"Jack, if you had to give me just a few (under 10) pointers to success, what would you say? What's your best of the best advice?"
When I wrote The Success Principles, I had a hard time whittling my repertoire of material down to the best 64 principles. I had a lot more than that after having spent years working with top leaders throughout the world and gathering my treasure chest of wisdom. Even today, I get asked all the time for a cheat sheet to my advice that can be digested in a few short pages rather than a whole book. So that's exactly what I've done. Here's the Cliff's Notes version of my success principles. These are so brief and to the point that you can create a document to have nearby at your desk or posted on a refrigerator. Use these 7 keys as your daily reminders. They should be a source of inspiration, motivation, and, of course, success.
1.) Evict Entitlement and Take Responsibility. One of the greatest myths that is pervasive in our culture today is that you are entitled to a great life and that somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, exciting career options, nurturing family time and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist. But the real truth is that there is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live. That person is YOU.
Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing. Income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors. That person who reflects back at you in the mirror is the chief conductor in your life. Say hello!
2.) Be Crystal Clear Why You're Here. Each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they're on this planet to do, and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.
If you don't know what you're supposed to be doing, then just tune in to the signals around you. Looking toward others for help and guidance is helpful, but don't forget to stay tuned in to yourself--your behavior, attitude, likes and dislikes, and life experiences. Identify what's working and what isn't. If you need to, write it all down. You might be surprised by what you discover.
3.) Decide What You Want in a REALLY BIG Way. It sounds so simple, but here's the problem: I see plenty of people who are overly-busy yet who feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. They are physically tired, spiritually drained, and far from where they'd like to be--as if they've been running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. Why? Because they haven't clearly mapped out what they want and then taken the steps to get there. Rather than identifying specific goals, milestones, and dreams (and I'm talking BIG dreams and goals here), they go through the motions day in and day out tackling unimportant tasks. They end up...you guessed it...going in circles and wasting lots of energy. In the meanwhile, they grow increasingly uninspired and out of touch with their authentic selves. This, of course, sets anyone up to living a life out of balance.
One of the main reasons why most people don't get what they want is they haven't decided what they want. They haven't defined their desires in clear and compelling detail. What does success look like to you? Not everybody's definition of success is the same, nor should it be.
Don't let your inner devil's advocate (or that incessant but unimportant To Do list) inhibit you from dreaming big. As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You'll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, but they also compel others to want to play big, too.
4.) Believe Anything Is Possible and Leave the Complaint Department. Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they're learning that instead we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver literally everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible.
As you commit to believing in yourself, also make a commitment to toning down the complaint department. Look at what you are complaining about. I'm fat. I'm tired. I can't get out of debt. I won't ever get a better job. I can't stand the relationship I have with my father. I'll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.
5.) Fire Up the Faith in Yourself. If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes--the abilities, inner resources, talents and skills to create your desired results.
Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to believe that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that--little inconveniences to navigate.
6.) Turn Paranoia on It's Head. Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that. Don't assume the world is a brutish, unwelcoming, and difficult place to be. Try thinking the opposite! And turn paranoia inside out.
7.) Make a Goal and Go with It (Even If It's Risky). Experts on the science of success know the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work day and night to achieve. To engage you subconscious mind, a goal has to be measurable. When there aren't any criteria for measurement, it is simply something you want, a wish, a preference, or a good idea.
Sometimes we need to make just one initial goal to get started, and that's okay. At least it comes with a few actions to achieve. A first step simply can be making an immediate change in a single area in your life. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable and overwhelming for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain? You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices.
Bear in mind that you have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you've already taken an initial step in the right direction, now's the time to plan more steps to keep moving you forward faster.
Isn't it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn't it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else?
So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this: Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you'll discover it's much easier to get what you want.
© Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield is America's #1 Success Coach, co-founder of the billion-dollar Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, and a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you're ready to be more accomplished and have more fun in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessPrinciples.com