Success Notebook

Success Notebook by Brian Williams

image - penI keep a list that I call my Success Notebook. This post contains eight of my best ideas from the hundreds that I have collected from various sources. My goal is to read through my Success Notebook at the start of each and every day. That way I am refreshing myself on my top takeaways from studying personal development. I am coaching (or brainwashing!) myself into having the type of attitude and mindset that I want to have.

I have to admit that when things get busy, I don’t always read them to start the day. I am positive that when I don’t, I am not as prepared for the day as I need to be.

This list is not in any order and is not my entire success notebook. But I hope this might inspire you to add to or start your own success notebook.

1. Life is short and I want to enjoy it while I can. I strive to live my life and plan my activities around the values of peace of mind and quality of life. At the beginning of each day, Stephen Jobs asked himself “If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I am about to do today?” If his answer were “no” for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.

2. I maintain an exceedingly high level of concentration and intense focus on my work. (Bill Walsh–The Score Takes Care of Itself). Studies have shown that one can accomplish more in an hour of uninterrupted time than in three hours of constant interruption. Switching from task to task can lose up to 40% efficiency. I carve out blocks of time in my schedule to stay focused on my most important project. If I can concentrate on a topic for 90 seconds, I begin to develop ways to move that topic forward. The main reason that I want to approach my work with an intense focus and concentration is that I want to complete my work productively. That way, I don’t have to take time away from the important people in my life to complete projects that I should have completed during my work time.

3. I have never seen a greater time waster than people pleasing. (Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination by Steve Chandler) I want to be responsive to others, but also need to be responsive to my schedule. I make my daily schedule for a reason—so that I am spending time in the areas that move my personal and professional lives in the direction that I want to pursue. I make the schedule so that I have a life balance in all of the areas that are important to me, and a balance in the areas that affect my work.

Yes, there will be urgent/important items that take precedent from time to time, but I weigh requests from others against my priorities for the day. If I am going to change my priorities from my schedule, it needs to be something that is both important and urgent to me. Examples are a request from a superior, an opportunity that needs to be acted on immediately to be realized, or an emergency that will have greater consequences if schedule for a later time rather than handled immediately. I will not alter my schedule, just for the sake of pleasing someone else. What I need to get done is just as important as what others want me to do.

image - hiking-path4. The road to success almost always goes through failure. One of the most important traits of successful people is how they respond to failure and temporary setbacks. Napolean Hill believed that “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” People who are afraid to fail keep themselves from succeeding because that fear of failure keeps them from trying new things.

5. I will believe in myself. I will question any belief that enters my mind that limits me in any way. I will not sabotage myself and my dreams by allowing limiting beliefs to occupy my thoughts. The most important time to maintain that belief in myself is when things are not going well. A huge part of believing in myself is that I accept responsibility for everything in my life. I do not allow myself to blame others or make excuses when things do not go the way I want them to go. I have confidence in myself that I will succeed and don’t need reasons why I can’t be successful.

6. Every day I am fearlessly, relentlessly, aggressively, confidently, and expediently, pursuing my goals. Robert Heinlein said “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” I constantly think about and visualize my goals to keep that from happening to me. After setting my goals and establishing my action plan, I act quickly and decisively. If all obstacles need to be removed before someone begins anything, no one would ever begin anything new, so I push myself to get started on new projects. Getting started is often difficult, but once the project is in motion, momentum builds as I move forward. The world doesn’t reward perfectionism, it rewards people who get things done.

7. I am mentally tough. The most important times to be mentally tough are when things are not going well. Anyone can be tough when things are going well. My definition of mental toughness is controlling my thoughts and maintaining a focus on what makes my life better in a calm and poised way.

8. I talk to myself rather than listen to myself (John Maxwell) Maxwell believes that we should be talking to ourselves rather than listening to ourselves. Listening is passive and talking is active. When we are listening to ourselves, uninvited thoughts come into our minds and start talking to us. Unfortunately we listen to them rather than talking to them. The majority of those thoughts are negative. By talking to ourselves, we replace those unwanted negative thoughts with thoughts that are more in sync with where we are going.

Author: Brian Williams is a former high school teacher, coach, and administrator who has been a lifelong student of personal development. He is the author of the website which is dedicated to sharing what he has learned regarding personal development.

Images: Pen by Anna Langova and Hiking Path by Anna Langova