Success is a word that gets thrown around a lot. People talk about being successful. The desire to be successful is easy to proclaim. Of course we all want to find success. The sad truth is that what most of us say and do are not aligned. If you want to find success, you have to think and behave differently. Success won’t just find you. You have to choose to find success. Success is not an award to be bestowed upon you. It’s a choice that you commit to making.
Do you know the reason why most people don’t find success? They don’t even try. The disappointing truth is that most people declare their intent to be successful and think that is enough. Most people make excuses. They make the decision – sometimes unconsciously – not to try because it may be too hard. Being successful takes effort, and most people aren’t willing to put in the effort. Whether they admit it or not they are lazy. It’s that laziness that prevents them from succeeding.
If you want to find success, you have to stop making excuses. In fact you have to eliminate excuses from your mind. We’re programmed to be negative. It’s a defense mechanism that has been part of our evolution from the very beginning. We rationalize, “What’s the point of putting in all that effort in case I don’t succeed?” We think “I can’t give anymore because I have other things I need to do as well!” Once we find our comfort zone, we tend to convince ourselves to stay put. Our mind starts to fill with all the excuses as to why we can’t. Making excuses becomes an addiction. Effort is the engine that drives us to success. If we keep making excuses and stop striving for more because it requires more effort, we will never find our own greatness.
If Winston Churchill had stopped trying, he would never have become Prime Minister of England. Throughout his life he was certainly served up many reasons to give up on his dream. He failed the sixth grade and lost every public election he ran for. It would have been easy to make an excuse and just stop putting in the effort. The first public election that Churchill ever won was the one that got him elected as Prime Minister. He was 62. His success took a lot of effort!
Henry Ford is famous for modernizing mass production. He developed and manufactured the first car that middle class Americans could afford. He could have made excuses and given up along the way. He could have quit after he failed at faming, at being an apprentice and as a machinist. He didn’t, he kept going. In his pursuit of success he went bankrupt five times.
Van Gogh is considered one of the world’s greatest artists. Would you believe he spent his days struggling as a painter? He only sold one painting during his life and that was to a friend’s sister. No doubt that was a sympathy purchase for this struggling artist. Turns out that he painted over 800 masterpieces, seven of which are worth almost $1 billion together. It would have been easy for Van Gogh to have stopped painting… after all it was too hard for him to sell them. No one wanted them.
Churchill, Ford and Van Gogh never took the easy way out. One thing successful people have in common; they keep trying. They never let the fear of what may happen get in their way. They never choose comfort over the possibilities that could lay ahead of them.
To stand the chance of being successful we have to remove the excuses.
Ask yourself, what excuses are you making for not having the success that you want?
Success is a frame of mind. Success is an attitude. Those who achieve success have a mindset that sets them up for success. They choose to fight when cowering or running away would be easier. They choose to carry on when things are terrifying. They invest wholeheartedly in their personal pursuit of success when it would be easier to not make the inevitable sacrifices that come with it.
Nothing worth having comes easy. You shouldn’t expect it to. You will work harder and longer than you expect; more than you can possibly imagine. And, success comes with a price. You will endure disappointment and heartache along the way. You will have to miss out on other experiences and opportunities because you can’t do everything. You will suffer setbacks – maybe continual setbacks – that will make you doubt yourself. You will miss out on more than you will actually do.
Success requires you to be singular in your focus. What is it that you want to be successful at? Channel all your effort in that singular direction. There’s a phrase that has always rung true; what we choose to think about the most is what we will become.
The only limits that exist are the ones in your head. You must decide to be successful. You have to first choose success. That’s the first step, believing that you have the potential to achieve more. You have to believe that you can be the very best.
The only thing stopping you from being successful – or more successful – is you. Choose success.