It’s hard to wake up when you’re tired; it’s hard to push on through the day when you’ve been toiling on your dreams for longer than you care to remember. It’s hard to believe that things will work out for you when you have little evidence to prove that you’re on the right track. And it’s hard to put up with the discouragement of family and friends who caution you to slow down instead of encouraging you to stay the course.
Let’s face it: success is hard.
This explains why so few people are successful. Most people settle for far less than they want in life because it’s hard to relentlessly pursue something with all your mind and heart.
Fortunately, others have blazed the trail before us, showing by example that anything you dare to believe is possible if you try hard enough. Before Sara Blakely made it big she worked at Walt Disney World, a local stationary company, and sold fax machines door-to-door.
Here are some of the things we can learn from successful people like Sara Blakely:
- Set clear goals and make the best plans you can to follow through to completion. Although many people make goals and plans, they are only good starters. They fail to complete what they intended to do.
- Make a decision at the beginning to persist despite what obstacles you face. In the old Rocky Balboa movies, Sylvester Stallone would often echo the phrase, “no matter what” as he prepared to take on the world boxing champion.
- Learn and adapt as you go along. Your plan will continue to evolve as you learn more. Learn from your experience and adapt your approach to fit your new understanding of how the world works.
- Don’t compromise your ideals and settle for something that’s good enough. Those who competed in the Olympic Games in Rio were the best athletes in their country, but, in the end, only three people in every event won medals, and out of those three only one got the gold medal. Similarly, in your life, figure out what you need to do to win your personal gold medal.
- Refuse to be discouraged. When you set out to achieve an extraordinary goal, you will find yourself quite alone. Few people will be willing to work as long and as hard as you because they won’t have the same drive and motivation. In addition, you’ll be surrounded by people persuading you to take it easy because life is short and you might as well enjoy yourself. In fact, even those closest to you may not be entirely able to see it for you.
New Opportunities for Success
If you pay attention to the news long enough, you will quickly become convinced that everything is falling apart at the seams like a cheap suit of clothes. You have to remember that newspapers and TV news have a negative bias. It’s hard to sell happy stories. Learning how somebody had a good day at work and got a pay raise because of excellent performance isn’t news. However, finding out that somebody had a terrible day because they got laid off because of corporate financial problems from a job they had loyally held down for 17 years is news.
Fortunately, life is not as grim as most news stories. In fact, some growing economic areas like technology have a lot of opportunity for success. Don’t listen to the news, listen to your intuition. Ask yourself the right questions to find work that you love to do and that you have a natural talent for. Once you find out what you like to do, then you can start figuring out what education and experience you need to enter that field. However, nothing starts unless you have a sense of direction.
Poverty In the US
Although the U.S. is growing millionaires faster than every country in the world (except for China), poverty still exists for a distressingly large number of the population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Five-Year American Community Survey (ACS) on the federal poverty level, some of the poorest cities are Memphis, Tennessee, where 34.9% earn under $25,000; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where 36.4% earn under $25,000; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where 36.5% earn under $25,000; and Detroit, Michigan, where 48% earn under $25,000. Life is hard for everyone, but it’s especially hard if you’re poor. Success is the antidote to a life burdened by economic struggles.
How to Be Successful
Now that you understand more about success and the opportunities all around you, how do you change your life for the better?
Here are three key ideas:
- Continue to learn about success philosophies, but realize that it will take a lot of courage and persistence to achieve your goals. While success philosophies will create the right mindset, it is your efforts that will create results.
- Find work that you enjoy doing and that you are well-suited to do based on your interests and natural talents.
- Get into a new and emerging field where you are well-paid and your contributions will make a huge difference. One breakthrough new industry that is emerging is AI or artificial intelligence. By getting the education you need and positioning yourself to enter this exciting field, you will be able to enjoy all the things successful people do – a better lifestyle and more opportunities to live your best version of yourself.
How do you define success? Let us know in the comments below:
*This article was contributed.