Do what works, and don't do what doesn't work is easily comprehended and provides enormous guidance. But it doesn't tell you what to do, that's where you come in. You need to make that decision.
Your job is to ascertain what works, and what doesn't work for you. Which means one of the bigger secrets of success is to know what you're aiming to achieve. Don't self sabotage, only with the end in mind can you determine what works to get there.
So you need to know your goal. It's helpful to write them down, that gives you clarity and clarity gives you power. Without a goal, as the familiar yet insightful proverb says: If you don't know where you're going, then any road will do!
Should you Listen to Others?
But sometimes you don't know how to do what works, what to do, or even what you should do. But when you don't know, should you listen to judgements from someone else?
Substantial numbers of people think the way forward is to tell you what to do. And to achieve a goal, competent instructions from an experienced professional can certainly help. Yet no matter how well-meaning, ensure they know your goal AND understand your context, you do not want prescriptive advice.
They may pretend to know their ideas are best, but are they best for you? If you're very lucky, they'll put their agenda second to yours, yet unavoidable although subtle influences will still color their assessment of the situation. And most have their own best interests foremost.
Ignore the many blind followers, and don't become one yourself. They give little if any thought to the consequences, and don't understand the context in which their leader gave his original advice. By ignoring their current context, they demonstrate how little thought they've given to the outcome.
This assumes the leader did give sufficient thought and attention to creating viable instructions in the first place. An even worse scenario occurs when their leader also ignored his current context and just followed another. Who himself may have blindly followed yet someone else... Disastrous consequences are inevitable when you have the blind leading the blind leading the blind.
Explore All the Evidence
The secret of success is to explore the results, both your own and other people's, and use all this evidence to determine what has worked in the past, and what didn't work. Realize that the past starts immediately this particular instant in time is over. So whatever you're experiencing at this moment are the consequences of your past actions, which include those just completed a second ago.
Examining all the evidence gives you a good chance of determining what will work in the future. You'll change your life by only doing what works for you. What works is what will get you whatever you seek to be, do, or have.
Take Back Your Power
Nobody can right your situation except you yourself. Whether your situation is right or wrong, you are responsible for your part in the actions which led to it. The secret of success is to take responsibility for everything that happens to you.
Take total responsibility for where you are right now. Because with responsibility comes power. If you're not responsible for your life, who is? When you realize you're responsible, you reclaim your power to change your current situation. It will change anyway, because everything changes on an ongoing basis. So put some effort into changing it in a beneficial direction.
Ensure your intentions are good then, no matter how negative the outcome, you have contributed to making it more positive.
Stop judging things as right or wrong, just accept what is as reality. Any judgement will hinder clarity in the situation, and skew what you decide to do next.
All this will change your life by giving you as unbiased a choice of what will work as possible!
Food for Thought
"I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences ... whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate."
- Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, South African President and Statesman
This article was originally published at selfgrowth.com/articles/how-do-you-know-what-does-work-part-3-in-the-do-what-works-series