Don’t you think it’s strange that Success 101 isn’t taught in schools? You’d think, after nearly three centuries since the establishment of the country’s educational system, someone would’ve figured it out by now.
Seriously though, this sin of omission is understandable. Success is way too dependent on multiple factors to be adequately covered by a single academic course. You learn it best when you study the lives of successful people, and take away lessons such as these, that can’t be learned in a classroom.
1. Anyone Can Be Successful
He can be the guy sick of eating Spam three times a day. She can be the girl tired of living in her wealthy parents’ shadow.
Successful people don’t think too much about who they were born as or where they came from. Instead, they focus on how to get to a better place than the one they’re in right now.
2. Success Takes More Than Hard Work
To quote Mr. Miyagi from “The Next Karate Kid”: “Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.” You may work harder and longer than everyone else, but if you only work because you want to appear busy, rather than because you have a clear, well thought out goal for yourself, there’s no point to it.
3. Success Takes More Than Passion
You won’t succeed without passion, but you won’t succeed on passion alone, either. Passion fades and/or changes over time, so it’s foolhardy to put all your faith in it. Follow your heart if that’s what makes you happy, but be prepared for what happens when your heart wishes to go somewhere else.
4. Success Takes Time
The real world isn’t like a classroom; you aren’t don’t get your “grade” back right away. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to have patience and not give up when you’re not getting instant results.
5. Success Isn’t Perfection
Successful people aren’t the ones who never fail. They’re the ones who keep picking themselves up every time they fall down.
They accept they have much to learn, and therefore work continuously to improve themselves – even when they’re as old as Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man.
6. Successful Leaders Don’t Let Fear Hold Them Back
Everyone faces fear in their road to success. Fear of failure, rejection, loss, or even just fear of changing paths. Successful leaders are different in how they use that fear, though.
Rather than letting it hold them back, successful people take action even in the face of fear.
7. You Have to Speak Up
Whether you’re afraid to get clarification or afraid of adding your opinion in an important meeting, you’re holding yourself back from success. Every question and every idea is valuable, and the most successful people recognize this. You don’t have to be the best at public speaking to share your ideas, but it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your public speaking with some of these tips.
8. Success Doesn’t Depend on Your College Major
If you take a look at the college majors of billionaires, you’ll notice they come from different backgrounds. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a STEM or liberal arts graduate. What matters is what you do with what you know, and how you integrate knowledge from other fields in order to succeed.
9. Success Can’t be Planned
Despite what you’re taught in school, you don’t have to plan every detail of your goals to be successful. Stop worrying over the details of what’s going to happen down the road, focus on the actions right in front of you and take it one step at a time.
10. Success Looks Different for Everyone
To you, success might mean living in a fancy mansion, eating five-course meals every day and being doted on by a gaggle of beautiful women/handsome men. To someone else, it might mean not having to use a park bench as a makeshift bed anymore. Avoid judging people based on their aspirations; for all you know, it could the only thing keeping them alive.
11. Success Wins You Both Friends and Enemies
No matter what you do, your success won’t please everyone. Some people will flock to you, hoping that some of your good fortune will rub off on them. Others will try to find the tiniest, slimmest cracks in your veneer, and badmouth you at every opportunity. A few will be genuinely happy and supportive of you; these are the people you keep close at all times.
12. Success Can Be a Burden
When you’re successful, you attract attention – unwanted or otherwise. You get praised if you’re a good role model, and vilified if you’re not. You have to fight to keep your real self intact, and not let success go to your head or define you.
13. Success Isn’t Just About You
If you ever get invited to discuss your secrets of success, remember to acknowledge the contributions of the people who helped you get to the top. You never know when you might need their help again.
14. Success Magnifies Your Traits – For Better or Worse
Warren Buffett once said: “Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.” Coming from one of the world’s richest men, that’s saying a lot.
15. Success Tests You on Multiple Levels
Aside from magnifying your personality traits, success tests you. It tests how far you’ll go to keep it, by making every single one of your choices seem heavier than they really are. When this happens, remember: As long as you’ve always kept it real, most people won’t fault you for being human.
16. Success Is Like Driving
Everyone can learn the basics of driving, but only the ones who actually go out there and drive will get anywhere. Also, if they manage to survive real road dangers – such as grizzly bears suddenly jumping in front of them – they become better drivers for it.
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
Success is a strange thing, isn’t it? It somehow manages to be simple and complicated at the same time. Regardless of how you define success, keep the abovementioned lessons in mind, so you’ll be able to achieve success in your own time, on your own terms.