Sun Tzu wrote, “If you know yourself and know your opponent you will be victorious 100 battles out of 100 encounters.’ The civilian comes into a situation not understanding himself or his opponent, and is assured defeat. Know Thyself. The true warrior knows his skills, weaknesses, values and priorities. He knows in advance what is worth fighting for and will never try and figure that out in the heat of a conflict. This knowledge is not inherited but must be gained through experience and participation. Knowing why you behave based on your values and thoughts is the basic step to self-knowledge. The Chinese have a saying; ” It is better to know the dragons within, than to suffer their affects unconsciously.”

Before you can be successful, you must identify what it is you really want. Many people are setting goals so they can become financially successful only to realize that their family life is not a very good one. When setting goals, first identify your true values, then do long range planning and work backwards to quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. Know what you want, know what it is going to cost, and be willing to pay the price.

One thing that all humans want is to be happy. The ideal of happiness hasn’t changed that much in the last few thousand years. The key to happiness, is this:

“Dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and abilities, by doing what you love to do, and doing it better and better in the service of a cause that is greater than yourself.”

This is a powerful statement and a commitment. Being happy requires that you define your life in your own terms. Only you can do the things that will make you happy. Happiness is an inside job.

When happiness becomes a key element in setting goals and your personal mission statement, life will become much easier. Earl Nightingale once said, “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” You will only feel happy when you are moving, step by step, toward the accomplishment of a clearly defined goal. In order to achieve goals, it is important to constantly evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. This was clearly understood by Sun Tzu when he wrote to know yourself and your opponent.

You can never be happy until you know that what you are doing is making a difference in the world. Here are 7 steps towards happiness:

1. Dream big dreams

If you could be, do or have anything in life and were guaranteed you would not fail, what would you do? Go for it, don’t hold back. Visualize yourself 5 years in advance and everything worked out just right, what would it look like? What would make you happy? Where would you be? Who with?

2. Identify your unique talents and abilities

What makes you special? What do you find easy to do, but others think is hard? Sometimes, ask others what they think you should do. Many times they will see unique talents that you have over looked.

3. Resolve to do, what you love to do, and commit to be excellent at it.

It is only when you are growing in something that is important to you that you feel alive and in touch with your world. Remember that excellence is not a destination, but a life long journey.

4. Accept 100% responsibility for who and where you are in life.

You are where you are because that is what you have chosen. You are what you are and where you are because of your past behaviors. If you want to change the future, then you need to change the behaviors you are doing today. True maturity begins when you realize that no one is coming to the rescue, but that you are totally responsible.

5. Be honest with yourself

Refuse to engage in the idea that the laws of cause and effect will ignore you. You know that every thing that you get will because of something that you have put in. The biggest mistake is to expect something for nothing. Success only comes from paying in full, in advance.

6. Set clear specific goals

Less than 3% of people have written goals, and everyone else works for them. Only serious goals are written down. The more you write down your goals, the clearer they become in your mind and the more you believe they are attainable. The more they become attainable in your mind, the more you are willing to overcome the obstacles that will come in the way.

7. To resolve to persist until you succeed

You must be willing to endure the problems that you are going to face. Persistence is self-discipline in action. Your persistence is your belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. The more you believe in yourself, the higher your self-esteem. Soon you will develop an unstoppable attitude or Tamashi – indomitable spirit.

By Stephen Covey, Frank Rivers, Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy