The ABC’s of Success
Bill Cottringer

“Success is what you do to get what you consider to be a success.” ~The Author.

The only “luck” that is involved with success comes from two sources: (a) You are lucky enough to be among the few to be born into an established success environment with all the necessary assets present, or (b) like most successes, “luck” is when all your arduous efforts meet the right opportunity, seemingly overnight, but gradually.

Either way though, the path is not easy as it takes great time and effort to maintain the success you were born into, or to work hard to apply these ABC’s to achieve it all on your own. The three success factors are all inter-related and nurturing one, helps grow the other two. Maybe that is another piece of the luck puzzle. One final clue about success—it is best measured internally, rather than against what others think.

Always act assertively and actively.

We start out with the illusion we can control more than we can, but our personal development journey really begins with the challenge of learning how to control our reactions to other people and the situations we find ourselves in. These initial reactions tend to be either passive or aggressive, which generally net zero positive results. Learning the art of being assertive—standing up for yourself and your rights, behaving according to your inner compass and not needlessly harming others in the process—takes practice, because it is a new mindset, but no one can debate the results.

Practicing assertiveness in controlling your responses and reactions to other people and situations, leads to learning how to act proactively and get ahead of the curve in helping posture yourself for better opportunities to apply these ABC’s of success. This A is all about you and your behavior, but it is driven by the attitude flavors of the B and C success ingredients that follow.

Be brave and bold in your beliefs.

Thinking arouses feelings and feelings drive behavior. When the behavior doesn’t get you where you really want to be or who you want to be, then you have to reverse the process to change your thinking. Just know that you can’t think yourself out of a situation you behaved yourself into. Also, strong feelings are always associated with beliefs and most beliefs start with an assumption that you rarely verify, blindly trusting in the source. It is certainly a good idea to be open to questioning your beliefs and the amount of truth you automatically ascribe to them.

Questioning your sacred beliefs takes great courage and trust in life, but it is the only door to true personal growth and improvement. The end game goal is to develop realistic optimism with a healthy dose of self-esteem that allows you to have doubts and show vulnerabilities, but to be able to toughen up and get through unwanted or unexpected adversity when it comes, because it always does. Also, try to embrace your fears, uncertainties, and failures, because they generally hide important success clues for the next opportunity.

Choose to cooperate, compromise and collaborate.

The time has come for us to shift from the predominant win-lose, competitive mentality model to one of a cooperative, win-win perspective, where there are no losers or victims, and everyone gains something important and valuable. Sure, there may be a time where the pendulum needs to swing in the other direction like all the other either-or, dualistic opposites in life, but the problems and conflicts of today’s world require a proactive approach with the three C’s—Cooperation, compromise, and collaboration. This is our best option to get to the light at the end of the tunnel and not have it be a freight train!

Although this critical shift is resisted by our egos and insatiable need to “do it our way,” the three C’s do not involved giving into a weakness in “surrendering” but rather using the courage to adopt and adapt to a whole new paradigm of viewing life. The greatest advances in life occur because of such a major paradigm shift and the rewards are invaluable. This change won’t come easy, but a good start is to check your ego and put it in a time-out penalty box, at least temporarily—using it to motivate and inspire you and not trying to dominate or control others.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful and happy.” ~Albert Schweitzer.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is retired Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (206) 914-1863, or