Action is the foundational key to all success.

Pablo Picasso

Everyone wants to be successful. But it just doesn’t seem to come together for some people no matter what they seem to try. So, what is it that successful people seem to know that many people don’t seem to be aware of?

1. Knowing is NOT Doing! Knowing what to do is NOT the same as actually doing it. Most situations don’t allow for reflection and conscious decision-making while they are going on. For example, in the workplace things often happen so quickly that your automatic habits kick in. You do what you usually do without thinking about it. The bottom line is this, if you want to consistently do something different, the improved behavior that you have learned about and want to add to your arsenal, you have to first ingrain the “new thing” as a habit.

2. Repetition. It takes a lot of repetitions of a behavior before it becomes an ingrained habit. Let’s talk a little neuroscience. The reason you need so many repititions is because your usual habits are triggered by neural pathways, networks of brain cells related to the behavior, which have been stimulated to grow together each time you repeat the behavior. Once all the brain cells are connected, the habit becimes ingrained. Permanently!

3. No one is an overnight success. This success “thing” doesn’t happen quickly just because you are a highly motivated individual, even though that will help. It will take time, and it isn’t easy to change your way of doing something. Because the new way isn’t a habit yet, you will forget to do it, again and again. You will react to situations with your old habit. Or you will find that when you try to use your new habits in the early stages your efforts will feel unpracticed and awkward. This failure may discourage you. This disappointment is “the crux.” Things will get worse before they get better, and trust me, you will be tempted to give up on the new way and fall back on what feels comfortable.

4. It’s not a solo act. It is very hard to make changes all by yourself. It makes a big difference when you have people who care about your success and give you feedback, coaching, encouragement and accountability.

5. It takes an iron-will. Even if you successfully ingrain the new habit, without personal strength and people skills your new behavior pattern may not bring you success by itself. Adversity is one of the hard facts of life; and in nearly everything we do, we do it while interacting with people.

So if you really care about getting ahead and achieving your dream, you need to take these realities into serious consideration. Understand what personal growth really involves, and follow through. Build a network of people who can help you. And while you’re acquiring your new knowledge and skills related to your success, don’t forget to pay attention to your core strengths – personal strengths and people skills.


Oh, the picture? :)

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc