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  • Steven Woda

How Do Successful People Get That Way?

My undergraduate alma mater, Florida Southern College, had its annual homecoming this past weekend, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it back for the event. However, it did get me thinking about my college experience and what I learned during my four years in Lakeland, Florida.

I think about one of my former professors often. Jeff Wiley taught finance, but the greatest gift he gave me had little to do with finance. One day in class in 1989, Col. Wiley decided to talk about how to be successful. He wanted to share his thoughts about how we would ultimately achieve success beyond the grounds of FSC. He gave each of us a brief handout that provided his view of how to be successful in life, and I thought I would share it with you.

How Do Successful People Get That Way? 1) They have plenty of drive. 2) They accept responsibility cheerfully. 3) They know that success is never an accident. 4) They know that the customer is their real "boss". 5) They look, listen, and learn. 6) They find out if they’re not sure. 7) They set an example to others. 8) They know that the next field only looks greener. 9) They welcome new ideas. 10) They profit by their mistakes. 11) They speak clearly and convincingly. 12) They don’t expect all the credit. 13) They cooperate. 14) They realize that their future is their own responsibility. 15) They think things through…first. 16) They believe that good manners are good business. 17) They know the world does not owe them a living. 18) They are willing to go that "extra mile". 19) They are careful about their finances. 20) They set a goal for themselves. 21) They realize that everything worth having has a price tag. 22) They keep physically and mentally fit. 23) They earnestly want to succeed. 24) They know the value of enthusiasm. 25) They make others feel important. 26) They try to help the "boss". 27) They never "pass the buck". 28) They control their temper. 29) They consider work a privilege, not a chore. 30) They are their own severest critic. 31) They’ve learned that easy does it. 32) They try to cut expenses. 33) They never forget!

Obviously, as flawed humans, none of us will ever be able to live up to all of these ideal attributes. However, Col. Wiley’s advice on how to be a successful person is inspirational to me, and I hope you enjoy it as well. Have a nice weekend!

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