I began my career as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. After a year, an idea began waking me at night. What more could we learn if we started studying healthy, successful people as well as ill and dysfunctional ones? Are they using skills the rest of us are missing or misusing? Finally, after numerous restless nights, I stood up and presented my idea at one of our prestigious weekly conferences. But, instead of becoming excited, my colleagues all laughed!
Red faced, I had to make a life changing decision on the spot: Were they right that I was wrong, that my idea was laughable? Or was I onto something BIG they just didn’t understand yet? I decided to trust myself and my dream.
I spent the next 20 years shadowing Highly Successful People (HSPs) and discovered they were using 10 Success Skills consistently, the skills I have taught in more than 3,000 training programs in major corporations and universities, and numerous books.
Are others right that your ideas and dreams are wrong? This is a decision you too will have to make over and over! Seniors, you are no doubt already in the thick of writing essays and applications so it’s a perfect time to begin using HSPs skills. Juniors, you’re lucky! You’ve still got a year to master them. So let’s get started…
Most people never ask themselves this crucial question, but HSPs have. Here’s what they told me. Success has 3 essential parts… and colleges want you to have the ability to produce all three kinds.
1-Success is Completion… Yes, this is the part of success most people know about… accomplishment. Starting, doing and finishing what we set out to do (or others set out for us.) Colleges can tell a lot about your future successes by your past successes… your grades, accomplishments and contributions to date… so they want to know what you have accomplished up till now. They want to know that you’re a completer, not just a starter, so it’s smart to include a story about something most people would have given up on, but you didn’t. Or a painful experience you turned from a loss to a win.
2- Success is also Deletion…. sometimes success is not doing, knowing when to let go of what no longer works, old habits, methods and relationships, foods that make you wild and crazy, stuffy and sleepy. Colleges want to hear about your Deletion Successes because they demonstrate character, tenacity and follow through. What have you let go of that could have ruined your life, but didn’t? (Some deletion successes may seem too private to share but revealing them in a positive light in essays and interviews shows colleges you’re open and willing to share experiences you’ve had that can help others.)
3- Success is Creation… success is being able to go beyond what we’ve been taught, beyond the methods that are commonly in use. Success is coming up with new ways. It’s no longer enough to succeed by just completing and deleting, you also have to be creators and leaders. Your ability to create and innovate is what colleges and corporations are looking for, first and foremost.
Do you know who Jeff Bezos is? Have you ever ordered anything from Amazon? Then you know Jeff Bezos; he’s Amazon’s creator. Do you know Blake Ross? Have you ever used Firefox? Then you know Blake Ross. He co-founded Firefox at 16 and appeared on the cover of Wired Magazine at 19. Next he became Director for Product at Facebook. More and more top innovators start at your age! Who else can you think of?
Your parents’ Science Fiction will be your reality! Here’s what’s already in the works… Bioprinted ears (in 3 years) and bioficial hearts (in 10 years) made from extra fat from around the recipient’s stomach so rejection will be avoided. Connecting your brain to the internet or downloading a 500 page book in a second by 2020. What will you create that will change the world?
Here’s something HSPs do each day you probably don’t. HSPs Success File. Yes, they set aside time each day to acknowledge their own successes instead of waiting for others to do it for them. Why? Because they plan to do big, creative, impossible things! (Keep in mind, impossible simply means that no one else has done it… so it could be you!)
HSPs don’t want to be dependent on others’ agreement and acknowledgment. Success Filing gives them the Self-Confidence they need to keep going no matter what obstacles beset them or who laughs or disagrees as they venture into The Potential Zone. They rewind to the beginning of their day and recall the things that were able to do and be, all their completions, deletions and creations. They know BIG SUCCESSES come as the result of millions of tiny daily successes. And millions of tiny corrections!
You can Success File alone or with a supportive parent or friend, teacher or guidance counselor. They will probably point out successes they noticed and you didn’t. It’s important to“success yourself up” before writing an essay or going into an interview!
The Two Laws of Success Filing:
*** When your Success File is full, you feel Success-Full. When you Success File is low, you feel dependent and needy. And you tend to lie around, eat, drink and procrastinate!
*** Success is your past gives you confidence in your future. And, success in your application, essays and interviews gives colleges you apply to the confidence in you they need to tell you YES!
(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email firstname.lastname@example.org
* For more on Self-Confidence, read Skill 1 in The Joy of Success and Our Children Are Watching.
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