Top Ten Tips on...

The Formula for Success

16 October 2022
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
Five key factors that together, make success more likely, and conversely, make failure more likely if any are missing.

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if you want to make a success of yourself or out of something, then you absolutely must have self-belief. And of course, belief in the product or service that you're offering. A belief doesn’t itself lead to success, but a lack of belief absolutely will guarantee failure. A belief is some view you have about yourself or your product or the world. It's just an opinion. It's not a truth. It's not a fact. And yet once you have this belief about yourself or something, It acts on you as if it were a truth, you're committed to it. Your belief becomes for you your truth. And of course, if it's a truth for you, then you have to think and behave in ways that make it a truth. That's the essence of what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever we believe we give ourselves permission to achieve because in order to maintain the belief as if it were a truth, we have to make it real. So if I believe I'm clumsy, then I have to be clumsy after knock into things or knock things over or drop things because that legitimizes or validates the belief. So, if you believe you lack confidence, then you have to act in a non-confident way to validate the belief.



you have to have a strong and powerful belief, which is a great start, but that alone won't get you very far. You also have to have a strong and powerful commitment to doing something about it, about putting your belief into action, about making it happen. I'm deliberately using the term commitment rather than motivation, because whenever you're attempting something different or new, it's likely to be difficult or challenging at various times. So you're not always going to be motivated. Some of the things you will have to do will not in themselves, be motivating: working long hours, struggling with a tricky problem, making a tough decision. These things are not likely to float your boat, but you need to be committed to doing them nonetheless. A sense of personal pride is important, personal integrity to honour your word, especially to yourself. That's commitment.



so you have the required belief and the required commitment, but again, these two factors alone won't do. As a college lecture for 10 years, I taught and assessed hundreds of students, and there were some, maybe perhaps many, with a strong belief in themselves and who committed massive effort to their coursework, but still didn't achieve the results their hearts desired. And one of the main reasons for this was quite simply and bluntly, a lack of skill, ability, or technique: their passion and commitment weren't enough. They needed to be skilled, and be able to do it to the level required. So for a period of time, as a lecturer, I taught exam technique, because at the time exams were very much part of the assessment. So exam technique was quite simply how to pass exams. What techniques were helpful. Students with good exam technique tended to do better than those with poor or no exam technique. And here's one more thought on this tip: techniques also include strategy. Strategy is the finding the way of doing something that works. Many people I've met and worked with feel they are personally hopeless or inadequate, when in fact it's the strategy they're using that is hopeless and inadequate. It's not them. So strategy is for me a key part of technique. Whenever something isn't working, I tend to look first at strategy rather than the individual.



persistence, perseverance. Doing it time and time and time again and again and again. So there’s a distinction between technique and perseverance. It's no good doing the same thing over and over again if nothing is changing or improving. If no new or better levels of skills or techniques are being developed, that's simply a frustrating waste of time and effort. If I wanted to improve, say, as a soccer player, it would require more than just kicking a football 10, a hundred, a thousand times. It would require discovering then using particular skills and techniques about kicking the football. So that each time I kicked I would be improving through the improving technique. In essence technique is to me the added value to persistence. Yes, you need to persist to keep going, but you need to do so with the added value of improvement, and that's technique.



you have to own, or at least have access to and control, all the things that will significantly affect your success. Clearly you can't control everything that might affect success – for example, If you're running an outdoor event, you can't control the weather. But the more of these variables you can control, the more likely you are to be successful. I think my favorite example of this is driving. You can believe you're able to drive. You can be committed to learning to drive. You can acquire all the skills and techniques necessary and you can practice those techniques until you become competent enough to pass your test. Then what you need is a car, and money to pay for the insurance and for the fuel and so on. The previous four things, belief, commitment, technique, and practice a great, but you also need to own or have access to the car, the resource you need. So the fifth factor is different from the other four in respect of this issue of ownership. The other four factors - belief commitment, technique, practice – are all owned entirely by you. It's your belief. It's your commitment. It's your technique. And it's your practice. You own all 4. But there isn't true of all the other factors that make the difference. So you're going to have to work to get control and ownership of the things that matter to your success. That make the difference. This doesn't make you a control freak. It makes you worldly wise, sensible, intelligent, organized, and as proof of that only control the things that are critical and let go of the. So tip five, bring what you need under your control. So I thought I'd summarize these five key factors for success as a mnemonic and as a story, the mnemonic is B C T P O.

A personal example:

I explained this success formula to a group of students who then asked me if I could demonstrate it, for real. In other words, prove it. I agreed.

We discussed something to be successful at that I currently could not do, and something I couldn't do, and chose juggling. The students decided that I would be successful if I could juggle three balls through 60 rotations without dropping a ball. They gave me three months to do that because we were due to meet again in three months time.

So I learned how to juggle and consciously used the formula for success.

Firstly, did I believe I could do it? Of course I did. I wouldn't have taken it on otherwise, would I? I had the evidence that other people could do it. So there was no reason why I couldn’t do it too.

So secondly, was I committed? Yes, I was. I I've given my word to the students and that meant a lot to me. I didn't want to let myself or that group down. The biggest potential block to my commitment as it often is for anyone learning something new was going to be time. But I knew I could find the time if I was committed. I think that's how life works. When you're committed, you find the time.

Did I acquire any key skills or techniques? Absolutely. It's just impossible to juggle unless you know how to do it and learn some of the key techniques. So I Googled for some kind of guidance and help, and in the end I worked out that there were two techniques that were really crucial for me that helped me literally to learn how to juggle.

What about practice? Yes, I did that, too. I did 15 minutes every day for three months. And this practice included, in the later stages, practicing in front of my family, because I realised that doing it on my own in the bedroom was not the same as doing it in front of an audience.

So what about tip five - ownership? Well, of course I had to have the balls.

Effective Top Tens - Podcast
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Book Review:

by Morten T Hansen

This book is an excellent and highly researched follow up and companion to ‘Good to Great’ – this time focusing on employees rather than leaders.

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