This is a guest article by social confidence coach Eduard Ezeanu about the 3 things they don’t teach you about success.
If you’re into personal development, you’ve probably heard a lot of ideas related to success. You’ve heard that in order to achieve success you need to set smart goals, to take action and to believe in yourself.
And I think that is all true.
These are all important elements for achieving success. However, I also think they are not all of the important elements. There is a more subtle side of success that most people don’t really know about or hear about. It’s like its hidden side.
This hidden side is what I’d like to talk to you about. Drawing from my 7+ years of experience as a coach, I wanna tell you want most other people don’t tell you about success. And I’m gonna contrast it a bit with the conventional success advice.
1. You Need to Take a Path to Success That Matches Your Natural Strengths Very Well
A common mistake people make regarding success is that they see others around them achieving performance on a certain path, and they decide to follow the exact same path, hoping for similar results.
The problem is that each person has their own set of natural strengths, which play a key role in their ability to achieve high-performance. And if the path you choose doesn’t match your strengths well, it’s gonna be much harder, perhaps impossible, to achieve top performance.
Here’s an example: A friend of mine met when he was young a few persons who were lawyers and were very successful in this field. They were making a lot of money, working with important clients and enjoying a lot of recognition. So he decided to become a lawyer as well.
The problem is that his natural strengths have almost nothing to do with the strengths that top lawyers have. For instance, top lawyers are almost always naturally very good at abstract thinking. This is critical when you work with laws and legal principles regularly.
My friend though was not a good abstract thinker at all.
Sure, he developed this skill to some degree with lots of practice, but he’ll probably never come anywhere near the level of abstract thinking that top lawyers have.
So, unfortunately for him, he’ll probably never match their level of success. It’s no surprise that after several years working in this field, he’s still struggling to make it. He’s a lawyer, but not a truly accomplished one.
This is why it’s important to think about your strengths when you choose your path. Capitalizing on them will make your journey a lot easier and more fun, while disregarding them will make it very slow and frustrating.
2. It’s Key to Think Big, But Be a Realist at the Same Time
High achievers think big and they dare to aim for notable goals. That’s true. However, what’s also true is that, at the same time, they are also realists. Their ambitions are bold, but level-headed as well. The two traits don’t exclude each other; in fact they can go together brilliantly.
Many people have fuzzy and unrealistic expectations in life. I’ve often noticed that while what they seek to achieve is attainable, the amount of time, effort or compromises required are seriously underestimated.
Many expect to get rich overnight, lose a ton of weight in a few days, or just stumble upon the right opportunities in their life by sheer luck. They have this sort of magical thinking about how dreams become reality, when in fact fulfilling your dreams requires serious planning, persistence, patience and flexibility.
And this only works against them. Because when they see how slow they make progress, at least at first, and how much work it takes to get just a bit closer to their goals, they get discouraged and they give up.
So, dream big, but try to be realistic at the same time. There isn’t an exact formula for doing this, but essentially in entails not letting your emotions take over your decisions and expectations. Instead, let logical, reality-based thinking govern them.
3. Social Skills Matter As Much As Professional Competences
Traditionally, we think that you become a successful engineer by being very good at engineering, a famous singer by becoming very good at singing, and so on. We think in terms of professional competencies.
While it is true that these competences are very important, so are your social skills. You see, you don’t exist in a void. You live around other people and the way you interact with them, their perception of you and they way you employ them can make or break you.
It’s not very useful to be a good engineer if nobody likes to work with you because you’re an annoying person to have around. It’s not enough to be a good singer in the entertainment industry if you don’t know how to mingle and promote yourself.
Social skills play the key role in the way you connect with others, and thus they play a key role in achieving just about any form of success.
And the best news is that you can develop your social skills. My recommendation is to start by identifying specific social skills you think you would benefit the most from improving. For instance: making conversation, or public speaking, or persuasion.
Then take them one at a time and consciously work on developing them. There is a plethora of resources out there to help you, from blogs to books, from training to coaching, and trust me: with consistent practice you can make a lot of progress.
As you strive for success with a good understanding of both its apparent and its hidden side, you’ll find yourself getting closer and closer to it. Eventually you’ll get momentum and this will help make future advancement faster and easier. There is no better feeling in this world.
Success is both an art and a science, and it’s worth understanding the depths of it.
Eduard Ezeanu teaches seekers of self-growth how to talk to people with impact, how to be witty and funny, how to make a lasting impression, and other relevant skills for social success. You can find him on Facebook and Tumblr as @artofconfidence