How Can I Be Successful In Life?

Updated: March 9, 2019
by Ray Alexander

How can I be successful in life? What does it take to succeed in life? Without trying to sound too spiritual (I'm not a spiritual person anyway), today I'd like to share my view with you. First of all, there are two totally opposite visions for success in life. Which type of approach would you believe?

  1. Grind. To obtain something that you really want, you must work hard towards it. Procrastinators are losers. Get up, take action now and keep going. Extrinsic motivation. Or,
  2. Law of Attraction. If you can visualize what you want, it will come to you. The more you struggle, the further your success will move away. What's most important is to enjoy what you do (Intrinsic motivation).

You know that there's no right or wrong. You know they're both 'right' and finding the balance in between is important. It's good to be goal-oriented but if you desperately keep striving for a long time, then where's your happiness? On the other hand, nothing could happen by just imagining a success in the name of Law of Attraction. Do nothing and you may end up being bankrupt instead.

How Can I Be Successful In Life?

I too believe in both the approaches, but as I get older my attitude towards success in life tends to be leaning towards the latter (No. 2).

"Life is too short to..." may be just one of those phrases when you are in your 30's. But as your physical and mental abilities start to go downhill around the age of 45-ish, you also start to take the phrase literally.

(The remaining) life is too short. We can't waste any more time to do what we don't want to do and keep worrying in despair. Of course unfortunate events happen from time to time, and we have to deal with them. It's life. Through all the ups and downs you find positive elements, and success is to find something meaningful to your life and enjoy it.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is where we are motivated to do something in order to earn some external reward, achieve a good result or avoid bad consequences. You work because you need money. You study in order to pass the exam. You tip the waiters because otherwise next time they might spit in your food.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is where we are motivated because we get satisfaction from doing it. You work because you love your work. You study because you enjoy studying. You tip the waiters because you want to, after a pleasant dining experience.

To be successful in whatever you do, whether it's related to wealth, love and relationship, or life in general - by finding out both your extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors, what success means to you will become a little clearer.

For example, if I were desperate for money and were given a multi-level-marketing opportunity, while the financial goal may look attractive (extrinsic), I would never enjoy networking (intrinsic). So I know I'd be unlikely to succeed with that opportunity.

What Is "Hard Work"?

Let's move away from "making money online" for a minute and talk about relationships. No, I'm not a relationship consultant but I do have a happy married life, you know!

Relationship Success

People often say "Marriage is hard work." From my point of view, as long as you think it's hard work, it will forever stay hard because it lacks an intrinsic motivation factor.

You have an argument and eventually make up each other. You don't think you were in the wrong, but you say sorry anyway just to make your spouse happy (extrinsic). That's a strategy, and it's hard work. A relationship is a 2-way thing, so if your spouse is thinking the same way, it's even harder.

Now if you say sorry because you're genuinely willing to say it (intrinsic) - you don't enjoy saying sorry, but you're looking for the right words or things to do to get a happy relationship back again and you're learning something from it. You're not working hard to achieve a goal (i.e., avoid divorcing), you're simply taking care of precious thing that you have with your partner because that's what it is! Then there's an intrinsic motivation in the act of reconciling each other itself. And therefore it's already part of a "successful relationship". That's how I see.

Focus on Intrinsic Motivations

Wealth Success

You don't have to be rich to be financially successful, you know. I'm content with the level of income I earn online, which means I could say I have success with my money.

And when I think of the reason why I think I'm successful, I find myself only motivated intrinsically. I do enjoy my online job. I love it, in fact I don't see it as a job. The money comes in as a result accordingly.

Do I set a goal and work towards it? I kind of do, but that (external reward) is not my motivational driver. Having said that, it doesn't mean I'd be happy to earn less than I do now. I just know that I earn what I earn, and I continuously look for opportunities for growth. Naturally.

Similarly, you don't need romantic dinners or weekend getaways to maintain a successful relationship. My partner and I enjoy making each other happy, and I believe this (=intrinsic motivation factor) is the key to our successful relationship. We both just know that it is working, and we also know we don't have to force ourselves anything to "save the marriage", i.e. extrinsic motivation.

Then again, it takes two people to make this happen. I've been through a few rocky relationships in the past and extrinsic motivations never helped. Do whatever it takes to save the relationship and still fail. Because it's all about the personality match, if it's not working, there's no way to fundamentally mend it.  But I'm totally talking from my own experience. There may be a way, I don't know (told you I'm not a relationship consultant!)

From these two examples, my personal view is that intrinsic motivation weighs a lot more than extrinsic motivation in relation to success. To simply put, a natural key to success is, "whatever you do, enjoy!"

Quit The Job You Hate

I don't mean "quit it right now" recklessly.

Financial success doesn't necessarily bring happiness. And if you're not happy with your job, then think again - you're sacrificing a significant part of your life, and your life will soon be over. Unless it's temporary for a short period, you'll never find a real 'success' out of the job you don't like.

Whatever job you have and wherever you go, you always find positives and negatives. When you are receiving good pay packages or surrounded by good colleagues, you compromise yourself there. If the job itself is not what you really want to do, start thinking about moving on. Earlier the better!

Related Post: Retire and Work From Home – Start Preparing NOW

Don't Rely On Others

You can ask for help and advice. You can be inspired by others. But there's a thin line between asking for help and relying on people to do something that you should be doing. The moment you start to take this for granted, you are letting your own success go. It will never make you happy. Don't expect others to do things for you.

Don't Be Afraid Of Failures

You know each failure is just a stepping stone to success. However big or small, you should never let it get you down because a failure you experienced yourself is a much more powerful lesson than a failure that you've seen or heard elsewhere. Remember, failure is never a loss. It's gain!

7 Steps To Getting Your Mojo Back

Get Your Mojo Back

We're all humans, all feel like life is at a standstill sometimes. We do put ourselves in a wrong path by mistake. Wrong job, lost job, bad trading deal, a lover who turned out to be a psycho... whatever.

When you're in a gridlock situation, you know the only way is up. But there's no point in aimlessly waiting for a piece luck to come around. Whatever happens, remember to take the following 7 steps to "getting your mojo back".

  1. Ask yourself how it all happened: make it clear to you for the last time (or write it down). How did you put yourself in such unhappy circumstances? 
  2. Regret it once again: nothing will happen if you're merely crying over it. So once more, regret it for the last time. Think about what you could have done to avoid it.
  3. Learn from it: what do you make out of this? What have you learned from this bad experience?
  4. Find positives: now this is important - tell yourself that you're lucky and you're already a success. Find as many positive things about your current situation. If you've lost $10,000 in business, it was only $10,000 that you lost - it could have been more, but it wasn't. So you're lucky, and this is positive!
  5. Find out possibilities: think about what you can do to get out of this situation. As many possibilities as you can. If you are in need of money for example, start advertising in Fiverr and sell your skills.
  6. Find out intrinsic motivation factors: from No. 5 above, ask yourself what you like about each possibility. E.g. if you sell your skills using Fiverr, you like the fact that you can work from home.
  7. Tell yourself again that you can do this: you're lucky, you're blessed and you're successful. Just tell yourself repeatedly like a mantra!

About the author 

Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. Very powerful post…. Relation ship or making money…. You need to be on the right vibe naturally, I agree.
    If you keep forcing yourself to like what you do or feel negative about not making it success, that is because you are not on the right vibe….
    When every thing becomes natural, you can have a success of life.

    1. Hi Fergus, you’re absolutely right. You need to “be on the right vibe” and that’s something you can’t create intentionally. If you continuously and positively improve the way you think towards your goal, you’ll naturally start to adopt the way of thinking and obtain it when it becomes second nature to you. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it.

  2. Hi I like your article and I like the fact that you are successful with your internet business. I also like your motivational quotes. I look forward to viewing the updates. Good job man.

  3. Great motivational post, thanks. I believe in law of attraction too and I work towards it rather than “grind” aimlessly. You have to enjoy your life and if you don’t, like you say your life will be over very quickly.

  4. Hi Ray, it’s a very good read, I enjoyed it. I agree with you about intrinsic motivation. If you don’t like what you do, it’s really hard to try to achieve your monetary goal. It’s important to find yourself enjoy your job, otherwise your life is really going to be wasted. Thanks for the inspirational post!

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