| Studies and examinations are important, but they are not as crucial as the life skills that you acquire in the process of getting good grades. As will be seen in the next chapter, people with a good set of life skills can succeed – and succeed in fantastic ways – even though they might not have much formed education.
After I topped my master's degree course, I went on to apply the PRAISE life skills model in my corporate career, entrepreneurship and other life's challenges. I have now been using PRAISE for over 20 years and it has never failed me.
PRAISE can be applied to a broad range of situations because all challenges are basically the same – they all require you to overcome obstacles, rebound from setbacks and never give up.
With a good set of life skills, therefore, you will be able to achieve success in many different fields and in many different aspects of your life, making you a truly successful person.
If you are a top student but you don't know how to socialise, your classmates will call you a nerd. If you succeed in making a lot of money but fail to manage your finances, you are a failure. If you build a business empire but you have no family or friends, you have failed in life. If you are well-respected in your organisation but your own children do not respect you, something is obviously amiss.
Life has many facets and we may not succeed in every single aspect of it. We must, nevertheless, strive for success in as many areas as possible. Even in those areas where we don't quite succeed, at least we can work towards reducing the extent of our failures.
People who succeed strongly in one area tend to do so at the expense of other aspects of their lives. They may leave great imprints on humanity, but their personal lives suffer.
As CEO and Chairman of KPMG one of the largest accounting firms in the US, Eugene O'Kelly had power and prestige. He felt he "sat atop the world". That perspective changed when, may 2005 at age 53, O'Kelly was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was told that he may not live beyond September.
He wrote: "But the job of CEO, while of course incredibly privileged, was relentless. My diary was perpetually extended out over the next 18 months. I worked weekends and late into many nights. I missed virtually every school function for my younger daughter. Over the course of my last decade with the firm, I did manage to squeeze in work-day lunches with my wife. Twice…” Re-evaluating his success, O’Kelly lived his final days spending more time with his family, and writing about his final days. On September 10, 2005. O’Klly died. His wife Corinne wrote the final chapter of his book, Chasing Daylight: How my Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life.
It is not uncommon that the prospect of death makes people re-evaluate what they want out of life. In the process, they often strike a new balance and redefine the meaning of "success".
We all need to find our own balance. I therefore encourage you to define your own success and choose the type of success that you want. Choose to be successful according to your own definition – and act on it.
Success, as defined by others, will understandably influence us, due to social norms, peer pressure and other reasons. So, yes, it is not easy to find your own definition of success. Nevertheless, you must make your choice and take ownership of it, so that you become master of your own destiny.
Let us inspire one another!
PRAISE is simple, yet powerful.
Use it or miss it.
The choice is yours.
Think. Reflect. Engage.