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Sunday, 31 January 2016

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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?

When 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 gone through."

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 decision.

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 value?-?like yourself.

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 success.

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.

Be loyal

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 pays off.

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.

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