Do you often wonder how you can be more successful? There isn’t any simple manual to follow, no guaranteed path to becoming an accomplished leader in your field. But we can learn from different experiences, pieces of wisdom, and personal strategies that have led to success and wealth for others. Follow them and they can serve as a sort of guide to achieving your goals and greater success in everything you pursue.
Everyone defines success differently and the paths we follow do not always lead the same direction but whatever your goal is there are some good habits and choices that can help you achieve it.
Perhaps the world’s most prestigious award is the Nobel, given to people who have contributed in exceptional ways to areas including physics, literature, mathematics, and peace. As a rule, the Nobel winners are not only intellectually brilliant, but also exceptional for their emotional intelligence, ability to make smart choices, and successfully turn ideas into reality.
Over the years, Ernest Hemingway, Marie Curie, Bob Dylan, and Albert Einstein have received Nobles. The list of winners has many models to follow with important lessons on how to be successful—and not die of stress trying to reach your goals
Pursue what you love
Dr. Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University won a Nobel in chemistry in 2012. After receiving the prize, he shared some of his strategies for having a successful career which, in his case, included extraordinary scientific breakthroughs like his groundbreaking work on G-protein receptors, used in many new medications.
Lefkowitz said in an interview with Duke’s Science & Society program that the first key to success is focus and concentration, driven by a desire to understand every aspect of a project.
He also said it is essential to build your career around an issue or subject that interests you, and to use your creativity and curiosity as you approach each new challenge. Doing something you love will help you stay motivated even when difficulties arise. If you aren’t passionate about your career, if you don’t like or feel good about your work, it is time to find something else to do, Lefkowitz suggested.
He also believes it is important to find the humor in daily life. Humor, he says, is like “scientific discovery. It is all about putting things together that maybe you wouldn't ordinarily put together.”
Don’t be discouraged by negative criticism
When Marie Curie became one of the most important women in science, she also became the object of much criticism. This began to affect her to the point that she even considered not attending the ceremony to receive the Nobel Prize awarded to her.
But, in 1911 when Curie had been nominated for membership in the French Academy of Sciences, Albert Einstein wrote to her to offer some advice. He told her not to pay attention to criticism that isn’t constructive or helpful. Instead, she should ignore it and focus on what is truly important—her work, the people who support her, and what she thinks of her own achievements.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Disappointments, mistakes, and stumbles along the road of success are not bad. In fact, they are essential parts of growing, learning, and then continuing to advance towards one’s goals.
In the pages of Psychology Today, Tom Sargent, who received the Nobel in economics, revealed that, at age 30, he realized his disappointment with everything he had achieved in his career up to that point. So he returned to school, started over, and would eventually receive one of the greatest honors in the world.
Fear of failure is a brake that will keep you from experimenting and leaving your comfort zone. It will stop you from making progress. Instead of seeing failure as something bad, consider it an opportunity to make necessary changes and learn from mistakes.
Find the silver lining
Richard J. Roberts, who received the Nobel in medicine in 1992, said in an interview that success is a question of luck, but not in the sense that most of us understand that word.
In Inside Higher Ed, Roberts said that he had the good luck of being able to find the opportunity in every situation. He shared that after completing his doctorate at Harvard, he applied to work at a university in Edinburgh, but they lost his application. That led him to a job at a laboratory on Long Island where he would complete the work that led to his winning a Nobel.
Roberts wanted to go to Edinburgh, but he decided instead to make the most of a different opportunity that life offered him, and it was this decision that led him to achieve more than he ever imagined he could.
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