What Are the 5 Keys to Success: Goals, Grit, Habits & More

post written by:  Ken@ProductivityBird with PB Editors

Success means different things to different people.  But to achieve success, the principles should be quite similar.  Let’s ignore “luck” here, as luck is not a skill, nor is it something we have control over.. What you do have control over is how and where you spend your time and energy. Below is a list of 5 keys to success. And if you put your time and effort into these areas, you will find success.  

1. Meaningful Goal

It seems like coming up with a goal is really easy.  That may be, but to know your true goal or  your life purpose takes a lot of soul searching.  The Japanese philosophy of “ikigai” is great at helping people find their life purpose.  Simply put, “ikigai” means that your life purpose or big goal should meet all four of the following criteria at the same time.  To live a purposeful life, be sure that you do the thing that:

  1. you are good at
  2. you like to do
  3. gets you paid
  4. is useful to others

2. Perseverance

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” - Thomas Edison

If you work towards your life purpose or your big goal for a very long time, you’re sure to have at least some success .   Think about it.  If your goal is meaningful and if you work 4 hours towards your goal every day for 3 years, don’t you think you’ll see progress?   The problem is that we often give up before we see results.  If the road is easy, the goal is likely not worth pursuing.  

3. Habit

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” - F. M. Alexander

We all have limited willpower. To make sure we reach our goals, we need to focus on the most important things. And we need to repeat those things day in and day out for years. But how do you do that? Turn those daily tasks into habits.    Science says it takes roughly 60 days to turn an action into a habit.  That means that if you do something every day for 60 days, it will become a habit and you will no longer have to rely on willpower.  That’s like the ultimate hack for creating success. 

4. Not Caring What People Think About You

If you filter and curate your life to  look good on social media, you probably care   too much about what people think about you.  Remember that each of us only has 24 hours to spend each day.  Spending time and energy to impress others means we have less time and energy to spend on things that would make us impressive.

Also remember that other people probably don’t share your same goals or priorities. So why should you value their opinion? Focus on what is important to you and build a life that you are proud of. At the end of the day, that is the only opinion that matters.

5. Awareness of Ego: “Do What You Need” But Not “What You Desire”

“Don’t confuse goals with desires. A proper goal is something that you really need to achieve. Desires are things that you want that can prevent you from reaching your goals. Typically, desires are first-order consequences. Decide what you really want in life by reconciling your goals and your desires. What will ultimately fulfil you are things that feel right at both levels, as both desires and goals.” - Ray Dalio

When you are soul searching for what you really need to do in life, you may be distracted by  desires.  Your desires could be things like: driving a fancy car, getting a lot of social media followers, getting to the top of a huge company.  But if you go deeper, you might recognize your true need. This could be something like using your skills to help others, working on becoming the best version of yourself, building a very useful product, etc.  

It’s often our ego that causes us to confuse our goals with our desires.  When you are not sure whether something is a desire or a goal,, keep asking yourself “why do I want that?”.  That way, you can determine if you are pursuing a goal for yourself or to look good on social media. Know what your true desires are in life so that you may live a life with no regrets.

Handling the Curveballs That Life Throws at You

Without a doubt, it takes a lot of hard work and time to achieve excellence.  It will also take a lot of mindfulness and figuring out the methods that work for you. The key method that could really improve your life is learning how to use the power of habit.  If you can learn to turn some important actions into habits, you can automate tasks that will bring you closer to your goals..  

At the same time, life could throw you a lot of curveballs, and these curveballs could easily break your habits.  So even if you already know how to turn actions into habits, you still need to be mindful enough to recognize that you may need to adjust your plan.  

Let’s say  your goal is to finish writing a book in a year. Your plan was to do 4 hours of writing everyday. Suddenly something happens and you get really busy in the coming year.Don’t just give up your goal. Adjust your goal and adjust your plan.  You could write 1 hour a day instead of 4 hours.  You could try to finish your book in 2 years instead of 1.  You could even write a shorter book..  

When life throws you a curveball, adjust your goals, plans, and habits to make the best out of the situation.  When all else fails, remember why you started in the first place.  

Ken@ProductivityBird shares ideas about productivity and mindfulness that he has learned from books and his own experience on ProductivityBird.
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What Are the 5 Keys to Success: Goals, Grit, Habits & More