For over a decade, I have been studying the science of influence, what causes some to lead remarkable and exciting lives. Through founding The Influencers, I've met and built relationships with some of the most influential and successful people in the world, from celebrities and royalty to Nobel laureates and Fortune 500 execs.  

Surrounded by these titans, I have had an inside look at what it means to be a success, and it's not always what people expect. These are the realities of success that everyone should know.

1. People always say they would give their life to do x.

Prepare for sleepless nights, frustration, and pain, because that is what it takes to be considered the best. You don't become a leader in anything without sacrifice. You may have to give up time with family, not go out with your friends, or take fewer vacations, so whatever you pursue, make sure that it's worth the sacrifice. It requires complete focus and dedication to the process, and there is nothing sexy about it.

2. Don't believe what you see on Instagram.

It may seem like most celebrities and successful people spend most of their time going to glamorous events and destinations. However, that's not always the case. A majority of time is spent in meetings, working, or in transit. Also, consider the time it takes for them to look red-carpet ready. It may take five or more hours to prepare for a two-hour event. For every gorgeous, incredible photo posted, there are a hundred others that aren't at all remarkable.

3. Problems become bigger.

You may deal with the stress of supporting your family now, but imagine running a company that supports 500 or 5,000 families? When your decisions impact an entire industry, it isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly. As they say, "Heavy is the head that wears the crown." Success comes with more responsibility and even bigger problems.

4. Beware of the green-eyed monster.

As one of the greatest philosophers of our generation has said, "Haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." Do not think that just because you have accomplished something extraordinary, people are going to appreciate it or understand the effort it took. The lack of admiration and recognition teaches you two important lessons:

  1. Whatever you pursue, you have to do it for internal reasons.
  2. Those who want to take you down will be the loudest.

Be aware of your own behavior. If you constantly criticize people for their accomplishments, it hurts your own chances of success. Learn how to appreciate and applaud people for all their achievements, regardless if you like their work or believe that they deserve it.

5. The highs are higher; the lows are lower.

When you win a major industry award, it feels like you are on top of the world, but this also means that you have farther to fall. When all eyes are on you, there's more to lose in terms of status, reputation, and potential future. As a result, you have to toughen yourself up for when things get rough, because they will.

6. Money isn't everything.

A hefty paycheck will only increase your happiness to a certain level. Once you earn enough to provide food and shelter without concern, money doesn't have a significant impact on happiness. Sleep, on the other hand, is the primary influence. If you are working so much that you aren't getting enough sleep, it is negatively impacting your well-being and happiness.

Successful people face as many or more struggles as everyone else, and their wealth and prestige don't guarantee happiness, so why do they do what they do? They aren't in it for the fame or money. They are tackling problems that they care about deeply and that drive them to keep going every day.

Published on: Mar 29, 2018
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of