From large successes like building successful businesses to small successes like flossing my teeth, one tool has been the predominant factor in accomplishment.

The flip side is also true. When I did not achieve something I did not have this tool firmly in place and thus struggled, sputtered, and ultimately did not achieve my desired outcome.

Passion is great, but for most, it will get you only so far by itself. Once passion fades it is work that works.

But even work by itself doesn’t always result in success. Work is mandatory of course, but if one is trying to dig an oil well by using a spoon they are not likely to strike oil no matter how hard or long they work. Work only works if properly focused, directed, and matched well to the job at hand.

The trope “if you fail to plan you are planning to fail” is more often true than not. If you have no plan or have done no planning then you will end up wherever life’s plan or somebody else’s plan takes you and this generally is not where you want to be. Determine where you want to be and more importantly how you want to get there by creating a plan. Seek mentors, books, classes, and other resources to give you a leg up and make the journey all the more enjoyable. You need a plan and yet a plan is still not the one thing that has mattered the most in my successes over the years.

With passion, the willingness and ability to work, and a solid focused plan you are well ahead of most people.

The one thing that will all but ensure progress and utilize passion, work, and a plan to the max is a system. The most successful businesses in the world are built on systems (think McDonald’s). The most successful people in the world operate with a personal human operating system in how they think and act. The successes I have had in life were the result of systems.

Create systems for thinking, reacting, planning, working, maintaining your health, saving your money, loving your spouse, spending time with your children, productivity, recreation, creation, etc.

Systems are the key to more progress, more success, and better outcomes.

Similar to the operating systems on your phone and computer our systems can always be upgraded. However, without a system, you will be forever reinventing the wheel instead of improving upon it, thus going nowhere fast.

The book “Thinking in Systems: A Primer” is a good place to start to understand the power of systems thinking on a global level.