There are rules for success in life. Be positive. Work hard… Yeah, yeah. You know the drill. You’ve read the same tips a billion times. But it didn’t work. Why? Because rules are nothing without action.
So let’s try this again.
In this guide, we’re going to go through the 7 rules for success in life. But more importantly, we are going to find the inspiration to actually follow those rules as well.
We have all read the rule books a million times, haven’t we?
If there was ever one book that answered the question of how to become successful in life, it is Stephen R Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Covey’s book has helped to improve the lives of millions around the world through its seven rules and through the simple clarity with which it presents effective advice on how to become successful in life.
If there is one problem with the book, however, it is that, much like other self improvement books, whilst it features brilliant advice it doesn’t neccessarily inspire individuals to actually implement that advice. The Seven Habits of Highly Successful people makes us aware of what we should do to create success in our lives, but it fails to capture the deeper, rawer essence of ourselves, the fiery pit in the belly where ideas turn to action. That is the realm of art.
If you want to know how to become successful in life, you need two things: 1) the right knowledge 2) the right inspiration and passion. The seven rules gave us the knowledge, so let’s now get the passion and inspiration, and where better than from movies?
In presenting this look at The Seven Habits of Highly Successful people and answering the question how to be successful in life, one movie character is included for each of Stephen Covey’s rules. This character, through the artistry of their movie and the character strengths they portray, will inspire your deeper, subconscious mind to actually implement and bring-into-being those rules you already know are good for you.
When you read this guide, try to think logically about the purpose of the rule and ways in which you might begin to implement it (hence sparking your thinking brain) and then watch the movie to inspire your imagination and subconscious. This will create both the thoughts and the motivation / inspiration to actually make use of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People so you can realise how to become successful in life.
The Seven Rules For Success In Life
With these rules you can start planning for success today. Let’s do this.
How To Become successful in Life, Habit 1: Being Proactive
We are all responsible for our own lives and though we may often make statements like, “I could if only. . .” “I will when. . . “ “Yeah but. . . “ reality is that we are the sum total of the decisions we make and the things we do. Successful people take absolute responsibility for their lives, they take control of their realities and make things happen. Pro activeness is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How To Get in the Habit: Do something. Even if you cannot do everything you might want to do right now, perform some action. This will get you in the rule of acting rather than thinking and will snowball into bigger, more important actions later on.
Science has proven that the best way to change your life is with little but positive steps. Do something positive right away.
Movie Character Who Inspires the Habit: Andy Dufresne
In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne is a prisoner who faces depression when he has to face the reality of spending life behind bars, but Andy picks himself up and take proactive steps, first to improve the quality of life in the prisoner (by playing music to the inmates and building the library) and later through his step-by-step progress towards freedom. The Shawshank Redemption has inspired millions, and one of the key ways it’s inspired people is by urging them to take control of their lives, wherever they may be, and work towards their dreams, whether they be dreams of freedom, of health, of financial success or any other ambition.
Get busy living, or get busy dying. [Andy Dufesne quote]
How To Become successful in Life, Habit 2: Begin With The End
By always having in mind the goal we wish to attain we force our actions to work towards that goal progressively. For instance, should someone wish to be a bestselling author (like me J ) then they should envision what it would be like to see their bestselling book in the book store. This end goal helps to provide motivation and makes us continually work towards what we really want in life. Motivation is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How to get in the Habit: Imagine this is the last day of your life. You are an old person, having lived a healthy and positive life. Look back on your life, imagining that everything you wanted to happen did happen.
Movie Characters Who Will Inspire the Habit: Frodo & Sam
Frodo and Sam don’t know much about the lands they must journey through in The Lord of the Rings; they’ve never stepped outside the Shire. The only thing they know is that they have a mission; first to get to the The Prancing Pony and later to hurl the ring of power into Mount Doom. Knowing only their quest, Frodo and Sam set out on an adventure that will have them come across friend and foe, forests and marshlands, all of which they pass through with their goal in mind: to get to Mount Doom.
“There is some good in this world. And it’s worth fighting for” [Sam Quote]
How To Become successful in Life, Habit 3: Prioritise
Highly successful people are able to prioritise, to set aside what they want in the moment for what they want in the future and to place importance above urgency. They continually strive for a goal that is personally important to them and they reshape their time, effort and actions towards the accomplishment of those goals. Prioritising is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How to get in the Habit: Make a plan of campaign for the next week, a logical set of steps that will lead you to a positive conclusion at the end of the week and live for seven days according to the plan. At the end of the week, look back on the plan and change any areas that could be more effective / productive. Rinse and repeat.
Movie Character Who Will Inspire the Habit: Jim Garrison
In JFK, Jim Garrison is set the gargantuan task of bringing to justice those responsible for the Kennedy assassination. The take is one that is immensely important to Jim Garrison; it literally defines his existence. He begins with a vague idea of how to carry out his task, but over the three hours of the film he must continually reshape both his plan and his vision as he comes across a constant line of hurdles.
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall” [Jim Garrison Quote]
How To Become Successful in Life, Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Highly successful people think in terms of win-win, realising that a resolution that benefits all involved is better than a resolution benefiting only one individual. Positivity is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How to get in the Habit: Look for ways in which you share hopes with other people. Try to stop being overly competitive and instead seek the mutual ground. If you have a business venture, be aware of the ways in which you could work with others (both individuals and other businesses) to create a beneficial situation for all parties.
* Read my guide to the best mindset for success.
Movie Character who Inspires the Habit: Trevor McKinney
In Pay it Forward, Trevor McKinney comes up with a very simple plan in which people can be drawn closer together such that what is good for one becomes good for all. His idea is that instead of paying something back, you pay it forward to another. Trevor has rightly inspired and motivated millions through his compassion and love for other people.
“I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change.
‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.” [Trevor Mckinney quote]
How To Become successful in Life Habit 5: Seek first to Understand, Then to be Understood
Highly successful people have a high degree of empathy and listen with genuine interest and compassion to other people. Not only does this greatly help strengthen their relationships but it also makes them far more likely to be listened to, themselves, in return.
How to get in the Habit: Practice makes perfect. Ask people how their day was and try to listen with open ears, silencing your own thoughts and allowing the other person to genuinely have your attention.
Movie Character who Inspires the Habit: Spiderman
Spiderman is almost certainly the most respectful and compassionate superhero and the best listener (at least amongst those who have major movie releases after them). This is best illustrated when he is listening either to Uncle Ben or to Aunt May. He’s always asking questions to, like when he is enquiring about Otto or Norman Osborne about their inventions, and he is always genuinely interested.
“Not everyone is meant to make a difference.
But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option. ” [Spiderman Quote]
How To Become Successful in life, Habit 6: Synergise
Highly successful people recognise that we all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses and that only by working together can we really achieve the best. They are also very good at getting people to work in teams and at strengthening the bond between individuals in the team. The ability to syngergise is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How to get in the Habit: Try to fairly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses both of yourself and of those you work with. Notice the contrast between people and recognise how two people with different characters can mutually benefit one another. This will help to understand the importance of team work. Also sharpen your listening skills and quiet your own thoughts, demands and concerns in order to provide more room for others. In group settings, strive for a safe environment where all feel free and comfortable to express themselves and their ideas.
Movie Character who will Inspire the Habit: the friends in IT
The mention of IT here might raise a few eyebrows especially given other notable teamwork movies like Remember the Titans. After all, horror movies aren’t generally considered for their positive inspiration of teamwork, but IT is a brilliant exception. In IT all the friends face a terrible monster who cripples them with fear (also cripples this writer with fear but that’s a different story). Pennywise the clown looks to kill off the children, and later the adults, one by one, and it is only through the power of their friendship and their ability to truly be there for one another that they are able to overcome this powerful enemy.
There was some force guiding us that summer.
It either came to help us or we created it. But maybe… maybe it’s still here. [Bill Denbrough Quote]
How To Become Successful in life, Habit 7: Self Renewal
Highly Successful people take time to revitalise themselves spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically. In a nutshell, we must make sure that we keep our most valuable tools, ourselves, in tip-top condition. Self renewal is a huge part of how to become successful in life, so get in this rule today.
How to get in the Habit: Start listening to yourself. Do you need a fresh perspective? If so speak to friends or take in amazing new information be it through movies, books, games, art or any other source of inspiration. Are you feeling sluggish or tired? Get to the gym or, if you’ve overworked yourself, take a day off. Just be honest with yourself and do what you need to do to be at the top of your game.
Movie Character who Inspires the Habit: Luke Skywalker
In the Degobah sequence of The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda instructs Luke about a great many truths in life, most of which pertain to his mastery of himself. These include letting go of anger, learning to appreciate the beauty of the world, relaxing and accepting reality, training to become physically fit, recognising both his strength and his weaknesses (implied by Yoda telling him not to confront Vader), and above all else, he must recognise that there is a developmental process. Luke wants to fight, to defeat evil and to bring peace, but Yoda teaches him that, essentially, to take on too much too soon would lead to his ruin. There are a great many points made in this iconic movie scene, but pervading it all is the sense that Luke must recognise, understand and work with himself; if he is to succeed, he must master the art of living itself.
“Control. Control. You must learn control.” [Yoda Quote]
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