The phrase ‘getting ahead in life’ probably means different things to different people. For some, it’ll be very much focussed on the amassment of wreath and the furtherance of a career; for others, the settling down with a partner and the starting of a family. Whatever your idea of getting on and conquering life with gusto and skill, it usually boils down to getting your life organized and professional, into an adult state of readiness for what the future may hold. This guide runs you through the stage to getting to that point.
No one gets anywhere without ambition. Ambition is simply the drive to better your circumstance, and it’s a fundamental part of human nature that one should nurture and not abandon as they grow older. Ambition drives innovation, progress and the creation of magnificent buildings and works of art. Given all of that, why is ambition often so hard to come by? It’s not uncommon for people to feel apathetic, lethargic and disconnected from ambition during their lives – but it is unusual for people not to try to find ways to bring it back into the core of their working life.
In order to become more ambitious, it’s wise to set smart goals: every time you reach them, you know you’ll have progressed some way into a more ambitious place in your life, from where you’ll be able to set further goals. Goals serve the wonderful purpose of giving you that extra bit of motivation you need to press on and achieve something in our life. You might set micro-goals like making your bed every day and eating a balanced diet, or larger goals like setting a final date to finish a project you’ve been working on. Goals define your ambition and allow it to grow.
Ambition alone isn’t going to get you far. You’ll also need to be streetwise, smart and savvy if you’re to progress through life to ‘make it’ and get ahead of the crowd. Street smart individuals are seen to possess a goo deal of common sense – a sense of where dangers lie and of how to resolve problems in the most efficient and carefree way. It’s an important skill for people getting on in life and looking to settle down, as starting a family – for instance – adds many new responsibilities to your life.
How do you become more savvy? That’s a difficult question, as common sense isn’t all the common, and it’s difficult to simply acquire by reading a blog post or buying a book. It’s a more innate quality that you need to train over time by watching how other people conduct themselves and learning from them how to behave in various situations. It’s a trial and error system that eventually hones the best behaviors and responses – it takes time, but you should always try and train this part of you.
To train yourself in areas like savviness, it’s important to regularly step out of your comfort zone. A comfort zone, in this context, is a metaphysical space in which you feel most content and least challenged by the outside world. It’s the sort of zone that’s centered around a couch before a television playing a film you’ve already seen before. It’s not challenging you, progressing you, or teaching yo something new. It’s just a place you return to for comfort, and that alone is no good thing.
You’ll find that all successful business people, politicians, and even sportspeople are all used to stepping out o their comfort zone as regularly as they can. All this means is that they put themselves in positions that they have not been in before, or that they’re inexperienced in. They throw themselves into life and thus gain valuable experience that other people shy away from. If you want to get ahead, there can be no lesson more important than throwing yourself into situations in which you have a lot to gain. The more you do it, the more your comfort zone will expand – and thus the more comfortable you’ll become, even in extreme or stressful situations.
We’re taught throughout school, college and university that it’s our skills and training and knowledge that get us ahead, but spend more than two years in the job market and you’ll discover that it’s far more about who you know and how you know them then it is about what you know. Making friends, networking and socializing with intent are all the qualities of successful individuals who’re getting ahead in life. In order to join them, you need to brush up on your networking acumen.
Socializing isn’t just about making the contacts who’ll one day offer you a job, though. It’s a skill set that you hone though increased exposure – not dissimilar from the comfort zone principal laid out above. The better your set of social skills, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more likely you’ll be to impress people wherever you meet them – be that in an interview or in a casual social setting.
There’s no denying that blind luck comes into it from time to time, and there’s a certain part of our lives that we must put down to fate rather than any particular mistakes on our part. While the phrase ‘you make your own luck’ points at what you can do to control your fortunes, you should also accept that things sometimes won’t go your way.
On the other hand, luck quite often works in the other direction, providing a big break that can often come out of nowhere. People born into privilege are considered to be lucky in terms of their demographic advantages, but that’s not to say that those born out of advantage are unlucky – they’re just all the more impressive when they come to get ahead in life themselves. Never rely on luck to make it in life, but when good fortune blesses you, be ready to accept your opportunity to succeed.
This guide is all about getting ahead in life, and the skills you’ll need to develop or acquire for that to become a breeze and not a struggle. Armed with these tips, you’ll be ready to assume a more powerful and confident role in your own life.