February 2, 2010

How Dedicated Are You to Becoming a Success?

By Gerhard Gschwandtner

Walter Cronkite once said, “I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” Superachievers like Cronkite know that you can’t win 100 percent with less than 100 percent dedication.

Although many people dream about becoming a success, few do what it takes to turn their dreams into reality. They see their jobs as nothing more than work, and wonder why they don’t succeed. To be dedicated means to give oneself completely to a goal, without expecting immediate gains.

Those who have dedicated themselves to their work don’t do their jobs because they get paid, but because they love what they do. Ron Barbaro, the president of The Prudential, told Personal Selling Power, “I love what I do and what I don’t love, I like a lot.”

Is the secret to success just in doing what you love and loving what you do? No, it also requires faith that your long-term payoff will be success and fulfillment. You may argue that it isn’t practical to invest everything you’ve got into your work just on faith. Think about your life now. Are your half-hearted ways of reaching for success getting you anywhere?

If the answer is “No,” why not improve your chances for success through dedication and faith? Consider Elbert Hubbard’s advice:

“Do your work with your whole heart and you will succeed — there is so little competition.”

Have you ever noticed that people who are not dedicated to anything don’t advance, never change and stay always the same while people dedicated to their work get transformed by success?

Success tends to change and transform people. In the early stages they still may be preoccupied with getting more for themselves, but as they become more successful they often discover that giving of themselves can be more thrilling than the getting. The idea of helping others succeed has been the key message of successful people for ages. The industrialist Andrew Carnegie once said: “No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.”

Inventor Thomas Edison once told a reporter, “My philosophy of life is work, bringing out the secrets of nature, and applying them for the happiness of man. I know of no better service to render during the short time we are in this world.”

Abraham Maslow suggested that each person has a hierarchy of needs that must be satisfied, ranging from basic needs like food and shelter to love and self-esteem and finally to self-actualization. As each need is satisfied, the next higher level in the hierarchy becomes the target of our ambitions. Maslow argued that healthy and successful people are able to satisfy the highest level needs and they become self-actualizers.

Maslow’s theory promises fulfillment but also brings a question into focus: “Is your glass half full or half empty?” You are the only one who can provide the answer. But behind that old question is a new question: “What if you were able to increase the size of the glass?” The idea was once suggested by Dr. Victor Frankl who said that “human existence always points beyond itself. This I call self-transcendence — going beyond oneself.” Dr. Frankl introduced the idea that we can become more than what we are now. We can transcend beyond our old selves — thus increasing the size of the glass — and our ultimate challenge is to fill the glass, and life, with meaning.