How to Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye is the first article of a series of articles on procrastination, productivity, success, and setting goals that work for you instead of against you. If you like what you read and want to receive future articles on the topic, sign up to my newsletter at the top of the page or right below this article. Thank you and enjoy.
Did you know that 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution and only 8% of Americans become successful at achieving their New Year’s resolutions?
Failure. Let’s face it. We all hate the pesky little word. I mean, who wants to be that person who “couldn’t make it happen?”, or that person who “no matter how hard they try, their efforts amount to a big pile o’nothing”?
I do. I am that person who wants to be that person who fails at everything they do. But before you write me off as crazy, hear me out…
Becoming successful is determined by your ability to fail as many times as necessary. In fact, I even dare say that success is a direct result of failure.
Success is a direct result of failure (tweet this!).
What I have found is that forsaking failure is actually contributing to the problems we experience around success. For example, we tend to get bogged down by the details along the journey towards success because it may feel like we’re not reaching any milestones. And in judging ourselves for not achieving said milestones we actually re-inforce the negative feelings we typically associate with failure that keep us from making progress.
This is something I realized yesterday when someone on Facebook asked the question: “Where were you last year compared to this year?” It was in answering this question to myself that the last two years of my life fell into perspective right before my eyes. While I had been chasing the idea that I had to become successful at a certain goal I had, I had missed out on all of the self-growth and progress I have made since I began this relentless pursuit of success. I felt like a dog chasing its tail!
It was then that, in my desperate pursuit of the ideal of success and with my shoulders weighing heavy from the burden of not achieving said success, I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized what it takes to become successful. This in turn made me realize why people are 82% more prone to fail and only 8% prone to succeed at their New Year’s resolutions:
Turns out we have the definition of success and failure all wrong. In a sense, achieving success is going to take more than willpower; it is going to require that you simply close your eyes for a minute or two and honor where you are at, keep your eye on the big picture, and define success in your own terms.
Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #1: Honor where you are at.
One of my old college friends felt like a total failure because at age thirty she was not living up to the standard idea of success. She measured her ideals of success against not only impossible standards she couldn’t possibly live up to, but also against what other people were accomplishing. Thus, she continually put herself down for failing to achieve success.
So close your eyes and question everything you think you may know about success and failure. If you think success means you should own a car, question where that answer comes from; if you think you are dumb because you don’t own a car, question where that reaction comes from, you get the point. You could go on questioning these ideals of success all day long, but at one point or another hopefully you will realize that you have been sold a lie when you were told that you had to achieve x, y, or z to become successful.
In the end, even those royal fuck ups are a step you can take on your way to become successful. Why? Because you are continuously changing and improving. The person you are tomorrow will look back to yesterday and realize just how much you have changed.
Open your eyes now and choose not to do yourself wrong just because other people’s markers of success are different than yours. Honor where you are at and look back at how your life has changed and improved in the last year or two–even when the shit has hit the fan or you feel the need to improve your life.
Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #2: Keep your eye on the big picture.
I get it. You can only tolerate failure so much without seeing the desired results that let you know that success is just around the corner. I’ve been there. Many psychic readings later and I am still hearing that I am on the right path (remember? honor where you are at!). But I constantly asked myself how I could be on the right path and not feel like I’ve become successful. That is until I asked myself “where was I last year compared to this year?”
When I look back at where I was last year I cannot help but know that I have achieved some measure of success. But that comes with me choosing to see my progress as success instead of as failure–this is where a glass half full attitude comes in handy as you can see.
Keep in mind that our culture and media are pros at conditioning us for immediate gratification and 8-second attention spans. We are used to fast-food, TV on demand, microwaves, credit cards, and squirrel moments (or what I like to call shiny-object syndrome)–thus making it harder to keep your eye on the big picture.
Close your eyes and make it a point to visualize every step that has led you to where you are now, and see every one of these steps as a success story of its own. Then open your eyes again and realize that every time that you failed and you fell, you always got back up again–and that, my friend, is true success.
Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #3: Define success in your own terms.
Rule #1 of Success Club, don’t compare yourself to others!
Rule #2 of Success Club, celebrate the small victories.
Rule #3 of Success Club, don’t compare yourself to others!
So you want to become successful? Know what that means. Have a plan. Define this plan based on your own journey. Avoid the comparissionitis trap and keep an eye on out for the progress you are making.
Choose to think that “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Become your own scientist and be curious about the journey of success, as opposed to the journey to success.
If you want to become successful, all you have to do is close your eyes for a minute or two and re-frame the meanings of success and failure. Remember to see success as a journey, and choose to experience failure as indispensable to success. In the end what is left is your understanding that success is a mindset, and it can be experienced at every single step along the way, even when you fail.