Maybe Success Isn’t For You
I like to be straight with people. Not because I’m trying to juxtapose myself against other self-improvement writers on purpose, but because it just doesn’t make sense for me to lie to you.
I want you to understand the truth, from my perspective, about what it takes to live a successful life.
And part of that truth is the fact that you don’t have to do anything at all.
I’ve always known that I wanted to “be successful.” I wanted to make a lot of money and have freedom over my time. I wanted to live a grand adventure. I do see life as a scoreboard and I wanted to put numbers up.
There’s nothing inherently right or wrong with my worldview, nor is there anything right or wrong with the idea that worldly success is hollow.
If you want to be content, be content. If you don’t want to “be successful” then don’t do it. Stop reading articles like this and live your life — what a revolutionary concept, right?
See, that’s the tell right there. When people complain about my articles in the comments section, they’re communicating the opposite of the content of the comment. “I’m content, Ayo.” Ok. Sure you are. That’s why you’re taking time out of your day to comment on my article, right?
I write self-improvement articles as suggestions. Educated guesses are the best I can give you. I can’t tell you exactly how things will work out for you if you take my advice, which is why I made no guarantees in my new book. I can’t teach you what’s objectively right to want or strive for.
These are issues you have to wrestle with yourself.
And a huge issue you have to wrestle with is whether or not success, or at least the type of success I’m talking about, is right for you.
Let’s first talk about the type of life I never wanted to live. The type of live and position you probably find yourself in right now. I’m going to describe this life with a tone of disdain because I personally have disdain for this type of life.
Ask yourself whether or not you do.
Be honest about it. You might be better served to just accept it. Then you no longer have to have anxiety over this imaginary future. Take the time to contemplate these questions and decide for yourself.
- How does it sit with you to not have full control over your time?
- Are you ok with having to be at a certain place at a certain time, even if you don’t feel like going?
- Are you okay with having to ask permission, PTO, to go have fun?
- What about the commute? Do you like being on the highway at the same time as everyone else five days per week?
- What about your finances? Do you mind having to check the prices on the menu?
- Do you like not being able to go where you want, do what you want, when you want, with the people you want?
- Do you mind the constant worry that comes with living pay check to pay check, being in debt, or making enough to survive only if you maintain the job you have?
- Are you okay with being in a situation where you couldn’t survive if you lost your job?
- Are you okay with not having a deep seated purpose for your life? Does a lack of meaning not bother you?
- Does spending your time on living a good, but not great, life sound appealing to you?
I could go on here, but these are the types of questions you should ask yourself.
Also, understand that it’s okay to accept this type of situation. Honestly, most people should. This idea of a mass uprising of the self-actualized is a joke.
Don’t get caught up in the self-improvement guru hype. This is just one lens to see the world.
I was quite dramatic and hyperbolic in my description of being normal because you have to view being normal with that level of drama in order to avoid it.
That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with a normal life, though. In many ways, it’s enviable. I respect people who work hard every day to support themselves or their families. In many ways, I can see how living a simpler life provides more peace of mind than chasing success. I’m not really into peace of mind though. Just not my thing.
One prerequisite you must have if you really want to change your life isn’t so much that you want better, but rather the idea of staying the same is intolerable.
It’s okay if you’re not yet doing something about it, I sure didn’t, but your situation truly has to bug the shit out of you. And that’s just level one.
Ambition gets you in the door. That’s it. The good news? You have a shot. The bad news? That’s all you have…a shot.
I’m not saying this to be mean. But if you just look around and comment on things objectively, the numbers say most people will fail, even the ones who want it badly.
Here’s the type of attitude you need about this if you want to be successful. I can sum it up in one word.
Most people don’t succeed. Ok, so what? Who cares? They’re not talking about you, obviously. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I used to be extremely lazy and spent years of my life spinning my wheels. The point isn’t that you’re incapable of pulling this off. The point is about the type of serious attitude you’ll need.
Another bit of good news — you always have the chance to bring yourself to this serious point and once you do your past doesn’t count. When you come to this serious point you’ll start to see yourself as the exception to rules.
I remember taking a professional blogging course and the intstructor straight up said barely anyone will finish the course. “Yeah, he’s not talking about me, though.” I thought. I remember reading an article about how most authors never sell more than 1,000 copies of their book. “Sucks for them.” I thought.
The idea that you of all people will pull off the life described in self-help articles is, frankly, insane. Good. Be insane, then. You’re going to need that delusion to carry you.
God, the memories are distant now, but I remember them — zero email subscribers. ZERO. No fans. Zero followers on Medium at one point. I tried to put a WordPress blog together once and it took me 12 hours just to get it to look like shit. I put together a product that sold zero copies. I have dozens of half-baked and half-written books and products sitting in creative limbo.
I wanted to quit so so many times. But I was delusional. Even when the results weren’t there I told myself something would happen sometime. That’s what you have to tell yourself if you want this to work.
Success isn’t for most people.
It’s pardoxical. Almost everyone is inherently cut out for success, they have the raw capability and intelligence needed to do it, but at the same time almost no one is truly cut out for it.
You have to decide who you want to be in this life. I can’t do it for you. I can’t make you do it. Nor do I want to.
I’m here simply to be a reminder that the call for a better life is out there.
Answering the call?
That’s on you.
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