The 9 Most Important Success Lessons We Shared on in 2018

UPDATED: October 6, 2023
PUBLISHED: January 9, 2019
Success Lessons

1. To have more than you’ve got, become more than you are.

You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, “What am I getting?” Instead, you should ask, “What am I becoming?” What you become directly influences what you get. Think of it this way: Most of what you have today, you have attracted by becoming the person you are today.

Personal development is a push. It’s a struggle. It’s a challenge. There wouldn’t be any winning without a challenge. That’s what life is all about. It’s the struggle and the challenge to develop ourselves and our skills to see what we can create in the way of value in the marketplace. It’s taking those skills and value to the marketplace and seeing what it will return for us.

New habits don’t come easy, but they can be developed. Sometimes when you develop a lot of momentum in one direction, it’s not that easy to change, but it is possible. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Somebody once said, “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” You’ve just got to read the books, learn the skills, put yourself through the paces, do the mental pushups and get yourself ready.

Inspiration is fine, but inspiration must lead to discipline. It’s one thing to be motivated, but it’s another thing to be motivated sufficiently to take the classes, do the reading, do the repetition, go through it over and over, until it becomes part of you. And those are challenges. They’re not easy, but they’re challenges that if you win and develop and grow, that’s what determines your place, your return, your equity, the worth you get from the marketplace.

2. Success is not the goal. Success is the process.

Through your own study and progress, you can find your personal definition of success and meet it. So what is it to live a good life? We settled on four pillars: Happiness, Health, Growth and Purpose—and the pursuit and maintenance of these four cornerstones of the self will guide you.

  • Personal happiness may seem like a selfish pursuit on its face, but it works in much the same way. If you don’t enjoy your life, you will be less of an asset to everyone you encounter, including the people who depend on you the most. When we are truly happy, we are more engaged at work, more present for our friends and more connected to our loved ones. If not, we are often stuck in our own minds, feeling sorrow and resentment.
  • Health, or the lack thereof, is a completely tangible factor in success. Imagine what more you could accomplish every day if you just had more energy and vitality. Luckily, this is the simplest part of the framework to master. You already know how to be healthier: Eat better. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep. It’s really that basic. You’ll be amazed at how much control you feel in other areas of your life after you make good health an unbending priority.
  • To grow is the point of a lifetime. Missing the daily chance to learn something new, further develop a skill, progress toward a goal or simply understand oneself better is a true shame, and a dangerous one at that. When we become complacent for a day, we soon become complacent for a week, and a month, and a year. Soon decades of our lives have slipped by and we wonder where the time went. Living that way is not success.
  • Your purpose is the light at the end of the tunnel—the thing that will keep you going when things are bleak or setbacks occur. Whatever it is for you, it’s vital that you have it, and that you remind yourself of it constantly. Losing sight of your purpose makes success very difficult to attain, and if you achieve it in some measure, then forget what spurred you to get there in the first place, success can be easily lost.

Read more: What Is Success?

3. To become truly confident, commit to simply being yourself.

Confidence is one of those game-changing qualities—like rapport, empathy and courage—that is both incredibly valuable and highly elusive. As soon as we “try” to be confident, we’ve already failed. As soon as we “act” more confident, we’re already pretending. Telling someone to “be more confident” is like telling someone to be taller. That’d be nice, but how?

The answer to that question requires a new approach to confidence—one that goes beyond the “fake it till you make it!” mentality, and moves toward something more authentic, more grounded and more holistic. We need to approach confidence not as a fixed quality to be attained, but as a dynamic process to be engaged in throughout our lives.

A process-oriented approach means letting go of the impulse to pretend that we’re confident when we’re not. It also means accepting that our confidence will take hits from time to time. If we authentically acknowledge when our confidence takes a hit, then we put ourselves in a position to rediscover it—not by faking our way back into confidence, but by doing the work required to rebuild it. In practical terms, that means putting time into our craft, investing in new skills, repairing relationships, sticking with difficult goals, and—most importantly—being patient as our confidence steadily evolves.

Read more: The Art of True Confidence

4. Purpose is the point at which your gifts intersect with a need in the world around you.

We all want to live in this “universal assignment.” That is the true definition of purpose we should all aspire to seek. But like anything else in the journey of success, your purpose isn’t a fixed point that you arrive at and stay forever. The world changes too often. We change too often. It is the constant search for that point that keeps us on target.

Living your purpose means waking up every morning excited. The moment your feet hit the ground, you can’t wait to make a difference in the life of another. You’re excited to solve a problem, put a smile on someone’s face, identify a solution to an issue, and you go to bed at night with the internal satisfaction that you were your most productive self that day. You brought your best self to work and gave it 100 percent.

In Simon T. Bailey’s book Release Your Brilliance, he lays out a simple, three-step exercise to help you discover your purpose and then design your life around it.

  • Ask: Ask yourself, How can I use my purpose to make a difference?—and your subconscious mind will open to the universe and its possibilities.
  • Seek: Actively look for answers to how you can use your purpose each day. Look for the path that you’re supposed to take. Do your research. Understand that you may have to follow a lot of rabbit trails, some of which will take you to dead ends. That’s OK; it’s all part of the process.
  • Knock: When you come upon a door of opportunity that you intuitively believe is for you, you must knock. If you want to find out what’s on the other side of the door, you have to push it open and step through.

Read more: What Is My Purpose in Life?

5. Self-care means keeping yourself in fantastic health, inside and out, for a hell of a long time.

“Aging gracefully” doesn’t have to mean giving up and accepting decay. Would you want to live in a dilapidated home? Should you neglect your car until it breaks down? Would you wear stained, dirty, or wrinkled clothes (unless you’re in the privacy of your home on a Netflix binge)?

Of course not. There’s a sense of pride and self-worth that comes along with caring for and about yourself. This is your body we are talking about—your one and only true home. You know, that physical shell that quite literally houses you for your entire life. And it’s the only one you’re ever going to get, so you should care for it and about it! How it looks. How it feels. How it performs. And most importantly, how long it lasts.

How you feel about yourself, carry yourself, and present yourself all dramatically impact the way you relate to your environment and other people in it, which in turn, dramatically impacts your quality of life and how you age. I mean, longevity is great, but longevity without vitality, immunity, and everything else—well, that’s not so great.

No single factor is truly independent from—or more important than—the rest, and it’s the intertwining of these causes and effects that ultimately ages us.

Well actually, there is one single factor that can slow your aging: It’s you. It’s in your commitment to caring for yourself mentally and physically. Treat your future self well today.

Read more: Your Self-Care Guide to Aging Gracefully

6. Stories close the gaps that divide us.

You surely have goals, and you want to break down the barriers that stand between you and your goals. You want to compel your customers or colleagues to turn off whatever is distracting them and pay attention to you. You want to engage people in real, meaningful ways such that you’ll be remembered long after the interaction is complete.

Stories unite teams and connect customers to brands, so how do you get started harnessing the power of stories in your business or career?

  • A story must have identifiable characters.
  • A story must include emotion.
  • A story must include a moment.

Remember, people want to do business with people. The moments you choose will become stories that will connect you in ways flow charts and compensation plans can’t.

The next time the stakes are highest, may you break down the barriers and bridge the gaps because you chose to tell a story.

Read more: How to Tell Your Story

7. You can start a business in a day.

You just need a list of resources and tools, and a lot of focus.

There are a few things that will make it easier to start a business and scale it quickly. First, it will help if you already know the type of business you want to build and have a basic understanding of the target market you’re seeking. It can also help if you choose a service-based business, such as a marketing firm or consultancy, rather than one that specializes in products. Product-based businesses require prototypes and plans for manufacturing and distribution, which can take time to set up. However, if you already know the types of products you want to sell, or if you want to open a retail shop or an e-commerce site, it can be done as long as you know where to find the products you plan to sell.

So, are you ready to start a business? Our handy list can help. From start to finish, you’ll see the steps you need to come up with an idea and bring it to fruition, giving you the foundation you need to grow a thriving business in the days that follow.

Related: How to Start a Business in a Day

8. To have the best year ever, you have to come up with a vision.

Year in and year out, improving one’s health is at or near the top of Americans’ list of New Year’s resolutions. But achieving a New Year’s resolution of any kind is a different matter. Tony Robbins is often asked myriad questions surrounding the major life changes we set for Jan. 1: How can I reinvent myself this year? What is the secret to maintaining my goals? How can I have an extraordinary year? What am I doing wrong?

But starting a year off on the right foot, he says, regardless of what you’re striving to achieve, begins with one simple behavior: Creating a vision. “What do you want? What’s going to be different this year? What do you want to change, what do you want to transform?”

Transforming into the person you want to be is not difficult so long as you have the dedication, focus and correct tools at your disposal, Robbins says. Follow this roadmap to begin crafting the best year of your life.

  • Feed your mind: Don’t just hope things will go the way you want. Condition yourself to believe that they will.
  • Strengthen your body: Priming your physical self can set the stage for the change you want to see mentally or emotionally.
  • Find a great role model: “You don’t want to just try to do it yourself,” Robbins says. “You want to model someone who’s already getting results.”
  • Take massive action: Make a huge step forward, but remember to be flexible and alter your course if necessary.
  • Get outside of yourself: Instead of focusing 100 percent on your goals and what you want to achieve, you must also find a way to add value to others.

Read more: Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Guide to Your Best Year Ever

9. You can improve every day.

Humans usually mark the passage of time by their own growth. As children, it’s physical growth, like the markings etched into the wall of your childhood home indicating your height from one year to another. As adults, our growth is less guaranteed but just as important. We go into each new year hoping to grow in a way that betters our physical and mental states of being, our relationships, our careers, and the lives of the people around us. We just want to improve.

We made a list of ideas to help you get better and feel better as long as the number of days in a year. Your future, your health, your work life and your contributions to your fellow humans are all covered. But some of the most impactful ones are the small, simple things you can add or cut from your daily life. Growth can be subtle in that way: You might not notice it, but you can improve every day.

Read more: 365 Ways to Improve Yourself in the New Year

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