10 Success Secrets

10 Success Secrets

Success Secrets Smorgasbord


If you’re anything like me, you’ve subscribed to a ridiculous number of mailing lists over the months and years. If you’re even more like me, a lot of them will be selfy-helpy efforts of one type or another.

So when yet another list of ‘success secrets’ slithered into my inbox I groaned of course and… clicked, just in case there were any I hadn’t seen before.

There weren’t many I hadn’t seen before but something about this list, combined with a few other factors, made me fire up my trusty mind mapping program and get creating.

Whether the result is a ‘success’ or not isn’t for me to say, but I hope you get something out of it anyway. Scroll down for a few comments on each of the categories and feel free to say hi in one of our Facebook mind mapping groups to discuss it further!

💡This mind map was started in iMindMap 9 and finished in iMindMap 10, in case you were wondering!

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🇬🇧 English Versions 🇬🇧

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🇫🇷 French Versions 🇫🇷

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🇪🇸 Spanish Versions 🇪🇸

Próximamente…
😟 (la paciencia es una virtud) 🙄

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Click HERE for Important Copyright Info

Feel free to use my ’10 Success Secrets’ mind map as follows:

1) For any NON-commercial use
2) Leave it EXACTLY as it is
3) Don’t change ANYTHING
4) Make sure the © Copyright text is included and intact
5) See 2) and 3) (you get the idea!)

You CAN reproduce it online or embed it in your blog or website as long as you…

6) Respect 1-5 above
7) Include a credit to ‘Sab Will / Mind Map Mad’ AND include a clickable link to this page ( http://www.mindmapmad.com/10-success-secrets/ ) on the web page next to or near the image – thanks! 

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1) On-Going Learning

You know me, can’t stand it when people go on and on about something of dubious worth. Unless it’s me, of course. And when it comes to on-going learning, well, try and stop me; that’s one of My Things, you know!

"10 success secrets" on-going learning "Mind Map Mad"But I’ll try to keep it short. Always be learning. That’s it. As far as I’m concerned, the moment you stop learning, you start dying. And as for those who go through life not actually learning anything new at all, well that’s downright criminal!

Some people think they know it all already, and for such cases it’s difficult to know what to do. Others know they don’t know it all and couldn’t care less. They get on with their lives, and for all I know (and suspect) they’re a good deal happier than many of us ‘searchers’.

When it comes to satisfying success, though, I do think that an open, inquisitive and constantly enquiring mind is a prerequisite. You ask how and why things work, and wonder if they could be done better or otherwise. Or completely scrapped and replaced with something entirely different.

And it’s good. We’re questioning, absorbing and analysing machines, capable of learning and improving anything or finding some sort of solution for practically every problem or challenge. Heck, that’s almost the definition of success!



2) Hard Work

As I mention later in the Focused Objectives section, it’s very hard to be successful, by almost any definition, by going nothing at all.

"10 success secrets" hard work "Mind Map Mad"Even those multi-millionaires who seem to make it look easy by making a few phone calls between ballooning around the world and chilling out on their private Caribbean island work damn hard, albeit smart too if they’re really good.

You’ve got to put the hours in, and not on pretend ‘busy’ work either. Shuffling papers and checking e-mails doesn’t cut it if it’s not directly related to bringing in the business.

Whether that business is winning an Olympic gold or writing a best-seller about wizards or organising a successful training course, you have to spend huge chunks of your life running around like a headless chicken, churning out plans and drafts like a mad scientist, and become an accomplished people-persuader into the bargain and not necessarily in that order.

Of course, you can employ cunning tactics like spending most of your time on the 20% of activities which supposedly get you 80% of the results you’re after but, if you’re anything like me, things never seem to work out the way they’re supposed to, no matter how many self-help books on the Pareto Principle I read… must’ve chosen the wrong 20% I guess.



3) Absorbing Activity

If you’ve ever heard of the idea of ‘flow’ you’ll know what this is about. You could also call it total focus or effortless concentration. Some people like athletes or artists talk about ‘begin in the zone’.

"10 success secrets" absorbing activity "Mind Map Mad"What happens is that when you get really absorbed in something you love doing or are fascinated by, such as painting or writing or planning or whatever, your state of consciousness changes. You lose yourself in the activity, in effect, and don’t notice time passing.

The idea is that not only do you get the work done, but you get it done supremely well, almost without thinking, and certainly without it feeling like a terrible effort or struggle. It sounds like quite something to aim for, doesn’t it?

I’ve felt this whilst painting or writing sometimes but the thing is, you only realise that you were in the zone when you snap out of it. It’s like daydreaming. You only become aware that your mind wandered off when someone snaps their fingers at you and tells you to “Wake up!” or something, and it’s usually quite annoying when someone does because you were having a great time in your mini out-of-mind experience!

The main gist of this approach is that you get great work done easily, but for this to work you have to love the activity you’re doing in the first place. And if this isn’t the case, perhaps it’s time to change activity.



4) Focused Objectives

There are so many of these “How to be successful” lists floating around the internet that there’s a tendency to forget that ‘being successful’ doesn’t actually mean anything; you have to be successful at something.

"10 success secrets" focused objectives "Mind Map Mad"Something like hitting balls over a net really well, or making strange noises with your throat people really like, or writing stunning blog articles people love reading, for example.

Even then, officially being considered ‘a success’ is generally defined by how much money your chosen activity causes to be thrown your way. I’m sure I’m gonna be ‘successful’ next year, I can feel it 😃

Unlike fame, where you can be very well known just for being someone else’s sister (Pippa Middleton) or wife (Melania Trump, Kim Kardashian, Michelle Obama) or son (Prince George, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, etc.), with success you have to earn it.

Earning it, and yes, I’m finally getting to the point, means doing one thing, a lot, as well as you can, for quite a long time. Which is where crystal-clear objectives come in and where I fall down; I’m terrible at it!

I’m just interested in too many thing but I’m doing my best to limit the number of distractions and at least churn out a few fun mind maps every year.

In the end I do adhere to the simple idea that most of the time you should just be working on one thing at a time, to completion, and that should be a thing that you actually want to get done. Even a couple of hours each day adds up to a lot of time over a few weeks and you get something worthwhile completed in the process.



5) Inspiring Environment

If you feel good where you are trying to be creative and productive, well, there’s a much better chance you’ll be so I reckon.

"10 success secrets" inspiring environment "Mind Map Mad"However, feeling comfortable and safe and relaxed is only one side of the story. The other is that your success-producing environment should be stimulating and inspiring too.

In other words, you shouldn’t be so comfortable that you aren’t motivated to come up with amazing new ideas or churn out prodigious amounts of content.

It may be that one single place is not the answer, and a great way to get fired up again is indeed to change your environment.

This may be physically, by going to the local park or just getting out of the office if you work in one, for example.

Or it can be by doing something which has absolutely nothing to do with the task at hand. Counter-intuitively, perhaps, it is when doing something else that you often come up with the best ideas. Bathrooms, showers and beds are often cited as good sources of unexpected inspiration.

I go running in the woods, and often have so many ideas that I’m literally racing against the clock to get home and note them down before I forget them all!



6) Redefine Failure

Wow, working in the education field, where kids are relentlessly tested using some of the most chronically flawed assessment systems you could possibly imagine, I could go on about the fallacy of ‘failure’ at some length.

"10 success secrets" redefine failure "Mind Map Mad"Suffice it to say that we should radically redefine our attitude to ‘not getting exactly the result we were hoping for’, if we haven’t done so already.

Failure is a dangerously outmoded concept used by people in boxes to place other people in boxes where we can all feel safe knowing where we belong in the system without anyone rocking the boat and risking drowning the whole lot of us.

I was a failure at drawing, brought home to me by a slap to the head from the art teacher when I used my brand new coloured pencils to draw a rainbow Coke can when it should have been done in grey lead pencil only.

I failed my French exam at the age of 15 although I enjoyed the lessons and liked the teacher.

I was even made to feel a failure when I graduated from university with an average grade, as I was made to understand that ‘I should have done better’. And so the long list of failures goes on throughout life.

Only, I got fed up with ‘failing’ on other people’s terms, so I stopped. Stopped failing, I mean, by simply redefining the word.

Now I do experiments and see what happens. I have a go and learn from each attempt. I enjoy getting better with each practice session, much as I enjoy watching my son fall off his bike less and less, until one day he rode away into the sunset with me cheering him on proudly.

Small, regular steps are the key. The brain needs time to make new actions and activities automatic, but with patience the good news is this: you can learn, become really good or ‘succeed’ (if you prefer) at practically anything, at any age. That’s a nice thought to end on, isn’t it?



7) Purposeful Tenacity

Stick at it. This is more and more often touted as the real secret of success in life.

We are touching a few of the other Top 10 items here, and so we should, because they don’t exist in isolation and are all intended to pull you towards the ultimate goal of living a rich and rewarding few decades, as defined by you.

"10 success secrets" purposeful tenacity "Mind Map Mad"

It’s funny, because we’re now living in a time when some of the greatest self-help success books are several generations old. That means that many of the people writing new ones will have grown up with older ones, but in the end there can only be a limited number of life-enhancing clichés to go round, can’t there.

So what do they do when they realise that there’s nothing more to add; that all the top life tips have actually already been written? Well… they go back to basics.

They repurpose and repackage and give it a snazzy name or coin a funky new acronym and hey presto, another bestseller making piles money for old rope. Heck, I think I’m even doing it myself (shhh) 😉

I told you the latest regurgitating of the blindingly obvious under new colours in the first three words of this section: stick at it. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

Let’s see if you can get your head around this. The earth-shaking idea is that if you stick at something for long enough, even if you only do a very small action towards the final goal each day, you’ll eventually get there. Dah dahhh!

It’s true though. I could have saved you hundreds or thousands of pounds or dollars or euros in self-help books just in that last paragraph. Feel free to show your appreciation!

Just do a little bit each day of whatever it is you’re trying to finish or learn or improve, for crying out loud, and you’ll finish that book / lose that weight / build that garage / tidy that office / learn that language / rebuild that relationship / launch that product.

Sure, it’s not always that simple, which is where things like action plans and deadlines and accountability partners and coaches and motivating articles and mind maps like this one come in, but hey, we know what to do now, and the only person stopping us from getting that job done, in the end, is ourselves, right?



8) Daring Boldness

There’s a famous study by a palliative nurse where she asked people at the end of their lives what they regretted most – yeah, real cheerful stuff, huh?

"10 success secrets" daring boldness "Mind Map Mad"It turns out it wasn’t not having owned that Ferrari or winning the lottery. Nor was more sex in there or bungy-jumping or buying more bagels to stuff in their faces.

The things they regretted were much more profound and more sobering. They wished they’d lived life on their terms, not those dictated by others or by society norms. They wished they hadn’t worked so hard. They wished they’d expressed their feelings more and stayed in touch with their friends.

They wished they’d let themselves be happier, and wished they’d realised they could have been at the time and not just at the end of their lives when all the artificial constraints and norms fall away. They’d like to have laughed more and been sillier more often…

It takes boldness and even audacity to break the mould and not just toe the company (or society or family) line like so many other sheep around us.

To succeed these days you need to stand out from the crowd in some way or other. Or at least it helps. We need to be brave enough and confident enough to dare to do things differently and come up with crazy sparks of ideas and not let them be snuffed out by the damp indifference or sceptical scowls of the wet blankets of this world.

I recently learnt the secret of happiness. And it’s humblingly simple. I imagine you probably want to know what it is. So I’ll tell you.

To be happy in life we just need to be recognised, heard, accepted and welcomed for what we are, without being judged. Everything we do in life, however sophisticated or complicated or obscure or bizarre all comes down to this fundamental need.

We can start by learning to feel good about ourselves as we are, which is often hard enough. When we try to simply be accepted by others though, without having their agendas (based on their very same needs) dumped all over us, it gets tricky.

However, if we start by trying to accept others as they are, by simply being there and listening without judging, they will start to receive what they need and will be more able to do the same for others.



9) Team Synergy

This might be a bit difficult to swallow for solitary types like me, but in the end we’re social creatures and working with others not only allows us to be far more successful than we could be alone, it’s actually quite nice dealing with Other People from time to time too!

"10 success secrets" team synergy "Mind Map Mad"I’ve long been the lone wolf and I doubt I’ll ever give up the feeling of being totally absorbed in some crazy new idea or project to go back to being just some cog in somebody else’s machine.

That said, even quirky creators and oddballs need a network consisting of a large number of talented folks doing their little bit as well as they can. I can buy (and fit) into that vision without any difficulty whatsoever, as long as I feel that those I’m dealing with are a bit passionate about what they are doing too.

One of my favourite activities is helping others to come up with great ideas or even solutions to their own problems or challenges which they wouldn’t have found without me. Not that it’s I who find the solutions, I just facilitate and stimulate, but that’s a highly satisfying activity.

In fact, I spend a lot of time talking to people in one way or another, always asking questions and listening carefully to the answers. I believe a great teacher is one who asks more questions than he gives answers. But then again my definition of teacher isn’t the same as some people’s, which is one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of those famous exams I was talking about earlier.

So whatever you do, be part of a team, whatever your definition of that might be. It’s just other people. Other people who you can inspire and be inspired by and who share something with you, be it a goal, a principle or simply a positive outlook on life. That last one is something I want all my team members to have.



10) Value Time

A couple of things here. The first one is, you can’t save time, or even manage it, that’s an impossibility. Time will pass, at exactly the same rate, for everyone on the planet, whether you like it or not.

"10 success secrets" value time "Mind Map Mad"What you can do, is manage or organise better what you do as time passes. If you decide to value your time more by organising what you do better than other people, or even just better than you used to, you’ll get more of the good things done as you live your life. And if that’s your definition of success, well, you’ll be more successful too!

The second thing about time is, enjoy the journey. You can have goals if you like: short, medium, long-term, whatever; but the thing is this: they will never be enough. You’ll enjoy achieving a major objective for about five minutes before you get used to it and start wondering about what’s next.

There’s more to life than money and there’s more to life than getting whatever it is you think will make you really, really, no-but-this-time REALLY happy. It’s bull.

Let’s get philosophical or zen or hippyish or whatever for a moment and accept something right now: it’s about the voyage, not the destination.

You need to be able to say, at the end of every day, yes, that was a great day! To take it to the extreme, you should also be able to say that yes, right now, as I say these words, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing and it is good. Or find a way to appreciate what you are doing even if it doesn’t seem to be that good.

Many people don’t look at things this way, and they end up spending their lives either living in the past (often regretting things they did or didn’t do), or dreaming about some fantastic fantasy future, whilst not doing anything in the present to make this daydream possible at a later date. Bummer.

But when you do live in the present, enjoying your waking (and snoozing) hours, working happily on a small part of a bigger plan, you end up – wait for it… enjoying your life on a day to day basis, AND you achieve a bunch of bigger goals over time into the bargain; BINGO – you’re successful!



So, Successful?

Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve got something out of this 10 Success Secrets list to add to your pile of life tips and self-help books and articles.

"10 success secrets" Sab Will graduation pictureI’m not a self-help or personal development professional nor do I specifically want to become one. Having said that I am drawn to the field of optimising lives based on what’s right for that life and the person who’s living it.

When all’s said and done, we all come and we all go, and if we can enjoy our time here just a little bit more, within ourselves and as part of a loving family, society and global community we will have achieved something worthwhile.

Let me end by saying that we are all wonderfully successful already: successful to have got this far; successful to be reading this article; successful to have friends or family who care for us; successful to be interested in things like self-improvement and, vitally, discovering more about what really makes us (and others) happy once the superficial things have been put back in their proper place.

And finally, I’m feeling pleased and successful to have finished this article, to have held your attention and interest to the end (unless you jumped ahead to the conclusion!) and to have shared these important ideas with you.

"10 success secrets" Sab Will & Léo in LondonI appreciate the time you took to read these words and hope you will join me somewhere on-line (or in real life) to continue the discussion. To your continued success, whatever that may be!

P.S. Little note about the pics. They’re both me. The first one, as you can see, is the supposed culmination of all those years of study at school, and don’t I look happy about finally clutching that sacred piece of paper under my arm? What a load of nonsense. The thing I was proudest of throughout my university (and latter school years) was having the longest hair in the establishment – long flowing blond locks, wow, how many girls fell for me back in those days just for that… 🙂

Then I got them cut, of course, because to get the holy grail of a ‘real job’ you couldn’t have long hair, for goodness sake; nope, it was time to get ‘serious’. And boy did I get serious. For about a year and a half. But that’s another story.

The second pic is me now, taken a couple of days ago in London. Now that’s happiness, and screw the diploma – you don’t need a university degree for that, thank goodness. Don’t get me wrong, I loved uni, just not exactly for the reasons I was supposed to, methinks 😀

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© 2016 Sab Will / Mind Map Mad


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Here are those download links again, and don’t forget to let me know what you think here. What do you reckon about my ’10 Success Secrets’ mind map? Same old same old or does it make you wanna get your sh*t together and sort your life out for once and for all?!

Feel free to share and tell ’em the Mad Mapper sent ya! Success 🙂


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Click HERE for Important Copyright Info

Feel free to use my ’10 Success Secrets’ mind map as follows:

1) For any NON-commercial use
2) Leave it EXACTLY as it is
3) Don’t change ANYTHING
4) Make sure the © Copyright text is included and intact
5) See 2) and 3) (you get the idea!)

You CAN reproduce it online or embed it in your blog or website as long as you…

6) Respect 1-5 above
7) Include a credit to ‘Sab Will / Mind Map Mad’ AND include a clickable link to this page ( http://www.mindmapmad.com/10-success-secrets/ ) on the web page next to or near the image – thanks! 

Sab on BiggerWhat?

BiggerPLATE, that’s What?! No, I don’t know what it means either, yet. But I will.

Anyway, it’s a place absolutely crammed with cool mind maps, including mine – he he! You can download the actual original iMindMap file (the mind mapping software I use) and play around with it yourself. Nice!




Notes on “10 Success Secrets Mind Map”


"10 success secrets" toon "Sab Will" "Mind Map Mad"Sab Will enjoys creating fun and helpful mind maps and articles on a wide range of topics.

As well as Mind Map Mad (this site!) Sab runs

Sab is available for training in innovative thinking, creative problem solving, mind mapping and teacher training in modern ‘learning to learn’ techniques. Please get in touch here to find out how increased creativity and innovation can help boost your business, or how modern approaches to learning can revolutionise your teaching or training.

P.S. Keep up to date will ALL Sab’s latest creative output over on his newest home on the web, the Sab Lab!

© 2016 Sab Will / Mind Map Mad