How to Succeed Even When You’re Failing

Or, Why Success Must Come From Within


I used to float through life desperately seeking my next dopamine hit of success.

My next sale. My next girlfriend. My next Twitter follower. My next recommend on Medium. My next vacation. My next dollar.

It worked when I was succeeding. I was always able to get my fix.

I had my dream job at a tech startup. I had the beautiful girlfriend. Everything was up and to the right.

But after I failed over and over again, I learned that having my happiness dependent on success was not a viable system.

When my book flopped, I wanted to stay in bed forever. When it turned out I was only my girlfriend’s Plan B, I lost all my wind. When I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do with my life, I was crippled with anxiety. When I got rejected by the client I had been chasing for months, I felt worthless.

Since failure is an inevitable outcome of striving high, and my happiness was dependent on success, my unhappiness was inevitable.

I learned that I can’t let someone else have power over my own happiness. I had to achieve happiness from within.

To achieve happiness from within, I had to accept myself. Warts and all. And I had to value my self-worth — the person I have created.

Once happiness comes from within, you are always happy. You are always winning. Because being alive — breathing, learning, growing — is happiness within itself.

I don’t need yachts, beaches, passion, money or even a stress-free life.

As long as I am healthy, helpful and happy I am successful. As long as I am living, learning and growing I am happy.

Now that I achieve success from within, I am building from strong principles.

I seek to create in the world, not because I need to, but because I want to and because it’s the right thing to do.

Because you can sit at home, but going out and causing trouble is more fun.

Because there are problems in the world that need solving.

Because of all that life has to offer.

Because of everything you can do with material success. Raise a family. Donate to charity. Start more companies. Travel. Buy that yacht I mentioned before.

So I took action.

I found a market need. I started getting clients. Helping people.

I met my future wife. I wasn’t seeking validation. I was offering as much of myself as she was of herself.

Everything is up and to the right again. But even if it all falls down I will still be happy. Because I am living.


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