Sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? Everyone has their own versions of success. No doubt the conventional, most widely accepted proof of success are the medals, the awards, trophies and the prizes. The sweet sound when an emcee says your name after the phrase ‘and the winner is’… the bounce in your feet after you see a test result that says passed with distinction… or simply when your long lost crush texts you asking you out. It’s all success right?
Constant Failure is The Key to Success
I wish I could tell you that’s success. But unfortunately, I can’t. As sweet as these scenarios are to imagine, they are just a temporary high. You cannot live in that moment forever. And when the next hurdle comes along, you are quite likely to not get things your way this time. What do you do then?
Success is the ability to endure failures. Just as light is defined bydarkness, success is defined by failure. It may seem like a destination oran accolade but it’s actually the ability to keep going even when it seems
difficult or unlikely.
I’m surrounded by people desperate to achieve something, chasing wildly after something- a job, a promotion, a spouse, a baby, money, weight loss, better health, etc. Every time I speak with them, they’ll go on and on about how miserable their luck is, how they are being tried by God or the Universe and nothing good ever happens to them.
Once or twice, listening to their problems, I tried helping by sharing ideas, tricks, articles, information that helped me in the past and that I suppose can help them drastically. And guess how they respond? “I’m too busy right now, will read it later”! Ramit Sethi, the bestselling author, speaks about this best in many of his emails where he says how desperately people say they want to succeed but when it comes to putting in the effort, they get too busy.
Most of these people just want to stay in the mix, they want to show other people how much they are struggling (may be for sympathy or attention), or feel worthy about themselves just for trying and talking about it or just faking it to look respectable. But if there is one person truly, madly chasing his/her dream; they don’t get distracted by rejection and give up. There are ways to handle rejection, frustration and all the negativity that comes along with it, and that’s success!
The popular definition of success is based on materialist achievements or fame but success is a very relative term. For a poor child in a rural Indian village, success is a glass of cold water after a half mile walk in the sun while for you and I, it’s a casual act. Key is to *self-define* what success means to you instead of seeking worldly approval for your success.
I met a COO of a multi-billion pound Scottish tech start-up recently and I happened to congratulate him for the recent awards. He politely thanked me and said “we appreciate the glamour but we don’t get distracted by the awards as it tends to make us get comfortable!” He couldn’t be more spot on. During the next 30 minutes he spent with me, he mentioned about the painful lessons they learnt and how despite learning somethings the hard way, they are quick to adapt and hence one of the best employers to work for in the UK.
Major Success Factors
Do you have core faith in your abilities? If you ever want to succeed in anything in life, you need to begin with being self-aware of your own potential and limitations. If your mind is full of doubt or over confidence, you won’t be able to get the right help and tools needed for your mission.
Which values are non-negotiable? We all know that in personal and professional lives, we need to compromise and find middle ground often. But don’t ever compromise your values in exchange for perceived success. It won’t last long and you will devastate your integrity.
Do you have the ability to look at your journey objectively and review it honestly? This is a very difficult thing to do because our work is like our baby; we don’t want it to be judged harshly or criticised. We all have this emotional attachment with our creation, job, and profession- whatever we see as a metric for success. But learning to view it objectively is a critical skill that helps us become better and ultimately keep our mental balance when things don’t go our way.
Do you have the willingness to give it your all for a prolonged period of time, with or without results? This is the one I talked about earlier when I mentioned people keep talking about how miserable their life is because of their struggle but when it comes down to the core actions, you will find a big fat zero. Dedication to cause is a noble virtue of a kind. Many people know that they may not be able to see the results of their work in their lifetimes, yet they continue to dedicate their lives to it. One might see it as a waste, but for a person, the success and happiness is in the journey, not the destination.
1. Not giving up despite not getting results.
2. Altering strategies – readiness to try different methods to get to the goal.
3. Being comfortable with being vulnerable; knowing that you are in a risky place and it’s not going to be a bed of roses.
I came to this conclusion through my own personal experiences. From winning gold medals to ending up homeless in a city 5000 miles away from home, I’ve lived few good years chasing success that was defined by others. Needless to say, those were the most unhappyand stressful years of my life. Then came a time when I dropped their ideasand did what made me happy. Became an author, started blogs, campaigning and researching areas that I liked instead of what others suggested.
Since that day, every night I go to bed, I go as a successful human who was alive not just surviving that day.