Do you know anyone who was hopeless at school, but went on to become successful? It often happens and you wonder how an underachiever did so well in life.
Take Richard Branson as an example. He left school aged 16, having only passed one exam. I’m not sure how many he took, but most British school kids take about eight exams at that age. Yet even though he was dyslexic, and an academic failure, Branson went on to set up the Virgin Group. His global string of airlines, record companies, music shops and a mobile phone company have netted him an estimated US$2.5 billion dollars so far.
No matter what you think of Richard Branson’s bouffant hairdo and his publicity stunts, as a role model for success he’s hard to beat.
The Key To Achieving Your Goals
So how did Branson succeed? Well, he’s probably got ‘grit’. Psychologists describe ‘grit’ as being able to stick to a job and keep at it for a long period of time despite setbacks. They’ve found that having grit is more useful when it comes to achieving your goals than intelligence.
Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, had been studying the importance of grit. Her studies show that the ability to stick with something, and persevere at it, will make a greater contribution to it than having a high IQ.
Quite simply, to get what you want out of life, and achieve your goals, you need to persevere. Persevering isn’t enough by itself though, you also have to keep our long term goals in mind.
10 Ways to Get What You Want Out Of Life
- Set your goal and focus on it 100%
First you need to work out what you really want to get out of life. If you know what your dreams are, then you can set goals and start working towards them. See How To Work Our What Your Dream Is if you’re having trouble with this.
- Be ambitious and believe in yourself
Confidence has been an issue for me. I always knew I wanted to be a writer but was advised not to become one because it’s “too competitive”. In reality, there’s plenty of room for more writers, actors, business people, or whatever you dream of being. If you want something enough, and believe you can achieve it, then you’ll find a niche for yourself in that field.
Top Tip – If a lack of confidence is holding you back, try picking a short mantra that sums up what you want to be or do. For example, happy mum, successful writer, top entrepreneur. Now make that your password so every time you log onto your computer, or your favorite websites, you reinforce your goals.
- Understand that you will need to stay focused for years to achieve your dreams
I think we all know that success doesn’t happen overnight, but by working towards the same goal consistently over a long period of time you’ll succeed in the long run. Let’s take my goal of writing a book. It’s a long term project. So far, over the course of a year, I’ve spent about three months writing my book and another three months editing it. I know that if I really want it to be published, I’ll have to spend another three months finding an agent, and probably the same amount of time revising the book according to my agent’s recommendations. If I stop focusing on my goal it won”t happen, it’s as simple as that.
- Be prepared to work hard
It’s fun to dream that we’ll win the lottery, or that an agent will discover us at the airport and propel us to a success in a glittering Hollywood career. I’ve spend a fair amount of time fantasizing about this kind of thing, and it never got me anywhere. I’ve noticed that most people whose are described as “overnight successes” deny it and say they spent many long years practicing their art and networking in their field. If you want to achieve your dreams, you’ll have to work hard as well.
- Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by new ideas that pop up
If you get bored easily this is something to look out for. Allow yourself time to think and be creative, but keep coming back to your main goals and focus on them first. When you’ve achieved that, you can always concentrate on other things next.
- Don’t get discouraged by setbacks: learn a lesson and get back to your goal
There will always be set backs. I seem to have them most days! But I just moan about it for a few minutes or allow myself to feel angry, annoyed or upset briefly, then I channel that emotion into getting on with achieving my goal. It takes practice to develop a thick skin, and stop taking setbacks personally, but getting over them is vital.
- Finish your projects
Starting new projects is good ~ finishing them is better. You need closure which will then allow you to move on from one project to another. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of starting new things but not finishing them.
- Congratulate yourself on your successes along the way
It’s important to stay motivated and recognizing your successes is vital. Because your goals are long term you need to acknowledge each small success you make on the way to it. To stay motivated try using Twitter, it worked for me, or hook up with a like-minded people and harness the power of co-motivation.
- Look forward to having achieved your goals
Can you imagine what it will be like when you’ve achieved your goals and are living your dream? Start thinking about it, but only if you understand that you’re going to get there because of your own hard work, not because a fairy god-mother waved her wand and made all your wishes come true.
- Know what your weaknesses are so that you can be ready to tackle them
For example, I know I’m easily distracted so I have to focus extra hard on my goals. I’m sensitive too, but I’ve learnt not take set backs personally, to carry on working towards achieving my goals, no matter what. I’m also forcing myself to be more ambitious, even though some part of me thinks it’s selfish. If I’m not ambitious, I’ll lack the drive to follow through on my intentions. Can you see what your weaknesses are and come up with a plan to counter them?
I Can, You Can, Toucan
I hope this article will inspire you to persevere and keep working towards your goals. I’m enjoying learning more about how we can get what we want out of life. It’s great to find scientific proof for things that I already knew instinctively, or have learned by trial and error.
Most of all, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned about how to make life dreams come true with my readers and get your feedback. It’s great to be surrounded by people who also want to make their lives the best they can be, and work towards living my next dream with a team of informed and optimistic people on board.
I wish you lots of luck and even more grit. Let’s agree that we’ll never give up!
Thanks for reading
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More Personal Development Ideas
>> 10 Things To Be Grateful For and Why You Should Be
>> 3 Keys To Living Our Dream
>> Changing Crappiness Into Happiness
>> Follow Your Dream, You Only Live Once