“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” (William Arthur Ward).
William Arthur Ward (1921–March 30, 1994) was a gifted author, poet, and is one of the most quoted authors of inspirational maxims. His recipe for success captures one important principle of success; success is not an accident. This week I am going to focus on the good planning, as this is critical for planning for success.
Success is not an accident
Success does not just happen! There is no big company that just happened! It was a result of good planning, and hard work. Great people do not leave their lives to chance, they plan their lives. All successful people have mastered this discipline of success. Planning is deliberate, and purposeful. This has to become a habit, and once mastered, success becomes a habit. Success is not an accident, and it will never be an accident. Successful people know what they want, and they plan on how they can achieve it. You cannot afford to leave your life to chance. Banking on sheer hope is an exercise in futility. Great people do not just hope for things to happen, they make things happen. Hope is not and will not be a strategy. Plan!
Good planning and hard work
King Solomon who is often considered the wisest person who once lived gave us a very interesting nugget, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty short-cuts lead to poverty . . . ” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT). I took a bit of time to reflect on this statement. I realised that it was indeed pregnant with success principles. There are at least four or more principles that come out from Solomon’s observation. The four principles might shock you a bit, but I try to clear the doubt. I will just focus for this part on the four;
- You can work hard, but lack a good plan, you will not be successful
- You can also have just a plan and work, you will not be successful.
- You can also lack two of the elements (good planning and hard work), you will not be successful.
- There is no short-cut to success, but there is a short-cut to poverty. Resultant effect is you will not be successful.
You can work hard, but lack a good plan, you will not be successful. The problem with many people today, and if I may narrow down to Zimbabweans is not that we do not work hard, the problem is that we work hard but we do not have good plans. If you want to see hard working people, look at Zimbabweans. This might even explain why they are employable wherever there is an opportunity. Some people even work hard for years in companies which are not even paying them a salary for years. Look at the time some people wake up, and go to their places of work, either formal or informal. Some people wake up very early in the morning. We work hard! We have a culture of working hard! Truth be told, working hard alone will not make you a successful person. You can even work hard and be broke! You can even put in hours to the work, yet there is no meaningful turn around in your own life and in your business. You can even work hard and fail to own even the cheapest piece of real estate! You can even work hard but still go hungry! Harsh statements as they may sound but that’s the truth. Hard work alone is not enough, you need A GOOD PLAN.
Some moments of reflection will help at this stage. Are you not in this category of people who work hard but do not have good plans? If so, what are you going to do differently?
You can also have just a plan and work, you will not be successful. There is also a category of people, who have a plan, and they also work, but this will not guarantee you success. What guarantees you success is a “good planning”, and “hard work”. We are almost nearing the end of 2018, and some people are holding on to “plans”, and they are “working” on their plans. It is also unusual for some businesses not to take time to actually check whether the plan is “good”, and to check if they are “working hard”. It is not enough just to plan, you need to plan strategically. Whilst it is easy to take the easy way out and blame everything on the economy, successful business take it upon itself to plan strategically and work hard. I will touch in detail on strategic planning in the following articles. Do not miss out.
Do you have a good plan? Are you working hard? Are you maximising on your potential?
You can also lack two of the elements (good planning and hard work). This is the category which accommodates people who are seriously not serious. They do not have any plan for their life. They have no idea of the future that they want; all they want is a long life with no clear indication of what that life is meant to achieve. These are the people who are afraid to die yet they do not have a reason to live. There are people who are waking up every day, and watching television, chatting on WhatsApp, generating dirty and fake messages for free circulation on WhatsApp, eat, sleep and wake up the following day to do nothing of value.
Some parents are even housing such people. If you are in this category you need to wake up, and take charge of your life. It is also possible to employ a person without a plan, and does not work at the same time. These are the very people who are expending data streaming every dirty video they can find or even search for online, spending time on WhatsApp instead of working, spending time on social networks everyday as if they are being paid to be on those platforms. Do you know it is possible to be idle and busy? This is what many of the people in offices are doing. Idly busy! If you do not have any meaningful plan for your life, or your business, there is no growth to talk about.
There is no short-cut to success, but there is a short-cut to poverty. A hasty short-cut is the short-cut to poverty. Solomon might have envisioned Zimbabwe when he was writing this thought. Many people in Zimbabwe are so obsessed with short-cuts; they want to get rich quick. They want to drive the latest Mercedes without putting in the work. People think they can turn around their lives overnight, by liking a post on Facebook, or typing “amen” to a post on Facebook or “receive” their car by merely saying “I receive”. I am not trying to downplay “church” or “faith” here. I am also a devout believer, but an understanding and practice of the success principles has changed my life. This is what I believe; an organised non-believer will succeed, whilst a disorganised believer will fail. There are no short-cuts to success! A chain message claiming “God has said this…” will not change your life, and neither will an “anointed pen”, “anointed desk calendar”, “anointed pen and its holder”, “anointed cup”, “anointed pot”, “anointed tea”, “anointed sugar and all its ingredients”, “anointed trousers” will change your life. Beverly Sills rightfully said, “There are no short-cuts to any place worth going”. You do not need to be a “small/smell house” for you to be financially free. You do not need to ruin another marriage in order for you to rise. You do not need to run down your organisation through corrupt practices in order for you to rise.
Short-cuts will always backfire. What goes around always comes around. Great people take charge of their lives. They plan their lives. Most importantly, they look for opportunities to serve and not to be served.
I will continue next week on this discipline. Do not miss the next edition of the Business Herald.