Success in life is a deliberate focus. You can let life happen (Downward spiral) or make life happen. Here are some things I've learned along the way that have helped me:
1) Add value wherever you go - There are givers and takers along the way. If you truly want to be successful you must be a giver. Adding value is like planting a garden. Plant and tend the seeds and you'll never go hungry.
2) Be a catalyst. Make things happen - Have you ever been in a room full of people and no one will make a decision. Be the one who gets the ball rolling. You may make a few enemies but one friend you won't make is mediocrity.
3) Give in the area you love - Passion is contagious. Like attracts like. If you try to contribute in an area you aren't passionate about your words and efforts will fall to the ground unfruitful. If give in an area you love you will never grow tired. Your actions will energize you and those around you.
4) If it's buy a new coat or buy a new book, buy the book - Never stop educating yourself. Build up your success attitude and you can own the coat store.
5) Never stop growing - Sounds a little like #4 but it's much broader. Constantly stretch yourself with new things. I have a quote on my desk from Eleanor Roosevelt. It reads "Do one thing every day that scares you" Nothing is worse than a daily life of mundane existence. Challenge yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially. Never be satisfied with the status quo. All living things are either growing or dying.
6) Make your success a "have to" - A life of "shoulds" will never inspire or motivate you. It's like the business owner who plans a vacation and suddenly their business explodes. I once heard it said that you should live every day as though it's the day before your vacation starts. When your back is against the wall there is no room for procrastination.
7) There is no such thing as failure - We have all heard that the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is how they interpret failure. Every unsuccessful attempt teaches you something. The question is, are you listening?
8) Get a mentor/coach - Find someone or better yet, several people who inspire you. Follow them as best you can. Take their seminars, read their books, listen to their CD's, make them your best friends. Perhaps you will never meet them in person but that doesn't mean they can't mentor you. A coach, on the other hand, is someone you will have direct contact with. It may be by phone or on line but they can help you with the details of your success plan. With a coach comes accountability. That's a word that often brings fear into the hearts of us all but it's absolutely necessary for you to reach your full potential.
So how do we apply these principles? The answer is that we have to break out of our default thinking and question our assumptions. We all have the God given ability to think about what we think about. Operating on the default level is simply a life of reactions based on conditioning. The good news is, conditioning can be changed. The analogy I like to use is, if you walk out of your house tomorrow and realize you have a really ugly shirt on you can go back and change the shirt. Well, if you walk out of your house and have some really ugly thoughts, go change them! There may be some things in life that aren't in our control, but most things are! Change what you can and learn from the rest.