Brian Tracy -American motivational speaker
Many years ago I started off poor. I started off a broke. I started off pretty stupid. I started off having failed out of high school, and I drifted for a long time. I’ve done a good deal of traveling. When you are older you call you’re traveling you’re drifting days traveling. And I’ve done a good deal of traveling and over the years I began to study the subject of success. And I had one simple idea that came upon me in my late teens. And I think it was most important idea that I’ve ever had and it was simply this, that if you study successful people and you do what they do, you’ll be more successful. And if you study unsuccessful people and you avoid doing what they do, then you will not be a failure.
And then one of the things I’ve found that if you study success you begin to internalize success principles, and if you practice proven success principles, and if you do what successful men and women have done throughout history that you will be successful too, and it’s such a remarkable discovery. But it has been worth a fortune to me.
And what I want to talk to you about tonight is some of the principles that I’ve discovered in over 20 years of research. I served as a consultant to over 200 corporations, and I’ve been a personal consultant to the presidents of three billion dollar-plus corporations. I have studied successful men and women; I’ve read biographies and autobiographies. I have looked at the characteristics and principles of them. I’ve studied philosophy and economics and religion and psychology and metaphysics.
And I’ve come to 10 key qualities. Now there may be more and there may be less. But I find that each of these 10 qualities that successful men and women have starts with the letter C. And the interesting thing about these qualities is first of all, with them success is predictable and without them failure is predictable. That if you have these 10 qualities there’s nothing in the world that can stop you from being an outstanding success. And if you lack sometimes even one of these qualities that can be enough, can be the weak link in the chain that dooms one to a life of underachievement and failure.
The second principle that I discovered with regard to these qualities is that they are all habit patterns of mind and that nobody starts off with them and that you can learn them and that you can develop them with practice.
And the third thing that I found is that if you will practice these principles until they become habits, until they become automatic for you, then nothing can stop you, so let’s talk about these principles. They start with the letter C, each one, and there’s ten principles.
The first principle starts with the letter C. It says Clarity. And clarity is the starting point of all success. It means clarity of thinking; it means thinking clearly and it extends from thinking clearly to a series of other things. With regard to clarity it means the ability to determine exactly what it is that you want to be, have, or do in life. And the more I study successful men and women, the more I find that every single one of them, the top 5% are very clear about where it is they’re going and what is they want to accomplish?
And when I look at unsuccessful men and women or men and women who seem to be unhappy and floundering, I find that almost invariably they have a very very limited sense of direction; sometimes no sense of direction at all. You see we as human beings are goal-seeking organisms. We only function at our very best when we are working toward accomplishing something that is important to us and in my estimation 80% to 90% of all the unhappiness, hostility, violence, psychosomatic illness, alcoholism, drug addiction and so on in our society is caused by people having no sense of direction. They don’t know where they’re going. As they say if you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.
I remember the analogy, the fellow goes up to the edge of the woods, and he sticks his rifle into the woods. He closes his eyes and goes blam blam blam, puts his rifle down, turns to his friend says boy, I sure hope something good runs into that. If you understand this principle, this principle is terribly important, you can be the most talented, the smartest, the best educated person with the very most valuable context and all the advantages in life. But if you are not focused it doesn’t do you any good at all.
I wrote in an article for The Wall Street Journal that if you do not have clear specific goals for your life, you are doomed forever to work for people who do. And that seems to be the case and yet only 5% of people have goals. So the key starting point with regard to clarity is to know where it is you’re going and what it is you want to be and what it is you want to have and what it is you want to do, because in America, in the most blessed society in all of human history you can have anything in the world that you want if you could decide what it is that you want.
The second key with regard to clarity is decisiveness. Be decisive. I have never met a successful person who was indecisive. And I’ve never met a failure who is decisive. Be decisive. Develope a characteristic and quality of decisiveness. We know that the reason why we are indecisive is because we’re afraid of making a mistake. But the terrible thing is that the way that we think becomes a habit and the habit of indecisiveness can condemn us to failure. We can be talented and intelligent and ambitious. But if we cannot make the hard decisions in our life, and if we cannot make decisions readily and what happens is we always have to work for people who do make decisions readily.
Now the interesting thing about decisions is that about 80% of decisions should be made the first time they come up. 80% of decisions should be made the first time they come up. And if you make decisions every single time they’ve come up, sooner or later you will develop the habit of decisiveness. You will be very clear about what it is you want and it’s easy to make decisions if you know what it is you want to accomplish.
One of the major reasons why people are indecisive in my experience is they have no idea what they want to accomplish. It’s almost like they’ve come to the crossroads, but they don’t know which direction to go. 80% of all the seasons should be made the first time they come up. And I read a management consultant’s report on decisions. He said the thing to do about decisions is to make a decision and if that doesn’t work, make another decision. And if that doesn’t work make another decision and that still doesn’t work you’re probably in the wrong field anyway. But the interesting thing is that if you make a decision you gather momentum. And the difference between successes and failures is not that successful people make right decisions. It is that successful people make their decisions right. In other words, once they have made a decision they make it come out right.