Until You Finally Admit This You’ll Never Achieve the Success You Desire
Something funny happens from time to time when I post an article online. I’ll get a negative comment.
The person could be offering a sincere criticism, a slightly emotional one, or they can be a straight-up troll. Sometimes the people on the other end do have a legitimate beef with my writing, which is fine — I encourage skepticism.
Other times, though, I can tell the person is projecting, has some sort of insecurity, and is also lying to themselves in some shape or form.
This isn’t just common among online trolls, we all do it.
We outwardly pretend to be someone we’re not in some shape or form. We turn envy and insecurity into “critique.”
We virtue-signal about causes and ideas we don’t really care about but want to be seen caring about. In the case of self-improvement, many people scoff at it.
They’re to cool to improve themselves. They present a nonchalant air when really they’re desperate for a better life but don’t think they can pull it off.
Some people legitimately practice “self-love” and others use it as a rationalization for shortcomings they have control over.
Here’s the punchline, though: No matter where you are or what you do, you always have to be you. The image you present to others is just that, an image.
No matter how hard you try to change your outward appearance, you still have to wrestle with whatever is going on between your ears. You know your shortcomings.
You know the rationalizations and white lies you tell yourself to stay sane. Only you know what you really care about and want from this life.
My life got much better when I started to be honest about who I was and what I wanted. I, too, used to pretend like I was too cool to improve, that I didn’t care about earning a good income, that I was content. I started, tepidly, on the path to self-improvement.
Eventually, I owned my ambition.
When are you going to own yours?
When will you simply admit that you want to be successful?
I don’t like to talk about getting rich quick or making millions. I know that’s not every person’s dream. But, every person has a dream. And the vast majority of those dreams go unfulfilled.
And, sure, you can rationalize and pretend all you want, but deep down, you know. You know because…no matter where you are, you have to be you.
As good as human beings are at hiding from themselves, the truth rears its head eventually. This is the symptom that causes quarter and mid-life crises.
You try to play by someone else’s rulebook and you try to bury your desires as deep as possible. This works for a while, but not forever.
If you’re reading this book, you’ve probably reached the point where you’re ready to stop suppressing your desires and pretending to be someone else. Spoiler alert: you’re going to have to work on this incessantly for the rest of your life. Today’s your start, though.
Keep the following in mind when you’re on the verge of deep-diving into rationalization.
Stick This Quote on Your Wall Somewhere
“Somebody once told me the definition of hell: on your last day of life, the person you became will meet the person you could’ve become.” Anonymous
What’s the point of self-improvement anyway? You’re going to die. You can’t take your accomplishments with you. Aren’t self-improvement goals rooted in status, ego, and societal standards? Why not just focus on contentment and mindfulness?
Human beings are the species that went from making simple tools out of stone to creating super-computers that fit in the palm of your hand. Innovation is the thread that runs through the history of our species.
We’re wired to accomplish. We’re also wired to seek recognition and status (if the tribe didn’t like you, it was literally a life and death situation). Many people suffer when they try to act against their own nature. And you will suffer, too.
It’s not like you’ll be miserable if you don’t reach your full potential. “Normal” lives are inherently good lives. If that’s what you really really want, by all means, put this book down and do your thing. But, if you’re like most people (why do you think self-help is so ubiquitous), you have a version of yourself that you aspire to be.
You’re a self-interested ape. Why not embrace that? Why toss your human potential under the rug? In lieu of what — 60k, 4 vacation weeks, and unlimited shows on Netflix? Really, is that it?
Again, these are just suggestions. The decisions are yours. But paint a picture in your mind for me, will you?
Think of the version of yourself that accomplishes the goals and dreams you keep in the back of your mind. Think of the “you” that brims with confidence has a sense of meaning, and displays a sureness of self that’s impossible to ignore.
Don’t think about the money either — just consider the raw creative output the best version of you is capable of and let that sit in your mind for a second. Money isn’t that cool, per se, but being an owner of a business or a writer of books or a creator of art that makes said money is cool. That’s what you’re after. And that’s what you’re leaving on the table if you fail to follow through.
Your life. Your choice.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.