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The Five Essential Factors

Twenty-five years of research into the differences between successful people and those who struggle to improve their circumstances, but never manage to reach their goals, has led me to one clear conclusion; wealth and success are not possible without the presence of the five essential factors identified in this article.

No matter how much you study the “how to’s” of success, you will never achieve it until these five factors are in place and developed to healthy levels. Without them you are either spinning your wheels (working very hard, but not getting very far) or simply gathering information and storing it away.

The good news is that the information you have gathered over the years in an attempt to become successful is wasted ONLY if you fail to develop these five essential factors. Once these essentials are in place, everything else you have learned can then be applied to whatever degree you choose to apply it and you will begin experiencing the successes you long for.

(1) A clear awareness of your TRUE nature. Few people think about self-awareness because it appears to be the most natural thing in the world. After all we live with ourselves twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We are privy to all our thoughts and feelings and all our secrets. Who could possibly know us better, right? Wrong. Research suggests that the majority of the population (84%) is not self aware enough to profile accurately. Why? Because conditioning begins for most people very early in life and continues to impact us in ways we rarely recognize. Most of us are so thoroughly conditioned as children that by the time we reach adulthood all we are able to see is the conditioned mask we donned as children in order to be accepted and acceptable by our family, our school systems, our society, our religion, our co-workers, etc., etc., etc.

If we believe the mask is our true self and make life decisions based on that false view, we often set ourselves up for a lifetime of struggle. Those who are functioning according to the conditioned mask rather than according to their true nature, are essentially swimming up the swift river of life, always struggling to keep up with the demands of the world, rather than floating gently down life’s river in accordance with their nature. To the degree that we have been conditioned away from our nature, life is difficult. To the degree that we are working with, rather than against, out nature, life is satisfying and joyous.

(2) The healthy development of your natural traits. In truth all traits available to human beings are available to each of us, but some traits are difficult to sustain. We can do anything we put our mind to, but we don’t enjoy or have energy around just anything. Our least preferred traits are effortful. They drain us of energy so we have a lot of resistance around them. The traits we most prefer naturally are easy to sustain over long periods of time. They actually feed our soul and generate huge amounts of energy, enthusiasm, motivation and drive. The graph below demonstrates this concept.

Energy Effort Graph

You have a whole brain and the capacity to use every part of it and I encourage you to do just that. But you only have so much energy to give and, if you are giving it to traits that drain you, a lot of energy is being wasted and you are likely not having much fun either. By discovering your true nature and knowing which traits energize you and which ones drain you, you can order your life in such a way as to have the greatest part of it be joyous and filled with positive energy.

Only through the healthy development of our natural traits and through using them in the right order can we tap into our genius and passion and develop Emotional Intelligence (EQ), the ability to cope with stressors effectively and to defer gratification in order to do the right thing in the moment.

Emotional Intelligence popularized by Daniel Goleman in his book by the same name has been shown to be the number one predictor of effectiveness in life and relationships. But EQ is possible only through the healthy development of naturally preferred traits and we cannot develop them until we are aware of what they are. For EQ to develop to really healthy levels all five of the factors presented here must be developed.

(3) Healthy Personal Boundaries. Healthy personal boundaries are not possible until we know who we are authentically. Healthy personal boundaries require that we know and can define who we are and who we are not, as well as what we are and are not willing to accept from self and others. Only when you are fully aware of who you are authentically, and what parts of your self-perception have been forced upon you by conditioning and erroneous messages, can you separate the two, lay claim to your truth and purposefully discard all the garbage others have heaped upon you over the years. Once you know who you are, where your passions lie and what you really stand for, it's much easier to determine your worth.

Once you have established your worth in your own mind you can more easily build and maintain the second part of your personal boundaries, that of determining what you will and will not accept from others. With good, healthy personal boundaries in place, the fifth factor begins to develop and grow. To have healthy personal boundaries, you must be able to define and articulate four things; (1) Who you are, (2) Who you are NOT, (3) What you will accept from yourself and from others and (4) What you will NOT accept.