The sad day I decided to cheat my way to success

Cheryl Hughes said, “When people cheat in any arena, they diminish themselves.”

This is a great lesson to remember when your circumstances start to get to you. We all have a certain amount of resilience and willpower, but there comes a time when it all gets to be a little too much.

I decided to cheat my way to success late on a Tuesday morning. I know this because I started writing down my plan in a word document that very day.

I was tired of freelancing in the games industry. Tired of dealing with the unpredictability of when I would get my next job. But mostly,

I was tired of creating in the dark

Because pretty much every project I signed on to, collapsed.

So I sat down and started thinking about my other interests. I’d always been a massive book lover, and for some reason, the idea of becoming a writer seemed plausible that day. I didn’t care that I hadn’t written anything besides a status update since college.

I began googling how to write a successful book. At this point, I was particular about what I wanted. I wanted something that would not only interest me but support me as well.

As fate would have it, one of the first articles I came across was about making a living gaming Amazon. I was shocked by the step by step nature of the material, and by how logical it all seemed.

The writer then proceeded to explain that the best way to put this plan into action, was to hire a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is someone who writes a book for you, relinquishing their copyright.

I thought about it for a long time, then decided to go for it.

Working hard and waiting hadn’t gotten me to where I wanted to be, so I hoped that cheating my way to success would.

This approach failed pretty quickly. The quality of work that the ghostwriter I hired sent me was appalling. But I’m not a quitter, so I brought in another and got the same result.

I had sunk a few hundred dollars into the idea and learned that I wasn’t going to get anything worthwhile. Quality work would mean spending tens of thousands of dollars that I didn’t have.

I decided that while I still liked the idea of becoming a successful author, there was no shortcut to my goal. I immediately started writing my own books.

The kind of success that I want is still a long way off, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Here’s what cheating taught me:

Deciding to cheat my way to success didn’t just teach me that cheating doesn’t work. It taught me a far more difficult lesson. One which made me look hard in the mirror.

I decided to cheat because I gave up. I didn’t give up on a career path or a business idea. I gave up on myself, and it’s hard to admit that.

I had always believed in myself. Not because I’m anything special. I believed in myself because I’m human and human beings have a high capacity for achievement.

I knew that it took hard work, and a bit of luck to succeed.

After all, I’d seen people from different backgrounds do it.

I could have stepped back and reflected. But instead, I decided to throw it all to hell and adopt a different strategy.

I started to lose faith once the monotony and futility of what I was doing, started to affect me.

Now, I know the damage that cheating can have on your self-esteem.

Cheating means that you’ve stopped believing in yourself.

Cheating implies that you’ve started to think that you don’t have what it takes to get the things that you want.

These days, I believe in myself.

I’m not where I want to be, and I may not ever get there, but I choose to live my life ethically.

I choose to live by the ethos that I hold dear to my heart.

I choose to join Sophocles in his determination to “fail with honor” rather than “win by cheating.”

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