Your Life Is Not A Trip to The Supermarket
We all want to be successful. But getting there is not easy.
You won’t find the road to success on your GPS. There are no shortcuts either.
“Greatness is a road towards the unknown.” — Charles de Gaulle
Stop taking the bait of cheap wisdom and shallow cleverness behind listicles. I know, we all enjoy lists. We love to categorize information. And lists are visually appealing: they make it easier to scan the content.
Lists simplify our choices too. The more information we have, the worse we feel, as research demonstrated. “The Paradox of choice” — a term coined by Psychologists Claude Messner and Michaela Wänke —is that we feel better when our effort to process something is reduced.
But you don’t need a list to guide your choices. Your life is not like going to the supermarket. Stop shopping for the perfect list that will make you successful. There are no secret ingredients to get you there. Shallow advice, like fresh produce, expires fast.
Your life is the most valuable asset you’ll ever have. You don’t need a shopping list to live.
Recipes Won’t Turn You Into An Expert
“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” — Thomas Keller, American chef
I love braised Osobucco. It’s not a complicated dish, but you need to know the method. That’s why I was surprised when one friend decided to cook it for my wife and I. Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot.
My friend’s Osobucco looked fine but lacked flavor. The meat was dry and anything but tender. My friend is not a good cook, we already knew that. But just following the recipe didn’t help him. He wasn’t aware that braising is a two-step technique: he didn’t sear the meat first.
suc·cess — noun
“the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
“the attainment of popularity or profit.”
As you can see on the definition above, success has two sides. One focuses on the “why,” the latter on “what” you get as a result.
Tasty videos won’t turn you into a cook. Like most shortcuts, they can make you feel successful but they won’t make you proficient in anything.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” — Beverly Sills
Do you want just to feel successful or live a life of mastery and fulfillment? If you answer yes to the second part, continue reading.
What Is Success to You
“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” — George Sheehan
Success is more than merely achieving something.
Success is to tingle with excitement, to stick to what defines you no-matter-what, and to live a life that will make you proud of in retrospect.
Success is not easy. It leaves no room for shortcuts.
“Life is not measured by the numbers of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” — Maya Angelou
Getting a new job. Making money. Winning a new client. Being promoted. Buying a house. All these achievements are worth celebrating. But don’t miss the bigger picture: achievements are temporary. They come and go. Even worse, they won’t make you happy. The more you have, the more you wish you’d get.
Increasing 10x your productivity. 47 Best Ways to Accelerate Happiness by 1000x. Is that what drives your life?
Success is like a mirage. The more we chase it, the more frustrated it will make us feel. Once we get close to success, it vanishes.
“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” — Sophocles
“Stop being a coward.” — Ben (Will Smith) tells Emily, a cardiac patient (Rosario Posa), in the movie ‘Seven Pounds.’ It sounds harsh, but he was being compassionate. Ben wanted Emily to stop feeling self-pity about her condition and enjoy life. His approach worked.
Stop being a coward. We all need a wake-up call. To remind us that the easy road to success is not a solution.
Stop being obsessed with the “how tos.” Focus on what YOU want, not what lists tell you should do.
Don’t measure success by 10x, 100x or 1000x. Become your own measure. Live a life where you can look in the mirror and don’t feel regret.
What is success to you?
What drives you?
Who are you, for that matter?
Stop Looking Outside
“Work without love turns you into a slave. Success without love makes you arrogant. Wealth without love makes you greedy. Authority without love turns you into a tyrant.” — Anonymous
The definition of success is personal. I’m not saying let go of material things, or that your career or achievement don’t matter. I’m inviting you to reflect on what kind of life you want to live, and what makes you tick.
Live in a way that you don’t have to regret the tactics you used to get where you want to go. Let your dreams keep you awake at night because they are full of passion, not because they became nightmares.
Life is not easy. But we don’t value what comes easy. It’s the effort that makes the reward meaningful. Enjoy the challenge.
Start with ‘why’. As Simon Sinek says: “Most of us live our lives by accident. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose. Knowing your why provides a filter through which you can make decisions.” Let the ‘why’ dictate what you do and not the other way around.
Use other people’s ideas as hypotheses. Validate them (or not) by experiencing advice, don’t take anything for granted. Try before you purchase. Create your own theories, prototype it, design your own version of what life is.
Look for inspiration, not for formulas. Read to be inspired, to challenge your thoughts, and to discover other perspectives. Challenge everything you read (my words included). Don’t just follow other’s advice blindly. Your choices define who you are, as I wrote here.
Our imperfections make us human. Embrace your flaws; your humanity shows up through the cracks of your self. Acknowledging you are imperfect means you can learn from your mistakes rather than hide them. Those who pretend to be perfect they are not just fooling themselves —they stop learning.
Everyone is unique. What worked for one person might not work for you. Wisdom is more than a quote; it’s the journey — the experience — to understand life’s real meaning. Measure your self-worth with your own criteria, not someone else’s formula.
“You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.” — Napoleon Hill
Love what you do. Let your passion and what makes you tick dictate your path.
The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is you. That’s all you need.
Stop chasing for recipes and start living.
Before You Leave
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