The great thing about success is that it’s completely subjective, and completely objective. On one hand, you have that success is almost always a solo act–the person who has a lot of money often struggles to be happy , the person who is blissful might be homeless, and the person who has a fantastic talent with music might have drug problems. This is not a dogmatic assertion, but a pattern that we often see in the real world.
Life changing question of the day: How successful is the unhappy millionaire?
On the other hand, success is simply getting what you want. If you want to be happy, and you do it, you’re successful. Simple, and objective.
So what happens in these situations? In reality, the person who was supremely successful at one task, defeating her comrades at whatever skill she sought to conquer, did not apply that same methodology and value system to a new challenge. The unhappy millionaire simply didn’t explicitly state that he wanted to be happy. He wanted money, but never said he wanted to be happy.
All of these thoughts kicked my brain off towards a thought process of what lays the bedrock for success (getting what you choose to want).
1. Search for the answer they don’t want to hear
Successful people understand reality, and they deal with the fact that it doesn’t line up with what they currently know. If Einstein believed that Newtonian physics was the be-all, end-all to the real world, we wouldn’t understand relativity (this would suck for you because GPS would stop working). If Ford thought there was no better way to manufacture cars, the assembly line would still be floating in some five year old’s imagination.
The reality is, no matter what you think is the best way to do something, there is a better way. Successful people scour the earth to find it.
2. Give up the desire to please people
The most successful people in the world have the fiercest enemies. Michael Jordan would have his roommate pull every newspaper clipping he could find that said the Bulls were going to lose in the playoffs and have him read it to him, nightly. If you watch Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech, he spends the entire time talking about everyone that thought he couldn’t do it.
What’s the common denominator? He choose to prove everyone wrong. He didn’t care if they liked him–in fact he loved being disliked. It fueled his fire.
3. A healthy discontent for the present
My college baseball coach used this one every chance he got. You can always be better than you are right now. You can be happier, you can be smarter, and you can be better at a skill. Rather than let that eat you up inside, use it to take productive action.
Successful people see stress as a challenge, instead of a threat.
4. Unshakable determination
In many ways, this aligns well with (3) and (2). Successful people get on a treadmill, crank it up to a slightly uncomfortable speed, and keep running. Every day, they get up from bed, and they run. They do care if someone tells them they can’t keep running, but soon thereafter, they ignore it.
If a successful person’s mom is standing next to them with a bottle of water, he smiles at her and keeps jogging. Persistence is undoubtedly, and unquestionably, the proudest achievement of a successful person.
5. An analytical mindset
Most people “go with their gut.” In reality, a vast majority of the decisions made by people, every day, is highly influenced by how we feel about it. The average man is terrified to walk up to a woman and ask her out, even though there are good reasons to try.
A successful person learns to disassociate their emotions from their decisions, and their actions. It’s simple–she has a feeling that tells her to give up, but she keeps going. She has a feeling like she might fail, but she tries anyway. She has feelings, but her actions are analytical–based in logic and intelligence.
How You Can Use This to Improve Right Now
This isn’t the entire list, but if one of these things is missing, success will be elusive.
You can use this and ask yourself, honestly, do you think you have control over everything on this list?
I fought for many years with the notion that other people didn’t like me. It was painful to find out people thought I was a jerk, or that I was weird. I let sadness creep in when there was someone who didn’t understand how hard I was genuinely working to be a nice guy.
Eventually, I realized these were blocking my ability to improve–I should pursue good social skills, but not at the expense of my health.
Now, I generally have a “take it or leave it” attitude. I treat everyone I meet well, and with respect, and if they choose to dislike me–fine. If they have that reaction, they are definitely not someone I want to spend time with anyway.
So really, it’s a win-win.