To be successful in life, you have to learn to forgive yourself and others for things that have happened in the past. It’s often easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself, but you need to say ‘I am no longer a prisoner of the past, but a pioneer of the future’. You cannot change what happened, you can only learn from it.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t face challenges and crises as you strive to achieve your dreams and ambitions. On the contrary, in Cantonese the word ‘crisis’ consists of two concepts, ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. We have to remember that in any crisis, there are opportunities, and we can choose to focus either on dangers or on opportunities. Opportunity is born through the birth pains of crisis.
The poorest person in the world is the person without a dream, and the most frustrated person is a person with a dream that never becomes a reality. To be successful, you need to live your own dream and not try to live the dreams of others. You have to be successful for your own reasons. Share your dreams with others with care, because negative people will discourage you from striving for your dream. All of us need encouragement as we dream. It is like oxygen to the soul.
In South Africa there are generally two kinds of people – undertakers and caretakers, and neither of these are dreamers. The undertakers are people who always criticise and say that something will never work. Caretakers are those who are always taking care of other people’s dreams and never focus on their own potential.
When you dare to dream, you begin to use words like ‘it can be done’, ‘it is possible’ and you begin to understand the power of words. Words can build or break. Dreamers are people who have a positive attitude. They realise that it is not what is happening to them that counts, but how they react to the challenges. Dreamers think big and know that success does not come from doing the same thing the same way all the time. They constantly stretch themselves to improve.
Embrace the five Rs:
Resolve – Determined and committed people resolve to do things now because they are hungry for growth and for success.
Refrain – Determined and committed people refrain from talking to negative people and refrain from negative influences.
Repeat – Once you are successful, you need to repeat the exercise so that you become even more successful. Success is a matter of repetition and consistency.
Responsibility – Realise that you alone are responsible for your future. You alone are responsible for the outcome of your efforts.
Re-invent yourself – Don’t become complacent. Consider new ways to become even more efficient in your skill.
As you mess with success, you begin to understand that you have to be disciplined.
Self-discipline is often the missing element in many lives. Nobody can discipline you, but yourself. At some time or other you have to say ‘No’ to certain things in life – this is called delayed gratification – you pay now, you play later.
Although a lack of discipline might not have any immediate impact on your life, you need to realise that the pain and regret of these errors are only delayed, and will come back to bite you at a later stage. Both success and failure involve future consequences, namely the inevitable rewards or unavoidable regrets resulting from past activities.
I urge you to show grace and generosity to those who are less fortunate than you are. Remember, what you do for your self disappears when you die, but what you do for others will remain a legacy. That is true success.
Now that you know what you want to achieve or become, you need to define it by making it a goal. Your goal has to be:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
Dependency on technology will increase in the future. Spend time learning new computer programs to improve your productivity, not as just another new toy.
Get comfortable with other ethnic cultures, religions and customs. Learn a little about the customs and attitudes belonging to workers from other cultures and countries. You do not have to compromise any personal values or standards in order to do this.
Being creative demands thinking outside of the box and looking for innovative ways in which to solve persistent problems, increase productivity or produce a new product or service. What worked last year may not necessarily work today. When a challenge presents itself, be the first to offer a new viewpoint or recommend an alternate course of action. Your ideas, combined with the creative ideas from other employees, will help your organisation renew itself as necessary to be competitive in the 21st century.
Believe in yourself and have an ‘I can’ attitude. Train yourself to look beyond the negative events and to see the opportunity cocooned within an obstacle. By doing this you will add value to those around you. Refuse to grumble when circumstances are adverse. Refuse to complain. Be grateful for where you are now, and for where you are headed. Your attitude determines your altitude!
The above is an extract from David Molapo's book Choose to Change.