However you define success, everyone seems to want it. Whether it's achieving goals, living according to one's calling, or making a difference in the world, everyone wants to accomplish something.
But the truth is that most people struggle in the effort, and that begs the question, what is needed to get past the obstacles on the road to success?
To help answer this, I turned to the world's largest bookstore, amazon.com, and entered the word "success" as a search term for books. Turns out that nearly two-thirds of a million titles are tagged with the search term "success."
Not being able to afford that many books, I picked up the top three. No one book can represent the definitive work on success, but combined, these three come darn close.
The Success Principles
First up is Jack Canfield's and Janet Switzer's "The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be". It's loaded with 64 principles - which at first feels like an overwhelming number. But each principle is addressed in a short, sweet (and often fresh) manner.
I especially like the first principle, Take 100 Percent Responsibility for Your Life. The reason I like it? We can't become successful if we're blaming others for our condition in life.
Think about the successful people you know. Do they sit around and complain about how the world is working against them, or do they assume responsibility for their situations and take actions to make their lives better?
More often than not, people who become successful are those who take 100 percent responsibility for their own lives.
Here are just a few of the other success principles Canfield and Switzer give us:
- Be clear why you're here
- Decide what you want
- Believe it's possible
- Unleash the power of goal setting
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
There are so many golden nuggets in this book, you can't go wrong reading it.
Success is Not An Accident
The second book is titled "Success is Not An Accident: Change Your Choices; Change Your Life", by Tommy Newberry.
I was glad to see Newberry emphasizing "choices" throughout his book. In fact, he starts each lesson in the book with the word "choose." Choose who you want to become; Choose to write down compelling goals, etc. It's a good emphasis. Look down the halls of history and you'll find that people thought of as successful made choices to do things that unsuccessful people weren't willing to do.
Lack of success often results from people never learning to think through their choices. Such people experience only sporadic success, if any at all.
Most of us have heard the saying "first you're born, then you pay taxes." I think a better (and more accurate) phrase is "First your born, then you have choices." The sooner one realizes this, the sooner he'll be making substantive progress on the road to success.
By the way, one of the threads found in all three books is the need to write out clear goals. It's amazing how many people do not do this. Writing goals works like magic. Do not hang on to a misguided belief that you don't need to write goals – that you you're your goals within your own head.
If that's you, my response is this: If you think you're successful without writing down your goals, you will be amazed at how much more successful you can be if you make sure your goals are written out.
The Law of Success
The third book is by Napoleon Hill, entitled "The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons". It's a two-volume set, written by the same guy who gave us "Think and Grow Rich", the all-time best seller in the field of success books.
In The Law of Success, Hill gives us a much meatier version of the success principles taught in Think and Grow Rich. It's obviously a longer read, but the principles are reinforced with more examples, so there are more "sticking points" that help you remember (and therefore apply) the concepts.
Fans of "The Secret" (by Rhonda Byrne) will find Hill's book to have a very practical approach to the same basic material (pretty cool, considering Hill wrote this book in 1917).
Like I said up front, the material in these three books is not exhaustive, but I think together they give you 97 percent of what you need to know to achieve success.
I imagine if you got copies of these books and passed them around at work, you would see some amazing things start to happen. In fact, that's my challenge to you. Let me know how it goes.