Becoming a success isn’t something that happens by accident, chance, or luck. The Mark Zuckerbergs and Michael Jordans of the world have the same 24 hours in a day that we all have, and they face some of the same barriers that we face on a daily basis.
The difference lies in how they utilize their time, and how they maneuver past these barriers without wasting a single moment. Some of the most successful people of our time have had to deal with:
1. Age Discrimination
There’s this misconception in society that 20-year-olds are too young to know enough about the world to succeed, and anyone over 60 is too old to be considered in touch with the realities of the modern world. Though neither stereotype is necessarily true, people in those age ranges have to accept the existence of these beliefs and work hard to ensure their age doesn’t define them. Young adults can do this by bringing unique perspectives to the table rather than regurgitating what their college professors droned on about for hours. Older people can find success by being keeping up with contemporary changes in the way work is done throughout the world. In fighting against age discrimination, you can show the naysayers that you’re worthy of a challenge, regardless of your age.
2. What others think
If you want to be successful, you can’t take what others say personally. As a writer, I’ve had to change my habit of seeing criticism in a negative sense, and realizing I can take negative comments and use them to improve my future work. It’s not so much that I stopped caring altogether what others have to say, but that I started looking past criticism to see constructive feedback. Along with this, you can’t compare yourself to other people. The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday; as long as you’ve made some sort of improvement on your former self, you’re on the path to success.
3. Toxic people
Some people don’t want to see you succeed, because then they’ll feel inadequate themselves. These people need to be dropped from your life before too much damage is done. There’s a saying: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” In other words, you should surround yourself with other like-minded people who thrive on success, and who continuously look for ways to improve their lives. By doing so, you’ll want to push yourself to be a better person as well. Hanging out with complacent people will only lead you to a dead-end road in life.
Some people have a hard time overcoming fear. Fear of failure, fear of being made a fool of, fear of being laughed at. First of all, fear is all in your head. Yes, in middle school your classmates might have laughed at you if you fumbled with your note cards during a speech, but they were 12. The truth is, no strangers care enough about you in the real world to put effort into embarrassing you. In fact, that you’re fearful of what others think simply shows you’re passionate enough to push past the fear and get your ideas out there. And as for a fear of failure: everybody fails. Successful people fail all the time, but they don’t give up. They use their failures as a learning tool and as a springboard to success.
Negativity is a combination of being surrounded by toxic people and being afraid of failure. The toxic people won’t share your enthusiasm for an idea, and will bring you down from your motivational high. Being afraid of not performing well will stop you from doing your best at every given moment. Combined, these two powerhouses of negativity add up to a gigantic waste of your time and energy. Don’t dwell on what could go wrong; imagine how incredible your life will be if everything goes right.
6. Dwelling on the past and future
Dwelling on the past is called guilt. Dwelling on the future is called anxiety. Again, both of these are a major waste of time. You can’t go back in time, so there’s no point in dwelling on past mistakes. Yes, you should always learn from mistakes you’ve made in the past, and work your hardest to avoid making them in the future, but that’s about all you can do. Dwelling on the future, on the other hand, is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you spend all of your time worrying about failing in the future rather than preparing for that same future, you’ll (obviously) be unprepared when the future becomes the present, and you will most likely fail. For example, just imagine a high school student staying up all night worried about failing an exam. In doing so, he actually makes it likely he will fail his exam because he was exhausted from being up through the night.
7. The state of the world
You’ve probably heard the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com