Everyone wants to be successful. Most want to be wealthy. So why don’t we ever end up getting there? Although most of us face detours to our big dreams, it’s typically not external factors keeping us from achieving our dreams. It’s internal barriers that stop us.
If you want to build wealth and be successful, you first need to have the right mentalities.
1. Goals are golden.
It’s no secret there’s a positive correlation between setting goals and overall productivity—professionals who have a measurable goal to work for are far more productive than those who are just “winging it.” But being goal-oriented and treating goals as “golden” is about more than just setting them in the first place. You have to treat them as a major priority, making heavy sacrifices to achieve them and breaking them down into smaller chunks when necessary. Creating your goals is just the first step of the process—you also need to have the follow-through to make them count.
2. The future is more important than the present.
This concept, from a subjective standpoint, is debatable. You could easily argue that living “in the moment” is more important than worrying about the future, but people who are future-oriented, that is to say, people who make decisions based on future payoffs, are far more likely to be successful. Future-oriented people aren’t afraid to make short-term sacrifices if it means a long-term gain, and they aren’t tempted to engage in momentary pleasures that would rob them of some future payoff. Their future selves are the main priority.
3. Failure isn’t a bad thing.
The fear of failure permeates our society and it leads millions to live their lives in complacency. For example, you’re working in a job you hate with a pay and advancement ceiling. You have the option to quit and start your own business, but you’re so afraid of failing that you never give it a real shot. Failure is always a possibility and as a society we need to stop decrying it. Successful people see failure as a necessary step of the process and a valuable learning opportunity. Moreover, few plans are executed smoothly—how you handle them when they go wrong is more important than when they go right.
4. Opportunities exist everywhere.
Opportunities arise when you least expect them. They may take the form of hidden strengths in an idea you were about to toss, or a potential partnership with a stranger you met in a coffee shop. When you adopt the mindset that opportunities truly exist everywhere, in every moment of every day, you’ll be on the lookout for them. By that virtue alone, you’ll discover more opportunities for yourself, and you’ll end up earning far more value in your life.
5. Calculated risks are important.
Risks are scary, but without them, there’s substantially less room to grow. Studies suggest that the wealthiest, most successful professionals of our time are ones who weren’t afraid to take a calculated risk—they went against the grain, gambled on an idea they thought was worth the investment and weren’t afraid to stake possible sacrifices. If you aren’t taking any risks, you aren’t making the move toward possible rewards, and, of course, without the rewards, you’ll never get anywhere.
6. Consistency is good, until it becomes prohibitive.
This is a complicated mental state to try and achieve, but it’s an important one. For the most part, consistency is incredibly important. For example, if one of your goals is to accrue wealth through investments, you have to invest a certain amount of money every month or you’ll lose momentum. However, there’s a point at which consistency does more harm than good—when it starts to lead you down the wrong path, such as when you’ve developed a bad habit or an unproductive routine. It’s hard to spot when these “bad” kinds of consistency crop up, but you’ll need to closely watch for them.
7. Nothing is ever perfect.
Accepting the reality that nothing is perfect helps you in countless areas. You won’t be as worried about taking risks. You won’t be as hesitant about starting a new project. You won’t be as deterred when something goes wrong, or when you overlooked a major flaw. You won’t find yourself perpetually waiting for the “perfect” time to launch a product, and you won’t abandon your goals just because you didn’t achieve them in the way you first expected.
It’s not easy to achieve these mentalities. Don’t expect to adopt them instantaneously. You’ll most likely have a hard time accepting some of them, especially if they conflict with your inherent and learned views of the world. But if you can slowly integrate them into your ongoing mental state and accept their maxims as truth, you’ll start making better decisions and forming habits that will one day lead you to the success you’ve always dreamed of. Remain patient and never stop moving forward.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources, including Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Business.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local nonprofit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.