The Five Fundamentals of Success

How to Get You Where You Want to Go

There are thousands of books and hundreds of motivational speakers that can describe a formula for success. When you whittle them all down to the basics, these five just seem to always show up as the fundamentals, the ones most repeated by everyone. I think we can all accept that success has many different definitions. But, ultimately when you discuss success in relation to achievement, the five fundamentals identified here must be practiced and developed in order to excel.

Success should not be measured by something that is achieved easily by everyone. Is there success for the high school student who graduates on time? Of course, but the majority of students do achieve it, therefore the result was more expected than success driven. The success model we want to discuss is about over-achievement and it is available to all of us because the fundamentals can be developed by anyone.

Remember, you can beat 50 percent of the people by just showing up; you will whip another 40 percent by being honest; it’s the last 10 percent where the “dogfight” starts and this is where the excitement begins – it is also where the Five Fundamentals of Success are most applicable. Based on this statement, showing up and being honest are given characteristics since we are discussing how to succeed in that 10 percent arena.

Fundamental #1 is a “burning desire” to succeed. This seems so obvious but most people miss it completely. A burning desire is best illustrated by describing the feeling you would have if you were in Orlando, Florida and your young children were in Los Angles, California. You have only 7 hours to get to Los Angeles or you will never see your children again. Here’s the rub: you have no money, credit cards or car. Will you get to California? There is not a responsible parent in the world that would not have a burning desire to get to California and they would find a way to get it done, although at the moment they can’t tell you how, but they know why. A burning desire is about knowing your “why;” it is not so important to know “how.” Without this type of desire, you will quit under the adversity that every journey to success always brings.

Fundamental #2 is a deep and sincere belief. This means a belief in you, company, industry and product. A true belief system is one that enables you to challenge or discuss someone else’s beliefs that may be completely different from your own, but not be persuaded by those beliefs. You will always encounter more people who do not believe in you, your company, your industry or product than you will ever encounter positively. Life and business is a game of failure; the successes belong to those who don’t stay down. Therefore you must always work and build on your belief system. Probably the most ignored area and the most important is the belief in YOU. Spend time everyday improving your belief systems. Knowledge in every area of importance brings a sense of confidence that leads to a strong belief system.

Fundamental #3 is clearly defined and written goals that have a deadline. We hear about goals all the time, and for the most part it goes in one ear and out the other. People continue to operate with better plans for vacation than their lives. If you were driving from Orlando to Topeka, Kansas, you would first get a map to determine where you are going. Then you would determine, based on the distance and the type of roads, how long it will take you to get there. If during the trip you run into some problems, you might take a detour and maybe add some time to your trip but still achieve the goal that you set out to accomplish by arriving in Topeka. The destination (or goal) provides a target with an expectation of time to accomplish, the ability to be flexible when you encounter difficulties and the knowledge to know when you have reached your destination.

Think about your children. How long is it okay for them to remain in the third grade? Society has established very clear, obtainable and measurable goals for our children and most stay on target through graduation. But then what happens? They are on their own with no goals or targets. Is it any wonder so many adults just drift through life? If there was ever a case for goals, it was the study done on the 1953 graduating class from Yale University. It was determined that only
3 percent of the graduating class had clearly defined and written goals with deadlines or expectations for achievement. Twenty years later, the 3 percent who graduated with goals had a net worth that was greater than the combined net worth of the other 97 percent who did not have goals.

Fundamental #4 is the ability to work hard and not lose balance. We have spoken about balance before, but it is so critical to the success equation. Hard work is a must in order to achieve anything, but losing everything else along the way, in particular family and health, is unacceptable and often leaves a certain emptiness and sadness in the success.

Fundamental #5 is time. This one, in our results-orientated society, gives us the most problems. We used to be a society that understood planting, cultivating and harvesting. Today, we have become a society of plant and harvest, a microwave society wanting everything yesterday. We have forgotten the most important aspect of the equation, cultivating the seeds we have sown, or delayed gratification. The cultivation process takes time and involves hard work, goals, belief and a desire to harvest.

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