Secrets Of A Successful Life – A Mental Health Therapist & Life Coach Perspective – Insights From The Wilderness (#277)

The top four reasons that people contracted with me as a mental health therapist and life coach were the desire for happiness, the desire to be successful, wanting to improve their relationships with others, and the desire to create a more meaningful (spiritually grounded) life. In each case, the underlying feelings that brought them into treatment were high levels of stress, a sense of powerlessness, and a pervasive feeling of anxiety. Essentially, they were not satisfied with the quality of their life.

We use our minds to create the lives we live. So it makes sense the more we know about how our minds work and how we think, the more happiness and success we will experience in our lives. The more my clients understood their minds, including the illusions and limitations of their childhood conditioning, the more they were able to awaken their consciousness and experience the happiness and successful they longed for.

Thirty years developing and refining the therapeutic disciplines of Primitive Ego Psychology taught me the importance of intentional growth in self-awareness. Only through self-awareness are we able to master the life skills and habits needed to tame the early childhood conditioning of our primitive ego.

Secrets Of A Successful Life – The Key Habits, Skills, And Insights Needed

If our goal is the creation of a successful life, here are some of the key habits, skills, and insights that need to be mastered. Simply knowing these habits and insights will not change your life. These skills need to become an integral part of who you are and how you function in your day-to-day life. Achieving total mastery of the items in this list is not a realistic goal. However, if your goals are greater happiness, success, and meaning, they do represent many of the habits and disciplines that you will need to intentionally practice for the rest of your life.

The future is not what it used to be. Success and happiness in life both require the ability to pay attention to reality; to what is. Change is reality in action, so it makes sense to prepare for the reality of change. The list below will help you better prepare for the inevitable changes that life will bring your way.

As you incorporate this list into your life, it will awaken your awareness to additional insights and habits that will help you move toward your goals. Successful people will continue to add to this list as they grow and evolve.

Traits And Skills Of Successful And Happy People

  1. They pay attention to their passion early in life. They recognize that their core passion in life revealed itself to them very early in their lives. They had a vision of the life they wanted to live. For most of us, this insight is so much a part of who we are; we will tend to ignore it until later in life. But once we re-discover our passion in life, it’s not uncommon to recognize that we’ve known what our passion is since childhood.
  2. They live life purposefully.They intentionally develop habits that will help them achieve their goals and dreams. They know the legacy they want to leave.They are focused on their dreams and goals. They avoid disconnection from their life and distractions that simply waste time. They have developed the skill and ability to say no.
  3. They have the courage to change their mind and embrace new paths toward their goals. They embrace failure as a learning.
  4. They never blame others or life circumstances for their failures. They take full responsibility for their lives. They take control of their life and assume 100% responsibility for the life they are currently living and the life they want to create for themselves.
  5. They develop an open mind early in life. They embrace the wisdom embedded in not knowing. They know that certainty breeds ignorance, so they intentionally avoid certainty and the danger of inflexible beliefs. They are always open to new learning. They resist their egos need to be “right”. They learn to search out the truths on both sides of every issue, problem, and challenge. They know no-one is smart enough to be right or wrong 100% of the time.
  6. They develop an agricultural time frame early in life. They avoid the trap of immediate gratification. They persevere in the pursuit of their goals. They show up and do the work necessary to achieve their dreams and goals.
  7. They discipline themselves to show up and eat the frog first every day. The frog being that thing that will best move them toward their goals and dreams. (The frog is not their email, Twitter, or Facebook.)
  8. They understand the 4% rule of success. The incremental improvement concept of pushing for 4% more mastery today than they had yesterday. They improve incrementally every day. They ask for feedback from friends and mentors. They don’t follow the safety of the status quo.
  9. They resist the temptation to push the river. They don’t attempt to force reality to conform to their beliefs, assumptions, expectations. They understand and accept that reality is what it is. Then they get back to the task of working toward their goals and dreams.
  10. 1They learn to shift their consciousness from “me” to “we” early in life. They add value to the world and the lives of others; not just themselves. They embrace the values embedded in mutual benefit and the common good.
  11. They learn early in life that authenticity in life comes from taking action toward their goals and dreams, living their values, and avoiding the trap of perfection. They avoid comparing their own life to other people’s lives.
  12. They follow through on their ideas and goals. They have a just do it mindset.
  13. They embrace a growth and learning mindset. They are readers. They have the ability to change the way they think. They are dedicated to ideas and truth. They reject popular thinking. They tend not to follow the crowd. They value formal and informal education. They understand that thinking is a discipline that you have to work at if you want your mind to grow.
  14. They learn to live in the now of the present moment fully present to real life. They avoid living in the illusions of past and present.
  15. They are self-aware. They have developed an observing ego… the ability to step outside of themselves and observe who they are. How they are behaving. The kind of energy they are sending into the world. They pay attention to their “inner” self… especially negative thoughts, fears, habits that simply waste time. They have the ability to modify their behaviors and habits through intentional self-awareness.
  16. They maintain a high level of physical fitness. They workout and exercise daily. They make their health a high priority.
  17. They are not afraid to make short-term sacrifices to achieve their long-term goals. They set deadlines. They limit TV watching, social media, email, and habits that distract or waste time. They plan ahead, and they write down those plans. They measure their progress. They focus on the commitments they’ve made to themselves, not their motivation. They know that motivation follows action and full commitment. Not vice versa.
  18. Successful people know the world is changing. They understand that change is happening at an ever-increasing pace. As I mentioned above, they know that the future isn’t what it used to be. They pay attention and prepare for the changes that are coming.
  19. And most importantly, they see themselves as an integral part of the larger reality around them. They have tamed the primitive narcissism of their childhood primitive ego. They have tamed their ego’s narcissistic tendency to see themselves as separate from the rest of reality. They understand that life is not just about them. They embrace the concepts of mutuality, common good, mutual benefit, compassion, and empathy for all living systems… including the planet (Gaia) that birthed them.


A meaningful life, success, and happiness require a lifetime commitment to the habits and disciplines that support growth and the evolution of our human consciousness. The list of habits and disciplines above support the spiritual evolutionary impulse embedded in the Universe to “become” and evolve. If success and happiness are your goals, then growth in human consciousness is the life-long commitment you will be working on until the moment of your last breath. At that moment, your legacy will begin to speak for you.





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