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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Success ~ Who needs it?

What defines success for you?

Have you succeeded when you get five sets of green traffic lights in a row?
Is success not burning the evening meal or even managing to dish up an evening meal?
Have you personally won, when you've gained second place in a writing competition?
Have you reached your pinnacle after landing the world's most awesome publishing contract, with promises of untold riches and glory?
Does the glow of success spread across your dial when a six year old student cries out, "I remember you. You're that author who spoke to us."?
Sadly, at times, I feel it's become an over exploited ideal, often inflated beyond the notion of simply achieving something you set out to attain. Fame, fortune and notoriety are often the measure of success these days in lieu of personal best, self satisfaction and humble adoration from you immediate peers. But it's a label we still all wish that, at some stage in our lives, we can apply to ourselves.

So what are the steps to success?

According to the illustrious and much admired, Maggie Beer, some of the main points to remember are as follows. They are equally as relevant no matter what path you are trying to succeed in be it personal, creative artist, parent or friend.

1. Search for what it is that's going to connect your mind and your heart

Sue Whiting, children's author and editor at Walker Books, declares that success comes from being true to you heart. Her belief is to write what is truly important to you, and not to succumb to the vagaries of market trends and mimicking others. She feels that versatility (in writing especially) can be a good thing, albeit a bit of a marketing nightmare from a publisher's point of view. But if you can find what connects your mind and with your heart, in other words, find your own unique voice, then success will follow.

2. Persistence

The old adage of practice makes perfect has and always will apply if we truly want to attain better than average. Unless you are born possessing unsurpassed skill in your chosen area, you will need to enhance whatever inherent talent you have. Practise you craft regularly be it writing, tuba playing or ironing without creases. Persistence is helped by thinking laterally too. But, like anything else, you can learn to be a lateral thinker.

3. Accept constructive criticism

Easier said than done but if you can recognise the fact that you can always do better, then you quite possibly will.

4. Believe in yourself

Straight forward enough notion but how to achieve this...by not being diluted by common opinion. Remember you can't please all the people all the time. Believing in your own abilities comes from confidence, which comes from timing and circumstance.

5. Never forget family and friends

Be kind, generous and grateful to those you meet on your way up for you may need them to help slow your fall should you slip down.

6. Learn to endure & never lose your sense of humour.

One of my many personal credos is to always look on the bright side of life. It's just, well, brighter over there. Plus you'll be able to spot the opportunities better. Harnessing those opportunities can lead to untold of success.

And finally,
"Ad Astra Per Aspera"
Success does not always come easily. Sometimes if you don't work hard, you will never succeed. Robin Williams once said that his over night fame took 20 years to attain. Many a burgeoning writer will share a similar tale. But by working through the adversities, wading through the mud, you will eventually reach your star of success.