Study Your Success
When I was a teenager, I often experimented with making a homemade chocolate sauce. Most of the time, I had either too much cocoa, not enough cream, or some other inaccurate ingredient. But then one day it happened -- I got it right! It tasted so good! I finally became the master chocolatier I so desperately aspired to be!
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Today was a good day” or “Wow, that really went well”? Sure you have! You exhale deeply with a smile on your face and bask in the warm fuzzies of success.
Then...that's it, right? You move on to the next thing, occasionally reminiscing about past successes, accomplishments, or wins. After my chocolate epiphany, I later tried to replicate my glorious concoction, thinking I’d nail it once again...
Much to my disappointment, I realized I couldn't remember my recipe! I didn't note the ingredients and their corresponding measurements. I dropped to my knees, raised my arms to the heavens, and screamed at the top of my lungs!
Ok, maybe I didn't, but you get the picture.
The best thing you can do after you've experienced a success is to study it -- success is something to be harnessed, not simply enjoyed. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you learn from your successes.
Roll the Tape!
Think of how sports teams review video footage of their last game. They do this to identify areas where improvement is needed. Train yourself to study your last success soon after you've realized it, and take notes. Identify not only what you can improve upon but analyze what you did right. What was your mood? Who was involved? Did you have your coffee? How did you prepare? Study the success from all angles.
Once you've identified what you did right, make a plan to replicate the steps you took to prepare and execute. This is the part where you write it down! Expect the same positive outcomes you saw before. Did you meet expectations or did you exceed them?
Some of the greatest innovations and inventions spawned from someone who simply got lucky. The difference between the notable, successful inventor and obscurity is writing down what happened.
Rinse and Repeat!
Success doesn't always mean perfection. As soon as possible after experiencing a success, do it again! Remove any unnecessary portions and repeat your success to make it stick and to make it even better.
Remember, learning from your mistakes is good and is usually incentivized by the desire to avoid future pain or failure, but learning from your successes puts you on the fast track to excellence!