Success is an experience that every human being cherishes. Every normal human being, conscious of his existence , wants to have a taste of the “meal” of success. Yet, most persons are unclear of the true meaning of the concept.
For example, you were asked to define success, what would be your answer? Chances are you have never given it a deep thought.
There are as many definitions for SUCCESS as there are people in the world. If you were to ask a businessman his definition of success, he might say that being successful means earning a lot of profit. A Student would talk in terms of examination success; a genuine Pastor would say success is winning soul for God while a housewife might define success as raising good children and a lovely family.
Success is more than any of the foregoing definitions. True success is a journey and not a destination. It is a gradual process that entails three factors:
- Direction. Having a life purpose and then establish a plan to continually work toward its fulfilment and accomplishment.
- Balance. Keeping perspective of every area of your life: health, family, friends, relationships, work, spirituality. Balance in all things yields true happiness.
- Belief. No man will become successful who does not possess BELIEF. The greater his belief, the greater his degree of success. Successful men are believers.
With these three factors, we can therefore define success, in tne words of C.T. Jones , as the, ” progressive realization of predetermined, worthwhile goals, established with balance and stabilized by belief”.
Very view people really understand success. When we say a person is successful, we seek evidence from his material possessions. Hence, we talk about the “richest man” in the world, the richest man in Nigeria, the richest woman in Africa, and so on.
Not that material wealth is not a measure of success, but it is not sufficient. A person who stole public funds budgeted for social and economic infrastructures, who defrauded others and cheated his business partners ( some even kill others) to accumulate wealth , is not a successful person.
Material possession is not the only measure of success. Parents who reared God-fearing , educated and well-behaved children, in a peaceful and love-dominated family environment, are successful individuals.
Medical Doctors who save life; Teachers who mould the mental, emotional , physical and spiritual development of children; civil servants who work selflessly to make the society functional; all the professionals who execute their mandates conscientiously are all examples of genuinely successful individuals. They may not have millions or billions ( they even talk of trillions now) of naira or dollars.
Every genuinely successful person must have a fundamental purpose with definite plan of action to achieve it. Ask any of the so-called “successful” people in our society today , ” what has been your life objective”? . Only very few of them would be able to offer convincing answers. Ask them of the plans of action they crafted and followed, you would be shocked with the rabble rousing rendition you get. And do not ask question about balance , as there would be no answers.
Many pursue material wealth at the expense of their health, spouses, children, friends and relationships and their souls. The mantra is, “money- at -all’cost”. Even our arts ( music, drama, films) often project this craze.
Great and genuinely successful people lead balanced lives fuelled by goal- oriented actions and strong belief in themselves , in humanity and in God. Any human endeavour that doesn’t entail these cannot be described as successful . It is nothing but a monstrous misery.
It is illuminating to understand the meaning of success. However, such knowledge on its own does not guarantee successful accomplishment. A set of behaviours are critical to success.
There are two classes of people : leaders and
followers. More often, followers do not achieve noteworthy success, and never succeed until they break away from ranks of followers and become leaders. Being a leader entails the deployment of initiative without which no one can achieve success.
It is essential in the development of initiative and leadership to form the habit of prompt decision making. All successful people have appreciable amount of decision-making power. In the pursuit of successful accomplishment, SMART goals and objectives are important but not sufficient until a pragmatic implementation plan is emplaced. Even then, you may have all the necessary ability and resources to implement, nothing will happen until you actually take the initiative and roll the wheel of your plan into motion and keep steering until your goals are achieved. Action creates results; nothing else does.
Look around your environment and study those whom you know to be failures, and there are many of them. You will observe that, without exception, they lack initiatives and the firmness of decision, even in matters of the smallest importance. Such individuals ‘talk’ and idealize a great deal, but they are deficit on performance. To succeed in life, deeds, not words, should be the watchword.
No one ever accomplished anything, created anything or made any astounding progress without the use of imagination. Everything ever created or built was first mentally envisioned-. Whatever you cannot see in your inner eyes, you cannot attain. To dress for a party, cook a meal or even drive your car home will be impossible without a mental image of your desire.
No matter the level of your intellect, how great your ambition, the vastness of your relationship, the depth of your access to finance, aii these will be rendered useless without the driving force of imagination. In the workshop of imagination, realities are created and nothing can be achieved without imagination except accident.
How then do you deploy the power of your imagination?
In the words of Neville Goddard, ” creation is finished”. In other words, all that you ever have been or ever will be exists now. There is nothing absolutely new ! Whatever seems to be new is but a combination of ideas or elements of something old.
Therefore, to cultivate your imagination productively, you should keep a record of every idea, concept, thought that occur to you that is capable of practical use. Ruminate on these ideas ; take a positive perspective of them and attempt to think out their usefulness in day-to-day living. By and by, your subconscious mind will assemble the various ideas and thoughts into new combinations ; weave them into something that is apparently new.
Imagination is one faculty on which there is no set price or value. It is the most important of the faculties of the mind, where all motives are given the impulse necessary to turn them into action. Imagination has a limitless worth if backed with action.
The day-dreamer who creates practical ideas must back up these ideas with definite purpose and plan, self-confidence, initiative and the ability to elicit cooperation from other people. Without these, no person can actualize any idea or concept, irrespective of the power of his or her imagination.
No matter who you are, what you are doing at the moment , if you have a sound mind and if you are capable of using your imagination, you can gradually make a place for yourself in your environment that will be rewarding and respectful. There is no trick to this. Just identify problems that people encounter day-by-day , define the problem practically, apply your imagination and take action. Start with something simple and elementary and gradually develop it into something more impressive.
There are limitless possibilities !
Rotimi Adelola, PhD; DhE
APPLIED POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY ACADEMY