Whether you want to be a great student, a brilliant researcher, a stellar parent or a highly successful entrepreneur, you will have the same mindset. You have a goal, your values and ethics are rock solid, you persevere, and you keep victory in sight. Sounds simple, right? Well, not really. Here are some things you need to focus on to make sure you know how to be great.

1. Set big goals to empower you

If you have minor goals or objectives, you will never be great. Keep your main goal always in your mind and you will feel empowered. No harm in writing it down. You also know what your strengths are and that is key. There is also a healthy dose of self-criticism. What are your weaknesses? Can you gain new skills to deal with these?

2. Never forget your values and ethics

Above all, be aware that certain values and ethics are always the foundations of being great. You will not cheat in exams, you will not invest in shady stocks. The financial world is learning a very hard lesson in regards to toxic funds. Honesty and fair, ethical business practices will stand the test of time and are a vital component in achieving greatness. This was the conclusion of a three year study at the University of Birmingham called the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.

3. You can handle setbacks

Read any book you want on all the great success stories of our times from Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, to Bill Gates. They all had one thing in common. They had to face setbacks and failure but they did not quit. The Harvard Business Review quotes a study where almost half (43%) of failed CEOs just did not bother to learn, refocus and carry on. They simply left. But you know that failure is simply not an option.

“Consider the postage stamp – its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing to get there.” – Josh Billings

4. You are disciplined

You know what steps to take to get things done. Set your daily goals which are steps on the ladder which leads to the top with that glittering prize. That requires dedication, hard work, patience and no short cuts. If you need any encouragement, read Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth where he will show you how to achieve greatness. He did so – imagine being on a postage stamp or coin while you are still alive! Hadfield’s inspiring message is basically that you need determination and discipline to reach your goal.

5. You make friends, not enemies

In the tough world of business and the rat race, you will be tempted to seek revenge to get even. The negative fall out from that will rebound and cause you harm. The ancient Greeks were well aware of the value of kindness and helping each other. Kindness helps you and the beneficiary. It is a sound investment and is better than status or power. Enemies will never phone you but your friends will.

6. You know how to invest your time

Time management is not just a fad, it works. How many books do you need to read to keep up in your field? How can you find time to read them all? You may be tempted to take a speed reading course, like Woody Allen.

“I took a speedreading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” – Woody Allen

Technology can help you to become great. There are apps which can give you all-you-need-to- know summaries on any book in your field, like the one listed here. A great way to fill in that extra 10 minutes while waiting for a client.

 7. You know how to manage your work-life balance

In the pursuit of greatness, many people neglect to look after the emotional, spiritual, and wellness aspects of their lives on this planet. Work takes over 95% of their lives. But with small changes, you can transform the quality of your relationships and regain work-life balance. You can listen to Nigel Marsh outlining some of these small changes in the TED talk here

 “Greatness is not a destiny, but a decision.” – Byron Reese

You have decided to be great. There will be lots of decisions to make along the way which will determine your success. Above all, you have mastered the art of living a great life en route.

Featured photo credit: David Shankbone via Flickr via flickr.com

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