Key Traits that Lead to Success

At the start of each New Year, each one of us is somehow invigorated to try to do things better and to make things happen in the forthcoming year.  A few are able to sustain things for the duration of the year but many soon forget about their New Year resolutions and fall back into their old habits.

The year 2013 will surely be ‘Lucky for Some’, but perhaps it is worth reminding ourselves of Gary Player’s words “The harder you work, the luckier you get”.  Reality is that success is achieved through implementing an achievable strategy and then a good dose of application added to sheer hard work.  This article focuses on key traits that can and will lead to success on a greater scale, but before addressing some core values relating to success, lets for a moment consider some interesting and fun aspects relating to the year 2013.

The year 2013:

  • It is the first year since 1987 that is denoted with 4 different digits.
  • It is the Year of the Snake in the Chinese calendar – according to ancient Chinese wisdom having a Snake (somebody born in a Snake year) in the house is a good omen because it means your family will not starve.
  • Sees the celebration of two centuries of peace between Canada, the USA and Britain following the Great War of 1812/1813.
  • In July the country of Croatia is set to become the latest country to join the European Union.
  • India plans to launch the Mangalyaan (Hindi for Mars-craft); a mission that is set to orbit the planet Mars as a “technology demonstrator” project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.  This is India’s first mission to Mars.
  • Not to be outdone, the Chinese are launching a lunar exploration mission called Chang’e 3 that incorporates a robotic lander and a rover vehicle.  It will be the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon since the Soviet Luna 24 mission in 1976.  It is named after Chang’e, the Chinese Goddess of the Moon.


Hopefully some of the planned happenings of 2013 lead to future success for the Earth!

Back to success in real life!

The dream of most students at the KeNako Academy is to achieve success as a professional golfer, but actuality is that only a few will succeed.  Some will remain within the golf industry and others will end up in some alternative form of business.

What then can be considered Key Factors for Success, not just for KeNako’s students but on a broader basis for all people interested in bettering their lot in life?  Here are 13 thoughts.

1.       Surround Yourself with Good and Positive People

The better and more positive those working together with you, the more likely you are to succeed.  The more extraordinary and unique those working with you, the greater the likelihood of you sharing these attributes and achieving greater success!  Thomas Edison made many great quotes in his life and the one pertinent to this segment is “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”  The myth is that geniuses are simply blessed and able to do things at the drop of a hat.  The truth is that geniuses may have an inner talent advantage of some sort, but they are equally inspired to focus better and to work harder to achieve success. Really successful people tend to put in greater effort than their counterparts.  Natural talent and ability plays a role, but practice makes perfect no matter how talented or clever the individual may be.  Those that don’t reach the top often find excuses for their non-achievement or non-performance.  Having positive people around helps one to stay focussed; to keep striving and to stay motivated.

2.       Turn Experience into Achievement

Use experience gained to change the way that you do things moving forwards.  Learn from the mistakes of the past and make sure that you don’t repeat them.  What you’ve done in the past means nothing unless it improves your lot and the way that you do things in the future.  Is one happy plodding along in the same job for years on end without really being noticed, without making any real difference and without being promoted?  Think of the journeyman golfer – does he simply accept finishing mid-field every week, earning an average living, or does he try to find a way to win and enjoy the rewards that come with a tournament victory?  Is he willing to make the sacrifices that form part and parcel of becoming a winner?  What can we learn from previous experience and then do differently?  What have you actually done to improve things and make a difference to your future?

3.       Consciously Stop Bad Habits

Stop bad habits – sometimes easier said than done.  As an example, fold your arms in front of you as you normally do and then try folding them the other way.  It takes a conscious effort by most people to do this and when you next fold your arms it will be as you have always done.  Changing bad habits needs conscious effort and the willpower to ensure that they truly are changed.  If you’re about to do as you have always done and it is a bad habit don’t be afraid to stop and to start again – joking with a colleague about what you are trying to do may even help to stop that bad habit!

4.       Possess Passion

Whilst passion does not in itself achieve the end goal, it does help to motivate one.  Passion can be regarded as a culture within an environment.  The greater the motivation and the more that one is inspired to achieve bigger and better things, the more likely one is to achieve success.  If something is uninspiring and it generates no passion from within, rather accept that this is not what you really should be doing and consider finding something else that makes you want to get up in the morning.  Ultimate success is probably more easily obtained when there is a passion for what one is doing.  But passion is merely one of the ingredients of the recipe for success.  Passion helps to build enthusiasm, but it is the actual achievement that closes the deal and that results in total satisfaction.  Passion alone does not close the deal!

5.       Separate Business and Personal

The working environment needs to be separated from personal matters.  In an ideal world one would prefer to work only with like-minded, hard working and focussed people who share the culture, the passion, the dream and the drive for success.  But whilst it is wonderful to be able to call your work colleagues your friends, the reality is that sometimes a work colleague who is excellent at what he or she does may not be your friend outside of the work environment.  Respect each individual for what they are and for what they are able to contribute.  People can be influenced by things like different cultural backgrounds, different beliefs and different heritage.  This does not mean that they are bad people and that they cannot contribute positively to your own personal growth and the growth of your common business environment.  If the atmosphere becomes unpleasant because a colleague is being obnoxious or self-centred, tell them!  Try to find a constructive solution and only if the unpleasant status continues thereafter should one consider changing either the environment in which you function each day or those working together with you.  Sometimes people are unaware that they are being a pain (and a negative influence rather than a positive force) and if they aren’t told they may never know!  How can they address a problem if they don’t know?

6.       Use Time Efficiently

Many if not most people tend to procrastinate and waste inordinate amounts of time as they either try to do something or attempt to focus on the core objectives of the task at hand.  Relate this to golf for a moment.  If you are going to practice or to warm up on the Driving Range or Putting Green, do you focus entirely on the objectives and the process whilst there, using the same drills as if one is playing in a competition, or are you easily side-tracked; do you practice ‘casually’; and as a consequence do you waste time and lose focus?  Relate this to the work environment and a project at work.  Do you leave things to the last minute or do you manage the project early and efficiently, so leaving yourself more time to improve things elsewhere?  Successful people do not allow time to manage them – they are able to enforce their will onto their time, so leaving additional time to either improve what they have already done or to have more time to move on to another aspect of their lives.

7.       Each and Every New Day we can do Better than Yesterday!

What was achieved yesterday is done and cannot be changed.  Even if we have done well each one of us can still surely do it better in the future?  No one is perfect – the better one is the greater the impact that can be made – leading to even greater success.  Success brings rewards but not entitlement.  Being successful does not mean that one should become aloof and ‘untouchable’.  Sharing one’s knowledge and success allows one to become ever more successful; to make a more positive contribution to oneself and to society; to earn greater respect and success for the individual.  Each new day try to improve on some aspect of what was done yesterday and you’ll speed along the road to success.

8.       Be Willing to Travel the Extra Mile

Set your goals and strive to achieve them – but not at any cost.  What is the value of effort and its related success?  Different people have disparate views relating to values and rewards.  What are your own expectations and how important are the expectations of those around you?  Be willing to travel the extra mile but with no (short term) reward if necessary.  As you travel your path try to be honest, ethical, morally chaste and legal.  Take cognisance of what those who you respect have to say and use their wisdom and experience to your own advantage; as the fuel that helps to drive you along the road to that extra mile.  Travelling that extra mile can be a lonely journey – not many people are able to reach that destination!  If you don’t shirk travelling the extra mile the rewards of your efforts will ultimately flow.  Reaching that destination is reward in itself.  You’ll be within touching distance of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

9.       Look Beyond You!

Whilst those who achieve success are able to enjoy the fruits of their success, reality is that they reached their Garden of Eden with the help of others.  Always remember that success is seldom achieved alone.  Even the lone climber who reaches the top of Mount Everest only gets there with an effective and an efficient back up strategy and team.  When things go wrong along the road to success don’t blame others – take an inward look at what you did wrong and correct your own faults.  Most of the time the problem lies with you!  Be big enough to acknowledge your mistakes and use them to your future advantage.

10.   Success is Seldom Bought and it is Not Cheap

Just about every day we are exposed to advertisements or enticing lines suggesting that without too much effort one can earn very substantial rewards.  The reality is that there are seldom short cuts and there is very rarely a quick fix that will stand the test of time and that leads to ultimate success.  At the start of this article I quoted Gary Player, but in the 18th Century Thomas Jefferson the US President had said “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”  It seems that not much has changed through the centuries for those who are successful!

11.   Failure is an Integral Part of Success. 

If Edison had given up after his thousandth try at creating a light bulb he would not have attained the recognition and success that he did.  Edison’s quote is truly pertinent “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  Many people give up on their dream or their goal too soon.  Accept your failures, let them go, focus on the present and then try again, but obviously in a different way.  When people succeed it tends to be about ‘I’, ‘me’ and occasionally ‘we’.  When they fail it is about ‘them’, ‘they’ and occasionally ‘we’.  When we learn to take responsibility for our failures, success beckons.

12.   Dreaming is not Doing

Are you really working at it or are you pretending?  Apparently being busy or looking busy does not always mean that you’re really doing it.  Success is the end goal and to achieve success there must be planning, process, predisposition, purpose and perspiration.  Appearing to do is not achieving outcomes.  Is what you are doing constructive and useful?  Continuously remind yourself of your end goal.  Write it down and remind yourself regularly – this will help you to remain focused and to stay on track.

13.   “The Value of an Idea lies in the Using of It.”

This is another Edison quote.  Having a thought or some useful information is good.  But it needs to be put into practice or you’ll most likely only infrequently enjoy the desired benefits.  Ultimate success will remain out of reach.  Put your ideas into practice and stop fooling yourself into thinking that things are progressing.  The more you implement your ideas the greater the propensity to maintain momentum and to achieve success.  Don’t be afraid to fine-tune things along the way – in fact it is a necessity (refer point 7!).  Use your ideas and those of others efficiently and effectively and the sweet taste of success will be even better!

Hope that these thoughts are able to stimulate some positive ideas and changes!
ronRon Boon