5 steps closer to being successful

Published: April 15, 2012

People who are motivated and persistent on becoming great, rather than just good, appreciate the journey as much as the final destination.

Why have some people been so successful in their lives, but not others?

Sometimes even the most brilliant and highly accomplished people fail to understand why they succeed. After in-depth research, it has been found that successful people reach their goals not because of who they are, but because of what they do.

Here are the five things that extraordinary people do differently, which make them so accomplished.

1) Set goals that are specific and measurable

Always set yourself goals which can be measured and are also specific. For example, ‘lose 10 pounds’ is more specific and measurable than ‘lose some weight’, because it gives you a clear objective to achieve and also an idea of what success looks like. Such goals keep you motivated until you get there – since you clearly know what you want to achieve.

Moreover, clearly define the exact steps that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising that you will ‘work hard’ or ‘eat less’ is too vague—be clear and precise.

“I’ll work from 10am to 7pm on weekdays,” tells you what you need to do precisely.

2) Monitor your progress periodically

Efforts made while trying to achieve success requires stringent, honest, and regular monitoring of your progress.

If you cannot determine how are you are doing then you cannot adjust your plans or your strategies accordingly. Track your progress frequently – depending on the goal you set for yourself you may do weekly, monthly, or quarterly tracking.

3) Have a positive and optimistic attitude

All of us want to be successful. However, for some reason we are all attracted to and can be easily drawn to the negative side.

Therefore engage in lots of positive thinking when setting your goals – about how likely you are to achieve them.

Always believe in your ability to succeed.

This is extremely helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. Almost all goals require time, planning, effort, and persistence in order to achieve them. Therefore stay positive and stay on track.

4) Focus on becoming great rather than just good

Believing in your ability to achieve success is crucial.

Many of us believe that our IQ and personality cannot be changed – that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we do not focus on developing and acquiring new skills, instead we choose to focus on proving ourselves.

Fortunately, the belief in fixed personality and intelligence is completely wrong.

Abilities of all kinds can be changed, learned, or acquired. You just need to believe that you can change – this thought will allow you to make better choices and help you reach your objectives. People who are motivated and persistent on becoming great, rather than just good, appreciate the journey as much as the final destination.

5) Develop your willpower

Willpower is the willingness to stick to long-term goals and to persist even in times of difficulty. People with willpower are likely to obtain more education in their lifetime, earn higher grades.

Even if you do not have the willpower, there is something you can do about it. People who lack it think that they just don’t have the ability to become successful. To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. As I mentioned earlier, planning, persistence, and strategies make you successful.

After reading this I hope you will be in a better position to identify your earlier mistakes. Now your task is to use that experience and this knowledge to your advantage.

Remember, you don’t need to be a born genius with innate abilities in order to become successful. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Follow Talha on Twitter @talhanuromer


Talha Omer

A graduate from Harvard and Cornell University - USA. He is the owner of BrightLink Prep, an elite test preparation and admissions consulting firm. His passions are teaching, writing and blogging.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Umair

    PM, President, other politicians & govt. workers should be forced to read this article. Recommend

  • THE

    Excellent Blog and very nice steps! I would love to read more from you, I think these kind of things are really useful for our student or anyone who needs some direction in life. Recommend

  • Sakshi

    come on ! which management or self help book have u taken this from ? u haven’t said anything that hasn’t been said before.Recommend

  • http://nil rala

    thanks for reminding again these 5 points..human beings always need to refresh his thinking,attitude and behaviour though they know already about this..!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Sulman

    @Sakshi…… NO matter from where these word taken….its just informatic……Recommend

  • Khawar

    Dear Talha……I know a close acquaintance who has been laid off from 4 jobs in just under two years…laid off because he was an exceptionally hard worker, a bi-major MBA from a merit based state university, an excellent presenter, drafter, all in all extremely talented.

    The poor guy has never been able to apply any of your above five “copied” from organizational behavior/MBA psychology utopian points, as life and the jealous people in the Pakistani work culture never allowed him to do so.

    Kindly write a reality based article so that the likes of him can benefit too.Recommend

  • Sane

    Motivating and taking you to the track.Recommend

  • Bilal Farrooq

    @Khawar: An MBA who is as ‘exceptional’ as you say he is getting laid off 4 times? What the heck. By the way in the first place I don’t understand MBA’s seeking jobs and why not applying their MBA degree to build something of their own – people like your friend prefer slavery of companies even though they are so ‘outstanding’.

    Well in Pakistani work environment the only realistic thing that works is smooching your boss or having a big ‘pawa’. But i am glad talha did not mention those points in his articles – his approach is more of an educated one. Try to apply them in your life in general and you ll feel improvement. Nice article, keep it up!Recommend

  • Waqas

    @Khawar: It is not necessary that a brilliant student may become an excelent workder in his professional life.

    Nice articleRecommend

  • Khawar’s Friend

    I’m not that much exceptional as you mentioned me in your comment. Reason for being laid off is only me. Pakistani work culture is somehow good but not as bad as you mentioned. BTW where r u nowadays? It’s been a while to see you. I’ll be glad if you hunt me a job.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    To be honest, I came to your blog post after reading your profile… Harvard woah! I did some courses from Harvard too but you re a graduate!Recommend

  • Furrukh

    Nice article. Recommend

  • Mufazzil

    In the very first class, our law teacher gave us a paper with header OMS (Organising My Self), and he told us that the gap between you and Chartered Accountancy is only this paper. So the points you have mentioned in your article are same what he told us.
    Btw very nice article written.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    SMART is the acrornym for things you need to do to achieve your target.
    S = Specific ,M = Measurable ,A = attainable ,R = Relevent , T = Time bound.Fairly basic stuff that they will teach you at any management course. This is to achieve any given target.

    Success however is much broader term and needs much more than your mentioned rules.Recommend