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OWNER'S MANUAL

The Hard Truth About How Success Really Works
 

Here's what's getting in your way when you attempt (and fail) to hit those "reach" goals.

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Many people fall prey to, “Yeah, but...” thinking.

I have a friend who absolutely hates how successful his brother-in-law has become. “Oh yeah, I’d like to be doing that well,” he’ll say, “but he has very little downtime.”

Another is bitter because one of his friends is extremely fit. “Oh yeah, I’d like to be in that kind of shape,” he’ll say, “but he has to run like 30 miles a week.”

Sound familiar? It’s easy to look at people who are successful and begrudge their success. So we say, “Yeah, but he constantly watches what he eats,” about a thin friend, or, “Yeah, but he’s a slave to his schedule,” about a friend who achieves multiple goals, or even, “Yeah, but he took on way too much risk when he started his company,” about another entrepreneur.

But that’s how success works. Fit people are fit because they work out a lot. Successful people are successful because they work incredibly hard. People whose family relationships are close-knit have put time and effort into building those relationships.

Nothing worth achieving comes without a price. To begrudge those who pay the price is unfair. To be unwilling to pay the price will always result in failure.

The next time you consider a goal you want to achieve, decide if you really want to pursue that goal. If the answer is yes, the rest isn’t easy but it is simple.

Look around: No matter what your pursuit, plenty of people have already succeeded. Great blueprints and easy-to-follow road maps are everywhere.

If you want to start a business, don’t look at the guy down the street who only talks a good game; pick a person who has succeeded and follow her example. Do what she did. It will be really hard, but it will work. If you want to run a marathon, don’t use the guy struggling on the treadmill next to you as an example; follow the training program of a person who has run a number of marathons. It will be really hard, but it will work.

If you don’t have what you want, pay the price to get it. Don’t begrudge the success of others. Do what they do. It works for them and will work for you.

If you’re not willing to pay the price, recognize that fact and take that particular goal off your list. When you truly let go of a goal you say you want to achieve but really aren’t willing to work to achieve, you shrug off the mental drain of chronic frustration and get more energy to spend on the goals you really are willing to achieve.

Then, instead of begrudging the success of others, you’ll be happy to cheer them on from the sidelines­—just like they will for you. 

IMAGE: iStock
Last updated: Nov 22, 2011

JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.
@jeff_haden




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