December 19, 2016

Why you will Never be Successful.



Living in beach towns in Costa Rica for the past few months has allowed me to meet a plethora of interesting people doing interesting work and pursuing their own definition of success.

Artists finding ways to sell and display their work, men who make surfboards and travel back and forth from the states, lawyers who picked up and left their city to continue their work in the jungle—these people are making it happen, chasing their own dreams.

When we think about success, the vast majority of us define success as having  “x amount of money, x amount of recognition, x amount of praise” and so on. But it’s highly unlikely that we’ll all be successful in this exact way.

Looking for success that is dependent on external circumstances means success will never come.

As Mark Manson said in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, values dependent on the external set us up for disappointment and anxiety, as our “goals” are entirely in the hands of other people—other people recognizing us for our work, buying our product or praising us as an artist

This definition of success means we are always dependent on another human being doing something, but in reality, all we can do is the work.

Our core values—what is most important to us—will reflect in our definition and measure of success. If our core values are based on the external, like “become a highly acclaimed writer,” we’re screwing ourselves. The values that contribute positively to our success are an inside job and one that is process oriented.

One of my core values is self-improvement, especially when it comes to my writing. I practice this by writing every day.

This is how I now define my success.

This is dependent on my own work.

Even if I end up successful in the external sense of money or recognition, I will still be working my process with the same values. My satisfaction doesn’t depend on anyone else deciding that I am worthy of their badge of honour as a write, for I will write anyway.

I said I would be a writer, I never said I would be a good writer” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

We have to dive into our process. We have to be whatever we choose to be.  And all we can ever do is do the work. If our goal is to do the work honestly and with integrity, we can achieve that day-to-day. If our goal is to be a millionaire by 2020, we have to wait a few years to even see if we reach that goal and our chances of fulfillment, if we get there, are slim, as once we achieve x we almost always move onto needing to achieve y.

The most successful people I’ve met in my life have this one thing in common: they dropped their expectations of what success should look like and committed to the process of their work.

They put in the hours, worked hard and put their whole heart into the process. That’s why there’s so many quotes from innovators and entrepreneurs along the lines of, “they called me an overnight success—that was the longest night of my life.” We have to fail again and again and redefine our process again and again.

When our values and goals lie in the process, we can be successful every day, simply by making the choice to wake up, get out of bed and put in the work.


Author: Annabelle Blythe

Image: Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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