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The Pillars of Success
There are many great books you could read about success and achievement. However, who really has the time to read all these books? Sometimes we get so caught up in reading and trying to learn and retain all this information that we forget about actually “doing” and taking the necessary actions that will help us achieve our goals and objectives.
There is no denying that success requires a combination of many different elements that must come together in a specific way [see: mastermind matrix]. Without these elements we may very well struggle to overcome the setbacks and challenges that life blesses us with.
It would of course be very difficult to pinpoint exactly what every single individual requires to achieve their desired outcomes since we are all unique in our own way and have very different circumstances that are specific to our personal experiences. However, there are certain factors that are absolutely essential and critical to any worthwhile cause. For the purposes of this article, we will call these factors “The Pillars of Success”.
These pillars include:
- Removing limiting beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward.
- Adopting new habits and routines that will help boost your productivity.
- Identifying and making the best use of the resources you have at your disposal.
- Recognizing and using your strengths and the skills you will need to achieve your objectives.
- Taking charge of your emotions in a proactive manner — making them work for you rather than against you.
- Finding ways to motivate yourself to take the necessary actions to achieve your goals.
- Setting goals and objectives consistently in the right way to help keep you on track.
- Cultivating a mindset that is naturally aligned with the outcomes you want to achieve.
These are the Pillars of Success and the key critical factors that we must focus on in order to improve our chances of succeeding in any field of endeavor.
As with all things, it’s important to keep in mind the 80/20 Rule which states that 80% of your actions will lead to 20% of your results. Likewise, 20% of your actions will lead to 80% of your results.
These pillars are not comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination, however what they represent is the 20% of actions that you must take to help you attain 80% of the results you desire to create in your life. By consistently focusing on the highest impact activities, will help you to accelerate your results in a dramatic way.
Let us now begin by breaking down the first pillar of success.
Transforming Your Beliefs
Our beliefs are so powerful that they literally blind us to other perspectives of reality. This is good news for some, however it’s very disheartening news for others who are riddled with limiting beliefs that are preventing them from achieving their goals and objectives.
Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
The first step to any transformational process is to identify and acknowledge that we are riddled with limiting beliefs.
Have a think about the ways you label yourself or how others label you. Do they label you as lazy, unreliable, as worthless or shy? What do they say about your specifically? And more importantly, what do you believe without question?
These “labels” you accept about yourself are causing you to think and act in a certain way — triggering a chain reaction of behaviors, which consequently attract the events and circumstances in your life that you are experiencing at this very moment.
Consider also personal beliefs that you have about different areas of your life. For instance, what beliefs do you have about…
- Your work and career?
- Your health and well-being?
- Your family, friends and relationships?
- Your money and finances?
- Your learning and self-development?
- Your role as a parent or partner?
- Your personal success?
- Your life in general? etc.
What limiting beliefs do I have about each of these areas?
What specifically must I believe in each of these areas in order to have the life I currently live on a daily basis?
What do I believe about my relationships in order experience these arguments and conflicts?
What do I believe about my finances in order to experience all these hardships?
Spend about 30 to 60 minutes identifying all the limiting beliefs you have within these areas of your life. The more thorough you are the deeper layers you will uncover, and the greater your chances of moving beyond these beliefs in the future.
How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
There are a number of things you can do that will help you overcome the limiting beliefs we discussed above. Here are some ideas that may assist you:
- Create doubt by questioning the validity of your beliefs: How is this belief absurd and ridiculous?
- Transform your language, thoughts and perspective about these beliefs.
- Consciously control your habitual reactions and responses to events and circumstances that might trigger your beliefs.
- Identify negative long-term consequences of your beliefs in order to create enough pain to motivate you to take action.
Cultivating Empowering Beliefs
Once you have weakened your limiting beliefs you’re now ready to begin cultivating empowering beliefs that will move you forward with greater momentum towards your goals and objectives. First you must ask yourself:
What empowering belief must I begin to cultivate that will make a positive difference in my life?
What must I believe in each area of my life in order to attain my goals and objectives?
What would I need to believe in order to have already achieved all my goals and objectives?
These questions will help you to identify the most important beliefs that will assist you to move forward with your life. However, to finish off this section I will leave you with 10 empowering beliefs that you might not have thought about cultivating. Each of these will help you expand what is possible in every area of your life:
- I already have all I need to succeed within me.
- I am in charge of my life and circumstances.
- Failure strengthens and empowers me.
- I can make tomorrow better than today.
- Every minute is another chance to turn it all around.
- There’s a lot of opportunity around me, always!
- I don’t need other people’s approval to succeed.
- Hard work and perseverance always pays off in the end.
- Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Setbacks are only temporary.
First memorize, then cultivate these beliefs as you go about your day, and you will lay down a very strong foundation that will help you breakthrough all the obstacles and challenges that life throws your way.
Transforming Your Habits
Almost everything we do results from a habit or routine that we have developed over a lifetime. Some of these habits are positive and empowering, however many might very well be sabotaging your success.
Which of my daily habits are helpful and productive?
Which of my daily habits are hurtful and prevent me from getting what I want from my life?
Let’s now break down the type of habits/behaviors that we should look at cultivating on a daily basis, and the type of habits/behaviors we must avoid at all costs if we desire to achieve our goals and objectives.
Limiting Behaviors to Avoid
Here is a list of the limiting behaviors we must avoid at all costs:
- Closed mindedness
- Seeking comfort
- Excessive eating, drinking and socializing
- Excessive TV watching
- Lack of focus
- Making excuses
- Instant gratification
Empowering Behaviors to Cultivate
Here is a list of empowering behaviors we must look at cultivating on a daily basis:
- Waking early
- Healthy eating
- Helping people
- Sound financial management practices.
- Regular meditation and relaxation.
- Regular exercise — especially high intensity interval training (HIIT).
- Continuous improvement by studying mentors, learning from mistakes and reading books.
- Sleeping soundly and adequately (certain limiting habits may interfere with this process).
Keep in mind that these lists are by no means exhaustive. In fact, please feel free to add your own limiting and empowering habits/behaviors to the lists.
Make a Decision to Change
Finally, before you make a decision to change any habit or behavior you must acknowledge that you are actually ready and willing to make a change. To do this, admit to yourself that:
- These behaviors must change…
- I must be the one to change them…
- I am capable of changing them starting today…
The moment you identify the habits/behaviors that are preventing you from living the life you want, is the moment you can begin cultivating new empowering behaviors that will lead you down a better path filled with more opportunities and fulfillment.
Building Your Resources
Once your beliefs and habits are in order, now comes time to take stock of yourself and identify the resources you have at your disposal that will help you to secure the things you want most in life.
A resource is anything you can make use of to help you achieve your desired outcomes.
For the purpose of this discussion I have divided the resources into several categories. As you read over each of these categories ask yourself:
What specific resources do I have in this category?
What resources might be missing that could help me achieve my desired outcomes?
How could I go about acquiring these missing resources?
How can I make the best use of the resources I have to achieve my goals and objectives?
Resource List Categories
Here is a list of resources that you potentially have at your disposal to help you achieve your desired outcomes:
- Support from family, friends, mentors and colleagues.
- Important skills developed over a lifetime.
- Emotional anchors that help enhance passion, creativity, persistence or motivation.
- Empowering language including motivating quotes, power words, affirmations, etc.
- Solution focused questions to ask yourself in times of need.
- Critical qualities or traits.
- Empowering beliefs about self, life and others.
- Access to relevant information from websites and books.
- Access to knowledge from experience and past successes and mistakes.
- Access to technology to help you achieve your goals.
- Time available to work on your goals.
Of course knowing what goals you want to achieve is absolutely essential as you go about building your resource list. We will therefore discuss this in more detail a little later within this article.
I personally like to keep a notebook of the resources I have at my disposal. It’s somewhat a book of inspiration, where I make note of all the things that I can use to help me achieve my goals or overcome the obstacles that life throws my way. I keep adding to it on a weekly basis with relevant resources that I acquire over time. I’ve found it very helpful, and I hope it can also be helpful for you as well.
Identify Your Skills and Strengths
Having identified your resource list, it’s important now to go a little deeper and pinpoint the strengths and skills that you have at your disposal that you might like to use to achieve your goals and objectives. Let’s begin by taking a look at your skill-set.
Skills Required for Success
Have a think about the skills that you have at your disposal and the skills you have acquired over a lifetime that could help you move in a better direction.
What specific skills do I currently have at my disposal that will help me achieve my desired outcomes?
What critical new skills must I master to achieve my goals and objectives?
How will I go about developing these skills?
Where must I begin?
Once you have asked these questions, immediately take action and start developing the skills you will need to attain your goals and objectives.
Essential Life Skills
No matter what your goals, there are certain skills that are absolutely essential and necessary. Some will of course be more applicable to your circumstances than others, however all of them are extremely useful and relevant in their own right.
As you go over each of these lists, rate your personal level of proficiency in each of these areas out of 10 and ask yourself how relevant each of these skills is to the attainment of your personal goals and objectives.
- Decision Making
- Problem Solving
- Creative Thinking
- Critical Thinking
- Accelerated Learning
- Memory Enhancement
- Personal Influence
- Public Speaking
- Relationship Building
- Motivating People
- Goal Setting
- Time Management
- Emotional Intelligence
- Financial Management
- Accelerated Reading
- Weight Management
- Productivity Skills
- Organization Skills
Having read over these skills, feel free to add others to the list that are relevant to your life and circumstances.
Identifying Your Strengths
Your strengths are like the deep thick roots of a tree stump that secure it to the ground against the harsh forces of nature. Likewise, your strengths are your “superpower” abilities that you can call forth at your time of need to help you breakthrough problems and obstacles. Hence, it’s absolutely critical that you become aware and recognize your best assets because sooner or later you will need them to help you overcome the challenges that life throws your way.
What are my real strengths?
What skills have I developed to a high level of proficiency?
What talents do I have that I can use to help me achieve my goals?
Which of my qualities have helped me overcome great odds and setbacks in the past?
What knowledge do I have that is essential with helping me achieve my desired outcomes?
What activities am I good at that could help me achieve my objectives?
What personal habits or behaviors will assist me along my journey?
All of the strengths you list here should essentially be added to the resource list we spoke about in the previous section. The more resources you add to this list, the more you will grow in confidence, and the more likely you are to take the necessary actions to achieve your goals and objectives.
Overcoming Your Weaknesses
On the opposite side of the coin we have our weaknesses. These are simply areas of our lives that we haven’t had an opportunity to develop or work-on. We might have neglected these areas for one reason or another, or they simply weren’t important or necessary for us to focus on at the time. As such we call them weaknesses, however they are by no means insurmountable obstacles that we simply won’t be able to overcome.
Just like with anything that we’re unfamiliar with, it simply takes a little time to learn and familiarize ourselves with a new skill or way of doing something. Over time and with a little effort it will become a habit, and subsequently maybe even a strength.
Take time now to identify your weaknesses in terms of your skills, qualities, knowledge, behaviors, etc, that are essential to the attainment of your goals. What are they specifically?
Having now identified your weaknesses, ask yourself:
How can I best overcome these limitations?
Who could possibly assist me in these areas?
What resources and knowledge might I need to help me overcome them?
What experience might I need to gain in order to become more confident in these areas?
How can I use my strengths to help me overcome my weaknesses?
What potential opportunities can be found within my weaknesses?
Keep in mind that you don’t always need to overcome your weaknesses. You simply need to build the right support mechanism that will help you gain the necessary leverage you need to move beyond areas where you’ve had little to no experience. By constantly asking for help, you will eventually find the answers you are looking for.
Taking Charge of Your Emotions
To be human is to experience a plethora of incredible emotions that add to the depth of our life experience. However, many times we wrongly interpret our emotions or we are simply unable to deal with them in an effective manner, which consequently leads us down a deep dark spiral of despair.
Emotions are nothing more than our interpretations of reality. Things don’t just happen to us. We rather interpret what happens to us in our own unique way and therefore experience a corresponding emotion. This emotion will then be perceived as bad or good, as helpful or hurtful, as productive or unproductive based on our own personal interpretations.
When it comes to our emotions there’s absolutely no doubt that they can either “make us” or “break us”. We are emotional creatures after all. However, as emotional creatures we have a responsibility to take time to learn and manage our emotional patterns accordingly so that they work for us rather than against us. Therefore don’t get caught up in events or circumstances that don’t pan out as you had hoped for. Instead take control of your emotional responses and you will soon take charge of your life.
Identifying Limiting Emotions
Here is a list of ten categories of limiting emotions that Anthony Robbins identified. Keep in mind that on the surface these emotions do seem limiting and disempowering, however it’s never the emotion that’s limiting or disempowering, it’s rather our interpretation of the emotion and how we respond accordingly.
- Fear (anxiety, panic, worry)
- Discomfort (embarrassment, impatience, boredom)
- Overwhelm (grief, depression, stress)
Identify which of the emotions listed above you experience on a weekly basis. Once identified have a look at the Emotional Mastery IQ Matrix for suggestions on how to deal with them more effectively.
The Meaning of Your Emotions
All emotions are helpful and assist us to learn more about ourselves and the current circumstances we are dealing with. In fact, all emotions have a hidden meaning and message that if understood, can guide us in the right direction — naturally reducing friction and moving us forward to our desired outcomes.
Finally, keep in mind that all limiting emotions signify that there’s something not working, that you must change something, or that you must start thinking differently about the situation at hand. Therefore when experiencing these emotions you should immediately take action in a positive and proactive manner that moves you closer to the thing you want.
Cultivating Empowering Emotions
There are certain emotions, that if cultivated correctly can lead to a far more fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle. Here they are listed in no particular order:
Each day, take time to bring these emotions into your life in ways that will transform your life and the life of those around you. Not only will this bring greater pleasure to your experience, but it will also help put you in a state-of-mind that will assist in the achievement of your goals and objectives.
Finding Unstoppable Motivation
Motivation is an absolute necessity for long-term success. With it, the journey is much more pleasant and fun, however without it everything you do can seem like a chore that places an ever heavier burden on your shoulders.
What Does Motivation Require?
In order to achieve sustained levels of motivation you need to cultivate the following qualities:
In addition to the above qualities, motivation also requires high levels of energy. Energy is a natural outcropping of motivation, however if we don’t look after our health for instance or live a very destructive habitual lifestyle, then our levels of energy will be very low no matter how motivated we are to achieve our goals and objectives.
How to Enhance Your Motivation Levels
There are many things that we can do that will help us immediately enhance our levels of energy and thusly our levels of motivation. Here are five suggestions:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Empowering Physiology
- Healthy Lifestyle/Living
- Goal Setting
How to Deplete Your Motivation Levels
There are many things we do and emotions we experience that will immediately deplete our levels of energy and thusly our levels of motivation. Here are a number of things to avoid:
Goal Setting for Success
Goal setting in the traditional sense might not be essential for success. However, goal setting of some kind is absolutely necessary as it will help you focus on the most important things that are required to achieve your desired outcomes.
I’ve already published two articles about goal setting, therefore I won’t go into much detail here, but rather provide a rough outline of what is required to set goals effectively.
Set Your Goals Carefully
There are two types of goals that you should be setting. The first are your Visionary Goals that are connected to your Personal Legend. These goals are focused on your long-term objectives. They will stretch your thinking and motivate you to keep moving forward despite any problems or obstacles that may arise along the way.
The second type of goals that we must set are known as Activity Goals. These goals are focused on daily and weekly actions that you must take in order to attain your Visionary Goals. They are tasks and projects that you work on consistently in order to move you forward step-by-step towards the attainment of the bigger picture.
Many times we set goals that we simply do not end up achieving. There are many reasons why this occurs including low levels of motivation, not enough resources, limiting beliefs, unhelpful habits, inferior level of skill, lack of knowledge, experience or even emotional turmoil. Literally everything we have discussed thus far can cause stagnation when it comes to goal achievement and as a result it can sabotage your success.
However, if all the above mentioned self-sabotage sources are not responsible, then you must make sure that when you set your goals that they ALWAYS meet the following criteria:
- My goals are timed: they have a definite start and end date.
- My goals are focused: they are directed upon one main clear objective.
- My goals are optimistic: they focus me on what I want to do, be, have, and achieve.
- My goals are challenging: they stretch my capabilities, skills and talents.
- My goals are attainable: they are challenging, however given my resources and capabilities they are most definitely within my reach.
- My goals are believable: I actually believe that I can achieve them. This suggests that my goals are challenging yet attainable at the same time.
- My goals are realistic: the time frame I have stipulated for the achievement of this goals is realistic given my resources and capabilities.
- My goals are ecological: the achievement of these goals does not interfere with other goals or other areas of my life in a negative way.
- My goals are specific: I have laid out exactly what I want to achieve specifically and accurately taking all factors into consideration.
- My goals are measurable: I can consistently measure my progress and journey towards the achievement of my goals.
- My goals are written: I have clearly written down my goals on paper where I can refer to them on a daily basis.
Develop a System and Plan of Action
Once you have clearly laid out your goals, it’s now time to sit down and lay out a plan of action that you will follow in a flexible manner towards the attainment of your objectives.
Here are some important guidelines that will help you draw up a thorough plan of action:
- Focus on the BIG rocks by taking into account the most important things you need to do to achieve your desired outcomes.
- Reverse Engineer your goals by seeing yourself having already achieved your goals in the future, then working step-by-step backwards from that point until you reach the present moment. Always ask yourself: What did I do specifically to achieve this particular outcome?
- Schedule daily objectives and tasks.
- Account for possible obstacle that you could confront along the way.
- Account for possible resources that you may require.
- Identify the support you may need from others.
Above all else, make sure that you stay flexible and adapt to changing conditions and circumstances. There’s no point in drawing up an inflexible plan of action that doesn’t take into account new information or unexpected events that may take place. Therefore always be transforming your approach when required to help you get back on track. In the end it doesn’t matter how you get to your end destination, as long as you get there in the end.
In addition to the plan of action, it’s also important to develop a system for tracking the progress you make towards your goals. This is important to help motivate and keep you on track — moving in the right direction.
Find Your Motivating Forces
As discussed in the previous section, motivation is absolutely critical for long-term success. Therefore when it comes to goal setting it’s important that you keep your levels of motivation as high as possible in order to keep yourself moving forward. One way you can do this is to create an award’s system where you periodically reward yourself for reaching specific milestones along your journey.
Make Sure Goal Congruency Exists
Finally, above all else you must ensure that your goals are 100% aligned and congruent with your beliefs, priorities, lifestyle, personal standards, values, and with other goals that you have set. This is absolutely critical because conflicts can lead to self-sabotage, which can lead to sub-par results and outcomes.
Do I have any limiting beliefs that conflict with the goals I want to achieve?
Given my current priorities, do I even have time to achieve my goals within the time-frame I have set?
Does my current lifestyle compliment my goals, or will there be friction?
Will I need to raise my standards to new levels in order to achieve my goals?
Do any of my values conflict with the outcomes I want to achieve?
Do I have any other goals that may conflict with the achievement of these goals?
What other conflicts could potentially exist that may sabotage my progress?
Once you have identified all the conflicts, you must now decide to take action in one of three ways:
- Transform all relevant areas of your life to match your goals.
- Adjust your goals accordingly to match your lifestyle, priorities, values, standards, beliefs, etc.
- Set new goals that are more congruent and aligned with all the factors we have discussed above.
This can be a hard choice to make, however we have to be honest with ourselves, otherwise we will continue to sabotage our own success.
The Success Centered Mindset
Finally, lets discuss how to think and approach events and circumstances more effectively in ways that will help you to better achieve your goals and objectives.
How to Attract Good Fortune
Many people may very well believe that some individuals are simply more fortunate than others, and that is why they have accumulated all this wealth and achieved amazing success and recognition for their endeavors. I personally believe that this is nothing more than a lame excuse that results from ignorance and misunderstanding.
Attracting good fortune into your life is not so much based on luck but rather on science — psychological science. The people who have an incredible amount of luck only seem lucky because they do the right things at the right time in the right way. Whether they realize what they’re doing or not, could very well be based on random experience or knowledge that they have gained. However, the specific things they’re doing can be modeled and replicated by anyone — therefore dramatically enhancing their chances of success (luck).
Here is the real reason why some people are simply luckier than others:
- They work smarter.
- They are more flexible and creative in their approach to changing conditions and circumstances.
- They take calculated risks.
- They model people who have succeeded before them.
- They build a strong network of contacts and personal relationships that last a lifetime.
This list is by no means comprehensive. In fact, it only scratches the surface.
Asking the Right Questions
One of the most important factors that separates the highest achievers from the rest of us, comes down to the questions they ask themselves on a consistent basis. The highest achievers ask questions that focus them on ideal outcomes, solutions and answers.
Most other people aren’t even consciously aware they are asking question. It’s a pity, because most of these questions — most of the time — are focused on what they don’t want, which for most people comes down to problems, mistakes, and their perceived “bad luck”.
In order to shift your way of thinking, you must begin by asking questions that will move you towards what you want and away from what you don’t want. For instance, when confronted with a problem or sudden setback, try asking the following questions for a change:
How can I best overcome this challenge?
How could this problem serve me?
How else can I view this situation?
What opportunities am I not seeing at the moment?
What resources could help me overcome this?
What can I learn from these circumstances?
What’s the best way forward from here?
Am I asking the right questions?
Give it a go and ask these questions the next time you’re confronted with a problem, and find out for yourself firsthand the power of effective questioning tactics.
Dealing with Adversity
The highest achievers have an uncanny ability to deal with adversity in a proactive and productive manner. Not only do they keep their composure, but they also approach problems creatively while meticulously taking into account all possible outcomes before making a final decision or taking action.
Cultivating the Right Attitude
In order to achieve success we must first begin to truly appreciate everything that we have. This appreciation comes from being grateful for the smallest of things that are currently making an impact on our lives. Really take time to ask yourself what you’re most grateful for and cherish these experiences to motivate you to move forward with a positive frame-of-mind.
When it comes to our “attitude”, we always hear that it’s important to think positively. However, if we only think positively then we tend not to notice all the problems that are creeping their way into our lives. Therefore we must begin today by thinking optimistically yet realistically. Thinking this way will always focus us on solutions, and yet it will not blind us from noticing the problems and challenges that we must deal with along our journey towards our goals and objectives.
The Language of Achievement
The words we speak aloud unlock the thoughts we cultivate on a daily basis. Likewise our thoughts reflect our attitude, and our attitude is expressed through our words and body language. Therefore as our attitude shifts, we begin transforming our language in positive ways as well.
If you desire to be successful in any field of endeavor, then you must consciously begin transforming your language patterns to ensure that they’re directing you towards the outcomes you desire, and not towards an avalanche of excuses and problems.
If you’ve read this far, then I congratulate you. You are one of the very few people who have had the discipline to see this article through to the end. Hopefully this also means that you are one of those rare people who also follows through on the promises you make to yourself to achieve your goals and objectives as well.
This article and accompanying mind map wasn’t meant to answer all your questions about what it takes to be a high achiever, however I do hope that you take a look at the related links scattered within the article, as they will provide you with much more relevant in-depth information and ideas that can help you along your journey.
I wish you the greatest of success and luck along your path towards your goals and objectives. But I suppose you won’t need luck, since it’s already a part of you.