Insights
February 29, 2024

12 Factors That Contribute to Personal Success (Part 1)


Featured image for “12 Factors That Contribute to Personal Success (Part 1)”

We know by now that there are no shortcuts to personal success. There are, however, some universal principles that will make you more successful. In this first of two articles, we will examine some of these elements and factors that play a role, from good old-fashioned hard work to being passionate.

What is Personal Success?

Personal success is a subjective concept. Everyone has different ideas of what success looks like. For some, it might mean having a million bucks by age 30. For others, it could mean having three kids by 30. You might want to reach the summit of Everest, while your neighbour down the street is aiming to be a chess champion.

So perhaps the idea of personal success can be better viewed as goals, or the achievement of sets of goals. They will change or evolve. After all, once you’ve reached the summit of your personal Everest, what’s next? You will set the next goal and the next. Some people work on multiple goals simultaneously. Therefore, success is a journey and not a destination.

Success may look different for everyone, but the principles and factors leading to it are the same. It is basically the achievement of goals that you have set for yourself.
Success may look different for everyone, but the principles and factors leading to it are the same. It is basically the achievement of goals that you have set for yourself.

Whatever success may look like to you, there are many factors, qualities and actions that will influence the likelihood of realisation. If you wish to achieve something, whether it’s for your career, family, finances, self-development, or relationships, here are elements that you will want to consider.

1. Set clear goals

Finding personal success begins with having a clear vision. Define your goals with precision, whether they’re short-term milestones or long-term aspirations. People who set clear goals are more likely to achieve them. Goal-setting is so important that organisations, corporations and educational institutions all use some form of it. For organisations, studies have shown that goal-setting increases economic value and profitability.

Once you have defined what success means to you and created a vision for yourself, break it down into steps. “I want to lose weight” is not a clear, precise goal. Rather, go for “I will lose x kg or y% of my current weight within six months”. Then break it down further into monthly or weekly goals with a specific strategy on how to get there. How much exercise will you do? What snacks will you cut out?

Related Reading  Reflections and Resolutions: Looking Back to Move Forward:
Create clear, precise goals with timelines (you may want to use the SMART goals framework) and write them down.
Create clear, precise goals with timelines (you may want to use the SMART goals framework) and write them down.

A handy framework to use for goal-setting is S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. (Read our article about S.M.A.R.T. goals) Write down your goals and place them where you will see them every day. Check your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed.

2.  Work hard to achieve personal success

There really is no substitute for honest hard work, no matter how intelligent or talented you are. Any kind of self-betterment requires effort. There is no shortcut, no magic bullet, so stop looking for it. There is also no such thing as an overnight success. You will have to be consistent in putting in the hours, days, months and even years, depending on your goal.

While the “10,000-hour rule” (the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill) has generally been debunked, nonetheless, if you wish to be good at something, the concept still holds. Whether it’s programming or basketball, increasing your level of performance requires you to keep going at it to get better, and faster and polish off your rough edges. 

You cannot avoid hard work and persistence if you want to achieve success. You have to just keep pushing. Dream big, but work hard.
You cannot avoid hard work and persistence if you want to achieve success. You have to just keep pushing. Dream big, but work hard.

3. Have passion

You will need many qualities such as diligence, grit and skill to achieve greater success, but having passion helps a lot. Being passionate about your cause or your dreams gives you motivation. It makes the process less of a grind and more fun. It helps you get out of bed day after day, month after month to go after what you want. With passion, you will go the extra mile and feel enthusiastic about it too.

Like many people, if you seem to be “stuck” in a nine-to-five job to bring home the bacon, you can start by making plans to move toward what you really want to do. If you don’t yet know what pushes your buttons, keep trying new and different things until you find something that interests you.

If you do what you love or what you’re excited about, you will be more inspired, have more energy and are more likely to do better. 

Related Reading  8 Tips to Maximise Productivity

4. Use your time well

Time is a precious and finite resource. How you choose to allocate your time directly impacts your productivity, progress, and ultimately, your personal success. Making the most of each moment will bring you closer to your goal. Effectively managing your time also teaches discipline, another necessary quality for achieving success. This discipline cultivates a proactive mindset, where you take ownership of your time and actions, rather than allowing external factors to dictate them. 

We sometimes experience the feeling of being busy yet getting nothing of importance done at the end of the day. This is where setting specific tasks and deadlines comes in to help us stay disciplined and on track. Having a task list also helps us avoid procrastination and distractions. It boils down to having good habits – habits automate our behaviours and actions, thereby freeing up time and mental energy. They provide structure and consistency which will enable us to stay on track in moving toward our goals (Learn more about building good habits ). John Maxwell also wrote in his blog that it all comes down to what you do daily:

“If I could come to your house and spend just one day with you, I would be able to tell whether or not you will be successful. You could pick the day. If I got up with you in the morning and went through the day with you, watching you for 24 hours, I could tell in what direction your life is headed.”

John Maxwell
Are you making the most of your time to work toward your goals? Try building good time management habits and cutting down on unnecessary activities.
Are you making the most of your time to work toward your goals? Try building good time management habits and cutting down on unnecessary activities.

Building habits can take a significant amount of time. While developing better habits, you can take simple and immediate steps to regain your time today by, for example, cutting down on television or scrolling through social media.

5. Being healthy is also a personal success

We all know this but it bears repeating: maintaining your physical and mental health is vital. It is not only important for achieving success and happiness, but for enabling you to enjoy that success and happiness in the long run. We live in a fast-paced, demanding, stressful world; it can be tempting to take shortcuts by shaving off time that should be spent on sleep, exercise, rejuvenation or relationships. It can be easier to grab junk food and crash on the couch instead of preparing healthy meals and going for a jog.

Related Reading  Law of the Lid in Leadership

Again, this is where habits and discipline come in. On your road to success, make healthy living one of your goals. Build it into your plans, and add it to your to-do list. Don’t view it as yet another task to complete; look at good health as part of your success, as who you are: a successful, healthy person. 

6. Luck and opportunity

We’ll say it upfront: this is a factor that is beyond any human control. Call it luck, karma or providence; it can help or hinder, sometimes in a major way. If you are a brilliant quantum physicist but are born in the wrong place or era, you will not be making any headway in your field (if your field even exists at all).

Yes, personal success does involve luck and having opportunities. Historically, we have seen that factors such as skin colour, gender, connections and family background play a part in how successful a person becomes. None of these factors can be controlled or altered.

Other than seeking divine intervention, what we can do is have the right mindset and be prepared. Stop comparing ourselves to and being envious of those who seem better off, and let’s appreciate what’s good in our own lives. And continue to work hard to develop the necessary skills and qualities so that when opportunities do come, we are ready to seize them and we have what it takes to turn things to our advantage.  

We can help you discover the many factors and qualities on your journey to success.
We can help you discover the many factors and qualities on your journey to success.

Let’s make things happen

Being successful is multifaceted and these are just some of the factors that come into play. We will look at more factors and qualities in our next article, so do stick around. Something else that will help is personal coaching. A good coach can help you build on your strengths, improve your weaknesses and sharpen the skills you need to achieve greater success. Get in touch with us.

Share on Social Media

Coaching is available

Our coaching will unlock your potential and provide top-down clarity and confidence. Actionable goals and awareness will help bring growth and change.
Make an appointment