Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Five steps to Success

We all want to be successful. Isn’t it? But how many amongst us feel that we have achieved success? They say that success is relative. True, but even when we feel good about an achievement on a given day , someone else’s opinion may make us ponder whether it was worth the effort? As they say in a famous ad we keep asking ourselves, “have I really made it large?”

In this blog, I’ll discuss the five simple steps that can help you judge whether your achievement comes into that premium category that we all know as “success”. But if my personal experience is anything to go by, I must warn you that though the steps are simple but implementing or imbibing them isn't.

Step 1- Set realistic goals: This being the very first step, it calls for a lot of due diligence. Merely setting extreme goals won’t help you outperform yourself or reach at least somewhere near the so called “apex”. So if you dream to be a rock star then B-school may not be the best place or if one aims to join the IAS then his/her preparation may mean that the job would take the backseat. There are a few exceptions but they aren't the rule.

Step 2- Give yourself time: We are impatient by nature. We keep looking for that crystal ball that tells us whether our efforts will be rewarded in future. The solution is to avoid being judgmental at every feedback that you receive. It may be a sign of things to come but that’s not the exact picture. So in simple terms if it’s a two-year course don’t take the success of the first term to your mind or the failure to your heart. Else that would impact the end results and that won’t be a positive development.

Step 3- Set the parameters that you would use: It’s almost impossible to come up on top on every scale as the canvas of life is just too vast. There could be three reasons why we aim to be successful? One of them could be that we badly wanted it or aimed for it all our life i.e. we do it for ourselves. Second reason could be that our near & dear ones i.e. parents, siblings, spouse or friend, wanted us to do it. As someone says, “it was my mother’s dream.” The third reason could be achieving glory or to have our own share of the limelight. It’s important that one gets the parameters right as it’s not possible to please everybody.

Step 4- You are the competition: You competed against different sets of individuals when in school. At your college there is a different group that’s going to give you a run for your money. Even at your workplace, you are up against someone else but the only person who is always competing against you is “yourself”. Success is about doing better than your last attempt. You can underperform and yet end up on the podium but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. Similarly the podium finish is not the only indication that you are getting better. 

Step 5- Move on but take along the positives: There is a famous saying that “failures are the pillars of our success.” But for this saying to be true you must look at the positives that came out of your effort. Say if you look for two positives even when you were part of a trivial competition, you would unearth a reason or two that would lay the foundation for future successes.

So in a nutshell, long lasting success is a state of mind. If you are sure of what you want and have the self-belief to back that up, your results would be a fair indication of where you stand? Else as they say, “One who doubts his beliefs, starts believing his doubts.” 


  1. If you havent clearly defined what success is, how will you have achieved it? If you havent clearly defined where you are now (or what you have as tools or assets to help you transition to a Success state, how can you clearly plan? It’s like having a map of a new city you arte visiting, but not knowing where on that map you presently are.

    Part of the reality of goal-setting is to break each major goal down to smaller, achievable goals which you can celebrate achieving along the way. If your ail is to gain or lose 20 kilograms, focus on the 5-kg koals along the way. These become the goals and can be celebrated as you achieved them.

  2. @Daniel, great point mate, in fact goal setting is the most important part and simplifying it or breaking it into parts is an integral part of that exercise. That's the reason why I have put it as the first step.

    Thanks for your insights.