Lately, it feels like there has been a long string of personal development content popping up, mainly focused on the things you need to do to succeed, how most of us have it all wrong (BTW, we ALL have it wrong), and the things we do to hold ourselves back. Quite a lot of it makes sense but I wonder if maybe we over-complicate matters and stifle our growth sometimes. Maybe, for some, the cost of success and true fulfillment in life is too high.
What is the cost of success, really? Does it have to be so hard?
For those that like short and sweet answers, here’s an emphatic YES.
True success is hard and the cost is high, especially for those that like their comfort zones. When I say true success I mean the type of life that goes beyond the mundane and what everyone thinks you should do. I’m talking about the lifestyle where work and life flow together and you follow the beat of your own drum. I’m talking about resting easy at night, knowing you’ve found your calling, your purpose.
In a few words, I’m talking about the level of success that requires cutting off ties, leaving behind the world as we know it and the things that shackle us into restrictive or destructive ways. If success were easy, everyone with great ideas and strong opinions would win big.. But we know that’s not the case.
Allow me to rant here because maybe, just maybe, you may be in this weird place in your life…Fear Of Failure
I often speak of fear of failure and how it cripples us. These days, we hear it a lot but it doesn’t make it any less relevant or true. Fear of failure is possibly the hardest thing to get over. Many avoid this obstacle by going back to school and rejoining the work force. In this manner, if we fail, we fail as a group so it is a lot more subtle and there’s none of the fallout of *GASP* culture shock.
Hey, everyone else is doing it so it can’t be that bad, right?
Now, if everyone jumped off a bridge…
Creating A Bigger Fear
We’re conditioned to respond to fear so why not create greater urgency by creating a greater fear? For me, returning to the “9-to-5” grind is not an option. Been there, done that, bought a t-shirt. It’s for not for me, though I’m sure it’s great for most.
I just can’t be a robot.. Do you want to be a robot? What if you get decommissioned? Then what?
I’ve gone down many career paths only to hit dead ends and watch my personal life go down the drain for nothing (well, almost nothing). Jobs expect you to put them before all else and that’s not very appealing, even for someone like me that may be considered a bit of an introvert. The current state of the economy only amplifies the glaring problems with traditional employment. I hate seeing people fed up with where they’re at in life, but not pushing for something better. It just tears my heart up because I’ve been there.
Where’s The Freedom And Security?
No one is ever truly free in a mere job but some cope better than others.
There’s no security in regular employment but it’s comfortable. It’s what we are taught is right: go to school, get a job, go up the ladder, go to school/training again, climb further up the latter, rinse and repeat. Of course, there are people up that ladder that don’t want to see you succeed. They feel threatened and will take any opportunity to knock you off your cloud.
With most jobs, once you’re let go or decide to move on, you have to go back to square one. It’s a very disencouraging, demeaning cycle. What’s worse is if your employer lacks vision and integrity, they’ll fail and you’re going down with them. There’s no freedom, control, or security there. Staying in that situation is almost masochistic if you stop to think about it.
What’s the value in that path?
How much do you learn?
How fulfilled do you feel at the end of the day?
Are you merely trading time for money?
How long can you keep doing it before you break?
Think about it: at a traditional job, you are at the mercy of those further up the corporate ladder. The scariest thing is thinking about what you’d do if you are out of a job. At your current pay grade, how long could you go without a pay check and sustain your lifestyle? To me, that’s a much scarier thought than the thought of failing when you go out on your own. It’s simply unacceptable.
I can fail tons but I just can’t give up. How about you?
I’ll take my chances with my “crazy ideas”.. Yup!
A Different Path
Most are at least aware that there are other paths to take but those dirt roads look so lonely and scary. In all my transparency, I think I’ve made it clear that self-employment of any kind is tough.. But at least the work is more fulfilling, you learn more, and you have more freedom and control. It’s risky, yes, but you can make it if you really stick with it.
Who knows, maybe you’ll lead others who lost their way or are heading into oblivion. YOU could be the one that sets your friends free, the one that shows them that there are options. I’m sure each of you reading this have met at least one brilliant person stuck at a job, not a career, where their talents are wasted and their soul is slowly dying.
You could save them.. IF they want to be saved.
The Sum Of Friends
In the self-help industry, there’s the notion that we are the sum of our friends. I agree and disagree. Certainly, friends with toxic energy and lack of ambition make it easier for us to limit ourselves.. BUT we still have the power to push ourselves further and make important changes in our lives. Still, you almost have to be selfish and practical when choosing those we associate with most, because they can either build us up or drag us down…
Living In Our Heads
It is almost guaranteed that any successful writer, web designer, game developer, or business person (all roles I currently play in my life) has spent more time in their own minds than lingering on the thoughts of others. This doesn’t mean we should block out feedback but it DOES mean we should not be quick to hang our hats on what the “experts” and “gurus” say. You also have to be wary of friends that never seem to have anything nice or valuable to say. Why do we keep them around?
We can externalize our mistakes and shortcomings or we can own them and take control of our lives.
I’d like to think everyone has what it takes to WIN in their own special ways. We just need to want it bad enough. There are people out there that want nothing more than to see us fail so they can feel better about themselves and maybe say, “I told you so.”
Screw What Others Say
We can be trend setters or bandwagon followers, pioneers or late-comers, free thinkers or sheep.. Do you want to be a leader or an obscure entity in the crowd?
I love reading and learning from others but I’m learning to consume less and produce more because…
There’s too much crap out there.
Ultimately, those that go against the grain and follow their guts WIN while the rest are mostly just complacent, coasting along frivolously. BEWARE: there are far too many people out there peddling crap to capitalize on our own insecurities, laziness, and doubts. I take all the expert advice with a grain of salt because what works for some may not work for others.
Still, there ARE some that really care and have worthwhile things to share so let’s not be completely dismissive here.
Once again, I return to this: if what “they” say works, why aren’t more people happy and fulfilled in their lives?
Sure, some people lack the persistence, perseverance, and commitment to make things work but is that the case with everyone? I don’t think so. There just aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions out there so you’re better off pushing forward and learning along the way. Everyone has to start somewhere. Why not you?
Streamline Your Life
Cutting back on the things that don’t add long-term value to our lives is hard but necessary. It’s like going on a diet:
- First, you have to frame it differently and work it into your lifestyle because externalizing it with a label like “diet”, “resolutions”, or whatever only makes it easy to grow disdain for the plan.
- You can stop long-time habits overnight so practice moderation until you’re “weened” off the bad habits.
- Create good habits by focusing on what you gain in the end.
- Consider what you lose whenever you cheat on your plan. What do you want more?
Well, you get the idea. There are many ways we can “cut the fat” out of our lives and still enjoy our guilty pleasures. Once that discipline is created, we find ourselves in a position to enjoy new, better things!
For some, the biggest junk resides in associating with people that love drama or negativity, indulging in excessive “stupid media” (i.e. reality television and tabloids), and just idling about. You know, the stuff that has little value. I have my own escapisms and distractions but I’m proud to say I’ve whittled them down quite a bit. If you need help streamlining, just consider the stuff that makes it easy for you to procrastinate or just give up at times. How can you turn that stuff down a few notches to healthy levels?
Maybe It’s The Wrong Thing
Sometimes we simply lose momentum with our endeavors because we’re in it for the wrong reasons. That’s where those pesky passion and authenticity things come into play. Don’t be quick to jump onto a fad just cause it seems to be easy money or the “need” is obvious. Look at all the people that jumped into realty.. Where are they now?
I can go on and on about being fully-vested and focused on our “thing” but this should all be clear as day (unless it’s an overcast day, then that analogy fails). What we really should think about here is sustainability, which factors in much more than passion, knowledge, and experience in any concentrations.
Taking The Plunge
Today is YOUR day.
I hope I planted some seeds that you will continue to nurture and eventually sow. I say all these things not to lead you to a end-all, cure-all solution. Instead, I hope I got some of you thinking about some stuff that can change your life.. For the good!
Quick book recommendation: Jim Rohn’s “Seasons of Life”. It’s perfect if you ever feel you’re just stuck in the mundane. WHAT an uplifting book.. Such a quick read, too!
I know I touched upon many different things here. My intention is to get us all thinking…
What do I really want from life? Am I any closer today?”
If you don’t like those answers, what is holding you back? (HINT: It’s probably you.) How long must we be sick and tired of being sick and tired? Will it be too late by then?
I asked many rhetorical questions here but feel free to step up and share the answers with others that may need to simply see they are not alone. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. We could all use work-out buddies at times, even us workaholic hermits!
What is something you have sacrificed or are sacrificing to reach your success? Was/is it worth it?