Anyone can succeed.
The online revolution has certainly made starting a business or blazing your own path easier.
But make no mistake about it, just because you can nab a url, post a blog and secure an LLC before your Seamless order gets to your house doesn’t mean that success is going to be easy.
Your blazed path might end up 3 feet long, extinguished in a tangled web of mangroves.
In fact, the odds say it will likely be so, and it will be mostly be due to our own incompetence.
Success vs. Happiness
And then for the people who have reached some form of greatness, it gets even worse. Success doesn’t guarantee happiness.
It’s like there is a tradeoff that has to happen somewhere. You can’t be great at what you do and have been completely happy along the way. Look at the artists who fight depression, or those who cut their ears off.
It’s known that the guys who were on Apollo 11 suffered from depression during their lives because the greatest thing they’d ever done already happened.
Charles Lindbergh was perhaps the most famous man ever (and no this is not an exaggeration) after he flew from New York to Paris but he was in misery when he was hounded by the crowds, the accolades and the appearances.
Even for those who win millions from the lottery are actually less happy!
Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness. – George Bernard Shaw
Just to taste the bone marrow of success you have to deal with a whole bunch of people telling you you don’t know enough (you probably don’t) and that it probably won’t work out (it probably won’t), and even if you do succeed, you might be less happy than if you just never rocked the boat in the first place.
So why do we do it when the math and the logic stacks up against us?
“Because the odds have never met me.”
As an engineer by schooling and a student of logic, it pains me to say it but there is a downside to being rational.
We’re not interested in the reality about ourselves, we’re interested in what we believe is true about ourselves. It’s called the self-enhancement bias.
the self-enhancement bias — our systematic tendency to forgo rational evaluation of our own merits and abilities in favor of unrealistic attitudes that keep our ego properly inflated as to avoid sinking into the depths of despair.
It’s why we tell ourselves that things happen for a reason.
It’s why we believe our relationships are going to work.
It’s why we believe our idea is going to work.
It’s why we believe that there is a heaven.
It’s why we believe we’re better than the average bear.
Without our rose-colored glasses, we’d be blinded by life.
The more realistic you see the world, the worse off you do.
Your wildly inaccurate self-evaluations get you through rough times and help motivate you when times are good. [Research shows] that people who are brutally honest with themselves are not as happy day to day as people with unrealistic assumptions about their abilities.
You might want to read that again.
Researchers conducted a survey of more than 25,000 people ages 18–75 and found that the majority rated their own attractiveness as about a seven out of ten. This suggests that the average person thinks he is a little better looking than the average person. About a third of the people under 30 rated themselves as somewhere around a nine. You don’t have to be a mathematician to see a major problem here.
“Morale is nothing more than a cluster of positive illusions” and morale is the thing you need to keep you on the up if you’re going to get through the downs.
The general speculation is that over the last few million years, the primates who survived long enough to become your grandparents were the ones who didn’t give up when all hope was lost. The desire to see yourself as better than average and more competent, skilled, intelligent, and beautiful than you truly are is likely embedded in your psyche as a by-product of millions of years of forging ahead against the same odds of survival that have erased 99 percent of all species that once roamed this planet.
Success is had by those crazy enough to think they can get it. The only problem is that in order for any of us to get it, a whole lot of us won’t because there’s not enough room for everyone and because we overestimated our capabilities or our knowledge.
But one thing is sure as eggs is eggs, none of us will get it if we quit when logic says we should.
And so we start our blogs, our yoga training, our coaching practices, our businesses, our books, and our side hustles. Because maybe, just maybe we’re going to be the ones to succeed.
In fact, we’re sure of it.