Success is a word that can easily grab one’s attention because it’s important to each and every one of us. No matter what background we come from, we all want to achieve success.
We reach for it in our quest to achieve greatness.
Different people have different interpretations of success, but we all expect the same result: to win.
If we had to settle on a particular definition, we might say that success is the realization or attainment of a desire or want.
Earl Nightingale, one of the forefathers of self-improvement, defined success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
Whatever you’re working towards — a college degree, a higher-paying job or improved social status — if you consider the destination to be worthy, then arriving there constitutes success.
There are five important factors to keep in mind when it comes to achieving success.
This list is not definitive as there’s always more to add and each individual’s list may vary.
Keep these in mind and you won’t go wrong.
1. Self Image
In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz said that an individual’s self-image may be the most important factor in how he or she lives life. Dr. Maltz delves into how our self-image — the image we have of ourselves and how we think others see us — affects our lives.
A reconstructive plastic surgeon, Dr. Matz realized that while plastic surgery only benefited approximately 0.5% of the population and only on a surface level, the other 99.5% had scars that go deeper.
These individuals had unresolved and untreated emotional scars stemming from the past.
The way to heal those metaphorical scars is not to go under the knife, but to have those people examine their self-images. Once they are able to treat their inner scars, they will be able to achieve peace of mind.
It’s important to note that self-image goes well beyond what we think of ourselves. What we believe others think of us or the light they see us in play an important role, too.
Often confused with self-image, self-esteem is the value that we place on ourselves. Unlike self-image, self-esteem is based on worthiness and not on the actual image that we have in our minds.
The common reason why many people confuse the two is that they’re closely related. In fact, our self-esteem is often derived from our self-image.
As Psychology Today states, “Perhaps no other self-help topic has spawned so much advice and so many (often conflicting) theories.”
Whatever value we believe we have or how much we think we are worth constitutes our self-esteem.
Stanley J. Gross, Ed.D, a licensed psychologist in private practice, says, “Self-esteem is not set in stone. Raising it is possible, but not easy. Self-esteem grows as we face our fears and learn from our experiences.”
Self-confidence is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the confidence we have in ourselves and our abilities. It’s the belief that we have in ourselves and what we are capable of.
In 1890, philosopher William James wrote in Principles of Psychology, “Believe what is in the line of your needs, for only by such belief is the need filled. Have faith that you can successfully make it, and your feet are nerved to its accomplishment.”
This was James’ way of revealing the virtue of self-confidence.
This attribute hinges greatly on the two preceding elements: self-image and self-esteem.
How we see ourselves and what we believe our self-worth is will have an incredible impact on how confident we are in ourselves.
Self-discipline is an attribute that almost everyone knows is important for success. Unfortunately, it isn’t the easiest to implement.
Self-discipline involves taking action to achieve your desired outcome, even in the face of adversity, temptation or any other obstacle.
As Mark Tyrrell says in Uncommon Help, “Exercising self-discipline can make the difference between an averagely talented person doing something amazing with their lives and a naturally talented person realizing very little of their potential.”
Discipline is absolutely vital to your success. Ignoring discipline or trying to find a way around it will only push success further and further away.
Self-love may sound like something that appeals primarily to narcissists, but it actually refers to how well you treat yourself.
How we treat ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and in any other areas of our lives indicates how much love we have for ourselves.
Writing in Psychology Today, Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. states that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us.” Self-love is also important in helping us grow as individuals.
Carl R. Rogers, one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology, wrote, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
Keeping a healthy diet and associating with successful, productive people are both good examples of self-love.
The important thing to take away from these five factors for success is that each and everyone revolves around one important element: yourself. It all begins from within.
None of these attributes relies solely on external factors. They are all within your control.
Gain proper control and understanding of these factors so you can take action and achieve success.