What is luck? The most accurate definition I know is: “Luck is that moment in time when preparation meets opportunity.” When we are prepared, things go our way. When we are not, things fall apart. The key to having more luck is being better prepared.

So what is success? Success is more challenging. No one individual arrives packaged with exactly the same skill-sets as anyone else. Not everyone can play the piccolo, not everyone can climb tall mountains, and not everyone has the drive to become highly effective at living. Yet, everyone arrives with deep reserves of talent and abilities … and almost everyone wants something that they haven’t got.

One definition of success that makes sense to me: “Success is the science of discovering our talents and the art of using those talents to benefit others.” These are the gifted musicians who pleases others with their music, the engineer who tackles tough conditions and designs awesome buildings, and the chef at a five star restaurant who amazes people with his cooking because he loves to cook. What we love points in the direction of our talents.

Another definition making sense to me comes from Earl Nightingale, a human potential expert who said: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Most people think that success is a place. It isn’t. It never has been. Success is the journey to a place … somewhere we want to be or to someone we want to become ... the worthy ideal. Progressive realization means we know that progress … no matter how slight … is being made. Advancements must be seen so that we don’t give up.

The hard part for many people is finding that one thing … that worthy ideal … and making a commitment to go for it. In some cases, what holds people back is fear that it might be the wrong thing. Nothing is wrong if it gets us to grow … to do things that make us better.

The most successful people never end up where they thought they would. The better they get the further they see. Final objectives … when we are growing … keep moving.

Achievement is driven by our beliefs. The more we know and the more we prove to ourselves, the greater our vision becomes and the more we expect from ourselves. In the game of life, we do not get what we want … we get what we expect.

The primary objective of a worthy goal is to force us to expand our understandings and expectations. If you are having trouble deciding on one thing, pick something you can wrap your arms around today and begin working on it. One common delay tactic is the tomorrow plan. Forget that. Today is the day that matters and your goal … if it is right for you … will give you the reasons to do today, what you would otherwise put off.

Remember, success is a one-step-at-a-time, one-task-at-a-time journey. You have got to be growing to get there. Growth is the operative word.

What blocks our progress? The primary objective of any worthy ideal (goal) is to force us to expand our understandings and expectations. We don’t get what we want in life, we get what we expect. Having said that, here are things that get in our way.

FOF – Fear of Failure. People afraid of failing are dead in their tracks before they even begin. Failure isn’t really failure until we give up or claim someone pushed us. Failure is nature’s way of saying, “There must be a better way.” It is our job to find a better way and that cannot be done if we put our heads in the sand.

LOSD – Lack of Self-Discipline. Most people want a better life, yet few are willing to work for it. The laws of success are simple and unforgiving. The most challenging things we have to deal with are the thoughts we think, the things we say, the beliefs we hold, and the decisions we make. It is our inner world of thoughts, desires, beliefs, and decisions that need our attention. When left unattended, the mind acts as if it has a mind of its own, going off on far- fetched tangents. Effort and self-discipline are required to control our minds.

LOSH – Lack of Self-Honesty. We can often fool the person beside us, but never the person inside. Self-confidence, peace of mind and happiness are beyond our reach until we become brave enough to look in the mirror. It takes courage to look in the mirror and become real, yet that is the only way we can actually earn the very things that we really want.

LOC – Lack of Commitment. It is one thing to want something and a much different thing to want it enough to fight for it. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It is painful to stretch our mind, difficult to set aside cherished beliefs, and scary to step out of our comfort zone. Change leads us into the unknown and it takes commitment to go there.

FOS – Fear of Success. At the upper end of our comfort zone a sense of unworthiness can shut us down. People who have erred, and not forgiven themselves, have trouble accepting good fortune. People suffering from low self-esteem do the same.

An amazing thing, something that has been proven thousands of times, is the fact that once we make up our mind and get honest with ourselves we can do almost anything. The true limitations that we all face are not outside of us; they are within.

Napoleon Hill, in his famous book “Think & Grow Rich,” gave us “31 Major Causes of Failure.” I have taken those 31 causes and turned them into an internal audit, a personal check list, a way of looking in the mirror. This might be scary and slightly painful, but the return on investment can be awesome. As Bill Gates said, “The most important things for anyone to know are what they are doing wrong.”

No matter where you are or what you are doing … you are standing on a stepping stone to something better. The most effective way to climb is by leaving bad habits behind.

Want to jump-start your way to greater success and peace of mind? Explore “Napoleon Hill's 31 Major Causes of Failure” by going here: http://www.themiracleminute.com/freereports.html

Author's Bio: 

Dick Warn is a proven speaker, author, and coach. His Miracle Minute series is on the air in Southern California and Florida, and can be heard or read by going to www.TheMiracleMinute.com. His third book "Mystical Mentor" is helping people leave more of their troubles behind. You can read the first three chapters by going to www.mysticalmentor.com