Success Is No Accident; It's A Strategy

Success Is No Accident; It's A Strategy

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

Success is no accident! With the exception of lottery, "luck" is no accident! A lot of us believe in lucky strikes or "with my luck" type of misfortunes, but what really happens in our lives is 1% accidental and 99% a combination of smarts and hard work or lack thereof.

Some accidents or misfortune are unavoidable. Others are predictable and can be avoided. If you get hurt in an auto accident, in spite of your careful driving, that is an unavoidable misfortune. Cope the best way you can with an unavoidable misfortune. Seek help, if you have trouble coping with it. Knowing and seeking help when you need it is not a failure; it's a success strategy.

Avoidable misfortune or accidents can occur when someone engages in risky behavior without due precaution and safeguards. To avoid the avoidable is also a success strategy.

We live our lives as planned for the most part. Even when we don't plan it, we plan it by default. Not planning is a planning of sorts.

Be prepared for the unexpected because sooner or later it will happen. If the unexpected event is a favorable one, make the most of it. If it is an unfavorable event, minimizing it's negative impact is also a success strategy.

The unexpected should be accommodated in the plan. Murphy's Law, "Everything that can go wrong will," should not be reason to join the Order of Pessimism. Utilize it for the purpose of optimistic realism. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Should misfortune strike, attempt to laugh at yourself, remembering Murphy's Law.

For events we can't control, we can always attempt to control our response to them.

Likewise, we can't control what others do in their lives or how they behave towards us, but we can control how we internally react to their behavior. We surely can control how we behave towards them.

When you can control your reaction to people and events, it means you are in control of your life. You may not have a million dollars in the bank and you might not own a million dollar house, but you are a successful person. You have arrived!

Drs. John Krumboltz and Al Levin, authors of Luck Is no Accident say, "None of us can control the outcomes, but your actions can increase the probability that desired outcomes will occur." And, that is good enough! Sometimes, that's all we can hope for.

When you experience a setback or a disappointment, look for opportunities that you may miss when things are going smoothly and predictably. Remember the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention?" A certain amount of resistance, tension or adversity can be of service to you if you are positive, industrious and persistent.

When something unplanned or unexpected happens, we may become totally frustrated and aggravated. That state of mind is good for complaining and protesting, but certainly not helpful for creativity or innovation. Try to spot the opportunity that may be hiding behind the adversity. Instead of quarreling with the undesirable circumstances, try to negotiate with them to your advantage. Persist!

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great analyzed over 1400 companies and concluded that "every good to great CEO displayed two characteristics: extreme personal humility or humbleness and a ferocious fearless resolve."

Fearless resolve! The word, 'fearless" is problematic. How many of us are really fearless? It may not even be desirable under some circumstances. Let's substitute the word "courage" in place of "fear." Being courageous does not mean you don't experience any fear. Courage is doing what you ought to do in spite of the fear.

Vic Conant in a recent Insight issue (#254) says, "You don't have to be a super being to be a super leader. But you do have to be sincere and fanatical about what you're doing."

The drive to accomplish is vitally important for success. It saddens me to see either young or old persons unhappy with the way their lives are going. In some cases, the problem they don't have the drive to accomplish anything major. They go to work, come home, listen to music, watch TV, eat and drink and go to bed. That is their concept of living life. I would consider them successful if they had found genuine happiness in that style of life. Genuine happiness is as good a success as any other.

Drive to accomplish wouldn't amount to anything if it is not accompanied by continuous action towards a worthwhile goal today, tomorrow and the day after.

In the role of a coach and personal trainer, I am not so much interested in your plans for the long-term future or the near future. I simply want to know what will you do today towards the goal you have chosen.

So, many people rob themselves of success because they wait for something else to happen and that "something else" is not under their control.

Someone once said, "Only those who go too far know how far they can go."

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Copyright 2004, Mind Publications 
Posted June 2004


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