"10 Steps to Success"
"3 Ways to Succeed as an Entrepreneur"
"45 Words That Start with the Letter L That Will Skyrocket Your Success"
What do all of these titles have in common? They all apply to our society's need to succeed.
Whether it's the new Tony Robbins podcast, the new inspirational video on YouTube, or the new blog that will guarantee you success in 15 minutes or less, our culture, especially in America, is obsessed with success.
But do you know why the idea of success is so popular? Because success cannot be measured. For one person, success is not getting divorced. For another, success is getting a college scholarship. For somebody else, it's getting the promotion they've been wanting for years.
I typed "success" into Google and got more than 650 million hits.
It's honestly all too much. I could read every article about success there is, along with every book, podcast and inspirational YouTube video, yet it will probably still take me years to achieve the level of success I want. You know why? Because success is 100 percent intrinsic.
Kobe Bryant is one of the best basketball players of all time. He has five championship rings, and has achieved almost everything a person could achieve in basketball. But if you ask him if he thinks if he is successful, he will respond, "Hell no." He'll say that because success for him is about destroying every record the NBA has. Until he does that, in his mind he will not "succeed."
The idea of success is so popular because there is always more. I could make a million dollars in my business, but if the guy down the street makes $2 million, the next year I will want to make $2 million instead of $1 million. Then $4 million instead of $2 million. Then $10 million instead of $4 million. The word and idea of success is a billion-dollar industry, relying solely on people's goals and aspirations for their own lives.
In my opinion, success is overrated.
If I set a goal for myself to get 100 new customers and make $10,000, yet I don't achieve that, am I a failure? Or if I do achieve it, but destroy relationships with the people around me in the process, am I still a success?
The measurability of success is so foggy, that I don't even know how we think we can measure it. The fact that it takes years for a business to get big is evident of this. However, in our tweeting, Facebooking, and status-updating world, it seems like the slow process of growth, maturity, and persistence is fading away rapidly.
I've seen this firsthand over my years playing professional basketball. If a player isn't succeeding in their first few games with a team, they will probably get their playing time reduced, and the team will already be thinking about bringing in a new player who can score, rebound, or run the team better. The reality is that during that time, the player is probably still getting used to the team, the style of play, and the competition.
The ability to succeed is important, yes, but what's even more important is how you achieve it. The idea of success is so foggy because sometimes, we don't even know when we are succeeding. If we get that big deal, is it a success? What if two months down the road, we realize it was a huge mistake? Are we now a success and a failure at the same time?
We need to stop focusing on success, and instead focus on the journey. Whether we are an entrepreneur, an employee, or even unemployed, the traits of discipline, hard work, and being good to the people around you will give you a level of satisfaction that you won't be able to find from any amount of success.
Ask anybody who has achieved something great. They are happy and satisfied for a few minutes, but immediately after, they begin to focus on their next goal or future accomplishment. The reality is that nothing or nobody can guarantee success. The only thing that can be guaranteed is how we approach our journey and our preparation, in order to achieve anything we set our minds to.