Pages: Successful people do what failures don’t do

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Pages: Successful people do what failures don’t do

WHEN I was a teenager, I had an inferiority complex. Being lanky resulted in my low self-esteem. But at 16, I did something to correct the situation. I took up bodybuilding. After three years in the gym, I was fit to join a junior Mr. Visayas bodybuilding contest.

Although I didn’t place, exercising became part of my life from then on.

In college, I took elective speech classes to improve my communication skills. Years later, I joined the Toastmasters Club to hone my speaking ability. Up to now, I still read self-improvement books.

My biggest motivation in life is to be better today than yesterday. I believe that successful people are who they are because they do things that failures don’t do. These people (Outliers, as best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, calls them) do the following things remarkably well.

1. THEY ARE PROBLEM-SOLVERS. This is the most important characteristic of a winner. Without it, one’s potential to achieve in life is hampered. Fortunately, solving a problem is a learnable skill. You can acquire it from books, YouTube and podcasts, and from a mentor. Let me share with you the technique I use.

Whenever I’m faced with a challenge or situation, I ask myself: Is this a problem or a condition? The answer dictates what I do next. A problem has a solution; a condition has none. If it’s a problem, I focus on it and then do whatever it takes to solve it. If it’s a condition, I accept and endure it as best as I can. Being stuck in traffic is a condition, but a bill that’s past due is a problem.

Problem-solving involves five steps. First: identify the problem. Second: find its root cause or causes. Third: explore all possible solutions. Fourth: choose the best solution. Finally: implement, modify and then close.

2. THEY PROFIT FROM OPPORTUNITIES. The law of attraction works best when your mind is calm. Here’s how I clear mine: I view problems or anything undone (such as promises, commitments and unfinished projects) as “open loops.”

These open loops dominate or bother your subconscious mind as long as they exist. They cause stress, anxiety and sometimes, sickness.

The sooner you close them the better (so you can tackle the next one). What does it take to close an open loop? Do only the first best step. Don’t think beyond it. Follow it up with the best next step, then, with another, and, another until the loop is closed.

Sometimes, a paradigm shift is adequate to clear your head. To learn more about this essential life skill, please read David Allen’s book, “Ready for Anything.” I guarantee that your ability to close open loops speedily would increase your chances of success a hundred times.

3. THEY PRACTICE KAIZEN. Kaizen involves continuous improvement. It’s a mindset. I regard every mistake as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve myself. I’m convinced that many business failures are caused by the owners themselves.

When the entrepreneur becomes overconfident or egotistical, it negatively impacts his organization’s business performance and ultimately the bottom line. Chances are, he would miss important business opportunities, as well as red flags.

The only way to prevent this from ever happening is to practice continuous improvement or Kaizen as a way of life.

Success is not a matter of luck, but rather by becoming a master problem-solver, by taking advantage of opportunities as they come to us, and by practicing Kaizen daily. By adopting these behaviors, we can increase our chances of achieving our full potential and reaching our goals, regardless of what field or endeavor we are currently in or decide to pursue in the future.

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