Success can mean different things to different people. It is more than just winning at something. If that “something” is not tied into your values, or the person you want to be, there will be an emptiness inside. If you achieve something but feel empty inside, is that really a success? I think not. Therefore, how do you turn an accomplishment into a success?
There needs to be a positive emotion attached to your accomplishment for you to feel true success. This emotion can include long term excitement about what you do, or feeling fulfilled that you would able to persevere through hard times, or living a life that you and your family can be pleased with. You must feel good about your achievements, otherwise is it really a success? Therefore, success is about bringing out the best in yourself – physically, mentally and emotionally. A great example can be focusing on your martial arts grading and then achieving it. How good does that feel?
Give it your best….over and over
Now, you do not necessarily have to win at something for it to be a success. The best sporting teams do not win every game. The best authors do not always write best-selling books every time. You do not always “win” at every martial arts class you attend. However, if you give everything you have got, and you took all of the necessary steps, the result should not determine your feeling of success. The strong people in this world are the ones that take the positive out of every situation, learn from it and keep moving forward.
In saying the above, success is not a one-time thing. Do you only want to feel positive about your accomplishments once or twice? I have many martial arts and business successes, but a few wins do not define my life. Success is more of a journey. Therefore, if success is a long-term journey, you must feel good about what you do to continue along that path. Your life needs to be a “model of happiness”. Make your goals something that is really important to you….really meaningful….otherwise you will not continue all the way to happiness and success. This is why your martial arts is a great metaphor for life, as the mental and emotional lessons you learn up to Black Belt and beyond, will stand you in good stead for other areas of your life.
What is required?
Therefore, whether it is martial arts or some other personal goal, make sure it ticks off each of these items to set you on the path to success:
- Desire – if you do not really want it….if it is not something that is really important to you…you will not feel that positive emotion when you achieve it. Love whatever it is you are chasing;
- Hard work – any achievement that is worthwhile involves hard work. The harder you work, the more gratifying the end result will be. But that work must be fun, otherwise you will not do it. Roll up the sleeves, do what it takes and have fun along the way;
- Be excellent – I do not want to pretend that success is all about just feeling good at the end. While feeling good is a big part, you must aim to be excellent at what you do. Remember, this is a goal that is important to you. You owe it to yourself and others to be the best you can be for it;
- Focused practice – you have heard the saying that practice makes perfect. I do not entirely agree. I believe focused practice makes perfect. While you practice, focus hard on what you want to achieve and the actions you need to do. Do not spread yourself too thin, otherwise you will be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. If you can keep a focused mind and preparation, it will set you on the path to achievement, which sets you on the path to success;
- Drive – negative emotions always arise when you pursue something worthwhile. This could be fear, shyness, complacency, self-doubt or procrastination. You must have the drive to push through this. If you feel these negative emotions, keep taking steps forward anyway. The more steps you take in the pursuit of your goal, the better you will feel;
- Service to others – this is a big one for the martial arts community. In the dojo, senior belts are always expected to help the junior belts. When you are a junior belt, you are more likely to feel the negative emotions mentioned above. The senior belts provide value to those junior belts by helping them through these emotions. However, this service helps the senior belts more, as they learn to give of themselves. If you can do it in the dojo, you can do it in real life.
What does success mean to me?
When I was younger, I wanted to achieve a lot of things. However, will I be remembered for my wins, or the mark I can leave in this world? My legacy, if you will. It was not until I owned a martial arts dojo that I realised there is a big difference between success and achievements. To help others achieve their aims, to be a part of that happiness, is really profound for me. It makes me feel good, which is why I am always happy to give 110% of myself to the dojo and community. I feel successful when I do this, because I really like helping others.
What is it that you want to be successful at?
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