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6 Success Mental Makeovers

This is the last and most important post in this three part series.  Here are the first two:

  1. What I wish I knew as a high school senior.
  2. How to get the most out of college.

Focus on the right things in life:

Hopefully you took the opportunity in college to learn both inside and outside of the classroom and developed your skill set.  If you tell me that the only thing you learned was how to dominate Halo or your sorority secret handshake, then not all is lost!  You can start moving towards career and life success if you start to focus on the right things now.  I have refined all of my mistakes and successes down to 6 key mental makeovers that I wish I would have had earlier in life.  Start working on these and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish!

6 Success Mental Makeovers:

  • Redefine Success:  Have you thought through what success really is for you?  Or do you accept the general populations guess of what success feels like?  Most people believe that success has a dollar figure attached to it.  A lot of people even say they will be successful once they have a million dollars (see below for my ideas on that line of crap.)   I now realize that money has nothing to do with success.  It is happiness that defines success for me.  If you can answer yes to the following questions, then I would call you successful:
    1. Can you provide for your family?
    2. Are you a good role model for your children, good spouse, and a good person in general?
    3. Are you doing something that you truly enjoy for a living?
    4. Are you continually working to improve and reach your potential?
    5. Are you happy?

Money is the most important thing only if you don’t have enough to provide the absolute necessities to your family.  Once you have food, roof over your head, and basic care; money falls secondary (or lower) to happiness.  If you said being a millionaire meant success, then retiring at 40 would mean you only had $26,315 to spend a year BEFORE tax based on the average life expectancy of 78 years.  I am guessing that $26,000/year is not what you call a success.

* Chances are that if you are happy and doing what you enjoy, the money will follow!

Bake Cake + Eat Cake = YouHappiness Quiz


  • Start at the bottom: Once you graduate college, people will start calling you “College Boy/Girl” and will say stupid things like, “Now it’s time to make the big bucks!”  Smile and nod as you ignore their harmless, but misplaced encouragement.  If you get offered a management position out of college making those big bucks, you are one of the few and it is a bad career move if don’t even know the business you are stepping into.  You only have one chance where you will feel 100% comfortable starting at the bottom.  Make sure you start at a bottom of a path you truly want to take and can learn at.  Opportunity, not money needs to be the main benefit considered when taking your first job.  If you already have built a career in a field you don’t enjoy, then you have a tough decision to make.  You can either let go of your ego and start at the bottom (or at least a few steps back from where you are now), or take a lot of time and energy to build the skills necessary through passion projects.
    • For more on passion projects, check out my interview on the Happen To Your Career Podcast: Podcast HereOpportunity is the most important for your first job
  • Screw keeping up with the Joneses:  Everyone has different priorities in their life.  Just because someone has a nicer car, larger house, or a better wardrobe doesn’t mean that the same thing will make you happy, or that they are happy with that stuff!  This is very tempting for most when they graduate since society expects you to live a certain way.  You have the opportunity to avoid this mistake I made for much of my life.  Live below your means and save money on the things that don’t matter.  Living in a smaller apartment and driving the same non-luxury car longer will allow you to travel more and take more opportunities as they come.  Minimize the debt so you can make decisions that will make you happy, not because it pays the bills.
  • Get Inspired, Not Jealous: This will be a huge change from what most people experience.   This mindset will help create life long friends and will have a positive impact on you as well as those around you.  When you see someone further ahead or doing better than you, don’t get jealous and bad mouth them to make yourself feel better.  Instead, get inspired at their determination and success.  Encourage them and be there to support them however you can.  I know it is hard to watch someone do something you want to be doing, but they have worked hard to get to that point and they just proved that if you work hard you too can achieve success!  Also, don’t ever get jealous over material things.  Once you get used to having them, they mean nothing.
  • Find a mentor early: You are smart, but you don’t know everything.  Find people that are doing what you want to be doing and do whatever it takes to shadow them.  Give them so much of your time and effort that they can’t help but recognizing you and want to help you become successful.
  • Take Action Today: These posts are just words. The only way to change your life and get what you want is to Take Action and create your future instead of waiting on others to do it for you.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, these points will help if you actually take action on them but no one is guaranteed to achieve greatness.  It won’t be easy to achieve greatness, but striving for it and being a good person will guarantee success.  Life is ours to design.

Cheers

– Mark

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