“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti
This quote by Mr. Andretti sums up the messages that can be found in most books on motivation, success or achievement. They are very powerful words that carry an essential message about the science and art of success. However in that quote and in most works treating the subject of achievement one element is blatantly missing.
The teachings of self-improvement focus intensively on attitude but it is sorely lacking on character building. Even with the best attitude in the world, true success is not attainable if there is a character flaw. It would be wrong to say that successful people share the same character traits as those who are still struggling.
To be truly effective, any work done on self-improvement should concentrate more on character building than on attitude, techniques or methods. Before it is possible to achieve, a person has to be the kind of person that can do the type of things that needs to be done in order to get whatever the person is after.
Success is more attracted than pursued. If we ask successful people how they managed to acquire their success, the answer is invariably the same. They will say that it was easy. They cannot even understand why anyone else could not do it. The reason for that is simple. These people were already successes before they became successful.
How can you be a success before you become successful? Success is above all a state of mind. A person who feel like a success will think and act like a successful person and reap the rewards. A person who simply would like to become a success probably won’t achieve more that stay at the level of an “I-would-like-to-be-a-success.”
Maxwell Maltz of psycho-cybernetic fame says, “Self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment” To get the things that we want the most, the first thing that need to be done it to change the self-image. In order to do that, a fundamental change in character is required.
If we want to change the results that we get in any area of endeavor, the first thing that must be done is a change in self-image and the only way that a true change in self-image can be affected is by changing our character.
According to Stephen Covey, our character is basically a composite of our habits. So, to changes character and thus change the self-image, we must change our habits; especially change the habitual way that we perceive ourselves.
A new thinking pattern has to be created regarding the self-image. The negative self-views have to be erased from the mind and be replaced by the image of the vibrant, effective and successful person that we basically are. We were born successes; at age three we were the most important person in the world.
Sadly, as time flew by, we experienced setbacks. Instead of experiencing those setbacks as learning experiences, they were viewed as evidences of personal flaws. In many cases, the self-image suffered permanent damages.
Anyone who is serious about a life of success and achievement has to restore that winning self-image. Until that is accomplished, the best intentions and the best techniques on self-improvement are not much more than vague and ephemeral theories. We have to be… before we can do… before we can have.