“I had been brought up on a popular belief that the secret of success is hard work but I had seen so many people work hard without succeeding that I became convinced hard work was not the real secret.” Albert E.N. Gray
Oh! When I read these words many years ago, I felt like I had just been born again. I felt like this was a serious error of judgement I had in my first life! Have you ever had a feeling like that when you are hit right between your eyes by something that you feel embarrassed by and end up asking yourself how you missed it all along? This is what I am talking about!
Let me clarify this, hard word does work but it mustn’t come first but last in the equation. This equation I am talking about has four important elements that each give about twenty five percent.
- Prudence. Prudence is care and good sense that someone shows when making a decision or taking action. This is the ability of making the right choices. A decision goes through two stages: A. Decision making process – where different possible options are generated and ranked according to their risks and benefits. This is a crucial step that most people miss. What instead happens is that people choose with their hearts, driven by fleeting emotions while the brain is disengaged. B. Decision taking process – this is where one or final decision is arrived at after carefully applying your reasoning about the possibilities listed in a Decision Process stage or phase. This is why you find most people starting things and never see them through especially when things get tough, their reasons they choose their decision weren’t sound, solid and well thought through.
- Organization. This is all about being organized and structured in your approach. Engineering taught me the importance of Structure, Systems, Maintenance and Innovation which is even one of my keynote talks because of how important it is in our entire lives. When you are structured in your approach, it means you have solid non-negotiables that you must do in spite of anything that happens. Your head is clear of where you start and where you end or finish, this is not based on how you feel on the day/moment but you do what has to be done, period. Last week I wrote about three different Activities that you have to clarify in your life if you were to win the race against time that we are all in. These activities are: Horse Activities, Donkey Activities and Pig Activities and I emphasised the fact that you can’t show up with a pig or a donkey in a horse racing competition, how dare you? Hahaha, you’ll be a laughing stock and that’s how most people are and yet they are blaming everything under the sun but themselves, they don’t own up. If you are not organized, you’ll waste a lot of your scarce resources – time, energy and money, on things that won’t further your course.
- Perfectionism. When I talk about perfectionism in this instance, I am talking about having pride in your work or what you do. This pride is shown by your ability to double, triple, and even quadruple check your work before submitting it or sharing it with others. This is very important and applies to small and big tasks. This to me is showing pride in everything you do. This applies to a short SMS or WhatsApp message because remember, HOW YOU DO ANYTHING, IS HOW YOU DO EVERYTHING! Make it a habit that no matter what you do, the principle is the same. Perfectionism in this equation doesn’t mean you’ll be hundred percent correct all the time but it means your mistakes will be hugely minimised which in the world of quality management is called Six Sigma Principle – 3 errors per million.
- Diligence/Hard work. This is constant, earnest and energetic effort to accomplish what is undertaken. This is putting hard-work in what you’ve decided on, put a structure to and carefully checking all the way to minimise errors that may devalue your final product. This is what I teach individuals and organizations on and many other mindset changing approaches to generate desired results.
The common denominator of success, which is the secret of success of every man and woman who has ever been successful, lies in the fact that they formed the habit based on the above steps. This clearly shows that we as a people, don’t decide our futures, but instead, we decide our habits and our habits decide our futures.
When you take pride in what you do, you divorce the mediocre thinking and approach towards life that says, “A car is just a car; food is just food; a phone is just a phone; a house is just a house; a pass is just a pass!” This to me is just a mediocre approach towards life and deprives you of the best things that life has to offer. “Anything will do!” This leads to self-sabotage and is one of the main reasons you’re not who you would like to be and where you would like to be, period.
You are special and unique, the world needs those things from you, please give them to the world!
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of four books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON! And Set Your Soul On Fire!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773