Ten Time Proven Principles of Success

10 Time Proven Principles of Success

Ever wish a book of answers to life’s questions would fall out of the sky? Principles of SuccessCareful, it may land on your head. Here is Chapter 1 – The Principles of Success.

I recently came across a list of 10 factors the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) published in answer to the question, “What is the Secret of Success?”. The IBD studied industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs. Then they analyzed that data to find common themes and predominate success oriented traits.

Below, I take the ten principles of success (with slight modification to fit my writing style) and explore them. The descriptive narrative following each title is my own creation. After reading it, I challenge you to share your thoughts in a comment. You may be amazed the difference one comment can make in the life of many.

1. The Way you think is Everything.

Attitude is literally the direction you are heading in.

Merriam-Webster’s website defines attitude as “a position assumed for a specific purpose”.

As an aircraft mechanic (B-52s) I learned that the aircraft’s “attitude” was based on the relationship between its axis and a reference point (such as the horizon). A “positive attitude” was one that would cause the aircraft to travel to a point above the horizon. A “negative attitude” was one that would cause the aircraft to travel into the ground (unless guided to land safely).

  1. Create reference points.
  2. Use these reference points to determine if your attitude will carry you to your goals.
  3. Check your reference point and your progress daily (at least) attitudes often need course correction.

Finally, be sure to set your reference points a little above the horizon you’re traveling to. One of the most successful painter/sculptors ever born explains why in the following quote.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. ~Michelangelo

Always be positive. Always take every failure and figure out how it helps you learn to position yourself for success.

2. Write Down your Truest Desires, Dreams and Goals & Make a Plan.

As an Air Force Acquisition Project Manager, I learned the key difference between project management and traditional business management. Businesses are supposed to go on for eternity & projects have a definite beginning and end. Your life is a project. Sorry if that is a news flash, but your time here is limited. You’d better plan to use it wisely.

Write down your dreams and goals and develop plans to reach them. Create a Life Plan that resembles the project plans used in business to ensure growth and forward momentum to the company’s vision.

Turn a blind eye to that which isn’t included in your goals/plan or you will surely find yourself putting your wheels down before you reach your destination. Never underestimate how critical your attitude is to the direction you travel in and the destination you will arrive at. Remove the words “can’t” and
“failed” from your vocabulary. Replace them with the question, “What does this teach me that I can use to reach my goals?”

3. Take Action – Goals are Worthless without Action. Equation for Principles of Success

In the equation of success, the difference between wanting to achieve a goal and having achieved that goal is the action you took to get it.

Writing goals down is a good first step, but you also have to work to achieve those goals. Many people fall into the action trap. This happens when you do “busy work” vs. work that leads to your goals.

  • Learn from your past and let it go. If you keep looking back you will never move forward.
  • Always look for ways to use where you are now to position yourself to achieve your goals.

4. Never Stop Learning.

This learning doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) be only in classrooms. Sure take college courses & get degrees. However, don’t limit yourself to just that. Get career specific training. Take classes on the latest technology. Attend seminars, trade shows, and presentations. Listen to podcast. Read blogs. Fill your social media friends list with mentors vs gossips. Use the time spent on non-educational TV and radio to watch & listen to something that will help you.

Being a lifelong learner serves plays several roles in success. Gaining knowledge on the subject you’re paying for is just one role. You’ll also meet people. Learn about how they succeed and fail. You’ll grow a network you can interact with, contribute to, and call on when in need. You’ll have more to share with loved ones. You’ll be a better parent, spouse, teacher, and mentor when & if the times comes for you.

5. Be Persistent and Work Hard

This should be a given, but there is something about our society that encourages us to live our entire lives believing we are somehow entitled to things we didn’t work really hard to earn.

All to often, community leaders point to someone as “keeping us down” and stoke our anger as riotous so they can use it to fuel their own cause. In doing so they teach us to take what we can without giving back. This is a true evil that will destroy all that is good if not checked by the effort of good people. ~ Just a thought I had

Sure, you can play the system and get some things without much effort. However, you won’t get success that way. Instead you’ll trade off your freedom of choice and most of your opportunities in exchange for a small pittance and a drudgery of an existence.

6. Learn to Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

In the military, we call this decisive decision making. The process is taught because military leaders must learn to regularly make solid decisions in highly competitive and stressful situations.

The trap for analytical types is in the beginning part (get all the facts). You have to accept that in most environments there will be something you don’t and can’t know. This is largely because facts are always changing as our world changes. In competitive environments (like business) it is often due to someone is holding info back, or changing the playing field/battleground to throw you off.

  • You can the decision process taught by the U.S.A.F. in this article on (Problem Solving).

7. Focus Your Time and Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.

If your children complain about being bored, tell them to start on something helpful and difficult (like math homework). They will soon find million other things to do. ~ Just a thought I had

When teaching my daughters to drive, I pointed out that achieving goals and driving a car are similar because you must focus on the road ahead. Take quick looks around for situation awareness, but always bring you focus back to the farthest visible point ahead in the road you’re on. If you look left or right too long, you’ll find the car (and your life) swerve in that direction…doesn’t end well.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Innovate: Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

If you’ve ever had a great idea, you’ve also heard someone you know say, “It can’t be done”. If you’re going to be successful, you have to translate “It can’t be done” into “That person quit after failing and I won’t…no matter what it takes”.

Fear is a compass pointing to untested paths. Unless you’re idea of success includes doing what almost everyone has already done, it is time to start walking down those paths. ~ Just a thought I had

9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.Effective Communication Process & Principles of Success

Effective communication is a process. As the diagram shows, it involves a sender, message, receiver, and feedback. If you get it, that is a good. If not it is time to learn.

Most of us automatically learn to effectively communicate about what matters to and motivates us. However, few of us learn to effectively communicate about what matters to and motivates others.

You must develop (and nurture) networks of people. You must also do this with sincerity and by treating them openly, honestly and firmly. People appreciate and reciprocate with network partners who are consistent and dependable.

10. Be Honest and Dependable

The previous nine principles of success all help you build the type and quantity of relationships success in any area of life requires. This last principle is the underpinning of the core value that ties all ties all things in life together (integrity). It is the integrity of any construct, relationship, or individual that provides enough strength to hold it together. If you corrupt your integrity all else will eventually fail.

A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. ~Edgar J. Mohn

I’ll end with that. Be sure to leave a comment. Also, please Tweet me: @sethhaigh, find me on LinkedIn and friend me on Facebook.

Written by Seth Haigh


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