There are a countless books and articles on the topic of success and what it takes to become successful. You have scoured a few or perhaps you are one of those over-achievers who has zealously studied them all? That is quite impressive! But here you are looking for yet another secret to success? Could there be a little gem hiding here that which has dodged you everywhere else?
I don’t know where you are in your life. Perhaps you are waiting for divine inspiration that will get you off your couch and into the gym so you can stick it to your ex, or get you off your mediocre job to living the life of your dreams so you can stick it to your pompous boss? Perhaps you are just waiting for summertime, so you can grow your perfect garden, so you can stick it to your neighbor? Whatever the case may be and whomever you may be wanting to stick it to, if you are one of those people who are “waiting” to do something then chances are you will be waiting a long time.
Yea, you heard me! This article is not meant to be another pep talk that may get you motivated enough to get you off your couch for a day only to be back in it for a year. I am not here to tell you that you deserve to be successful because you are such a changeling and because you deserve better. I don’t know you and I have no idea what you deserve. But if you are one of those people who thinks you deserve something because you are special or because “mum said so”, well then you need to grow up. Nothing about life is fair or given just because you or someone thinks so. Life demands hard work and sacrifice, it demands fortitude to ceaselessly plan your life only to see your plans fail repeatedly and yet have the stubbornness to do it all over again.
What’s more life comes with no user manuals, guarantees or return policies, there are no consolation trophies and absolutely no pauses or escape buttons.
I am not here to give you any secret to success. I am here to tell you that success is not a secret. Or at least it should not be to you. See every body’s concept of success should be unique and personal. Before you set out on your life’s journey to become successful, I want you to take a moment and take stock of what success means to you?
So, what does success mean to you? Yes you, not your aunt Thelma, or your neighbor, or your boss or your wife …but YOU! Elementary as it may sound, this is an important concept you need to understand before you waste any more precious time in this world pursuing somebody else concept of success. Too many people have wasted too much time living somebody else’s dream which is why we are such an unhappy nation. If your concept of success is to get that gorgeous body, or a car that the world can envy, or a vacation with family then that’s fine. I am perfectly fine with shallow dreams. Just know that it should be your shallow dream not somebody else’s. But If you find yourself doubting what success means to you then take a road trip me with me into the future.
Imagine yourself 20, 30 or even 50 years from now, at the fag end of your life. You are on life support, breathing your last few breaths thinking back on your life. How would you like to view your life? Are you proud of the empire you have built, or happy to have contributed to society, are you satiated with the beautiful family around you there to bid you farewell? Or are you perhaps a bit regretful? Are you staring into a wrinkled face you have shared your life with and truly loved and cherished or are you looking at a stranger wishing you had called quits when you had the chance? Are you wishing you had not wasted your time on that mediocre job, or waited on that lucky break or perhaps just wishing you had spent more time with the people you loved? Now bring yourself back to today.
If there is the slightest regret in your life today, remember it will be a hundred times magnified and unforgivable at your death bed. Nobody regrets have done something and failed at it, people regret never having tried!!!
Well sorry if that was a grave exercise (pun intended). But at least you have a better idea of what success means to you now?
Do this exercise often if you need to figure out what you want to achieve and what it is you want to change in your life. So that brings us back to the million-dollar question? What is the one secret you need to know to succeed?
I wasn’t just trying to reel you in with that title you know. The answer is simple. You need to know what you truly value and cherish. What is the one motivation that every action of your life is geared towards?
Don’t have a nebulous idea of success, one that is brainwashed into your head by society, peer pressure or the numerous stream of advertisements on TV and social media. Don’t spend your entire life living somebody’s else dream no matter how precious that person may be to you.
I have an overachiever cousin who has spent years in school studying to become a surgeon while he secretly dreamed of being a banker, only to please his parents. I know of a woman in her forties who married the wrong man only to please her parents, and now is fighting a bad divorce and several health issues due to serious emotional stress at home. I also know of a man who left an ivy league school to start a small business and now is a very successful entrepreneur. Life is not easy as is, the last thing you want to do is live somebody’s else’s life.
So be clear about your dreams. Have a vision board or spend five minutes a day imagining what your perfect future will be. Perhaps you don’t mind being a bit somber and writing your own eulogy. What would your eulogy be? OK, sorry I promised no more grave exercises already!
What does any of this have with making me successful, you ask? That’s the thing. If you don’t know how to define your success, how are you ever going to get it? You may have everything in the world that anybody can ever dream of but in your heart, you will never be successful if what you achieved was somebody else’s success not yours.
Once you know what your idea of success means, everything else falls into place. Ignited by the fire of your true passion, following your dreams becomes easier. I said easier not easy. You still need to pursue your dreams like a warrior. It does not matter how brawny or brainy you are, as long as you truly know what it is that motivates you, you will find way to success and everlasting happiness.