Curated Leadership for Today's World

The Science of Success

Posted on 31 May 2016

Science of SuccessFor many, success is an elusive goal. We feel powerless and resort to blaming our circumstances for the condition of our lives. But success is more scientific than we think. It follows the same universal laws found in natural science. When you look at it this way, you can take concrete steps to ensure you are practicing the science of success and creating an experiment of excellence in your very own life.


The Function of Followership: How engaged are you as a follower? Robert E. Kelley lists five main categories of followers: passive, pragmatic, ineffective, active, and exemplary. Contrary to popular belief, the job doesn’t make you; you make the job. The more engaged, authentic, and proactive you are, the greater your rewards. Every time you engage in effective followership, you exponentially increase your chances of success. You may feel that your organization doesn’t value your active followership. This may be true. It takes an authentic leader and a collaborative culture to value followers who desire and act to come alongside their leaders. However, the type of follower you are today is determining the type of leader you’ll be tomorrow. They are two sides of the same coin. As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “If you want a better job, do a better job and you’ll have a better job.”


The Exposure to Experience: It is a well-known universal truth that we truly grow under adverse circumstances. Trials are not noble things; they are character-building things. Pressures forge and solidify our core, and a mind stretched can never go back to its previous form. Remember, a diamond was once a lump of coal and a pearl was a grain of sand.


The quickest way to success is to cram fifty years of failure into fifteen. An intern once asked a seasoned executive how he became so successful. The executive replied, “Good judgement.” The intern pressed further, inquiring how he got good judgement, to which the elder replied, “Experience.” The young man then asked, “Well, how do you get experience?” to which his mentor replied, “Poor Judgement.” Every experience, good, bad, or ugly, adds a key to unlocking a future door. Make sure your key ring is filled to the brim. As W. Edwards Deming said, “Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival.”


The Momentum of Motivation: Are you feeling stuck? The reason could be the Law of Inertia which states that the behavior of all objects can be described by saying that objects tend to “keep on doing what they're doing” (unless acted upon by an unbalanced force). Motivation is an intrinsic accelerator that is generated by the individual. This is why there are different outcomes for different people given the same opportunities. Force equals Mass times Acceleration; therefore, if you want a greater force to “get you off your mass” you’ve got to apply a higher degree of acceleration. When you dial into your internal cheerleader, you will be a body in motion that stays in perpetual motion.


The added benefit of motivation is that it is has a highly transferable quality. Thus, the more of it you generate, the more it multiplies. People also refer to this as “atmosphere.” Atmosphere doesn’t just come out of nowhere; someone has to generate it. You can be a thermometer that merely reflects what’s going on around you, or you can be a thermostat and set the temperature in your organization.


The Vector of Vision: Vision is simply seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Often we intimidate ourselves by thinking vision is some type of mystical prophecy only a genius can see, when in reality the great visionaries are people who took action and got things accomplished when no one else would or could. Vision is what directs our everyday path and decision. Vision also has a moral quality that is aligned with our values and convictions. Vision is a constant drip, a directional plumb line that centers everything we do.


A vector quantity, or vector, provides information about not just the magnitude but also the direction of the quantity. Vectored vision is what keeps us on course in life. As Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision; the people perish.” So if you want to stay on the path to success keep your GPS calibrated to your true north.


The Physics of Failure: The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that the effect can never be greater than the cause. The universe tends toward an increasing state of disorder, and that includes you. To defeat the forces of natural chaos, we must implement a series of internal transformations. These include healthier eating, becoming better thinkers, and increasing our positivity. A robust body, mind, and soul are foundational to a successful life. So many people think that life gets better by chance when, in fact, it only gets better through change. Emerson stated that cause and effect are two sides of the same coin. You cannot create a different outcome, nor even maintain the status quo, without injecting your life with some empowering forces. There’s no smoke without fire. As Miguel de Cervantes said, “Take away the cause and the effect ceases.”  Knowing how lets you drive it; knowing why lets it drive you. If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. So if you want to escape the black hole of failure, drill down to that root cause, commence countdown, and launch yourself out.


The Tension of Time: For many of us, the question is not “if” but “when.” Everything we do is interwoven in the fabric known as time. Unlike animals, we do not merely inhabit the “now.” Phillip Gribble said, “Today is yesterday’s effect and tomorrow’s cause.” The philosopher Edmund Husserl asserted that time gives us the context upon which we link memories with the future through our present actions. The tension of time is inseparable from the human experience. Existentialists went so far as to say we do not exist in time, we are time. So what are you doing with your life clock? Are you killing time or filling time? Do you have a sense of the legacy imprints that each second of life affords you? The pain of grief can stop the clock and freeze us in place, but the pleasure of passion can make the time fly, as described by Albert Einstein: “That is the way to learn the most, when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don't notice that the time passes.” When you dial into your passion, the tension of time fades away. We are aware of it, but not stuck in it. Every action looks to the future, but enjoys the here and now. So find what you love, do it, and transcend time.


Obedience to these laws of success will increase your number of choices in life. Choices equate to opportunities. Disobedience only leads to diminishing our choices and can lead to a life filled with regret. So if you want success to be a factor in your life, remember: it’s not luck, chance, or fortune…it’s science!  

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