We all look for the secrets to success. Sometimes that secret is talent, or experience, or luck -- usually a combination of the three.
And sometimes that secret is as straightforward as organizing your life in a simple and fundamental way.
That's true for Conor McGregor, UFC featherweight champion and -- even though you might think this next fact totally invalidates my premise -- the loser of a recent non-title fight with Nate Diaz. McGregor was originally scheduled to fight Rafael dos Anjos for his lightweight title until a broken foot caused dos Anjos to withdraw; McGregor fought Diaz at 25 pounds above the featherweight class.
So you could say his loss makes him unsuccessful, but I disagree. I don't know any successful people who have not failed a number of times. In fact, one of the reasons extremely successful people become successful is because they try, and fail, and learn, and try again.
Successful people are, if nothing else, relentless.
"You've most likely heard the saying that a measure of power is how long you can keep people waiting. But for McGregor, powerful as he is right now, that's not really what this is about. You'd be hard-put to call McGregor a prima donna celebrity -- not as long as he still thanks the countless fans after happily poses with them for photos. This is not another self-absorbed athlete -- not as long as he ventures into monologues about the 'deep responsibility' that comes with being an Irish champion, or talks with humility about 'showing up to the gym every day as a white belt.'"
"What we have instead is an athlete so singularly committed to his craft --'obsessed' is the word he uses again and again -- that any decision he faces is viewed through a prism of, Does this help my fighting? If the answer is slow in coming, the commitments fall by the wayside, not unlike so many of McGregor's recent opponents. Text messages and voice mails pile up. Clocks are merely decorative. Food and drink are important only as they pertain to fighting weight. McGregor's friends, family, and longtime girlfriend know about his organizing principles."
That's how McGregor succeeds. He asks a simple question, "Does this help my fighting?" If it will, it becomes a priority... and if it won't, it doesn't.
Imagine if you approached your day the same way, viewing every choice through the lens of what is most important to you.
That's what Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, does. He applies a simple framework to every issue: Will this help Southwest be the low-cost provider? If so, the answer is yes. If not, no.
You can apply the same framework to the decisions you make. Just ask yourself one question: "Will this help me reach my goal?"
If not, don't do it -- at least not right now.
And before you think applying that simple framework means you have to be "on" 24/7, think again. Rest is important. Recharging your physical and emotional batteries is important.
Often you'll make the decision to step away from work to spend time with your family, because family is also important to you. Often you'll decide to step away from work to exercise, or meditate, or spend time with friends -- the decisions you make will be based on the way you define success.
If you feel you aren't as successful as you would like (and who amongst us is?), take a step back to think about your goals. Define what success means to you. Then let your definition of success -- then your goals -- create the framework for how you will live your life every day.
That's why Conor McGregor seems so confident and decisive. That's why every successful person seems confident and decisive.
Indecision is born from lack of purpose. When you know what you truly want and commit to achieving it, most of your decisions should be almost automatic.
And over time your success will start to feel almost automatic, too -- because you'll be doing a lot more of the things you need to do to reach your goals.
Sure, sometimes you'll fail... but with time, persistence and focus, you'll get there.