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What makes people succeed in their endeavours are the little bits of positive things they consistently do, and what makes many fail is either not doing the things they should do, or doing what they shouldn’t do. I failed many times, not because I did what I shouldn’t do, but because I didn’t do what I should do. Until I began to be a doer, I didn’t succeed in my pursuits. To help you succeed, I will tell you ‘The 20 Lessons that Helped Me Stand Out in Life.’

Lesson one – You must have a plan: you can’t reach anywhere without a plan. You can become anything tangible without a plan. You can do anything worthwhile without a plan. Your excellence or underachievement is a reflection of whether you planned it or not. When it is well planned, it has the potential to be well executed. Excellence is when it goes according to plan – failure begins when there isn’t a plan. If you are moving home for instance, imagine not having a plan – you’ll make your life miserable because everything will be chaotic.  You can’t succeed without a plan. I repeat, you can’t succeed without a plan!

Lesson two – Have a goal: a goal is your target – where you intend to reach. It’s goals that you see in your vision – your target destination. As you set goals, don’t set what your eyes can’t see. If you can’t see it, it might be difficult to reach it. The distance between you and your target must make sense. For instance, setting a goal to become the owner of Microsoft is senseless, and we all know why. No one wins without goals, and if you don’t win, you don’t succeed. Many people are living without goals, and they’re the first to complain that life isn’t fair to them, when in essence, they haven’t been fair to themselves.

Lesson three – Have objectives: objectives are your resolutions, commitments, and ways in which you want to achieve your set goals. If you set goals without objectives, they’ll die unattained. When people challenge your goals, it’s your objectives that will help you stand.

 Lesson four – Daily assess your achievements: before you go to bed, ask yourself if your day has been worthwhile. You must assess what you’ve done for the day – what you did right or wrong. When you assess, improve on your success and work on your failures. You can only become better when you do a daily assessment of your life.

Lesson five – Make notes: it’s become easy go make notes, these days, because of the smart digital devices. You must keep a ‘to do’ list. ‘to do list’ will help you recall your plans for the day, sequentially. Your brain isn’t a computer, so don’t expect to remember everything, but by making a daily list, you’ll be able to achieve more.

Lesson six – Sleep less: if you cut down your sleep by one hour each day, five days a week, and put that time into working on your dreams, imagine what you’ll achieve in one year. Every success in life comes with sacrifices. You’ll be better off in life, make better impacts in the society, and be more fulfilled if you only sacrifice one hour per day, five days per week. Success is all about inconveniencing yourself minimally.

Lesson seven – Use your insignificant spaces: that time between work when you’re on thirty minutes’ break – you can spend fifteen minutes eating and invest the other half in your dream. You might think fifteen minutes is small, but from experience, I can tell you it’s a lot.

Lesson eight – You’ll make mistakes: whatever you do, inasmuch as you are human, will never be perfect. So, don’t kill yourself when you make mistakes. Learn from it and move on.

Lesson nine – Be consistently committed: to succeed, you must give one hundred percent commitment to what you do – anything less is unacceptable. Those who intend to be champions give everything – ninety-nine percent won’t take you anywhere because out of a thousand people running on the same lane with you, about twenty or more are giving a hundred percent, and a number bigger than that are giving ninety-nine percent. So what position do you think you’ll occupy if you give ninety-nine percent, let alone fifty percent?

Lesson ten – Don’t look back: I just love what Jesus said in the bible – he said, ‘No man who puts his hands on the plough and looks back is worthy of the kingdom of God.’ This principle is applicable in all spheres of life. If you’ve decided to work on that talent, don’t look back. If you’ve decided to embark on that project, don’t look back. If you’ve decided to go back to school, in spite of your age, don’t look back. Whatever you plan to achieve, don’t look back.

Lesson eleven – Make no excuses: never justify failure with any credible or genuine excuse – never ever. Disability is a genuine excuse, but it isn’t enough to stop your destiny. Poverty is a genuine excuse, but not credible enough to stop your success. Rejection is a credible excuse, but insignificant to stop you from accepting yourself. Racism is a reasonable excuse, but see how many black people have beaten the odds.

Lesson twelve – You need the right people: you can’t run alone. You can’t walk alone. You can’t succeed without the inputs of the right people. You must connect with people who identify with your dream even if you don’t like them. They may be a pain on your lower back side but you need them, so, go with them.

Lesson thirteen – Speak to your image: look at the mirror daily and speak to what you see. Tell that man in the mirror your plans, dreams and expectations. Let him know you’re not chasing a hobby – you’re chasing a dream – a purposeful future. Speak to the man in the mirror.

Lesson fourteen – Be a reader: watch other people’s videos, listen to their audio podcasts, and learn from them, but above all, learn to read. Don’t just read books or articles, read your life and know its direction – read other people’s lives and know their directions. If you can’t read life, even if you can read books, you aren’t a literate person.

Lesson fifteen – Sell yourself: you must learn to sell yourself – let people know your offering – it may not be a product; it may just be you showing off your call. Every call is meant to make an impact – if you don’t sell it, it won’t reach its desired target. If you’re called to help young people stay out of drugs, and you don’t talk about it, nobody will know what your passion is. There are lots of people that have isolated themselves by being quiet about what they should sell. Selling is branding – no one takes seriously, an unbranded product – people are always sceptical about it. Sell yourself.

Lesson sixteen – Be patient: when you plant a seed, there’s a period of waiting time – the seed doesn’t bear fruit the next day, except in the imaginary or magical world. You must learn to wait, and your waiting time is dependent on the type of crop that was planted. There are crops that take between three to six months to bear fruits, and there are others that take over two years. Impatience aborts a good dream – you must wait if you must reap the benefits of what you’ve planted.

Lesson seventeen – Believe in yourself: you can’t sell yourself if you don’t believe in yourself. For people to believe in you, you must first believe in yourself and your offering. If you disrespect your offering, even if other people respect it, it won’t go far. The onus is on you to believe in yourself, then other people will follow. Don’t look down on who you are or what you have. Never ever ever!

Lesson eighteen – See the bigger picture: life is made up of three types of people – those with small minds, those with big minds and those with no minds. The small minds, no matter how educated they may be, only see small pictures. The big minds obviously see big pictures, but the dangerous ones, are those with no minds – they see no pictures, and because they see nothing, they don’t consider humans as humans – they’re ruthless – they can climb people’s heads to get anywhere. But if you want to succeed, you must see the bigger picture. See beyond yourself. See beyond your environment. See beyond your colour and community. See the bigger world!

Lesson nineteen Help someone with their dreams: one major way of making your dream come true is by making another person’s dream come true. Envying a man with a clue is implosive. Fighting a man with a destination is disastrous. Being jealous of someone heading somewhere is like scoring an own goal. Wherever and whenever you can, help someone become something – don’t help someone to become lazy, help them to become something. You aren’t helping someone you always pay his bills to become something – you’re making him irresponsible. Help a man by giving him skills or giving him ideas that will make him.

Lesson twenty – Always ask yourself, ‘what will I be remembered for?’:  Muhammad Ali is remembered for being a great boxer. Mother Theresa is remembered for being a great philanthropist. Chinua Achebe is remembered for being a great novelist. But Adolf Hitler is remembered for war crimes and his attempt to annihilate the Jews. Ask yourself, ‘What will I be remembered for?’    The end of success isn’t death – there’s life after death. The legacy we live behind, good or bad lives on – our legacy is part of our success or failure. What will you be remembered for?


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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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