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Last Updated on October 29, 2018

11 Secrets to Becoming Successful at Anything You Can Imagine

11 Secrets to Becoming Successful at Anything You Can Imagine

You’re here because you want to be successful. But why aren’t you there yet? What is stopping you?

I’m here to tell you. Success is not by accident, far from it. But there are some proven ways to achieve it.

In this article, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you of finding out the 11 actionable steps you can take to become successful.

Once you follow these, you’ll not only become more successful, but be able to apply them to any goal you set for yourself.

So here are 11 secrets to becoming successful at anything you can imagine:

1. The Math Formula That Explains Success

There’s a really smart psychologist called Kurt Lewin who summarized why we act the way we do, through a simple formula.

I’m simplifying his theory, but the basic equation he came up with was:

P = F(P,E)

Translated, what he surmized was:

“Behaviour is a function of the person and his or her environment.”

Now academic theories are great but how does this equation help you?

Think of it this way. When you have a really important deadline, where are you more likely to be productive?

In a quiet room at your local library or sitting on the couch with the TV on?

Quite clearly, the former.

Where we are, affects the way we behave. Some places more so than others, but you get the idea.

What you should do now:

If you want to be successful, put yourself in environments that are likely to create the behaviours you want. Here’s some ideas:

  • If you want to get more in touch with religious or spiritual practices, go to a temple/place of worship once per week for 30 minutes and meditate there.
  • If you want to improve your strength and stamina, go to a gym class everyday instead of trying to workout at home on your own.

2. Create Your Own Success Formula

Have you ever started on a big goal or path, been really motivated but somewhere along the line – fallen off track?

One big mistake many people make that leads to falling off track is a lack of measuring their progress.

I used to do this a lot in the gym.

I’d spend hours and hours each week making the effort to get there and workout. I’d share the classic photo of me at the gym doing my workout – but you know the truth?

I wasn’t really feeling all that good about it!

Every time I stepped on the scales, I’d dread seeing the result. My progress was up and down and I didn’t understand why.

The fact was, I was leaving too many variables on the table. I failed to appreciate the importance of tracking.

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After working with a coach, I realized I needed to pay closer attention to my diet, workouts and sleep. I started tracking each one carefully and quickly noticed when I was eating too much, not lifting properly or getting enough sleep.

Previously, I would just walk into the gym, pick whichever weight I thought I’d bench pressed the week before or felt I could manage. It was completely random.

By tracking, I learned to ensure I was progressing 1% on the last time.

Can you guess what happened?

I progressed.

What you measure, you manage.

What you should do now:

Whatever it is you’re working towards, ask yourself – how can I track and measure my progress?

For example:

  • If you want to save money, track how much you are spending each week and how much you are saving. Aim to improve it by 5% each month.
  • If you want to learn an instrument, record a video each week of you playing the same song. Each week watch it back to see how you have progressed. Track how many hours you practice in a log.

3. The Key Habit That Multiplies Success

Measuring and managing your progress is important, but as one of my coaching clients once said: “In the absence of reflection, nothing changes”.

For example, let’s say you want to eat healthily and you start tracking your diet. You soon notice that you tend to overeat on weekends.

It’s great to track this but what are you going to do about it? What is the deeper underlying reason that you keep behaving this way?

When studying for my diploma in Neuro Linguistic Programming, one of the first things we learned was that every behaviour has a positive intention behind it.

We do things because they give us something in return. Uncover what those are.

What you should do now:

A powerful way to change unhelpful behaviours is to explore the intentions behind them. To look back and understand what is happening and what to do.

  • Each week, reflect and write down what you learned, what you avoided, and what you are going to change the next week.
  • Read books on self improvement, particularly in areas you wish to improve. For example, Brene Brown has great content on vulnerability.

4. A Simple Question That Doubles Your Commitment

This might surprise you. But are you trying to fail instead of succeed?

Often we fear committing fully to our success because we fear what it means to commit 100%.

One powerful idea I picked up (from Derek Sivers) was the concept of being a very clear absolute yes or an absolute no to things.

It’s a simple concept but one which creates immense clarity and saves you so much time and effort.

This creates space for two things to happen in your life:

The first is to avoid anything which is heavy and a chore. The second is to leave space and time for you to give everything to the things you are an absolute yes to.

Sometimes we do things half heartedly and this leads to stagnation and mediocrity.

But to succeed, you really do have to remain 100% committed in your intentions and actions.

What you should do now:

Ask yourself honestly:

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What are you an absolute yes to right now? And what things are an absolute no?

  • If you’re reading a book you don’t like, put it down and start reading something more useful or interesting to you. It’s okay to not finish a mediocre book!
  • If you’re in a job that you really dislike, stop trying to force it and accept that it’s an absolute no. Think through what an absolute yes might be and start adjusting to make it happen

5. Drastically Increase Your Brain Power

The hidden secret behind many successful people is that they are not successful on their own. They have advisors, coaches, family members, mentors all helping them along the way.

An unfortunate characteristic of our time is that we try to do things on our own too often. A much faster way however is to seek the counsel of wise people.

Who knows more than you? Who knows what works and doesn’t?

Find those people and ask them to share those fundamentals with you.

What you should do now:

For each area of your life that you wish to be successful in, come up with some ideas of who can help you along the way.

  • The first thing I would recommend is to hire an accredited and professional life coach. They can help you strategise better and achieve your goals faster than you would on your own.
  • If you want to learn a language faster, find a native speaker to tutor you once per week for 1 hour. It shouldn’t cost a lot and will speed up your progress a lot.
  • Subscribe to YouTube channels that share useful ideas and information. I’d also recommend others like TED talks, the SciShow, and Crash Course.
  • Develop your Digital Brain — this will drastically increase your brain power and boost memory.

6. Pick Up the Right Mindset That Shapes Our Lives

What do the world’s top psychologists recommend when it comes to being successful?

Is there a way of thinking you could download that makes you 10x more likely to win?

The short answer, yes!

It’s called a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, in her seminal work ‘Mindset’, shares countless examples of the two mindsets people generally have – a fixed or a growth mindset.

Individuals with a fixed mindset have a generally rigid perspective on their talents and abilities. They believe that their intelligence and talent is fixed. Genetic. Unchangeable.

Individuals with a growth mindset have an open, more hope filled perspective on their talents and capabilities. They believe that they can learn new things and improve at the areas they are weak on if they put the time in.

I’m sure you can guess which of the two is a marker of success.

The growth mindset.

By always seeking to learn, no matter the position, emotion or outcome you have in life – you are constantly gaining insights and experience.

Even if things don’t go as you wish, and you fail miserably, the individual with a growth mindset seeks to learn first, rather than succeed or fail.

Do you see how valuable this is? How do you stop someone who always learns and grows from any experience or setback?

What you should do now:

Focus your goals more on learning and development than simple success or failure.

For example:

  • If you’re fearful of public speaking, focus on how you can improve, rather than be perfect at it. What can you learn? Who from?
  • If you feel you are not a very confident person, focus on how you can model those who are. Every master was once a beginner. What could make you a bit more confident today?

Think you’re too late to change? No way! Here’s the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

7. Learn How Successful People Plan

I’m part of a private invite only mastermind group. Each week we share our insights, reflections and milestones with each other for accountability.

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Instead of setting a vague goal far off in the horizon, we challenge each other to make them time bound and manageable.

Want to be a successful entrepreneur? OK, what is 10% of that goal being achieved? How do you know when you are at 50%? What are the steps to get there?

A vague goal leads to procrastination and overwhelm.

By breaking your success down into clear steps and milestones, you allow yourself to celebrate the small wins along the way and feel more motivated.

Success takes longer than we think and this allows you stay focused along the way.

What you should do now:

Write your goals down and check if they are vague and general, or specific and time bound. Bring them closer to reality by setting them on a gradient. What is a clear sign of 10% progress being made?

  • If you want to be a successful YouTuber with 1 million subscribers – break it down. What does 5% look like? What do you need to do to achieve that? When?
  • Schedule these milestones into your diary so you don’t forget. Set up reminders everywhere so it’s not left to chance.

8. Understand the Benefits of Benevolence

I’ve broken down the 6 fundamental pillars of a meaningful life in one of my courses. One of them is contribution. It’s very easy to get stuck in the grind of our day to day.

And we all know that our existence is very fragile and limited. Who knows how much more time we have left?

So what are you leaving behind?

The money you’re making right now, what purpose does it serve beyond paying the bills?

What matters to you?

What you should do now:

Make a clear list on paper of causes you are interested in or care about. Research them and find some organisations or people to support.

This could be by:

  • Becoming an advisor and sharing your skills and expertise. In my company, we equip young people from low income backgrounds for life beyond the classroom. We have a group of experts on our advisory board who critique, challenge and support us. It helps us in a very meaningful way, and allows them to contribute too.
  • Making a monthly donation. Even something as small as $3/month, does make a difference.

9. Don’t Work Hard (But Do This Instead)

The fact is you do have to work hard to achieve things in life. It takes long hours of work, over long periods of time.

But wouldn’t you much rather have fun and play, like you did as a kid?

One huge, secret hack I stumbled on early on in my career (with the help of a life coach I worked with) was playing over hustling.

I mistakenly believed I needed to work really really hard all the time to achieve success.

Don’t get me wrong. This is obviously true.

But in the back of mind it created a bit of resistance.

My to-do lists seemed endless. Just thinking about work drained my energy, let alone doing it.

So I did what so many of us do. Avoid, procrastinate, and delay.

Until I learned this little secret.

What if I replace the word ‘work’, and focused on ‘play’?

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I wouldn’t see it as hard, face crunching work. I’d see what I do as a fun game I was trying to win at.

There would be no hustle. Just a curious kid (with a beard) on an adventure.

What you should do now:

Where in your life are you making things mentally tiring and complex? How could you approach your work in a more playful and curious way?

For example:

  • If you want to build productive habits like journalling everyday. How could you make it more fun? Could you use glitter and crayons? Could you treat it like an art class in school?
  • One of my goals to be more active is to do 10,000 steps everyday. Sometimes, it seems like a chore. So I took my 5 year old niece with me and it immediately became a fun game of hide & seek.

10. Work Less But Do and Succeed More

Sorry to be cliche and quote Tony Robbins in my success article, but he said something powerful in a clip I saw recently:

Average people, major in minor things.

The moment I heard this, a surge of insight whizzed through my brain. Like all great ideas, it made total sense to me.

I kicked myself. If only I’d seen this sooner!

Which actions that I take, give me the biggest impact on my goal? What is easy to do, and achieves the most success?

What you should do now:

Not all action is created equal. Reviewing what you are doing, and where you spend most of your time in trying to achieve your goals.

For example:

  • If you’re trying to get lean and toned, what is the number one habit that has the biggest impact on your success?
  • If you’re trying to build a positive culture in your workplace, what simple thing can you do that has the greatest success?

11. Focus On Process, Not End Results

And finally, what if I told you success actually isn’t what you should aim for but something else instead?

I know, you’d be surprised right. Why would I dissuade you from trying to succeed?

Hear me out:

We focus on the success we want, and these are important – building a business, becoming healthier, more fulfilled, more positive etc.

However, these end outcomes will only keep us happy for so long. These things are not where your real value and growth lies.

By focusing on these end results, we dampen our efforts and become trapped in a fixed mindset of succeeding or failing. It sets you up for a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.

Instead, what the world’s top performers realize is that it’s much better to focus on the quantity and repetitions – not the outcomes.

Writing 1 book every year is more important than the perfect bestselling book. Making 100 cold calls every day to your target customers is more important than the perfect pitch.

What you should next:

Instead of trying to craft the perfect habit or result. Focus on improving the process that creates those outcomes.

For example:

  • If you want to become a great midfielder in soccer, focus on improving your skills and technique everyday. Instead of dreaming about the perfect high paid contract.
  • If you want to launch an acclaimed business, focus on creating the small viable product and selling to 1,000 customers first. Instead of trying to craft the perfect product no one really wants.

Conclusion

If you want to become successful at anything you can imagine, follow these 11 steps:

  1. Be in the best environments possible.
  2. Track and measure your progress along the way.
  3. Reflect regularly on what is going well and what needs to change.
  4. Ensure you have done all you can to stay 100% committed. Be hell yes or no.
  5. Have experts and advisors around you to help.
  6. Cultivate a curious and open growth mindset where you are passionate about learning.
  7. Create clear milestones of progress so you stay motivated and focused.
  8. Give back and contribute to causes you care about to create a strong sense of purpose to your life.
  9. Focus on enjoying the journey and having fun along the way. Not just when you achieve “success”.
  10. Spend your time and energy on the fundamental things which bring the biggest rewards.
  11. Let go of perfect outcomes and pay attention to improving your process to success.

Follow these steps, practice them every day and measure your progress. Gradually you’ll get closer to success in anything you want.

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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Keshav Bhatt

Writer, Social Entrepreneur, Accredited Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

If you get stuck feeling unmotivated, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to learn there are simple, yet high impact, changes that will steer you back on track.

Here are 15 tips that will not only restore your motivation for success but raise it so you can pursue your personal definition of a successful and happier life.

1. Practice Looking at the Glass Being Half Full When Life Is Challenging

This is not as easy to do if you feel like you’re unsuccessfully playing dodgeball in most areas of your life. Practice short bursts of radical acceptance[1] paired with looking for fine threads of your day you are grateful for that bring you happiness.

It will feel strange at first but with time your brain’s neuro-circuitry gets fitting in focusing on what motivates and inspires you.

Start practicing this exercise at times during the day when you feel okay, so then when rough times hit, your ability to rebound will be more automatic. However, you need to practice.

Before you know it, your battles will become like a walk in the park!

2. Review the Happiness Level of Your Everyday Social Network

Jim Rohn’s famous saying:

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

It is not gospel. But in examining whether or not your relationships support, encourage, inspire, educate and nurture you, you actually need to look beyond those five people.

Social science professors James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis explain how we need to look at our third degree of separation to identify those who influence our happiness in our social relationships.[2]

People are generally happier because their first-level friends are also central to a happy network of people. To increase your motivation and happiness, don’t just look at your friends. Look at your friends’ friends!

3. Clean up Your Relationships — Work and Personal

Do you ever ask yourself what aspects of your relationships are healthy for you and bring you happiness? Do you also consider what you contribute to those and whether doing also brings you happiness?

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It’s time to not only reflect on what you gain from relationships but what contributions you can make to help them further flourish.

Caution! Over-helping is not the answer here. Sometimes you need to cull the time you spend with certain people. However, it’s about being more accountable and choosing to improve how you want to show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally.

Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task. Cleaning up and stepping up will continually motivate you. You’ll heighten that positive vibration of your everyday existence.

4. Develop a Personal Development Plan for Your Own Definition of Success and Happiness

Goal-setting isn’t just for helping us attain better cars, houses or greater income. When you change goal focus to become the person required to obtain those things, your goals expand beyond tangible limits. Having a personal development plan is essential.

Draw a circle and divide it up into pie segments (like having spokes on a wheel) that represent the following areas of your life:

  • Finances and money
  • Intimate relationships
  • Friends and social relationships
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Spirituality and religion
  • Hobbies, leisure and fun activities
  • Vocation, career and work

The center point of your circle represents zero. Zero means you are least satisfied. The outer circumference of your circle is ten. Ten means you are the most satisfied and content.

For each area, plot on the spoke your current rating of satisfaction. Then, review each area again and denote on the spoke what level of satisfaction you desire.

See where the differences between your current and desired satisfaction levels are smallest. These may be the easiest areas to start brainstorming the changes you want to experience. Some areas won’t be as important to you to make changes. Others will be. Working with an impartial coach can greatly help to flesh out clarity.

Regularly doing this exercise (e.g. every quarter) will reignite your motivation and keep you on the path to reach greater success and happiness.

5. Invest in Personal Development

Your personal development plan will give you strong clues as to what programs, books, podcasts, networking groups and social activities to tap into. But be wary of the bright, shiny object syndrome and well-meaning friends and family projecting their countless recommendations on to you!

Be gracious and thankful for their advice and guidance (even though it can often be uninvited!), choose wisely and make your own decisions.

Focus on the challenges you face now. Are you experiencing problems with your significant other? Are your children suffering from bullying at school and you’re unsure how to help them?

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Perhaps you are experiencing a plateau in work satisfaction or your business is experiencing a slump. Whatever problems are present for you now, explore activities and education that will help you solve those.

6. Invest in Experiences, Not Material Things

Splashing your cash on physical possessions to reward yourself won’t just send you bankrupt. When you constantly rely on external things to motivate you, you’re in real danger of never being satisfied.

Instead, ignite your motivation internally by investing in experiences which allow you to feel those feelings you believe you will have when you’re successful.

If becoming a public speaker is a dream you have, invest in Toastmasters or a public speaking program. If whisking you and your partner away for a luxury weekend at a second’s notice fits your definition of success, save over time to do this.

Don’t just set your sights on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Practice feeling success at each step in your journey.

7. Create or Join a Mastermind Group

Napoleon Hill created the concept in his book Think and Grow Rich first published in 1937, yet today, being an entrepreneur is still often a terribly lonely existence. Joining a mastermind group, your motivation is fueled by the collective genius of others also wanting to collaborate, solve problems, cross-promote, network and learn new things.

Not only is keeping motivated easier in itself, your thinking also grows exponentially.

Choose your group wisely and collectively, your contributions will escalate you all to refreshing new heights.

8. Work with a Coach

We have personal training coaches, health and wellbeing coaches and career coaches yet we rarely engage a coach to help us with two of the most significant factors influencing our success and happiness: money and our psychological well-being. Our approach is often remedial and it’s not until we’re in dire straits that we call in the emergency services.

Money may not buy us happiness but financial freedom is having freedom of choice and freedom of choice means wider opportunities for greater happiness. Risks and growth always pose threat to our mental and emotional stability.

By learning proactive skills that strengthen your resilience in your personal and working life, you can lift your motivation to tackle challenges with greater courage. You have a backup plan and safety nets to catch you when you fall.

Whether it’s a money mindset coach, a performance coach, a business coach or a relationship coach…open up the conversation. Get to know yourself better, make plans to clear the hurdles and get ready to sprint!

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9. Focus Your Conversations on Your Ideas and Goals

When you increase emphasis and focus upon certain things, feelings and thoughts, you are telling your brain these things are important. The feelings and thoughts will become more easily amplified and neural pathways which access similar feelings and thoughts become activated.

Given this, be strategic. Deliberately reframe the conversations you have to discuss ideas, plans and progress to take you toward where you want to go.

Stimulate and train your brain to increase its stretch. Direct it to dwell on positive experiences and results you have had, and deliberately share in conversations these feelings and results are what you want more of.

Not only are you training yourself to feel happier for greater parts of your day, you are communicating your true desires and wishes for a more successful and happier life to the wider community.

Share with them more of what you desire to experience and achieve. You create a greater likelihood of receiving favorable surprises in answer to your requests.

10. Have Goals to Become a Better Friend, Partner or Work Associate

Examine your relationships by asking yourself what aspects are healthy for you and bring you happiness. Also, consider what you contribute to that relationship and whether doing so brings you happiness.

Think about not just what you gain from the relationship but also what you can do to help make that relationship flourish more. Can you improve how you show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally? Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task.

Do you need to organize a get together instead of waiting for your friend to organize the rendezvous yet again? You might put the garbage out without being asked by your partner from now on. Stepping up and stepping into healthier and happier relationships will only heighten the positive vibration of your everyday existence.

11. Learn How to Lead Better by Encouraging Others to Become Better Leaders

If you’re a leader, it can be really hard to resist the urge to take the steering wheel when you can see others are about to drive off a cliff. However, stepping out of the limelight to let others have their fifteen minutes of fame is the sign of a true leader.

Supporting and coaching others to develop confidence and stay in the driver’s seat on their journey is truly soul-enriching. Stay beside them when they drive into the fog and be persistent with your encouragement to keep them focused and on track.

You have greater purposefulness to others when you empower them to work through their own trials and tribulations and help them build greater resilience in the process. Your self-esteem and internal happiness will deepen on a richer level and stay with you for far, far longer.

12. Embrace Negative Feedback and Criticism

We don’t actually learn best when people agree and applaud us. We learn best when we make mistakes and experience the intense emotions connected with the failure or rejection.

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Invite yourself to look for the lesson in every perceived misfortune. There is always a golden nugget for growth; we just have to increase our practice of looking for it.

Lick your wounds only for so long and move quickly to look for the lesson. When you can do so, you can charge your internal motivation from within and still experience happiness even in the darkest of times.

13. Exercise a Sense of Adventure Every Day

When you set small goals to do things slightly differently each day, you can entirely re-shape the level of happiness you experience. Here’s a list to play with:

  • Try a different coffee brew to start your day
  • Dress in work attire even if you are working from home today
  • Walk a different route from your final subway stop to the office
  • Smile at a stranger as you make eye contact passing them in the street
  • Pay a compliment to one of your work colleagues when you notice they are feeling stressed
  • Go out walking during your break if you usually eat lunch at your desk or inside

Spice up small changes in the brief moments of your daily living. Small shifts lift not only your motivation but shed light and happy vibes to those around you.

14. Orchestrate Your Destiny Using Daily Imagery

Take advantage of the fact your brain does not know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined when it comes to imagery. Instruct your day-dreaming activity to envisage what happiness and success look like, feel like, smell like, taste like and sound like.

When you daily rehearse your mini movies of your success and happiness goals, your brain’s reticular activating system will begin filtering in information to help you reach these.

Before too long, your plans, actions and decisions will increasingly honor these. Keep your eyes on the prize and you are more likely to reach success sooner than you might think.

15. Become an Expert Researcher of Your Own Challenges

Whilst we have all the resources within us, we don’t necessarily have all the answers. However, when knowing more, we feel (and are) in more control.

Look further afield and gain from the knowledge, experience and insights of the qualified experts in those areas. However, be aware of ulterior agendas being pushed upon you.

Sifting through the information relevant to you and following your gut instinct will only spark your motivation. The considered decisions you make in the moment will always be the right ones.

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Marsha Linehan: Radical Acceptance
[2] James H Fowler, associate professor, Nicholas A Christakis, professor: Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study

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