Here’s a dirty little life secret – the formula for success is simple. In fact, it’s so simple that everyone is capable of succeeding, of accomplishing their most important goals. Even you. It boils down to this – success takes what it takes.

So, if it’s that simple, why isn’t everyone uber-successful and wealthy? Why will the majority of us fail? Jeff Olson discusses this in his book The Slight Edge. I would highly recommend reading this – it’s lifechanging, and is where much of the following ideology comes from. It’s because of the little, seemingly insignificant choices that you make every day.

Failure, Survival and Success

In life, you can either fail, survive or succeed. For most people, success is fleeting – they will spend the majority of their life fluctuating between failure and survival.

If you’re failing, it means you’re not living the life you want, you’re not accomplishing your most important goals. Finding yourself in this state or near it will prompt you to spring into action. This is how you get back to surviving. This is the pivotal moment in your life.

If you’re surviving, you’re already on your way to success. In fact, you may have accomplished one or more of your most important goals. The reason that pure, raw success is so rare is because when you find yourself on the upward trend, something triggers you to stop – whether you’re aware of it or not. Think of it as going on auto-pilot. Instead of continuing the climb toward sustained success, you can find yourself slipping back toward failure. And the never-ending roller coaster ensues.

What I’m about to tell you next is critical – if you only take away one thing from here, this should be it. If you can survive, you can succeed. Heck, even if you fail, you can succeed. Many people never understand this.

How to Maintain Success in 4 Easy Steps

Surviving means doing just enough to get by – just enough to reach a milestone, but never pushing yourself to break through the glass ceiling above and reach a higher level of success, a better version of yourself that takes you closer to the life you want to live.

The ability to accomplish this comes from maintaining success. Here’s how you can stop surviving and maintain success in four easy steps:

1. Audit your philosophy. There are more how-to books, seminars, programs, and speakers that teach people the paths to success than you can fathom. But it’s not the how-to that matters when it comes maintaining success. It’s your philosophy. You have to understand your “why,” for money, for life, for all of it. Until you clearly understand what it is you want, you have nothing to fight for. You have nothing guiding your daily choices. Your “why” is what is important to you, the values you hold close and how what you do builds the life you want. It isn’t until you uncover your “why” that you’ll be able to change the way you think about the simple choices you make every day.

2. Focus on what seems insignificant. Little things can produce big results. So, go ahead, save that extra $50 a month into your savings account. Do that 20 minutes of cardio every day if that’s all you have time for. When you force yourself to take action – even if it seems too insignificant to matter – you’re training yourself to cultivate good habits. Eventually, those insignificant actions are going to build, they’re going to become more substantial. And when that happens, bettering yourself won’t be a question of “if,” but instead will be a priority. It will have become second nature.

3. Stop searching for the instant button. Success isn’t instant. This is exactly why people fail over and over again – they expect instant results. If you go to the gym for a month, you can be easily discouraged when your dream body isn’t staring back at you in the mirror. So, you give up. But remember, those seemingly insignificant actions build over time. You can’t see the results from these actions in five days, five weeks or even five months. It’s not until the summation of all of those small actions over time – all of those work outs over the course of a year – produce an end result that the drastic difference is realized.

4. Keep doing what you’re doing. The very same actions that carry you from failure to survival are the exact same actions that will carry you from survival to success. But only if you keep doing them. Once you start to taste success, it’s common for you to stop doing the things that you got there. You stop practicing good habits, making those seemingly insignificant choices that are pushing you forward every day. The only way to break through to success – and to maintain that success – is to keep doing what you got there in the first place. Yes, that’s the big secret.

Why Does it Matter to You?

Success takes what it takes – it takes repeating seemingly insignificant actions over time. Without your “why” you have nothing to fight for – it’s more than an attitude adjustment, it’s defining the philosophy that creates your attitude, which then dictates your actions.

This is why success starts with your mindset. It’s your “why” that helps you see that the small, mundane choices you make every day are playing an essential role in your journey toward success. It helps you understand these choices are what dictate whether you fail, survive, or succeed. It also helps you understand that success is incredibly simple, because you realize that you already know how to do what it takes to maintain success – those things that helped you survive, and got you to where you are today. You’ll also understand that success is incredibly difficult, because it’s just as easy to not be successful, to stop practicing the good habits that started you on your upward trend.

You have the potential to live the life you want, and you have the potential to be a flat-out failure. Which person you’ll be is under no one’s control but your own.