I have always loved reading other people’s life stories or watching motivational interviews about how they became successful. I still do; it gives me an instant surge of inspiration. But I have also come to realize that for some people, this may be counter effective and make them feel like they’re failing in life.
I only just made this connection yesterday when I was on a treadmill at the gym (yes I still drag myself to the gym and yes I still hate it). I have read countless ‘motivational’ books and seen many documentaries, YouTube videos and interviews with people who are ‘successful’ in some way and share their story with the world. I truly believe that the only one who benefits from that is them. Here’s why.
What if you’re not happy?
The number one thing all successful people say, is ‘do what makes you happy’. They might rephrase it some way and tell you to ‘find your passion’ or your ‘purpose’ or that it ‘shouldn’t feel like work’. And this is where it goes wrong. Out of the thousands of people listening or watching or reading, most of them probably don’t feel that way. And their first thought will be: I must be doing something wrong. I don’t wake up deliriously happy every day. Monday is not my favourite day of the week. I don’t enjoy every hour of my work week. I don’t have a passion for work. I’m not even sure what my passion is!
So you may now think: okay, so these people are unhappy. Listening to someone accomplish their dreams will jolt them out of their miserable lives and into something great. Into living THE BEST LIFE EVER! Yes, maybe that’s true for some people. But I’m sure that a lot of people watching or reading about success, are already thinking that way. They already want something more out of life. And they may already be moving towards their goal – and it may take some time to get there.
The importance of sacrifice
The thing is this: on the way to any dream or goal, people make sacrifices. SACRIFICES. Yes I had to capitalize that, because we all seem to forget about it. Not every day of your life is going to be the BEST day. You grow, you learn things, you fall, you get uncomfortable, you sacrifice many things on the way to getting what you want. And that’s if you’re even lucky enough to know what it is you want.
In my opinion, people have forgotten about the road to success. Being successful is great, although surely not every day, but once you get somewhere you feel accomplished. You feel wise. You feel like you have a story to tell. Of course that’s true, but people have to realize that everyone’s road to success is different. Even everyone’s definition of success is different. We all want different things – if we’re honest with ourselves and really listen to ourselves. And if you dream big, which you should, it might take some work and time for you to get there. And that’s the fun part!
Enjoy the journey
So you may have a sucky job, or are at university studying something you don’t really enjoy, or are living in a city you dislike, but you may need to suck it up in order to get ahead. Listening to people constantly telling you to ‘do what makes you happy’ and ‘wake up with a smile’ can be really frustrating and discouraging. You feel like you’re doing something wrong. You must be, because you’re not insanely happy. Hello sacrifice!! Find the joy in knowing that you are working towards your goal and are doing everything it takes to get there. At least you’re passionate about something: about the journey. And not everyone is that lucky!
So the bottom line is not to stop watching or reading other people’s success stories, but to realize that everyone pays a price to get where they want to be. And what that is, is different for everyone. The road may be long or short, with few or many hurdles, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you don’t give up and keep going, because you never know how close you are. Don’t feel defeated that you’re not there yet and realize that everyone needs time to grow and mentally prepare for what’s next in life. YOU NEED TIME: to make mistakes, grow, learn new things, meet new people and it won’t all be fun. But it will change you and move you forward – and that’s what life’s about.