Rules for becoming a success

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Keys to Success.
Photo courtesy of

Rules for creating a successful life.

Following a few simple rules increases the chances that you will have a successful life. Keep in mind that it is important that you have defined what success means to you. Too many people have chased success only to find that the thing they had been chasing was not what they really wanted. If you are headed towards something that you call success these are some ways to arrive at that destination.

Having goals increases success.

Knowing where you are going helps you get there. If you aim at nothing, so we are told, you will hit it. You can travel all you want but if you have no destination in mind you will never get anywhere in particular.

Sometimes wandering has its place in your life. Going out and experiencing unexpected things can add variety and excitement to your life, but sooner or later you need to develop a plan, even if that plan is to wander and collect experiences, or you will wake up one day and find that you lived your life but are unhappy with how little you have accomplished.

Having a goal in mind, a goal that is consistent with your values will keep you on track to reach what you view as success.

Enjoying the journey is a form of success.

Successful people discover that the journey is the reward. Happy people enjoy doing the thing they are doing. When you love what you do it is never work even if others pay you to pursue your love.

Sometimes the journey will be difficult, it may be rough, but if you are headed where you want to go and you enjoy doing the things you are doing, the journey will turn out to have been well worth the effort.

Take good companions with you enlarges your success.

Many hands make the load lighter. Have you heard that one? It is true. Even hard work and trying times are more manageable when you are in the company of others that share your values and goals.

For more success keep asking how this could be done better.

Life is a process of growth.  Look for better ways to do things. Especially look for easier ways to do better things. A sometimes success is easier than staying stuck in the old ways you have tried and failed.

To reach success fail early and often.

Failures and mistakes are not optional. Successful people make lots of errors. They try and they learn from the trying. Try lots of things. Discover what works, what needs more practice and also learn to eliminate those things that were not worth the effort.

Succeed more by know when to give up.

Most very successful people have tried many things before they found the one thing that made them a success. If a business is losing money, change what you are doing or end it. Same with relationships. Some friendships can be repaired and some need to be left behind.

Don’t give up on things because they are hard because others tell you that it can’t be done or because you get tired. Do give up when you decide that this is not a good idea or will not be worth the price you had to pay to accomplish this goal.

Successful people do not give up before it is time.

Don’t stop making the effort just short of the goal. Do not quit college in the last year or stop playing in the last quarter. Put in the effort to see things through to a logical conclusion.

You may not win this game this time but the lessons you learn from seeing something through to the conclusion will be valuable next time. Did not get that job you wanted? Do not stop trying. Each interview should be teaching you skills to make the next one better.

Most would be writers have books tucked away in drawers or on hard drives that never made it to publication. The ones who succeed keep writing and presumably learn from those early less-than-adequate projects. The ones who stop, they never become writers.

To succeed put in the time and the sweat.

Big successes take a big effort. Give all you have. Some people have misread this principle to mean that you have to sacrifice yourself for your goals. You need to keep your life in balance. There needs to be time for self-care, your family, and recreation.

What putting the time and sweat in means is that when you are there be there. Give totally to doing your best while you are working. When you have unbudgeted time put that in on your project.

Very successful people make commitments to themselves and they show up and do the work fully at each of the scheduled times.

To succeed stop making excuses or blaming others.

If things are not going well, take the responsibility. Had a competitor with an unlimited budget opened up? Do not blame your failure on them. Look for ways to work around this or end this project and move on.

You had a great idea for a book about a boy wizard and a school for young wizards and they tell you that one has already been done? Look for some other great idea.

 Take calculated risks to succeed.

The best kind of risks to take are the ones where you go in eyes wide open, your homework done. but you see a way you can do better at this than others have done. Life has risks. You have to take chances. You can’t win if you don’t play. It helps to know if the odds are one in a billion or there is a 90% chance you can do this.

Rig the odds whenever possible. Get more education than others. Practice more hours. Develop better skills and better connections. Your support system, mentors, and your personal mental wellness all matter.

Look at things with a new set of eyes.

Do not try to succeed solely by working harder, longer and cheaper than others. Look for other options. Do something new, innovative and different.

Do not try to do and control everything – delegate, get specialists on your team.

No one has the time in life to develop skills in every aspect. Learning is great but so is recognizing when you need the help of experts. Trying to do everything yourself results in very small projects and little getting done. The most successful people know when they should do something and when they need experts.

See a lawyer, accountant, doctor or mental health professional. Do not wait for the breakdown to ask for help. Invest in education, financial soundness, and mental wellness and see how far you can go.

How is your journey to success going?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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