There’s a mountain to climb – a goal, a dream, a life achievement. A bunch of people are standing at the bottom of their personal mountains but only a few of them are going to get to the top. Why? What are the people who plant their flags on their mountaintops doing to get there? What aren’t they doing?
Do have definite goals
They know exactly what they want to achieve, meaning they don’t just generalize like “I want to be rich” or “I want to be famous.” They are specific in their aspirations. Ask them and they’ll give you the elevator pitch. They know WHAT they want to do. The HOW they’re going to do it is an evolving process.
Do know when to follow and when to lead
In the words of Lao Tzu, “If you want to lead people you must learn to follow them.”
Those that reach the top of their proverbial mountains first spend some time following others who have climbed similar peaks. They listen to advice, they ask questions, they learn everything they can from those ahead of them. They also know when it’s time to stop following or listening to the can’t be doners. Successful people trust their intuition.
Don’t get caught up in the small setbacks.
They know where they’re going. If they hit dead ends or realize they’re on a route that’s the long way around they don’t get stuck there or lament the situation or try to force success out of something that’s proving unsuccessful. They learn what they can and move on. Failure isn’t seen as a setback. It’s seen as a step taken towards the ultimate goal.
Don’t get tangled up in multitasking.
Much as people might think they can get more done by doing more at once, the fact is, multitasking makes you less efficient, not more.
In an article called Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work in Forbes, Douglas Merrill wrote:
“Unfortunately, our brains just aren’t equipped for multitasking tasks that do require brainpower. Our short-term memories can only store between five and nine things at once…when information doesn’t make it into short-term memory it can’t be transferred into long-term memory for recall later. If you can’t recall it, you can’t use it.”
Do live outside of their comfort zones
They are willing to do things they’ve never done before, even if those things scare them or make them nervous. They will go farther than is expected or than others are prepared to go. They’re willing because step after step they’re know they’re getting closer to their destination.
Don’t allow themselves to get burned out
So many people get stuck half way up the mountain or three quarters of the way up because they just burn out. The ones that make it to the top take one thing at a time. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the size of the project, they take it on in chunks. They set realistic goals along the way and stay focused on the ultimate goal. They also take the time to stop climbing altogether. It’s during the silence of doing nothing that the greatest insights are able to make themselves heard. Stillness is often the most important part of the climb.
Do help others along the way
There’s never only one mountain. One person can’t climb all of them. Even if he or she spent an entire lifetime climbing mountain after mountain there would still be countless other mountains. And what would be the benefit of being alone at the top of your highest peak? Ask any successful person and they’ll tell you, the greatest satisfaction for all their efforts is the gratification of helping others achieve their own success. They’ll also tell you the greatest reward isn’t necessarily all the things they were able to accumulate as a consequence of their efforts it’s the experiences gained. The climb itself and everything learned is the reward.
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