I recently had an opportunity to look back at my life to ponder on what helped me get to where I am. I realized that the one thing that drove me to be successful was the success spiral.
What is the success spiral?
The concept is fairly easy to understand. If you succeed, you become a successful person, and when you’re a successful person, you are more likely to succeed, right?
Ok, I agree, this is way too confusing, so let’s go into some detail.
A success spiral works like this:
You do something and get a result. It could be launching a new business, creating a work of art, or even just making dinner, basically, all you need to start a success spiral is an action and a result.
Now here comes the fun part that gets the success spiral going and I’ll use an example to make things easier to understand.
Let’s say you made a pancake for breakfast and it was your first time making pancakes.
When you look at your pancake what do you see?
In our podcast, we talk a lot about focusing your attention and using you “attention beam” to get you on the road to growth, so let me as you again, when you look at the pancake, what does your attention beam focus on?
Do you see the lumps at the edges? Do you see the uneven thickness? Do you see that little burnt part on the side? Are you comparing it to the gourmet pancake you had last week for brunch? Or are you looking at how the right side is really nicely browned, or how the banana topping looks just like it does in the picture that came with the recipe your following?
What do you think will start a success spiral?
If you focus your attention beam on the parts that went well, you’re going to feel good about making pancakes and try again. Sure, your second pancake won’t be perfect, and probably not your third and fourth either, and you may never be the best pancake chef in the world, but over time, you’re going to get pretty darn good at making pancakes and every previous success will take you even higher on the success spiral.
But, if you choose to focus on the things that went wrong (and this is a choice because both options are available to you), you’ll soon be discouraged and probably won’t try to make pancakes again. This is a failure spiral and if you follow that down, you can get to some really dark and dangerous places.
Do you know anyone who’s a prodigy or a natural genius?
“Natural genius” is really a code word for someone who had a lot of practice. There may be a few people in the world who just started doing a task and were excellent at it from day one but for most people, getting to excellence was just a matter of putting in the hours, focusing on what went well and what they can learn from what didn’t, and continuing to build on those successes.
So, back to the original definition:
“If you succeed,” – that is, focus on the good parts of the result, not the bad ones,
“you become a successful person” – that is, a person who knows he or she is capable of doing this task
“when you’re a successful person, you are more likely to succeed” – so if you believe you can do the task, and focus on the parts that went well, you are more likely to keep doing the task, get more practice, and have more and more parts that go well…
Think back on your life, on the things that you do really well. There must be at least one thing there, and even if you think it’s a small thing, just look at that for a second…
Were you always good at that? Didn’t you start out with a low skill level but then you or someone else gave you praise so you kept at it to become great?
My guess is probably yes.
There are two more things I wanted to mention.
First, success (and failure) spirals tend to replicate. If you are successful in one area, your success will trickle over to other areas and make you even more successful as a person.
And second, success spirals don’t have to be a naturally occurring phenomenon. You can create them yourself. if you feel that you need success in life, but don’t have it right now, all you need to do is to trigger a success spiral. Just find a small task, do it and look at what went well. If you keep it up, pretty soon, that success will trickle over to other areas of your life.
So there you have it, the success spiral. If you focus on the part of a task or result you got that went well, you will start a spiral that will take you as high as you’ll let it go.
Image Credit: https://flic.kr/p/4TXhou