It was a hot steamy day in Kuala Lumpur on Monday as I sat in a cafe chatting with an old friend I hadn’t seen for some time. He is quite a bit younger than me and is reaching a stage in his life where he has began wanting more. He wants to better himself. In the midst of our conversation he suddenly asked me a question.
“What would you say are three things I should do if I want to be successful?” he inquired.
I paused for a moment, allowing me time to answer with just three points. Now I know some of you reading this may wish to switch off at the first part of my answer. Heard it all before. It can be a natural reaction because it is bombarded around alot. Yet, I know so many people who don’t apply it. They are still gripped by such raging fear they find excuses to hide behind as to why they haven’t started that business, asked that girl or guy out on a date or applied for that dream job.
Come to think of it, you may think that about all of my reply. You may say to yourself, “I know that Robert. Tell me something I don’t know!” If you are currently getting everything you want in life, that’s fine. Leave this blog right now or direct someone else here who you think may benefit from reading. But if you aren’t achieving all you want, why not read and apply them?
Here is what I told him.
Belief must be the first quality. Yes you must believe in yourself; your ability to achieve. You must believe you are worthy of the success or goals you want to achieve. Talent is not enough. You must have such conviction (Belief) in what you want that nothing will ever stop you from getting it. No obstacle will ever be insurmountable. Belief is the cornerstone to all achievement. And a belief in the mental picture you create for yourself.
Think about it. If you aren’t achieving what you want you must actually have a belief that you can’t.
Secondly, I told him, is self-discipline. We live in a world of constant distraction and just as the word belief is thrown around, so is the phrase, live for today. In the context this phrase is used I believe it to be negative. It causes procrastination by producing the thoughts of, ‘There is always tomorrow. I am going to simply enjoy today’ kind of thing.
Self-discipline is required to switch off the TV, stop surfing and put the android on silent for a couple of hours whilst you learn more of your craft or rehearse and fine tune your skills. It is also required so that you can say no to what the rest of the crowd do at weekends, especially if that crowd happen to be your friends and colleagues hell bent on living for today. And worse still if family.
And it takes self-discipline to master the art of defeating instant gratification; the incessant want to be always being stimulated right now; a feeling of ‘having to be doing something’. The trouble is with this, is a lot of people are confusing this ‘want’ with ‘need’.
“Patience is a bitter plant but it bears a sweet fruit” German proverb
Thirdly, I said he would be wise to develop some patience. Give things time. Try not to expect the best results straight away. Not everything comes instantly. This is another common misconception, in my opinion. Building and growing a business for example can take time. So can wooing that guy or girl you have your eye on. Add a dash of patience to the pot of goals you have.
Of course, you may well be applying these three traits and still have a stumbling block of another kind. That can happen.
But if you apply all of these three positive traits you will be in a better position in three months time than perhaps you are now.
And as for my friend? He liked the reply. Then he laughed as he recalled the first answer from one of his friends who replied to the same question, who told him, ‘ Number 1: Don’t ever trust anyone’.
I chuckled too. And then promptly told him he might need to change his friends. But that was answer number four and he only wanted three. And then we laughed some more.