Modern business literature is filled to the brim with books, audio programs, and seminars about success. People have developed an all-encompassing obsession with learning what they can do to get ahead. And what's wrong with this you ask? Not necessarily anything... except for the fact that all to many people are only interested in trying to get ahead if it doesn't involve any substantial work or sacrifice.
Put another way, people are trying to figure out the "easy" way to achieve success.
This begs a natural question... is there an "easy" way to become successful? Is there a "shortcut" to achieving the thing that we want for our lives such as wealth, family, friends, and happiness? Is the road to success the same for everybody, or is it different for different people? Is it as simple as following a formula, or is it something you need to discover for yourself?
The simple answer is that success isn't simple. There is no formula, there is no 'system' that will guarantee your results. The "easy" path that most people follow is frequently a shallow attempt to acquire the appearance of success, without achieving real wealth, happiness, or harmony. The road to success is not a "paint by numbers" situation... there are principals of success guidelines to achievement, but each person must ultimately find their own path down the road of success.
The Road to Success Goes through a Town called Failure
One of the aspects of our journey that can be the hardest to understand and accept is that failure almost always precedes success. The reason for this is because failure allows us to learn, and teaches us perspective. A life of success is a life of growth, and growth necessarily means failure. The only way that one can avoid any form of failure is to never attempt anything remotely challenging... this is a path to stagnation. When we fear failure, we fear growth... if we never risk failure, our personal, professional, and financial development will be stunted.
A way in which this effect frequently manifests itself is through a reluctance for people to step outside of their "comfort zone" to try something different. These comfort zones are different for different people, but they all serve as a crutch that prevents us from growing. If we are going to develop into the kind of person that achieves the success we dream of in the inner recesses of our mind, we must be willing to risk failure... even when the rewards of that risk are not immediately visible. Similarly, we should render exceptional service to every person we meet, regardless of whether they can be of benefit to us or not.
This can be exceptionally difficult to do. Most of us would rather "turn on" our spirit of helpfulness when we're around "important" people and leave it off when we're around everybody else. While this is a natural inclination, it is a very dangerous habit to form. What we do ultimately becomes who we are...
The Law of Compensation
Napoleon Hill coined the phrase: "The Law of Compensation" to describe the effect he observed in the lives of highly successful people, whereby they rendered useful service to everybody they met. In most cases, it turned out that their big opportunity came from a source that was different from those whom they had been helping the most, and for the longest period of time. What he concluded, but wisely allowed his readers to determine for themselves is that human beings are not nearly as clever as we believe ourselves to be. We do not have the ability to "turn on" and "turn off" our spirit of helpfulness quite like we think. Eventually, our true nature shows through, and if that true nature is unpleasant, we will not be able to cover it up.
Because of this, Hill advised a strategy of cultivating a permanently helpful, permanently positive attitude. There is no need to "turn on" a helpful nature if you are endeavoring to always be helpful. Furthermore, being positive and helpful for long enough will turn it from being an action into being a habit. Once these traits are engrained as habits, and are done automatically, then opportunity will flow to us like water flows through the river.
Thus, traveling the "road to success" is not about a place that we must go, but a person that we must become. Success is the province of those who provide cheerful, useful service to others. Shortcuts and get-rich-quick schemes are the province of people who are too lazy to do the work that is necessary for personal, professional, and financial growth. Attempting to avoid this work simply forestalls the time at which you can achieve true success.
In the end, the road to success is really a journey of development. The journey is frequently uncomfortable, is sometimes painful, but is always necessary if our life's goals are to be achieved. The question we should ask ourselves is not one of what we want to get out of life, but one of what we are willing to give in exchange for that which we want. When your mindset shifts from one of trying to get something easy to one of learning how to give a greater value in exchange for what you want, you will have taken your first step down that road to success.
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