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Keys to Success



Keys to Success

Several factors contribute to success. Consider a few:

1. Positive Self-Concept. Imagine that you wake up one morning and your roommate is waiting to tell you something. He or she says, “I’ve been wanting to tell you what an outstanding roommate you are. You’re so kind, so thoughtful; you always keep the room so neat. Just being around you motivates me to be the most positive person I can be.”

After you recover from your cardiac arrest, you head off toward your first class of the day. Whom should you run into but your date of the previous evening, who says, “Am I ever glad I ran into you! I’d been hoping I’d get a chance to tell you again what a terrific time I had yesterday. My friends are so jealous of me. They think that I’m the luckiest person in the world to go out with someone like you, and I agree! You’re so friendly, so intelligent. You have a great sense of humor and good looks to boot! Why, when I’m with you, I feel like I’m in a dream!”

Then you float into your first class. Your professor is about to return the midterm exams you took last week, but before he distributes them he says, “I have an announcement I’d like to make. I want everyone to know what an outstanding job this student has done on this test.” He points to you in the front row and says, “You are a breath of fresh air to me as a professor. You always do your assignments on time. You often do even more than is expected of you. Why, if every student were like you, teaching would be a joy. I was even considering leaving teaching before you came along!”

Wouldn’t that help you have a great attitude about yourself? And wouldn’t it motivate you to be a better roommate, a better date, a better student? You’d say to yourself, “Why, I’m one sharp person. After all, my roommate, my date and my prof all think so … and they’re no dummies!” You wouldn’t argue with them for a minute!

Of course, some people think so highly of themselves that their egos become problems. Nevertheless, many psychologists agree with Dr. Joyce Brothers when she says, ” . . a strong, positive self- image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”

2. Clearly Defined Goals. Aim at nothing and you’ll surely hit it. Aim at a specific goal and, even if you don’t hit it, chances are you’ll be a lot farther along than if you’d never aimed at all.

The U. S. Space Program has produced many successes and, sadly, a few tragic failures. The successes of NASA help illustrate the importance of goal setting. Perhaps you’ve heard of the three electricians who were working on the Apollo spacecraft. A reporter asked each what he was doing. The first said, “I’m inserting transistors into circuits.” The second answered, “I’m soldering these wires together.” The third explained, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

Which one was more motivated and satisfied? Probably the one who saw how his activities fit into the overall goal.

Without a clear life’s goal, daily duties can become drudgery. Knowing your life’s goal can increase your motivation and satisfaction as you see how daily activities help accomplish that goal.

In the early 1960’s, President John F. Kennedy set a goal of putting an American on the moon by the end of the decade. In 1969, Neil Armstrong took his “one small step.” A specific goal helped NASA achieve a major milestone in history. Someone who desires success will set specific goals.

3. Hard Work. Any successful athlete knows that there would be no glory on the athletic field without hard work on the practice field. A true test of character is not just how well you perform in front of a crowd, but how hard you work when no one notices-in the office, in the library, in practice. President Calvin Coolidge believed “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not … Genius will not … Education will not … Persistence, determination, and hard work make the difference.”

“A true test of character is not just how well you perform in front of a crowd, but how hard you work when no one notices.”

“What is success?” asks British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing … hard work and a certain sense of purpose…. I think I had a flair for … (my work), but natural feelings are never enough. You have got to marry those natural feelings with really hard work.”


The heavyweight-boxing champion of another era, James J. Corbett, often said, “You become the champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round.”

Success requires hard work. Of course you can overdo it and become a workaholic. One workaholic businessman had a sign in his office that read, “Thank God It’s Monday!” We all need to balance work and recreation, but hard work is essential to success.

4. A Willingness to Take Risks. Theodore Roosevelt expressed the value of this asset in one of his most famous statements: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the great twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat, ”

Ingemar Stenmark, the great Olympic skier, says, “In order to win, you have to risk losing.” Consider this question: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” That question can expand your vision and enlarge your dreams. Maybe your desire is to be a great political leader, an entertainer, a top businessperson or academician, a star athlete. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Now ask, “Am I willing to risk a few possible failures in order to achieve that goal?” Success often involves risks.


Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You

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