I learn a lot from the book Success Built to Last. To give you the gems of what I learn, I have summarized the book into 37 lessons. If you apply these lessons consistently, I’m sure you will live a life that matters.
I suggest that you use these lessons as your personal checklist. Check them periodically to see the items you need to improve, and make personal commitment to apply them. Over time, you can measure your progress in applying these lessons and, consequently, in living a life that matters.
So here are the 37 lessons to help you live a life that matters:
- Discover what matters to you
Success in the long run has less to do with finding the best idea, organizational structure, or business model, than with discovering what matters to you as individuals.
- Have the courage to do what matters
You create enduring success not because you are perfect or lucky but because you have the courage to do what matters to you.
- Don’t rely on others’ approval
Successful people don’t rely on the approval of others to pursue their cause or calling. They are more emotionally committed to doing what they love than being loved by others.
- Redefine success
The real definition of success is a life and work that bring personal fulfillment and lasting relationships and makes a difference in the world in which they live.
- Don’t chase money and recognition
Money and recognition are just outcomes of passionately working often on an entirely different objective that is often a personal cause or calling.
- Recognize signs of passion
Builders (the term used by the authors to refer to “enduringly successful people”) become lovers of an idea they are passionate about for years and years. They lose track of the passage of time while doing it. In a real sense, it’s something that they’d be willing to do for free, for its own sake.
- Worry more about being what you love
Most of us worry more about being loved than being what we love.
- Be sure you do what you love
It’s dangerous not to do what you love. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll lose to someone who does. Passionate people try harder, try more things, and move faster than people who only do things for a living.
- Check whether you’re on the right track
You know that you are on the right track when you naturally obsess over what you love. What you love attracts you even when you’re too tired to do anything else.
- Find your mission in life
To find your mission in life is to discover the intersection between your heart’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger (Frederick Beekner).
- Find place for your multiple passions
You do need to find a place for everything that is meaningful to you (your portfolio of passions). When you exclude all other things except a single focus for your life, there is a danger that you might find it impossible to locate the real treasure.
- Experiment with your other passions
Carve out a little time each week to experiment in some way with one of your other passions.
- Never retire from what you love
Builders’ passions create meaning in their lives that is nothing short of lifelong obsession from which they seek no escape.
- Have integrity to do what matters to you
You should have integrity to do what matters to you. Do not waste your time if it doesn’t matter.
- Be yourself
You shouldn’t hijack someone else’s value system. To do so would be a violation of integrity to what matters in your life.
- Listen to that little voice
Happy endings come from listening to that little voice inside your head – some call it the whisper – about what matters to you.
- Plug into the cause and get the power
Whatever Builders are doing has so much meaning to them that the cause itself provides charisma and they plug into it as if it was electrical current. They are lifted up by its power.
- Do what matters despite political correctness
Doing things despite the political correctness of the path is the price of admission to almost every enduring life of lasting impact.
- Do what matters despite popularity
Builders cling to a personal commitment that’s so compelling to them – something so important to them that they would actually do it for free – that they must do it despite popularity.
- Have passion, determination, and skill
Life takes passion, determination, and skill. You can’t skip any of those three and expect to enjoy success built to last.
- Be greedy to acquire knowledge for your dream
If you should be greedy about anything, it should be about acquiring “intellectual capital” for your dream. Being your best at what you do is essential to success built to last.
- Make a difference with your knowledge
When you have “earned” knowledge, you have an ethical responsibility to “invest” that capital on making a difference.
- Earn opportunities through expertise
Opportunity comes from expertise, not just luck, talent, and passion.
- Recognize when to move
When Builders found that striving for excellence is unreachable or joyless, they saw it as a message to move onto something else.
- Have the right attitude toward difficulties
Having many difficulties perfects the being; having no difficulties ruins the being (Lao Tzu).
- Make failure your friend
Many highly accomplished people described themselves as so proficient at making mistakes that, if you didn’t know better, you might think they were losers.
- Harvest failure
Enduringly successful people harvest failure. They become more resolute after losing a battle they believe in because they learn from the loss. Losers call it failure; winners call it learning.
- Always make new mistakes
When you make mistakes, just be sure to make new ones.
- Manage your weaknesses
Builders don’t deny their flaws, nor do they allow them to paralyze action. They manage it, include it, cope with it, and don’t let it stop them.
- Earn your luck through focus and knowledge
Builders earn their luck, not simply getting lucky. They earn their luck by focusing on doing work that is meaningful to them and going deep to discover relevant clues along the way. It is focus and knowledge that allows them to observe the subtleties of their path and then take advantage of serendipitous events.
- Have a prepared mind
Only a prepared mind and open heart prevails.
- Have clear goals
Builders use planning and goals – often big goals – to put themselves into a serendipitous position.
- Have explorer mentality
Builders have explorer mentality. They have clear direction, but not the roadmap. What they seek in the long term doesn’t always turn out as expected.
- Think about your relationships as long term
If you want success that lasts, then you’re better off if you think about your relationships as being built to last.
- Surround yourself with “A” players
Builders spent the largest percentage of their time tracking down, surrounding themselves with, and developing the people who are “A” players.
- Align your intentions, words, and actions
Always watch whether your words and actions match your intentions, and are aligned with what you are trying to do.
- Get the inconsistent stuff out
Alignment requires that you get out of your life all the stuff that is inconsistent with your passions and goal. That includes people. Choose wisely.