Guest Post: A Playbook for Everyday Success

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Author: Laure Darlene Karamutsa
Akilah Rwanda Class of 2015

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Everyone wants to succeed in life. It is our common human nature to strive to better ourselves. But people understand success differently based on their beliefs, experiences, and lifestyle. Some people believe success is an achievement based on hard work, or a good result after a specific task. Others view it as the realization of a long-held dream that takes all of one’s energy and dedication to reach. Both of these types of success refer to achievement. I think success isn’t just about achieving an end goal, but also about the process – about how you are living and working on your dream. It is not only the result that can be deemed successful, but also the effort itself, because the result comes only through successful effort. I have realized that in my community, people understand and value success mostly as an end goal, but rarely pay attention to their accomplishments and hard work on the path to that end goal. Successful people who realize their dreams are those who live to their full potential in their everyday lives. They follow and enjoy their path to daily success, savoring not just the end goal, but also the process.

Bringing your dream into reality through the motivation to perform consistently: that is success. Here’s how you can be successful in your everyday life! There are three things you must do: 1) Start living your dream life; 2) Turn dreams into goals; and 3) Never fear failure.

[quote]The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey[/quote]

Let’s start with number one. Take the life you have been imagining – the life that you think about, the one that will put a smile on your face – and tell yourself that it is possible to live that life. Tell yourself this enough times that you believe it. Every successful person knows how to convince oneself to be successful! It requires you to take that beautiful dream of yours, and start living it.

Now put your dream out there into the universe around you and see what feedback you receive.  When I was young, my dream was to become a doctor. I used to close my eyes and see myself in a white doctor’s coat taking care of a patient. I loved to act as a doctor when I was playing with my cousin. My dream was engraved in my mind and I wanted to imitate what I knew about being a doctor to see what it felt like. I started living that dream long before I ever became a doctor.

By throwing it out into the universe and seeing how it made me feel, I received feedback that allowed me to adjust my end goal. When I grew up, I realized that my passion is not only becoming a doctor, where I will be taking care of patients, but also taking care of people in general. So now I am at Akilah studying hospitality management, and I’m well on my way to achieving success. By throwing myself daily into learning how to care for people, I discovered a new me who is willing and able to change her community. I also met new friends who have become like family to me. Those are people who are helping me to execute my dream and also helping me to overcome new challenges, so I get to learn, change, and become successful.

[quote]Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back. A new life, a new friend, a new love, and a new country. – Anais Nin[/quote]

Imagine if I chose to simply sit around and just keep dreaming without taking any action or testing the waters of the life I dreamt for myself. Would I be successful? Absolutely not. I’m still pursuing my dream but I’m already successful, because I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in life. That’s success. And it’s not that hard! Consult not your fear but your dreams; think not about what you are unable to do but about your strengths and the abilities you have not yet used.

Sometimes dreams are hard to follow because they always look like a supernatural world that can’t be real, but you can make your dreams tangible by translating them into goals. Here is where we get to number two: turning dreams into goals. Setting my first goal is actually what made it possible for me to even imagine ever achieving my dreams. A goal is like a dream, but unlike a dream, it is realistic and has a deadline. It is no longer something far away, abstract, and intangible, because your first goal should always be that first step that you can easily imagine reaching. If you do not take your first step, however small, toward your dream, success will never meet you. You will keep dreaming about great accomplishments while successful people rise and perform.

The biggest reason people fail to try is the uncertainty they feel about their own capabilities. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are capable of, but I believe that God has put in every human being a unique quality or talent. That is the tool you must use in order to succeed, and your task is just to discover what it is. You can’t discover your secret hidden potential unless you throw your dream out into space and test it out, as Anais Nin said.

Finally, number three: you must not fear failure! Successful people don’t fear failure; in fact, they embrace it in order to learn from it. Colin Davis, who was a very successful conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra, once said, “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” How can you know what success is, if you never learn to recognize failure? I am very grateful for all failures I have met in life, because they taught me to be more determined, courageous, patient, intelligent, persistent and hopeful. I did not ignore failure; I respected it. It’s important to be unafraid to listen to what works and what doesn’t. The only wrong thing with failure is if you don’t take the opportunity to learn from it and ignore its valuable lessons for you.

When some lazy people meet failure, they give up. Instead of keeping on with new strategies, they get discouraged and grow quiet. In order to make sense of their unconstructive deeds, they come up with a new mindset that rationalizes failure as “destiny”, which favors their laziness. But trust me, you will not sit with your arms crossed and end up where you are meant to be, because it’s not a matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice. It’s not fate, it is planned. The only person you are destined to become is the person you dreamed and decided to be. If you decide to wait to see things working on your behalf, you are destined to become useless. If you decide to thrive, using all your effort and energy to meet and overcome challenges, certainly you already are successful!

[quote]Does the walker choose the path or the path the walker?” – Garth Nix[/quote]

We are all responsible for our own success, and our everyday life is the indicator of how successful we already are. Your responsibility in life is to live every day successfully and work on your dreams consistently. Dreams literally come true every day.

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