“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” — Bill Gates
The struggle people often face is staying committed to their goals long after the novelty has worn off.
I’ve heard reasons people give up on their goals such as: “It wasn’t meant to be” or “It wasn’t fun anymore” or “Life is about having fun.”
The point worth emphasising is that we can create all the reasons in the world for not following through on our commitments and find evidence to support it.
But is this how you want to live your life? Hiding behind your doubts and insecurities just to feel better?
We don’t want to be wrong and will give up on a goal rather than risk looking foolish to ourselves. Known as confirmation bias, it is the tendency to look for evidence or evaluate information in a way to confirm your bias.
Let’s be honest, we’re all prone to it and just because I’m writing this article I’m not immune from it. The key is to be aware and take the right action, so we don’t fall into our comfort zone while our goals slip away from us.
Your beliefs about success will help or hinder your progress.
They may be unconscious, meaning you formed beliefs you are unaware of and are looking for evidence to support them thus self-sabotaging your efforts to succeed.
I like author Larry Weidel’s definition of what success entails: “Success has two rules: 1. Pay full price. 2. Pay in advance.”
Countless biographies about successful people line the bookshelves where the narrative seldom involves an easy path.
Let’s be clear, success is built on discipline, hard work, perseverance, grit, will and courage.
“To succeed, always remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” is the advice echoed by motivational author Brendon Burchard in his recent book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.
The Chase For Success
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
It is almost certain you will fail while pursuing your goals.
It is almost certain you will want to give up.
It is almost certain you will experience mental and emotional distress.
It is almost certain you will neglect your health, family, and relationships, investing all your time pursuing your goal.
However, Brendon Burchard believes “A warrior’s destiny is greater than his wounds.”
Let’s be clear on what success is. It can relate to areas of life where progress is reached. It is not defined by material wealth, nor fame or international recognition alone.
Vishen Lakhiani explains in The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms: “I came to the conclusion that the way we define success, centred only on the two metrics of money and power, is just a very inadequate way to define life.”
“It’s like trying to sit on a two-legged stool—sooner or later, we topple over. And that’s when I came up with this idea of the third metric of success, which consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.”
In a similar vein, it was Bob Dylan who said: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”
Yet, success is fickle.
We pursue it believing it holds the key to our happiness.
We pursue it to make up for our shortfalls and hide behind wealth and fame to make up for our childhood insecurities.
We chase success believing once we reach it we will be: complete, fulfilled, happy, recognised and better off. However, if success is pursued for the wrong reason, we amplify the self-doubt present within us.
A Sense of Purpose and Meaning
“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them. ”— Steve Maraboli
Author and businessman T Harv Ecker said: “It’s is bad enough being a prick, but being a prick with millions of dollars is far worse. You’re bound to use your power and wealth to justify your self-worth.”
In a similar view, what happens to a millionaire’s self-esteem if they go bankrupt? The same thing that happens to elite athletes when they’re injured; a deflated self-worth resulting in depression and anger.
They learned to identify with their performance alone while neglecting their human qualities. I’m not suggesting it’s their fault because seconds count when it comes to a gold medal.
We want to reach success for the right reasons and be fulfilled on all levels. Success is not the answer if you’re looking to ease your problems. It will only compound your problems if you pursue it blindly.
You might think from the tone of the article I am opposed to success. Quite the contrary, I enjoy success and embrace it for what it brings to my life. It has allowed me to help others realise their greatness and potential, however small or big.
The story of success reminds me of The Fisherman and the Businessman tale told in countless business books.
Success requires us to be purposeful about our lives according to Brendon Burchard: “Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self and start acting like that person today.”
The last door is always the best one because if you stay committed to your goals and pursue them with determination, vigour and courage, your efforts will be rewarded.
Success shapes a man.
It promotes his sense of self and instils purpose and meaning in his life. Success is the expansion of life coursing through you. It needs to grow and cultivate new beginnings so it may know its creative potential.
It can only do so through you as the vessel to know its creative force.
The last door is the only door that matters.
Only then you realise that every closed door, every missed opportunity, every setback and failed attempt was perfectly orchestrated to lead you to the last door of success.
Make it splendid and stay passionate and enthusiastic, to walk through the door and become someone you appreciate in the mirror each morning.