02 August 2012

Stage 6 Success that Lasts - 5 Keys for Staying at the Top

Success is usually fleeting. Here are five keys to make sure your success last. The first key is to understand abundance comes from harmonious interactive flows of diversities. The second key is to develop character strength. The third key is to go for lasting value. The fourth key is to use your strength righteously. The fifth key is constant renewal to ensure completeness.
If you have done well in the past stages, then success and abundance will follow. The key question of course is, "How can one this stage of abundance last forever?". Here are five keys according to I-Ching. This post is article 10 of the series Making I-Ching Come Alive! The Key Principles & Applications.

Key 1 Abundance Comes from Interactions & Flow of Diversity - #11 泰 Great-Vibrant Flow
Success is not just about abundance of things but also about harmony of diversities. Lots of traffic without smooth flow is called a traffic jam. That is not nice. True success is about lots of flow and interactions without jam and conflicts. There are 3 key words - abundance, diversities, and harmonious interactions that make up true success. The modern term is called synergy. Synergy is about 1 + 1 = 10, 100, 1000 etc. It is the multiplying effect. Multiplying comes from interaction of not the same but of different things. Each diversity contributes to the whole and make the whole grow. Synergy can only work when there is harmony among the diversities. This is possible when they share the same objective and beliefs. It is also the interaction that produce the growth.

Success is like life. Life is about change and growth. Keep up the interactions and the whole will grow. Stop the interaction and the whole will stagnate and die. So here come the danger than success and abundance bring. Firstly, we may get so satisfy and complacent that we do not want to change anymore. The will lead to stagnation. Secondly, we may get so proud that we don't learn anymore. Thirdly, our people may loose sight of common objective and become more interested in protecting their turf and that leads to infighting. So, we need to make the trumpet call of Steve Jobs that say, "Stay hungry and stay foolish". i.e. continue to make progress and stay humble. See Follow Your Heart - Learning from Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech.

Key 2 The Power to Control Oneself - #26 大畜 Large Accumulation
Success in another form is one ability to control oneself. It is the maturity of our character and virtues. It is about our moral character strength. There are two aspect of this strength.

  • One is the ability to stop - to overcome greed and lust. Not to be tempted away from one's principles.
  • The other is the ability to continue the movement in the fight for justice and righteousness despite the difficulties. 

Such character comes from long term training and overcoming the challenges of life like disappointments and betrayals. It is going through a desert experience.

The utmost character strength is freedom to follow whatever our heart  desires and yet not committing any wrongs. This is the stage that Confucius reached at the age of 70s. (吾十有五而志于学,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳顺,七十而从心所欲,不逾矩。”)

Key 3 Make it Last and Leaving a Legacy - #32 恒 Lasting – Permanence
Build things that last a long time. Create an impact that leaves a legacy. Go for things that are meaningful and worthy. It does not mean we don't innovate or follow new trends. It does mean that whenever we create or follow a trend, we make that meaningful that lasts a long time and have a long term impact.

See also The Principles for Greatness

Key 4 Use Your Strength Wisely in Righteousness - #34 大壮 Great Strength
With our accumulated abundance of resources, network and influence, we have great power and strength. However, that does not mean we can do whatever we wish. We need to the core righteous values and our mission that bring us the success. We must heed the warning that power brings corruption and absolute power brings absolute corruption. Great men and nations all fall because of misuses and abuses of their strength and power. The more we are given, the more is expected of us.

Key 5 Complete the Task and Make it Complete - #63 既濟 Completed
Don't do things halfway or half-heartedly. Bring it to completion and make things complete. We need watchfulness and renewal to do that. We adapt when needed to continue. The required standards that customers want increases with time as better and better things are being offered. What is deem complete and acceptable now will become obsolete and sub-standard. Continued renewal is the key to stay complete.

Follow This Series Making I-Ching Come Alive!
Previous:Stage 5 Growth - 8 Keys for Scaling Up
Next:Stage 7 Joy of the Truly Rich - 5 Gems from I-Ching

Lim Liat (C) 2 Aug 2012
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