Stunning Motivation

Getting the Motivation You Need for Success

How To Get Ahead In Life – The 7 Principles You Must Adhere

how to get ahead in life

In today’s extremely competitive marketplace, everyone, including you and me, want to get ahead in life and produce outstanding success in what we do. However, this is often easier said than done. If you want to get ahead in life, you must create breakthroughs and master these 7 key areas in life.

When you study what highly successful people do and how they get there, you will notice a similar pattern and all of them have somehow, manage to excel in these key areas.

Therefore, if you want to get ahead in life, this is what you must do too. Here are the 7 principles you must master in order to excel in what you do and get ahead of others.

1. Choose the Right Platform

I always believe that every one of us has our own potential and places to shine. Even if you are broke and are living in mediocrity right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish big things in life.

I have seen people who work hard for a large part of their lives but still, they are not producing much results. However, after they switched to another industry or place, suddenly, they become super successful. Everything they touched turns to gold.

Les Brown was once labeled as someone who is mentally retarded and the people around him believed that he will amount to nothing. Yet, Les has become one of the best and top motivational speakers in the world today and his speeches have touched millions of lives.

Of course, Les Brown was only able to shine when he understood his potential, knew where he could shine, and chose to work on the right platform.

You can always be inspired by how Les went from rags to riches. Just watch this YouTube video below:

Try to sell a violin in the night market and all you will get is an offer that ‘matches’ the night market’s expectation, which is a low offer.

On the other hand, if you take the same violin and sell it outside an opera house, you can definitely sell with a higher price.

The difference is in the location, or in other words, the platform, not the person, my friend.

Thus, you have to ask yourself, are you working on the right platform that allows you to shine?

If you don’t, you should consider getting to another platform or change your position so that your hard work will be appreciated.

When you take a look at the clock, you will see that the second hand move and work the most, yet, most people never bother about it when they look at the time.

People choose to look at the hour hand first when they want to tell the time. But do you know that the hour hand moves the least? Yet, it is the most influential of all.

So learn to be the hour hand and not the second hand. You must place yourself on the right platform and the right position in order to shine.

Leverage on your platform and your position so that you can get ahead faster than everyone else who works on the wrong platform.

2. Make Sure You Are Riding with the Trend

If Steve Jobs is still alive, I bet he will not do or repeat what he did in the past. Sergey Brin and Larry Page will not start a search engine like Google if they have to start all over again today.

The same goes for Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. Jack once told his audience that if he has to start all over again, he will never want to repeat what he did in the past in today’s world.

The reason is simple, the trend and the timing are totally different today.

Hence, if you are trying to be another Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, you are going to lose.

I do believe that hard work, dedication, commitment, and mindset play an important role in determining our success in life, but most people forget that timing is also another crucial factor that we shouldn’t ignore.

In his famous and best-selling book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell explains how Bill Gates gained the unfair advantage of coding and programming before he founded Microsoft.

And during those times, the computing industry was booming and everyone was looking to buy a computer.

However, in today’s’ world, the trend is no longer there. Hence, if you are trying to build a company like Microsoft, highly likely, you are going to fail. Because you are not riding the wave, you are swimming against it.

This is why it is extremely crucial to consider your timing and trend if you want to get ahead of everyone else.

Over a decade ago, blogs were new and a lot of people built blogs and profit from them. Today, there are millions and millions of blogs out there and if you want to profit using the old strategy, it is not going to work anymore.

I still remember vividly that many internet marketers built blogs and inserted Google Adsense advertisements into their blogs and they made a lot of money from it.

Today, things have changed and if you are trying to make money from Adsense, you will need a lot of traffic to your blog.

We used to have typewriters, but the profession does not exist anymore. We used to go to the post office regularly to mail letters, but today, we simply send emails with a click.

So make sure you are riding with the trend if you want to create amazing results in life.

When you swim with the wave, you need less energy to go further. And this is how you can get ahead of others who are swimming aimlessly in the water.

3. Armed Yourself with Strong Desire and Work Hard

Of course, there is no way you can get ahead in life if you are not willing to put in the hard work.

Napoleon Hill once said:

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

If you want work hard, you must arm yourself with a strong and burning desire.

People fail to take action and they procrastinate often because they don’t have a strong desire for what they want.

They tell you that they want to build a successful website, but then, their action says otherwise. They choose to watch TV rather than working on their website or business. They choose to sleep more rather than spending more time and put in more effort to work on their goals.

desire quote

Desire matters when it comes to getting ahead and producing outstanding success in life.

Without a strong and burning desire, it is difficult to muster up the motivation and take action.

There are times when I feel like no motivation and just want to do nothing, but when I think about my purpose and my reason why I want to achieve what I want, I will just force to put myself into action.

And developing a strong desire is about finding out your why. When you know why you want what you want with clarity, your desire will be strong.

People who say that they want to be successful but choose to watch TV instead are people who don’t have the desire for what they want.

They only say and dream about what they want, but they don’t take action.

The difference between someone successful and someone who is not, is what they do.

Successful people not only think about what they want, but they also take massive and consistent action about it.

On the other hand, the unsuccessful often think about what they want, but they don’t do anything about it.

And the difference between them is their desire for what they want.

The highly successful have a strong desire and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get there, but the unsuccessful have a weak desire and they are not committed to the things that they want.

Therefore, if you want to get ahead and create remarkable success in life, grow your desire for your dreams and goals.

If you want to learn how to develop a strong burning desire for what you want, read this article from Steve Pavlina:

Cultivating Burning Desire

4. Think Long-Term and Work on the Short-Term

I love the story of having a vision and think long-term:

The first wolf comes to a wide grassland, he takes a good look around and then decides to turn back because there is no food there except grass.

The second wolf comes to the same grassland, he takes a look around, and then decide to go farther into the grassland because he believes that if there is grass, there will be sheep or cows, which can be his food.

The first wolf thinks short-term, while the second wolf thinks long-term, with a vision.

You have to learn from the second wolf – to think long-term.

Don’t just look at what is in front of you, instead, choose to think long-term and see further into the vision.

Elon Musk believes that electric vehicles are the future, and thus, he started to build Tesla. And he also sees that space travel is going to be something big in the future too, and hence, he started SpaceX.

All of the ultra-successful entrepreneurs possess a long-term vision and they don’t just look at things right in front of them. They think far into the future and develop their businesses and companies at this present moment.

And if you want to get ahead in life, you must think long-term as well.

Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world and the founder of Amazon, told Wired in 2011:

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.”

This clearly shows that long-term thinking is crucial if you want to get ahead regardless of whether it is in business, career or in life.

American Express has published a very interesting article about harnessing the power of long-term thinking, I strongly recommend you read it:

6 Ways to Improve Your Long-Term Thinking

5. Make Fewer Mistakes

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should not make any mistake in life, business or in your career.

In fact, I welcome mistakes and to learn from them. The problem is that the old thinking of learning from your own mistakes is too time-consuming and costly.

If you want to get ahead in everything that you do and beat your competitors, you can’t afford to make many mistakes. Here’s a great quote:

“A wise man learns from his mistakes. A wiser man learns from other’s mistakes.”

Making mistakes and learning from them is perfectly okay, but if you are making silly mistakes that others have warned you to avoid, you are going backward and not forward.

So make fewer mistakes. You don’t have to repeat the mistakes made by others. This is why you should learn from others.

For instance, things that once used to work in the internet marketing world like article marketing does not work today. Thus, if you are working hard with article marketing, you are making silly mistakes and wasting a lot of time.

Follow what works. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful. Elon Musk founded Tesla, the electric vehicle company, but he did not reinvent the wheel.

It is true that sometimes you need to have a breakthrough by trying something different, such as creating a new type of wheel, but this is going to take a lot of time.

Unless you are an inventor and creating a wheel that works better and more efficient is your mission, don’t reinvent the wheel.

Make fewer mistakes and learn as much as possible from others who have gone through what you are about to go through.

This way, you can shortcut your learning curve and get ahead of others fast.

6. Focus on Your Plan with Clarity

There is no way you can get ahead without action. Not just any action, but focused action.

When it comes to sticking with a plan, most people find it hard to do so. People roughly know what they want. They have a goal in their head, and usually, they know what to do to get there.

(If you have no idea what you want to do in life, read this article: Don’t Know What To Do in Life? Use These 7 Powerful Techniques)

The problem is that they are often distracted by other opportunities or naysayers who tell them that they can’t do it.

focus quote

Think about it, don’t you have a goal that you want to achieve early this year? What happened to that goal right now? Did you lose your focus and have abandoned it?

This is what is happening to most people. They started strong, with a plan, but as the days gone by, they lose their focus and then they started to dwell on other unrelated things.

Most people started strong with plan A, but after a couple of weeks or months down the road, somewhere along the line, they lose their interest and deviate their focus. They then begin project B. And guess what, the same fate goes to project B too.

This is why focus is extremely important if you want to get ahead in life.

It is what you do each day that truly counts, and not what you do once in a while.

Highly successful people are able to produce remarkable results in their lives because they focus on what they do each day, day-in and day-out.

Unsuccessful people fail to focus on doing it every single day. They choose to do it only when they are convenient. Hence, they fail to produce the significant result that they desire.

If you want to build a successful blog, all you need to do is to focus on creating great content that people want to read. With a little amount of marketing effort, people who love your content will share and eventually, your blog will grow bigger and bigger.

The thing is that most people fail to focus on taking the consistent action to publish quality content.

Therefore, find your focus. When you have decided on a plan, stick to it and work on it. You can change your strategy, but don’t always change your goal because when you do, you have to start all over again.

7. Let Go and Forgive

Finally, if you want to get ahead, you must be willing to let go and never let the chain of your past to drag you down.

Maybe you have created an e-commerce website before but you failed to generate sales from it.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to cling to it and stuck there. You can always try again, build another e-commerce website and grow your business again.

If you fail previously, it doesn’t mean that you are going to fail again in the future.

You must be willing to let go and ignore the past that is limiting and stopping you from moving forward.

And one important principle to let go is to learn to forgive. Forgive those who have done wrong on you, and more importantly, forgive yourself.

Yes, you should take responsibility for your mistakes and failures, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t forgive yourself.

It is when you forgive yourself that you can truly get ahead and move forward.

Thus, stop letting your past become something that stops you from taking action and getting ahead.

Instead, choose to let go and use your past as your stepping stone. You have gone through what you have gone through, and there is no way you can change the history.

Therefore, learn to accept, forgive yourself, and let go so that you can go further faster.

Like driving a car, you have to release the handbrake in order to go faster. Of course, you can still drive the car with the handbrake on, but why do you want to limit yourself with that?

Just let go, fully release yourself from your own mistakes and your past, and then focus on what’s in front of you.

This is how you can get ahead in life.


Getting ahead in life, producing great results, achieving success, and living the life you desire may sound difficult and tough, but it really isn’t.

As long as you follow the 7 key principles as mentioned in the article above, winning the game of life and business can be a reality, your reality.

Here’s the recap:

  1. Choose the right platform – you need to be in the right place/career/business in order to shine.
  2. Riding with the trend – timing is important when it comes to achieving the success you want. Make sure what you do is on the uptrend.
  3. Armed with desire and work hard – Always start with a strong desire. Without desire, nothing burns.
  4. Think long-term – if you are not thinking far into the future, you are going to be like everyone else.
  5. Make fewer mistakes – making mistakes are time-consuming, so choose to shortcut your learning curve by learning from others.
  6. Focus on your plan – stop jumping from one plan to another. Choose to focus until you make it.
  7. Let go – if you want to go faster and get ahead, you must let go of what is stopping you.

So do you want to get ahead in life? Which principle do you like the most?

I hope you enjoy this article. Do share your opinion in the comment section below. Cheers.

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About Shawn Lim

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Active Goal Setting? Don't forget to do so. :)

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