Successful People Fail

No matter who you are, you have at least one person in your life who always seems to have their shit together. You know the one I mean: everything they touch turns to gold. Their new ideas take flight and they’re soon celebrating yet another great accomplishment. They earn their desired promotions, manage to snag an awesome significant other (who’s loathesomely perfect as well), launch a new business, make a name for themselves on the art scene, invest wisely on the stock market, and so on. Also, if that’s your circle, they will own all the material things you “should” have, do the things you “should” do, and know the people you “should” know. Whatever worth is measured by in your realm, they’ve got it covered. Yeah, THOSE people.

Before I incite a riot and classically successful people the world over are burned at the stake, let’s inspect what molded them a bit further. No matter who you are, what you’re attempting, or how you intend to get there, there is a common truth which unites all who achieve success: it is forged on the back of repeated failures. Even Mister or Miss Perfect has failed at least once, guaranteed. No one gets everything they want all the time.

Sure, there are numerous factors which come into play when we discuss attaining a goal. I would be moronic to think there is only one element involved in the equation. But, before we get sidetracked by (extremely valid) debates about privilege, circumstances of birth, genetics, environment, etc, which will lead us way off topic, let’s rein it back in. All of those inequalities aside, it ultimately boils down to one key difference, no matter how it is reached: those who fail give up and those who succeed do not.

Granted, you may suffer so many defeats which impede progress toward your target that it makes absolutely no sense to continue. No one would blame you for leaving it be. By extension, it means successful people are at least partially crazy. Why did they persist when the majority wouldn’t have done the same? On the other hand, the point where you decide to call it quits is different for everyone – maybe in their minds it didn’t seem so far-fetched? The cutoff point can even change for the same individual, depending on those other influences mentioned above. In my experience, success is about changing how you frame your achievements and ambitions.

Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight will be all too familiar with the constant struggle of two kilos down, one kilo up (if you’re lucky). Any gains clawed out of the grip of the demon(s) you’re trying to suppress with food are hard-fought. And easily lost. The only reason I’ve managed to lose and keep off most of my weight is because I continually force myself to make the difficult (but healthier) choice more often than I succumb to the temptation of giving up and taking the easy route. Don’t be fooled by outward appearances. The key to that statement is MORE OFTEN. Which means sometimes I don’t make the decision I truly want to make; sometimes I slip up. And what’s the difference between the past two years and all of my other attempts to be healthier? Sheer persistence.

So what’s the point of this post? (Which, by the way, was inspired by my recent descent into a carb-fueled, lethargic haze) Successful people fail, too. The thing is, they simply don’t let it stop them. Instead of staying down, they use their unique combination of healthy optimism, mixed with a dash of pleasant insanity, and a decent dollop of stubbornness, et voilà! Next time you run into a roadblock, I’d encourage you to stop and think: Is it insanity to persist? Or is it just the right amount of crazy to work? Take the leap if you think it could be the latter. When you land on the other side, you may just find you’ve become one of THOSE people yourself.