I am aware that the headline of this post promises a great deal. However, I honestly believe that what I’m going to share with you today can enable you to achieve just about anything you put your mind to (within reason).
I’m not about to offer you some spectacular shortcut to success and riches — I’m just going to tell you the mental outlook you need to adopt in order to succeed. Everything else falls in line behind that. I developed this outlook only in the last year or two — I didn’t start my journey to leaving work behind with it but I certainly needed it when the time came to build a successful online business.
Believe in the Inevitability of Improvement (tweet this)
The basis for succeeding in anything is believing in the inevitability of improvement. Or to put it another way, believe that if you apply yourself to a particular discipline effectively, you will get better at it.
Once you truly accept that consistent application results in improvement you will understand that there are a world of possibilities out there and that the only thing blocking your way is your willingness to apply yourself.
Check this out:
Obviously I don’t post this here to boast 😉 I know that my technique is not exactly flawless to say the least. But I do post it to underline my point. I started learning piano less than five weeks ago and I’ve gone from not being able to read music to this stage in that time. I am of course no virtuoso but this is a good example of how one can improve in a short space of time with application.
If you wanted to become better at playing piano there’s nothing to stop you (assuming you can get your hands on an instrument). You can start developing your skill today and in a week’s time you’ll be better. In a month’s time you’ll be able to string a tune together like I did in my video above. And in a year’s time, if you’ve applied yourself properly, you will be an accomplished player able to really wow any non-musician with your ability behind the keys. The only thing stopping you is you.
Just About Anything in Life is a Process
The real mental breakthrough for me was in realizing that I can achieve many awesome things if I just embrace the process. Most people want to skip the steps to success and arrive directly at the end goal, which is the kind of attitude that results in failure and giving up. If on the other hand you embrace the process and focus on each next step, your progress will be quite remarkable.
This approach was encapsulated beautifully by James Clear in a post on consistently achieving goals:
In my experience, a better way to approach your goals is to set a schedule to operate by rather than a deadline to perform by.
Instead of giving yourself a deadline to accomplish a particular goal by (and then feeling like a failure if I don’t achieve it), you should choose a goal that is important to you and then set a schedule to work towards it consistently.
I love this approach. If you shift your focus from the end goal to the next step necessary in the path to achieving that goal, your outlook changes entirely. Getting to that next step is likely to be relatively straightforward, even if the end goal is way of out sight. Why punish yourself for not achieving the impossible when you can reward yourself for consistent progress towards an ultimate goal?
Seek Personal Growth
Many people set goals to increase material wealth and I have no problem with that at all. But personal growth is more valuable than anything else, regardless of your goals.
Let me explain by means of an example from my past. For the first six months or so in my journey to leaving work behind I was a serial failure. If you check out my old income reports you can see that it took me six months to make any money. I completely failed in terms of achieving material goals.
However, I had succeeded in building my skill set and learning an awful lot from my failures. In the following six months I made over $11,000 and was on my way.
If I were to try and visualize my income growth versus knowledge growth it would look something like this:
As you can see, at the beginning my knowledge growth outstripped income growth dramatically (after all, I was losing money). Although I was a “material failure,” I took solace in the fact that I knew my skill set was growing all the time. It took time for my income to catch up and reflect my increased knowledge, but the improvement came.
As you can see from the last point on the graph, I believe that my knowledge potential now outstrips my actual earnings considerably. The main limiting factor on my income is now the time I choose to devote to my business, not my ability to earn more.
Progress through consistent quality application is an inevitability, not a possibility. This applies to absolutely anything you turn your mind to within the limits of your physical and/or mental capacity. And let me tell you, when it comes to your goals, they’re more likely to be within your limits than outside of them.
With that in mind I have a challenge for you. It’s quite simple: embrace a process. Think of a particular ability you would like to be proficient in then start getting better at it. It could be anything: learning French, improving your curve ball, building a successful blog, and so on. Set your mind to improving yourself. Focus on personal growth rather than material wealth. Reward yourself when you can recognise improvement.
If you apply yourself in this fashion you will get better — it is an inevitability. If you can truly believe that then your potential to achieve spectacular things is huge.
Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon