Everyone wants to be successful. Everyone wants to have more, be more, do more, and enjoy more of what life has to offer. We are driven continually forward toward the accomplishment of the things that are most important to us. The entire human race is a made up of people striving toward the realization of their potential in every area. Because of this, there is tremendous competition for the good of things in life. Everybody wants them, and no one is ever fully satisfied. The satisfaction of a want or desire leads automatically to a want or desire for something else. And it never ends.
What, then, is the difference between those who accomplish a lot and those who accomplish a little? It is that some people have the will to be successful and others don’t. Everyone wants to be successful. But very few people want to engage in the rigorous hard work, hour after hour, month after month, and year after year, that is required to prepare themselves for success.
You too, want to be successful., You want to be a big success in life. You want to develop your potential to the maximum. You want to be everything you’re capable of becoming. You want to make all the money you possible can and enjoy the finest standards of living that you can achieve. You want to earn the esteem and appreciation of all those people around you whose opinions you care about. The way to be successful has never changed. Success requires preparation.
Author and speaker, Earl Nightingale said that if a person does not prepare for his success, when the opportunity comes, it will only make him look foolish. You’ve probably heard it said repeatedly that luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. It is only, when you’ve paid the price to be ready for your success that you will be in a position to take advantage of your opportunities, when they arise. And the most remarkable thing is this: The very act of preparation attracts to you, like iron fillings to a magnet, opportunities to use that preparation to advance your life. You’ll seldom learn anything of value, or prepare yourself in any area, without soon having a chance to use your new knowledge and your new skills to move ahead more rapidly.
There are a series of things that you can do to become ready for success. All of these activities require self-discipline and a great deal of faith. They require self-discipline because the most normal and natural thing for people to do its to try to get by without preparation. Instead of taking the time and making the effort to be ready for their chance when it comes, they fool around, listen to the radio, watch television, and then they try to wing it. Since, we’re all transparent, and just about everyone can see through just about everyone else, the person who is unprepared simply looks incompetent and foolish.
Preparation also requires a lot of faith because you have no guarantee that your preparation will pay off. You simply have to believe, deep within yourself, that everything you do of a constructive nature will come back to you in some way. You have to know that a good effort is never wasted. You have to be willing to sow for a long time before you reap, knowing that if you do sow in quality and quantity, the reaping will come about inevitably with force of a law of nature.
In preparing for success, one of the very best questions that you can ask yourself, continually, is: “What can I do, that if done well, will make a difference in my career?” You ability to honestly appraise yourself and to identify the particular skill area that may be holding you back is critical for your future success.
Remember, preparation requires self-discipline and faith. It requires self-discipline because your natural tendency is to do more and more of those things that come most easily to you, and to avoid those areas that you don’t enjoy because you’re not particularly good at them. It requires faith and character for you to admit your weaknesses in a particular area and then resolve to go to work to develop yourself so those weaknesses don’t hold you back.
One of the greatest changes that has ever taken place in our society happened in 1989 when the world changed from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. We are now living in an information-based society. Because of the internet and other technological advances more than 60 percent of the working population is in the business of processing information in some way. This means that we now are living in a knowledge-based society and you have to be a person of knowledge if you’re going to succeed. To succeed you must be able to work with your mind, your mental talents and abilities. Gone are the days of laboring in the factories and the mills. Today you can succeed only by thinking, and the more effectively you think and the better prepared you are mentally, the more productive and positive you’ll be.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for success is to set aside one to two hours each day to read something uplifting. Read material that is educational, motivational, or inspirational. If you spend at least one hour each day investing in your mind, taking in “mental protein” reading good books, business magazines, trade journals, and newsletters, every day will begin to flow more smoothly. You’ll be more positive and confident and relaxed. You’ll have a greater sense of control and well-being by the very act of reading healthy material for an hour every day.
The time you spend driving in your car can add hours to your success preparation every week. Driving time should always be learning time. If you want to prepare for success you should never listen to the radio. Instead you should always be listening to educational, business, and motivational audio programs.
Another important thing that highly successful people do is that they plan and prepare for their entire day. They get up a little earlier each day and review all of their tasks and responsibilities for the day. They carefully make a list of all their activities, and they set clear priorities on the their activities. They decide which things are most important to do, which are secondary in importance, and which things should not be done at all unless all the other things are finished. Then, they discipline themselves to start working on their most important tasks and stay with them during the day until they’re complete.
Another way to prepare for success is to eat right. Health and energy are essential to your success, and they’re possible only when you’re sharp and alert. These are foods that are highly nutritious and that give you energy and vitality all through the day. You should eat more fruits, vegetables, and foods containing more whole grain. Stay away from foods that contain substantial amounts of fat and sugar.
In everything you do, preparation is the key. If you want to be ready for success, you have to plant the seeds well in advance of the harvest that you expect. Do what other successful people do: “Think on paper.” Memorize the winner’s creed: “Everything counts..” Everything you do is either moving you toward your goals or moving you away. Everything is either helping you or hurting you. Nothing is neutral. Everything counts.
Remember, we live in a knowledge-based society, and knowledge in every field is doubling approximately every two to three years. This means that you must double your knowledge in your field every two to three years just to stay even. You’re most likely already “maxed out” at your current level of knowledge and skill. You’ve reached the ceiling in your career with your current talents and abilities. If you want to go faster and farther, you must get back to work and begin to prepare yourself for greater heights. You must turn off the radio, the television, and politely excuse yourself from aimless socializing and get back to working on yourself.
There is a quotation by Abraham Lincoln that had a great influence on my life as I prepared myself for success. It was a statement he made when he was a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. He said, “I will study and prepare myself, and someday my chance will come.”
If you study and prepare yourself, your chance will come as well. There is nothing you cannot accomplish if you’ll invest the effort to get yourself ready for the success that you desire. And there is nothing that can stop you but your own lack of preparation.
Your possibilities are endless, your potential is unlimited, and your future will open up for you when you prepare yourself for the success that must inevitably be yours.