What it Takes to be Successful

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” 
Isaac Asimov, author and scientist


How to be SuccessfulWhat does it take be successful? I mean REALLY successful.

It’s a question I’ve studied for years and I’ve found some of the answers. And to the extent I’ve applied the lessons, I’ve succeeded in my business, my relationships, and my life. Whenever I’ve ignored the answers I’ve learned, I’ve failed.



1. What is success?

In my “Journey to the Extraordinary” experience, I tell the participants that “Success isn’t money. It’s not position or power. It’s being happy, satisfied, and productive.” Pretty simple but it works well for me.

What about you? Have you figured out your definition of success? If not, I strongly suggest that you figure it out and write it down. After all, it’s very difficult to achieve something you can’t even describe.

And then…

2. How do you become more successful?

On the job or at home? What does it take?

For one thing, it does NOT take the absence of failure. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore, but she rebounded to become the undisputed queen of television talk shows. After Harrison Ford’s first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he’d never succeed in the movie business. Ford’s career went on to span six decades and has included timeless starring roles in blockbuster films like the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” series.

To become more successful, the number ONE thing you can do is learn from very successful people. The more things you do that highly successful people do, the more quickly you will reach greater heights of success. And the fewer things you do that the losers, the “just-enough-to-get-by” people, or the “good-enough” people do, the more quickly you will achieve extraordinary success.

Indeed, that’s why my two-day “Journey to the Extraordinary” program is so powerful and so effective. As Michael Van Horn, a Senior Graphic Designer at Boeing, says, “Dr. Z’s Journey gave me a new view of life, success, and relationships. And the valuable skills I learned dramatically increased my proficiency and communication skills. This experience literally transformed my life on and off the job.”

(PS: The next public offering of the “Journey to the Extraordinary” program will be October 23-24, 2014 in Las Vegas.)

Learn from the highly successful people. That’s what Maria Bartiromo, the host of several CNBC and Wall Street Journal programs, did in her book, “The Ten Laws of Enduring Success.” In her career she has observed businesses rise and close up and she has had the opportunity to interact with the leaders of those companies. She concludes there are ten things the most successful people do.

As you go through Bartiromo’s list, grade yourself. Would you give yourself an A, B, C, D, or F in each of those areas of behavior? Do more of those things where you gave yourself a C, D, or F.

  • Self-knowledge: Listen to your heart.
  • Vision: Plant your dreams on solid ground.
  • Initiative: Keep rattling the cage.
  • Courage: Be bold, smart, and fair.
  • Integrity: Do the right thing. 
  • Adaptability: Stay open to change. 
  • Humility: Hold on to your humanity. 
  • Endurance: Build your stamina.
  • Purpose: Know what matters most. 
  • Resilience: Get up and move on.

All of these are very good points to follow from the world of business today. They will help you achieve more success.

But in my continual search for more and more of the “secrets of success,” I have found myself researching not only contemporary advice but also…

3. What success advice comes from ageless wisdom?

In my search I came across an anonymous piece called “An Interview With God.” It’s filled with gems of success wisdom that anyone can … perhaps everyone should … apply to their lives. Just don’t get hung up on the word “God” as some people do. Whether or not you believe in God or some Higher Power, “The Interview” is worth reading, remembering, and following. Here it is:

I had an interview with God.

“Come in,” God said. “So you would like to interview Me?”

“If you have the time,” I said. God smiled and said:

“My time is eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have in mind to ask Me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?”

God answered: “That they get bored being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked, “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile.

“To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.”

“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!”

“To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.”

“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different.”

“To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them … and likes them anyway.”

“To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment.

I thanked Him for His time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me and I’ll answer.”

Success is not an impossible dream. It is the logical result of knowing the right things and doing the right things. You now have a great list of things to know and do. Go ahead and start.

(Click here to get a free PDF download of “An Interview with God”)


Select two of the success tips listed above that are particularly relevant to you. Write them down. Read them to yourself every day. And you will begin to move more in that direction almost automatically.


Need More on This Topic?

Today’s “Tuesday Tip” was inspired by Dr. Zimmerman’s program “The Payoff Principle.” Click the link to learn more about this program and how to motivate yourself to win every time and in every situation.