The 6 Rules of Personal Success

For some reason it is tough for folks to see “the BIG picture.”  It seems really easy to get distracted by the fun and games in life that ultimately aren’t part of the BIG picture.  That doesn’t mean never having fun or not taking vacations, but it does mean not allowing sports, hobbies, or the pursuit of fun to keep one from accomplishing great things.  Yet that is what most of us do.

So how do you grab onto the BIG picture?  How do we become the guy who made a fortune in real estate, invented the coolest new app or started his own successful company?  If you follow these six rules, you’re chances of actually doing, instead of just talking, are much greater:

1. Make Sure You’ve Got Your Priorities Set Right.  Most of us can’t see the forest for the trees.  Successful people see the forest DESPITE the trees.  The trees in this analogy might be the latest athletic competition, Monday night bowling, or your daily dose of Law and Order.  None of these are bad things (I for one am an avid bowler), but sometimes they get in the way of success because instead of reaching out to grab our dreams, we are sitting on the coach with a bag of potato chips or spending the evening with our buddies.  Rich and successful people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburn and others still have fun, but their first priority is success.

2. Be Smart About Your Money

It has been said that ‘entrepreneurs (or the future successful) are willing to live like no one else is, so that later they can live like no one else can.’  Most of us like to spend money on neat stuff that we don’t really need, but want; cell phones, neat tech devices, getting our nails done, eating out all the time, having our dream car or home, the list goes on and on.  But we could be spending that money on other things, like, I don’t know…success!  Do you think the rich buy things on credit?  Have a car loan?  Even have a home loan?  In most cases they don’t because if they did, they wouldn’t be rich, but rather overspending.  So if you want to be successful, and not just financially, you’d better get your financial house in order; no debt, only pay for what you can afford and invest (in the stock market, yourself, real estate, etc., or a combination of all of these).

3. Stay Focused

Do you suppose that Mark Zuckerburg was ever tempted to just finish at Harvard and become a regular computer programmer with a nice stable job, great benefits, and a six figure income?  Sounds like a deal, but what if he had taken the “easy” road when he came up with the idea for Facebook (and later expanded it).  By the way, I am not picking on higher education.  I have an M.B.A. myself and many of the greats of our time did in fact finish college, but not all of them.  But back to the point; its easy to lose focus, especially when success is not immediate.  But you have to stick to it and see it through, whether you are investing financially or in yourself.

4.  Make the Right Friends

No person of extreme success ever got there on their own.  You have to be focused, but you also have to recognize when you need others.  Sometimes this is just for personal support and others for their expertise.  First of all, if you surround yourself with people that think you are crazy, you will inevitably throw in the towel.  If you surround yourself with like-minded folks, your success is far more likely.

You also need people that can do what you can’t.  Do you suppose Jeff Bezos did all the payroll, dealt with employee conflicts and managed the books in the early days of Amazon?  Of course not!  He did what he was good at, which was developing a business and technology innovations.  You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t try; you will fail!  Think of some of the famous duos in our day; Google, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft were all started as a partnership between two like-minded entrepreneurs.

5. Don’t Let Your Success Be Obsessive

In other words, don’t be greedy.  Don’t let the money, power or status that you are building or have built, create a superiority complex within your mind or you will never get enough.  No matter what your pursuit, you will never get enough of it.  I don’t say this just because it is the ‘morally right’ thing to do, I also say it because it doesn’t work.  Becoming greedy can make you lose sight of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. Many of the great success stories of our time are not inherently greedy; they are seeking success.  And those that seek for power or status and become obsessed with it, often lose everything.

6. Don’t Become Too Content

Let’s say you have been successful; you are worth millions, you have your own business, whatever success means to you.  Now, you get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right?  Wrong!  First of all, most successful people find it difficult to just stop being successful, but sometimes it is easy to do just that.  Although it is the opposite spectrum from being greedy, it can be just as destructive.  Just imagine for a second that your dream is to run a successful chain of grocery stores.  You pay your dues and eventually you are there.  Now, what happens if you decide to sit back and enjoy a life of luxury?  At best your company moves on at a ho-hum pace, morale becomes and issue, employees become less satisfied, service levels fall, and sure it is bad that you are making less profit, but you are also hurting others.