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10 Secrets to Success

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New Contributor
Jan 18, 2008
I just found these general principles and thought these may be motivational to others here on the forum. Would anyone like to add to these and make the list more comprehensive?
Here is the link to the website
Secrets to SuccessJanuary 17th, 2008 by Victor Stachura Print This Post
What is it that makes people successful and I mean really successful compared to you or me? Are they smarter or do they work harder? Are they risk takers or have powerful and influential friends?
The financial newspaper Investors Business Daily (IBD) asked these same questions a few years ago and started a multi-year search for the answer. They studied industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to understand the traits they all had in common that contributed to their success. Reproduced here is their list of 10 Secrets to Success along with my commentary on each no-so-secret, ‘secret’.
I decided to reproduce the list here and comment on each of the traits in hopes of motivating you and myself in the process. It’s time for me to take my own advice and start on the path to my dreams. I hope to motivate you, by using myself as an example.

I originally came across this list when I was staring at some papers on a refrigerator owned by someone who was very successful – both personally and financially. My family and I had just spent the night as a guest in a great house in the suburbs of Boston. We were living life large as we played pool in the rec room, drank wine from the wine cellar, and enjoyed a dip in the hot tub. The problem was, neither of the couples in the house owned the property or the life we were pretending to have. You see, my friends were house sitting for the original owner and they had invited us to stay for the weekend.
It wasn’t until the morning after our little ‘party’ that I noticed something taped to the refrigerator – something that impacts me each time I read it. It was the IBD 10 Secrets to Success. Once my head cleared, I quickly copied them down and read them over and over again. After our vacation I made copies and posted them in my home office and inside a journal I decided to keep.
The problem was, after a couple of months I forgot about the secrets and they fell by the wayside. And so did my actions towards my goals. At the time the articles 7 Ways to Grow the Action Habit or How To Motivate Yourself – Self Motivation didn’t exist and I lost my motivation. Well, I re-discovered the list and want to share it with you now. I hope you take these not-so-secret, secrets to heart and realize your dreams – whatever they may be.
1. How You Think is Everything.
Always be positive. Think Success, not Failure. Beware of a negative environment.
This trait has to be one of the most important in the entire list. Your belief that you can accomplish your goals has to be unwavering. The moment you say to yourself “I can’t…â€, then you won’t. I was always given the advice “never say I can’t†and I’d like to strike those words from the dictionary.
I’ve found that from time-to-time my attitude waivers. A mentor of mine once said “it’s ok to visit pity city, but you can’t stay and there comes a time when you need to leaveâ€. Positive things happen to positive people.
2. Decide upon Your True Dreams and Goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
Write down my dreams and goals? Develop a plan to reach them? You mean like a project plan? Yes, that’s exactly what this means. You may have heard the old adage: A New Years resolution that isn’t written down is just a dream, and dreams are not goals.
Goals are those concrete, measurable stepping stones of achievement that track your progress towards your dreams. My goal is to start a second career as a freelance writer – what are your goals?
3. Take Action. Goals are nothing without action.
Be like Nike and “Just do itâ€. I took action by reaching out and started writing. Every day I try to take some action towards my goals. It may be small, but it’s still an action. Have you taken action towards your goals?
4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training & acquire skills.
Becoming a life long learner would benefit us all and is something we should instill in our kids. It’s funny that once you’re out of school you realize how enjoyable learning can be. What have you learned today?
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
I think every story of success I read entails long hard hours of work. There is no getting around this and there is no free lunch. But, if you’re working towards something that you’re passionate about, something you love – then is it really work?
6. Learn to Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
I think you have to strike a balance between getting all the facts and making a decision with incomplete data – both are traits of successful people. Spend time gathering details, but don’t catch ‘analysis paralysis’.
7. Focus Your Time And Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.
Remain laser focused on your goals and surround yourself with positive people that believe in you. Don’t be distracted by the naysayer’s or tasks that are not helping you achieve your goals.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate: Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
Follow through on that break-out idea you have. Ask yourself “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?â€
9. Deal And Communicate With People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.
Successful people develop and nurture a network and they only do that by treating people openly, fairly and many times firmly. There is nothing wrong about being firm – just don’t cross the a-hole line. How do you deal with people?
10. Be Honest And Dependable: Take responsibility, otherwise numbers 1 – 9 won’t matter.
Enough said.

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New Contributor
Jan 18, 2008
Here are some suggestions I captured from a blog. This person has accomplished an amazing number of Goals simply by embracing being Lazy. Let me know if you find this post helpfull.

How can laziness work? Well, if you only want to do three things, just do three things. But here's the key: make those three things count.
Here are my suggestions for making laziness work for you:
  1. Choose only three things to do today. If you set a limit, you will be forced to choose just the important things. If you don't set a limit, you'll try to do everything ... which means you'll be busy, but you'll be doing a lot of unimportant things as well. Just choose three, but choose carefully.
  2. Choose for impact, not urgency. There are always things that seem urgent today, and those things tend to push the important stuff back. But here's the thing: the urgent stuff is only urgent in our minds. In a week, they won't matter. But if you choose something that has long-term impact on your work and your life, it will matter in a week. It's those high-impact tasks that really make a difference. If you choose high-impact tasks -- things that will really make a difference over time, that will get you recognition and success and create new opportunities -- you can let the urgent stuff melt away.
  3. Choose them the night before. Plan your three tasks the night before, so you're prepped for the day when you wake up. Then there's no "urgent" stuff on the list, because you chose them when you were calm. It helps give you a jump-start on your day.
  4. Start on them immediately. First thing you do when you start working: start on the first of your three important tasks. Don't do little things. Just start.
  5. Don't check email until the first one's done. There's always the urge to dive into email (or whatever your normal productive distraction is at work), but resist. Let it be your reward for completing the first task on your list. Let your urge to be lazy motivate you to finish that task!
  6. Choose a fourth, more important task to procrastinate on. Here's where procrastination can really help you. Trick yourself by putting a big task you've been dreading at the top of your list. So you actually have four tasks. You will try to procrastinate on that big task by working on the three tasks below it. In that way, you'll still get three very important tasks done while procrastinating on the fourth. How will you get that fourth one done? When something bigger comes along that you dread even more, put that at the top of your list.
  7. Take breaks in between. When you finish one of your three tasks, give yourself a short break. 10 minutes works well for me, but you may need 15 or 20. That's OK. We're not in a sweatshop here. You're only doing three things today. Take a walk. Get a glass of water. Shoot the breeze with someone. Check whatever you like to check online. Then get back to work on the next task.
  8. When you're done, celebrate with a nap. After you do your three important tasks, take a nap. You've earned it. You've done three important things today, which is more than most people, to be honest. They might do 7 smaller things, but you've been more productive by doing less.
  9. Batch process smaller tasks. It's inevitable that you'll have smaller things you'll need to take care of. Put those off until the afternoon or end of your day, and do them all at once in batches. So do all your phone calls, then all your emails, then all your little paperwork or whatever. Just don't allow these smaller, routine tasks to push back your big ones.
  10. What if you need to do more? You probably won't actually complete them all anyway. Just choose three and put the rest off until tomorrow. I promise, the world won't end and life will go on. And you'll be much less stressed.


New Contributor
Jan 18, 2008
Stop being a perfectionist. Here are a few suggestions from a recent blog.

  1. Set realistic expectations. While it might be wonderful to finish your current project, start another, get new clients and keep up with all your household chores, the reality is that expectations like that aren’t always realistic. There’s no sense in making yourself feel bad by setting yourself up to fail. You don’t have to be perfect to be productive, so give yourself expectations that are something you can actual accomplish, you can always add on more later if you get ahead of schedule.
  2. Give yourself credit. When you set goals for yourself, it’s easy to let yourself concentrate on the things that you haven’t accomplished instead of those you have gotten done. Give yourself some credit for the milestones and small parts of projects that you get done along the way.
  3. Accept that you will make mistakes. While it might be hard for the true perfectionists out there, you can get a lot more done if you recognize that no matter what it is you’re doing, there are going to be some mistakes that you’ll make along the way. Accept this, and use these as valuable learning experiences to be better in the future instead of beating yourself up over them.
  4. Ask for help. Though you might feel it’s a blow to your pride, asking for help doesn’t make you weak or incompetent. Sometimes having an outside perspective or a little extra help can make all the difference.
  5. Focus on the present. It can be easy to get caught up in worrying about past mistakes or things that are looming in the future that may never even happen. Instead of trying to perfect your past and future, concentrate on doing what you need to do now to make yourself happy or get more work done.
  6. Just get it done. Getting things done perfectly is great, but just getting them done period isn’t too bad either. Focus more on the action of getting things done instead of putting so much effort into worrying about doing each thing perfectly.
  7. Relax. When you tense up because you’re worried or nervous about being less than perfect, you can make work a completely miserable and stressful experience. Just relax instead. Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, chances are good that things won’t be nearly as bad as you imagine.
  8. Focus on the big picture. Perfectionists tend to focus on the little details, nitpicking every tiny aspect of a project, making it take much longer than it should. Let go of the small things so you can focus on the bigger aspects of your projects.
  9. Give yourself permission. It can be hard to stop looking at things through the eyes of a perfectionist. You can start by giving yourself permission to be less than perfect and stop thinking of yourself as a failure when you don’t meet your own expectations.
  10. Silence your inner critic. That nagging voice inside your head that tells you your work isn’t good enough can drive you to work harder, but it can also drive you crazy trying to achieve impossible perfection. Replace those negative comments with with positive encouragement instead.
  11. Realize that someone can always find fault. You could spend hours tweaking a design, website or paper and no matter how much you do to it, someone can still come along and find fault. Everyone’s idea of perfection is different, so understand that no matter how perfect you make something it will never be safe from criticism. Realize this and you’ll be more willing to give yourself a bit of a break.
  12. Use it as a motivational tool. Perfectionism doesn’t have to be totally bad. Sometimes it can be a great motivational tool in pushing you forward. The trick is knowing where to draw the line between productive thinking and destructive thinking. If you find your work making you more miserable than happy, then chances are you’ve crossed the line and need to take a step back.
  13. Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s fine to have someone to look up to, but constantly comparing yourself to others can ultimately be self destructive behavior. Do the best you can do, not the best someone else can do.
  14. Don’t overanalyze. Planning, preparation, and going over your work can be good things, but when you start overanalyzing things to the point that you don’t get started or finished with anything is counterproductive. Remember that it doesn’t matter how great something is if it’s only half done.
  15. Lighten up. Your work may not be a joke but that doesn’t mean you have to treat it as a humorless endeavor. Lighten up and you will be less willing to get bogged down in making everything perfect.
  16. Learn to take criticism. No matter how perfect your work may seem, you’ll likely get some amount of criticism from users or clients. Learn to take these kind of comments as ways to make your work better, not as attacks on you personally.
  17. Stop procrastinating. Though it might seem odd, perfectionism can often lead to procrastination. If you find yourself reluctant to start projects until you can do them just right or until you have the perfect idea you’re likely letting your perfectionism get in the way of getting things accomplished. Just get started, you can always go back and revise later if you don’t like what you’ve gotten done.


New Contributor
Jan 18, 2008
Thank you mtnman for your comments. I had given some thought to not adding to this thread. I see that 100 people have looked at it but only the wise have seen fit to respond:) .


Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 3, 2007
My new sn is wiseman LOL. I'd speculate that many think that some of this is common sense by now for fastlaner's. However, how can you ever get enough motivation or supportive ideas? You can't. Fact is, we are human and shit comes up. Repetition is what makes something a daily discipline. You become what you do.


Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Aug 27, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
Thank you! I like the picking three things and getting them done. I tend to be a procrastinator and I(much like a cat) love to nap :).

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