Like most of us, I want my life to be a success. None of us wake up stoked to head into a job we’re not that excited about, nor a relationship that seems to be draining and unequal. It’s normal for us, as humans, to want more. There are a ton of Buzzfeed articles and crap online to help us feel good, ie “Top 10 Ways You’re Succeeding Now!”. It’s rare, however, to find real guidance and security. That’s because success isn’t just simple; it takes planning, change, and repetition. In short, it’s difficult, and that leads many of us to skirt along the edges where we feel good enough without the hard work.
Some of us though, want more. And that means being real about where we are and what it takes to reach the next plateau. You see, life isn’t just a smooth transition and it doesn’t owe us a thing. Life doesn’t even need to be fair. It can throw a giant middle finger in your face and laugh as it flies past you at speeds that seem insurmountable. What then does one do in order to take control and get that dream job, or find that spectacular life partner, or be financially sound at an age young enough to enjoy it? It takes tough choices.
As my own life creeps toward success, the repeating theme is having to face facts and overcome difficulties. Both of these are uncomfortable. That then is why most of us don’t reach our pie-in-the-sky goals. Sure we could tell our boss to shove it and wake up tomorrow to follow our dreams, but that takes sacrifice, and at least now we have a reliable job and comfortable life. So is the thought. While each of our lives are unique, there are a few simple truths I’ve learned over the years that contribute to success if you’re so willing to make the arduous venture:
- Learn to love what’s uncomfortable. Many of life’s greatest assets sit just beyond a difficult time. If the best in life were simple to obtain than all of us would have it. Those who’ve made it to the top didn’t just wake up there (well, not most of them). They struggled. This is why I’ve learned to pay attention when a lack of comfort presents itself. Often times that nagging discomfort is a cheat-sheet into how to improve ourselves. Learning to not only acknowledge but appreciate that lack of security is what drives us to change and drive forward. This means you can train yourself to love that discomfort. It’s like hitting the gym; the first day is DEATH, the second day is unpleasant, and yet somehow after consistent action we learn to love it. It drives us and we feel out of place without the pain and effort. Same goes for your personal life.
- Build a long-term destination and keep going in that direction. Life is going to kick your ass, sometimes so hard it knocks your equilibrium out of whack. It may put you in the gutter for a while, or drive you so far off course you’re not in the same spot as before. C’est la vie. But having a long-term goal is like a compass where you can brush yourself off and get back in the right direction. Financial advisors give this advice constantly; don’t allow the winds of the time to direct you. Set your end goal and stick with it. The market could crash, a stock could fail, but stay consistent and over time your investments grow.
- Be ready to not be ready. My last relationship was going great… until it wasn’t. There wasn’t some huge change. She wasn’t abusive in any way. One day my gut just starting screaming at me to change and I wasn’t ready for that. If you’ve ever been fired from a job you enjoyed and were good at you’ve also experienced this. Sometimes a curveball gets thrown and if you’re not ready to not be ready it will throw you for a loop. This isn’t just a fluke, it’s relatively normal. Yes, it’s unruly, and yes, it’s hard to prepare for, but simply understanding that sometimes you’ll just not be ready for things to change will help you harken back to the first two points in this article.
In the end, the only thing that sits between us and success is… well, us. Excuses are weak and action is strong, so stop worrying about where you are now or the temporary setback you may face when having to make a tough decision. Choose the life you want, get prepared, and go get it.