- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 24, 2006

CNN anchorman Anderson Cooper, in his address to graduates at Yale recently, made some excellent points. However, he forgot to mention success comes as we apply certain principals to our lives. Here are some key points you may not have learned in a college classroom but which are necessary for anyone’s success:

(1) Find your own path: Each person is born with a unique character. In the same way, the path toward each individual’s success is unique as well. Find your own path and follow it. Listen to your intuition and realize your natural gifts. Don’t let anyone’s concept of who they think you are limit you. Single-minded focus, hard work and unchanging determination will get you further faster than your title as a “college graduate.” When your heart says do it, just do it.

(2) Keep believing in your dreams; never give up: So many great people have gone through such unbelievable difficulty or loss. Read any presidential biography. When things were tough and they couldn’t see their way out of a dark situation, they just put one foot in front of the other. If you hit a brick wall, look for three alternatives; go under over or around but don’t give up. This is especially true when looking for a job.

(3) No concepts, no limitations: We have a tendency to put everything into neat little boxes and not step outside our comfort zone. Success is often developed outside the box. Look at Albert Einstein, Bill Gates or Mother Theresa. They challenged the norm and the impossible became possible. Try to challenge your limitations every day. It’s the fastest way to grow.

(4) Take responsibility for your actions, words, time and life: Don’t make excuses. Instead of justifying bad behavior, humbly apologize when you’re wrong. This will win the trust of everyone. When you are going to be late, call and let people know. When you promise something, keep your promises. Integrity speaks volumes, irresponsibility speaks even louder. Become a respected individual. If you have lost your integrity, you have lost everything. Never take that which does not belong to you. Misuse of public money has destroyed many a career.

(5)Empowering others’ success will empower you: Each person you meet has something of value to share. Look for the good points in those with whom you work and help them become successful. Becoming a team player will help others realize you are a natural leader. Be sincere and always give credit where credit is due. Treat others with respect, even if they treat you like dirt. Unseen eyes may be watching and good behavior never goes unrecognized for long.

(6)Develop the right attitude: You worked hard for your education. But who provided you with everything else, including the ability to walk, talk, see, breathe and work? These are all gifts from God. What we do with all we have been given is our gift to God. Use your life and your time wisely to inspire, uplift and be a blessing to others. Be grateful even for difficulty, knowing whatever crosses your path will grow you and train you.

Try not to complain. Make these words your mantra: I can, I will, it’s possible and I’m grateful. Success comes to those with a positive attitude and optimistic mind.

(7) Never fear to get your hands dirty: Volunteer for the toughest jobs, work the longest hours and undertake the most difficult situations. CEOs and mangers notice those who sacrifice. Don’t think something or someone is beneath you. Value the lowest person on the totem pole as much as the highest. Everyone’s effort is necessary to succeed.

(8) Dress for the job you want, not the job you have: If you look like management material, you are half way there. Women should wear only one set of earrings and cover up tattoos unless applying for a job with a punk rock band. Never wear low-cut blouses or short skirts. Look professional, act professional and you will be viewed as a professional. This will help jump-start your career. Your look needs to appeal to the broadest number of people, not the management at Hooters or Biker Week magazine.

(9) Success equals prayer: Take time morning or evening to understand what God’s plan is for your life, those around you, the world, etc. Prayer and study heightens your vision. The greatest inspiration comes from God. Intuition is the highest level of intellect, and it comes as we develop a connection to the source of all knowledge. The deeper the connection, the greater your success will be, not just on Earth but forever.

(10) Live for the sake of others: Leaders need to serve the most, not be served. If you want to succeed develop an attitude of service. Sacrifice for the whole and bring harmony in any situation. This kind of behavior is so unique today everyone will notice. Business is about service, marriage is about service, and our lives are about serving others. If we learn this while young, and make this our No. 1 habit, we will automatically become successful.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a lifelong learner, try to utilize these keys. In the end, it’s not about who made the most money or who has the most toys. It’s about becoming a successful member of the human race, no matter the profession you have chosen. If we focus on that goal, everything will fall into place.


Betsy Orman has worked in the field of character education and leadership training for more than 20 years. She currently writes a weekly column, “For Your Inspiration ” in Milford, Conn.

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