Success doesn’t come fast or easy… unless you’re really lucky. The journey to the top includes every twist and turn you can imagine. If you want to be a success, you must be prepared for any curve-ball the Universe might throw at you. The next time you want to quit, remember these four things (#4 is harsh but true).
1. Everyone evolves at their own pace.
You are unlike any other person on the planet. Sure, we all have similarities. Every human needs food, shelter, social support, and an emotional outlet. Beyond that, we’re all different.
Some people are natural born hustlers. They get 100% absorbed in a big idea and forget to eat breakfast until it’s past noon. Others have a slower tempo. They need to tackle projects in baby steps to make them seem less intimidating.
Some people have an insane amount of willpower. They don’t watch television, smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, or rely on credit cards. Others are more compulsive. They struggle with self-control and need to find healthy substitutes for their worst vices.
2. The method is irrelevant. The goal is what matters.
Never become attached to Plan A (unless you want to get stuck on a sinking ship).
A few years ago, I chose to become self-employed. My primary motivation was freedom of time and location. I would love to travel every corner of the globe before I die.
At some point, I lost sight of my motivation and became fixated on the method. I won’t bore you with the details, but I presented an online service in a way that didn’t resonate with potential clients.
Despite a complete lack of sales, I continued to use a strategy that made me broke. Being stubborn doesn’t do you any favors (I learned the hard way so you don’t have to). It is important to detach from the outcome. Detachment is a brilliant concept from yoga philosophy.
The objective is to experience your thoughts or feelings without judging them as “good” or “bad.” This can be applied to business. How? Simple: track things like your conversion rate to determine the effectiveness of your marketing. No good? Don’t worry. Try again with another approach. “Patience is a conquering virtue,” as Geoffrey Chaucer said.
3. Success requires you to make sacrifices.
You know what I want to do right now?
Take a nap, buy a new car, go to a theme park, and get married to a hot cougar. None of those decisions would be smart (okay, except the last one). ;)
I’m behind on projects (like this article), so I should push through my sleepiness. My car has seen better days, but it still runs well… so why bother replacing it? Going to a theme park sounds fun, but a) it’s raining and b) I need to catch up on work.
This might help you. Split yourself into two distinct personalities: your present self and future self. Your present self wants to eat pizza. Your future self wants to lose weight. Your present self wants to watch TV after work. Your future self wants to write a bestselling book. See the problem? I’ll spell it out below.
Your present self and future self want drastically different things. This is why you eat potato chips (even though you know you should eat vegetables). This is why you spend too much money on clothes (even though you know you should pay off your credit card). Be mindful of the constant conflict between your present and future self. In time, this will teach you to make better decisions.
4. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you bounce back up.
Two winters ago, money was so tight that I could barely afford rent and groceries. I was one bill away from having $0 before I turned things around.
I remember eating cans of tuna for days, being so embarrassed I wanted to die, and questioning the point of trying anymore. Dramatic but true.
It sucked at the time, but now I’m a stronger person for it. Apparently I needed to experience severe consequences to learn my lesson (see point #2 RE: stubbornness and failing to adapt).
Now I understand the importance of spreading your risk. I offer so many products and services that I’m not 100% dependent on any single income stream. If I’m struggling in one area, I can make up the difference in another.
Let’s learn and grow together.
Have you ever found yourself in dire straits like me? If so, what did your struggle teach you? How do you motivate yourself to keep going when you want to give up? I’d love to know in the comments. Share this article on Facebook to invite your friends to the conversation (it will be more interesting with their input).
Read More Articles by Daniel Wallen:
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Become a Freelancer
- 13 Motivational Quotes to Fire You Up in the Morning (Make #5 Your Battle Cry)
- Freelancing 101: How to Be Productive at Home (When You’d Rather Be Watching Netflix)