How to live a successful life – 7 steps to greatness. We all have a need and a want to know how to live a successful life. We chase it like a dog chases a bone. Some of us even know what it is we want to be successful at! (yes, sarcastic tone) But what is the key to success? If we all have the need to live a successful life then why stop at success? Why not go all out and make it a great life too?
How to Live a Successful Life – 7 Steps To Greatness, is my attempt to piece together what I think are the ingredients and building blocks for both success and greatness. It is also the working title of the latest book I am writing along with an online personal development course. To check out my first book click – Do I Have to Cry to Say Goodbye?
Becoming Someone Else
One is not great simply by working out how to live a successful life in their chosen field, but greatness comes from using that success to power you forward into the world where you can effect change on a global level. To have that kind of effect you need to change the person you currently are living as. You need to learn how to become somebody else!
You need to become the person who attracts success and greatness. I have read countless books and watched hundreds of video’s and online article’s on the lives of successful people. I have worked out what I believe to be the 7 really important steps, principles, keys – call them what you like – that if put to good use daily, can bring success and greatness.
Anyone can apply these steps in their lives right now. Anyone that is, who is keen to live their best life, wants to move forward and is determined to make their life a success and become great at what they do.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Don’t Die With Your Music Still in You!
On the road to how to live a successful life, this story always scares me! Imagine being on your deathbed and there is a knock at the door. You ask whoever it is to come in. In walks Opportunity, Success, Greatness, Skills, Adventure, Inspiration and Courage. They stand at the end of your bed. Opportunity says to you “We were all there waiting for you. Year after year we showed up wanting you to take advantage of us, to work with us. We had high hopes for you. Now we are just going to die along with you.”
Don’t Live With Regrets
Can you imagine the regrets you would have if that happened to you? Can you imagine being stuck in your comfort zone your whole life? But you know most people will read this and still carry on with their life and not change. But you! I know you are different. I know you want to change. You want to stop living a lie, living someone else’s life, living a life you don’t like, being around people who drain you. You know deep inside you its time for change. You know it’s time. No more ‘waiting till tomorrow’ you know tomorrow never comes. It’s now time! Yes you. You reading this article. It’s now time!
Don’t die with your music still in you is not some cheesy quote. It’s a plea to stop living life in quiet desperation as the quote above by Henry David Thoreau alludes to. It is one of the keys to success. Which leads to step one in the 7 steps to greatness –
Step 1 – Accept You are Suffering
The Buddha taught about suffering and the end of suffering. We are all suffering in some form or another. Be it mental, physical or emotional. Rich or poor. We all suffer. I know some people think they are not suffering, think they are fine and life is all chocolates and marshmallows. They are deceiving themselves. Think about your life. Try and measure the amount of suffering you have had. Just mere thinking causes us to suffer.
Comparing ourselves to others, worrying about how we look, wanting to be the best player in the team, getting annoyed with a partner, family member or friend can cause massive suffering.
The Key to Suffering
The majority of people in this world deceive themselves. They can’t handle the thought that they are suffering. They block out the suffering by wearing a mask. They pretend they are this person that inhabits their body day and night. When you are trying to figure out how to live a successful life your mask is a big road block.
This person who laughs when out with friends and puts up a brave face when deep inside they know they are crying. When they get home they put on the TV or play some music or jump onto social media. They can’t stand being alone and in silence with themselves.
Being Alone in Silence Reveals the Real You
Being alone and in silence means they have to confront themselves. Have to sit with themselves. The real them. The one without the mask. The one who is suffering in silence. The one who doesn’t want to face the truth.
A majority of the population don’t like themselves. A smaller majority despise themselves. Again, sitting alone in silence is not an option for them. They are suffering but prefer to wear a mask that hides the said suffering. So what does one do? You are trying to figure out how to live a successful life but all you feel is suffering.
The key is to accept that we all suffer. You are suffering. It may be in a small way or it may be your whole life is one long suffering moment that never ends. When we accept that as truth rather than trying to hide under a mask we can then work on lessening the suffering.
There are Two Choices with Suffering
Once you accept that you are suffering you will find a sense of relief. You find a weight lifted. But that is not the end of your suffering. You will find yourself in one of 2 places. 1. You accept that you are suffering but decide to blame others for your own suffering. Or 2. You look for a meaning and purpose in your life. In essence you become a victim and blame others or a seeker, someone who wants to learn and grow from their suffering.
So step one in how to live a successful life is accepting the present moment with all it’s suffering.
That brings us to step 2-
Step 2 – Find Meaning and Purpose in Your Life
One of the most important of the 7 steps to greatness. The question of how to live a successful life should start with your meaning and purpose. Imagine a ship out in the ocean without a map and a log of where it is heading. No compass, no lighthouse, no radar. It just travels along the ocean in whichever direction the tide and the winds take it. No destination and no direction.
That is how many people live their lives. They have no direction, no purpose, no meaning. And they wonder why their life sucks! And on top of that they are suffering. What do they do? They become a victim. They blame others. Here is a short list of people and things to blame if you are a victim.
Hello. I am a victim. I blame –
- The weather.
- The government
- My partner
- My husband
- My wife
- My parents
- My siblings
- The dog
- My teachers
- My boss
- My ex wife/partner
- My friends
- The full moon
- The year
I am sure this is a very relatable list and we have all thrown blame at something on this list at sometime in our lives. So I think we can get a grasp of the victim’s life. Suffering and blame. Which leads to more suffering and blame. Not a nice place to be. Do you want to be a victim or do you want to learn how to live a successful life?
Moving From a Victim to a Seeker
Many people are happy in their victimhood. They can make people feel sorry for them. That is where they have their power. But it’s not a strong healthy power. It is a negative power. It is a disease. A never ending cycle leading to that deathbed with our friends at the door knocking. Not a place you want to end up.
So what is the alternative? Do you really want to know how to live a successful life? Do you really want to change? Then make a decision! Make a deliberate choice to find true meaning in your life. We all get to a stage where the suffering becomes too much and we ask the question what is the meaning of life for me? Why am I here? This contemplation often comes after a major life event.
A death. A near death experience. A relationship breakup or losing a job among other experiences. They force us to reassess our lives and work out our priorities. But sometimes it’s just the life we lead where we are beaten down by our environment so much that we end up asking is this all there is? That is what seekers do. Victims keep blaming.
Where Do You Find Your Meaning?
So now you are asking questions. Good. That is part of the journey of learning how to live a successful life. It is time to really spend some time in contemplation. Meditation is really handy about now. I found the best way to find my meaning and purpose was to look at what I love doing. What would I do even if I wasn’t getting paid? What brings me the most joy? Where am I most comfortable? What comes easy for me? And the most important question you need to ask yourself is what do I love doing that also excites me? Sparks that sense of adventure.
Spend some time thinking all these questions through and then write down what best fits with you. It must be something that is congruent with your beliefs and values. It must align with what you see as truth in your world. It must be bigger than you are and it must in some way be helping others or a cause.
Work Out Your ‘WHY’ and You Generally Find Your Meaning
Another great tool to use to find your meaning is to work out your why.
Your why is the reason you get up in the morning. It’s what keeps you inspired and working on your projects from dawn till dusk and later. Your why is a part of your meaning. My why is my partner and kids and grandkids. I want the best for them and I see it as my duty to succeed in all facets of my life to be an example and an inspiration to them. They are what fuels me. What is your why?
Once you have your why your meaning is not too far away. When your meaning and why align you become a powerful force in the universe and the world.
I believe many of the issues facing young people, both male and female, are caused by a lack of direction in their lives. They have no meaning. No purpose. When young people have a meaning and are living on purpose they achieve great things. If you know someone who needs direction please share this article with them! It may well be one of the keys to success for them.
Step 3 – Your North Star
7 steps to greatness has a north star. Now you have your meaning and your why it’s time to work on your North Star. A North Star is your guiding principle. It is something you aim to stay in line with everyday. It is what you live for and it is what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Your North Star is what you abide by for your goals, accomplishments and destinations you choose. Yes it is very similar to your meaning and your why. Where it differs is that it is like a lighthouse. It keeps you on track. It is really a shortened version of your meaning and purpose.
Let me give you an example as far as my life is concerned to make it clearer for you.-
- My ‘why’ = my family, partner, kids and grandkids.
- My meaning/purpose = To help others become the best version of themselves. I do this by telling my own inspiring, against the odds story, to prove that anything is possible.
- My North Star = To inspire as many people as possible to change their lives.
So my North Star is my shining light that I wake up to every day. It is the lighthouse that keeps me on the journey of my purpose. It keeps me focused on my purpose. I take it with me everyday. It gives me clarity and I align with it everyday.
Step 4 – Goal Setting
Goal setting is something that can be different for everyone. I wrote recently about The Smart Goal Setting Exercise Used by Millionaires So I will refer back to that as it really is a great way to set your goals.
The number one reason people don’t achieve their goals I believe is that their goals don’t excite them. If your goal doesn’t excite you how are you ever going to be inspired to work towards it? Simple answer is you’re not!
Goals Need to Be Exciting!
Goals need to be exciting! They need to have the power to get you out of your comfort zone and they need to make you grow as a person. I wont spend too much time on goal setting. The key here is to just write them down. Make them exciting and work towards them everyday. To really set goals like a millionaire I do encourage you to read The Smart Goal Setting Exercise Used by Millionaires
You then need a plan so you know where you are and what you are doing. Then comes the part that most people ignore. Taking action! No action, no completed goals, no change in your life. You will be where you are now in 5 years time. Do it Now!
Step 5 – Exercise and Diet
When I first wanted to know how to live a successful life I knew exercise was going to be a major part of it. A lot of people these days talk down the importance of exercise. Seems the latest craze is to eat well and not exercise. For me that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dr Wayne Dyer always used to say if your not moving and growing you are dying. Exercise is vital for your health. There are literally thousands of scientific studies that prove exercise is great for your health and well being. So I am not going to spend too long on the topic. Just do it. Look on Youtube or join a local sports club. I am not going to reinvent the wheel. Just do it! But I will spend a bit of time on diet.
Any kind of exercise is great for your body. So if you are someone who is overweight and unfit you have no one to blame but yourself. I am not someone who panders to peoples feelings. I am not politically correct in many ways. If you are obese then do something about it. If your kids are obese then help them do something about it.
The Buck Stops With You!
I admit social media, TV, advertising and the big multi nationals don’t do anything to help someone lose weight. McDonald’s, KFC, Nestle`, Uncle Toby’s etc are all guilty of looking at the bottom line dollar rather than at the health of the world’s population. But the truth is parents is where the buck stops. Parents these days are lazy and many fall into the victim mentality we spoke of in step number one. Blame others.
It’s all too hard. KFC is easier and quicker. Fast food. Fast way to disease food. Fast way to death food. No thanks. Now before I get bombarded with hate mail let me say a little bit of this rubbish in moderation is fine. Say once a month at the most. But many families have it almost daily and they wonder why they are obese. How to live a successful life does not contain anything to do with junk food!
Eat as Much Fruit and Veggies as You Like!
My lesson here is to eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible rather than junk. It would be great if we were all plant based but I know that wont happen. Look at your diet. Write down everything you eat for a week. Then go through your list and strike a line through what is good and what is bad. Your life is at stake here!
Try and eat less meat and dairy as again, numerous scientific data points to disease from eating too much of either. The proof is there. Don’t look at data put together by the dairy or beef industry. Funnily enough they encourage eating lots of meat and dairy. Funny that.
You are what you eat. Eat good healthy food and you will feel better and live longer. It just makes sense. I don’t count calories. Feel free to do so. I just know if I eat good healthy food and exercise I will be fine. And who has time to count calories? Not me. As I said if you do then knock yourself out. I just don’t find it necessary.
So exercise and eat well. Really simple formula.
Step 6 – Meditation – Meditate Twice a Day
Meditation was what saved me from myself in my dark years after losing my daughter, Holly, to SIDS, going through 2 divorces and having no direction or meaning in my life. Meditation was what motivated and inspired me. It helped me find a real meaning in my life and gave me the clarity to write my first book, Do I Have to Cry to Say Goodbye, Birth, Death and Inspiration: A Man’s Journey.
Meditation is a tool to help you gain clarity, release stress and help you become more aware of the present moment. We all are living in the present moment but most of us are not aware. We continually spend our time either living in the past or living in the future. Neither of which helps us in the present moment. The only time to look at the past is to learn from it. Not to live there repeating all the mistakes we keep focusing on.
A simple way to meditate is to sit in silence with no phones or devices around you, by yourself and just focus on your breath. When we focus on our breath we slow down our thoughts. It is hard to focus on your breath and think of something else at the same time. Then after a minute start to imagine you are breathing in peace. Then as you breathe out imagine you are breathing out any negative energy, tension or anxiety. Let it dissolve as you breathe out.
Meditation Will Change Your Life
The best times to meditate are early morning and last thing at night. Make this a part of your routine and your life will change. Guaranteed! But do it consistently. Make it a lifestyle change. Do it for the rest of your life. You will live a very fulfilled and peaceful life. Meditation is a non negotiable when learning how to live a successful life.
Step 7 – Gratitude
I like to think of gratitude as the gateway to abundance. Being grateful ensures that your vibration is in alignment with the universes vibration. Many of the steps here, in fact all of them, when not used leave us open to the danger of becoming a victim.
I picture victims blaming God for the rain. Blaming God for their miserable life. I choose to see the blessing in every adversity. When I walk or run in nature I am constantly thanking the universe for the beauty I see. The one things victims don’t understand, or choose not to understand, is that the more we are grateful the more of the beauty of life is given to us. Gratitude is another non negotiable when learning how to live a successful life.
What 3 Things Are You Grateful For Today?
When I hit the pillow at night the first thing I do is meditate then once that is finished I am almost asleep. Before I nod off I think of 3 things for that past day that I am grateful for. I say thank you and go to sleep. I can’t imagine going to sleep after a hard day where my mind is all over the shop and I am constantly thinking about tomorrow. Meditation and gratitude before sleep is the best way to sleep soundly and wake up feeling relaxed.
Make an effort to look around you when you have quiet time and give thanks for all that you have. Think of 3 things to be grateful for each and every day. Like meditation your life will change dramatically!
How to Live a Successful Life
So there you have it. How to live a successful life – 7 Steps to Greatness. You can have a great life over the next 12 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and forever if you follow these 7 steps to greatness. The key is action. If you just read this article but don’t do anything you will be like the 90% of people who attend seminars, read books and articles, watch videos but never take action on what they learn.
Your time is now. As we approach another new year will you take the leap and decide to make next 12 months your most successful and continue on that way through life? Or will you think it is all too hard and stay being the way you are and look back in 12 months and be in the same place? As I mention often in this article, the choice is yours!
Life is An Adventure Or Nothing at All!
If I could ad one more step it would be adventure! Make your life a massive adventure. As Helen Keller said. Life is an adventure or it’s nothing at all. I aim to make everyday an adventure. There is so much out in the world to experience. Give it your best shot. Never give up and go out and change the world for the better!
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