Five tips for achieving personal and business happiness

Career Lessons

Five tips for achieving personal and business happiness.

By Toni Tantlinger

One bit of conventional wisdom has it that to achieve success people must take a nose-to-grindstone, burn-the-midnight-oil approach.

But that’s the wrong way to look at things, says Scott MacDonald, a seasoned CEO and author of Saving Investa: How An Ex-Factory Worker Helped Save One of Australia’s Iconic Companies.

“Hard work absolutely is important, but I’ve met plenty of people who worked hard and never made much money or achieved satisfactory career objectives,” he says. “Working hard is just one part of the equation for success. You also need to be organized, plan, work smart, and choose to focus your effort where there’s reward.”

From his decades of experience, Scott says he learned numerous lessons that helped him achieve both career success and personal happiness. Here are just five of those lessons:

Don’t expect anyone to give you anything. In grade school and junior high, Scott earned money by doing yard work for neighbors, handling a paper route, and washing dishes at his junior high school. As a teenager, he bagged groceries, stocked shelves in a pharmacy, and worked in a fiberglass factory. “If you want something, work for it,” Scott says. “You will appreciate it more and not be indebted to anyone.”

You make your own luck. Former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal was fond of saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Scott agrees. “Nothing in my life that I can think of has been the result of luck,” he says.

Losers have the best excuses. Winners find ways to succeed despite the many roadblocks and unexpected difficulties they encounter. People who are unsuccessful reach for excuses. “Whenever things go wrong, and things always go wrong at some point, look in the mirror for answers,” Scott says. “Successful people focus on what they can do to respond to setbacks and don’t waste time playing a blame game or feeling sorry for themselves.”

Players score points, but teams win games. To be successful, any organization must have a culture of teamwork. Individual stars need to be supportive of the team concept, or those individuals should be moved on.

Life is too short to deal with “jerks.” No matter how important the project, if someone can’t deal with you professionally and ethically, just pass on the deal and move on.

Ultimately, people can moan about how unfair the world is, he says, but all that griping won’t get them anywhere. “There’s no doubt that the competitive work environment places huge pressures on your time and energy,” Scott says. “But the quicker you understand that you’re responsible for your own destiny, the happier you’re going to be.”


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