By Dr Rotimi Adelola
Success is an experience that every human being cherishes. Every normal human being, conscious of his existence, wants to have a taste of the “meal” of success. Yet, most persons are unclear of the true meaning of the concept.
For example, if you were asked to define success, what would be your answer? Chances are you have never given it a deep thought.
There are as many definitions for SUCCESS as there are people in the world. If you were to ask a businessman his definition of success, he might say that being successful means earning a lot of profit. A Student would talk in terms of examination success; a genuine Pastor would say success is winning soul for God while a housewife might define success as raising good children and a lovely family.
Success is more than any of the foregoing definitions. True success is a journey and not a destination. It is a gradual process that entails three factors:
1. Direction. Having a life purpose and then establish a plan to continually work
toward its fulfilment and accomplishment.
2. Balance. Keeping perspective of every area of your life: health, family, friends, relationships, work, spirituality. Balance in all things yields true happiness.
3. Belief. No man will become successful who does not possess BELIEF. The greater his belief, the greater his degree of success. Successful men are believers.
With these three factors, we can therefore define success, in the words of C.T. Jones, as the
“progressive realization of predetermined, worthwhile goals, established with balance and stabilized by belief”.
Very view people really understand success. When we say a person is successful, we seek evidence from his material possessions. Hence, we talk about the “richest man” in the world, the richest man in Nigeria, the richest woman in Africa, and so on.
Not that material wealth is not a measure of success, but it is not sufficient. A person who stole public funds budgeted for social and economic infrastructures, who defrauded others and cheated his business partners (some even kill others) to accumulate wealth, is not a successful person.
Material possession is not the only measure of success. Parents who reared God-fearing, educated, and well-behaved children in a peaceful and love-dominated family environment are successful individuals.
Medical Doctors who save life; Teachers who mould the mental, emotional , physical and spiritual development of children; civil servants who work selflessly to make the society functional; all the professionals who execute their mandates conscientiously are all examples of genuinely successful individuals. They may not have millions or billions (they even talk of trillions now) of naira or dollars.
Every genuinely successful person must have a fundamental purpose with definite plan of action to achieve it. Ask any of the so-called “successful” people in our society today, ” what has been your life objective”? Only very few of them would be able to offer convincing answers. Ask them of the plans of action they crafted and followed, you would be shocked with the rabble-rousing rendition you get. And do not ask question about balance, as there would be no answers.
Many pursue material wealth at the expense of their health, spouses, children, friends and relationships and their souls. The mantra is, “money- at -all ‘cost”. Even our arts (music, drama, films) often project these demented values.
Great and genuinely successful people lead balanced lives fuelled by goal- oriented actions and strong belief in themselves, in humanity and in God. Any human endeavour that does not entail these cannot be described as successful. It is nothing but a monstrous misery.
It is illuminating to understand the meaning of success. However, such knowledge on its own does not guarantee successful accomplishment. A set of behaviours are critical to success.
There are two classes of people: leaders and
followers. More often, followers do not achieve noteworthy success, and never succeed until they break away from ranks of followers and become leaders. Only individuals with leadership abilities can achieve success, irrespective of what he or she does, his education, his social connection and access to finance.
Leadership entails the deployment of initiative and prompt decision- making without which no one can achieve success. All successful people have appreciable amount of decision-making power.
In the pursuit of success, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound) goals and objectives are important but not sufficient. A pragmatic implementation plan must be emplaced. Even then, you may have all the necessary abilities and resources to implement, nothing will happen until you actually ” hit the ground” , locomote on the wheel of your plan and keep steering until your goals are achieved. Action creates results; nothing else does.
Look around your environment and observe those whom you define as failures, and there are many of them. You will notice that, without exception, they lack initiatives and the firmness of decision, even in matters of the smallest importance in life. Such individuals ‘talk’ and idealize a great deal, but they are deficit on well-defined purpose and diligent action. To succeed in life, definite action, not talking, should be the hallmark.
Another elixir of success is creative imagination. No one ever accomplished anything, produced anything, or made any astounding progress without the use of imagination. Everything ever built was first mentally envisioned. Whatever you cannot see in your inner eyes, you cannot attain.
No matter the level of your intellect, the greatness of your ambition, the vastness of your relationship and the depth of your access to finance, all these will be rendered useless without the driving force of imagination. Although, you have the capacity for resilience, strong determination, magnetic personality, and suave communication, you cannot create the realities you desire without operating in the workshop of imagination. For sure, nothing can be achieved without imagination, except an accident.
To activate your imagination, you should keep a record of every idea, concept and thought that occur to you. Meditate on each idea; take a positive perspective and think out their usefulness in day-to-day living.
Look around you and identify unfulfilled human needs and day-to-day problems in the society. Ask yourself an empowering question: HOW CAN THIS PROBLEM BE SOLVED? Ask this question continuously, while you pray and are about to sleep. By and by, solution ideas will start flowing into your consciousness. Your subconscious mind will then assemble the ideas into new combinations and weave them into something that is apparently new– the solution you desire.
A solution idea has a limitless value if backed by well-reasoned action. Make progress by backing your new ideas with definite purpose, implementation plan self-confidence and action. You can earn yourself invaluable respect in the society and realize bountiful reward if you continually identify the problems in your environment and generate solutions through the power of your imagination. That is the recipe for becoming successful.
There are limitless possibilities!
Rotimi Adelola, PhD; DhE
APPLIED POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY ACADEMY
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