The answer to where do you find success for many people seems complex and complicated. The truth is you mostly find success right in front of you.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of success you are chasing. It could be you want to lose weight, make more money, find a new job, or grow your art career. Despite it seeming contrary, the things you need are right in front of you. Most of us find ways to ignore the obvious. We go out of our way to avoid those things we see, or need to do to help us succeed.
Some examples are passing right by the treadmill, kick the running shoes to the back of the closet, avoid reading advice we know we should follow, or never attempt to network with folks who can help us. The reasons why we do these things are too numerous to mention. It probably comes down to a one-word answer, or some combination of factors such as these:
“All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.”
I used this quote from Mark Twain in a post titled When Greatness in Your Art Career Competes with Your Full-time Job.” (A quick aside about that post. It appears to have gone viral on Stumbleupon.com and has been been getting hundreds of page views from that site for several days. It will have a long way to go to compete the 33,000+ hits from the Milton Glaser – 10 Things I Have Learned – The Secret of Art post from 2008.)
Twain’s wit and wisdom applies to this discussion. When you think too much, and act too little, you suffer the paralysis by analysis syndrome. Still, you can’t just act blindly. That is, if you can’t define what success, then it is impossible to attain it.
You can have success in an area you realistically choose.
At least to for things that are reasonably within your grasp. If you are under 6 feet tall and lack extraordinary athletic ability, you are not going to play basketball in the NBA. If you are not tall, thin and strikingly beautiful, you are not going to grace the cover of Vogue magazine.
If you choose difficult, but attainable goals, you can get there. Maybe you want to be the best known artist is your community or within your art group. Or, maybe you want to increase your art sales income by 20% in 2011. Or, maybe you want to lose 15 pounds and be able to finish a 10k run.
An honest assessment of your situation, including available skills and resources is required.
First, you must assess how realistic your goal is. That might take consulting with your family, friends, business people in your area, or with your doctor, depending on your goal. Get their advice and input. Having a team who supports you, even if just sentimentally can be an enormous help. Whatever your goal is, you then break it down to get you there by taking incrementally achievable steps.
It comes down to the the “3 D’s.”
Desire is knowing in your gut, that this is what you really want to achieve. If you don’t have a full buy-in with yourself and can visualize the end result, you are sunk before you begin. On the other hand, if you feel a burning need to get this goal done, you have a great chance of succeeding.
Discipline is the glue that makes the big difference between those who talk about getting things done and those who get things done. It means carving out time and energy to devote to your pursuit of your goal. It probably means giving up some pleasurable things. It could be ice cream, an extra hour of sleep in the morning to get in your exercise. It might be painting more of what you know will sell instead of indulging yourself on to painting things that are more fun and less profitable. If it is a financial goal, it could mean fewer trips, meals out, or clipping coupons.
Details are the road map for you.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 1832-1898)
If you want to achieve something, whether a personal goal, or a career goal, you have to have a plan for getting there. This post opened discussing that the things you need to get ahead, to complete your goals, are right there in front of you. Which, in hindsight it always obvious. You need to use foresight to define where you are headed and to map out your plans.
Accepting responsibility for knowing where you are headed and taking actions to get there is a crucial component to your success.
Many of us tend to turn a blind eye to the obvious because we we can use lack of recognition as a factor or excuse for not doing something. If you force your desire to drive your discipline, your discipline will demand your details be formulated and attended to. This process is how you put yourself in the position of accepting responsibility for your success. By doing this, you dramatically improve your chances for achieving your goals.
If you are one of the small minority who effectively use New Year’s Resolutions, meaning you do more than give lip service to your goals, this post is timely for you. If you are like me, you believe the time to start changing your habits and getting new ones is now, this moment, this time, and not next month. Either way, I trust you will find some inspiration here.