A Simple Formula for Success

by Darrin Donnelly on October 4, 2011

Most people have a very difficult time getting to the point.

Simply being concise is an attribute the vast majority of people lack.

The reason for this is because the more direct we are, the more responsibility we have to accept.  If we make it perfectly clear what it is we’re trying to do, we either do it or we don’t.  We succeed or we fail.  If we’re direct about our goal, it’s much harder to talk our way out of a failure.

This is why politicians love to use qualifying adjectives.  They HAVE to have some leeway on just about any goal they promise to achieve.

Let’s face it, most people love ambiguity.

But high achievers are different from most people.  (Surprise, surprise.)

High achievers break down big goals into specific tasks.  These tasks are either accomplished or they’re not.  And high achievers accept full responsibility for the results.

But beyond goal-setting, I’ve found that the greatest achievers usually clarify their life philosophy as much as they possibly can.

While most people operate from a relativistic life philosophy – a philosophy that is always relative to the current situation – the greatest achievers boil down their life philosophy to the point that every day they can measure whether or not their actions are in accordance with their life plan.

Legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano, Jimmy V, was one of these great achievers.

Coach Valvano had signs in his offices, which read the following:

You + Motivation = Success

That was it.

That was the life philosophy he hammered into his head.  That was the reminder he needed to clarify what it was going to take in order to succeed in life.

The “You” in Jimmy V’s success formula stood for the fact that we are all made to be extraordinary and we’re all capable of achieving greatness.  While backgrounds and starting points may differ, we ALL have the same opportunity to achieve success in this world.

Those who believe the deck is stacked against them in life will make it so.  Those who accept that we’re all born with the same inherent ability to succeed will make THAT so.

Ultimately, the “You” component of Jimmy V’s formula means accepting full responsibility for where you are in life.  It means no longer making excuses for why you’re not capable of achieving what someone else has achieved.

Once the “You” is clarified and you realize that we all have the same inherent potential to succeed, Coach Valvano points out that the only thing standing between YOU and SUCCESS is MOTIVATION.

And Valvano didn’t stop there.  He didn’t leave “motivation” as an ambiguous term.

Valvano noted that there were three components that created motivation:

1. Enthusiasm
2. Dreams
3. Hard Work

If someone isn’t motivated, they’re lacking in one of these three components.

Perhaps they lack the enthusiasm for what they’re doing and need to work on ways to have a more positive attitude.  Or, they may need to find something they’re more passionate about.

Perhaps they’ve stopped dreaming BIG.  Maybe they’ve become too content with where they are and no longer have ambitious and exciting dreams they want to chase after.

Perhaps they’re not working hard enough.  Jimmy V points out that hard work alone will never guarantee you success, but if you don’t work hard, you’re guaranteed to NOT succeed.

So there it is, a life philosophy boiled down to a three-word formula:
YOU + MOTIVATION = SUCCESS

If you’re not achieving your goals right now, refer to this formula.  The problem is either YOU not believing in yourself and accepting responsibility for what YOU’RE capable of.

Or, the problem is that you lack the MOTIVATION (enthusiasm, dreams, or hard work) needed to fuel your path to success.

Simply find which area is the problem and then fix it.

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