew how . . .

IF everybody didn't oppose me . . .

IF I didn't have so many worries . . .

IF I could marry the right person . . .

IF people weren't so dumb . . .

IF my family were not so extravagant . . .

IF I were sure of myself . . .

IF luck were not against me . . .

IF I had not been born under the wrong star . . .

IF it were not true that 'what is to be will be' . . .

IF I did not have to work so hard . . .

IF I hadn't lost my money . . .

IF I lived in a different neighborhood . . .

IF I didn't have a 'past' . . .

IF I only had a business of my own . . .

IF other people would only listen to me . . .


Instead, do this:

If I had the courage to see myself as I really am, I would find out what is wrong with me, and correct it, then I might have a chance to profit by my mistakes and learn something from the experience of others, for I know that there is something WRONG with me, or I would now be where I WOULD HAVE BEEN IF I had spent more time analyzing my weaknesses, and less time building alibis to cover them.

(Source: 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill)


13. Small steps at a time (most of the time)


Take it inch by inch. There are inches everywhere.

- Any Given Sunday


14. Think Big



small thinking: reduces expenses

big thinking: increases income by selling more



small thinking: talks negative

big thinking: talks positive



small thinking: retrenchment or status quo

big thinking: expansion



small thinking: limited

big thinking: promising



small thinking: looks for ways to avoid work

big thinking: looks for more ways and things to do, especially helping others



small thinking: competes with the average

big thinking: competes with the best



small thinking: cutting down on necessary items

big thinking: increase income and buy more of what's necessary



small thinking: short run

big thinking: long run


(Source: 'The Magic of Thinking Big' by Dr. David Schwartz)


15. Keep it simple


Manifest plainness,

Embrace simplicity,

Reduce selfishness,

Have few desires.

- Lao-tzu


16. Be disciplined


- Life is difficult.

- We are responsible for our own actions and decisions.

- Do the difficult tasks first.

(Source: 'The Road Less Traveled' by M. Scott Peck)


Do one thing daily that scares you the most.

- Eleanor Roosevelt


17. Live in the present


Do not pursue the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. The past no longer is. The future has not yet come. Looking deeply at life as it is. In the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom. We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it?

- Bhaddekaratta Sutta


18. The golden oldies


Say 'you' instead of 'I'

Help others help themselves.

Say 'thank you' more often and mean it.

Don’t worry too much. Look on the positive side of things.

- Anon


Success is that old ABC:

Ability, Breaks and Courage.

- C. Luckman


If 'A' is a success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x; y is play, and z is keeping your mouth shut.

- Albert Einstein


The success poem:

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.'

- Bessie A Stanley (1905)


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