articles · journal

8+1 Things I’ve Learned About Success (And Other Important Lessons About the Journey)

I haven’t reached any peak, yet. In fact, I’m miles from that, but that’s alright because I love what I do, anyway. My dream is only a cherry on top of what I want to spend my life doing, which writing and creating. That’s my goal. I will undergo anything it takes to do it freely without any limitation and without any moral questioning. One has to go through various paths and often it’s uncomfortable, but it’s among many which allows us to do the one thing that fulfills us. And if it absolutely prevents us, we should either try harder, or go for different approach, but never expect that anyone owes us anything.

Don’t let self-proclaimed gurus tell you that all it takes is passion and taking action. That’s rubbish – I know it and you know it as well. Instead, learn to approach your goals in long-term perspective. That applies to anything in life – career, relationships, weight loss, learning a language or whatever you think of. Passion is a fad, you need a purpose. Something you believe you’re entitled to do – not what you think, not what you want, not what others say, but what you believe. Don’t know what that purpose is? Then get to know yourself at first place, and mind you it might take a lifetime. And that’s ok.

Whatever you choose to do, whatever natural talent you have, you must take into account that most of the times, reaching your goal takes hard work and focus. It’s never too late to start (unless you are fifty and want to become a professional ballet dancer – then you might have a problem). It’s not only about the final destination – you spend the longest time on journey to your goal, so get the most out of the journey and don’t underestimate it. But be smart about your goal, know exactly where you’re going, keep it in your mind, and the obstacles will be easier to overcome.

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The key is perseverance, the will to work hard every day, to make tiny steps, to be prepared to fail – but a year from now, the progress will be significant. No matter how far in the future it may seem, the patience will pay off and you will thank yourself for starting. Be willing to invest a lot of time and a lot of work to reaching your goal. People see only the top of the iceberg. Nothing is for free, but this will pay off.

Small decisions matter whether you like it or not. You don’t have to make huge steps towards improvement, small ones will do as well.

Be in competition with yourself, not with others. Watching and comparing other people’s journey and success slows you down. Always offer help to those who need your help, it pushes you forward. But never compete with anyone, mind your business, do your best and work on yourself. Be an inspiration, not for being better than someone, but for being your unique self. Think of those who will look up to you.

Be nice to everyone, especially to those you hate. You never know whether you’ll need that person’s help in the future. And anyway, forget about the hate, it’s negative emotion and brings you nowhere.

Don’t let others define your personal success. Decisions take time to make, so don’t feel pressured by anyone to start working on your goal right now, if you don’t even have any and you still need to figure yourself out. My advice to you would be not to search for you passion, forget about things like niche, but answer truthfully this question: what is the thing that you do the best? Not the best among others, but the best among your own talents and skills. And another piece of advice: dare to dream, but be realistic in what it takes.

There’s no luck. There are only hard work and opportunities. There’s a bliss, there are gifts from God, there’s a divine force, there’s a lot of praying your work will be validated. But there is no such thing as luck or fate.

Working nurtures creativity and productivity. You just have to learn to manage big tasks by breaking them down to many small tasks. Fool your brain to thinking you’ve accomplished a lot, and you will suddenly crave to accomplish even more. The taste of completed task is priceless.

It’s not like you’re stuck at one place forever. Lou Reed, musician and songwriter, had a degree in English. He started of playing guitar in local bands before he set up the Velvet Underground. David Bowie, artist generalist, finished technical art school at 16, went to advertising, wanted to become a Buddhist monk and was told by his mentor he should rather pursue a music career. Alan Rickman also worked in advertising before becoming an actor in his 40s. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK, started off as a chemist.

Doing what you love doesn’t mean you have to be paid for it. I know what you’re thinking, and I know it’s bitter for you since we all love money. The sign you’re doing the right thing that fulfills you is that you don’t give up on what you love even if you don’t receive any pay or yay for that. Think about it.


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