key success factors

The 9 Key Success Factors of Life

There are 9 key success factors of life that you can understand and manage for greater success. A factor is something that helps produce a result. Success factors are large categories of things or actions that help produce success as a result.

If you understand these important success factors correctly, you will realize that is all there is in life that you can control or manage to be successful! That’s because these success factors are extremely logical and, as much as possible, mutually exclusive (little or no overlap). They are divided into internal and external success factors.

The internal success factors are the same ones people have used for thousands of years to explain human capabilities. The Bible calls them “heart and soul and mind and strength.” We use words a little more common in the modern era:

  • Mind (including your brain)
  • Body (your whole body)
  • Emotions (including your feelings)
  • Spirit (including your eternal qualities or soul)

The external success factors are also very logical:

  • People (living beings)
  • Things (finances, home, other possessions)
  • Work (essential activities, especially to earn money)
  • Leisure (non-work or voluntary activities)
  • Environment (everything external to you and the other success factors)

Because achieving success in real life is complicated, I created the diagram above of the nine key success factors and how they are related. In the diagram, we have configured the 9 key success factors to look sort of like a hovercraft or drone, which for fun we call an SAV (Success Achieving Vehicle), flying and moving forward through time.

  • In the cockpit or command center is the Mind (M).
  • The “power source” of the SAV is Body, Emotion and Spirit. They overlap Mind, and vice versa, and together comprise You.
  • Keeping the SAV moving are interactive relationships, indicated by the arrows going both ways, with People, Things, Work and Leisure.
  • In the background is the EnVironment, which we denote with two letters so it is not confused with Emotions.
  • This diagram can be useful to help you remember the nine key success factors of life and how they relate to one another – as well as have a little fun with the concept.

These key success factors are the results of decades of research and development into what really can drive greater success for anyone, including you. As noted earlier, this is based on information in hundreds of books and thousands of articles about how to be successful in life and business, combined and condensed into real-world action insights.

Then we tested and refined these factors and principles to see what works best in the real world, through serving a wide range of individual and organizational clients who paid us for our services. In the process, we developed new ideas of our own before putting it altogether in this integrated success system

Note: While we highlight relationships with people as the primary living components in this system (as opposed to non-living things), it is also possible to have relationships with animals such as pets and even plants such as gardening. This can be important for millions of people. Farmers also interact with animals and plants which they are raising to produce various foods and sometimes just for fun.

Because relationships with people are so important and complex, we are not going to include animals or plants as a separate category. You’ll have to figure that out yourself, but hey, many animals are so much like people, it’s hard to remember sometimes that your pet is not human! So if animals or plants are important to your success, you can put them in the People category or Thing category, depending on how you feel about them.

The environment in this system refers to anything and everything outside of the internal and external success factors that might impact your success in some way. It is the “container” in which these other factors exist, move and interact. Environment simply means surroundings. If you were interacting with a friend or significant other, for example, your environment at the moment might be a room or house. On a broader scale, your environment could be your neighborhood, community or city. And if you are seeking something big like market leadership, the environment could be the nation or the world. In some cases, of course, it refers to the natural environment, which needs care and protection. “Environment” is always relative to the success factors involved as you or others strive for greater success.

The environment also contains forces, which are factors operating in the environment that do or might impact your success. Forces are larger than people or companies. Examples include the economy, geography, weather, technology, demographics, innovation, laws and regulation, the worldwide flow of information and capital, and much more. If you want to develop a specific success plan for yourself, a group or a business, you need to take into account the environmental forces which might impact your success, how you can monitor them and how to respond if and when needed.

In future posts, we will describe each of these success factors in more detail. Be on the lookout!

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