While anyone can learn how to do just about anything with a little training and practice, some people are naturally better than others. The younger generation grew up with technology but the older generation takes a little more time trying to figure out how to operate a simple cell phone and a computer.
There is always something new to learn on the job. Things change quickly and you have to keep up with new techniques, processes and software systems just to stay employed. But learning something new doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be more successful. Just more informed and better trained.
Everyone wants to be successful. But why are some more successful than others? Is it a gift? Just luck? A combination of education and opportunity? Can someone learn how to be successful? A Forbes article asked that very question. Two mathematics professors, in their book, “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking,” think they can.
Success can’t be gained by solving a mathematics equation. But the authors feel that there are five elements, which correlate to the five basic elements of earth, fire, air, water and aether. These basic elements are necessary for all life, and the five elements of success, they propose, are basic to achieving success on the job.
As hard as you try, you are sure to make a mistake now and then. Never fear. Making mistakes is one of the elements and essential to being successful. Mistakes are the fire that fuels your thinking and problem solving skills. Mistakes come from taking risks. If you’re not failing you aren’t being creative.
Air is the ability to raise thoughtful questions. Successful individuals aren’t satisfied with “this is the way we’ve always done things.” Asking why things are done a certain way isn’t the annoying constant “why” a child asks over and over. Successful people know when to challenge the status quo and make suggestions for improvement.
It’s difficult or almost impossible to teach a person to be happy or care about others. Personality traits are just that. Recruiters know that it’s better to hire a person with certain personality traits in order for them to be successful. Customer service is one. Customer service agents have to like people, genuinely care about making them happy and have to be good listeners. You can train on computer systems; give people scripts on dealing with difficult customers and what exceptions they can make for customers. But you can’t train someone to care about a customer. You can insist that customer service reps smile when they greet a customer, but if it’s not part of their personality, it’s not going to happen most of the time.
Can success be taught? Asking questions and taking risks are tools for success, but unless a person uses them they won’t have a positive effect. Success is the result of hard work, persistence and a little bit of being at the right place at the right time. The five elements of success are tools to make the work of becoming successful a little easier.
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