Success is a journey, however, many people think it’s a destination. You often hear those people saying things like, “When I graduate from college, I’ll be successful” or “When I earn a million dollars, I’ll know I’m successful.”
These achievements are not success. They are the results of successfully doing what it takes to graduate from college and what it takes to earn a million dollars. And, if you ask a successful person about their success, most will answer, truthfully, that they had a lot of fun getting there. What they may not think to tell you is that they built their success with consistent effort over time. Success didn’t just come suddenly to them.
Most successful people have a few characteristics in common.
Just as a tree bends and sways in the wind, which strengthens its trunk and roots, successful people have the capacity to go with the flow and to bounce back from any obstacles they may encounter in life. Practice resilience and you will be light years ahead of your peers.
Many people give up just before they’re about to achieve their goals. Successful people know that if they want to achieve a specific goal, they must be persistent in going after it or they will never achieve anything worthwhile.
Successful people are curious and they’re not shy about asking questions or showing their interest. They are willing to go after their dreams because their curiosity is stronger than their shyness or fear. Their curiosity drives them.
Successful people develop a thick skin. They know that if they don’t, other people’s words may sidetrack them. If words can’t hurt you because you just shrug them off and keep working toward your goal, you’re more than halfway there.
5. Positive attitude
This one’s kind of a no-brainer. Positive people generally accomplish more, are happier, and are more successful than negative people. They are also more creative because their positive attitude allows them to feel happy and more relaxed.
6. Sense of humor
Successful people know how to laugh at themselves. If they make a mistake or forget something, they easily find the humor in the situation. They are especially good at dealing, humorously, with failure or obstacles that slow their progress toward their goals.
7. Strong communication skills
Strong communication skills, sometimes in more than one language, are a critical characteristic of highly successful people. Being able to effectively communicate with others can put you on a sure track to success.
What other characteristics do successful people have?
“You are never given a wish
without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to
work for it, however.”
—Richard Bach, Illusions
The saddest thing in the world is a person without a dream. Children are amazing dreamers. And they dream big—probably because they have no limits. Children don’t know they can’t do whatever it is they are dreaming about doing, so they often easily accomplish what they set out to accomplish.
Whereas, many adults leave their dreams behind when they leave childhood. Perhaps they’ve been disappointed too many times. Perhaps they’ve failed to accomplish some of their goals, so they’ve stopped trying.
The biggest obstacle to achieving our goals and reaching our fullest potential is ourselves. Really. It is. You see, oftentimes people are a bit scared that if they do achieve their goals, they may lose their friends, or they may be unable to sustain their success, or they may have any number of reasons why they can’t achieve their goals.
As long as they argue for those limitations, they will be right and they will not achieve their goals.
However, one thing remains the same. If you stop trying to reach your goals, your life will stagnate and at some point you will look back and wonder where your life went and you will be saddened that you didn’t ever try.
How much of your time do you spend thinking about things that have nothing to do with helping you reach your goals?
If you’re like most people, the answer is, “A lot!”
So many things compete for our attention each day: billboards, television, advertisements, work, family, friends, and that nasty argument you had with the guy in the elevator. In fact, three days later, you’re still replaying that argument in your mind, complete with a revised version that includes what you wish you’d said.
When Buddha was teaching his followers how to quiet their minds more than 2,500 years ago, he said that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys who are screeching, chattering, and endlessly carrying on. It’s no wonder that we often have trouble concentrating or getting anything done.
When you practice living in the Now Moment, you can more effectively quiet the drunken monkeys. Here are 7 ways to quiet Monkey Mind Chatter:
1. Shift Your Focus
Put your hand up in front of you like a policeman would to stop traffic and say, aloud, “Stop!” Then ask yourself (out loud), “What am I doing right now?” Answer with what you are doing, for example, “Right now, I am standing in front of the kitchen sink and I am washing this coffee cup. Now I am washing this spoon. The water feels warm and soothing against the skin on my hands. Now I am looking out the window” . . . you get the idea.
2. Get Busy
Do something physical. Take a walk. Go swimming. Dance. Clean the house. I once asked my 80-year-old aunt who had lived through the Great Depression and several personal tragedies how she dealt with the difficulties. She said, “Keep moving. Whenever those sad feelings try to take hold of your thoughts, get up and keep busy. Before you know it, you’ll feel happy again.” I tried it and she’s right. What’s more, science has proven that when we move, our bodies produce serotonin, the Happy Chemical.
3. Do Something You Enjoy
People have hobbies because they enjoy doing something they love. When you are working on a hobby, crocheting, gardening, your brain, thoughts, and feelings are focused on what you are doing and you have no distractions. You are absorbed in doing something you enjoy and the world falls away. In other words, those drunken monkeys have no audience, so they quiet down. So get busy doing something you thoroughly enjoy!
4. Plant a Garden
Start a flower, vegetable, or fruit garden. Cultivating the soil returns us to our roots—literally. It helps us achieve an emotional and psychological peace of mind. There’s something soothing about being outdoors, digging in the soil, and growing things. Scientists have discovered that soil contains microbes that have a natural antidepressant effect on our brain. This effect produces serotonin in our bodies and leads to feeling happy and relaxed.
5. Play With Your Pet
Animals are masters at living in the Now Moment. Play with your pet. Toss a ball for him to fetch, play tug of war with a rope, or just pet, cuddle, and snuggle with him. You’ll have so much fun that Monkey Mind will be silenced and you’ll forget the chaos of your formerly racing thoughts.
Set aside some time to relax and meditate. Although it may seem like your thoughts are racing, the mere act of sitting down and taking time to breathe calmly and deeply while focusing your thoughts on your breathing, can help quiet Monkey Mind.
7. Cast the Burden
If you’re still tormented by those chattering monkeys, do as Florence Scovel Shinn suggests in her book, The Game of Life and How to Play It. Cast the burden of those racing thoughts upon the Christ [the Spirit] within [you] and go free, trusting that you will be alright.
Obstacles can’t stop you.
Problems can’t stop you.
Most of all, other people can’t stop you.
Only you can stop you.
What can you do? What are you capable of achieving? How high do you reach when you set goals for yourself? How far do you think you can go?
Throughout the ages, philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, and other successful individuals have told us that how we use our thoughts creates our world. Sometimes this seems difficult to believe because we simply cannot ‘see’ it. However, the truth is that your life is a reflection of your past thoughts, feelings, and actions. And what you do from this moment forward will determine what your future will be like.
The only limits you have are those you set for yourself. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, gardener, airline pilot, astronaut, or something else, you can do it.