The Psychology of Success

Lauren Mackler's Interview with Doug Tribou for NPR NPR: How do you define success and what do you tell clients trying to define success in their own lives?

LM: Success is subjective so it’s defined and experienced by people in different ways. It might be a certain amount of money or prestige, a large circle of friends, or a fulfilling personal life or career. I define success as being able to activate your strengths to produce the results you want to achieve.

NPR: What kind of advice would you give to someone near the top of his or her profession, but who can’t quite achieve that ultimate goal?

LM: Over the 20 some years I’ve spent coaching many types of clients, I've found that the two biggest barriers that hold people back are what I call their core limiting beliefs and habitual behaviors. When we’re born, we’re whole, integrated human beings with tremendous potential. In response to our life conditioning, we adopt thought and behavior patterns that often diminish our strengths and potential as adults.

For example, someone may be a gifted athlete, but a life-long, ingrained belief that he’s never quite good enough can keep him from reaching the top of his game. He’ll be distracted by a fear of failing, which then creates stress and makes it difficult to stay focused on his goals. To override those barriers, you have to become aware of how you think and behave on autopilot, and start aligning your thoughts and behaviors with the results you’re trying to achieve.        

NPR: How do repeated “close-calls” with success impact the people falling short time and again?

LM: It depends on the type of person. The people who ultimately reach their goals are those who don’t give up. Instead of wallowing in self-pity or frustration—or throwing in the towel altogether—they explore what didn’t work and course-correct. It is human nature to feel upset or frustrated when we fall short, but the path to success more often than not involves making mistakes along the way and learning from them. If someone feels like they’ve failed, I encourage them to reframe the situation as an opportunity to learn about what doesn’t produce the outcome they want. Instead of giving up, brainstorm what might be a more effective approach and then implement the new strategy. To view Lauren's "Critical Factors of Success" video, click here.

WANT TO USE THIS INTERVIEW IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG, OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement at the end of the article:

Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, host of the LIFE KEYS radio show, and author of the international bestseller, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life.