A Systematic Approach to Success in 2021

 Happy New Year!!!  It’s a new beginning, full of new dreams and a new path to travel. This is a time to refresh our perspective on life. Many of us will set goals and make New Year’s resolutions. We’ll promise ourselves to lose weight, eat right, and reduce the stress in our lives. Because of COVID-19, many of us simply want to forget the dark days of 2020. The pandemic has touched everyone in some way, and we all want to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In this short article, I want to talk to people about getting from where they are to where they want to be.  I assure you that if you take a step-by-step approach, you’ll get there. Earl Nightingale says, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

A step-by-step approach requires clear planning and objectives to ensure the path you’re on is the right one.

How do you reach a place you’ve never been? How do you start a new task? I ask this because when you reach for massive goals and resolutions, you may become discouraged and finally turn away. To improve your chances of success, you need a plan. As Diana Ross sings in the theme from Mahogany, Do you know where you going? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going? What do you hope for? Do you know?

 Many of us are in a boat without a sail. We’re just drifting around or spinning out of control. Unless you have a plan, you’ll only be wasting your time, money, and energy. In my book, The Enemy in the Bush, I outline five life principles for navigating the land mines of fear, personal roadblocks, and mental limitations. Again, success requires a systematic approach.

I remember my first duty station assignment at Fort Bliss, in the great city of El Paso, Texas. I was assigned to a medical facility. The first day I reported for duty, the senior enlisted person (the Army Sergeant Major, whose name I can’t remember) sat me down and mapped out a plan for me. He talked through that plan with me, and to this day I use that plan, which I’m about to share with you. The Sergeant Major told me that if I wanted to be all that I wanted to be in the military, I had to hit a couple of milestones. When I left his office, I was ecstatic that someone had taken the time to show me the ropes and mentor me. I’ve included his formula inside my book, with slight modifications.

This plan uses a formula that I made up: 3P+R+P/A/G = SUCCESS. Planning, preparation, practice, resourcefulness, persistence, achieving the objective, and giving back. This method has been used all the way back from the Greeks to the Romans. I once heard that when Alexander the Great was tired of conquering the world, he wanted to become an orator. He mentioned this to his mentor, Aristotle, who wrote out 17 pages of instructions. Alexander followed those instructions and delivered some memorable speeches.

Similarly, I am giving you a summary of what is in great detail in my book. It’s a seven-step process that will assure success:

Planning: The first step to achieving your desired goals is planning. Planning is about thinking and plotting a sequence of step-by-step actions to achieve a desired result. Planning can reduce time and effort and be applied to different occupations. During this step, anticipate obstacles and come up with strategies to overcome them.

 Preparation: The next step is preparation. Visualizing your process will build your confidence. You must mentally prepare yourself for hard work to succeed. The willingness to do anything demands the right mindset. Preparation is the key element in determining success.

Practice: What you learn from your planning and preparation you must put into practice. Nelson Mandela wanted freedom for his people, and upon his release from jail he put his plan into action, which led to his election as the first black president of South Africa. He put his plan into practice, and he succeeded.

 Resourcefulness: Resourcefulness is about learning to think on your feet. Focus your attention on the resources you have. Resourcefulness comes into play when you don’t have enough cash to make it to your next paycheck, yet still figure out how to put food on the table. You have to keep a clear picture in your mind of what you want, and then start working on it. You are resourceful.  Even though we had very little my mother was resourceful. Growing up with nine other siblings, I never knew lack, my mother always ensured that we were provided for as children.   

Persistence: Persistence means heading steadily in a definite direction. It demands that you move forward with faith and confidence. Even if you fail, try again and again, because success does not come without failure. Thomas Edison tried almost a thousand times to create the light bulb. He wouldn’t have been successful if he wasn’t persistent. Quitting is easy; persistence is difficult.

Many good plans go to waste because the person does not persist after encountering failure. Successful people like Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, and Nelson Mandela failed along their journey many times, yet persisted.

Achieving the objective. At this step, you can celebrate!

Giving Back Charity Work: Achieving your goals is not the final step. The Bible teaches the importance of giving to the needy in Matthew 25:40. In other words, the last step is giving back via charity.

Once you have accomplished your goal, it should benefit others, too. By giving back, we feel good spiritually, we increase our self-esteem, lower hormonal imbalance, and reduce depression. The more you bless others, the more you will be blessed. To quote President Jimmy Carter: “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something … My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whatever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” 

Success is being committed to continual growth, not just achieving some fixed goal. If you define success as just achieving a goal, you’ll be tempted to stop after you achieve the goal. In 2021, arrive at success in a systematic manner.  I guarantee you that if you want to lose weight, you can. If you want better relationships, you can have them. If you want to make more money, you can.  The sky’s the limit. I guarantee it!

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