Success is something everyone wants but it is a truth that not everyone is successful. So, which factors constitute one’s success and what should we do to become successful people?
Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh—an influential Vietnamese Buddhist Monk—shared, “All of us want to succeed in our career. No one wants to be a failure in life.” That’s the truth. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you are doing, you all want to be successful. With His wisdom, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh talked about how to succeed from the perspective of science and Buddhism.
11 necessary things for successful people
Achieving success is not simple. It is a matter of taking the time to learn and train oneself unceasingly. Some sociologists show that successful people often have similar qualities and habits that you should cultivate to improve yourself. The following are 11 important things about successful people.
1. Find what you love to do
Passion is a vital factor that contributes to success. Only when you have a strong passion for your work can you strive unceasingly and be determined to attain success. On the contrary, should you not have any passion for what you do, you will easily get bored. “If you want to succeed in any field, you should have a passion for it,” said Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh. Besides, passion also creates patience and enthusiasm that help you move forward to success. Thus, it is necessary that you identify and develop a passion, hence your success.
2. A strong will
On the path to success, you will face many adversities. It will come as no surprise that many people decide to give up due to their lack of will. What should we do to have a strong will? About this question, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh stated that a strong will comes from your passion. After identifying your passion, you should set your mind and strengthen your will to overcome all challenges. Thay also asserted, “Strong will is a good quality of successful people. Those who lack the will cannot have success.” It is a strong will that urges you to try and not to easily give up. Therefore, passion and will are what you should embody to become successful.
3. Listening, learning and applying wisdom
A successful person would never cease to learn and listen to others to broaden his knowledge. Developing wisdom is highly valued in Buddhism, too. Bodhisattvas—referring to anyone who has actualised Bodhicitta (Bodhi Mind) and vowed to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings—are those who have lucid wisdom already but always strive to develop their wisdom. In the fifth realisation of the Sutra on the Eight Realisations of Great Beings, it is stated, “Bodhisattvas are always mindful to study and learn extensively, to increase their wisdom and perfect their eloquence.”
You also can see many people in life failing because of lacking wisdom. “Lack of wisdom will cause wrong decisions. The extent to which we make mistakes depends on the level of our wisdom,” Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh said. Without learning and knowing how to apply wisdom, you will easily fail due to wrong decisions.
4. Decisiveness and Confidence
In a world full of opportunities and challenges, you must be decisive and confident. If you always hesitate, you will miss the opportunity to advance. “Those who know to take time by the forelock”, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared, “are likely to have the chance of success.” Opportunity seldom knocks twice. Be decisive and confident or you may miss out on your chance of success.
5. A good sense of discipline
The next quality of successful people is a deep sense of discipline. People who are highly conscious of discipline will have a strong will. Moreover, they will be strict with themselves. Whoever is strict with himself will not indulge in social evils or lead a dissolute life. Buddhism highly appreciates this quality, too. The Buddha taught Buddhists to practise and observe the five precepts as a way to cultivate themselves.
6. Making friends with good people
“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you what you are”, Vladimir Lenin said. This old saying of Lenin has remained valuable for many years so far. Your friends reflect who you are and they affect your life, too. In the Dharma talk “Friends and Making Friends” in Summer Retreat 2019, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh emphasised: “The Buddha taught that once we find and make friends with those who have good morality and wisdom, we will become good people.” Besides family, friends are those who accompany and share with you through ups and downs. Your success partly depends on your friends.
7. Drawing lessons from successful people
Another valuable ingredient in success is to draw lessons from successful people. Thanks to their experiences, you can learn many useful things that you can apply to your life. There are failures that you can avoid. Alternatively, you can always learn them and gain experience from others’ lessons for yourself to make progress. This helps you save your time and efforts.
8. Having no fear of failure
On the way to success, failure and obstacles will certainly try to set you back. What will happen if you quit and daren’t go on? Keep in mind that “Failure is the mother of success.”
It is totally fine to fail before succeeding. What matters is not about how many failures you have, it is all about how you stand up after a failure. Thomas Edison—an American inventor—failed more than 10,000 times before he successfully invented the electric bulb. Prince Siddhartha—later became the leader of Buddhism—also spent six years looking for His true teacher as well as practising asceticism to find out the right path for Himself. Eventually, He awakened that He was wrong and the Middle Way would be the path to enlightenment. After His 49-day meditation under the Bodhi tree, He reached Perfect Enlightenment and became the Buddha.
So, failure is not as scary as you may think. Just draw lessons from failure, stand up and go ahead, you will be successful sooner or later.
9. Being honest to yourself and others
Being honest to yourself and the people around you is essential to success. Firstly, when you are honest to yourself, you will have the opportunity to see yourself more clearly, thereby accepting the truth that may disappoint or irritate you. With this mindset, you can easily recognise your mistakes to correct them. Secondly, everyone will trust and highly adore you when you treat them honestly. As a result, many good friends will come to and make friends with you.
This is also within the law of cause and effect in Buddhism: Doing good deeds will lead to good results.
To make this quality clear, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared, “If you have the mind of devotion, and you think of customers’ benefits and find many ways to benefit them, you will gain favour with your customers. Producing products of good quality that meet their needs is a way to express your devotion, too.” When you put a lot of effort in making products of increased quality, the customers will trust and support you. Thay summarised, “Those who have the mind of devotion will have more chances to succeed.” Prioritise others’ benefits and you will gain more than you may think of.
11. Training your health regularly
The last contributor to success is that you should be in good health by doing exercise regularly. We cannot deny the importance of health that directly affects our life. “Good health enables us to do anything we want. Property is important but it will be meaningless if we do not have good health. Without health, we cannot do and feel anything, hence unhappiness,” affirmed Thay.
What does Buddhism talk about becoming successful people?
According to Buddhism, blessings are an important ingredient in everyone’s life. A person is beautiful for she has the blessings of beauty. A man has so much property thanks to the blessings he accumulated from his generosity for many past lives. And the success of a person also stems from his blessings. Thay stated that without blessings, though you have enough 11 things above, you may not succeed. Whereas those who have blessings often have enough those qualities, because they have cultivated themselves, practised giving and made offerings for many lives. It is blessings that support you so much.
What should one do to get blessings? In the Dharma talk of “The Great Leading Teacher”, Thay also emphasised the only way to obtain blessings is to benefit yourself and everyone. Thay gave examples of observing the five Buddhist precepts, developing the mind of reverence, making offerings, doing good deeds, etc. as ways to benefit yourself and others.
In Mangala Sutra, the Buddha also taught, “Not to associate with the foolish, but to associate with the wise; and to honor those who are worthy of honor — this is the greatest blessing. To reside in a suitable locality, to have done meritorious actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course — this is the greatest blessing.”
So, you are the creator of your own blessings.
Especially, Thay stated that success depends on your effort and cultivation. If you try unceasingly and do not give up easily, you will always improve yourself to achieve success regardless of any circumstances. To be more specific, Thay gave an example of Nick Vujicic, who was born with tetra-amelia without fully formed limbs. Despite that, he now is a famous and inspiring speaker worldwide. Hence, you should not blame others and your circumstances for your failure. Instead, you should reflect on yourself to recognise your mistakes, correct them and improve yourself.
Above are the guidelines on how to become successful people through the teachings of Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh and in the Buddhist view. We hope you have created action plans to develop the qualities so that you will open up countless opportunities for success for yourself.
- “Mangala Sutta: Blessings”, translated from the Pali by Narada Thera, 1994.
- “Sutra of the Eight Realisations of Great Beings”, translated from Chinese by Buddha Gate Monastery.
- “Friends and Making Friends”, a Dharma talk in Summer Retreat 2019, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2019.
- “The Great Leading Teacher”, a Dharma talk on the second episode of “The youth explore the garden of the mind” programme, 2018.