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The word ‘Success’ scare a lot of people because, their definition is centred on some misconstrued and misguided interpretations. Most people’s mental figuration of success is pecuniary in nature, and for some, it is either in the hub of fame or power. Due to this misconception, many people that have succeeded in various areas of life, career, business, or education do not celebrate themselves because they do not consider their so called infinitesimal achievement as success.

I know a man that had terminal cancer. To him, if he was given $1B as a gift, it wouldn’t be success. Success to him is the ability to beat cancer. Do you know what? He succeeded, because he actually beat cancer.

There is another man I know. He was a stack illiterate person. He had nine children, and his desire was to give at least half of them, quality University education. Out of the nine, today, eight are University graduates, with one having a doctoral degree in Engineering. Who would say that this man isn’t successful? The point is that we must honestly transform our thinking whenever success is mentioned, so that we can sincerely audit our achievements, and celebrate ourselves for jobs well done!

Having said that, in pursuing a goal, what approaches do successful people adopt? Many times, I have told people to be self driven. Apart from telling people, I have equally been told all my life. Every reasonable mentor will encourage the mentee to be a driven person. But, what most people haven’t realised is that the vehicle that takes one from a destination to another has the clutch, brake, accelerator and steering. With these, the vehicle doesn’t only advance; it can also manoeuvre into different positions and directions. In the same vein, a driven person has within; those parts of his vehicle that can make or help it assume different positions or directions. This means that in a drive, common sense is a great asset.

The 5 common sense approaches of successful people are as follows:

Successful people know when to progress: progression is advancement; and advancement is moving forward. There isn’t always success ahead of you; sometimes, there is death and failure. If you can’t assess what is ahead of you before making headway, you may end up killing yourself. An Army Commander in a war knows when to order his troop to move ahead. A Chief Executive with common sense knows when to make a risky investment or embark on some corporate reengineering. Knowing when to progress is the attitude of successful people.

Successful people know when to digress: if there is an honest and genuine shortcut to your destination, why take a laborious long distance? People without common sense insist on the hard way, the only way. That is why it is difficult for them to succeed. Their lack of flexibility is their own undoing.  But successful minds see traffic jam ahead, and then look for alternative routes to escape. As a result, their goals are quickly achieved, and they can easily set new ones, and move on to other innovations, while unsuccessful people are still stuck in traffic.

Successful people know when to compress: successful people downsize in times of excruciating challenges, but unsuccessful ones keep showing off even with borrowed money. With compression, successful people are able to save and reinvest. As they reinvest, they bounce back stronger and better.

Successful people know when to regress: there are times when progress, digress or compress will not rescue a failing goal. The best option will simply be to turn back. Turning back may mean, going back to where you started from, to evaluate what went wrong. It is your evaluation that will determine your next line of action.

Successful people know when to stop: after regressing and evaluating, the decision to completely stop may be the best option. If it is, so be it. This is why most corporate organisations close some arms of businesses.

Don’t die trying if it will end in futility. Only die for something that has a potential to succeed. It is baseless ego to keep feeding a goal that has no propensity for profitability. Copy successful people; they know when to run, when to divert, when to reverse, and when to stop. You can succeed if you apply some common sense to life!




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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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