Success is in the Effort

By Dr Darryl Cross
Leadership Coach & Psychologist

[This article was published in the Career One supplement ( to “The Advertiser,” Saturday, 14th February, 2009,
Page 19]

Success is not about being the brightest or the one with the highest IQ. I always thought it was when I went to school. I envied those classmates who had their hands up in Maths or Physics or Chemistry and who always seemed to know the answers. They had it made. I imagined that they would go on to be world-beaters. But I was wrong. Certainly some of them did do relatively well in life, but others struggled with life.

School never taught me what those real secrets to success were. What a pity that it didn’t. And what an utter tragedy that schools generally still don’t.

I see students on a regular basis for individual career guidance and I visit schools to assist in their careerĀ guidance programs and I give talks to groups of students frequently so I know what goes on in schools. How can we be the clever country when we do not teach our students the secrets to life? How can we be a clever State when we do show our youth how it can be done? Without being disparaging at all, I also largely suspect that most teachers don’t know the answers either.

How is it that the so-called high school drop out from Year 10 can end up running a multi-million dollar company? How is it that the student who was on frequent detentions ends up being a very successful television and film producer? How is it that the student who frequently skipped classes ends up being the general manager of a large group of companies?

It is because success has everything to do with EQ or Enthusiasm Quotient than it has to do with IQ or Intelligent Quotient. It has to do more with personality and self-esteem. It has little to do with where you were born or what school you went to or who your parents were. It certainly has to do with the inner person. Success is an “inside job” and not due to your heritage or your environment.

For example, people who are successful are generally risk-takers. Most of our community are so scared of failure that they sit tight and don’t step out. They won’t risk leaving a job for fear of being unemployed for a period. Maybe in that period of unemployment, they might learn something or use this period to re-educate while they job search or look at avenues they haven’t looked at before. When successful people risk and step out (e.g., they move interstate, go overseas, take a loan, mortgage their
house, research an idea), they move out of their “comfort zone” and into their “courage zone” so that their “courage zone” gets larger and larger and life gets less scary.

Successful people are also persistent. They stick at things. Success doesn’t come easily to anyone and there are set-backs. To many of us, the slightest hint of trouble sees us recoiling back into our safety zone. “It’s all too hard” we say and we give up. Successful people keep going. They may alter or sometimes trim their sails, but they keep moving forward.

Successful people are positive. They believe in themselves. They have an attitude that life is to be lived and they take responsibility for their lives and their actions. They are grateful that they have the opportunity to live. They have an attitude of gratitude. They give thanks for their world and for this State of ours with all its richness and vitality. They know that this is the best place on earth for them right now.

Successful people go the “extra“. If you want to be extraordinary, if you want to do extraordinary things, then you need to do the extra beyond the ordinary. This means going the second mile or making some sacrifices. In this respect, it is easy to be outstanding because most of the population are content being ordinary. Just watch what 95% of others around you are doing and go the extra. It may mean for the business person working longer hours or taking more courses of study. It may mean for the sports
person putting in extended hours of training when others are socialising or sleeping or just relaxing. It may mean for the trades person working alongside the master craftsperson when all the others have knocked off or gone home. It may mean reading or learning how to be successful when others are vegging out in front of the television or loafing around. It’s called the extra and it’s an absolute hallmark of success.

And the great news about all these success attributes is that they are ava