The secret of my success, or, more importantly your success, depends on another question. How brilliant can you be? The easy way to answer that question is to ask another. How hard are you prepared to work at it?
Would you rather spend your spare time
sitting in front of the television watching, for the most part,
mind-bendingly banal drivel or are you prepared to spend an hour or more
a day working towards your own success?
The answer to that last question would seem to be obvious. But most people opt for the television.
They opt for what they know. Virginia Satir, the great psychologist and family therapist, was once asked if it was true that survival was the greatest instinct.
Her surprising response was no; their greatest instinct is to hang on to what they know and avoid change.
That is why, for example, so many women
in abusive relationships do not leave their partners and remain to be
beaten again and again.
That is why so many people do the same thing over and over again even if really that same thing amounts to very little.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Did you know that if you spend an hour or so every day studying a subject, after two or three years you can be an expert on it?
You see, you do not have to be amazingly intelligent or brilliant to understand the secret of success; you merely have to be diligent and persistent.
Find something you really like doing and persist with it. Look at the examples of great sportsmen and women. If you have a natural inclination for, say, swimming then practice, practice and practice.
Some Olympic swimmers get up at 5.15
every morning, day in day out, week in week out, year in year out. They
go straight to the pool and train for several hours. In other words,
They practice their skills over and over again until they become second nature and they become leaders in their field. That is a secret of success.
and dancers are the same. They often start in early childhood but some
start late and still manage it. They, too, practice for several hours a
Sometimes a pianist will play the same bar, or few bars of music, over and over again day after day until she is satisfied with it.
the dancer will practice her dance routines with the same energy and
precision in order to achieve a perfect performance.
Studies of the brain prove that practice and repetition are essential for peak performance and that is a secret to success. And you, too, can do this when you decide what you want to achieve.
Maybe you’d like to write a book. Are you a master of your own language (or the language you want to write in)? Do words come easily? Can you express ideas without too much thought?
If not, how do you improve? You can start by reading. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Watch how other people write.
Look up the meaning of words you don’t
understand and keep a note of them. If you make a point of reading at
least an hour a day, your use of language will come on in leaps and
You may also
decide it would be useful to take an evening class in your language or
writing skills. It doesn’t even have to be an evening class.
So much is available on line these days, it may be easier for you to learn that way. But meeting others in a classroom and discussing common difficulties is an additional way of learning.
The same principles apply to almost any subject you wish to master. The secret to success does not involve magic tricks.
Don’t be one of those people you have constantly heard saying “I wish I’d …. but it’s too late now.” Obviously, the sooner you start the better, but it is in fact never too late. You’ve just got to have the guts to tackle it.
If you are stuck in some dead end job
because you wouldn’t pull your finger out or you don’t have the courage
or inclination to try anything else, then you have only yourself to
Inspire yourself. Read biographies of successful people. Watch films or DVDs about them. In particular, read stories about people who have been successful in the area in which you really want to succeed.
I expect you have experienced the moment you think you want to be like them, when the little voice inside your head says, “Ah, but you’d be no good at that” or “With your background you stand no chance” or “I could never do that”.
When that happens it’s time to tell that little feller inside your head to take a stroll. You may need to speak to yourself in pithy terms. Tell him to go away and think about his own dreams. That is a secret of success.
There isn’t much you can’t achieve if you put your mind to it. I left school without any qualifications very many years ago, was encouraged to learn to use a typewriter and took up Pitman’s shorthand as a hobby.
I attended evening classes one day a week. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for my lessons so I had to find the money from my own meagre earnings. I was always quite good at English language but not an awful lot else.
I liked shorthand. I practised about an
hour a day at first but at that rate it took me about a year to learn
the theory. But I kept it up. I sacrificed many summer evenings
Within four years I was writing so quickly that I was recording word for word what people were saying in court and I demonstrated my skill on television at 240 words per minute!
Within a few more years I was employing more than 60 people doing the same thing in the courts of law and turning over more than a million £ a year.
I practised my skill in the highest courts in the country, in Europe and in international arbitrations. I witnessed first hand many cause célèbres.
And that was more than 30 years ago!
That is just a tiny example of what can be achieved. Many, many people in this world have achieved far greater things than that but it didn’t fall into their laps either. They discovered what they wanted to do and practised, practised, practised.
Use your imagination. Think what you’d really like to do. Determine in your mind that you will achieve it and formulate a plan.
Then spend some time on it every day
and astonish yourself in a couple of years. By then you will have a
completely different perspective on life.
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