Success is something that everyone is seeking, be it on personal or professional front. However, in the absence of a reliable formula, we keep trying hard often without success and finally give up. We often keep looking at a few others who have succeeded and wonder how they were able to succeed while we have put in much more effort than them.
Well ..it turns out that success is not dependent on the amount of effort that is put into a task. It actually depends on whether we are using the right process to achieve success.
There is a formula for success, which I have figured out after closely observing a lot of people who were successful in what they were doing. The formula is very simple and straightforward and if followed well, can definitely lead one to success.
Success requires the following two key ingredients.
1. A Rigid goal
2. A flexible Approach
Let me explain the above by means of an example. How many of you have observed children at the age of 5 years. You would agree children at that age have an extremely high success rate in terms of getting what they want, whether it is a toy, a balloon, cookies or a chocolate. How do they manage this. Do they have many years of experience? have they attended training so as to develop this skill of influencing and convincing?
If the answer is NO, then how are they able to get what they want. How we get what we want, with a near to 100% success rate. The answer is simple. We need to ensure the two key ingredients.
- A completely rigid goal and
- A completely flexible approach.
Let’s take a scenario where a 5 year old girl has a craving for chocolates and she knows that nobody at home would allow her to have that since it was time to go to bed and she had already finished brushing. She tries convincing her mother, who refuses point blank. Do you think this girl would go to bed without that chocolate. Never. Now she tries convincing her dad. He too refuses and asks her to go to bed, knowing that his wife will be really upset if he allows her to have it. Do you think the child goes to bed without the chocolate.. Never. now the child tried other ways to get it. Probably tries emotional blackmail with grand parents knowing that the melting point of their hearts is lower .. and if that too doesn’t work then will try other innovative ways to get it. Probably will try whining and disturbing parents as they watch their favorite TV series or if that too doesn’t work, will fall down, cry hoping that parents will give the chocolate to pacify her.
Only when she finally gets the chocolate, then she’s going to bed. Also, if you try to offer her something else instead of the chocolate, do you think she is willing .. Never. She would either refuse all that or else take all of that and then again keep pushing for the chocolate that she has set her heart on. Parents, however smart cannot negotiate with a 5 year old.
Now if you look at the approach of the child, you will find that the child is using exactly the same two principles.
1. A Rigid or Non Negotiable Goal
2. A flexible approach
These two attributes lead to success. Let’s now understand both of these in a little more detail.
You will find that people who are successful always have very clear goals and they have a very high level of commitment and determination towards their goals. They never let go their dreams and goals even when faced with adversity, failure and barriers. They get up and continue on their path even when they fail multiple times. They do not change their goals when they fail. When Edison was working on the light bulb and failed a thousand times, somebody asked him about his failure and he said, ” Now I know 1000 Things that Don’t work as the filament” and went ahead with his work till the time he came across the Tungsten filament.
Flexibility in approach means that we try doing things in a different manner to achieve the desired goals. In science, we all know that there is a very simple principle that applies to all experiments i.e. If we keep doing the same things as before, we will keep getting the same results as before” . If we want a different result, then we essentially need to do something different. Successful People know that if a particular approach has led them to failure, then doing the same things again exactly in the same way will get them exactly to the same result as before. Therefore they identify what part of their process needs to be changed and then try again in a different manner, and when they do this repeatedly, they finally land up with the right combination that leads them to success.
In contrast, unsuccessful people, like horses have Blinkers (Blinkers, sometimes known as blinders, are a piece of horse tack that prevent the horse seeing to the rear and, in some cases, to the side.) These Blinkers prevent people from seeing other possibilities and roads that lead to our goal.
In school, we all learnt a quote that “If you fail once, then keep trying”, unfortunately whoever created that quote forgot to put something at the end …
“If you fail once, then keep trying — in a different direction”
People who are creative and keep trying in various ways have a much greater probability of success than those who aren’t.
1. Do I have a clear goal?
2. Am I committed towards achieving it even when faced with repeated failure?
3. Do I have Horse- Blinders which can enable you to spot different approaches?
4. Am I willing to trying various approaches in the journey towards that goal?
Very often, we lack the courage and confidence to allow the possibility of failure. Successful people know that failure is a step towards success.