Success is not something that happens to you. It is something you are. It starts in the morning when you get out of bed. It continues through every moment of the day. Success is built while you are waiting in traffic, during lunch, when you're walking the dog, sitting at your desk, running errands, and sleeping. It comes from your attitude, your posture, your diet, your use of time, the way you relate to others, the way you respond to challenges both large and small, the way you talk to yourself and others, the priorities you choose to follow, and every little detail of every day.

Success is not a one-time, get-it-done-and-get-it-over-with proposition. It is not something to be acquired and then squirreled away for safekeeping. It is a way of life. Successful people are not just people who have gotten something. They are people who live each moment of each day with an attitude of success.

What can you do to be successful? Everything. Everything you do affects the level of success you achieve at anything you do. Success in one area of your life cannot be isolated from your behavior in another area. After all, you are one person, and however diligently you may attempt to compartmentalize your life, it is still, after all, your life. Real, lasting, fulfilling success is achieved and experienced by the entirety of your self. It is not a part of you. It infuses the whole of you. It comes when you integrate a mind-set of success into every part of every day.

Does every little detail of your life have to be going perfectly in order for you to enjoy success? Of course not. Does every little detail have an affect on your level of success and your ability to reach it? You bet it does. The way you handle the small things has a lot to do with the results you get on the big things. Because most big things are made up of lots of small things.

A business owner would be foolish to say "we lose money on every sale but we make up for it in volume." It's a classic example of wrong-headed thinking. If you lose money on each transaction, more transactions cannot possibly help you. The same is true of the details, which make up the moments of your life. If you lose ground with every detail, you lose ground in terms of the big picture, too.

To get from point A to point B you must cover the distance, you must somehow traverse the ground in between. There is no Star Trek-style "transporter room" that will take you there instantly. You must figure out a way to get through the details and then follow that strategy.

If your goal is not within reach, then what you need to do is obvious. You must move yourself closer to it. Keep doing that, every opportunity you get, and the goal soon will not only be within reach, it will have been reached. Success and accomplishment won't come to you. You must move yourself toward them.

How do you do that? By using every moment as the true and valuable opportunity that it is. Each day there are thousands of opportunities for you to be successful. Those small, incremental, seemingly insignificant successes are not insignificant at all. They will add up quickly to major accomplishments because their effect is cumulative. A little progress each day will build on the progress of the day before, which has already been added on top of the progress made the day before that. It quickly adds up.

In the business and financial world, companies focus on quarterly earnings. The people in these companies work to achieve successful, profitable three-month periods. Those quarters add up to years, and the successful years add up to major achievements.

In the same way that companies focus on quarterly earnings, what if you were to adopt the strategy of focusing on your performance over the next quarter -- quarter of an hour, that is?

Is there something you can achieve in the next fifteen minutes? Of course there is. You could make a phone call to a client, to follow up or keep in touch. You could learn something new and useful by reading an article on the web or in a magazine. You could write a few paragraphs of that book or that report you're working on. You could take a relaxing and refreshing power nap. You could clean off a shelf in the garage. You could program a timesaving shortcut on your computer. You could outline that new idea that's been bouncing around in your head and get it down on paper. You can make an enormous difference in fifteen minutes. And then, the great thing is this. You get a chance to do it again, and again and again. And that's just in one hour.

Every moment you have an opportunity to be successful. And yet as great as that is, there's something even better, something much more powerful. The really great thing is that you can bundle all those moments together, point them in the same direction, and achieve anything you set out to achieve.

What that requires is a clearly defined goal and a personally meaningful reason for reaching it. The way to be successful is to first define your own success. Specifically, what does success mean to you and why? What do you truly desire? Why do you want it? Success depends on making a moment-to-moment, day-after-day commitment, and that commitment is possible only when it is driven by a clear and compelling vision. There are things you deeply desire. Find them. Explore them. Understand them. Dig into the reasons behind them. Focus your thoughts, your actions, the moments of your life and opportunities they represent toward a well defined vision of what success means to you, and that success will indeed become a reality.

The real power of focus is that it keeps you from being pulled down by all the little things. The details of your life can work for you or they can work against you. The moments of your life are where you actually live, and as such those moments are of critical importance. You can use them, you can lose them, or you can abuse them.

Think of someone you know who is continually angry, someone who complains about everything and everyone. Would you consider that person to be successful? Would you want to trade places with that person and lead his or her life, even for a day? Most likely the answer is a resounding "NO!" Anyone who invests so much of his or her precious time in being angry and bitter simply has nothing left to put into being positive and successful. Such a person is a clear example of someone who abuses most of the moments of each day.

Do you ever get angry? Do you ever get frustrated? Of course you do. Life is full of trouble, unfairness, injustice, and frustration. Anger and frustration are signs that you truly care, so in that sense they can be positive. You can be motivated to take positive action as a result of anger or frustration. But in order to live positively and successfully, you cannot allow anger and frustration to dominate every moment of every day. There is positive value in getting angry and in allowing that anger to motivate you. There is no value whatsoever in maintaining your anger or enlarging it. There is no value in letting your anger ruin your day. If someone is rude to you, you can spend the rest of the day complaining about it or you can spend the rest of the day moving toward a positive and fulfilling goal. Which use of your time will benefit you most? Which use of your time will be more pleasant and productive? Which use of your time will infuse your life with an attitude of success?

The little things can move you forward when you refuse to allow them to drag you down. Frustration can be a learning experience. Anger can strengthen your resolve. Find the positive and move forward.

When you positively manage the moments of your life, seeing the opportunity in each little thing, then the overall effect is powerful indeed. Rather than looking for excuses to fail, see all the opportunities to succeed.

For example, many people complain that they don't have time to get enough exercise. Then they spend time waiting for an elevator when taking the stairs could have been faster and would have provided a bit of invigorating exercise. Or they waste time driving around looking for a close-in parking space when there are plenty of spaces farther out which are quickly available and which would provide a nice, brisk round-trip walk. Do you see the opportunity in this situation? While others are wasting their time fighting for the closest parking space, you can be getting your errand accomplished and getting some valuable exercise as a bonus!

Have you ever attended a meeting in which everyone is complaining? Often, the complaints will start feeding on each other. One complaint leads to another, and another, and another one to top that one. The person who emerges as a leader from such a situation is the person who finally puts a stop to all the complaining and turns the group's energy in the direction of getting something positive done about it.

Long term, continuing success comes from that kind of leadership. Whether you're leading a group or whether you're simply leading your own life, the faster you get away from complaining and excuse making, and start taking positive action, the more successful you will be.

Every moment is your opportunity to bolster your own success. Success does not occur in some far away place called "planning to" or "hope to" or "when I get around to it." Success is forged in the real, living moments of each day, right here and right now. The way you occupy those moments matters very much. That's a big responsibility and an incredible opportunity.

There are sixty minutes in each hour. In a typical hour, how many of those minutes do you use to move your life forward? How many move you in the other direction? How many take you nowhere? Most people only use a small fraction of what's available to them. If you were to make better use of five minutes out of every hour, that could make a significant positive difference.

Do you think you could keep yourself focused, and maintain a successful, positive attitude for just five minutes? Sure you can. Do it and experience how great it feels. Do it and surprise yourself by how much you get accomplished. Do it and understand that the overwhelming majority of success comes not from any kind of insider information or from getting in on the ground floor or from being in the right place at the right time, but from living each moment with a success-oriented attitude.

A key to making the most of each moment is acceptance. At any point in time, you may very well not like what you see. You may not agree with what is going on. Yet you must not deny reality. You might wish for things to be as they were before, yet they are not. You might desire for things to be different. Yet they are as they are. You might wish for, and wait for, things to get better in the future. Just waiting will not accomplish anything, though. What is, is. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can get busy making things more agreeable. Conditions will never be perfect. Yet no matter what the conditions, now is the perfect time to take action that will make a positive difference.

Distractions will come along. Unanticipated challenges will block your path and throw you off course. The successful response is to accept what has happened, work your way quickly through it, and get back on track. Nothing can get you down unless you allow it to do so. People just like you have thrived despite overwhelming factors working against them. Certainly you can handle the little distractions that come along.

Being successful is fun, exciting, and fulfilling. And it is available to anyone. If you're going to be living through the next hour, there are sixty minutes which all have the potential to be aligned in favor of your success. Your job is to do the aligning. Those minutes won't just fall into place for you. Success requires your attention and commitment. That's the fun part, because it is up to you to make a difference.

As small children we all enjoy making a difference and having an impact. Then as we grow older, as we assume more responsibility, we start taking for granted that joyful enterprise of making a difference.

Just think how you would feel if you were completely powerless to have any kind of impact. Could anything possibly be worse? Consider for a moment what a blessing you have in your ability to make things happen, to think, to take action, and to bring about the results you desire. Remember how great you felt as a child when you had the opportunity to make a difference. Now you have plenty of such opportunities.

Every moment of every day you can make a positive difference. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, no matter what your level of education or financial position or job description or living arrangement, you can choose to live each day with an attitude of success. You can choose to respond with positive action rather than react with a negative, self-defeating attitude.

Success is not some nebulous, far-off concept that's out of your reach. It is here; it is now, in this very moment. It is an everyday endeavor that is available to everybody. When you're focused on what you truly desire and why, each moment, each action, each thought can work in your favor, and they can all work together to create a formidable positive force.

As you go through each day, keep in mind that these are the hours and minutes in which your success is built. It's not a rehearsal. Right here, right now is the real thing. Anyone can stay focused and on track for a minute or two. Anyone can be positive and effective for a few minutes. Start adding those minutes together and you begin to build something of real substance and value.

Success is a way of life that acknowledges the immense value of the moments and the details that make up each day. There are some people in this world, a surprisingly large number, who earn $50, $100, $150 per minute. There are some who earn even more. They are paid these amounts not because they're taking advantage of others. On the contrary, they earn this money from people who willingly and gratefully pay it to them for the value they provide during the moments they spend working. And even those who make thousands of dollars per hour and millions of dollars per year still have room for improvement.

When you treat each moment as if it's worth a million dollars, when you value and respect the time you have and the positive things you can accomplish with it, then success will be yours.

Success is an everyday pursuit. It is not necessary to wait for success to come your way. There's no need to beg for success from others. The way to achieve success is to make it a part of every moment of your life. Anyone can do it at any time. Value each moment and those moments will bring much value to your life.

Author's Bio: 

Ralph Marston is writer and publisher of The Daily Motivator website. Since 1996, he has written more than 3,500 daily motivational messages which are all archived on the website. His inspirational and well-loved "Right Now" video, and other similar presentations, have been viewed by millions of people worldwide.