‘You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own, And you know what you know, And YOU are the guy who will decide where to go”
At one time in my life, I believed that my success was based on the amount of money I made, how good I was at my job, and how many people liked me. The older I got the more I realized that success for me was actually based around how happy I felt.
I did spend many years caught up in the whirlwind of defining my success by comparing it to how other “successful people” lived their lives. I wasted a lot of energy chasing other peoples’ definition of success.
I never really truly believed I was successful. Many times I felt I was a failure because I believed I was not achieving the levels of success that I perceived people around me were. On the outside I am sure that people considered me to be a success but I never was that happy with myself. I always felt that something was missing and that there was more to life for me.
This Quote Changed My Understanding of Success
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.
Many years ago I read Albert Schweitzer’s quote – his words resonated with me. Maybe I was ready to listen, I don’t know but I did stop and think about how unhappy I was and how unsuccessful I felt. I then tried to work out what I wanted to do that made me happy.
In my heart I always knew that I wanted to live my life writing and teaching, but the thoughts in my head blocked any attempt to acknowledge how much my dream meant to me and there was no way I could tell anyone else either, it was just too scary.So I kept my secret hidden for a long time.
It was also very hard for me to break free from the cycle of success that I aspired to. I was living a life where I believed that money and status would bring me success. I l pursued this definition of success, because, I felt I had to and I was too scared NOT to. When everyone around you works really hard, earns lots of money, has lots of status and all the toys that come with it, you want to have all of that too! You want your kids to have all the things that their friends have and you want to enjoy the comforts of life as well. So you keep working believing that you have no other options and you keep convincing yourself that life is not that bad – but for me over a time it became bad and I started to feel that my life was slipping by.Advertising
Even though I knew what I wanted to do with my life, I did not do anything about it for a long time. There were some feeble attempts but when I got scared I would scurry back to living a life that was familiar and comfortable. I still had to face a few more knock backs before I committed to begin my journey to discovering how to be successful and happy with my life.
“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.”
-Dalai Lama XIV
I was following the wrong path to success and as a result my chances of feeling that I was successful were zero. Once I started to get clear about what success meant for me and began the journey to living a life where I truly felt successful, then I discovered what it felt like to be happy.
“I want to define success by redefining it. For me it isn’t that solely mythical definition – glamour, allure, power of wealth, and privileged from care. Any definition of success should be personal because it is so transitory. It’s about shaping my own destiny”.
To start the journey to becoming and truly believing that you are successful is hard work and it took me many years to find the courage to step out and begin the journey. If you are wanting success and happiness in your life then you need to really look at the “bad habits” you have created in your life that stop you from achieving the level of success that you desire.
For me there were 10 bad habits I needed to eliminate. By sharing with you how I managed to overcome these bad habits, hopefully this will help you to find your courage to begin your journey to attaining a life of happiness and success.
1. Believing that you have to wait for the right time to begin.
There is no perfect time to start this journey. It will never be perfect and you will always have challenges and obstacles to overcome – it doesn’t really matter – just start NOW. When you choose to be successful then the actions, the decisions and the choices you make today will create your future.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.
2. Accepting that moderate success is easier to achieve then aiming to achieve your wildest dreams.
It is so much easier to accept being moderately successful than aiming to achieve success beyond your wildest dreams. Dream big and set goals that are beyond the realms of your current reality – go for it ,you may just surprise yourself as to what amazing successes you can achieve.
“If any of you have a desire to be mediocre, you will probably find that you have already achieved your ambition.”
-Hugh B. Brown
3. Believing other peoples’ approval is important to defining your success in life.
You will never start your journey to success if you are waiting for others to give their approval. It is your ego and your fear of being criticised that directs you to seeking their approval. Get over it and move on and do what you have to do to be successful. For me committing to my 12 month plan with practical goals, set tasks and activities was how I overcame this bad habit. I just had to follow the plan and didn’t need anyones approval to do so.
“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. Believing that your success can only be defined by the success in your professional life.
This bad habit you have to give up immediately because there is no way you can be successful in one part of your life. Your professional and your personal life are interconnected and all aspects of your life need to be balanced.
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
5. Using other peoples’ definition of success to define who you are and what success looks like for you.
This was one of my really bad habits, in that I constantly compared other people’s successes to how I wanted success to be for me in my life. I now know that success comes from within and once I achieved true happiness living the life I love, then success was guaranteed. Using other peoples success, as a benchmark for my success in life would not bring me happiness – that was something only I could do, nobody else could do that for me.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”
6. Believing that money and wealth is the only measurement to defining how successful you are
I don’t know why so many of us believe that money and wealth defines how successful we are. If I wanted success in my life I had to be earning lots of money – the happiness would come later! Well that didn’t work out for me – even with money I didn’t feel successful! I knew in my heart that money wasn’t going to bring me happiness and for me to feel that I was successful I had to overcome my belief that, my success would be measured by how much money I could make. Once I got that bad habit out of the way, then I was free to embrace on my terms success and happiness in my life.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing,and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you”
7. Constantly focusing on all the reasons why you don’t deserve success in your life
This bad habit reflects a lack of self-confidence and belief in you! I had to work really hard to overcome this bad habit. For a long time I would rationalise in my head all the reasons why I felt I wasn’t as successful as my peers, colleagues, and friends. I would look back at all the bad choices I had made in my life and wish I could have been a different person. I spent a lot of time wishing I could be the same as everybody else, because then I would be successful! I didn’t deserve success because I didn’t have the qualities that successful people have. Now I reflect back and I shake my head – what was I thinking??
“In the School of Life events, situations, and the people you have attracted to be part of your personal experiences is synchronized perfectly in order to teach you the lessons that need to be learned. They show you exactly what is needed to be successful in your Life.”
8. You don’t know what you want or what success means for you so you just don’t do anything.
Achieving success in your life is not complicated but you can make it as complicated and as hard as you want. Success requires hard work, perseverance, clarity and focus. If you look at any successful person those elements will feature somewhere in their journey to having a successful life.
To aspire to be successful in your life you have to know what a successful life means for you. Success comes from the way you act, the way you think, your attitude toward life – success is a habit and you work on it everyday of your life. If you don’t know what success means to you then it is really hard to start the journey.
Knowing what you want and setting out a plan with practical goals increases your chances of success. The plan gives you the clarity and focus you need to start the journey – without a plan and not knowing what you want, you will never begin the journey.
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
9. You have a limiting belief that to be successful you have to pay a price at the expense of others.
This belief has come about as a result of society promoting that to be successful, you have to be tough and prepared to make sacrifices. It is people that will pay a price for your success – mainly because successful people will do what ever it takes to get what they want. This is rubbish and if you believe this to be true then you will not experiences the great joy and happiness success can bring to your life.
Your success in life is not determined by how many people you have to step over or push aside to get what you want. You, your actions, your thoughts and how well you serve others are what contribute to you having success in your life.
10. The fear of failing and making mistakes is a huge block to you making the changes you need to make in your life.
For me, clinging on to this bad habit stopped me from making the changes I needed to make for me to be happy and have a successful life doing what I love to do – writing, speaking and coaching. If you want to be happy and successful you are going to have to accept that failures are necessary on the path to success. It is a given.
I recently read a great book by Tim Harford called Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure.
This book gave me great tools and strategies to effectively manage my fear of failure. Tim Hartford talks about the wrong way we react to failure and that our egos take control and as a result we try to “bury the failure – not a good thing. He suggests that we should adapt the way we think and react to failure by adopting a “trial and error approach”. What this means is that we cant really predict how things are going to turn out and so we test it, adapt and adjust along the way. Failure according to Tim is the opportunity we need to figure out how we can succeed.
If you desire success in your life, you have to be prepared to change. The first step to change, is for you to face those “bad habits” that prevent you from achieving the success and happiness you desire in your life. Once you have overcome your bad habits, you will be unstoppable, and your life will be full of happiness and success.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
Last Updated on October 16, 2019
Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes
Do you like making mistakes?
I certainly don’t.
Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?
Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.
Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous
Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:
- Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
- Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
- Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
- Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.
We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.
If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.
Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes
Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.
When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.
Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.
We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.
It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.
Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes
Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.
Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.
- Point us to something we did not know.
- Reveal a nuance we missed.
- Deepen our knowledge.
- Tell us something about our skill levels.
- Help us see what matters and what does not.
- Inform us more about our values.
- Teach us more about others.
- Let us recognize changing circumstances.
- Show us when someone else has changed.
- Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
- Remind us of our humanity.
- Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
- Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
- Teach us to value forgiveness.
- Help us to pace ourselves better.
- Invite us to better choices.
- Can teach us how to experiment.
- Can reveal a new insight.
- Can suggest new options we had not considered.
- Can serve as a warning.
- Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
- Point out structural problems in our lives.
- Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
- Remind us how we are like others.
- Make us more humble.
- Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
- Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
- Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
- Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
- Expose our true feelings.
- Bring out problems in a relationship.
- Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
- Point us in a more creative direction.
- Show us when we are not listening.
- Wake us up to our authentic selves.
- Can create distance with someone else.
- Slow us down when we need to.
- Can hasten change.
- Reveal our blind spots.
- Are the invisible made visible.
Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily
The secret to handling mistakes is to:
- Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
- Have an experimental mindset.
- Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.
When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.
When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.
It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.
When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,
Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.
Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.
More About Success and Failures
- 6 Reasons It’s Okay To Fail
- How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You
- Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)
- 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On
Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com