Essay Republic Writing Contest 3rd Winner's Essay
Seven Effective Strategies to Become Successful
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a well-known phrase that has been attributed to Plato. A good variation of this quote might be, “Success is in the eye of the beholder.” What is success to one may not be to another, but if we dig deep into those people whom society considers successful, we find that it is certainly much more than wealth and fame. It may be worthy achievements; it may be a major contribution to a society; it may be producing a best-selling novel. Or, as in the case of the average person, it may be living a life of contentment and small achievements. Whether a person achieves success in a very public or private way makes no difference. The strategies for becoming successful are the same, and there are seven of them.
The first strategy is goal setting. We do not progress without something toward which to work. These may be short-term goals, such as a great course grade, or long-term, such as entering a career field of our choice. The point is, unless we are continually working toward something, we cannot experience the joy of achieving that something. Without that joy of accomplishment, we cannot develop self-esteem and confidence. Successful people are confident and know that they are worthy.
It is hard to set and work toward goals without finding our passion. And that is the second strategy. We must find that one thing about which we have such passion that we know it will be our life’s work. Bill Gates had and still has a passion for computer software; Neil Degrasse Tyson has a passion for astrophysics; Stephen King has a passion for writing. Identifying that passion is not too difficult. We simply must identify that one thing that, when we are engaged in it, we lose all track of time. If we then pursue that one thing as our life’s work, we are successful.
Following a passion and making a career of it takes some hard work. And so, the third strategy for success is to commit to the hard work that makes us a star in our field of passion. If someone is passionate about teaching, for example, then that person will work hard throughout college, will graduate with that degree, will seek a teaching position, and then continue to grow and learn in his/her teaching field. Successful people have worked hard to become exceptional in their fields of passion, whether that is as an auto mechanic, a surgeon, an artist, or an engineer.
Sometimes, working hard may not be enough. Sometimes, people must take risks on the road to success. The accountant who has spent ten years working for a large firm may have a goal of striking out on his own by setting up his own business. Quitting that comfortable job and nice paycheck can be scary, but he will never achieve his goal otherwise. Mark Zuckerberg took a big risk. He quit college to follow his passion. He was willing to work hard, of course, but he was also willing to take a leap of faith and launch a new business. It worked out pretty well for him. Risks not taken will mean goals are not achieved. And if you fail? You have learned through that failure, so that you are a smarter risk-taker the next time. Edison failed 1,000 times, but his ultimate success benefitted all of mankind.
Sharing success in ways that benefit others is also a great strategy for ultimate success in other ways. It is one thing to rest on our laurels and bask in our successes. It is quite another to use that success to practice charity toward others. Warren Buffet founded an organization made up of multi-millionaires and billionaires who have all agreed to give away at least 50% of their wealth for the benefit of some cause. While we all do not have that type of giving capacity, there are many small ways in which to be of service to others. We can volunteer; we can contribute to charities that we feel are worthwhile. Being successful is not just in our career; it is also in who we are as people.
Who we are as people has another aspect. That other aspect is integrity. In the course of pursuing success in career, we must also develop some guiding principles by which we live. Those principles drive how we treat others, how we follow the “rules” of ethical living, and the decisions we make as we move through life. At the end of our lives, we want to be able to say to ourselves, “Well done.”
The final strategy for success is to become a lifelong learner. We can learn from coursework; we can learn from experiences; we can learn through reading a variety of types of fiction and non-fiction; we can learn from those around us; and we can learn from exposure to many cultures and lifestyles. This creates within us a perspective of our larger world, tolerance, and flexibility – all qualities that a successful person.
Success is a relative term. For many it may just be a matter of wealth and/or fame. But these are quite shallow in the larger scheme of things. These seven strategies, on the other hand, will make a person successful in all facets of their lives, whether those lives lead to public recognition and praise or to the quiet inner satisfaction that we have worked hard, achieved our goals, treated others well, and kept loving, learning, and living.