If you want success in anything: money, business, relationships, health and/or happiness, you need a plan. Here’s how to plan for real success!
True success is not possible without a plan!
In order to achieve success you need to know what success is to you. You need to know who you are, what you want, what you are capable of, what you are passionate about and how you are going to get there.
All of these insights I have learned from my own life. However, most recently I have discovered a host of great mentors in the field of behavior psychology and motivational speaking. Inspired by these people and my own life experiences I have formulated my own path to success. I want to share this and hopefully you can follow along and develop your own plan for success.
Simply, in order to maintain my focus and achieve what I see as success, I go through the following plan.
- Acknowledge Problems
- Envision Success
- Develop Motivation
- Implement Discipline
- Celebrate Regularly
These are my catchphrases for what is essentially a universal plan for success.
This plan is no different to the plans of all the other experts.
It makes sense, it works and it can make life better for me, you and the entire human race.
I absolutely believe this, and this is why I want to share this program and my story with you today.
- Acknowledging Problems
I, like most people, was driven to find success because I acknowledged there was a problem and I had got to the point where I had had enough.
I had just gone through huge life changes and through all the chaos I had reverted to bad habits and was not at my peak state.
- My mood was fluctuating from happy to grumpy, to blissful, then annoyed.
- I was becoming frustrated with work, feeling the glow had worn off my amazing new job and I was back to feeling the same old complaints and pressures.
- I was complaining more and upsetting my girlfriend with really rather pathetic ‘problems’ (compared to the real problems of people in the world, especially this part of the world – Vietnam)
- And the most obvious sign of the problems was I was gaining weight from eating and drinking too much.
Realizing this, and acknowledging this, I decided to not only hit the pause button, but to make a change and live life the way I know I can.
My first step was to ask myself: What is wrong and why are things going wrong?[I’m going to try to be as honest and open here because I really hope to act as an example for you to do the same.]
For me the problem was control. I had made some huge changes in my life and I was feeling a bit out of control.
I had gone from a too comfy and boring life in Perth, Australia, to the chaotic adventure of teaching public school in Hanoi. To then moving on teaching in a very successful private school in Ho Chi Minh City.
I was missing home and feeling rattled from all the changes, but I was mixed up in the joy of meeting new people, exploring new places and living with my lovely girlfriend and planning for a future together.
I wasn’t prepared for so much change. I had never experienced so much change. My brain didn’t know how to handle it all. So I started eating and drinking to feel comfort through these uncomfortable changes. (Old habits die hard, and mass consumption is my coping mechanism for stress and negativity.)
So, what was wrong? I was eating and drinking too much.
Why was it wrong? I was compensating for the feeling of being out of control.
What else was wrong? I was frustrated at work and I was complaining more and more about life.
Why was I frustrated and complaining? I was frustrated because I was feeling trapped.
Don’t get me wrong, I was, and still am, working in a very good school and I was earning good money and feeling like I had lots of great opportunities around me. But I was teaching in a new environment and I was being forced to follow the plans of other people. I had to teach topics so students could take a test etc. I was frustrated because I wanted the freedom to teach what I thought was truly valuable – not what I had to teach for a test.
I also felt frustrated because I was miles from home. All my family were in Perth. But I left Perth because I wanted more opportunity. I had much greater opportunity and felt much more alive and had the girl of my dreams in Ho Chi Minh. But I wanted to be able to visit my family when I wanted.
I wished I had the freedom to do what I wanted and be where I wanted. I didn’t and so I felt trapped.
To compensate for what I didn’t have, I complained and moaned and ate and drank and began down the path of failure again.
By acknowledging what is wrong we are able to know what we need.
By understanding our causes of failure we can learn our path to success.
I acknowledged that my problem was control. From there I knew my key to success was to get control.
I knew my problem was freedom. From there I knew I had to become free in order to become truly successful.
2 Envision Success
Knowing that my problem was control and freedom my path to success became clear: Become financially free.
If I was going to overcome my problems I would need to have the financial freedom to be my own boss and I would need the wealth to be free to travel between my two parts of the world.
Previously, I would never have dreamed that this was possible. But inspired by my previous experiences and with the help of some great new mentors, I decided my greatest failure would be not to try.
I was at the point where I had had enough and I felt like there was only so many years of teaching in me. I felt like I needed to succeed. So I turned the motivational speakers on to high frequency and I scoured the net and wracked my brain to come up with a solution.
I read mountains of articles on how to become a millionaire and on ways to make money. I devoured lesson after lesson on how to approach life and how to gain financial freedom. In the end I came up with a plan and I had a vision to get there.
Create a Vision:
I closed my eyes and imagined my perfect life. I imagined all the way to the day I died and my own funeral. I imagined at my funeral what I hoped people would say; no what I would absolutely love people to say: “successful, generous, a good family man, a great man, a force for change,” … and so on.
I imagined my retirement years, the way I really want to live my ‘Golden Years’. I imagined beaches, relaxing, writing and enjoying growing old with my wife, children and grandchildren.
I imagined what I want my days to be like. I imagined being important, working in an office in the sky, calling in instructions from the yacht, working from home in Perth, flying first class to the offices in Ho Chi Minh … and so on. I 10X’d what I thought possible and dreamed magnificently big.
This was the life I wanted. This was the life we, my fiancée and I, wanted.
We knew roughly what we wanted. We wanted fun, wealthy but also meaningful lives. We wanted to have enough money to be free, to give our children all the opportunities of the world, to help the poor and unfortunate and make a real positive impact on the lives of humanity.
It was a crazy big dream, but it had to be. You have to dream massive, big and beautiful if it’s going to change your life and give you the motivation to chase after what you want.
At this stage we didn’t know how to get it, but we had the vision. Next I changed the vision into clear and direct statements.
To have a life like that:
- I want $500,000,000
- I want to be retired from teaching in ten years
- I want to be running my own successful and meaningful company
- I want to be satisfied and happy
- We want two children
- We want to be able to fly back and forth wherever we want … and so on.
For the next few weeks I chanted these things. I woke up with them, I went to bed with them. I ran on the treadmill to the beat of 500 million dollars, 500 million dollars, 500 million dollars. I was glued to the computer and the phone searching for the big idea that would free me. I researched how to save and how to invest. And my wonderful fiancée put on her money magician hat and started investing our savings in the stock market.
Plan the Path:
My next step was to plot it out. It went something like:
- Begin saving and investing as much as we possibly can, with the goal of developing a stream of passive income from the stock market.
- Begin to study and understand the property market.
- Plan and begin to up-skill to launch my own business in 10 years; education being my background I envisioned an education center to teach directly the life skills that schools neglect.
- Put in the work – I began to study every night.
The residual of this was that I wanted to teach how to be a success. This drove me into the gym with renewed fervor. If I was going to teach success I needed to look successful. It started me writing about success. If I want to teach it, I need content and experience expressing it. That led me to try this blog writing. That led me back to my passion for creative writing. This led me to be passionate again about English and that fed into my teaching.
Through all this I began to feel inspired and I began to feel like I was living with purpose. This made me a better person.
An Important Lesson:
One lesson I learned from my study, which really played into all of this, was the lesson of gratitude. I began to realize that living with purpose was energizing, but it also came with one big downside – pressure. There was the pressure to feel progress, this led to feelings of frustration. There were times when you just want it now and upsetting days when you go backwards.
My lesson primarily came from Tony Robbins:
I believe the ultimate path to enlightment is the cultivation of gratitude. When you’re grateful, fear disappears. When you’re grateful lack [disappears]. You feel a sense that life is uniquely blessed, but at the same time, you feel like you’re a part of everything that exists and you know that you are not the source of it. In that state you show up differently for the people around you. Just walking around you vibrate.
With this outlook I found I wasn’t complaining anymore. I was thanking God for getting to work at a great school, I was grateful for the ability to invest, I was so grateful for my privileged background and the fact I was born to speak English, I was grateful for my amazing fiancée and so on and so on.
I had learned to feel grateful for everything that I had and to feel positive about seeking everything that I wanted. I had a direction, a vision, and a plan.
Once you can envision the life you really want you can plan, you can become inspired, you can live with purpose, and you can begin to find happiness.
Find your vision of success and begin to go for it!
3& 4. Develop Motivation and Discipline
Motivation doesn’t come from knowing what you want. Motivation comes from knowing why you need it.
I am only partly motivated by the image of the office building, flying first class and phoning in work from the yacht. What motivates me every day is my reason why. Why do I want all this? It’s because I want to be in control and I want to be free.
- Every day I need to get up early for work, I imagine free.
- Every day I need to deal with student dramas, I imagine free.
- Every day I need to mark and prepare pointless work, I imagine free.
But I am also motivated by gratitude.
- Every day I see poor people who need to scratch and scrape for their survival, I feel amazing gratitude and I dream of being freer and having so much I can help them.
- Every day I see people blindly going into jobs they hate and consuming stuff they don’t need, throwing away their opportunities, I feel grateful for all I have, I dream of my freedom and I imagine being able to help them all.
This is what motivates me. And what reassures me that I can really have it all is discipline.
Discipline is essential. You don’t become your dreams. You become your habits. Or as Tony Robbins says, you become your musts.
When you raise your standards and turn “should’ into “must’, you are making an inner shift to take control over the quality of your life. Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.
Discipline is what makes dreams reality. The disciple to change ‘should’ into ‘must’ and follow through is what gets you what you want!
I want my dream life! For me financial freedom is now a must! To get it I need to be disciplined!
My disciplines (or routines) to ensure success:
- Every day I wake up and tell myself I’m grateful: I’m grateful for the woman beside me, I’m grateful for my awesome job, I’m grateful to live in this beautiful apartment, I’m grateful for my health, my skills, my talent and so on.
- Every day, I develop myself: at work I’m learning all the skills I need to write better, to teach better, to inspire better, to save better, to invest better, to work better, to be better and so on.
- Every day I come home and I tune into the motivation channel on YouTube. As lame as that sounds, I get a dose of lessons and motivation that drives me to never stop.
- Every day I go to the gym: I run and lift and all the while I meditate on what I want, why I want it and how I will get it.
- Every night I read and learn and discover how to be better and do better and achieve my goals.
- Every Saturday I write this blog: I do it first and without any distraction. It forces me to keep on the track. It keeps me aware, disciplined, motivated, and charged to do more and be more and strive to achieve all my goals.
- Every Sunday I pause and enjoy life with my beautiful fiancée.
It’s these habits, day-in-day-out, that drive me towards success. But they also keep me in a beautiful state and force me to give my best and to enjoy my life.
If you want success, find discipline!
5 Celebrate Regularly
My favourite discipline is to celebrate regularly.
This is going to sound cheesy, but one of my favourite phrases with my fiancée is “happy anniversary”. We say it all the time. We say it anytime we are happy or we have something to celebrate. It’s just our way of celebrating us and our shared visions.
Celebrating regularly is important.
Celebrating regularly is important, but celebrating for us isn’t about partying and consumption. At first it was hi-fiving and smiling and ‘well done’ and so on. For bigger wins it was a cider with dinner to mark the occasion. But above all else it is a recognition of gratitude. Gratitude for what we have. Gratitude to each other. And gratitude for all the blessings of life.
It becomes addictive. We celebrated the day we opened a trading account. We celebrated our first investment. We celebrated our first $100 profit. We celebrated our first $1000, $2000, $5000 and so on. We found things to celebrate the day we lost $1000, and we celebrated twice as much when we got it all back.
We celebrated the day we met. We celebrated our engagement. We celebrated getting my job. We celebrated surviving the first term, the second term, the tough weeks and the good weeks.
Celebrate regularly and you will force yourself to get the next goal so you can celebrate again and again and again.
And celebrate the truly important things in style. Right now I’m looking forward to celebrate the love of my life. And while I hate all extravagant consumption, and I am quietly dreading spending a fortune for a wedding, I can’t wait to celebrate life with family, friends and people we care about.
In the end, don’t waste life on dismissing your goals. I may never get $500 million, or have the rewarding company, or the first class flights, or the yacht, but I’m so much more happy, inspired and alive trying for it.
Be grateful for all your advantages and seek those who you can help.
Most importantly: acknowledge your problems, envision your success, find motivation and discipline, and celebrate life every chance you get!
Thanks for allowing me to share and remember to always keep striving for success.