The Secrets To Success?

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We all seem to want the advantage, or at least some insider knowledge when it comes to achieving what we want. Naturally, this hunger for secrets creates a huge amount of people selling the secrets. Are they right, are they wrong? Who doesn’t want the answer to that question?

Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Not everyone in western society is born with, or raised into having incredible self-esteem. Also a reoccurring theme in western society is that a can-do attitude, and high self-esteem is more important than talent. That idea is disputable, but it’s inarguable that we place a high value on the self-esteem, and optimism. Two easily definable traits of many extroverts.

Maybe this is why cocaine is so popular. Kidding aside, are there any valid secrets that these self-help gurus, religious texts, and many others espouse? Is every modern success story just a long story of someone who started from wealth, or whose family was already well connected?

No, that isn’t true of every story. Though, when the economy is not doing well the reality is that the people who achieve success more easily will always be the people who were raised by successful, wealthy, people. The only relatable factor in every story, and every self-help book, and so on, is perseverance.

Perseverance to get what you want may be the only thing that is ever relevant. Sure, you need the talent, sure you need the connections, and many other things. No human is going to be great at everything one needs to be a huge, major success. This is why middlemen exist in every facet, of ever day life. Some people are simply better at certain things than other people, and some people will persevere while others give up. Work smart, work hard, whatever your motto is, at the very least you must at least try.

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Hope

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Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

If you ever have the opportunity to get swept up in an ambitious undertaking, there will be many moments where all hope seems lost. Thus is the nature of doing big things. You have everything to lose when you put yourself out there, but also have twice as much to gain. Being passionate means being vulnerable. This is just the way it goes.

Some say success is a ladder. Others say it’s a long curvy road. While success is definitively subjective, it seems to me from stories, and from experience, success is more like a giant set of stairs which you can only climb with your hands. If you fall down a ladder you are fucked. And the road analogy works, except that it doesn’t portray failure correctly.

Climbing stairs with your bare hands is difficult. And when you get tired, or falter, you’ll get stuck on those stairs. In that period of being stuck, you’re left to ruminate on your next course of action. What could be the problem? Money, random bouts of self-deprecation,  a familialcrisis, procrastination?

Problems are numerous and come in many different forms. In the problematic moments, you have to dig deep and find that initial spark of hope that got you going in the first place. Fuck if that is easy to do. Fortunately, it gets easier and easier every time. Then you end up crafting a method to finding that spark. It’s a horribly wonderful thing. But it only ever comes with refusing to give up. Hope is like that secret ingredient in a dish. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Just Keep Digging

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Perseverance is a weird subject. Everything from self-help, to cynical media has their rationale on perseverance. Furthermore, everyone has their own individual goals. Some people put in numerous, unpaid hours in industries they love in belief that the end goal will justify the means. What if that end goal can’t satisfy your life’s needs? This is something that occurs on almost every reality television show, and frequently occurs for plenty of interns.

Are you a poor schlub for doing an internship just to get a below-average-salary job, because you’re young? Not to say that money buys happiness, or fulfillment, but necessities are necessities. What happens when the goal is achieved and the results are unsatisfactory? There isn’t just one definable path from intern, to worker, to middle management. Also, there are plenty of people who are at the bottom rung of the ladder for their entire lifetimes. Just getting by is not a fun way to live. Whether that is making just enough money, or simply getting nowhere at work.

Sometimes we are told to chase our dreams. It’s a great sentiment, and one I believe everyone should try at least once, but no one has the master plan. Many people make a living telling your how to achieve. Depending on what you want to do, some of them may be correct. Hell, everyone in the United States could use a financial guru.

Maybe no one has the answers and those who found them just kept digging. They just kept doing what they did and life worked out. Some people find achievement easily. For others it’s a lifelong process. Which one will you be? We must all dig our own gardens so it seems.