As you browse online content, you’ll find countless articles and info-graphics on activities and habits of successful people. They usually tend to be early risers, exceptionally well organised, keep journals and to-do lists, exude joy, express gratitude, continuously learn, make time for family and friends and so on. While it’s easy to see some of these traits in people we most often view as successful, I often wonder how they were when starting out, when things were tough, finances were low and their goals seemed out of their grasp. While I do have a few of these traits naturally there are some that I try to instill as part of my character. Unfortunately, I sometimes become consumed with adopting these traits that I lose sight of my goals. While it’s great to know all the traits of successful people, I love listening to their stories when they were struggling as I’m better able to relate to that. On that journey to accomplishing our heart’s greatest desires, it’s important that we allow the struggles and disappointments to help us grow. Success is more of a journey rather than accomplishing a fixed set of goals and while I understand the theoretical aspect of this, my life experiences are weaving this understanding into my every being so that I’m constantly reminded of it. People who are now considered successful have gone through their tough times and are where they are now because of many different character traits. Figure out what works for you and what makes you happy and remember to be kind to yourself while pursuing your goals and the Universe will act likewise in return.
We are meant to believe that giving up is a sign of weakness and a sign of failure, but I honestly believe it has its purpose. Knowing if and when to give up on some things and some people are very important. In the case of goals, we may be pursuing a business venture or some project for quite some time without making much headway and we believe that we must accomplish this, as anything less will be deemed a failure. We may have invested so much of ourselves into project or venture that we may have built an emotional attachment to it and may struggle to walk away from it. Knowing when to throw it in will save further heartache and help you to see more lucrative projects or ventures that may be beneficial. In the case of people, I don’t truly give up on them in the same sense but I do maintain my distance while sending positive thoughts their way. Sometimes we stick things out with people because we see the best in them, we see what they could possibly be and we see ourselves adding love and value to their lives to help them excel. If that situation starts to affect your happiness, your peace of mind and your ability to focus on your goals, I think that’s a good time to walk away. To be able to give something, you need to first of all have it in your possession and if you are not happy and centered, you are not capable of giving much of yourself. Knowing when to give up when you have most of the facts will help you build character and improve your decision making capabilities. Always remember, successful people make decisions quickly and are slow to change their minds while failures make their decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.
We are trained from childhood to associate negative emotions with failure. This leads to the desire to disassociate one’s self with that outcome that was deemed a failure and therefore lose incentive to examine the situation carefully in the end. The greatest lessons are truly learned from failure. The greatest people in history have talked about their failures and what they’ve learned from them. As Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire always asks his entrepreneur guests about that great big failure and there is always a lesson to be learned from it. Those entrepreneurs have also attributed the success they have now to that great big failure they experienced. However, in the society we live in, the need to appear almost always perfect is causing us to miss out on life’s greatest lessons. We don’t push ourselves too hard or set goals that are seemingly unrealistic due to our fear of failure. To aid in my goal of getting out of my comfort zone for 2015, I’m setting goals that seem somewhat impossible. I need to test myself. It’s not only about the success of it but it’s about becoming comfortable with the concept of failure and understanding the true joy of it all. It’s about being able to look back on experiences and pull as much knowledge from it and use that to move forward in achieving more success. I am giving my all to accomplish my goals but knowing that the process is about learning and building character, makes me feel as if I’ve succeeded regardless of the outcome.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed”…Michael Jordan
Last night, I met up with a long time friend who is visiting Trinidad and Tobago for 2 weeks. We talked about some things he went through about two years ago as well as some of my challenges since completing my Masters in Software Engineering in 2012. For some reason he did not want to go too much into detail about the challenges he faced but he was quite interested in how I am able to be so comfortable discussing my struggles openly. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I listen to Entrepreneur on Fire podcasts as often as I can and the interviews are quite inspiring. John Lee Dumas interviews a new entrepreneur every day with discussions about their favourite quotes, personal lives, failures, “Ah Ha” moment, success, current business ventures, online resources, advice for listeners and contact information. For me the best part of the interview is when the guest entrepreneur talks about his or her failure. Life really has a way of testing us and failure has a unique way of preparing us for success. Sometimes I hear stories about entrepreneurs who were in worse off situations that I was and have now accomplished such great things. It gives me immense inspiration to continue with my goals in life. It reminds me that if someone who was worse off than me has done so much, I am capable of the same and so much more. Some interviews bring me to tears as I can relate to the challenges the entrepreneur would have encountered. I think this is one of the key aspects of this podcast that attracts listeners. Being able to have a story that others can relate to is key to success as an entrepreneur and building your brand but what is most important is the willingness and openness in sharing that story. People who are struggling to build themselves will not easily be able to relate to the entrepreneur who seems so perfect and has never seen any sort of struggle. This is why it’s important for me to share my story and any struggles I’ve encountered. Even if I have only inspired one person, it was well worth sharing my experiences.
This weekend I spent most of my time preparing a proposal to submit to a company for the development of a tablet application. The same application was previously developed for the company by another vendor but that vendor really did not have the company’s best interest at heart, so the company is now forced to have the application completely redone. It’s really sad when companies do poor work for clients. It’s one thing to not know most of the techniques for your craft and lack experience but it’s another thing to intentionally deceive a client for the sake of money. In business, what matters most is relationships and providing value to customers. Before you seek to become a person of success, become a person of significance. When you provide value to customers there will always be a pay cheque waiting for you and success will eventually follow. It’s best to be known as someone clients can trust and someone who will always have their best interest at heart. Life is governed by cyclic laws and that which you give out will surely come back to you.