35 Things No One Told You About Becoming “Successful”

1. It’s Never As Good As You Think It Will Be

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has studied the relationship between money and happiness for over two decades.

2. It’s Never As Bad As You Think It Will Be

Just as we deceive ourselves into believing something will make us happier than it will, we also deceive ourselves into believing something will be harder than it will.

3. There Is No Way To Happiness

“There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

4. You Have Enough Already

In an interview at the annual Genius Network Event in 2013, Tim Ferriss was asked, “With all of your various roles, do you ever get stressed out? Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on too much?”

5. You Have Every Advantage To Succeed

It’s easy to talk about how hard our lives are. It’s easy to talk about how unfair life is. And that we got the short-end of the stick.

6. Every Aspect Of Your Life Affects Every Aspect Of Your Life

Human beings are holistic — when you change a part of any system you simultaneously change the whole. You can’t change a part without fundamentally changing everything.

7. Competition Is The Enemy

“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.” — Peter Thiel

8. You Can’t Have It All

Every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. When someone says you can have it all, they are lying. They are almost certainly not practicing what they preach and are trying to sell you on something.

9. Never Forget Where You Came From

It’s easy when you achieve any level of success to believe you are solely responsible for that success. It’s easy to forget where you came from.

10. If You Need Permission To Do Something, You Probably Shouldn’t Do It

My father-in-law is a highly successful real-estate investor. Throughout his career, he’s had hundreds of people ask him if they should “go into real-estate.” He tells every one of them the same thing: that they shouldn’t do it. In fact, he actually tries talking most of them out of it. And in most cases he succeeds.

11. You Earn As Much Money As You Want To

Most people “say” they want to be successful. But if they really wanted to, they’d be successful.

12. Your Vision Of Who You Want To Be Is Your Greatest Asset

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” — Oprah Winfrey

13. Who You Are Determines What You Can Have

There’s a parable of a wealthy parent who hesitated giving their unwise child an inheritance, knowing it would undoubtedly be squandered. The parent said to the child:

14. Earning Money Is Moral

“For better or worse, humans are holistic. Even the human body does best when its spiritual and physical sides are synchronized… People’s bodies perform best when their brains are on board with the program… Helping your mind to believe what you do is good, noble, and worthwhile in itself helps to fuel your energies and propel your efforts.” — Rabbi Daniel Lapin

15. Almost Everything In Life Is A Distraction

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown

16. Focus Is Today’s I.Q.

We live in the most distracted era of human history. The internet is a double-edged sword. Like money, the internet is neutral — and it can be used for good or bad based on who uses it.

17. If Your Goals Are Logical, Don’t Expect Luck (or the like)

“You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You need to develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. If you think you’re unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim. If you think you’re unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there.Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.” — Paul Arden

18. Don’t Seek Praise. Seek Criticism.

As a culture, we’ve become so fragile that we must combine honest feedback with 20 compliments. And when we get feedback, we do our best to disprove it. Psychologists call this confirmation bias — the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms our own beliefs, while giving excessively less consideration to alternative possibilities.

19. The World Gives To The Givers And Takes From The Takers

From a scarcity perspective, helping other people hurts you because you no longer have the advantage. This perspective sees the world as a giant pie. Every piece of the pie you have is pie I don’t have. So in order for you to win, I must lose.

20. Create Something You Wish Already Existed

Many entrepreneurs design products to “scratch their own itch.” Actually, that’s how loads of problems are solved. You experience a difficulty and create a solution.

21. Don’t Look For The Next Opportunity

The perfect client, perfect opportunity, and perfect circumstances will almost never happen. Instead of wishing things were different, why not cultivate what’s right in front of you?

22. Don’t Wait To Start

If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve — without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered — wondering where all that time went.

23. Don’t Publish Too Early

At age 22, Tony Hsieh (now CEO of Zappos.com), graduated from Harvard. When Tony was 23 years old, six months after starting Linkexchange, he was offered one million dollars for the company. This was amazing to Tony because less than a year before, he was stoked to get a job at Oracle making 40K per year.

24. If You Can’t Solve A Problem, It’s Because You’re Playing By The Rules

“There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.” — Albert Einstein

25. How You Set Up The Game Is More Important Than The Game Itself

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” — Thomas Merton

26. Leverage Your Position

No matter how small your wins along the way are, leverage your position!

27. Your Work Should Be A Performance

The cool part about poetry is that to most poets, how their poems are performed is just as important — if not more important — than what is actually said.

28. You Get To Decide How It Works

Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way, explains what he calls “the moment,” which every skilled creative has experienced. “The moment,” is when your eyes are opened to the mechanics and behind-the-scenes of your craft.

29. Five Minutes Is A Lot Of Time

When you have five minutes of down-time, how do you spend that time? Most people use it as an excuse to rest or laze.

30. One Dollar Is A Lot Of Money

I was recently in Wal-Mart with my mother-in-law buying a few groceries. While we were in the check-out line, I pointed an item out to her I thought was interesting (honestly can’t remember what it is anymore).

31. Retirement Should Never Be The Goal

“To retire is to die.” — Pablo Casals

32. Yesterday Is More Important Than Today

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

33. You’re Not “Way” Behind

In sports and all other forms of competition, people perform best when the game is close. Which is why big magic happens at the end of games, like on-sides kicks retrieved followed by 30 second touchdown drives. But when the contest is decidedly in one opponent’s favor, neither side acts with the same effort.

34. The Music You Listen To Determines Your Success In Life

“Without music, life would be a mistake” — Friedrich Nietzsche


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Benjamin Hardy, PhD

Written by

Organizational Psychologist. Husband and father of 5 living in Orlando. New book: Personality Isn’t Permanent: https://benjaminhardy.com

Mission.org

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

Benjamin Hardy, PhD

Written by

Organizational Psychologist. Husband and father of 5 living in Orlando. New book: Personality Isn’t Permanent: https://benjaminhardy.com

Mission.org

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

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