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How to be successful in life, career and business: practical guide

how to be successful

Our expert guide outlines the psychology and tactical strategies for how to be successful in life, career or business, with practical steps to follow..

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Everybody wants to know how to be successful in their life, their business or their career. But not everybody will do what it takes: these psychology strategies and practical steps. At the end of the article you will know how to be successful. Then all you have to do is follow the steps.

Okay, who am I? My name is Eva Centano, and you can read my background as a psychologist and success coach in my bio at the end of the article. This article is an in-depth summary of the strategies I teach my clients on how to be successful. All you need to do is to adjust your thinking and change some habits.

Laziness and lack of patience, focus and discipline are pretty much the most reasons why people are not successful Congratulations, the first step is the most difficult — recognising that you are not as successful as you want to be — and you just mastered that step! Here the chaff separates from the wheat.

You are the one who not only seeks success, but also intends to have it! It is very important that you read this page completely and understand and internalize things. In the end, however, it is up to you. You have to act, adjust your thinking and your habits.

If you don’t have the time to read the entire article, you can also jump directly to the individual topics that interest you first, then come back and read the rest.

However, we advise you to read the whole article. Our goal is to finally get you to act to adjust your thinking and habits to achieve success!

Facing the biggest hurdle to success

How many times did you face the following situation: You have a list to do for the day, for example:

  • Write and send a job application
  • Study for school or college subjects
  • Go to the doctor
  • Housework
  • Dispose of garbage
  • Exercise
  • Etc…

… and at the end of the day you just didn’t do any of it. Better move it to tomorrow. And tomorrow nothing will be done again.

Of course, it may not be that you didn’t do anything at all. Maybe you did the very small things. Or just one thing. On the whole, however, you were unproductive. This is usually the current situation for people who are wondering why they are not successful.

But you may also have other reasons that make you want to succeed. Maybe you are looking for a successful job or a way to make as much money as possible. The reasons don’t matter at first. The important point is: Unlike most others, you have detected the problem, which means you are ready to take steps.

What do I have to do or change?

We will answer these questions in detail in the article. At the end of the article, however, it’s up to you! All the information doesn’t help if you don’t implement it.

Please internalize the following sentence: Successful people don’t talk. They DO! It is really very important that you understand this. Otherwise, it makes little sense to deal with success.

Also, from now on, you should learn to focus on the important things. It is very important that you have to separate yourself from things that significantly slow down your success. But we’ll get to that later.

To understand what successful people are doing differently you have to realise, they are small things, but they are essential things that distinguish a successful person from a non- or less successful person.

What does success mean?

First of all, let us clarify what success means in the first place. Well, everyone defines success differently. For some, it is the successful completion of an exam. For others, a promotion or an increase in salary, or maybe growing revenue for their business or expanding to other areas.

Many people see success in financial freedom and doing whatever they want. Athletes strive for recognition for their performance, which they define as their personal success.

As you can see, success cannot simply be reduced to a homogeneous situation.

Success does not come by itself. Success must be earned. But being successful does not mean tormenting one’s life. Many different paths lead to success. But how do you succeed? And why is motivation so important for success?

You now know that success comes with performance. Performance is usually associated with physical and psychological stress. Okay, but how are motivation and willpower related to success? Let me explain this to you as follows:

There is very often the widespread false assumptionthat motivation is the missing state needed for success. This is not quite right. Many people are motivated, but still not successful.

Let’s take the example of “losing weight.”

You are motivated to lose weight. You’ve set out to lose a few pounds. But in order to actively lose weight, you need the willpower — the will — to change your diet and exercise habits. So it is the willpower that actually drives you to act. Without willpower, you are motivated, but success is still not achieved. In plain language, this means:

Motivation + Willpower = Success

That’s how it clicks, right? And so we come to the next question:

What has prevented you from becoming successful?

Well, we already know which components are needed to achieve success. Many people wonder why they do not see success. It is as described above: They’re doing something, but they’re not really working on it!

Do a test: Ask somebody around you: “Do you also want a carefree life?” Most react promptly with a “Of course, who doesn’t want that?”. Then ask them what a carefree life might look like for them, because everyone has their own definition of it.

Now that you have listened to the statement, ask them again what they are doing actively for it at the moment! I’m sure most people look at you quite perplexed.

Some will claim that, for some reason, he is currently prevented from actively pursuing his goal. And another may be honest and admit that they are doing nothing. Only a very small part will give you the answer “I work on it every day!”

And that’s the difference. These people pursue their goal every day. This distinguishes them from the broad masses. They wonder why they haven’t been successful so far, recognize the problem, and change it.

But simply recognizing a problem is not enough if you want to succeed. Active implementation is required here! And with that we already come to our 7-point-for-more-success guide! These 7 points are essential for your success and you absolutely have to implement if you want to be successful! Let’s get started!

How to be successful Strategy #1 – Separate yourself from your habits!

Why do I have to separate myself from my habits, you ask. Quite simply: because they seem to have not contributed enough to your success! As is so often the case in life, the beginning is always the greatest difficulty. But keep the big goal in mind and always keep in mind: If success were easy, everyone would be successful!

Here are the most habits that mercilessly keep you from success:

  • Fall asleep on the couch watching TV
  • Multi-hour online playing (from computer games as an example)
  • Hours of phone calls about inconsequential things
  • No reflection about your previous daily routine
  • No to-do list
  • Too many distractions in your familiar environment
  • Check the mails unnecessarily several times a day
  • Etc.

I could easily expand the list, but that should be enough to give you the idea. I am very sure that at least one of these points applies to you! If so, change it!

Let’s take “Too many distractions in your familiar environment” as an example. Okay, as a familiar environment we just agree on your home. If you notice that you simply can’t find peace at home and constantly distract yourself (urge to turn on the TV, friend or sooner partner, calls, etc.), then you should just look for a new place where you can actively work for your success in peace.

You have to eliminate the distraction! At least for the period in which you want to work productively.

You also have to dare new things. We humans tend to always go in our “comfortable environment”. Do you recognize the problem? Habits!

Again, we are trapped in the habits. You absolutely have to get away from it! How many times did you want to try something new, but never made it?

I always wanted to go to the boxing club, but I never dared personally – in hindsight totally absurd! One day I grabbed my full determination and just visited the boxing club. Of course, the first time was totally unpleasant. It was just new to me.

But already after the second time it became more relaxed and from the fourth time I was used to it and from then on I visited the club weekly.

Do you recognize it? Right! It became a habit! I ventured out of my comfortable zone and broadened my horizons. The result: I have become much fitter.

Remember: Every new experience becomes a habit through continuous/repeated repetition! And when it becomes a habit, you don’t have to rely on willpower so much — the new habit is simply something you have worked into your life.

Once you get used to something, you go one step further! Try new things, because you have to separate yourself from your habits! And every day anew!

My tip: If you don’t feel ready to venture something new, take someone with you. It will definitely be easier for you!

How to be successful Strategy #2 – Separate yourself from people who are hurdles to your success

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should ask every person in your environment like crazy if they give you your success! You’ll find out for yourself who wants to put obstacles in your way.

But why should you separate yourself from some people? Because they only spread negative energy. And you can’t use negative energy on your way to success!

Don’t be afraid that you will suddenly lose your closest people. I haven’t lost them! True friends and family will never put obstacles in your way!

How to be successful Strategy #3 – Become your own opponent!

No one knows you better than you! Neither your friends nor your boss.

You know how you feel right now and you also know exactly when to leave yourself alone. But do you know when you are successful? Most of the time, the answer to this question is: No!

And that’s exactly why you don’t see progress. How then? Is the problem that you have nothing measurable!

When did you really take the time just for yourself? When was the last time you reflected on your day? Do you have a method to measure your productivity and thus your success?

Many people don’t have a concrete plan for how exactly you can check. And right here I would like to give you instructions that are so simple, but at the same time so effective that you can increase your productivity by 200%:

  • Reflection
  • Planning
  • Weekly schedule

Let’s now go through the individual points.


“How do I succeed?” is a question you have to deal with every day. This also includes the fact that you should reflect on your actions every day in the evening.

What was your day like in terms of your success? Were you productive? What could you have done better?

If you ask yourself these questions every night and thus critically question your actions, you automatically start to become more productive ! Now you really realize what is going wrong and where you should help, which leads us to point 2 – the planning.


Now that you’ve realized what you could do better, you should take a few minutes and plan better.

What would you do differently tomorrow than today? What needs to be changed in a defined way? And because of course we should do this not only for the next day, but also for the following days, we create a weekly plan or schedule!

The weekly schedule

This weekly schedule is really very simple, but it will cause you to increase productivity to levels that you have never known before! With a simple trick you can easily overcome the inner unproductive element that is holding you back from success.

Create a table with 7 boxes (for the days of the week) and write down next to the boxes what you want to do and how often. Example:

  • Exercise: 2x
  • Meet partners: 3x
  • Working on success: 3x

Whenever you have completed one of these points, you place an X in the box for the respective day of the week. If it’s Sunday and you’ve only set 2 crosses for this week on “Work on Success,” you’ll see for yourself that you haven’t done what you’ve done this week.

There may possibly be only 2 crosses the first week. The second possibly also. But from the third week on, you will start to be keen to make sure that the third cross is definitely be on the map!

Automatically, you will also implement what you have set out to do – in our case, just work on your success. With this simple trick, you are able to train yourself and become more productive than ever.

How to be successful Strategy #4: Successful people don’t talk … they DO!

Successful people have a very different attitude to life than most people. They don’t postpone tasks until tomorrow (or the day after, or a week later, etc.), but they have a fixed plan and they work it out. Self-management plays a very important role if you want to be successful.

In addition, successful people do not simply work according to a predetermined schedule. Successful people decide for themselves when and how much they want to work for their success.

They create their own schedule. Organization is the be-all and end-all if you want to use your time productively!

It is incredibly important to allocate your time in a valuable way. But there are also moments when successful people do not work. And that’s when it’s time for bed 😉.

How to be successful Strategy #5: Failure is part of it – but also getting back up!

You learn from mistakes. In fact, you learn a lot from your mistakes. The only important thing is that you get up again after every precipitation and don’t lose focus! As Winston Churchill said: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Get used to the fact that you will encounter many problems on your way to success. If you want to move forward, you have to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it will not disappear on its own.

But are problems really always something bad? No, not at all! Every problem you master will take you to a higher level.

Here’s a small example:

Let’s take the problem of the fear of visiting a boxing club (from my personal example above) and give this problem a value of 4.

So it’s at level 4. So far so good.

You are currently at level 2. So for you, the visit is a bigger problem at the moment. For someone who is at level 7, for example, and has visited a boxing club several times, the problem seems to be very small in contrast to you. And a level 10 person no longer perceives such a problem at all.

Has the problem changed at all? No! Problems cannot change. They only appear different for each person, because each person has a different level of looking at the problem. If you want to be successful, you must master every level to get to the next level.

Problems will always be there. However, you can always evolve and become more successful every day. That you will make a wrong decision is part of it. Failure is one of them. Risk and failure are not something you should be ashamed of. My favourite motto is:

“Make 10 decisions. Even if 9 of them are wrong and only 1 is correct, you are still further than the one who makes no decision at all.”

Make mistakes. Learn from them. Get back up. Continue!

How to be successful Strategy #6: Start the day right

No, not (only) with coffee and what to eat. But also with calm, focus and motivation. Wake up earlier and ask yourself the following questions to focus on the essentials:

  • How do I succeed?
  • What do I have in front of me today?
  • What is important for my success?
  • What will I do specifically for my success?
  • What happened to my success yesterday?
  • As you can see, this is again about reflecting. Take time for yourself. As I said above: You are your own opponent! You can tell other people fairy tales. But only you know best what you have done for your success.

Think. Reflect. Make it better!

Okay, with these points you’re already on the right track. But one point is still missing. And that really is the most important point And that would be?

How to be successful Strategy #7: Mindset reprogramming!

All these points don’t help you if your mindset isn’t right! To be successful, you also have to think successfully!

How do you want to convince the rest of the world that you are a successful person if you don’t believe in yourself?

Well, maybe you don’t want to prove it to anyone. But you definitely want to prove it to one person. I’m pretty sure of that. Look in the mirror and you’ll agree with me that you want to prove it to this person 😉

It is not for nothing that the old saying goes: Faith moves mountains.

You may have experienced many disappointments in life in the past. But does that mean that you will only experience disappointments in life in the future? If you think like that, you will never succeed! Be sure!

Don’t lose direction due to negative experiences.

Think positive! Believe in yourself. And tell yourself every day that you will be successful! From now on, don’t let any negative energy undermine you. From now on, imagine several times a day what it feels like when you reach your success destination. What you then treat yourself to and how you will feel then.

You have to see yourself as a person in your desired successful state. Then your subconscious also begins to prepare you for this goal and then let you work. Becoming successful starts in the mind!

With these points you are getting a big step closer to your successful life.


Let’s summarize the most important strategies and points for your success.

  • Change previous (bad) habits
  • Separation from people who undermine you
  • You are your own sparring partner
  • Become a maker (!!)
  • Making mistakes is human!
  • Morning reflection
  • Mindset change!

Ask yourself what your success is worth to you. Is it worth:

  • Changing your habits?
  • Motivating yourself to do something even if you don’t feel like it?
  • To manage your time so that you work on your success every day?

If you answered even one question with “no” or “maybe”, you should pause again and really ask yourself if you are really ready to start a successful life.

If you could answer all the questions with yes, then I congratulate you at this point. You are on the right track! At this point you should now leave the page and start to implement the strategies.

Eva Centano is a certified positive psychology practitioner and success coach in New York, who works with people seeking a change in their life. Ms. Centano is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association and the creator of Flourishing Life in Positive Psychology, and she helps clients realize their goals and stay optimistic despite obstacles that come their way.