Achieve success before 40
During my three-decade-old senior business career handling human
resources, I have come across hundreds of people in their 20s and early
30s, who wanted to be successful by the time they reached 40. But most
of them were not confident that they would reach the target. The reason
was common in almost every case. They were going through 'hard' times.
It's easy to talk about how hard our lives are. It's easy to talk
about how unfair life is. And that we got the short-end of the stick.
But does this kind of talking really help anyone?
we judge our situation as worse than someone else's, we are ignorantly
and incorrectly saying, "You've got it easy. You're not like me. Success
should come easy to you because you haven't had to deal with what I've
This paradigm has formally become known as the 'victim mentality',
and it generally leads to feelings of entitlement.
The world owes you nothing. Life isn't meant to be fair. However, the
world has also given you everything you need. The truth is, you have
every 'advantage' in the world to succeed. Life is a matter of priority
And when it comes to success in life?-?in a free-market economy?-?you
can make as much success as you choose. The question is, how much
success do you really want to achieve?
Instead of vegging on social media day-after-day, year-after-year,
you could spend an hour or two each day building something of
Most of the major rewards of success tend to accumulate by the age of
40 - if you do the right things before that watershed birthday.
What are these right things?
Do your homework
Learn everything you need to know about your business or profession
before 40. In short, master your profession at the appropriate age and
go on to acquire more experience. Burning the midnight oil is in order
at 20, maybe even 30, but nobody should have to lose sleep
learning something new at 40-plus.
Develop your own style
Before you're 40, learn what you're comfortable with, whether it's in
the way you dress or simply the small touches that set you apart.
You can experiment in your 20s and 30s, but establish your own style
firmly by the time you're 40. No one appears more insecure than a man or
a woman trying to redesign his or her 'look' in midcareer.
Put your emotional life in order
It's a great help, when climbing toward the higher rungs of the
career ladder, to be happy in life, rather than to find yourself mired
in emotional crises. It's hard enough to succeed without taking on
personal problems that sap your energy and divert your attention.
Of course, all difficulties can't be avoided, and you have to rise
above them.Those who have managed to put their personal lives in order
by the time they're 40 are generally in better shape for success than
those who haven't.
Know your weaknesses
Accept the things you don't do well, can't stand. If you're not
comfortable with numbers, but enjoy creative work, don't force yourself
to sit in a numbers job because it pays well or because it's what people
expect. Get into the kind of work you enjoy before you're 40 or you're
guaranteeing yourself an unhappy decade or two after that age.
Know your strengths
You'd better decide what you're good at, too, and recognize the
things you enjoy doing and do better than anyone else. Whatever your
role, knowing who you are and what you're good at, is critical for
Establish a network
If by 40 you haven't built a network of friends, or at least people
who rely on you and to whom you can turn, you're in trouble. These are
colleagues for whom you do favours, whose projects you support, whose
problems you listen to . . . and they do the same for you. A network is
not something you can establish overnight-it takes decades of nurturing.
In business or professions, asin politics, you need a lot of people,
spread out in the right places, whom you can depend on-because they can
depend on you.
Learn to delegate
Many people don't (or cannot) do this, and are thereby condemned to
remain in subordinate positions. Delegation is half of success; a person
who cannot delegate will find himself fatally handicapped. By the time
you reach 40, you'd better be an expert at it,which means you have to
pick theright people and trust them.
Avoid careless talk
More careers are aborted by careless talk than by anything else.
Learn to keep quiet and look wise-people will naturally suppose that you
know more than you probably do. Don't gossip, and don't talk about your
plans. A reputation for keeping secrets far outweighs the easy
popularity that retailing gossip may win you. In higher management,
secrecy is golden.
If you haven't established a reputation for rock hard, 100-percent
loyalty by the time you're 40, you'll be haunted by this defect for the
rest of your career. A reputation for disloyalty is bound to make you
unwelcome anywhere in business.
You make your way to the top not by back stabbing, but by
establishing early on in your career an unshakable reputation as a true,
stand-up guy or gal. Before 40, loyalty is its ownreward; after 40 it
Today is tomorrow's yesterday. What we do today will either enhance
or diminish our future-present moments.
But most people put things off until tomorrow. We thoughtlessly go
into debt, forego exercise and education, and justify negative
relationships. But at some point it all catches up. Like an airplane
off-course, the longer we wait to correct the longer and harder it is to
get back on-course.