I recently had a thought. How do we become successful, and when I say successful, I mean truly successful. The kind of success that comes with fulfillment and not the type that leaves a feeling of what am I doing with my life even as the bank statements read digits that are well over six figures. The thing about success is that, it can happen at any time, at any age, but to people who have invested, and prepared themselves to meet the opportunities that they know will come their way.
I took a survey of some of the top billionaires in the world, and realized that they all had something in common, a process that can only be explained in stages I call “The Fulfillment Theory”.
Every human being is wired with a unique signature, and those who are able to identify that unique signature are one step closer to becoming the complete versions of themselves they are created to be.
We all have the potential, an idiosyncratic gift that maps our own path towards the creation of the greatest break through in innovation the world has ever seen, and the key to coming to that realization, does not only reside in the extrinsic universe that is the world outside ourselves, but in the intrinsic world of our minds.
The term “innovation” is simply gifts and talents, which have seen the light of day. But true innovations that stand the test of time are like blades forged through the furnace of a skilled black smith, unbreakable at their core.
STAGE ONE: THE ENLIGHTENMENT STAGE
To empower people to be the best that they can be requires that we continuously seek knowledge, for we can only enlighten others to the extent at which we have enlightened ourselves.
At a tender age, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim Helu, Aliko Dangote, Mark Zuckerberg, and Amancio Ortega begun their journey towards success by being exposed to the first stage which is the enlightenment stage. Education comes in different forms. It can be formal or informal, but there is an unequivocal transfer of knowledge from one individual to the other. All the top billionaires went through a form of enlightenment stage which served to broaden their mindsets and provided them with a broader perspective of life, quite different from what they knew.
“How does what I see and hear in the world reflect on who I am, and what can I accomplish with the information coming from the external universe”
This means that what we learn from the education we receive from the external world, can be used through deep introspection to identify how we can grow our gifts and passion.
I wondered how authentic this theory was, as I observed a group of children from Libya, begging for alms on the streets. They had no formal education to speak of but had a lot of informal education from their experience living on the bustling streets of Accra Ghana. They had acclimatized themselves to the culture that is Ghana and proceeded to fit in by learning our language. These are acts that seem simple to people who are not really looking, but for those who know what to look for, you realize that they have shown a unique gift of language acquisition, despite adverse conditions such as poverty, lack of adequate shelter and nourishment. These conditions only serve to identify their budding ability to multi-task.
These are signs that must be spotted and honed at an early age by those who are much older and more experienced than children at that age.
But the key is to learn………
THE TALENT DEVELOPMENT STAGE
I talked about unique signatures earlier, distinguishing markers that makes everyone different, special in fact. Warren Buffet identified his unique identifier at a young age. He realized that he was exceptional with numbers. Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Carlos Slim Helu, all identified their unique gifts, and this was the foundation for the successes they have enjoyed throughout their lives.
This stage requires a level of introspection, a form of soul-searching into those gifts that makes us different. You can ask yourself why public speaking, playing soccer, having an exceptional singing voice, or the profoundness of being able to combine a complex array of colours on a canvas, in the most bizarre patterns can create an image so riveting yet inexplicable in its construction.
The irony of these gifts are that they set us apart from the world but still brings us closer to it when they are fully realized. Because gifts and passions are inextricably linked with having a global audience. It is only through that can we achieve impact and a sense of fulfillment.
We empower others with the gifts that makes us different. When a young vocalist listens to music by artist such as Evanescence, Beyoncé, or Taylor swift just to name a few of the world’s most successful vocalists, he or she is empowered to become as successful as they have become. But to reach those heights of stardom requires that he or she begins from the enlightenment stage.
Knowledge allows us the luxury of building our intellectual capacity, because it offers up different perspectives on growth and development.
THE EMPOWERMENT STAGE
This stage is a culmination of the Enlightenment and Talent Development Stage. To be able to have maximum impact in the world requires that we are able to effectively combine the knowledge derived through the various forms of knowledge acquisition processes as well as effectively combining them with the talents and gifts that inherently sets us apart.
This stage requires focus, and continuous introspection, which would constantly keep the mind in the cycle of learning and growth. It would allow us to know where we are deficient and the need to bring on board different sets of skills to help advance the vision, and to bring it into existence.
This stage requires that we collaborate effectively with others in order to arrive at the bigger dream. But we can only collaborate effectively when we have something to offer the collaborative group and that is why the first two steps are salient, and the stages a continuous cycle.