Success - Getting Less Help From Others Or Getting Less Help From Yourself


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Success - Getting Less Help From Others Or Getting Less Help From Yourself

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Our survival depends on the beliefs we use to interpret our existence and interaction with our environment. Most of us learn to adopt beliefs that will protect us from harm physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Based on the survival mechanism which warns us to avoid pain and attract pleasure, we tend to refrain from harbouring beliefs that cause us pain and we embrace beliefs that give us pleasure. Can you remember the first belief that you articulated in your life? It was probably soon after you started to formulate ideas about the world in which you found yourself as a small child. Beliefs are ideas supported by evidence that gives them validity. This evidence may be your own personal experience or the experience of people that you trust (either because you love them or because they are credible authorities).

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The first step is to discover our true gift. For some it may be music or dance. For others, it could be being a great friend or an empathetic listener. Someone else might be a great organizer. For me, it is seeing the big picture. Maybe you already know your unique talent. But most of us don't. One way to start is by asking friends and family to identify your unique talent. The next step is to discover our platform to excel. Our unique talent may have many applications in the real world. For example, an empathetic listener could excel as a social worker. Or she may choose to be an HR person. Or opt to be a counselor. The choices are many. It is left to each person's imagination and preference. It is also likely to vary over one's lifetime. The key word here is to excel. The drive should be to deliver a meaningful contribution, not merely a mediocre performance.

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First, I wanted to share with them my own experience: success is not about building a career, but about pursuing one's true calling. With the top global and Indian companies wooing them, it is easy for any IIM graduate to be lured by material trappings, and to confuse money or job titles with the true success of long-term personal and professional growth. I came up with a simple tool that people can use to discover their true calling. Every person has a unique gift or talent that's his or her essence. Most of us spend a lifetime without discovering or acknowledging this essence. Our education system, which is based on the principles of mass production, does not allow our unique gifts or talents to flower. As a result, we half-heartedly pursue a job or a career that does not completely and totally engage us.

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The third step is to be clear about our own measures of success. Too often, we blindly follow someone else's measure of success and feel disappointed. The Industrial Era, with its drive for standardization and scale, reduced success to a single dimension - money. The measures of success in the Connected Age, however, will be more diverse, based not only on money but also on the ability to create global communities around your specific interests and passions. Individual financial achievement will still be important, but true success will include two other measures - community recognition and social contribution.

Summary: Our true calling falls at the intersection of these three facets. When we pursue our true calling, we align who we really are, how we express ourselves in the world, and our goals and aspirations. In Jean-Paul Sartre's terms, our "Being" drives our "Doing" leading to our "Having" the success that we aspire for. As with martial arts, this alignment of body, mind and spirit leads helps us produce the highest impact with minimal effort or stress.

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