Success is something we all chase. While it comes in many forms, I think we can all agree that living a life that we deem valuable adequately summates the term. For many, success means material possessions, for some being a great parent, for others building a world class business, for the wise, a comfortable mix. Human nature is such that we are hardwired to want more. Now what we should want more of is a question this post does not seek to answer. I’m writing this to speak to persons who are a bit aloof about from whence great achievement and success come from. 

I doubt anyone wakes up in the morning aiming to fail. But failures are something we have all come to be well acquainted with to varying degrees on the pathway to success. Who says failure is a bad thing? It only becomes such when you don’t realize it for what it is, a rung on the path to success in any task or goal.

Failure is the gate we pass through to access all great achievements. Tweet This

I have never seen a baby begin walking right out of the womb, its a process of falling down, yet choosing to get back up again with a bit of prodding from its parents of course.

I think there are 3 types of people on this earth, winners, losers and those who have not yet figured out how to win. I hope that these 5 truths help you to chart a path through which personal and professional success becomes yours and you realize a life that you truly find valuable. But first a quick story.

Very, recently, I ran into a past student of mine (from my early days as a lecturer). Over and over again this person kept dwelling on everything that was wrong with their life, saying how they didn’t have enough of this, or that, and that a particular person was responsible for holding them back. Over and over they recounted how they seemingly could not catch a break. Their life was sooo hard and no opportunities were thrown their way.

This young man left one very important barrier to his own achievement off his list. Himself.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt

After restraining my initial reaction, which was to tell him to stop complaining and get his mind together, I decided to share a few lessons about success, I have learned in my short travels around the sun.

1. The World Owes You Nothing

“Everyone who achieved some form of success accomplished it by working” – Darius Foroux

This is very important for everyone to understand. Birth and death, this is the only sure thing in life. You are entitled to nothing and if you do not push back this world will eat you alive. As the law of entropy goes, things go from orderly to chaos unless energy is exerted. And here you thought life would be peachy after going to school getting a degree and being ‘owed’ a job by society. This is a lie and one that if believed and internalized will crush your chances at achieving your goals. Prepare to work and develop a mindset that revels in working for that which you want. Anything easily gained is also easily lost. So what if you were the smartest person in the class, whoever said that this was how wealth or success was garnered? Life is like farming, we reap what we sow. To be good at something you have to put in the work. Opportunities are challenges in disguise, but only those with the tools to address said challenges can see them as such.

2. There Is No opportunity That You Don’t Create

Fortune favors the brave

Preparation is the key to success. You have to do something to get something in return. How can you get selected for a job, if you never took the time put in an application? I think back on my first real job as a Research Assistant, I had dabbled in many different crafts and gained many different skills before that because of the diversity of skills new opportunities came my way. I never worried about how hard I had to work, in my mind everything I did whether acknowledged or not was making me better for the next opportunity which awaited me. Long nights, numerous hours and of course the usual lack of appreciation, but like I tell my employees today, you aren’t working for me, you are woking for you, to get better at your craft so that new opportunities can arise, where they come internally or externally.

3. Success Is Self Determined & Action Realized

What I mean above is that we all manifest our own versions of success daily by what we focus on and more importantly what we take action on. I have 2 televisions in my home and they are rarely switched on before 10PM at night. Why? Because I choose to focus on additives that will give me the outcomes I want. Anything you want to achieve is but a set of steps away. Every empire was built one brick at a time. Understand that you and only you truly control that path that your life will take. Luck beyond the circumstances of your birth is a myth. I guarantee you this, the harder you work, the luckier you will get.

4. Success Does Not Come To Those Who Wait

It Takes Hard Work To Get To The Top. To be an industry leader it requires a lot. You will have to outwork the rest and continue to grow personally and professionally. Do what you can do today to achieve the things you want in the future. Waiting on the right time is a cop out. 

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman 

Take a chance on yourself and your dreams. Success comes to those willing to fight back fear, fight back doubt and jump out in pursuit of the things that matter most to them. Forget about being perfect just do your best at that moment in time and make a commitment to keep getting better. You will never know what you can achieve if you don’t try. My current company Digita Global was born from a string of failures and I am smarter for it. I’m very proud of what my team and I have built and continue to build as we work towards building the world’s greatest digital media agency.

5. Taking Responsibility Will Forever Alter Your Life

“Everything other than results is an excuse” – Kemal Brown

Plain and simple. The day you take responsibility is the day your life changes forever. Why do you ask? Because that is the day you realize a simple truth.

You are in control.

So many persons like to blame God and the Devil, or mom and dad or this or that for where they are in life and forget to look in the mirror. Have you ever thought to take responsibility for your success and your failures. This is great for 2 reasons. When you fail, you accept that you could have done something different to succeed, empowering you to try again and when you win you accept that you have found a few things worth replicating in the future to keep winning. No matter the outcome you give yourself options for moving forward.

Know this: Where you currently are in life is a factor of your decisions to their point based on external stimuli and your reaction to the same. Just because someone told you, you were worthless doesn’t mean it’s true and that you should believe it. Take responsibility for your thoughts, your actions, and your life. No one “made you do it”. You choose to. The best thing about this is that you can also choose to win. Once you know the rules of winning. Set goals and die trying to achieve them. Find your purpose and relish in the fundamental truth that you can achieve your goals, if you are willing to do what is necessary to do so. Success doesn’t come easy, it’s painstaking, but it’s worth it.