More often than not I meet people and they ask a simple question ‘How can I achieve success?’ The answer is even simpler: ‘We are what we repeatedly do’. This is part of the famous quotation by Aristotle and the full quote is “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The question is then ‘What are the habits I need to have in order to be successful?’ Firstly we also need to understand that true success cannot be measured, and we only achieve success when we are recognised by our family, our peers and our community as being successful. If we think we are successful that is just plain arrogance.
Life is about relationships and we can only be trusted in a relationship if we can be consistent. Even consistently boring is better than nothing, but if we would like the relationship to flourish we would need to work and be fully committed to its success.
However, in the world of instant everything, we assume that we can buy some sort of key to unlock the secret of success. No there are no keys for sale and there never will be. It is hard work alone that unlocks success.
It is commonly accepted that to become good at something you will need to do it for 10,000 hours (that is approximately 417 days or just over one year). The challenge, however, is to commit to putting in enough hours per day so that you can become good at something. If you only decide to do it for 3 hours a day, it will take you approximately 10 years to become good, which one could argue may be too long to achieve any level of excellence. The bottom line is that success comes from commitment and consistency.
Most people believe they can find a short cut to success, so they read self-help books thinking this will help find the imagined short cut. The reality is that they spend so much time reading that they become excellent readers. I like the wisdom shared by Steve Maraboli – he said that if self-help books worked it would have been a dying industry, but instead it is a flourishing industry, just like the leadership development industry which simply drains money and has no significant results. We have a leadership deficit, which may have been caused by the idea that leadership development could work.
What work needs to be done for success? Can you be consistent is the first question we need to ask, will we consistently do what it takes to get enough experience to be successful and will we be committed to pushing ourselves a little further every day? In dealing with people will we strive to spend more time understanding them and allowing the relationship to grow? Will we spend more time trying, adjusting and practising until we get something right? How much time are you willing to commit to being successful?
Whatever you decide to do, if you have decided to be successful then you will have to be consistent to achieve any level of success. Whatever happens, you need to realise that you will have to keep repeating what you do, continuously work hard and NEVER GIVE UP.