“If you ask most smart or successful people where they learned their craft, they will not talk to you about their time in school. It’s always a mentor, a particularly transformative job, or a period of experimentation or trial and error.” -Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday’s words are true. I studied accounting and became a writer. Elon Musk studied economics and physics but became a space engineer.
Schools teach you that life is linear and that everything takes a natural progression. However, you don’t have to follow a traditional path. You don’t have to be limited by what other people perceive as possible or attainable.
Instead, you can create an extraordinary life beyond what the school system teaches, and I’ve found that these 4 success skills can help.
1. The Power of Self-Belief
“Believe, really believe, you can move a mountain, and you can. Not many people believe that they can move mountains. So, as a result, not many people do.” -David J. Schwartz
Managing your emotions and maintaining a positive outlook is the absolute foundation of having a progressive life. The thoughts and emotions you put into the world is what you attract.
However, schools don’t teach this. Instead, they load you up with stress-inducing assignments, studies, and tests, and just expect you to do it.
Although, when the mind’s put under stress or pressure, it naturally turns to feelings of doubt and disbelief, and then that’s what you physically get.
As David J. Schwartz writes,
“Disbelief is a negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts reasons to support the disbelief.”
In essence, what you focus on expands. So, how can you maintain a strong sense of personal belief?
The magic word is action. You need to not only know what you’re trying to do, but you also need to see yourself moving in the right direction. It’s a firm vision with aligned action that creates belief. As Terry Crews has said,
“You need to take action based on where you want to be, not based on where you are.”
2. The Magic of Progressive Goal Setting
“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”- Paul Arden
If we go back to the lesson on the power of self-belief, it’s then clear that you can never have a better life without first having better goals. Says Jim Rohn,
“Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
Rohn has similarly written: “It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development.”
Hence, the only way to live a progressive life is to continually level up as a person. Although, most people’s development stops after school. They stop reading. They stop stretching themselves and settle into a life of mediocrity.
However, what separates those who follow this path from those who don’t? You guessed it: goals!
When you have a vision of a future-self you’re trying to be, then it becomes very hard to get stuck. Rather than being sucked into the distractions that most people are, you’ve got a productive focus.
So, what does my recommendation for effective goal setting look like? It’s very simple: focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.
People think that the rewards lie in what you achieve, but it’s the other way around. As Henry David Thoreau has said,
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
3. The Art of Connecting
“Poverty, I realized, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.” -Keith Ferrazzi
Schools teach you that life is a single-player game. In the classroom, everything is about doing it on your own. If you’re caught working with others, then it’s called “cheating,” and you fail.
In the real world, it’s the other way around!
The notion that success isn’t about what you know but who you know is entirely correct. Did you know that 80-percent of job vacancies never actually hit traditional listing marketplaces?
Instead, they’re filled in the ‘hidden job market,’ where employers rely on alternatives such as employee referrals or headhunters to get candidates.
Thus, if you’re not getting a foot in the door by referrals, then you’re already a couple of steps behind, and that’s just one example of how not having a network around you hurts your chances of success. Robin Sharma says,
“The bigger the dream, the more important to the team.”
If you’re going to go far in life, you need other people who are going to help you along your path. Gary Keller once said, “Any time in your life you are hitting up against the ceiling of achievement, you’re missing a person”
So, how do you create these life-changing relationships? The secret is to build them before you need them. Focus on being a giver in your relationships. Offer value to others and expect nothing in return.
Two powerful questions that can help you connect with new people you meet are the following:
- What’s the most exciting thing for you right now in your life/business?
- What’s the most challenging thing for you in your life/business right now?
If you put these questions to work, you’ll find yourself being presented with many opportunities to offer value and be a hero to other people.
4. The Fundamentals of Wealth Management
“Everyone builds wealth. The only question is: For whom?” -David Bach
Schools give you the understanding that the only thing you need to get by in the world is to have a job. However, it doesn’t take long after leaving school to realize that this isn’t the case.
The average millionaire has about eight different income streams while being employed only gives you one. Not to mention that when you’re working for someone else, you’ll only make as much money as they want you to make.
Hence, there’s a reason Warren Buffet has said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
So, what fundamentals should schools be teaching? It’s very simple:
- Pay yourself first — keep your first hour’s worth of each day’s pay.
- Don’t budget — make saving automatic.
- Track your spending — it’s not about what you earn, it’s what you spend.
- Understand Value — the present and future value of a dollar is very different.
- Be a problem solver — the bigger the problem you solve, the more money you make.
When you really look into the fundamentals behind building a healthy relationship with money, you often find that it isn’t rocket science. However, it does take time, persistence, and dedication.
Mark Twain once said, “Some people get an education without going to college; the rest get it after they get out.”
It’s not what you learn in school that’s most valuable. Instead, it’s the lessons you learn and immediately apply to your life. As Jim Rohn has said,
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
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