One day you wake up. Something in you says, “I can’t keep living like this! I need to start a venture of my own. I can’t stand to work another day in that office. I need to pursue my dream.” You get up with a new desire to change your life. You think about what you want to achieve or accomplish in the next few months or years. You decide on a specific goal. Then, your off! The first day of the rest of your life!

But just like several previous attempts you once made to change your life, you don’t get very far. Something or a series of somethings happen that cause you to downscale the goal or to drop it entirely. More often than not, you drop it entirely.

Why?

Do you know?

Do you want to know? Or are you willing to let life be whatever you get every single day? Forging your own path isn’t as simple as what the best-selling authors and successful TV personalities talk about, right?

In fact, I’m sure at one point you probably hated hearing someone say, “I don’t know what to say. All I did was work a little harder and after a few attempts, I was able to make a huge killing in sales. I am now able to fly to Miami in my G6 every other month while sipping cocktails with 9 of my closest friends. I’m truly blessed.”

Crazy right?

So here’s the deal. I am convinced that the reason why so many aspiring dreamers are defeated just after beginning their pursuit of success… is because they truly have no idea what they are doing. They pursue success without preparation.

Would you go into a football game having never learned football? And even if you did go into the football field with a little practice under your belt, how confident are you that you will win the very first match you play… having never played with your opponent before?

Substitute the football example with war, swimming, writing, developing games, blogging…

Simply put, it is fatal to success… going into the pursuit of success… with only the picture of victory. Because when victory isn’t the outcome (and for many starters, this is the reality), then other outcomes become… well… unacceptable.

Let me explain.

I mean that people get into the pursuit with expectations of winning. All other outcomes aren’t given consideration despite the fact that a complete newbie, a complete amateur, a complete stranger to success is about to pursue it.

And if you keep going into pursuits like this, you will rarely make out alive or sane. People give up on dreams because of unrealistic expectations.

Instead, you should go into them with only one aim in mind. From the first day to the end of your days… You are pursuing to LEARN. The moment you become a student of success and not an out-of-the-box know-it-all, then you will be setting yourself up for victory.

Learning your way to the top is your best strategy to achieving almost any goal you set.

I want to now share with you a couple things I learned about setting yourself up for victory whenever you decide to pursue anything significant in your life.

 

Redefine success

I would say this is step 1. It has taken me a while, but success to me is no longer just a reward for effort. It is no longer just a sum of money, or a big car, or a big boat or anything I intend to receive as payment for my efforts.

Now… success isn’t what I WILL have but what I already have. And that to me is the ability to control my future (including my financial future). More specifically, the work I get to do. My passion.

I’m not directly saying that my passion is my success, but it is responsible for it.

There are people who get to really old age and regret not DOING the things they wanted to do.

It matters not how much some of them made in terms of money, but many feel they wasted their time (which is infinitely more valuable than money) on things they didn’t enjoy doing.

I’m not saying that they are miserable, but for a good number of those who feel the regret… often feel unfulfilled.

I look at Richard Branson and I wish to be like that. He has a spirit that looks younger than men half his age.

The right vocation. That to me is where the road to success begins. When engaged in the kind of work you feel you enjoy most and that you could eventually make profits in, it lessens the burden of doing the work itself.

You will not spend a minute more after quitting time when engaged in work you do not like. But you will readily sacrifice weekends to get better at the work you enjoying doing. There is a kind of “magic” in this sort of vocation that will set you up for the success you seek. What is this magic? This is briefly explained in the next step.

Stop thinking about success and start focusing on progress

Step 2 would very easily be about GETTING BETTER. When you are connected to what you do, you feel the desire to explore your passion. Instead of understanding just one aspect of your craft, you are almost always driven to find out what more this craft has to reveal to you.

It is here where you find innovation and creativity that you would never have known in any other circumstance. If you work in a place that makes you think about your paycheck and nothing more… you will hardly be compelled innovate.

Do you not ask yourself why google keeps coming up with crazy ideas every year while many other companies around the world in the same industry are struggling to be as creative?

Passion. A connection to your craft will drive you to discover things about that craft that become your competitive advantage in the marketplace. This also makes you a highly attractive prospect in the eyes of the right people.

No one wants to work with a person that is disconnected from what he/she does for very long. Tell me how successful a clothing store will be if the attendant treats you like a “mistake” for entering the store. Then think of that attendant that knows more about the clothing he/she sells than anyone else in the region.

Think of going to the next most significant level in your efforts. Mastery puts you at an advantage above many others who are too focused on reaping great rewards someday than on the process of getting better guaranteed to materialize those rewards.

You need progress-focused people around you

If you surround yourself with folks that do more wishing than working… then you are going to be wisher yourself (is that even a word?).

Don’t talk about success. Don’t talk about what you don’t have. This includes other people’s success or your own (if you don’t have it yet). Unless you are willing to do some investigation into what will lead to that success.

Instead, you need to be around people who get things done. They may not spawn success with every task they complete, but that’s because success doesn’t work like that. A successful life comes as a result of progress made in the direction of that success.

You will be compelled to make progress just by being a part of the progress team. Progress is attainable. It is measurable. It can be done by every single individual. Unless you are a lazy person.

But this should go beyond the people you physically meet with. You also need to take this resolve to where you hang out online as well. Because like it or not, our very lives are influenced by the content we consume on social media.

Your list of the people you follow can already tell you about what your mind wants. In fact, you might be able to tell the kind of person you are… by just your following :).

I’m not joking. Look at the people Mark Zuckerberg follows. The people Richard Branson follows. The people TV personalities follow. Something about who they are can be seen in those lists.

Yes, you probably have high school friends on your lists, but look at those who you have never met before. Ask yourself why you follow them. The answer will reveal something personal to you.

Here’s the challenge: Take a person you desire to be like. Do you follow them? Do you want to know them? Then take a person you do not desire to be like. Do you follow them? Do you want to know them?

Success isn’t about doing some task or a couple tasks before you win big. For if that was true, many of us would already be on the cover of Forbes and Success magazine.

It’s a lifestyle orientation. There is a common set of habits practiced by those of similar mindsets and desires. If you truly possess a burning desire to pursue a dream to victory, it will be seen in everything you do and who you intentionally surround yourself with… online and off.

The key phrase is “burning desire”.

Discipline is more important than talent

Lastly, but just as important… you need to develop discipline. Discipline is an important quality to have no matter the passion you intend to pursue. You need to create a rhythm in what you do. You cannot be driven by emotion when it comes to creating a life of success.

There will be good days and there will be bad days. Days you want to work and days you will want to not work. It’s not good to do things only because you feel like doing them. Nor is it a great plan to not do things only because you do not feel like doing them.

Despite some companies not always being the ideal places to work… you must appreciate the discipline around how many of them work. Whether it is 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, they create routines around productivity.

We cannot leave ourselves to our moods. Otherwise, a great number of us will hardly get any work done. Companies would collapse by the hundreds if they were mood-driven.

Discipline has been the foundation of the progress we have made in our society.

Keeping an environment clean is about discipline and not emotion. There are probably emotionally driven work routines that can get you the results you want. However, I don’t have one in mind at the moment. And a lot of the progress made by a lot of the people I look up to have been driven by discipline.

Getting into a discipline-driven routine may not be easy for those who don’t apply it in other areas of their lives. But it’s a habit that can be learned. Practice makes permanent. If you need help with forming such habits, you can find a lot of strategies online. I would also suggest looking at routines practiced by those you desire to be like.

Conclusion

There is a concept called locus of control. There are things that happen to us and around us that we don’t have control over. But how we react to these things is completely in our control.

You have probably realized that self-development is centered at reminding you that you have more control over your fate than you might realize. This is why I was hooked on becoming a student of personal growth.

When you look at your past and present… evidence exists that we have been making many of the choices that have led to the lives we live now. We chose what to pursue in college. We chose to stick to it after. We chose who to let into our lives. We chose what to consume over the weekend.

We are capable of making these same set of choices, and others, to decide how our future will turn out.

At the end of the day, it is not our enemies, the environment or even our goals that truly stop us from being who we desire to be. But it is ourselves.

#makeProgressNotExcuses