Sometimes it only takes one event in life to get you to ask an important question: “What does it take to have a successful life?”
It seems like a simple question, but the more you dig into it the more complex it becomes. For example, success isn’t as simple as winning. It can mean one thing to one person and something else for another.
That being said, throughout history, those who have become successful have had specific themes in their lives. Sometimes they needed a mentor or an important figure in their lives. Others had a particular mindset.
With this in mind, let’s explore what it means to live a successful life and how you can obtain it.
What It Means to Be Successful
Before diving in further, let’s explore Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a motivational theory in psychology that consists of five tiers.
The first four tiers are simple: physiological needs, safety, a place to belong, and esteem needs.
The last tier is where you want to focus right now: self-actualization.
Self-actualization is the idea that there is more to life and that we aspire to a purpose. Whatever this purpose is, we’ll be pursuing it to feel whole. When it comes to a successful life, it’s easy to say that self-actualization is merely satisfying four aspects of our lives.
These are the four pillars that create our success:
- Personal health
- Strong relationships
- Financial security
- A passion for your work
1. Personal Health
Personal health is one of the pillars because, as we get older, things start to function not as they should or would normally. We begin to lose our strength as we pick up unhealthy habits.
Not only that, but the negative aspects of poor health impact many areas of our lives. Furthermore, if you want to help others (yourself included), you need to have strong mental and physical health.
That’s not to say you need to be incredibly buff, but rather physically capable to do what you want to do.
2. Strong Relationships
From romantic partners to friends and other connections, we all have social needs. When it comes to romantic partners, it’s important that they complement you, your goals, and the life you want to live and how you want to live it. You want them to support you in your search for a successful life.
This mentality also applies to other connections. Strong relationships form when both people are getting something out of these relationships.
3. Financial Stability
Financial stability doesn’t mean the same as being rich. Having financial stability can mean being comfortable living with what you have right now or living within your own means.
The whole idea here is focusing on the things in your life you do have over what you don’t. This changes your perspective as you won’t be focused on accumulating items for the sake of it.
Another way you can look at this is similar to retirement. Retirement is the idea of living with the money you have and still supporting the life you want without working as much.
4. Passion for Your Work
The final pillar is passion for your work. Being passionate about something is huge, but it can be difficult to pin down to specifics. When you start thinking about what your passion is, you will probably discover several topics or ideas that drive you.
Whatever you decide to go for is up to you, but you want to make sure that it allows financial stability in due time. Overall, your work should:
- Get you out of bed in the morning.
- Be something that makes you excited and gives you energy.
- Be something that you know you’ll enjoy doing for many years to come.
How to Have a Successful Life
With the four above pillars in mind, you have an overarching view of what it means to have a successful life. And while all of these things are simple on the surface, these aspects aren’t always so simple to achieve.
Some of these things can take a few years or more to achieve, depending on where you are in life. However, there are some specific traits to help you along the way.
When you develop these particular traits, obtaining your successful life will become easier in many ways. We know this because these are habits and traits that many people have portrayed time and again to obtain a successful life.
1. Self Belief
The first is an obvious one, but it’s one that can be left behind when you face challenges. During those times it can be easy for us to give up and stop doing what we’re doing.
When we have self-belief, believing that we’ll have a successful life is powerful. After all, how we view ourselves is a big contributor to whether we will succeed or fail.
2. Setting Goals
Another habit is the idea of setting goals. Everyone needs goals as these are treated as your compass and give you a direction to work in.
I would, however, encourage going beyond setting goals. Instead, try focusing on systems. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits realized over time that the goals that he was setting weren’t the source of his success.
Instead, it was the systems that he put in place.
For example, if you’re a musician, you’ll set a goal like learning a new piece once per week. To make that goal a reality, you’ll develop a system. You’ll practice daily for an hour or two and begin looking for feedback regularly.
Another example goal is improving your relationship with your spouse. A system for that is perhaps researching relationship tips and applying some of them within the relationship soon after.
Creating these systems can ensure that you achieve your goals so long as you develop that habit and stay consistent with it. As you can also tell, these systems can apply to various parts of our lives.
3. Time Management
Another valuable skill for a successful life is time management. Everyone has 24 hours in a day and can only do so much in it. Time is the most important resource in our entire lives and shouldn’t be squandered.
There are several ways to manage your time, of course. One of the tried and true methods to stick to is having a schedule or a system in place to give you tasks.
Similar to a day job, there is a structure and things flow well because people go to work and immediately know what they need to be doing. This time management trick works the same way. If you know what needs to get done or what you want to work on, it’s easier to get into it as opposed to pondering what’s next.
Time management also entails knowing what is worth your time. This is a skill that is built up over time and comes with experience. It’s a valuable skill, and one of the ways to develop it is looking at the amount of work and effort that needs to go into a task versus the potential rewards you can get from it.
4. Money Management
The second most valuable resource is money. Whether you like it or not, money is often needed in order to live a successful life. Money is what we need to survive.
However, the key to it is knowing how much you need in order to live that life. It’s a similar idea to retirement, where you’re living the life you want without working as much.
To improve money management, you’ll want to learn financial lingo and create a budget to stick to. It’s not a matter of being conservative but being able to live within the means of your lifestyle.
When you’re not lacking money, it’s easy to spend money without thought and enter financial arrangements where you don’t know what you’re getting into. So many people go into massive debt without considering financial alternatives or considering whether something is worth investing in.
To avoid these situations, put together budgets and take note of your spending habits and other behaviors.
The Bottom Line
Success isn’t defined entirely by what you read in a book. Every person has their own definition and views of success. I believe that we can agree, though, that satisfying these core principles is important to everyone.
If we are healthy, we can enjoy our success. If we’re around people we love, it makes the road to success easier. When we are financially stable, we can afford to live the way we want to live. Finally, when we have a passion for our work, we will continue to prosper.
More Tips on Creating a Successful Life
Featured photo credit: Marvin Meyer via unsplash.com