We finally hit it – the final week concerning Fundamentals of Success. While I came across these 4 pillars months ago, I feel like I’ve had a lot of learning experiences over these last weeks and hopefully what I’ve learned has at least provided a little value here. Granted, this is being written by a 27 year old, so take that into account…
Knowing this, let’s kick off the last fundamental to a ‘successful’ life; Happiness!
For happiness, I’m gonna break it down into 5 different things. These, when integrated together and given a thoughtful approach, can help move you toward a happier center. These have all worked for me,
1. Surround yourself with like minded people
To me, this is by far the most essential point on the path to success, but possibly the most difficult to put into practice. What do you want most in life? Do you want to own a business? Do you want to be an artist? GREAT! You know what you want out of life, now comes the difficult part… do you truly believe you can achieve it? Is your conviction so high that nothing will stop you? If so, now you need to assess your group of friends.
I read somewhere that you become most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. If this is true (and I believe it is) that means artists should surround themselves with artists, businesspeople should surround themselves with businesspeople. While this takes care of some of the baseline, you then need to assess how these people are on a mental level. Does their level of ambition match yours? If not, you need to start surrounding yourself with people who have the similar drive. It is completely possible to achieve your dreams while being surrounded with people who don’t match your drive or passions, but you are NOT setting yourself up for success. For example, do Mountaineers bring along mountain bikers for high risk treks? Not so much….
2. Recognize your emotional state and harness it (sadness/depression)
Depression sucks. We all know that – and I believe we all experience it at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a massive life-changing impact or something that just destroys a single day, depression comes in many forms and can be detrimental if you don’t take control of it.
The best metaphor I’ve heard surrounding this is the ship in a storm. Think of yourself in a rowboat, on the ocean of life. There are many days of sun, but sometimes a rogue storm can come about. You get rocking, rattling, and sometimes that boat takes on a shit-ton of water. This rowboat is your life vessel, and you need to take command of it. In the storm, you need to turn that boat into the wave, brace for impact, and be ready to bail as much water as possible. Sometimes this storm takes a long time to pass, sometimes it just a minor squall. At the end of the day, if you let the storm take full command of the situation, you’ll get broadsided and capsize. This will spell certain doom.
Now, when you fall into this state, you need to be creative and harness it. Recognize the problem, feel it but use it as a learning too. Learn how not to make your mistake again ~ other people can help a bunch with this as well, so be sure to reach out to others for help when necessary.
Think of the best athletes. Think of them, how do they look? What’s their posture? Now that you’ve got it visualized, what exactly is this? It’s someone who’s calm, cool, and collected no?
In both life and in business, there is no yellow-brick-road or red carpet guiding your way. It’s not all sunshine and unicorns. It’s imperative to figure out how to best incorporate this into your life. The only thing, in my experience, to full get to this point is to develop an overwhelming state of self-confidence.
In order to graduate from the US Merchant Marine Academy, we were required to pass a 7 stage test with a total of 10000 possible questions. Daunting, I know. In order to keep the students from being completely overwhelmed on this test, the entire last Trimester of schooling is devoted to prepping the students. Not only does this build their knowledge base, but also builds and insurmountable confidence. Walking in to those tests, more than 90% of the entire student body will pass on their first go. This is self-confidence.
In order to surmount a situation, a sense of calm that comes from being competent at something will improve the results 10 fold. So, anytime you make a big decision or choice, take a deep breath, well up that confidence, and go crush it!
4. Work Smart vs Working hard.
“It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?” – Ronald Reagan
There’s an epidemic anymore about hard work. People think working smart is the only way to go about doing anything… Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a load of total horse shit. Working smart is only 50% of the issue, working hard is the other half.
Think of any skill set you’ve ever developed. How much time, energy, and effort did you put in to become even just proficient at it? Can you imagine the level of effort it would take to become downright Master over that same skill?
Here’s the crux – working hard can’t get you there alone.You can work hard at something, do it wrong 1000 times, and still be completely unable to perform the task. This is where working smart comes in. Do you think Michael Jordan didn’t take pointers or coaching along the way? Of course not, he wanted to know as much about improving his game as he could, THEN he put in the hard work.
Here’s one of my favorite stores of the hard/smart work balance. When in the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford became extremely ill. He was still working his ass off in the hot sun take after take, just trying to get these shots for the movie. Along comes this one scene… A practiced swordsman enters, ready to cut down Ford’s character in one fell swoop. In a moment of sheer genius that would go down as one of the most recognized scenes in Cinema, Ford pulls out his gun and shoots the swordsman down. Without working himself to the bone, Ford may not have had the creativity required to make this scene happen (and would have used the whip as written in the script).
Through the use of both a bit of smarts and a lot of hard work, success can always be achieved. You have to open your mind to new angles, ideas, and approaches on top of working hard at whatever it is you do. Whether it be a relationship, business, or physical pursuit, this holds true across all platforms, and I believe will last the test of time!
5. Seek Wisdom
“The man who chases 2 rabbits catches non” Confucius
Wisdom. This can be from books, videos, mentors, etc. Think of college. Lots of people go there to gain knowledge and understanding for their career path. Through their teachers and studies, they get pushed in the right direction.
This is what seeking wisdom is. It’s pursuing new truths and understanding. In terms of books and mentors, these are amazing tools. You can learn someone’s entire life, take their experiences, see what will work for you and apply it. Whatever doesn’t work for you, simply chuck it aside at that point.
To me, this may be the most important factor in terms of giving yourself happiness. Without wisdom, you may never truly find your path or purpose. While I do believe the journey is some people’s purpose on earth, it’s important to seek wisdom and knowledge to figure out what you’re best suited for. You will naturally be called to something, and through exploring options and gaining experiences you will ultimately gain wisdom of what this is. These experiences will also allow for some great self-assessment…
Now, how does happiness play into the pillars of success? Consider a life in which you have boundless amounts of wealth, your a fit as a fiddle, and you have an amazing family surrounding you. Take away happiness. These things will have no value, and you will not reach fulfillment. If you aren’t happy you will take them for granted, and they will slowly fad out of your life. You loves will become distant and leave, your wealth will not flourish, and your health will slowly spiral into a state of decay.
If you do happen to have the other three pillars met, typically you’ll find happiness comes right along with it as a side effect. This isn’t always the case though, so make sure to do some sell-assessments on how your happiness stacks up in comparison to the others.
I’ll close out the fundamentals of success with one final quote I heard listening to a Lewis Howes video last week. “Act consistently with you know you are capable of being.” Just know that your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs all influence your behavior. If you don’t take action to keep these in lines with who you know you can truly become, you will set yourself up for failure.
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Have a great day – get out there and enjoy YOUR adventure!