Over the last several years, I have become addicted to reading, writing and talking about success. I follow motivational speakers on Twitter. I regularly listen to tips and tricks on podcasts and YouTube about how to find success in your career, business, relationships, or extracurricular activities. I’ve gone to talks, networked, made connections, and sought out like-minded individuals. I’ve made friends and I tried to influence people. I even wrote a book on how to set better goals based on my own research and interviews.
Nonetheless, I’m sick and tired of talking about success. I’m sick of it because I feel like my definition of success is different from everyone else’s, and by filling my mind with other people’s definitions of success I am effectively losing a part of myself. I’m tired of it because there is so much noise out there (here I am again… contributing to that noise).
In the world of success and motivation, there is no shortage of advice around success tips, life hacks, and tricks of the trade that will act as fast fixes for all that ails you. Because of this, we need to stop talking so much about how to attain success. Instead, we need to spend more time training our brains to see opportunities for success all around us.
Here are 6 reasons you need to rethink success:
1. Talking doesn’t lead to doing
Sure, it’s exciting to listen to the latest podcast from Tim Ferriss as he shares expert wisdom from the world’s top performers. Likewise, it can be fun to sit around with friends talking about a new business idea or think about how to strike it rich in the next 6 months, but talking doesn’t lead to doing.
Consider how you spend your time. Don’t get caught up trying to do just a bit more research or analyze a situation just a little bit more closely. Take 5 seconds to sort out your thoughts and then dive right in to action on something you know you should do.
2. Success is different for everybody
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, success is defined by the individual. For someone living in poverty and struggling just to provide enough food for their growing family, success may mean getting a steady job anywhere that will pay the bills. For those of us lucky enough to have a stable job or a defined career, we may often find ourselves defining success by what we see online. Usually these definitions of success are completely unrealistic and require an adjustment to truly be achievable. So, rather than fitting into someone else’s definition of success, ask yourself what really matters to you in this moment, and then go for that.
“Success is different for everyone; everybody defines it in their own way, and that’s part of what we do in ‘Close Up’, finding what it was each person wanted to achieve and what their willingness to sacrifice for that was.” – William Shatner
3. It’s all about mindset
Today, more and more people are struggling with mental health issues related to anxiety and depression. Many have drawn the connection between high stress lifestyles and the need to constantly be comparing yourself to others around you. For most of us, stress can be incredibly detrimental to work productivity and overall happiness. If you want to become truly successful, it’s important to develop a growth mindset that allows you to live in the moment and reduce stress.
4. Striving for perfection is demoralizing
While striving for excellence can provide much needed motivation and inspiration, striving for perfection can be demoralizing and depressing. By its very nature, perfection is impossible to achieve, so it is highly unlikely you will be able to achieve it in any facet of your life. Don’t let yourself be demoralized by never reaching your goals. Instead, focus on achieving excellence to the best of your abilities and then slowly improving over time.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi
5. Your values will change over time
Whether you like it or not, your values will change over time. You won’t necessarily want the same cherry-red Corvette Stingray you wanted in high school after you get married and have kids. Nor will you see the value of saving a dime towards retirement before you hit the ripe old age of 30 if you’re like 50% of the millennials out there I know.
6. Look for your main driving force
Deep motivation requires continuous learning, having the ability to develop a feeling of competence and having a deeper sense of purpose. Being open to learning is a key component of success. Ironically, many people that strive to become successful feel that they already have to know everything and be the expert before they can reach any level of success.
Always strive to learn like the Fortune 500 CEOs who read roughly 50 or more books per year on personal development. Likewise, motivation comes from developing competence in a certain skill or area of expertise. Combining this interest in learning with a competence in a specific area of expertise allows you to better uncover your deeper sense of purpose.
It’s hard to get out of the mindset of comparing yourself to others around you. We live in a world that is constantly connected. Now more than ever, we see everyone’s news feeds in real time, and we are able to know instantly who is doing well compared to everyone else. You will always have opportunities to compare yourself to others, but the truth of the matter is that we will only be able to claim success if we are happy with ourselves and our own definition of success.