People do not ‘stumble’ upon success.
Every successful outcome, every good idea starts with a dream. Well, that’s not technically right: dreams aren’t the genesis, dreamers are.
Let me restate - every good idea starts with a dreamer. Every success is birthed by someone who dares to envision possibilities, and who by their sheer force of volition, calls them into being.
The dream vs. dreamer distinction is foundational. In the ‘which is better, ideas or people?’ debate, people win because people come up with ideas. In his blockbuster (and dare I say life-changing) book Creativity Inc., Pixar founder Ed Catmull said "If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.” Bingo. People > ideas.
Success is not about ideas, it's about a person, a very specific type of person. It’s why two people can have the same brilliant idea, but one revolutionizes an industry and the other does nothing. One changes the course of the world, the other ends up wearing pajamas eating Captain Crunch in their parents’ basement.
So let’s be done with the I-happened-to-be-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time myth. Success isn’t circumstantial, it’s intentional.
Whether you’re a bright-eyed teenage girl or an assertive, no-nonsense middle-aged man, the following principles, will work to garner success in all areas of your life: career, relationships, fitness, finances, etc. A successful person will have the following qualities:
Said simply, you have to believe, deep down, that you can achieve it. It may sound Polyanna-ish, but it couldn’t be more true. You have to believe. You have to be your biggest cheerleader; don’t abdicate that role to someone else (people are fickle and will put down the pom poms to grab a hot dog and a soft drink). If you don’t believe in your success, it will certainly not happen. Isn’t it funny how we believe those closest to us could set the world on fire, but when it comes to ourselves, we’re sheepish about our own potential? Imagine what we could accomplish if we believed in ourselves as much as others believe in us.
A plan is a dream with legs. If you are under the impression that just having a dream will get you to your destination, you will stay stuck on the ground. If you want to get to the moon, yes, your first step is looking up, but then you must make all the smaller steps along the way: get fit, get a spacesuit, go to astronaut school (is there even such a thing?). A good plan involves smaller chunks. It doesn’t just ask ‘where do I want to be’ but ‘what small step must I take today to to get there.’ And it doesn’t just ask that question once, it asks that question every. single. day.
If success was easy, everyone would have it. You have to continue to believe in your dream when naysayers arise, when obstacles appear, when circumstances say otherwise. Most people see roadblocks as ‘signs’ that they are on the wrong path. Really? Roads have potholes, that doesn’t mean you stop the car and turn around. Ride over the bump and keep going. Let the bumps remind you that you have a kick a** Jeep and that the place you are going is worthwhile.
Good things take time. Success is no different. If you want to be a world-renowned writer, it’s not going to happen overnight (can you tell I’m projecting here?). If you want to be head chef in a kitchen, your first souffle isn’t going to be perfection. Success is a flower - the blossom is beautiful to behold, but gosh the patience it takes to get from seed to bloom is is nothing short of grueling.
And it’s not just about patiently waiting for that which you so actively pursue; it’s about being patient with yourself in the process. When you stumble on the way, are you overly critical of yourself? Do you think poorly of yourself when you screw up? We usually define a patient person as someone who is patient with us, but a truly, authentically patient person is someone who is patient with themselves. They know the following secret: throughout the journey, we are becoming fit to receive that which we seek. Trust the process.
Most people want what success has but aren’t willing to do what success does. Success dreams, success believes, then success rolls up its sleeves and works.
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