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Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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One day when I was writing an interesting article my wife asked me, “Why did you achieve success so late, during the late forties?  Did you ever find out the reasons for your late success?” The question was an interesting one as I seldom thought about why I achieved success so late in my life until then. I thought about this for a while; here are the reasons that come to my mind:

  1. You must find your passion first and then follow your dreams to achieve success.  Many people don’t know their passions but slog hard throughout their lives like blind people searching for balls. This is the first mistake people make. 
  2. You must have faith in yourself and patience to pursue your goals. A study shows that most failures occur as a result of impatience and lack of faith in oneself. This is the second mistake people make. 
  3. You must have clarity in your approach.  You must know where you want to go and how you want to go.  Many people have huge potential but go to the graveyard without tapping them as they don’t know where they are going.  This is the third mistake people mistake. 
  4. You must have someone to handhold you. Behind a person’s success, there is someone who laid the ladder to facilitate this success.  A mentor or coach can help you reach your goals successfully. During my teaching and training programs, most of the people ascribe their failures or late success to a lack of guidance.   People often fail due to a dearth of guidance.  This is the fourth mistake people make. 
  5. You must focus on one thing in life so that you will be able to grow quickly.  Many people put their efforts into too many activities, and finally, end up nowhere.  This is the fifth mistake people make. 
  6. You must learn to manage external threats that divert from your goals and objectives. There are two threats ― internal and external threats where internal threats arise out of your negligence, or a lack of sustained focus, and external threats arise from the external environment in which you have no control.  Most people blame external circumstances for their failures. And they fail when they don’t anticipate and manage external threats. They also fail when they don’t constantly align themselves towards their goals by keeping themselves on track as and when they go out of track due to external forces and factors.  This is the sixth mistake people make.
  7. You must have connections in the current world. Connection is also known as a network without which people cannot grow. There are several right people in a wrong place thus failing in their lives miserably despite having immense potential.  If a raindrop falls into an ocean, it loses its significance and if the same raindrop falls into a shell, it becomes a pearl.  That is the major difference connections make!  This is the seventh mistake people make. 
  8. You must focus on the present rather than brooding over the past which cannot be changed and worrying about the future that cannot be predicted. Many people waste 30 percent of their time by thinking about their unpleasant past which wastes their precious time and energy.  This is the eighth mistake people make. 
  9. You must know how to manage your time. Time is more precious than money. If you waste one second, you have wasted one second of your precious life as God has gifted you a prescribed life span.  Use your traveling time to listen to inspirational tapes and turn your dead time into learning time.  Always carry a book to use your commute time. However, most people waste their precious time resulting in failure or late success.  This is the ninth mistake people make. 
  10. You must enjoy the journey and must not sacrifice it for the sake of the destination to excel in your area of interest. Many people sacrifice many things with the sole aim of reaching their destination, and finally, don’t find meaning in their lives and get dejected.  This is the tenth mistake people make. 
  11. You must focus more on efforts, not outcomes. When you focus too much on the outcome you may lose interest in putting your efforts as most of the time outcome won’t come instantly, and it takes lots of time.  And people get dejected for not getting an instant outcome for instant efforts. This is the eleventh mistake people make. 
  12. You must learn to reinvent as per the changing times and technologies. Currently, there is all-around complexity and uncertainty across the world with the rapid changes in technology.  Some people achieved success but failed to sustain it as they did not reinvent as per the needs of the time. They took their success for granted.  They did not change their tools and techniques as they thought that what worked for them to reach their present position would work for them to reach their next higher position.  They finally lost the position they reached, leave alone reaching their next higher position. This is the twelfth mistake people make. 

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

Remember that it is never too late to achieve success, and age is not an excuse.  Old age is a state of mind.  And there are a few people who still follow their passions and live life fully by utilizing their hidden potential and capabilities thus providing meaning for themselves as well as inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. 

I told my wife that I belong to a poor family without much regular education.  I joined Indian Air Force at the age of 18 and pursued my education privately with a lot of gaps in the middle. I told her that I had been an average student throughout my life.  It takes a long time for me to understand certain things.  

I think more number of times to understand and grasp the content.  Hence, I have to work harder.  If I had a consistent working experience, a good mentor, and timely support I would have achieved success much earlier.  I had to learn everything by trial and error method, and mostly learned lessons from my experiences, especially from my frequent failures.  

Above all, I was surrounded by a few unpleasant people, mostly my relatives, who continuously pulled me down. That damaged and slowed down my prospects to make it big in my life on time.  However, my passion for continuous learning and constant feedback made me a successful person.  

I firmly believed that success would touch my toes.  How long does it elude me?  Finally, I achieved success the hard way due to my hard work, smart work, and wise work, and touched my tipping point. Hence, keep doing your job sincerely by spotting your passions, and by pursuing them thoroughly with a single-minded dedication with more emphasis on the means rather than on your ends. 

Remember that success involves a series of strategies, steps, and sutras that you must follow meticulously.  You will succeed not because you are destined but because you are determined to achieve success despite several odds stacked against you.  To summarize, you can succeed only when you shrug off pessimism, choose good friends, take care of your family, and above all, break your mental limitations.

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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