Whether you are an athlete, business person or community leader your entire success can be improved if you reduce the downtime you waste going on sidetracks. This is the true purpose of a success formula: to reduce waste, especially energy and time, and to have more enjoyment in the process of achieving your visions.
I am going to introduce you to a success formula. It’s up to you whether you implement it or not.
Success does not have a single target: to be the fastest or the highest paid or the wealthiest or the smartest or the slowest. Success has your target attached to it. But that is not to say your success can always be measurable by your single result. The fastest woman on earth, if she does not enjoy life after her success, will be called a failure. Success therefore may be a single point of focus but it is surrounded by so many “as long as” notions of preventing the sacrifices being to great. Success, as long as I live to enjoy the fruits of my success. And this is where things get complicated. The one who makes the greatest sacrifices usually wins as long as their mental and physical health are not the price they pay.
A gold medal at the Olympics might cost you all the money you have and your relationships, but you’ll agree that it was worth it. As long as you don’t end up depressed and lonely. You see, there are conditions.
A multi million dollar income might cost you the fun and parties your friends can go to but as long as you don’t end up with kidney failure or dementia. You see, there are conditions.
A wonderful partner and children might cost you your career, and a job that pays well, as long as they don’t complain that you never lived to your full potential. You see, there are some very weird conditions.
And the list goes on. It is not so much how successful you want to be, it’s more, the conditions you put on it that might cause you to take your foot off the accelerator and err on the side of caution, another word for compromise. It’s really important to be aware of your conditions before you embark on a journey of “I want this, without the loss of that.”
So the first step in development of your own success formula is to determine the cost you’d be willing to pay to get to your end game. To register that amongst the stars. To nominate your conditions without the belief that those conditions need to be compromised in order to achieve what you want. Because they don’t if you believe they don’t.
This is an important thing for you to remember because most success comes from the sub-conscious mind acting on instruction from the conscious mind and when the conscious mind is continually worried about losing something important, then the signals become confused, emotional, judgemental. This messes with messages of instruction from what you think to how you act. This alone may differentiate those who win and those who do not.
We have a conscious mind that can sabotage or inspire. It can solve our most complicated problems, can guide us through the most difficult situations. We also have a subconscious mind, a blind intelligence acting only upon instruction, suggestion and animal instinct. Therefore there must a collaboration between your sub-conscious mind and conscious mind for success on a grand, low cost scale. If these two minds do not collaborate, you’ll be pushing the proverbial up a hill, 24/7 and wondering what the hell happened.
So, to begin, let’s speak truth. The subconscious mind is subject to our will. It’s not some miracle, it responds and manifests what you think. So, the first question you have in your success formula is “do you know what you want?”
Most people want something different everyday. Monday is about fish and chips, Tuesday about relationship pleasure, Wednesday the banking, Thursday the weather, Saturday a sore toe, Sunday the weather, Monday catching the bus, Tuesday weight loss, Wednesday exercise, Thursday about what others think, Friday about what they think about what others think, Saturday about what others think about what they think about what others think about, Sunday about what the news says about sharks, Monday the weather, Tuesday what car to buy and life goes on.
People take themselves seriously when they think about things that are important. So, we most often think we are what we think. Now, there’s a horrible truth in this for a success formula. Given the subconscious is getting instructions from the conscious mind, we bring about what we think about. Fears become reality too. And worries don’t go away because what we worry about goes away, we just become run down, depressed and exhausted and stop caring. The whole thinking process we use is a mix of feel good (and that’s a myth), ego gratification (and that’s impossible) and some consideration of what we want.
Then there are two levels of consideration for what we want. There’s the squeaky wheel syndrome which means, in short, whatever is getting our attention becomes the focus of our thinking. Feeling fat? We start thinking about weight loss. Feeling diminished at work? We start thinking about changing jobs. Feeling unattractive? We start flirting or shopping therapy for new clothes to cover our deep self loathing. Feeling poor? Start thinking about investments and how much you can get a pay rise at work. The squeaky wheel is a really noisy thing and it never stops even when we put oil on it to stop it squeaking, another wheel (there are thousands of them) starts to squeal. We resolve one and another starts. We live and entire life firefighting one problem thinking, like in the bible, we can eliminate sin. It’s not going to happen. Nature won’t allow it.
If you put your fingers in the honey jar you are going to get honey on your fingers. And the same goes for baby nappy poo. Put your fingers in that stuff and you will be washing your hands all day with that faint aroma giving you a reminder that you’ve probably missed some. There is no missed poop, but your mind has the smell, and it’s hard to get rid of it.
The same goes for those problem solving attitudes that might win you an academy award at work for “really giving a shit.” Or when you put money in the envelope to save the children in Africa and everybody sees you. The attitude of caring on the one hand is totally awesome. It wins success. But it, like everything in nature’s universe comes with a balance. Continually caring, problem solving, fixing things turns you into a short term thinker, and there’s nothing more guaranteed to disrupt a success formula than short term thinking. Ironic isn’t it?
So it seems that the very thinking that might win you a trophy or bonus at work for problem solving and firefighting could also be the very thing that screws with your life. It reminds me of the time I was in an ocean swim race in Sydney Harbour. Over 500 people were racing and I went with four mates. My event was 10km composed of 2 @ 5km out and backs. My mates shot into the distance and I was left to navigate the race on my own merits. Now, you see, I don’t have perfect vision. And with swim goggles on, even worse. But I knew the course. So, every 3 swim strokes I looked up and spotted the ocean buoy that marked the turnaround for the 5km loop I was on. I noticed after a while that I was alone and put it down to leading the race. I swam but the buoy got further away. So I stopped swimming and realised I was spotting the life jacket of a kayaker and had swum at least 2 km into the middle of Middle Harbour. A very sharky place. Somehow the escort craft had missed my detour. By the time I’d finished the race, my mates were dry and eating the requisite post swim burgers impatient to go home. No explanation was good enough. I tried to blame the race organisers, my eye sight, and a host of other things. But in the end, it didn’t matter. I finished the race 20 minutes after my mates. That’s on the record. No going back to change it.
Success formula is a way to avoid regret. If you spend your life changing your mind about what you want from Monday to Sunday, distracted by whatever makes the worst noise, your boss, your body, your buddy, your bum… you will end up swimming to the wrong buoy, a moving target and your poor subconscious mind will be getting signals “turn left, no wait, turn right, no wait, turn left.” You’ll be firefighting, problem solving your entire life and from a success point of view, let alone mental health point of view, you’ll regret it because ultimately that mind changing feels like progress but it’s actually just treading water. Getting your fingers covered in baby poo daily makes you think you are “busy” making progress but really, you are actually in the shit. “Shit happens, and you have to deal with it, but solving it has nothing to do with success.”
On a mountain, you know you want to reach the summit. You know where it is, you know what’s involved, the costs, the risks, the upside and the down. You have a chief aim, a primary target, you have a mission, a purpose, a vision. In other words “big picture” of where you want to be at the end of the climb. Then it’s set and forget. You focus on every step, not distracted by thinking about baby poo, or the rash in your crutch from climbing gear, you know, each step is critical, you know as you do in success, that what you think about you bring about, so, you do not dwell on the smell. You think about what you bring about. You do not focus on the summit. You focus on the next step, it is not the squeaky wheel instantaneous ego gratification or pleasure, it’s simply doing, each step, what will get you to the top. And the first thing is NOT giving your attention to the squeaky wheels.
There is a great quote, “Idle Mind is the Devils Playground” – in context to what I am saying here. If you do not put into your mind the sweet honey, dip your fingers in sweet honey of thoughts that direct you up the mountain one step at a time, if you do not have a mountain or a peak you aim to summit in life, your mind becomes the Devils Playground and your ambition for success becomes as likely (unlikely) as winning the Lotto: you live your life in hope, a horrible, vulnerable, weak, mentally unstable grasping for anything that vaguely resembles a compliment, praise, pleasure, positive feedback. Like a chick in a nest waiting for mum to deliver the worms, you sit open mouthed co-dependent on partner and children, family and boss to feed you. But for this, it is the equivalent to me swimming for a kayak buoyancy vest instead of the buoy and putting my life in the hands of shark infested waters.
Success formula – yours, begins with confession. There is something you’d love to achieve in your life other than being a good mum or dad. Other than looking good or jumping up and down between the sheets. Something that, if you were to die doing it, you’d look down on your dust on this earth and say “that was worth dying for.” A summit, a chief aim, a vision, one single thing we can call your big mountain summit. Because without it, your mind cannot control the devils playground and as a result, your subconscious will receive “SPAGHETTI MIND” – problem solving, mashed potato, emotionally driven, squeaky wheel, ego gratifying, delusional directions. All of which is a sensory driven miscalculation of what it takes to be successful in life.
The majority of people live that “SPAGHETTI MIND” life. Wanting this, wanting that, fixing this, worried about that. They fluctuate more than a cows tail on a hot day, and the net result is safety. They too, like you, eventually leave this planet in body at least, and most leave 90% of life still in the tank. They are exhausted, sick, burnt out from swatting flies from their arse. Thinking that they are thinking. But really, just putting oil on squeaky wheels their entire life. That’s not success. It’s survival thinking and the cemetery is full of those people who lived to survive, but in doing so, didn’t.
STEP 1. SUCCESS FORMULA – A SINGLE BIG PICTURE – A MISSION, VISION, PURPOSE GREATER THAN YOU…