For the majority of people in the world, success is viewed as luck, or being at the right place at the right time. They never take into consideration that you also need to be the right person at the right place at the right time. To most, success is usually determined by external circumstances. But true success is only created internally. Author Sterling W Sill once said, “One of the greatest paradoxes of life is that almost everyone wants to improve his circumstances, but almost no one wants to improve himself. And yet our personal preparation is the key to all success.”
Unsuccessful people blame external circumstances; successful people internalize responsibility for their success. This represents a new way of thinking; a paradigm shift that is necessary for your progress. Until this shift takes place the unsuccessful continue to get more and more of what they don’t want, and (comically) it is never their fault. This poem illustrates unsuccessful thinking.
When the other fellow takes a long time, he’s slow.
When I take a long time, I’m thorough.
When the other fellow doesn’t do it, he’s lazy,
When I don’t do it, I’m busy.
When the other fellow does something without being told, he’s overstepping his bounds.
When I do it, that’s initiative.
When the other fellow overlooks a rule of etiquette, he’s rude.
When I skip a few rules, I’m original.
When the other fellow pleases the boss, he’s an apple polisher,
When I please the boss, it’s cooperation,
When the other fellow gets ahead, he’s getting the breaks.
When I manage to get ahead, that’s just the reward for hard work
To be successful we need to make this paradigm shift and view success as something that we attract because of who we become. The old sayings ring true: For things to change, you need to change. For things to get better, you need to get better.
One of my favorite speakers is Jim Rohn. His business philosophies are legendary, but he learned this new way of thinking in his twenties from his mentor Earl Shoaf. Earl was fond of saying,
“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.”
“Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills.”
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
It is this new way of thinking that has changed my life, and it will change yours. It represents a new view on life, a higher understanding of how to reach your objectives. As I have observed, most people set goals in this sequence: Have – Do – Be. What do I want to have? A new car, my dream home, a perfect relationship? Then what do I need to do to get it? Then what will I be at that point? The answer is typically, and then I will be happy. Happiness though, like success, does not come from external things. The new way of thinking would change your goals to this order: Be – Do – Have. What do I want to be? What do I need to do to become? Then what will I have as a result of who I am?
The onus is on you and I to become successful, to change ourselves and therefore change our world.
As Stephen Covey said, “What we are communicates more eloquently than what we say or do.”