Success. It’s a word that is defined in a thousand different ways for 100 different people. As a student, success to you may mean passing your math final. It may mean getting out of bed in time for that early morning chemistry class or even just scratching by and finishing the semester. These definitions are not the kind of success I will be addressing here. The kind that I want to suggest to you as a necessity for you is the kind of success that energizes, the kind that those who thrive feel on a regular basis and not the kind that is defined by those just getting by, hanging on by a thread as it were.

Here are four secrets of those who succeed in whatever they endeavor to do. Mark them well, for they are not under lock and key. They are secrets available to all; however, success follows only he who puts its principles into practice and for none else. Students can bring into their lives rewards greater than good grades and higher than honors. Pay attention and plan on living these four secrets & your days will be filled with success.

Secret 1: You are not your past. If you were a letter-man in high school or were on the cheer leading team, you may have experienced an artificially high self esteem, for the rest of us “regular” people our high school years may have been filled with awkwardness & doubt. Know that jock or nerd, cheerleader or loner, you past does not determine your future. Those who succeed learn to let go of past situations that threaten to define them as not that good, or that conversely give them an inflated sense of importance. They have a vision of the future, yet live life in the present, knowing that it’s the only moment they have to act.

Secret 2: Listen to others. Have you ever felt really understood? I’m talking so well understood that you couldn’t help but overflow with gratitude & perhaps tears? Now compare that feeling to a time when somebody cut you off & wouldn’t let you finish your sentence, a time it seemed that they only wanted to get their own point across. Quite a contrast, yeah? There’s a secret in giving others that time and attention that facilitates an air of understanding. When you give this to others you gain friends and people who are ready to help you out when you need it.

Secret 3: Momentum rules. When you run down a hill you pick up speed & pretty soon nobody’s going to stop you once you reach the bottom. It’s the same with success. When you act consistently towards a goal you pick up speed & habits form that keep you moving towards it.

Secret 4: Values determine decisions. Many a great man has lost much in a moment of poor decision. Values aren’t merely a list of words on your wall, but rather are like young plants that must be nurtured and acted upon, consistently and on purpose. Otherwise, you create for yourself a shaky foundation that will likely cause your house to topple over when the storms and tough decisions come. Some people never recover from these types of disasters. Decide what your values are (you can use the technique I describe in How to Create a Vision to Enhance Learning to discover what your values are) and act daily to create those values in you.

In the course of your college career, dedicate some time each day to studying & applying success principles so when it’s all done, you’ll have gained more than a diploma. Remember that all can transcend their past, invigorate others through listening, develop daily habits that create momentum & do so while solidifying solid & sturdy values in their lives.

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