What makes some people more successful than others? An age-old question that is impossible to answer specifically. We can, however, pay attention to people that have already demonstrated success in their respective endeavors and learn from their experiences. For example, Bruce Lee noted martial artist and actor once said, "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." Interesting, Mr. Lee seems to be saying that with the proper focus any one of us can be successful.
Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, is credited with saying, "Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." Another take on what is required if someone wants to be successful. Keep on going even if you make a mistake, just don't quit. Sounds a little bit like laser-like focus, doesn't it?
The inspiring author and lecturer Helen Keller is attributed with saying, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Experience of trial and suffering sounds very much like never quitting even if you make a mistake.
There have been many books written about the habits and traits of successful people. And while studying these traits may be helpful, it is important for us to realize that we do not all possess the same innate skills and abilities as others. We each, based on our own development offer an unparalleled set of skills and traits that make us uniquely qualified to attain our own success.
Winston Churchill once said, "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." There seems to be a trend developing here. Each of these successful people seems to either say or insinuate that we should keep moving forward or carry on, no matter what.
We have seen words like, mistake, failure, trial, etc. which seem to represent the opposite of success, however, in each case the person is talking about overcoming or learning from mistakes and failures. The focus seems to be on not allowing a mistake or failure to alter our path to eventual success.
Retired four-star General, Colin Powell stated, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." Although hinted at in previous quotes, hard work makes its debut as one of the attributes necessary to attain success. Hard work may be an obvious component of success but in General Powell's statement, it follows preparation, yet another facet of success.
It seems we may be getting somewhere here. Each of these successful people seems to agree that a key aspect of success is the overcoming of mistakes, trials or failures. It also seems that staying focused or staying on track is a key element as well. Hard work and preparation were recently introduced and have been referenced in prior quotes. But it seems there may be more. Helen Keller mentioned, "ambition inspired" and Winston Churchill spoke of enthusiasm, what can we draw from those statements?
Perhaps a quote by Albert Schweitzer can help, he once said, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." This quote may help us tie everything else together. Mr. Schweitzer seems to be saying that a passion for our work will help us become successful. Tony Hsieh, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and the CEO of Zappos seems to agree. He states, "Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion."
While there is no sure-fire path to success, these successful people seem to have outlined the key traits necessary to help us attain our own level of achievement.
First, stay focused and on track.
Second, do not get derailed by mistakes or failures.
Third, hard work and preparation are crucial to success.
Fourth, be passionate and enthusiastic about your work.
Finally, I would like to mention a quote by Arthur Ashe, famous pro tennis player, "Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome."
While attaining success is important, how we go about it is equally as important. If we have to leave our morals at the gate as we enter the realm of success we have still failed and have wasted precious time in the trying. If we can reach success while staying true to our faith, our families, and our friends then and only then will we have truly succeeded.