Here are seven lessons for success in the twenty-first century. These are some of the most important ideas I have learned in more than thirty years of studying successful people.
1. Your life only gets better when you get better. Your outer world will always reflect your inner world. If you want to improve the quality of your outer world, you must work on yourself. And because there is no limit to how much better you can get, there is no limit to how much better you can make your life.
2. It doesn't matter where you're coming from; all that matters is where you're going. Never allow yourself to be slowed down or held back by events that have occurred in your past. Learn from them and let them go. Resolve to keep yourself focused on the future and where you are going. Because your future is limited only by your imagination, there are no limits to what you can achieve in the months and years ahead.
3. Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first. Everything is hard before it is easy. A primary reason that people do not realize their full potential is that they try something new, and when it doesn't work perfectly the first time they quit and go back to their old, lower level of performance. Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first, and it is often worth doing poorly several times until you master it.
4. You are only as free as your options, the well-developed alternatives you have available to you. One of the greatest human goods is personal freedom, and your freedom is determined largely by your choices. The more options you have, the greater freedom and self-confidence you have. You should be continually developing new options throughout your career. Never hang all your hopes for success on a single possibility.
5. Within every problem or difficulty you experience, there is the seed of an equal or greater advantage or benefit. Look for the good in every problem. Look for the valuable lesson in every adversity or setback. Look for something you can gain from every difficulty, and you will always find it.
6. You can learn anything you need to learn to achieve any goal you can set for yourself. You are a learning organism. Anything that anyone else has learned, within reason, you can learn as well. You can acquire any kind of knowledge and develop any skill you need to rise to the top of your field.
7. The only real limits on what you can do or be are the limits you accept in your own mind. As Shakespeare said, "Nothing is, but thinking makes it so." Henry Ford said, "If you believe you can do a thing or you believe you cannot, in either case, you are probably right."
You have within you, right now, all the talents and abilities you could ever want or need to achieve any goal or dream you can set for yourself. The only question you ever have to ask is, "How badly do I want it?"
If you want anything badly enough and you are willing to persist long enough, nothing can stop you from achieving it.