The Road to Success Doesn’t Exist

It’s time to reframe our go-to words of wisdom

Photo by ryan lange on Unsplash

I used to admire the idea that “the road to success is always under construction”.

It acknowledges the fluidity of our experiences. It insists that eventually, unanticipated moments will lead us where we need to go. Now I’m wondering if it’s the right metaphor.

For a long time I thought progress was supposed to be linear. I expected to hit certain milestones at specific moments, and continue until I reached the place I wanted to be. I also kept in mind that things can change along the way, anticipating the aforementioned construction. But for some reason, it didn’t feel like enough.

After a lot of reflection, I think I know why.

1) First of all, there’s no road.

Roads imply consistent forward movement. The reality is, when we’re pursuing our dreams, things get in the way. So we pause. We move backward. We retrace our steps. We try to formulate a better way onward. We continue. Sometimes, not in the direction we expected.

There are a million possibilities that come with each decision we make. The beautiful thing is, we can choose our own adventure at any point in the game — and there aren’t any rules.

It’s also important to note that everyone has their own journey. Assuming we’re all headed in the same direction doesn’t do our individuality justice. It’s tempting to follow the steps of our idols and mentors, but they made their moves based on their own unique experiences. They forged their own way.

Let’s not worry about what other people did, or when they did it. Let’s make our own mark. Let’s focus on what fulfills us at each step, and enjoy it.

2) “Success” isn’t a destination.

The whole concept of endeavours having an endpoint has never really made sense to me. In my opinion, success is whatever you decide it is, whenever you decide it is.

It’s different for everyone. Sometimes, all it takes for me to have a “successful” day is simply remembering to stay positive. I see that as a win, but do I see it as the end? Of course not.

There’s always another day. There’s always another chance to check off that box. And there are so many more boxes to check off.

That’s just me.

The important thing to remember is that success is a very personal concept, and there’s tremendous flexibility that comes with it. We decide the checkpoints. We decide the parameters. We decide what we invest our time in, and even what to let go of.

Success, whatever that may mean to us, really is in our hands.

3) We are under construction.

When we look at change in the context of reaching our goals, we tend to focus on external aspects. We see change as a result of circumstance, or view other people as responsible for it.

Yet how often do we come to an unanticipated point in our journey and realize that maybe, just maybe, we are creating these changes?

It’s not a groundbreaking revelation that we are constantly growing. Our goals and priorities evolve as we move through life, and this is what we see manifested before us.

Obstacles become opportunities. Old desires dissolve into the background. New ones seem to emerge out of nothing. The journey isn’t changing per se — we are. When we grow, so does our perspective.

We’re not static, passive beings. Life doesn’t just happen to us. We have the power to create the course of our lives, so let’s harness our potential and reclaim it.


No matter where you feel you are in life, I hope you’re in a place that empowers you to keep going.

Thanks for reading!