Introduction

The meaning of success is quite broad and complex; success comes in so many forms and ways. People differ in their understanding of the term, and the difference makes the world go round. What some people define as success is just one piece of the puzzle. Success covers many areas of life, for example, attainment of wealth, fame, political power, education, sports, and relationships, just to mention but a few.

Some people, however, object that gaining all the things such as wealthy and political power is not a success if there is no peace of mind, sense of security, love and joy of achievement.

Experts argue that there is no one size fits all definition of success, however, in general terms, success is the achievement of a favourable or desired outcome. Dictionary.com defines success as the accomplishment of one’s goals; the attainment of wealth, position, honours, or the like. The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines success as the degree or measure of succeeding.

There is no single measure, formula or answer to success, but this article contains almost all that you need to be successful, regardless of how you perceive success. If you do the work, it will pay you off.

30 ways to guarantee success in life

1. Define success in your way.

Many people have limited knowledge of what success is all about, and only judge success by how wealthy, educated or famous someone is. They spend their entire life admiring to be rich and never take time to visualize how successful they can be in many other ways. Others put maximum effort and climb up the ladder, only to become miserable and burned out by the problems of the higher levels they experience. The first thing you need is to have an in-depth understanding of what success means in your life. Do not fit in other people’s definition of success because you are different. Perhaps success to you is protecting animals and plant species from becoming extinct, and nothing related to wealth, so be yourself and live a successful life your way.

2. Define your vision.

God created you with a reason, which is the sole purpose of your existence on earth, to do the work of your love, the labour you will find joy in doing. You need to seek clarity, to find and define your purpose in life, to set goals to accomplish. The vision outlines the intended outcome, what you want to be or what you want to happen. Answer the question, where do you see yourself in a decade? Do not let people decide for you because they will always be people who think they know what is best for you. Trust and follow your instincts. Your vision will help you plan and design your life trajectory properly, hinged on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. “If you do not design your life plan, chances are that you will fall into someone else’s plan,” Jim Rohn once said.

3. Set your goals.

Every design for success begins by setting goals to achieve the intended outcome. Define your aspirations, which are the positive results you need to determine your success. Without goals to achieve, planning is practically impossible. With clear and well-defined goals, you make planning easy-going; If you execute the plan properly, success is inevitable.

4. Evaluate your habits.

Your daily routine, style, pattern, or practice is one of the key attributes that determine your success. Ask yourself the fundamental questions of success. If you were successful, with all critical goals already achieved: what would you be doing?; how would you be spending time?; who would you be spending time with?; what beliefs would you be following? Visualize how you would show up daily, the time you would work up to begin work and finishing time, your associates, and your character. Start living the life of that new person who defines who you are. The most important way to be successful is to be successful in the first place and live the life of a successful person. The authority is in your mind, be responsible for your success and quit the old style of blaming others, external influence or something else. Test your habits and align yourself to the new normal.

5. Acknowledge you need a turnaround strategy.

The first thing you should come to terms with is the realization that your current status results from what you have been doing since you were born. You can ask your trusted friends and relatives to give you feedback about yourself, what you do, how you spend your time, how you interact with others and how they perceive you. Accept constructive criticism, acknowledge your current status and develop a turnaround strategy, a fresh way of doing things.

6. Accept the will to change.

Implementation of a turnaround strategy requires the will of both the mind and the heart. Convince yourself strongly that you have the power to change your destiny, the authority to do what is right. Your heart’s desire for success should not differ from that of a baby learning to walk, it is so great that falling several times is immaterial. “To succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Bill Cosby. Silence your inner critic, which frightens and gives you a sense of insecurity to make the first steps outside of your comfort zone. Do not let your past determine your future.

7. Break your goal into manageable tasks and track progress.

A goal is usually a long-term colossal achievement that successful people realize at the end. To achieve your target, you need to break your goal into manageable short-term action steps that you can monitor and assess progress. For instance, you can have two or three milestones which show significant intermediate development stages. To reach each milestone, identify two or three activities to be carried out. For each activity to be complete, find two or three tasks needed. By assessing the progress on each task every day, you can learn how to improve throughput and adjust accordingly to do better. You can follow the principle outlined in Figure 1 below. 

Figure 1: Success roadmap-Breaking a goal into milestones, activities, and tasks to monitor progress and improve performance.

8. Always think before you act.

Give yourself little time to think before you do anything from now on, whether big or small. Ask yourself the fundamental questions of success before any life event, to align your actions to your new normal. Remember, the new status you carry is that of a person who is successful already. Consider the consequences of every step you make. Have the courage to continue doing this practice repeatedly, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone. 

9. Prioritize doing the work with the highest returns.

Everybody has one or two areas in life that speed up the pedal of success the most. Think of those exercises or routines which moves the speedometer the most. Do them first every day in the morning and never shift your focus until you finish the activities. 

I committed myself to the habit of studying my Post-Graduate Program in Satellite Communication Systems regularly, for the entire 2014 in Nigeria, and the practice worked like a cham. I graduated with a distinction and got an award for the best graduating student. I also practised a similar approach at my workplace and got promoted several times, rising through the ranks. I recently got a revelation to become a successful entrepreneur, a new trajectory I am finding myself extremely successful.

10. Be consistent.

Maintain a level of performance (quality and quantity of deliverables) that does not vary with time, save for an increase. The practice will maintain a steady growth towards the goal. Shifting from the normal should only be accepted if the change is positive. Ultimately, there will be fast growth when better ways of doing business come to play regularly.  

11. Self-discipline yourself.

Always do your scheduled work, regardless of whether you feel like it, to ensure the completion of all planned work. Self-discipline is one of the fundamental attributes that differentiate between successful entrepreneurs and failures. It is the price successful entrepreneurs pay for the achievement of the success they desire. Do not expect someone to do things for you because everyone has his own needs to worry. If you do not self-discipline yourself, you end up blaming others and giving a lot of excuses on your failures.

12 Be a man or women of integrity.

Trust is the bond that pivots every successful entrepreneur. Be always honest and stick to your word for people to credit you or your business with an excellent reputation. Remember, success depends on several people who trust and do business with you, lend you money, give you credit, help you during your trial times, and buy your products or services. Be brave enough to say no, if you cannot do something for someone. Do not over-commit because a promise is a credit. It is easy to say yes and make someone happy, but over-commitment may lead to failure to fulfil your promises, which has a long-lasting negative impact on your reputation. So, build a character worth a lifetime investment, integrity.

13 Be persistent.

Many people who fail are those who cannot withstand the life storms, yet the difficulties we often experience are those that build our capacity to conquer the world, as John P. Weiss rightly said, “a calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.” Winston Churchill suggested that success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm, while Zig Ziglar taught us to expect the best, prepare for the worst, and capitalize on what comes. Be courageous and propel forward with determination, especially in the face of adversity, with a risk of potential failure; see challenges as opportunities.

14 Stay focused.

You need to build and maintain a clear sense of direction to keep your prospects from being derailed by today’s turbulent and fast-changing markets and lifestyles. Concentrate on your strategic actions to achieve your goal and to realize your vision, even if it requires a couple of years to accomplish; Rome was not built in one day. Get rid of destructions, especially your old habits. Understand you cannot do everything at once. Do not divide your attention to too many tasks in the name of multi-tasking. Shift your gaze on the activities with the highest returns on the journey to achieve your goals.

15 Be decisive.

The flexibility to adjust to the fast-changing world trends is one of the principal requirements for success in life. Be swift to think and take action to keep your processes aligned to the modern trends. Also, always apply feedback, monitor the outcome of every action step you make and quickly make corrections if need be. Doing so will ensure the use of the right solution all the time, which increases your chances of being successful. I am always prioritising something I have never done before, to steepen my trajectory.

16 Exercise your emotional intelligence.

Sometimes many people miss their way to success because of emotional disturbances affecting themselves or people around them. Master the ability to understand, and reason with emotions, not only your own but also of others. Never lose control. Develop the attribute to discern between different feelings and use the information to guide your thinking and behaviour to suit the environment. Understand that you cannot easily change other people or what they are going through, but can only change your reactions and how they feel about it. Consider the consequences of your actions and how others will react and feel. Make the journey fun, avoid carrying a heavy emotional weight, and get rid of stagnating thoughts which influence your feelings. “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” -Theodore Roosevelt.

17 Be curious and innovative.

Learning is a process, so you need to be always willing to learn new things about the world you live and beyond, to have a hunger for new skills or knowledge. Visualize how the world around you would be if there were 1, 2 and 3 things you can only see in a dream. Einstein one mentioned that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them, so always think outside of the box for alternative ways of doing things.

18 Be competitive.

Consider competition as the reason for improving your products and services. Do not fall prey to jealous when you see others being successful rather, sit down and pay attention to your improvements and assessing your progress. Be happy when you find people successful in your dream area because they can present excellent opportunities for you to learn. Understand that everyday people do extraordinary things, dare to ask those successful in your area for their history to succeed, and learn one or two things from them.

19 Choose the right friends.

Look around to see if they are people not contributing positively to the achievement of your dreams and shade them off as the cook does to onion shells. Keep a distance from friends who always undermine your self-esteem, making you feel undeserving success. Avoid friends who instil the risk of failure and fear of the unknown. Choose a friend with a positive attitude, who thinks of success and ways to overcome the risk of not progressing. Surround yourself with the people with the success you admire and learn their habits and beliefs.

21 Never fall prey to discouragement.

“Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end, you are sure to succeed.” Abraham Lincoln. Discouragement comes in two ways: from your mind which doubts your capacity and from other people (relatives, friend and strangers) who see no future on our motives. Both external and internal doubts make you think as if giving up is the only good idea to avoid the embarrassment of failure, yet they are so many positive solutions to every problem in life.

22 Avoid keeping excess idle time.

Some people have been waiting for an opportunistic time to present itself for them to work up their brains. Waiting for the right time is the best excuse for lazy people. Stop being nice to yourself and start creating opportunities to avoid stagnation. “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” Chris Grosser. Streamline time-wasting routines such as frequently visiting your phone for social platforms, if there is no link to the achievement of your goals.

23 Learn from your mistakes and failure.

Mistakes and failures are the principal teachers of success to those with a willing heart to learn. Most people however believe and see mistakes and failures as the root causes for lack of success. People with wisdom see failure as a sign of making progress, the principal reason to introduce change, which leads to new things that work and subsequently leads to success. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”-Henry Ford. Thomas Edison invented the bulb after failing several hundreds of times, but to him, he never saw failure but several hundred ways that could not invent the light bulb.

24 Balance work, play, and rest.

In life, you need to play and rest as much as you work to keep yourself healthy and efficient. You need not wait for that magical moment when everything falls in place, make yourself happy and enjoy every moment from the beginning. Success is all about enjoying every moment, the end as the journey alike, to keep life balanced.

25 Study a lot.

Sometimes we can easily find all the information we know by studying books, articles, and journals. Research is effortless nowadays, thanks to internet technology which brings all the information to our fingertips. There is a lot of free literature online, including pictures and videos of how to do things. There is absolutely no reason to fail because nearly everything you need has been documenting somehow.

26 Be smart in handling money.

How we use our money today often bears the money we will have tomorrow. Be smart to save something regularly to build a capital reserve for mega investments tomorrow. Most entrepreneurs get cash every day, but few disciplines themselves enough to restrain from unnecessary spending. I am not saying do not spend, but prioritize your expenses and spend on what is necessary only.

27 Develop excellent communication skills.

To be successful, you need to be strategic, not only in the execution of action plans but in your methods and ways of communicating with others. Learn to use the right communication method, tone, and language (wording) to express your message clearly. Write or speak with the outcome in mind. Excellent communication skills will not only help you be understood, but create excellent networks. Besides, excellent communication involves focusing on the needs of others and working hard to meet those needs. Their needs present the market opportunities to grab.

28 Give generously, especially to those in need.

I have leant and approves the word of God through experience. In Luke 6 verse 38, God said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall a man give into your bosom”. I often give and receive in excess and seen people who give blessed beyond measure. So, give from your heart and receive. “God is not a man, that he should lie; He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through” -Numbers 23 verse 19. Zig Ziglar once rephrased, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” When people hear about giving and receiving, their minds think of money only, but there are so many things we can give, our time, knowledge, land, food, transport and so on. Some people received the gift of life, good health, trouble-free living, children, and grandchildren, which they do not recognize because all they think about is money and not the things money cannot buy.

29 Think of the inheritance you will leave for your children and grandchildren.

A responsible parent invests for his descendants. Think of the legacy you will create for your children, grandchildren, your community and people you advocate for when you die. Believe in those dreams and make them happen.

30 Look for a mentor if necessary.

Problems that affect humanity are common, what is troubling you today has troubled someone else before. Most of our problems in life have been solved long ago by the genius. Learning from those with proven expertise and experience in your line of life can help shape your way to success. Also, it saves your time and speeds up events towards your success.

Conclusion

In life, we can guarantee nothing 100% because everything depends on the will of God, just like working up alive. However, we can ensure success to a greater extent by doing activities that increase the probability of achieving goals to maximum, at the expense of factors with a possibility of failure. Success is measured and tested in so many ways, and what guarantees success is not just one but several routines coupled together in a planned fashion. Also, worth to mention is that to ensure success, one needs to be patient with a working strategy. You can still make a difference regardless of your stage in life if you reconfigure your mind with the right-thinking and start working to succeed. “Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny.” – Tryon Edwards. To keep the energy to continue determination, focus and recognition of small successes we make en route to achieving our goals are very important.