An acquaintance of mine, we’ll call him John, is a successful businessman. From him, I learned what it takes to be a success. Best of all, these lessons can be adapted to anyone, in any field.

Make Good Use of Opportunity

John’s family wasn’t wealthy, but John received survivor benefits after his father made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. Instead of frittering away the money, he used it as a long-term investment in his future. He earned a degree in business because he enjoyed it, and because he knew it would give him the skills he needed to be successful.

Define Your Idea of Success

When I said John is a successful businessman, I did not mean that he is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Nor did I mean that he is making a multi-million dollar salary. That is not John’s definition of success. John prefers to be his own boss, and to be able to work and play at times of his own choosing.

Be Persistent

John’s first business idea didn’t pan out. Nor did his second. Or his third. But he kept trying until he found one that did.

Take the Long View

Although John did not enjoy the corporate world, he entered it and stayed there for years. That’s how he funded his own business ventures. Any forward progress, no matter how slow, is still progress.

Work Hard

Isn’t working a day job and starting up your own business a whole lot of work? You bet. Starting your own business is a lot of work period. You’ll work harder for yourself than you ever will for someone else. But you’ll also enjoy it more, and when success comes, you’ll have earned every bit of it.

Follow Your Bliss

Okay, I stole that line from Joseph Campbell, but it’s true. If you enjoy what you do, it won’t seem like work. You’ll also be motivated to continue improving your skills. John had long had a passion for natural health. His eventual success story was a business marketing vitamin and mineral supplements, and educational materials about holistic health.

Be Lucky

Sure, once in a while, luck strikes out of the blue for no apparent reason, but mostly it’s the result of preparation, hard work, long hours, and persistence. When John finally followed all of the above rules (the one about following your bliss took him a long time to figure out), his business took off like wildfire. After a whole lot of knocking on doors.

Persistence, Persistence, Persistence

Sensing a theme? Good. That old saw you only fail if you quit trying is an old saw for a reason. No set-back is permanent, unless you give up.