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May 10th, 2012

Success Is A Habit

by AskSage

Dear Reader,

I’m often asked by friends/colleagues/candidates who wish to start their own business (and my own children) what makes people successful (as entrepreneurs, employees, executives etc.) and if I believe they have ‘what it takes’ -or whether a particular business (model) would be successful (for them).

To me this always begs three questions:

  • What is success?
  • What have  successful people in common (in business, their respective professions, as friends, parents, husbands and wives)? And the most important question of all:
  • How does one become successFUL?

I found what helps finding and understanding the answers to these three questions is by reading two rather remarkable articles, written by the same author:

So now you’ve read these articles, here are some truths that are important to understand and own to be(come) successful:

  • Success is simply achieving one’s goals/dreams.
  • Successful people will do what is necessary to accomplish their goals/dreams.
  • We tend to call people “successful’ when they have achieved something that is either perceived as extraordinary (different from the norm) or if they have achieved something we want to achieve for ourselves.
  • Unsuccessful people on the other hand (will) always find excuses why they “couldn’t do it” and don’t take responsibility for their own (non-)actions. They blame others or ‘circumstances’ for their misfortune in order to avoid taking responsibility and ownership.
  • Successful people identify the challenges that block their (path to) success and either remove or find a way around them. They develop a habit of not giving up and do what needs to be done to accomplish their goals. It’s that simple.

When we look at the meaning of the word “Habit” it is commonly defined as:

  • custom
  • tendency
  • addiction
  • routine
  • tradition
  • pattern

To me both articles conclude that it is not (academic) education or social upbringing which determine success (later) in life (though they certainly help), but developing a constant habit of doing what is necessary to get there. Once that routine/habit is established, it becomes second nature and success is nothing but a logical follower and consequence of those habits.

That is not only true for professional, but also for private success. When the wife of the late Beatle George Harrison was asked how she was able to stay married facing George’s numerous affairs, she responded ‘by not getting a divorce”. While I agree that this might not be the best example for a successful marriage, it does point out that success is a habit and we all can develop it –at any time of our life.

Unsuccessful people on the other hand are simply not wiling to develop these habits. The say “It’s too hard, it’s too much work, I cannot do it, the market has changed, the economy is against me, the business model doesn’t work, I am discriminated against because of…., my life/business partner makes it impossible for me” etc. etc.

The truth is we all face difficult circumstances in our lives. But we have a choice whether we want those circumstances to limit our lives and future accomplishments or not. No matter our upbringing, the color of our skin, our religious beliefs, the lack of capital, etc. etc.

Unsuccessful people prefer to blame their lack of success on circumstances they cannot control instead of taking ownership and finding a way to make it work and not giving up. The majority of the population in any country is like that. That is why we have a very small percentile being “successful”.

Success doesn’t come easy. We must want and do it. No money or experience needed (although those help). Just pure desire and making it a habit to overcome.

Success is a habit. Be(come) successful my friend!

Sincerely, Sage

PS: The little bit of wisdom I shared with you above is not based on any (religious or political) belief systems I might or might not have have, but are solely based on observations from hiring/leading hundreds of employees and personally helping even more to become successful business owners.