(NNPA)—Many people say that there are no formulas for success, but there is.

Every success story can be tracked down to specific traits and actions that can be duplicated. Success formulas can also be called ideas for successful living. There are many names by which we can call the very same thing.

We refer to these ideas for successful living as success formulas because we discovered them through living our lives, but as we progressed, we learned that other successful people embrace them as well. These formulas are universal, because you can’t create them, even though you can discover them.


Now, they may be universal, but each individual puts their own spin on the ideas. In addition, each person has his/her own focus. Our focus happens to be on personal development, which is also referred to as self-improvement.

We have discovered these formulas for personal development and have applied them as they have worked in our own lives. But we wanted to have a more focused discussion on some of the formulas in forthcoming columns for 2010.

Success formulas can also work in cooperation with each other. Some of the most admirable people in the world are people who have used the power of positivity over negativity, self-determination and perseverance to change their lives and/or overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

“You are not judged on the height you have risen but from the depth which you have climbed.”—Frederick Douglass, 1881.

Success, to some, is all about wealth. To some, success is all about achieving the perfect job or the perfect marriage or living the perfect life.

Let’s examine what Webster says about success:


a: degree or measure of succeeding_

b: favorable or desired outcome, _

c: the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence

There are other ways in which humans have come to define success, but one thing is clear—success must be defined and a goal must be set before it can be achieved.

Think about achieving a goal in terms of driving a car. How could you possibly get to your destination, if you have not clearly defined it? Would you just drive all across town or all across the country in search of your destination or would you sit down and identify the destination before you even get into your car? That’s how life is!

Why would you live your life and go through your days, wasting precious time, effort and other resources without defining your actual goal? The question may sound elementary, but many people live this way and wonder why they fail to achieve anything of substance.

Another mistake people make is pursuing someone else’s goal. Let’s use the driving analogy again: How could you arrive at your own desired destination, if you focus on where other people are going? Would you get on the freeway and drive north just because other people are driving in that direction? Where do you really want to go? In order to define your own destination in life, you must take the time to think about who you really are and what will really make you happy. Your success may be to teach small children to read and write, or your success may be to lead a football team to a national championship. Your success may be to own a Black Enterprise 100 corporation, or your success may be to work your way to a high level of management in a multi-million dollar corporation. The point is that whatever your definition of success is must be the goal for your life.

If I ask 100 different people, they will give me one hundred different definitions of success.

“One doesn’t become great by claiming greatness.”—African proverb

Some people think that if they just wake up, they will become successful and make it big. Life is not that easy and people who think that way rarely succeed in life.

Those people are always saving themselves for that big day when they hit the lotto or when a deal falls into their lap or they are waiting on some other dream of success without action, which never comes.

The greatest myth is that success has to do with luck, being given an advantage or great talent. No! Success is aligning your dreams with reality.

(Dr. Farrah Gray is the author of “The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity’,” “Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success” and the international best-seller “Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.” He is chairman of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com.)

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