Tips for success are everywhere, but they’re often cliché and unhelpful.
What if I told you that you don’t have to chase after every goal?
Not all goals are necessarily worth pursuing.
You shouldn’t just sit around and daydream about pipe dreams.
Instead, be objective. Determine a path to success that’s actually going to work for you—instead of making a bunch of failed attempts because you weren’t honest with yourself from the start.
Success isn’t all glitz and glamor. There’s pain, darkness, stress, sadness, loneliness, isolation, and a bunch of other negative tradeoffs you’ll encounter on the path to getting what you want.
Ask yourself these questions and take a serious look at your life.
Success tip #1: Are you comfortable being uncomfortable?
Often, you’ll hear a self-improvement guru say:
If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it
That’s only partially true. Most people desperately want to be successful. They urgently want to escape bad situations. The problem isn’t a lack of want but rather that they want something even more than being successful.
They want to avoid rejection, embarrassment, and conflict. They want to avoid the feelings of uncertainty that come with chasing a goal that doesn’t fit into a neat little box. Above all, they want to maintain their identity.
Think about it. As much as you’d like to make some changes in your life, you’ve grown very comfortable with who you are as a person. Even if you don’t like the results you’re getting, you still enjoy having a comfortable place to hide.
It’s easy to tell yourself a story about the lack of results in your life. “It’s just the way I am.” No, it’s the way you’re choosing to be. The pain of changing seems worse than the pain of living below your potential.
Until you flip that mental equation, nothing will change. You flip the equation by providing a brutally honest answer to the next question.
Success tip #2: Are you willing to pay the price?
Nothing in this world is free. If you want something, you have to give up something else—time, other activities you enjoy, other opportunities.
Don’t just think about what you want.
Think about what you’re willing to pay. What you’re willing to sacrifice. This is why it’s important to find a source of motivation that’s compelling enough to pay the price.
Money alone isn’t a great motivator. The way you make your money matters just as much, if not more, than the amount you make. Most people would like to be wealthier, but since that wealth isn’t attached to meaning or purpose, it doesn’t drive them enough to pay the price.
Even the outward appearance of success and status isn’t enough. Tons of people move to Hollywood each year because they want to be famous. The entertainers that do become famous are the ones who love the craft.
I’m reminded of a talk I listened to by best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert. She said you have to find a “shit sandwich” worth eating. She chose writing and told herself that she would always pursue her craft even if it meant working low-paying jobs to have the free time to write.
Often, when you have a lofty dream, you have to be willing to pay the price of not living a normal life. The thing about normal lives is that they’re not all that bad. Honestly, it makes sense to be content with a modest lifestyle and avoid “world domination” altogether.
Chasing after your goals provides meaning and purpose, but it’s also a tricky process to master because it often leaves you wanting more. Paying the price might mean sacrificing contentment altogether.
Success tip #3: Have you weighed the pros and cons?
Instead of just automatically listening to self-help gurus, genuinely think about what you want. Is it worth giving up the safety and comforts of a normal life?
Understand that you could decide to let go of these notions altogether. You could stop reading the books, watching the videos, and listening to the podcasts. You could give up attempting new missions and settle into the lifestyle you have now. Life isn’t all about the pursuit of success and we’re not all meant to be rockstars. It’s just the truth.
Weigh the tradeoffs and be honest about them (instead of pretending like they don’t exist)
Financial success requires long hours and time away from family, friends, and fun activities
Working for yourself means you have zero safety net and are always at risk of going bust
You will likely have to dedicate years of your life to a major goal—years you could’ve spent pursuing other goals or just having fun
When you start to level up, you will relate to “normal” people less and less. There’s a feeling of loneliness that comes with the pursuit of excellence
You can spend a ton of time, effort, energy, and money on a goal that just doesn’t work out—either because the timing was off or you just didn’t have what it took to win in that arena
You don’t have fewer problems if you reach a certain level of success. You often have an entirely new set of more complicated problems
Also, weigh the tradeoffs of staying in the same position
You’ll always have to wonder “what if” when it comes to your goals and dreams.
A lack of meaning and purpose can manifest itself in negative ways like a bad diet, excess partying, and constant distractions like Netflix and social media
Part of you will feel some sort of resentment toward the world or yourself if you never do the things you’ve always wanted to do
You’ll be able to relate to those around you better, but you’ll often bond over the trivial and mundane instead of the exciting and interesting parts of life
It’s all about picturing the future as vividly as possible. Then decide which future is the one you can’t accept not giving a shot.
Here’s the good news. If you do decide to pay the price and take a sincere shot at the outcomes you really want, good things almost always happen in the long run.
Success tip #4: Have you proven yourself (and stayed the course over time)?
The universe has a way of knowing when you’re finally serious. Once you’ve made a decision to pay the price, the world opens up to you. It will take some time, however, for the universe to catch up.
First, it’ll test you. You’ll be on the verge of accomplishing a major goal and boom—a setback will come your way. At the beginning of building a new path, project, or business, tons of difficulty and tedium will be thrown your way just to see if you can put up with it.
People will doubt you. Society will doubt you. You’ll partially feel like a fool for having the audacity to think that you, of all people, will be one of the rare few to escape the matrix. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. Your audacity will be met with challenges created to crush your confidence.
After you have your feet to the fire, things will start to work in your favor because the universe knows you’ve paid the price. If you manage to dodge a few punches or get back up after being knocked down, you’re ready to get what you want.
Why? Because you’ve proven you deserve what you want.
When I say the universe, I’m not talking about quantum physics and energy crystals. I’m talking about the very real way people in the world respond when they know you’re serious. I’m talking about the heightened sense of awareness that helps you spot opportunities.
We all have energy to us. You’ve felt the energy of others when you’re around them.
Once you’ve really paid the price, there is an energy about you that the world just can’t deny.
Final thoughts on what it takes to kick goals and achieve success
The best possible outcome is reaching goals that meet your level of ambition. Once you do, stop moving the goalposts and enjoy it. Not all prices are worth paying.
Elon Musk is the richest man in the world, but he works 80-100 hours per week and openly admits he’s not happy. That’s not a price I’m willing to pay. I’d love to be mega-rich, but I’d rather be financially well off and still have time to enjoy life.
You can be in shape while having a few cheat days. Or, you can be ruthless about your diet and have a great body but never eat anything that tastes good.
You can focus on building an amazing business with some flexibility. Or, you can give up everything to achieve world domination but miss out on the simpler pleasures in life.
The point? Be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. Also, be honest about what you don’t really want. Avoid chasing things just because you think you should want them.
The only person who can truly judge how successful you are is you.