Isn’t it amazing how so many myths have grown up around how people become successful?

Many of these myths are not so much downright wrong, as they are half-truths which are twisted and often counter-productive. These add to the view of how to be more successful, in business, financially, personally, and yet they can actually result in driving our behaviours away from success if we are not careful.

Here are some examples:

1.  “Discipline is essential to success. In fact, Success is all about discipline”
Yes, discipline is important but habits are more important. Successful people have successful habits. Focusing on new disciplines all the time may actually lead to de-motivation, a sense of guilt, a sense of struggle. These lead us away from success. Certain disciplines are essential, and successful habits are crucial.

2.  The Comfort zone: “Success is about constantly stepping out of your comfort zone”
Yes, being able to stretch forward into areas which involve daring to do what others don’t do is critical for success. Expanding our zone of comfort is also important. In other words, if we just step out of our comfort zone for a limited period, we will inevitably return there when the going gets tough, or when we don’t even notice we are returning there. It’s essential to continually upgrade the outer limits of what is comfortable. And this begins in our mind. The comfort zone exists in the mind so it’s in the mind that we have to expand it.

3.  Motivation is the key to success
Yes, motivation is important…and in particular for short term wins. But having the right mindset is much more powerful for lasting success.

4.  Focus is the key to success
Yes, it is important to focus on those key things which you need to do to achieve success. But real power is in the subconscious which can “focus” on more than you can compute in the conscious mind.
Whilst the Conscious can only focus on 3-5 things at any one time, the subconscious can “focus” on millions of imperceptible things. All of these have an impact on your success.

5.  Smart goals
No! No! No!
No one ever achieved greatness by thinking “Achievable and Realistic”!!!

6.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff”
Yes… in the sense that not getting bogged down in small detail and minor distractions is important.
But, this has become a by-word for ignoring detail, which was not what was intended by the originator of the phrase. In fact, the devil is in the detail! And it is the small things which make a huge difference. So the key is to decide which small things, and make them brilliant, along with the basics!

7.  The Law of averages
Some people seem to think that if they do something often enough the “law of averages” will lead them to success. Let’s get this straight. If I keep doing the wrong things, no matter how many times I do them, I won’t reach success.

8.  Experience is crucial
No. In times of great change, experience can be your worst enemy. The enquiring mind is dulled by “experience”, and we often hear the phrase “we’ve tried it that way before, and it didn’t work too well”, or “that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

9.  Practice makes perfect
Not necessarily… because you could be practicing the wrong things, and making yourself better at doing things badly/ less effectively! If you are practising bad habits, you reinforce bad habits. So in this case practice makes you worse.

10.  Work smarter not harder
It always makes me smile when I hear people say they are turning over a new leaf and are going to “work smarter not harder.”  It’s as if the two were mutually exclusive. In my experience, it’s about doing BOTH. Work out the smart way to do things and then be prepared to put plenty of resources into making that work. Time, Energy, and Money invested in the Smart way will lead to success.

11.  Live for today
Yes it’s important to enjoy the journey, enjoy each day as it is. But success is also about looking ahead and having a plan. In fact, having a plan for the future adds to today’s enjoyment. Have a plan, and live every day with passion, as if it was your last.

12.   Time management
This is a myth. You can’t manage time. You can only choose to use your time wisely. Most time management courses approach this from the wrong direction completely.

13.  Work / Life Balance
Another myth is that you have to have a Work / Life Balance. These are not opposites however. Work / business /career are part of life. So it’s more about life balance. And what is balance? You must decide on your own version of balance, just as you must decide on your own version of success.

14.  Money
A few words about this resource. Money is a representation of value. Value is a state of mind. Therefore money is a sense of value in the world. “Wealth” / “Prosperity” is not a physical or material thing. We all know loads of “poor” wealthy people, and loads of wealthy “poor” people.
Money is a tool. How you are using your money is important… is it congruent with goals and values? Are you using it as a means of leveraging the success you want? It can be a contribution to success, but it’s not the goal in itself. Use it as a tool to reach your success.

15.  You must have a Positive Mental Attitude
I have met loads of people who have taken this to mean a peacock-like overt cheeriness…
There’s a danger, and I’ve seen it, that people create a veneer to hide their sense of failure. We need to have faith, to be forward thinking, and to be enthusiastic. And we need to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve. We also need to be alert to possible dangers, and challenges, as well as opportunities. We need to get “angry” when required, we need to get our hackles up, get our senses primed, get urgent and get active.