Why is it so hard to succeed in life?
Regardless of where you are in the world, what you do, or what opportunities are put in your way, a large majority of people, simply don’t succeed in life.
Unfortunately, that is just the raw hard truth.
Before we go any further, we have to define success, to have something to play around with. Some limitations and defined borders.
As I’ve probably mentioned elsewhere in my site, I LOVE the definition that Earl Nightingale found, and talks about, in his book “The Strangest Secret“, which is the following:
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
A person is successful, as soon as he or she is heading somewhere. They put their goals before them and do whatever it takes to accomplish them.
You see…most people conform.
They don’t know why they’re doing something, they’re just being like everybody else.
They don’t know where they’re going or how to get there.
They only dream about their dreams, but rarely do they pursue them. They’re extras in their own movies and are permanently shackled by the false self-image they’ve created of themselves.
They’re afraid to pursue their dreams, because it’ll force them to confront with all the fears and demons they have to face in order to stand a fighting chance, and so they put it off, for when “they’re ready”.
It forces them to kill any remnant of their former self, to give way to something much better. It requires sacrifice and most people would rather die than sacrifice. In fact, most people would rather die than think.
But why is it so hard to succeed in life? Why is it so difficult to actually push through and achieve the goals that you’ve set yourself? Fear is a big one, but there is obviously more.
And I mean, it’s natural to not be content with the status quo, and how things are (particularly for males, females tend to be a bit more “comfortable” generally speaking). You’re a spirit, living in a physical form, which is your body (don’t roll your eyes around just yet) and every living organism, when it wants to grow, it expands.
This means, you want more. You always want more.
You want to be better, be in better shape, you want to be sharper, wiser, you want to earn more, make more impact, be more loved and interesting and sought-after, and valuable and irreplaceable and important.
You want to grow and expand. You want to live.
Conversely, an organism that is shrinking, contracting and “settling”, is not growing. It is dying.
Nothing is fixed, and everything is constantly changing all the time.
If you’re expanding, growing, learning, studying and working towards something special, you’re growing. If you’re contracting, closing up or not thinking for yourself, you’re dying.
But how is it, that regular people, that appeared to have not so much going for them, turned out to be so successful? Why is it that out of 100 people, only 5 succeed? How can college dropouts, people with high-school level education, that don’t know right from left, become multi-millionaires that go on to change the world?
We’ve seen it happen, time and time again.
They usually don’t have any special talent, they aren’t gifted in any way. They’re just hungry for success. They want to be great.
These people think differently, have huge goals, listen to the right people and never quit. They’re making the decisions for themselves, quickly, and they persist.
They don’t give up, ever, they don’t take no for an answer and they believe, that there is no circumstance that is big enough to stop them from accomplishing their goals.
They decide “I want to do this”, and they start working towards their goal.
So Why Is It So Hard To Succeed?
While there are probably hundreds of thousands of ways of failing at whatever it is we’re doing (which I think have just a few main sources, mostly fear-based and greed) there is only a handful of things you actually need to do, to be successful at something.
An don’t be of the people that blame their circumstances for your defeats. Lots of people like to blame their circumstances, for why they’re not successful.
They blame society, the government, their lack of knowledge, their age, the money they have, the money they don’t have, where they live, their gender…whatever they can find that “rationally” makes sense, that will stop them dead in their tracks, from even giving it a go.
The truth is, you needn’t have anything but passion, focus, persistence and will, which most people have been born with.
Don’t blame your circumstances, as being the reason you can’t succeed in getting something you want.
Take a look at what John Bernard Shaw said:
“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
There are a lot of things that can set us back in life. When we let these cloud our vision and disrupt our path, we can find it really difficult to achieve our goals and succeed at anything we do.
Let’s go over some of the universally known reasons why someone might not succeed in life (as well as some other not-so-known reasons that I think are pretty interesting).
1) We Fear Failing And What Others Might Think.
I’ll just go ahead and put this one at number one. Fear kills hopes and dreams, like there was no tomorrow.
I think, fear of failing, rejection and of what others might think, is the number 1 culprit, when it comes to not succeeding, or not doing the things one wants to do, or doing something that one doesn’t want to do. It’s the reason many people don’t even start pursuing their dreams in the first place.
Your brain, is made to keep you alive.
It works on pleasure-pain feedback loops, to keep you safe. If there is something that might harm you, you don’t do it (you keep the furthest away from even the slightest chance of that event happening…at all costs).
On the flip-side, if something feels better, you do that instead. Over and over and over, sometimes even to the point of complete numbness or compulsively.
Rejection and “awareness” of what others might think of us, is nested so deep in our subconscious, that we have almost no say in it.
What happened if you stood up against your tribe, back in the day? What if you ate more than you should have, if you almost got the whole tribe killed or broke a sacred rule or something?
You’d be cast out, and you’d die…and you don’t want to die.
This means that as a kid, that has no way of surviving away from his or her parents, you’ll naturally try to fit in at all cost, follow the rules and authorities (parents and teachers at that time). You’ll try to go unnoticed and not stand out, which kills most chances you have of ever becoming what you want to become later in life if it becomes a habit.
The solution to this is simply (not easy, just simple) to override your brain into realizing that you will not die, if you ask someone out, start dancing lessons, change jobs or career paths, or whatever. It’s hard to do, but it’s vitally important that you do do it.
You’ve got to train your mind into realizing that things aren’t always as bad as it seems (I’m sure you’ve experienced this in the past). And it’s by endless repetition, of getting out of your comfort zone, that things are learned and integrated into our minds, as being a part of us.
Just as the old programs were added when we were kids, new, more enhancing and empowering programs should be added when we’re adults.
2) You Don’t Have Any Goals.
What is it that you want? Okay, now what do you REALLY want?
Most people are just “going with the flow” and doing something that someone told them to do, without thinking.
Take it from me, I personally spent 7 years on my college degree because, well…everyone was getting a college degree…
I was an idiot. Just another sheep, who didn’t think for himself. I had no goals, no guidance, no purpose, I wasn’t thinking ahead. I was just following orders. I was blessed that I was smacked in the ass by reality, and never managed to get a job in my field. The penny dropped, and I needed to start thinking for myself.
If you sent out a ship with a crew, with a specific destination in mind, a predetermined route that they would take and had a scheduled date of arrival, then I think that you can agree with me, that they’d get there.
They might change the route, they might lose some crew members, they might encounter storms or find themselves in an undiscovered paradise along the way…but they’d get there.
What if the ship had no crew members? No guidance, no destination. In this case, I think you’d agree that it’ll probably never get anywhere if it even left the harbor at all.
In essence, goals are make or break. You need to have goals that you can work towards. This way, you’ve got something to look forward to and work towards every day.
Steve Garvey mentioned the following:
“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”
Here’s a little tip: Write down your goal on a paper and put an end date to it. A date by when you want your goal to be accomplished. Do it right now, and instantly, you’re mind is going to put together the pieces as to how.
Look at your goal, every day.
As you begin to think about it, you’ll know what things to do and what things not to do. Is it getting you closer to your goal? then do it. If it’s not, then don’t do it. Put your goal before you every day, and the “how” will deal with itself.
3) You’re Not Focused Enough. Yet…
Ever noticed that days just go by, and you seem to not get anything done? We don’t manage our time effectively and we let distractions way us down.
The twitters, the facebooks, the instagrams, the youtubes…there is so much noise out there, and everything is grabbing our attention, so we don’t seem to “have any time”.
We have time. It’s just that we waste it by getting distracted…all the time.
Bruce Lee said:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”
Everything takes time. A farmer knows, there is a season to sow, and there is a season to reap, but we don’t do both, in the same season.
You need to give your goals, the time and focus that they need, and you must force yourself to fight against those habits, that will take time away from your goals. Where focus goes, energy flows.
This is vitally important, because the currency of the future is attention. Those who’ll succeed in life, will be laser-focused and won’t allow outside distractions, to interrupt them.
Cut anything that distracts you, that is not necessary as much as you can, if not completely.
- I’ve got 2-5 whatsapp contacts, that write to me frequently, I’ve gotten rid of the rest and silenced all the groups.
- I’ve almost completely cut out FaceBook (lately, I’ve been feeling a lot of negative vibes when I log in, so I’d much rather not log most of the time).
- My Youtube dashboard, is just a blank page and a search bar (Distraction Free Youtube chrome extension). This allows me to only see Youtube videos that I’m searching for, and doesn’t show me anything else, not even related searches.
I think that it’s a good start, but you must also take control of your own urges (to take a longer-than-usual break, to check your phone, to check your email, etc). And that…part is harder.
There are different kinds of strategies to use, one of which is meditation. Meditation allows you to focus on “the now” by overriding your impulses and force your body and mind to focus on what it is you’re doing until it’s done.
I’ve personally not done meditation, but a lot of successful people do. Maybe they know something that we don’t…think about it.
4) You’re Not Thinking For Yourself. Others Are.
Most people do things, just because they’re told to do so. They NEVER question anything.
Even if something in their guts tells them “wait a second, that can’t right” they forfeit their thought, into what someone else told them, and simply dismiss the idea altogether.
It’s very easy to allow what everyone else says, to dictate the outcomes of our lives, because at the end of the day…we don’t know everything about everything and neither should we!
A doctor is a doctor because he studied for years. So is a lawyer, a pharmacist and an architect. When we need help, we look for professional assistance, and ask those who’ve devoted their lives to it, without second-guessing.
Well, even when it comes to professionals…there is always a silver-lining.
Am I saying you shouldn’t trust anyone at all…God no! But the question “why?” should always be a valid question, and consequently, should have a valid response.
Always assume that the other person might be mistaken, might have overlooked something, or simply was “following orders” from someone else.
A lot of people fail to be successful, because they’re mindlessly listening to those people, who’ve never done what they say they do (or what you want to do).
If you want to be successful, you’ll want to find someone who already has done what it is you’ve wanted to do. Listen to that person, befriend him or her, and do exactly what that person says.
Success leaves clues, and why would you ever want to listen to someone who hasn’t gotten the results, or done something that you want to do? You don’t want to do that, basically ever.
Surround yourself with like-minded people and don’t listen to what people who don’t have the results you want, say about what it is you’re doing (that they have never done). Think for yourself, and question everything, be curious and experiment.