How to Achieve Success: 21 Tips to Live By

By Michael Stelzner

How do I know if I have achieved success?  Am I there yet?  What do I need to do to help my journey?

These are great thoughts to ponder.  Frankly, I ask myself these very questions.

My good friend Bob Bly has published a great list of secrets to success.  If you do not know Bob, he’s written about 70 books and for sure has achieved success.  Pay attention to his wisdom as I paraphrase his list:

 1—Be yourself. Do not pretend to be someone or something you are not. Your uniqueness will appeal to a certain segment of the market — and may hold the greatest appeal to them.

2—Following your passion – doing what you love – does not guarantee financial success. But not doing what you love for a living guarantees a life of boredom and unhappiness at work.

3—The trick, then, is to find a niche where your passions and interests intersect with the needs of the market. As Aristotle said, “Therein lies your vocation.”

4—Learn a financially valuable skill so you can command a high salary or (if you are self employed) a large fee. Those workers and service providers who command top dollar either (a) perform a service that makes or saves their employer or client money or time, (b) have a skill where the demand for that skill exceeds the supply, or (c) specialize in a narrow niche with little competition.

5—Given the choice, have your children when you are young and possess the energy it takes to a family.

6—Spend as much time as you can with your children when they are young and still want you, even if you must make sacrifices in your professional achievements to do so. The time passes quickly and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

7—The best piece of financial advice I ever got was from Florida freelance writer David Kohn, who told me: “Live below your means.” Doing so further enhances your financial security.

8—Use your money to buy income-producing assets, assets that appreciate in value, or services that free up your time for other activities.

9—Avoid debt of any kind to the extent you are able. I have zero consumer debt except the mortgages on investment properties.

10—Every day you wake up and everyone in your family is in good health, and you have food to eat and a decent place to live, you are ahead of the game.

11—Always in your business, under-promise and over-deliver. Give your customers not their money’s worth, but more than they have a right to expect. Err on the side of being too generous rather than being too rigid or strict.

12—Before criticizing the work of a supplier or vendor, say something positive – what you like about the work — first. The more insulted a vendor feels, the less motivated they become to do good work for you.

13–Do not allow yourself to be belittled, insulted, or demeaned verbally or in writing by others. When someone makes a snide or degrading comment, your reply should be: “What was your purpose in making that comment to me?” It will stop them in their tracks, and embarrass them so they never do it again to you.

14—Don’t give unsolicited advice.

15—To paraphrase Dan Kennedy, guard your time like the gold in Fort Knox. You can always make more money, but time lost or wasted is gone forever.

16Successful people are able to make swift decisions and carry them out with speed.

17—The #1 difference between successful people and those less successful is that successful people act on their ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Without action, ideas are worthless.

18—Do not think you must reinvent the wheel on every new product or business project. Most things have already been done before. All you need to do is add a twist or put your own spin on a product or service to create demand and make it profitable.

19—If you are successful, you can be arrogant and boastful. But why do it? Your bragging makes others who are less successful feel badly about themselves. What’s the point of doing that? Be modest and humble. Don’t push your achievements in other people’s faces.

20—Don’t refer to yourself as a genius or superstar in your marketing copy. If you were a genius, you wouldn’t have to say it – instead others would be saying it and you could quote them.

21—Focus on your work – on creating valuable products, giving great service, going the extra mile for your customers – rather than how much money you want to make.

Here’s my addition: Do good for others without expecting anything in return:  This has been one of my top secrets to success.  Not only does the Good Book say we should do this, it has practical implications to your success.  Just try.

Lets hear your thoughts and additions??

Receive email updates when new articles are posted.

  • Stephen A.

    All of these are great secrets to success but I LOVE your additional success secret: Do good for others without expecting anything in return! My personal motto is “Others First” and it works as a great philosophy in business and in life.

  • Anne Wayman

    great post Michael, helpful. Doing random acts of kindness anonymously is also a great practice.

    Anne Wayman’s last blog post..Should You Write For Free?

  • Kimberlee Ferrell

    I really enjoyed this helpful list! Thank you for sharing. I might add that you want to make everything as easy as possible for your customer. The more difficult it is to work with you, the less likely they will continue.


  • Cheryl Smith

    Great Tips…..How about approach each day as if were your last one on earth

  • J.D. Meier

    I like the precision and the way they resonate.

    #14 is so true. Without motivation first, it falls on deaf ears and ruins rapport.

    J.D. Meier’s last blog post..Actions, Insights and Notes

  • Erik | Taylor

    I like the tip on living below your means. Not doing so is just a recipe for disaster, maybe not immediately, but eventually. I would just add, though you already pointed it out, try to do some unsolicited good on a regular basis. Doesn’t have to be big. A small favor for a stranger will do. It just helps to remind us that the world is a better place for our having been alive.

    Erik | Taylor’s last blog post..Taylor Vaifanua | American Idol

  • Whitening System

    All of your 21 points is great. I goona try to implement in our professional life.
    Really thats great post .Thanks Michael for this post.

  • Jacques Seoman

    The not giving of unsolicited advice is definitely my personal favourite, closely followed by the need for being humble in one’s success. 21 Great Tips that will definitely help ease one’s journey through this existence!

  • liav awards

    Terrific Michael ! Terrific! Your top 21 success secret are terrific. It is helpful and doing random great practice acts of kindness.

  • health retreat

    I feel that this post is going to be very much helpful for me. The main thing is that how well you documented these 21 tips for achieving success. Really very Nice effort you put in making such a great post.

  • Hilton Head Island Rental

    Nice tips! All the tips you mentioned here for achieving success are great.
    I want to share all these tips with my friends also. I Like your 19 tip the most where you say a successful man should not be arrogant & boastful.

  • banbarak

    These all are the great secrets of gaining success. One more thing i would like to convey from my side that is, making a right decision at the right time is one of the success key, Always be positive, keep in your mind one thing that you can do each and every thing all powers are with in you. A little progress every day makes up to big Results.

    banbarak’s last blog post..Acupuncture Quit Smoking

  • catylincairo

    Success is one which everybody likes to get it. But we shouldn’t expect it without doing hardwork. I think smartwork sounds better here..

    catylincairo’s last blog post..Carrollton, Texas

  • Sandra Dowson

    Michael, thanks for such helpful pointers, especially the ones about getting a niche where one’s passions and interests runs into the market necessities, and learning a financially precious skill, along with avoiding or getting rid off all debts.

  • Xander

    I love the fact that you haven’t limited success to business and work achievements.. As important as work is to all of us, the legacy of success we’ll leave behind us involves our mark on our industry as well as the lives we’ve personally touched on this journey.

  • angelia110

    <h2 align=”center”>Don't Do For Ugg Boots UK</h2>

    –>If you own a pair of Ugg boots, ugg classic short, be sure to take proper care of them and clean them regularly. With the proper care and cleaning, Uggs can last several years or even a lifetime.

    You love sheepskin footwear and ugg classic because they are comfortable and fashionable. How to keep them looking great? The following are a few tips to help you to know what you don't do for your natural beauty and functionality uggs.

    –>Tip one, don't store your cardy boots ugg in a light place. Because they can bleach in extreme sunlight.

    –>Tip two, ugg boots should not be worn in extremely moist or muddy conditions as moisture can cause problems.

    –>Tip three, don't clean the exterior of? your uggs knightsbridge with a hard brush or cloth at first time dirty.

    –>Tip four, trying not to saturate the sheepskin footwear with water, especially warm or hot water. And don't clean them in a washing machine or dryer, this will cause problems with shrinkage and can adversely change the sheepskin.

    –>Tip five, if need, except specially detergent for sheepskin product, just like classic ugg mini, don't use any wool detergent. Also don't use high concentration cleaning solution.

    –>Some suggestions for you to protect your natural beauty and functionality uggs long periods of time. And also hoping to help you solving your hesitation, spending little time to know more information about ugg boots.

    –>All rights reserved, reprint, please specify source comes from button,ugg knightsbridge boots,cardy boots,ugg tall classic

  • preseetha

    wonderful quotes you have conveyed thanks to you you said about my own character