For most of us, there are certain rules that we always live by each and every day. No, I’m not talking about man-made laws mandated by our governments or house rules we followed when we were kids. I’m talking about the rules for our personal success.
Some of us might have a lot of these rules, some only a few. They could be rules about always think or do things a certain way, or never ever have a certain attitude. Even when others follow by the same rules, each of them hold a unique meaning to us as individuals.
While we can do plenty well abiding by these personal rules of ours, there are always ways for us to do better. And who doesn’t like to do better?
We hear about successful people in our society achieving this or accomplishing that. Some of those things may be similar or even the exact things that we want to accomplish ourselves. What better way to find ways to achieve the same success than to see what rules those veterans live by?
Before we get into some of the rules of success from a few of the most successful people in the world, I want to get one thing clear. It’s not the pressure to HAVE to do better than should drive us, but the DESIRE to have a better life, better health, better relationships, etc. that should be our motivating factor.
If we have the former attitude about improving upon our current state and being successful, then no rules on earth can ever help us get there. Adopt the latter attitude and you’re already well on your way to achieving the success you want in your life!
The Rules Of Success
This post is about the rules of success to anything we want. Anything. That can be getting a yes to your request for a pay raise or winning an Olympic gold medal.
The rules discussed here are universal. There won’t be any that applies only for a certain niche or only works if you’re in a specific situation. They all work as long as they’re followed properly, which leads me to my next point.
These rules are NOT set in stone. This means that they should be viewed as something to guide you along the way, leading into the right direction. They are not to tell you the EXACT steps to take in detail. Matter of fact, being spoon-fed goes directly against one of these rules that we’ll talk about!
As said before, these rules can be applied to any focus or goals we may have. It’s just a matter of perspective and how we can take the valuable lessons to be learned.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee
The best that we can do for ourselves is to take what’s given, and see how it applies to our specific craft. We don’t have to follow everything here.
Even though some of them might have followed these rules to a T doesn’t mean that we
need should do the same to accomplish our goals. Some parts might not work for us for a variety of reasons. The way we work, our personality, our unique situation, etc. all comes into play here.
Now that we’ve gotten the preface out of the way, let’s get to it!
What Has Worked
1. “I never ever thought there was a fairy tale ending” – Mark Cuban
This was said by the billionaire entrepreneur after achieving a multi-billion dollar status. From just this one sentence, we get a glimpse into the work ethic and the life of someone who’s a proven success at what he does.
What Cuban’s saying here isn’t about being pessimistic or never looking at the bright side. It’s about keeping in check how much of the fairy tale ending we bask in when we reach a milestone.
It’s not wrong to celebrate, go on vacation, or take time to enjoy our success. But how many success stories have went down in flames because someone thought they did all they needed to? Or they felt it was enough and they can stop doing as they were before?
No matter what our personal success is, isn’t it only a success if we can make it last?
Let’s say we classify getting signed by a professional sports team to be a success, how would we feel if we just slacked off after getting signed and then being cut as a result?
Or maybe losing 15 pounds will be a success for us. But is it really a success if we got laxed about our diet and exercise after the fact and gained back everything and then some?
Cuban was obviously talking about his businesses and how he never thinks that he can just sit back and do nothing and still enjoy everything he has accomplish. Especially in the businesses that Cuban’s involved in, competition is always looking for a way to one-up each other. We can see the applicability in that sense easily.
Even with everything else in life, as we went over examples of, realizing that our work doesn’t end with the first sign of success and continuing to work at our craft is vital.
2. “Your first priority is to your business” – Steve Huffman
Steve Huffman is the co-founder and CEO of the online forum Reddit. This is one of the few rules he said he wished was told to him before he started his online business.
Huffman talked about even within our business how easy it is to get caught up with other people’s needs and wants. So how much more so it is to get wrapped up with things outside?
Our obligation is to ourselves and to what we’re striving to accomplish, no one else. We need to take care of our needs first before we can help others.
We can simply replace the term “business” with whatever goal we’re trying to achieve success in. Once we do that, it’s apparent that whatever goals we may have, there’s no shortage of distractions or even responsibilities that can detract from our focus if we’re not careful.
If our success is truly important to us, then we’re find ways to make time for it, regardless of what else we may have on our plate.
3. “You have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win” – Usain Bolt
Coming from a man who’s broken multiple world records, some of which are his own, won multiple Olympic and World Championship gold medals, and resurrected the sport of track and field, this holds a lot of meaning for all of us.
This was something that Bolt said he was told to by his coach, and is one of his rules that he followed in order to obtain the success he has had.
Of course, the right training, discipline, diet, discipline, and lifestyle all helped shaped him into the athlete he is today.
Having won on the biggest stage in the world of athletics, shattering previous world records and then breaking his own, Bolt had to learn to lose before doing all of that.
I think we can all understand what he means by learning how to lose. No, Bolt’s coach wasn’t encouraging him to lose on purpose.
Rather, Bolt was learning how to handle a loss.
Because even for the fastest man in the world, he had to lose plenty of times before he was crowned with that title. And his perception of his loss could be the difference of giving up, or wanting to do better.
What if after Bolt’s first loss, he decided he was going to quit track? We’d never have witness his lightning speed at the Olympics and more importantly, he would be doing a huge disservice to himself.
When we think about our goals, how do we view a “loss”? Maybe our goals don’t involve us directly competing with others for a single prize like track does. But for every goal, there is a loss or failure.
What if we didn’t get that promotion we thought we deserved? Or if we worked on our pitch tirelessly for months to impress the coach but failed to make the team? How would we react if we spent countless hours on a school project only to get a failing grade?
“Our failures are what we make of it.”
Learning how to lose or fail is a must if we want to succeed in anything.
If the fastest man on earth at one point had to cope with the fact that he is slower than others, then we all will need learn to accept our failures and losses before we get to succeed.
But that doesn’t mean we have to fail in order to learn how. It’s easy to just see what can go wrong along our journey to success. The best we can do is plan for those potential pitfalls and do our due diligence. And if we still fail?
Learn from our mistakes.
What Doesn’t Work
Now that we know what has worked for those that already achieved success, let’s see some of the ways that our success can be sabotaged. These aren’t rules like the rules for success, and some are obvious while some are more hidden.
1. The “It’s not my fault” attitude
When something happens that sets us back from accomplishing what we set out to do, it’s vital that we stay away from this attitude. Because when we think this way, it automatically leads to excuses.
“This happened because of X, Y, and Z, so it wasn’t my responsibility”, “I had no control over that so I’m definitely not the one to blame here”. These types of thinking gets us nowhere.
I’m not saying that we need to take ownership of everything that goes wrong during our journey to success. And realistically, there are a lot of things that are out of our hands.
The point is to not focus on that aspect when something does go wrong, because thing inevitably will.
This attitude is a slippery slope that can drift over into other areas of our lives. Even when there may be something we could’ve done, this type of thinking can creep its way into our minds to justify our actions to make us feel better.
And it gets us NO results. NO Results = No Success.
So stay away from thinking this way, even when it’s apparent that others are at fault or if you’ve done all that you could.
2. “It’s too hard, I can’t do it”
If you’re still reading this, then you most likely have a passion for something. You probably have a goal that you’re striving for that you’ve been working at.
If that’s the case, I’m pretty confident to say this attitude didn’t rear its ugly head until later in our course of achieving success.
We had the drive, the motivation, the burning fire within us to take those initial steps and get started on our journey. We planned everything out that we could at the time. We knew what to do step by step.
And things were going great, we were seeing steady progress and everything seemed to be moving along smoothly. Then the progress starts to stagnate. Life started getting in the way.
Unexpected responsibilities started popping up left and right and now we’re barely finding time to make advancements on our road to success.
Or it may be the fear of failure that’s holding us back from trying anymore.
As our progress slows or even stops, it’s easy to think that our goals aren’t for us because it takes too much.
“I’m not cut out for it” or “It’s not the type of life for me” are common excuses with this attitude.
I’m not talking about sour grapes here, but admitting defeat when the going gets tough.
What if Michael Jordan had given up after not making his high school basketball team? What if Walt Disney had given up after getting rejected so many times for his “lack of creativity”? What if the Beatles decided the record companies that turned them down were right and that they weren’t meant to make it big in the music industry?
None of these people had ever thought that there dreams were so hard to accomplish that they could not do it.
There’s no doubt they were difficult, and probably the road there included some huge hurdles. But I can tell you that giving up and not trying anymore was not on their agenda.
3. There will always be tomorrow
This one is easy to pick apart but it’s usually the first thing that pops into our minds when we don’t feel like doing something. Getting up early to train? There’s always tomorrow. Staying up late to work on that project? There’s tomorrow. Skipping the invitation to the movies to study for the finals? There’s tomorrow (right before the exam).
The truth is this: There is NOT always a tomorrow.
Not to be a pessimist here but tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. I don’t think I need to list all the situations here that would make that true, but why push things off when you can do it right now, today?
Two main reasons why this attitude is so dangerous:
- Delaying our efforts for tomorrow only delays our success
- It creates a vicious cycle that keeps us in a loop of pushing things off
What if Bill Gates had put off his efforts to his company because he thought he could do it later? Or if Mark Zuckerberg had this attitude and took it easy and laid back instead of doing things TODAY to better his company?
We know these entrepreneurs had fierce competition in their fields, and if they had this mindset, it would be someone else representing Microsoft and Facebook.
This doesn’t mean that if our goals are not the type that receives direct competition so this doesn’t apply to me.
In those instance, we can be our own worst enemy. With no competition, it’s easy to forget the importance of working on our craft.
We have to fight against this attitude whenever it pops up because we’d be destroying our own efforts if we don’t.
As we had mentioned before, each of us have our own definition of success. None of our goals and dreams aligned exactly on the same path. Even is we share a goal, its meaning is unique for each individual.
There are going to be different ways to go accomplishing our goals. But what’s important is finding out what that way is for you.
Regardless of which path you choose, keeping those 3 rules for success in mind will ensure that you get there. At the same time, do your best to avoid the 3 attitudes that can eliminate your chances at success.
Make Your Own Rule
So do you have any rules that you live by? If not, why not make one?
We all have unique circumstances and even though the rules mentioned are universal, there will always be ones that we feel applies to us personally. Those are some of the most powerful ones actually.
So please share with us what they are in the comments below!