People who have attained excellence follow a consistent path to success. The first step to this formula is to know your outcome, that is, to define precisely what you want. The second step is to take action otherwise your desires will always be dreams. You must take the types of actions you believe will create the greatest probability of producing the result you desire. The actions we take do not produce the results we desire, so the third step is to develop the sensory acuity to recognize the kinds of responses and results, you are getting from your actions and to note as quickly as possible if they are taking you closer to your goals or farther away. You must know what you are getting from your actions, whether it be in a conversation or from your daily habits in life. If what you’re getting is not what you want, you need to note what results your actions have produced so that you learn from every human experience. And then you take the fourth step, which is to develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you get what you want. If you look at the successful people, you will find they followed these steps. They started with a target, because you can’t hit one you don’t have one. They took action, because just knowing is not enough. They had the ability to read others, to know what response they were getting. And they kept adapting, kept adjusting, kept changing their behavior until they found what worked.
Consider Steven Spielberg. At the age of thirty six, he has become the most successful filmmaker in history. He is already responsible for four of the ten top grossing films of all time, including E T, The Extra Terrestrial, the highest grossing film ever. How did he reach that point at such a young age? It’s a remarkable story.
From the age of twelve or thirteen, Spielberg knew he wanted to be a movie director. His life changed when he took a tour of Universal Studios one afternoon when he was seventeen years old. The tour didn’t quite make it to the sound stages, where all the action was, so Spielberg, knowing his outcome, took action. He snuck off by himself to watch the filming of a real movie. He ended up meeting the head of Universal’s editorial department, who talked with him for an hour and expressed an interest in Spielberg’s films.
For most people that’s where the story would have ended. But Spielberg wasn’t like most people. He had personal power. He knew what he wanted. He learned from his first visit, so he changed his approach. The next day, he put on a suit, brought along his father’s briefcase, loaded with only a sandwich and two candy bars, and returned to the lot as if he belonged there. He strode purposefully past the gate guard that day. He found an abandoned trailer and, using some plastic letters, put Steven Spielberg, Director on the door. Then he went on to spend his summer meeting directors, writers, and editors, lingering at the edges of the world he craved, learning from every conversation, observing and developing more and more sensory acuity about worked in moviemaking.
Finally at age twenty, after becoming a regular on the lot, Steven showed Universal a modest film he had put together, and he was offered a seven year contract to direct a TV series. He’d made his dream come true.
Did Spielberg follow the Ultimate Success Formula? He sure did. He had the specialized knowledge to know what he wanted. He took action. He had the sensory acuity to know what results he was getting, whether his actions were moving him closer to or farther from his goal. And he had the flexibility to change his behavior to get what he wanted. Virtually every successful person does the same thing. Those who succeed are committed to changing and being flexible until they do create the life that they desire.