Why am I not successful, despite reading “10 steps to become successful”?

Success became an obsession of modern society with media exposure, immediately explored as a business opportunity. There are all kind of experts, coaches, trendsetters and service providers to help you find that formula for success. And let’s be honest, it’s tempting. We’re bombarded everyday with success stories of people living a dream life and pompous public recognition. At a certain point we might wonder: why not me? Plus the additional pressure that, if you’re not successful you’re a failure by default. Heavy concept and I admit it takes a certain personality to not let yourself go in that B*S*.

Anyway, with the explosion of self-help material (social media, books, sites, podcasts, articles or posts), we get tempted to grab one of those “10 step by step process to success”. But, frustration. Success doesn’t come. Why?

Let’s pick it up some eloquent examples: you surely know names like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Usain Bolt, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson. Probably you’ve been tempted to read their biographies, articles and posts like “the 10 habits of X” or “how to become as successful as Z”.

Simple fact, in nowadays anyone can have access/acquire skills or knowledge. But not everyone will reach a top level, it’s not as simple as a mere wish and to read a book on “how to”.

Despite all Messi and Ronaldo team mates have been training the same way, all have the same coach and share the same “company culture” — so, access to all systems and tools — they don’t all reach the same level. Same applies to Tennis players or business people, they’re all aware of the “processes” and systems but all end up in different “ranking”. Even the ranking isn’t for granted, there are shifts every now and then, people coming in, people out or moving in the ranking up and down.

Because the secret isn’t in following a step by step process, but in the individuals themselves. It’s about how you are “fit for purpose” in that area. The “you” specific component, plays a major role. The who you are, how much you want it, the how much it fits your dreams and vision, how it fits within your boundaries, how much you believe it and how much you’re open, humble and ready to do it.

For sure the habit formation, routines and discipline has a role to play in our lives and whatever we attempt to achieve, as well as knowledge and skills have. What I want to underline is, as in many areas of our lives, processes, methods and systems are just means that will help to complete the puzzle, but the big part of the puzzle is something called “yourself” and the “juice” of it. Attitudes, behaviour, perseverance, persuasion, respect, interest in people, empathy, vision, resilience.

Yeah right, there are also “10 quick ways to be more persuasive” and so on. But you know what? I can also paint my old Ford Ka, but beneath it will remain the same old engine and technical part. I could change all that as well, but in the end would be cheaper to buy a new one. It wouldn’t be the same car. Remember, you can squeeze an orange as much as you want, all you’ll have is more or less orange juice. You won’t have apple juice just by squeezing more an orange.

As we live in the “now” era, people want things but they want them now. They rely their expectations in some quick scheme and process that will take away pain, time and effort to achieve goals. It’s all about shortcuts.

That’s why self-help had this massive growth and keeps growing at high rates. If there’s demand, you’ll have plenty of suppliers. After all, no one can say any method is wrong. It worked for someone. Is there a “one fits all” process for success? hmmm… are we all looking for the same things? Does success means the same for each of us?

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Originally published at amaroaraujo.com on August 15, 2017.