How to Prepare for Success
By Joy Miller
By building certain mental skills you can better prepare yourself for success. As a result, you have the potential to achieve more than you ever thought was possible.
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Achieve More Than You Thought Possible
Have you ever felt like the people around you have been lucky enough to land on success while you're doomed to a lifetime of mediocrity? It's time to change that line of thinking.
Success doesn't happen by chance. Rather, success develops from an investment of preparation and hard work. If you're willing to put effort into the pursuit of success, you can go further than you ever imagined.
How do you set yourself on a trajectory toward success? You have to arm yourself with a growth mindset, a sense of intrinsic motivation and a deep desire to learn. Add in planned-out goals and the grit to keep going, and you'll be on your way to accomplishing amazing things.
Choose a Growth Mindset
What mindset shapes your thinking? According to psychologist Carol Dweck, you might lean toward a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset says, "I'm not good at that, and I never will be. I was born with all the talent I'll ever have."
A growth mindset reframes struggles: "I'm not good at that yet, but I can get there. These failures will help me learn."
Dweck believes that we all have the capacity for both mindsets. The challenge is to recognize your fixed-mindset tendencies and replace them with growth-mindset thoughts.
The next time you face a hard situation, check your thoughts. Does the challenge or criticism make you feel anxious or defeated? That's your fixed mindset at work.
For a growth mindset, you must reframe those thoughts: "I can learn from this." The more you choose growth-mindset thinking, the greater the success you'll be able to achieve.
Find Your Motivation
Prizes are great, but working hard only when someone dangles a carrot in front of you won't get you far in the long run. Instead, you need to find your own motivation and latch on to it.
Research shows that external motivators are effective at first. Over time, though, not only will their effects wear off, but they may actually reduce the enjoyment you gain from your work. Counting on rewards and incentives will hinder your success over time.
Intrinsic motivation won't let you down, though. When your desire to succeed comes from within, it can keep you going even when things get tough.
To identify the motivators that will spur you on to success:
Let Learning Drive You
To really fuel your intrinsic motivation, make it your mission to continually gain more knowledge. There's always something new to learn.
Hitting an obstacle tends to derail people from working toward new accomplishments. But when it comes to acquiring new knowledge, challenges just mean that it's time to dig deeper.
Learning comes in many forms. Sometimes, it's learning about yourself — who you are as a person and what drives you. The more in touch with your personality you are, the farther you can go in life.
You must also be willing to learn techniques for turning your failures into victories. Sometimes, the biggest successes are borne out of defeats.
In addition, becoming a lifelong learner means that you must always seek new knowledge about the people and the world around you. Insatiable curiosity will take you far in life.
Plan Specific Steps
Setting specific goals has the power to drive performance to new heights. Studies have shown that companies benefit when their employees are working toward hard goals, and the same can hold true for your personal accomplishments.
For goals to be effective, though, you need to plan clear steps for accomplishing them. Whether your goal is to earn a degree or advance your career, you must break down your overall goal into manageable chunks.
For each step, plan:
To keep yourself on track, record your plans for the what, the when and the how in your daily planner or your to-do list app.
Be Known for Grit
Success rarely comes easily. Sure, some victories may fall in your lap now and then, but, as a general rule, there's a lot of struggle behind every accomplishment.
When you encounter adversity, it's tempting to count your efforts as a failure and give up. If you choose instead to push through the struggle, you'll come out better for it on the other side. To do that, you need grit.
Researcher Angela Lee Duckworth and her colleagues define grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." Duckworth's team has found that students with grit achieve higher GPAs and earn more advanced degrees. Among workers, grit increases career stability.
Grit is the secret ingredient for success. Having grit means that, when others would give up, you keep showing up because you know what you want to accomplish, and you're bound and determined to do it.
Are You Set for Success?
Becoming the type of person who regularly accomplishes impressive things doesn't happen by accident. It takes preparation and a commitment to continual development. If you stick with it, you'll rise above the pack.
So now is the time to prepare for success. Train yourself to employ a growth mindset, and dive down deep for motivation that comes from within. Choose knowledge over results, craft step-by-step plans for accomplishing your goals, and do it all with a never-give-up grit.
In time, others may see your impressive accomplishments and wonder, "How did that person get so lucky?" You'll know, though, that it wasn't a matter of luck but of your passion and determination. You prepared for success, and then you made your dreams of achievement come true.
Author Bio: Joy Miller is an author for MyDegreeGuide.com and specializes in providing in-depth higher education guides to help students connect with accredited universities.
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.