Success does not come accidentally or haphazardly. You must know your strengths, weaknesses and what works best for you. You must take what is special about you into account in your business and personal activities.
The way you work reflects your personality – your behavioural, temperamental, emotional and mental characteristics. Your personal appeal or charisma enables you to influence others. Adam Smith said, “The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.”
Become attuned to the regular high and low moments of your body’s energy. When are you most alert? When do you usually feel tired and unable to concentrate? You must be aware of such moments and plan your daily activities around your natural body rhythm.
No two persons have the same biological rhythm. For instance, your neighbour may feel all right with five hours of sleep a night, while you cannot do with less than eight hours of sleep. You must know how much sleep you really need.
Some people can get up in the early hours of the morning to study. As a student, I never kept awake after 12.00 midnight to read. I tried it a few times while in the university and experienced headache, tiredness and confusion the following morning. Having decided not to keep awake after midnight, I seized every opportunity to read in the day time. Right from that time, I started avoiding activities that stretch into midnight. However, some of my colleagues were good at studying in the night and still felt normal the following morning. Trying to be like them would have affected me adversely.
Some people experience a dip in energy level after lunch. This is referred to as postprandial dip. However, research has shown that it has nothing to do with lunch. Even without lunch, you could still experience it – just as it happens to me.
On a normal day, my energy is low, especially after lunch period, and I prefer to have siesta. My best day is the one that offers me lunch period and siesta between 2.30 and 4.00pm. During this period, I avoid serious discussions and meetings and even phone calls. Activities at this period are prone to errors. This is a time I am likely to take wrong decisions. Therefore, it is wise for me to suspend important issues at this period. On the other hand, some people find this period suitable for their meetings or mental exercises.
It is only by doing something that you know whether you can do it or not. If you want to be a footballer, you must devote adequate time to playing. If you want to be a singer you must practise singing. Natural gifts must be developed with practice. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of doing until you try. Fear of failure can prevent you from trying. Thomas Edison said, “If we did all things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” This implies that there are many things you could be doing today and indeed prospering. Instead of envying other people, look inwards and discover yourself. There is a goldmine inside of you, waiting for exploration and only you can do it.
Stop the habit of thinking that others are better than you are. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7). You are created with some gifts to enable you make a difference. Continue to exploit your potential and work in the area of your gifts. When you make excellence your watchword, people will sooner or later notice your efforts. They will notice what only you can do best and they will approach you for your expertise. In this way, your services will be publicised and appreciated.
However, this cannot happen if you don’t know yourself or believe in yourself. Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves. On the other hand, some of us overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth – our identity in Jesus Christ. Romans 12: 3-5 says, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
Outside of Jesus Christ, we are not capable of achieving much. But in Him we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true value in God’s eyes.