…as long as WE are the ones who define success for ourselves. Otherwise 99.9% of the world’s population would fall well short.
Seems obvious, right? For example, if you take money as a measure of success, for every billionaire (~2,600 as of 2019) there are nearly 3,000,000 people who are just ‘getting by’. So for the vast majority of us, the chances of being a big success [in monetary terms] are very slim.
The same applies for any other success factor where you are comparing yourself to the world’s best, there is very little room at the top.
So we clearly have no choice but to redefine what success is or we’ll never achieve it. And no, this does not mean lower your standards, giving up, or not having goals, it means being realistic. It means success has to be entirely personal.
Too many of us compare our success to the world’s top CEOs/business people, but do absolutely nothing to emulate them. Yet we still feel jealous, or even cheated, that we are not wealthy, and then stay in our 9-5 day-jobs for 50+ years. Even if we’re self-employed we are often doing no better than the equivalent of subsistence farming.
The truth is clear, yet very hard to hear (let alone accept); If you want more than you have and aren’t getting it, it might be because you don’t have what it takes. Whether it’s a lack of ability, laziness, or fear, you will never achieve Gates / Bezos / Buffet-like success unless you are prepared to change. If you even have that option.
So stop trying, and instead work toward what you CAN have.
Take me as an example, I have almost every characteristic of an entrepreneur except the things that really count. I:
- am fairly creative, and can simplify the majority of what I do to the point it can be automated/productised – i.e. I have ideas;
- love brainstorming ideas then choosing the most practical – i.e. I don’t just spit-ball, I can help design a workable product;
- love working from home and setting my own goals – i.e. I don’t need structure, I am self-motivating; and
- work my arse off – i.e. I don’t want to just live hand to mouth.
However, I have neither the gonads, or the slightest interest in running a business as anything more than a sole trader. I don’t WANT to do what it takes to make billions, nor do I have the ability/temperament/talents to make it happen even if I did.
The only preparation I have done to make millions is to 1) marry someone 10 years younger and 100 times smarter, 2) had a really smart kid, and 3) play the lottery once a week. Clearly making millions is not MY definition of success.
What I DO want to do however, is utilise the entirety of my skill-set / talents / experience in doing something truly useful in my chosen field, something that has real and long-lasting, benefit. I can either perform this one company at time as a consultant (as I have been doing), or I can join a team of like-minded people where others will perform all the things I cannot (and vice versa). I don’t want to be a CEO, and have no problems following a good one.
Success to me is defined by being able to achieve the above and make enough money doing it that money is no longer a concern. When that happens, I can do whatever makes me happiest for my remaining days within the limits of my means. There WILL be limits, but I am absolutely fine with that.
This is not me settling, or giving up, this is me putting what I know about myself into a best case scenario. Instead of working half-arsed towards an unachievable goal, or worse, doing nothing, I am going to maximise my impact AND earnings towards achievable goals and my own happiness.
The balance is different for everyone and could not be more personal. The confidence to choose this path comes from knowing who you are and being OK with it.
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