Is there a tried-and-true formula for success? If there actually were such a thing, just about everybody would be an Oprah Winfrey or a Donald Trump. Different people achieve varying degrees of success in various ways, but when you remove luck and timing from the equation, here are some of the secrets that successful people have in common. Apply them to your own life and the sky's the limit.
Is it better to excel at one specific thing or be mediocre at a lot of different things? Think about the singular talents of Meryl Streep, Jeremy Lin, Jonathan Franzen, Karl Lagerfeld and Celine Dion. Did they get to where they are by diversifying? They did not. Instead, they focused on perfecting their one true strength and have made it their legacy. In the very wise words of Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation, "It's better to whole-ass one thing than half-ass two things."
You have to want what you want very, very badly. And you have to be willing to work for it. You have to want to work harder than the other guys. And they're hard workers! Unless you're extremely motivated to be successful, it's rare that you'll be able to achieve the results that you want. Be passionate and persistent and chances are, you'll get where you want to be.
ABN! (Always Be Networking)
Hate to say it, but sometimes it really is all about who you know. No matter your interests or industry, you can never tell who will be able to open a locked door for you or pry open a tricky window. Treat every person that you are introduced to with the utmost respect, interest and friendliness. Make a good impression. Be memorable. Add new friends, acquaintances and contacts to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The community that you build around yourself may someday shape or even dictate your success.
Stay on top of things and know exactly where you're headed. Just like you'd never get in a car without planning your route (unless it was a spur-of-the-moment road trip), don't move ahead in your professional life without a game plan. Know where you want to be and figure out the best plan and path to go about getting there. Of course, there will always be deviations in the road, but that's what makes life so interesting.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." -- Charles Darwin. Ol' Chuck knew exactly what he was talking about. Can you imagine the brevity of Madonna's career if she hadn't consistently transformed her look, her music and changed along with the times? Tiffany and Debbie Gibson sure didn't perform at the Superbowl half-time show, is all we're saying. Change can be scary, but often it's necessary for survival.
Don't Ever Compromise
Your vision is yours and yours alone. See it through.