Have you ever noticed that success isn't really based on environment, upbringing, education, being from a certain neighborhood, etc.? Even those from the most humble beginnings can rise above their circumstances. History proves this over and over.
Though some successful people might simply attribute their accomplishments to luck when asked how they’ve done what they’ve done, that’s not all there is to it. In fact, some of us would even say that there’s no such thing as luck at all. However, for the most part, we recognize that various factors can come into play like hard work, perseverance, being in the right place at the right time, taking risks, etc.
One thing is certain, people who push their boundaries share this in common: they all use the following three important principles for success. And the good news is that these principles are equally available to everyone to use at any time and under any conditions.
Principle 1: Define What Success Means To You
You have to know and imagine what you want in order to have it happen. What does success mean to you? Does it mean that you’re earning a certain level of income? Does it mean that you have risen to a certain level in your professional field? Does it mean that you are able to own certain stuff and live in a certain kind of house in a certain kind of neighborhood?
Those are some tangible measurements of success. You might also pick some less tangible ways to define success. Maybe for you it’s receiving 100% satisfaction ratings from your customers. Maybe it’s running a team at work with high morale, high loyalty and low-turnover. Maybe it's staying in a relationship with the same partner for 20 years. Again, what is it for you?
Notice that this isn't about measuring success by the standards others set, nor is success a comparative thing. As in, “I will be successful when I have more than my neighbor does.”
Look closely at what YOU think defines success… not what others think. The truth about success is that it is most fulfilling when it is being declared from a place that is authentically you. That place inside you from which YOU set your goals and reach your potential.
Principle 2: Stretch Your Imagination
Do you even know what your potential is? Dare to stretch your imagination. Dare to think big. For inspiration you might want to read David Schwartz' book, The Magic of Thinking Big. Published in 1959, it's still highly-influential to successful people today, including the famous chef, Emeril Lagasse. Lagasse read the book when he was still the executive chef of the world-renowned Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans. Several years later during an interview he cited The Magic of Thinking Big as his inspiration to set his sights higher than the prestigious job he already had at Commander’s Palace. In case you’re not familiar with Lagasse, he went on to become a celebrity TV chef, author of 18 bestselling cookbooks, and owner of more than a dozen restaurants in 5 US cities.
David Schwartz says in his book that "Success is determined not so much by the size of one's brain as it is by the size of one's thinking." He also goes on to say that you might have been told that your destiny is outside your control, so forget those dreams, forget the better life. Be resigned. Besides success isn't worth the price – as though you have to sell your soul to get what you want in life. Schwartz counters those myths, saying, "Success doesn't demand a price. Every step forward pays a dividend."
Principle 3: Think Possibility
The third important principle for success is to think possibility without obsessing over the how. Form a vision of what you want and then trust that the how will take care of itself. Focus on the what and then open to the possibilities that will make the what into a reality.
Sara Blakely was selling copy machines when she decided that someday she wanted to work for herself. At that point, she had very little money, no training, and no idea how she would become self-employed. She also boldly decided that she wanted to be on Oprah Winfrey's show. For what reason, she had no idea. It was simply something on her wish list that she believed was possible. When she invented her first undergarment, it was a sudden, inspired idea – a convenient solution for a problem she encountered as she was dressing for an evening out. Later she developed it into a product and started her company, Spanx. By the way, she had no business degree and no knowledge of the hosiery industry. Yet, she persevered and made some bold moves to meet buyers and get Spanx placed in major department stores. Eventually Oprah Winfrey declared it one of her favorite products that year and arranged an interview with Blakely.
Today, Blakely is a billionaire. She shows us that success comes from thinking "possibility." Though she had not initially imagined how she would get there, she definitely visualized what she wanted. When the timing was right, she took action.
So, when using this principle, think possibility, take the action you can take right now. Take a first step. Don't fret over the future that hasn't happened yet. Don't obsess over the fact that you're not where you want to be yet. Do what you can where you are right here and right now. Trust that the how will work itself out.
Next time you come across the stories of a successful people, take note of how they use these principles to their advantage. Notice that they don't let anything else or anyone else define their success for them. They visualize what they want. They think big and don't dwell on what they can't do. They find a way, take inspired action and think "possibility."
If they can do it, so can you.
Angela Loëb is an author, speaker and self-development consultant who loves to study, teach, and write about mind mastery, spirituality, career, and life purpose. More at http://about.me/angelarloeb
For further inspiration on "thinking possibility," check out this Forbes video interview with Sara Blakely...