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Why You Must Make Success an Ethical Duty and Obligation

A counterintuitive reason for leveling up your life

I have a unique take on why you should focus on being as successful as you possibly can.

It’s not that being successful is all that great, but rather the idea that being a failure is not only bad, but creates a never-ending downward spiral that gets worse over time, or at best, hums along at a low level of anxiety that never seems to go away.

And these words — ‘failure’ and ‘success’ — are totally subject to interpretation.

Honestly, I don’t care what you do with your life. It’s your life. I’m here to reflect your own thoughts back to you and help you make the best decision.

Only you know whether or not you’re living up to your standards, if you even need standards, if you’re content or not. I can’t know. Do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself.

And don’t get too stuck on the idea that you have to be super successful else you’re a failure, but focus on the direction your life is moving it.

Understand that there’s no such thing as ‘being stagnant.’ Ask any bed-ridden person if ‘doing nothing’ has no consequences.

The idea of being bed-ridden is an analogy that can extend to your life. The idea of ‘quiet desperation’ is the equivalent to having a bed-ridden soul.

Think about what happens to you if you don’t work on improving in the areas I’m about to mention and how many negative compounding issues come along with inaction.

The most obvious one is your health.

If you don’t take care of your health you’re going to die earlier than you need to, point-blank. And you can experience all sorts of issues simply from inactivity:

I could go on here, but if you get out of shape and do nothing about it, you tend to get more out of shape and sicker over time and it compounds until you die. Sad, but true.

I don’t necessarily love eating healthy and exercising. It’s more so that I don’t want to die early because I have a lot left to do.

This isn’t to judge at all. Fat-shaming sucks. I recently dropped 50 pounds.

The goal is simply to be aware of the future consequences so you can do something about it. You don’t want to die before you have to. That’s all I’m saying.

Let’s next look at money. Making a lot of money is a hedge against the consequences of being broke. Forget about money being the root of all evil, take a look at the evil of being broke:

So many people who claim they are ‘content with what they have’ are suffering from a never-ending loop of anxiety over their bills. I’ve been there.

Even at moments where everything else in my life was going well, being broke was stressful and sucked.

I told the story in my book about how I could barely afford to by my kids fish for her fish tank. It sucked. Being broke fucking sucks. Period. Living paycheck to paycheck sucks.

Me telling you this isn’t going to magically help you make money overnight, obviously, but give these side hustles and investments a shot, one day, because the compounding negative effects of not having money are just so insanely stressful.

Money doesn’t buy happiness. It truly doesn’t. Making more money will not change your general disposition or spiritual contentment. It will remove a giant load of stress though. Make money so you don’t have to think about money.

Last, just think about the general consequences of not living a life of purpose. I say this all the time.

Do I think people are miserable? No. Do I think success, purpose, and meaning are the end all be all? No. Can your mission in life even fully fill the voids in your mind? No.

Are many forms of success empty? Totally. Can you theoretically be wholly content with what you have without following your dreams? For sure.

Are you the Dalai Lama, though? You do understand it takes just as much, if not more, discipline to develop real contentment through Zen-like mindfulness as it does to just follow your dreams.

Kind boring too if you ask me. I’ll take a little ‘desire is suffering’ in the coffee of my life.

Again, look at the downside:

Where do you think all of the outrage and fighting in this world come from? Especially online? We’re BORED.

Looking at the weight of your own inaction is often too much to bear, so instead, it manifests itself in all these weird ways. The culture war is a product of aimless people with no hopef. It’s sad, but that’s why all of this is happening.

So you’re not depressed. But…that groundhog day existence, for some, can be a form of subtle torture. Combine the commute, getting ready, and the actual hours you work, and you’re looking at a 10-hour block of your day just gone, vanished, poof, over and over again, five days in a row.

I don’t know about you, but back in the day when I had a job, I extrapolated out what it would feel like to do it for 50 years and it scared the living shit out of me.

Not to mention the stress of living this way can…kill you. Corporate culture and service jobs team up with high fructose corn syrup to cause a subtle genocide of Western civilization, picking people off in their 50’s and 60’s too soon.

My dad is 55 years old. Had a stroke. He’s partially paralyzed now. The last time I talked to him in person I could see it in his eyes. It’s too late now. I hope he fully recovers, but the pragmatist in me can see what’s likely going to happen.

My ex-mother in law has diabetes — a faithful worker at a car parts manufacturing company for two decades. She’s very intelligent, academically brilliant.

Multiple times I’ve heard her mention to her husband, a chef and restaurant manager, that they could run a successful restaurant together. I think they could. Both super talented. They’re not going to do it, though. Both of them work too much. It’s sad.

Again, on the day to day, they’re fine. They’re happy and positive people. Most people are. But, at least to me, that malaise is deadly.

The looping.

You want to do more, but you don’t, so you subtly kick yourself about it, then you get mad at yourself for getting mad at yourself, but you’re not mad enough to do anything about it so you’re mad at that, then it loops, loops, loops.

Half the time I feel like I’m the most dramatic individual on the planet earth.

The other half I feel like I’m telling the truth and trying to help you save your own life.

I don’t know…you tell me.

I definitely think you can do something about it, though. Always. I saw this story of a woman who was in her 70’s and the doctors basically told her she was going to die if she didn’t change her ways.

She hit the gym hard for three years straight, got in amazing shape, and now she’s a verified fitness influencer on Instagram. That’s what I love about this world, especially the internet. Only in today’s times can things like this happen.

Our predecessors had quiet desperation with no way out — 3 channels on T.V. shit.

You? You have options.

It doesn’t matter how old you are. Say you’re 50 years old. Ok. Don’t waste the next 30 years. Hit the gym. Google “How to run an e-commerce store.” Maybe buy a course on it. Painfully re-wire your brain to learn technology and build a Shopify site. Buy copywriting books. Grind for 5 years. Quit your job and get your life after 55+ back.

You have options. Always.

What you do with them?

That’s on you.

Ayodeji is the author of Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.

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