The 6 Elements of Success - Neurology of Success Part III

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Posted on: Saturday 10, September 2016
Category: Thought Leadership

Part III of the Neurology of Success series. The article suggests that success requires six elements to achieve winning outcomes for yourself or to lead your team.   

[4 minutes to read]

Let’s begin with a definition of success:

“To achieve results wanted or hoped for, that provides positive results.” (Cambridge English Dictionary).

However, I believe that defining success is complex because it has multiple dimensions. Here’s my theory:

Two ideas to get us going

Part I explored core purpose and how the desire to achieve comes from peoples’ back-stories. Back-stories are a powerful and emotive driving force. Steve Jobs said that purpose is: 'what makes your heart sing?" Everyone has a back-story – a ‘reason why’ if you like. We can all tap into our back-stories. For example - how you overcame your past obstacles, fears, and limiting beliefs, etc.

"A nemesis pushes you to reach deep and use your skills, talents, and abilities to their fullest" (Darren Hardy)

Back-stories describe how you grow beyond basic needs like survival, safety, and protection, etc. That awakens your passions and leads you to be your very best you. This simple formula summarises the concept:

Success = Passion – Interference

Part II I suggested a model that breaks down what you want and hope for into three basic chunks:

Thinking + Feeling + Action

(IE. Have a core purpose, a determined positive mindset and practice and repetition)

"Your brain hides a great secret to achievement and motivation that you can hack into. All you have to do is 'find your fight' to overcome your failures" (Darren Hardy - paraphrased)

The six elements of success

However, these only tell part of the story.  So I’ve developed a more cohesive model that sets out all the elements needed for sustained success.

(It includes psychological and practical applications.)

Testing the model

During Preparation for the Rio Olympics, Britain’s (GB) cycling team had a ‘Room X.' A top secret science behind GB team’s success in the velodrome. Team GB set out small incremental improvements across all six elements. The team called these ‘marginal gains.'

For example, all athletes relentlessly competed (Practice and Repetition + Honing Skills). They used the best technology and equipment and the best nutrition advice too (Best Quality Resources).

Psychologically each athlete was at their best (Being Your Very Best 'You') and at the top of their game. They believed in themselves and each other. The Team focused on winning (Mindset – Positive Determination). These culminated into Rio’s winning formula. Also, one person’s medal win boosted the whole team’s motivation.

The entire Team GB Cycling culture gears its athletes around great teamwork. The team has a single aim - podium success (a Core Purpose – Reason Why)!

The GB Cycling Team approach was not only used at Rio. The team has applied the concept of marginal gains since the Beijing 2008 Olympics. It’s not just used by the Cycling Team either!  The whole Team GB (including Paralympians) adopted the same joined-up approach. Perhaps this was the reason for GB being 2ndin the Rio medal table! The medal count and coming above China were tangible ways to measure success!

Testing with failure

GB’s Tom Daley also had a core purpose at Rio – go for Gold in the 10m dive. He had already won gold at the European Championships. At Rio, Tom also bagged a Bronze Olympic medal for the synchro 10m dive. In the men's 10m individual prelims he set a world record beating score.  Tom was on for Gold and seemed unstoppable.  But, in the semi-finals, he frustratingly dive-bombed out without even qualifying for the final! What went wrong for Tom?

Had Tom peaked too soon? Perhaps. However, 5 of the above six elements were present. The one element missing that gut wrenching day was: Mind-set – Positive determination.  

What can we all learn?

As mentioned in part II - 'the battles that count aren’t for gold medals, it’s about the struggles within yourself.' (Jesse Owens)

Perhaps for all of us, we can learn that there is no such thing as a certainty to achieve what you want. However, hope is a powerful motivator. One thing holds true, achieving success is a test of your determination and to not give up and to overcome failure after failure. Such internal struggles hone our back-stories (see part I).

Back to Tom Daley - no doubt we’ll see him go for Gold again at Tokyo 2020!

"People don't want to hear about your successes until they know you understand their failures" (Darren Hardy)

Applying the six elements of success

Whatever you want to achieve, it’s vital to plan ahead. Here’s a practical way of using the Six Elements for Success. Try it out for yourself, or use it to lead your team:

Start with the psychological elements:

1.     What’s your back-story (see part I)? As you begin to understand ‘what makes your heart sing,' your inner passions become ignited.

That will help you to define your Core Purpose – Reason Why

2.     Access your inner strengths and what you are good at – what makes you ‘you’? (see Strength Finder tool reference at end).

That will clarify your inner resources Being Your Very Best 'You' that will help you to achieve what you want.

3.     Identify what is stopping you. To overcome your interferences and discover your passions go hand-in-hand (see part I). To feel good about yourself and what you want to achieve helps to create your motivation and drive (see part II). Mind-set – Positive Determination.

Now think about the practical applications:

4.     What Best Quality Resources will you need?

5.     What skills do you need to master? – Honing Skills

6.     What’s your plan for Practice and Repetition, that'll lead to mastery?

Remember too, to achieve success comes step by step, nudge by nudge through cumulative ‘marginal gains.'

'It's the difference that makes the difference!'

(For a proforma to help you complete the above, please Contact Me)

Can you cheat success?

One thought to finish on – can you cheat your way to success?  Cheating was a comment raised in Parts I & II.

Doping scandals at the Olympics present a recent example. To cheat for fame, wealth or social status might be others.

Well, the above model assumes you achieve success in a fair and moral way. But it doesn’t filter out being able to cheat – the same six elements could be present. However, the psychological elements would become twisted and distorted.

I believe that real success comes from deep within. It’s enduring. At its essence, a purpose requires growth, truth trust, honesty, and integrity, etc. – hence, to become The Very Best You. It requires that you overcome your shadow side. That way you gain the right to deserve success.

We all know that true success doesn’t come by being a cheat. Deep-down a cheat is driven by fear, greed, or survival, etc. A Cheat creates counterfeit success, which we should all oppose.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the Neurology of Success Series and you've found it useful.


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