Everyone wants to have a happy, healthy life, do meaningful work and achieve financial independence. Everyone wants to make a difference in the world, to be significant and to have a positive impact on those around him. Everyone wants to do something wonderful with her life.

Over and over, I have found that the key to success is a single piece of information, a single idea at the right time and in the right situation. And I’ve also learned that the great truths are simple.

One common goal. Luckily for most of us, personal success is not a matter of background, intelligence or native ability. It’s not our family, friends or contacts who enable us to do extraordinary things. Instead, the key to success is our ability to get the very best out of ourselves under many different conditions and circumstances. It is our ability to adapt and change.

You have within you right now, deep reserves of potential and ability that, if properly harnessed and channeled, will enable you to accomplish extraordinary things with your life.

Four keys to success. The great keys to success have always been the same:

  1. Decide exactly what you want to do and where you want to go.
  2. Set a deadline and make a plan to get there. (Remember: A goal is just a dream with a deadline.)
  3. Take continual action on your plan. Do something every day to move toward your goal.
  4. Resolve in advance that you will persist until you succeed, that you will never, ever give up.

The only real limits on what you can do, have or be are self-imposed. Once you make a clear, unequivocal decision to change your life by casting off mental limitations and begin to throw your whole heart into the accomplishment of some great goal, your ultimate success is virtually guaranteed—as long as you keep going.

This formula has worked for nearly everyone who has tried it. It will not be easy; it will require the very most you can give. But in developing your best qualities and following these keys to personal success, you will evolve and grow and become an extraordinary person.

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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to www.briantracy.com.