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Achieving Success: Using 7 Essential Ingredients

I was in that boat for years, trying to find myself and discover what I really aspire to be in the future

Photo by Kateryna Babaieva on Pexels

There are two types of people in this world – those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouths and those who have to move mountains to achieve success.  Despite many of us who fall under the second category, not many are certain on how to achieve success or where to even begin in their journey to find success. 

Dr. Benjamin Hardy wrote in a Harvard Business Review article on how most of us are in a state of becoming. We aspire to achieve something and yet we tend to place extreme emphasis on our present selves. We are comfortable living in our current state to the extent where we become reactive and naturally go with the flow to where life takes us. On some occasions, we want a different future – a better and successful one – but find it rather challenging to imagine where to even start. 

Peter Bregman shared that most of us are busy all day where we work constantly, taking care of spouse, partner, children, parents in addition to balancing our lives with hobbies, sports and other extra things on our to-do list to the extent where we pay most of our attention on what is present for us at that particular time – leaving little room for self-exploration to discover what exactly that we want for our own future. 

I was in that boat for years, trying to find myself and discover what I really aspire to be in the future. It was not until recently where I made this profound discovery where each and every one of us can accelerate our life journey in achieving the success that we desire. 

Ingredient 1: Set a Vision

There are countless pieces of literature highlighting the importance of having a vision. Steven R. Covey in ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ encouraged those who seek success to begin with an end in mind. Dr. John Kotter designed the ‘8-Step Process’ highlighting the importance of forming strategic vision and initiatives. Destra Consulting Group LLC introduced ‘Accelerating Change and Transitions (ACT) Model’ providing a roadmap that focuses on achieving vision. By having a specific and detailed vision on how you would like your future to be, it will serve as a starting point for you to work in achieving that vision. For example, when I aspire to transform the way legal education is being delivered, having the aspiration alone is insufficient. I will have to implement new pedagogies, conduct research, collect data, publish findings and present in conferences to gain recognition that students can learn law using Augmented Reality and Gamification. A vision is important as it sets a direction for your life, family, business and even career path to grow. 

Ingredient 2: Inspire Yourself

With that specific vision in mind, it will provide yourself with a sense of purpose to work harder in achieving that particular goal. Hence it is important for you to find positive energy from those around you so that you can constantly inspire yourself to be productive and keep moving forward in achieving your vision. You have to be able to inspire yourself and not rely on others to motivate you because the journey to achieve success is a journey in itself – where along the way you will feel lost, burnout, skeptical of your vision but you must be able to inspire yourself to keep going forward. 

Ingredient 3: Create Opportunities

This is where I would say the most important aspects to accelerate your success where you need to create opportunities for yourself. This differs from finding opportunities because not many of us can find what we are searching for but we definitely can take the first step to create our own opportunities. An example provided by Peter Bregman is that if you want to be a writer, you have to just start writing. You don’t have to wait for free time to start writing because if we wait, there will be no free time as we are all always constantly doing something. If we don’t know where to publish or could not find a platform or publisher to publish, set up your own blog or start posting on your social media. Because out of thousands of readers who read your stories or articles, you only need one person who will say ‘I like this piece. I want to engage with this person. And that can be the first golden window of opportunity that gets you closer in achieving success that you desire.  

Ingredient 4: Trust Yourself

For some of us, the journey to achieve our vision can be a lonely journey. Not many people will share the same aspirations as you. Here’s the key: Trust is an important currency in life. You need to trust yourself that you will be able to progress forward to achieve your vision. Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, encourages start-up founders to trust their guts and not to be intimidated by what they don’t know or to solicit feedback on your vision for validation purposes. By doing so, it will create self-doubt and you will slowly begin to lose trust on your ability to achieve your vision. 

Ingredient 5: Be Optimistic

By being optimistic, you will find yourself to be more open to challenges, receptive to new ideas and easy to keep moving forward. Optimism has the power to push yourself to survive in any difficult situation. You will become more open to try new things or adopt ideas which are in line with your vision. Your optimism is a powerful tool to accelerate your desire in achieving success.  

However, there are some of us, who have set a vision but left disappointed after years of working and realizing that nothing has changed. You may feel stuck and frustrated that things do not turn out as you wish it to be. You start to feel that your vision becomes unachievable.  It is always important to remember that you need to strike a right balance between being optimistic and realistic. If your vision is to be a multi-millionaire and you have been working so hard but still not reaching your vision. Perhaps you would want to take a step back and reassess whether what you are currently doing is realistic enough to achieve your desire level of success? It is important that you need to be optimistic and yet realistic at the same time.

Ingredient 6: Be Resilient

A study has been conducted that the more challenges that we faced, the more resilient we become. The fact that you had to endure various challenges in life dealing with ad hoc work, relationship or family, it will increase your level of resilience. Particularly in times of COVID-19 where it has disrupted the way we work, the way we connect and the way we conduct businesses, it does not mean that our vision cannot be achieved. It actually provides us with an opportunity to adapt and acclimatize to the new situation. We are provided with a chance to bounce back from hardship and to re-strategize to find better ways to realize your dreams. Dr. Benjamin Hardy highlights that by being a resilient person, you will be much receptive to embrace uncertainty, embrace change, embrace learning and embrace failure. 

Ingredient 7: Yearn to Excel

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unexpected variables where many of us were not prepared or equipped to handle. Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal from McKinsey & Co wrote that “a shock of this scale will create a discontinuous shift in the preferences and expectations of individuals…these shifts and their impact…will emerge more clearly over the coming weeks and months.” With all that have happened, we should continue to yearn to excel even in difficult times. The strong desire to pursue our vision, dreams and aspirations will provide us with indomitable will to navigate through these turbulent times. 

So what do you get when you add all these essential ingredients together?

You will find the recipe to achieve the success that you desire. Having a vision, inspiration, creating opportunities, trust, optimism, resilience and yearn to success, you will have V.I.C.T.O.R.Y in your hands. Keep giving your best to work towards achieving your vision because then you will be on your winning way to thrive in the post-pandemic world to achieve success. 

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Puteri Sofia is a believer that being young shouldn’t mean that you cannot achieve your vision early. Recently awarded with the "President's Award for Transformative Teaching and Learning," she is the pioneer in teaching law using Augmented Reality in Malaysia. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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