I used to think that there are two kinds of people in the world: The successful ones, and the rest of us. I was clearly in the second category, because I was way too ordinary to be anybody special. My parents were ordinary, middle-class people, and I knew that I was destined to be the same: Working a job I didn't much like, paying bills, and being vaguely dissatisfied with my life, just like everybody else around me.
I would look at doctors, journalists, or business people with awe. What would it feel like to be so confident and successful? I would never know. I was sure that they were born destined to greatness, and I envied them. Sometimes I wished that I would have been one of the lucky ones, but alas, I wasn't. I was insecure, of mediocre wit and intelligence, and I would always be one of the small, insignificant people. That's how I was made.
Or so I thought.
Over the last few years, I have slowly learned how absolutely, ridiculously wrong I was. There aren't two different kinds of people - we are all way more alike than I ever knew!
What makes some people much more successful than others are just a few key techniques - and the good news is, we can learn them.
1. Know what you want.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Obviously, we all want to be rich, skinny and famous - or do we?
This seemingly simple task is actually one of the most difficult questions you will ever ask yourself. Because the astonishing truth is: Many of us don't know ourselves very well.
The reasons for that are many: It may be that the people in your vicinity are different from you, wanting different things. Just because they are happy with 2. 5 kids, a white picket fence and a 9-5 Monday-Friday, doesn't know you will be, too. It's tempting to copy the people around you in order to fit in, but if you're not true to yourself, you won't be happy.
Discovering your true self requires a lot of soul searching, hanging out with your own thoughts, and bravery. Yes, bravery; it's not easy when you discover that what makes you happy doesn't fit into other people's expectation of you. In the beginning, you may feel like an outsider, like the odd one out.
But trust me, that feeling goes away! Not only will you discover more people like yourself on your journey, but you will find that the more you follow your calling, the more confident you get. Besides, you will be busy working towards your success, and busy people don't have time to sit and think about their fears.
You don't have to have it all figured out. Repeat after me: You don't have to have it all figured out.
None of the big, successful people has, either. I will never forget when I first started to realize that all of us are scared of something; that even the seemingly confident, unshakeable power players were winging it sometimes, shaking on the inside. I couldn't believe it. My first reaction was outrage: Why had nobody ever told me?? Why did everybody pretend that they were so much stronger and better than they were?
But then it dawned on me: We were all doing it. I hid my depression so well, I didn't even admit to myself that I had it. I acted happy and confident on the outside, even if I didn't feel it on the inside.
I began to read every book and watched as many biographies as I could about successful people, to find out their secret. How did they get to be successful? How did they do it? And they all, without exception, had one thing in common: They simply started.
They didn't know exactly how to do it. But they took that first step, and figured it out along the way.
And while they did, they failed many, many times.
3. Don't be afraid of failure.
If you want to instantly feel better about the last time you screwed up, read this article: 29 famous people who failed before they succeeded.
4. Visualize and manifest.
One of my biggest dreams when I was a young girl was to live in Canada one day. I had no relatives or friends living in Canada, didn't speak the language well, and had no idea how I would ever get there.
All I knew is that I wanted to live there.
For the past 14 years, I have.
Another dream was to live amongst cowboys, in nature, in a place where the sun shines daily and where it rains little; a place where we can overlook all our animals from the porch.
I didn't know where that place was, or how we would get there.
All I knew is that I wanted to find it.
Last year, we did.
Visualization is a powerful tool. You may think it's kooky or new-agey, and I get it; that's exactly what I used to think. But the more I learn about it, the more I see that it works.
A friend of mine wrote a detailed list of everything she wants in her life. She went into specifics: What the house she wants to live in looks like; where it's located; how she earns her money; where her kids will play. She wrote down exactly how she will spend her free time (stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, hiking). She looks at that list every single morning, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she will manifest her dream in the future.
The reason why I believe that it works is not only because I have experienced it myself; it's because it makes sense. The more we work on specific goals, the likelier it is that we will achieve them. The combination of hard work, faith, and putting positive energy out into the universe is a powerful one!
I believe that the more appreciative you are, the more you will be given; people (and the universe) like grateful people.