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How to change your attitude towards success and achieve more
How to change your attitude towards success and achieve more

The idea of long-term success, which consists of three simple components, will help to take a fresh look at personal victories and achievements.

How to change your attitude towards success and achieve more
How to change your attitude towards success and achieve more

How great success can turn out

Tennis legend, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, Chris Evert, said that the euphoria from winning at Wimbledon lasted about a week.

Boxer Tyson Fury admitted that the next morning after the famous victory in the fight with the world champion Vladimir Klitschko, he felt only emptiness.

The first person to win seven Olympic gold medals in a single Games, swimmer Mark Spitz noted that he was literally crushed when he realized how short the brightness of victory lasts.

All of these stories run counter to the usual notion of successful people. Nevertheless, they are extremely important, because one victory does not always lead to endless success. Exploring the light and dark sides of triumph helps you to look at all this from a different angle and start setting more ambitious goals than just “always be first”.

Sad stories of victories are not limited to sports. Successful business people can suffer from mental exhaustion and depression. All-round honors at school and university suddenly realize that they are completely unfit for real work, where creativity, leadership and teamwork are required. Think of ineffective politicians who win elections and then have no idea how to tackle important issues of social inequality or health.

I prefer to look broadly at the experience of typical winners. Take the astronauts who were the first to fly to the moon. What was their life outside of this great event? How did they feel when they returned to Earth? Among their stories are examples of severe depression. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, described with the phrase "incomparable emptiness" not only the landscape that opened from the Earth's satellite, but also his inner feelings about returning to his home planet.

Why the typical understanding of success is misleading

I noticed that the more we learn about the winners, the more our inner concept of success changes. The typical vision of triumph is rather primitive: the champion stands on a high podium, the boss grandiosely announces the incredible profit of the company, the lawyers in the court smile after the filigree won case.

Look at all these points more broadly. What does winning a race mean for an athlete in terms of their entire life? How does the company's achievements affect the lives of its employees? How do the A's in the diary prepare a teenager for adulthood?

When we look at success through the prism of a fleeting event, it seems to be separated from the past and the future, and even from ourselves. Victory is short-term; it has little effect on our life in the long run.

What is long-term success

My experience and study of research in psychology and anthropology have convinced me that it is worth revising the definition of success and taking into account its long-term perspective.

This is how the concept of long-term success was born. It consists of three components: clarity of thoughts, constant development and connections with people. This is not a measure of victories, but rather approaches that will help you deal with the vision of the world, your place in it and relationships with others.

The idea of long-term success makes it possible to look at triumph from the point of view of its infinity. This concept helps you learn to apply broader criteria to define what victory is.

1. Clarity of thoughts

The first component of long-term success requires us to figure out what really matters. Forget achievement list and recognition. Ask yourself what can make your life meaningful. Clarity of mind will allow you to see beyond short wins, career goals, and high school exams. Even typical competitions with winners and losers, such as the Olympic Games, can lose their meaning if they involve a few moments of victory and nothing else.

In sports, finding clarity of thought is fairly easy. We need to understand why we need medals outside the podium. Why is a medal not just a piece of shiny metal? How does it matter in perspective? What is even more valuable to the winner along with the notorious award? The answers to these questions help athletes understand the degree of influence they have on themselves and the people around them, and figure out how they see their life after sports.

The same applies to other areas. By clearly understanding our goals and their real meaning, we begin to see the world around us wider and deeper, realizing that there is more to it than receiving medals, bonuses or ratings. We finally understand why we are moving towards a certain goal, and this reveals our energy, creativity and resilience.

2. Continuous development

At the very beginning of my Olympic career, the winner-take-all mindset made us desperately compete with each other to take first place in the daily rankings. Future teammates were perceived as enemies, not partners, who would help improve the overall result. We developed our skills in a very narrow direction. We didn't have time to slow down and change something, even if it could lead to better results.

This was the wrong approach. It is the choice in favor of global improvements and development, and not a short-term triumph, that leads to real success. This is what symbolizes the second component of the idea of long-term success - constant development.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose with a crushing score, you always have the opportunity to learn from this important lessons not only about your field of activity, but also about yourself. The results of your work are almost always outside your control. It is better not to dwell on them, but to figure out how a triumph or failure can affect your personal development. Such an approach will make you more resilient, help you be flexible in work or study, and teach you to accept failure with dignity and benefit from it.

In The Progress Principle, Stephen Kramer and Teresa Amabile share an interesting study of theirs. It showed that focusing on daily progress is essential to increase employee engagement and creativity.

The authors studied 12 thousand records, where employees of one company told about the main events that they remember for the day. People were most impacted by “significant progress on a task that other people care about,” and the moments when that progress was noticed and celebrated.

Caring and reverent attitude in the team also turned out to be important. Not achieving goals, not incredible annual numbers, not a monthly bonus, but support that helps others succeed.

Just imagine how much more efficient and comfortable work or study can become if you focus on the process rather than the intermediate results. And, by the way, this will not negatively affect them, on the contrary.

3. Connections with people

This component of long-term success is designed to help shift focus and value people and relationships more than tasks and outputs. Take a close look at your relationships with colleagues, friends, and loved ones.

If you tend to constantly compete with them and try to surpass their achievements, it is worth choosing a new tactic. Look for ways to collaborate, “invest” time in long-term communication, build trust, and choose people over ambition.

Our sports team would never have been able to compete if we hadn't worked to build good team relationships. A simple desire to win would not teach us to move synchronously, react correctly and almost telepathically feel each other.

Or let's take business, charity, government. It is difficult to find at least one person there without many connections and people who helped him on his way to success. This proves once again that connections work.

Why apply the concept of success long-term in life

This idea expands the understanding of victory and triumph. She teaches you not just to cross off items from your to-do list, but to ask yourself questions. What have you done today for your future? What knowledge will be useful to you now and in the future? What have you invested in your relationships with others? What new people did you meet?

I have come to believe that experiences, relationships, and real stories are always alive. You "carry" them in yourself every minute. At the same time, the same cannot be said about medals, certificates and places on the honor board. Yes, you probably mention them on your resume, but others see you, not your track record.

Remember the athletes we talked about at the very beginning. All their lives they strived to become the first, and in the end they found that life after the pedestal is empty and uninteresting. This happens when you run after the result instead of filling it with meaning.

When it becomes important to you how you won - the experience you gained, the success story, the impact you had on others - your vision of the world changes. Interim results stop influencing self-esteem, and you begin to understand that the next achievement is part of something larger.

My experience shows that events that are considered victories, personal, social and even global, are not always significant for our life in the long term. Remember the famous phrase “Victory is not the most important thing. This is the only thing ? So only the first part is true in it, and “the only main thing” is temporary and changeable.

Start with yourself. Challenge social norms, myths, and assumptions about what real triumph is. Strive for clarity, constantly learn, and don't forget to connect with yourself and others. Then the concept of long-term success can definitely change your life.