What does it mean to you to be successful?
Don’t worry about society’s standards for success. Just consider how you would define success — for yourself. Based on your own definition, are you successful? Are you living up to your own values and ideals? Are you fulfilling your true potential? If you’re truly successful by your own definition, there shouldn’t be any doubt or hesitation. You could answer with an easy and obvious yes. Maybe other people would consider you successful. Maybe you’d like to think of yourself as successful. But do you really believe that about yourself? Do you feel you’re living up to YOUR potential? Are you doing your BEST? Before we can grow beyond this point, we have to admit the truth to ourselves first. It’s okay if it’s an unpleasant truth, but we still need to face it. Denying the truth WILL NOT help we grow. No truth, no growth, right? The truth is that most of us actually end up living pretty mediocre lives. We know we could be doing much better, but we constantly slack off. We distract ourselves. Most of us regret tomorrow before we’ve even lived it.
Barriers to Success
Success can be very rewarding, but it’s not an easy path to take. There are many obstacles and problems to confront along the way. Some of these problems are in fact getting worse.
Do you find it difficult to focus? You’re not alone. You may have noticed a major increase in distractions in your life within the last few years. There are more things clamoring for our attention than ever before. Another challenge is that we have more opportunities than ever before. We live in a time of rapid change, and change brings opportunity. From all of these possibilities, how do we pick something to focus on? How can we possibly feel confident that our decisions are correct? These challenges can be overwhelming at times. So quite often, we check out. We distract ourselves. We spin our wheels and run in circles. Life passes us by. And we wonder where all the time went. With each passing year, you may feel you’re slipping further and further behind, relative to where you’d hoped to be. There’s a gradual feeling of dread that builds over time… a sense of loss and regret — and maybe some guilt as well. If only you’d made better use of your time while you were younger… One year you have a job. The next year you’re trying to start a business. You don’t find the work very fulfilling, but it pays the bills. University students often have this problem as well. They switch majors like they’re changing their clothes. First it’s psychology, and then a year later it’s engineering, then philosophy. What’s the point of paying for school if you’re not going to finish what you start?
The 3 Key Challenges of Success
Let’s clarify the 3 critical challenges of success — challenges that everyone must face if they wish to become very successful.
Here they are:
1. You need to figure out what to do with your life.
If you don’t decide what to do with your life, chances are you’ll end up working for someone who does. You can run your own life, or you can have someone run it for you. Most people end up having their lives ran by someone else. They spend most of their lives working to achieve someone else’s goals. Is that you?
2. You need to COMMIT to being successful.
You don’t need to commit yourself to any particular path forever, but you must at least stick with your projects long enough to make serious and meaningful progress.
You can’t keep starting and stopping. You can’t keep quitting. You can’t keep distracting yourself.
3. You need to get yourself to take action repeatedly.
If you want the results of success, you’d better get used to taking a lot of action. No action, no results.
Most people fail the first challenge miserably, so they never even make it to the second and third challenges because they give up. But even those that do have a clear idea of what they want to do rarely get very far with it. Suffice it to say that mediocrity is a LOT more common than success.
Why is that?
Because Success is hard, very hard.
I think you deserve to know the truth. It’s not that easy to succeed. It can be a serious struggle at times. Very successful people know this, and they know it well. At least in the short run, it’s easier to be mediocre. If you want the easy path, you’ll have to settle for mediocrity. Trying to succeed will only frustrate you. You’ll find it too difficult. If you aren’t fully committed to success, you’ll give up too soon. I’m not here to serve the people who are okay with mediocrity. I want achievers. Achievers are people who want to better themselves. They want to grow.
But here’s the good news: It’s definitely possible to improve. Success is both learnable and teachable. You don’t have to settle for a mediocre life. Yes, success is harder than mediocrity, but it’s not impossible. Great success is achievable if you commit yourself to it. You really could be doing better. You could be succeeding much faster than you are now — and in a much bigger way.
Having vs. Being
There’s a difference between having certain results and being an achiever. Try not to get too riled about the having aspects. That isn’t a good place to root your self-esteem and self-worth. Money and possessions are nice, but they won’t fulfill you by themselves. When it comes to success, the being part is much more important. What does it mean to be successful? Success is a certain feeling you have about yourself. It’s a very positive, energetic, motivating feeling — a feeling of ambition, drive, determination, confidence, and forward momentum. You look in the mirror and feel happy and excited. You feel motivated to get going. You’re inspired to take action… lots of action. For many people, days like this are few and far between. Some people can barely recall a day when they felt inspired and motivated. That’s truly sad and disappointing. Conscious human beings can do better. When you’re at your best, life flows with passion and possibility. Your goals and projects are motivating and energizing. You take lots of action because you’re inspired to act. It wouldn’t feel as good to delay. When you end a successful day, it’s a great feeling. You barely want to go to bed because you’re enjoying such wonderful flow. When you do go to bed, you sleep restfully and peacefully. Real success is a state of being, not a collection of possessions or a number in a bank account. You can tell when you’re in the flow of success or not. If you’re not sure, then you’re not in the flow. Being in the flow is undeniable. When I’m in this successful flow state, the having part largely takes care of itself. When I do my best work, I create value for others. This can create an abundance of income for you, which makes it easy to pay your bills, meet your needs, and enjoy the experiences that make life worth living. Resolve today to commit yourself to be an achiever!
I’m John R. Salkowski, Founder of AchieveSuccessAcademy.com, Entrepreneur, Author, and Speaker on Leadership, Success and Overcoming Adversity. Retired Police Officer, Survivor of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) stemming from a shoot and kill robbery incident.
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