Success Is Hard, But It Is Not Complicated

Success is not complicated. Despite the myriad of books, articles, seminars and trainings available to teach you how to be successful in life, business, relationships, and virtually anything you can think of, success in any discipline comes down to a few fundamentals. Master those, and you stand a strong chance of succeeding. Omit even one of them, and you are almost destined to fail.


I am not a guru. Nor a “success expert” – whatever that means. However, I have had some success in different areas of my life, and I have studied many others who have as well. In the process, I’ve noticed commonalities and patterns with successful people, and I have summarized into four steps I call the 4Ds.

This is not an exhaustive list. You can make the case that there are other elements to success that are equally important to these. You might be right. I would suggest however, that if you do all four of these things well, you are likely to succeed at whatever you endeavour to do.


  1. Dream: If you are someone who wants to do something of significance, this step cannot be overlooked. Many people go straight to the next step of defining what they want. While that’s important, it can lead to small thinking. Without taking the time to dream about what’s possible, you run the risk of aiming too low.

    Dreaming is not just for sleeping or for children. We all need to practice dreaming more. Set aside some time to imagine what you really want. In an ideal world what would you do? How do you want to make your life, your family, or even the world, a bit better? Don’t shy away from boldly declaring your desire.

    When you have a clear desire, you are ready for step 2, but if you stop here, you are bound to failure. You may have already experienced this phenomenon. You have a big vision for something you are doing to do “someday” but you never take the time to define the parameters of how that thing will be accomplished, and as a result, it never gets done. Continue then, to step 2.

  2. Define: This is where you put “meat on the bones” of your dream. First ensure that your vision is clearly defined. For example, “Lose weight” is a common desire, but it is a lousy goal. Without a specific amount of weight, and a deadline for when you will lose it, “lose weight” rarely happens. Defining your dream means getting really specific about what you want, how you will get it, and by when.

    Create a plan. The more detailed, the better. Ideally, you know what you have to do EVERY DAY to take you one step closer to that goal. This step may take some time, that’s okay. Don’t belabour until you feel it is perfect – it never will be – but take the time to do it right.

    It may seem obvious that you shouldn’t just create a plan and then do nothing about it, but sadly, that is what people often do. Without action, nothing happens. Don’t make the mistake that many people do, and stop here. Continue to step 3.

  3. Do: This step is straightforward and requires very little elaboration. Do the work! That’s it. You have to execute. Even if you aren’t sure that what you are doing is the right step, in my experience, it’s better to do SOMETHING, then to wait indefinitely until you feel certain that you know exactly what to do. Complete certainty rarely comes, and if you wait for it, you may wait forever. Instead, take action. If you discover you’ve gone in the wrong direction, you can always course correct later. Which brings us to step four.
  4. De-Bug: This is an often neglected, but critically important step. No plan works perfectly. Things come up. Something you think will work well, won’t. Some of your assumptions will be wrong. That’s okay. What’s important is that you don’t let one mistake, take you completely off course. Just correct the problem. Adjust. Get back on track.


By following this simple 4-step sequence, and ensuring that you don’t skip any of them, you set yourself up for success.

Is there a step that you think is integral that I’ve left out here? Let me know in the commends below.

Category: success |

Go Back