Success is related to enjoyment in the present and achievement in the future. Is it possible to achieve and enjoy? Most people plan to achieve at work and enjoy themselves outside of work. Inputs of efficiency and goals lead to outputs of enjoyment and achievement.
- So what is success, and who am I to talk to you about it? If I'm so successful, why aren't I on a speed boat drinking champagne, rather than standing in this studio surrounded by lights and cameras? The answer is that I would rather be doing this, and that really is true. I do quite like champagne and boats, and I do go on holiday every now and then, but after a week or two of being on holiday, I usually start to feel the urge to do something more mentally demanding and interesting, something that will make a difference to people and something that will give me a sense of achievement.
We each have our own view of success, we all have different things that we want to do, and different things give us happiness. The dictionary defines success as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, but that's pretty wide. I mean, I think we'd agree that there's success in a task, "I mowed the lawn." And success in life, "I changed the world." and I think it's much more interesting to focus on how to succeed in life, or at least how to succeed at big things in your life.
I would describe success in life as freedom to spend your time on what you want to spend it on. And I think success requires finding a way to enjoy yourself in the present and to get a sense of achievement in the future. And to get the balance right between these two things. All enjoyment now will mean that you almost certainly won't have the future that you want. And all working for the future, means that you probably won't have enough happiness in the present.
But if you can get a pretty enjoyable present, and also a pretty good feeling of achievement in the future from the things that you're working on now, then I would say that that is success. Most people's plan is to achieve at work and enjoy at home, and you know what I'm going to say. That isn't a bad plan, but it would be better to achieve at work and outside work, and also to enjoy both work and outside work.
If you can enjoy and achieve both in your work and in your life outside work, then you have succeeded. In order to do this there are all sorts of habits and tactics that you can use, which I'm going to be looking at. But if I had to pick out the top two right now, I would say that the first one is to have clear goals, both at home and at work. What is it that you want to achieve, and what is it that you want to spend time doing because you enjoy it? And the second one is efficiency.
If you're using the driving analogy, it would be to say that you first need a destination, but you also need an efficient car to get you there. So efficiency breaks down into all sorts of things like self-organization, time management, assertiveness, and good relationships with other people. If you have goals but you're not efficient, you'll end up being frustrated. If you're efficient but you don't have goals, you'll end up also being frustrated but in a different way, because you're going in circles, or you may not like where you end up.
If you don't have goals and you're also not efficient, then okay, you can still have fun, but in the end it'll be frustrating, because the balance will be wrong between the present and the future, and inevitably, the future will come and it will be disappointing, unless you're very lucky. But if you do have goals and you are efficient, then you will achieve those goals. And providing you've set yourself sensible goals, goals that will make you happy, then you will achieve them, and you will be happy, and that is success.