7 Brutal Truths About Success Nobody Wants to Admit

In 1999, CBS’ Bob Simon did a profile of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for “60 Minutes.”

At the time, Bezos was worth around 9 billion dollars, yet he worked from a less than impressive office, drove around in a Honda, and had a terrible sense of fashion.

Today’s richest man was working from headquarters located on the same street as a pawn shop, a heroin-needle exchange, and a “porno parlor.” His office, the badly stained carpet, the desk, made out of a door propped up on two-by-fours, all give the impression of the kind of hopelessness that people often encounter whenever they embark on the strange and perilous odyssey of building a business from scratch.

Success is not easy. Overnight success is so statistically improbable that we might as well think it doesn’t even exist.

The struggle is real. Just imagine in what kind of conditions Bezos was working when he first started his company, if this was what his office looked like when running what had grown into a 30 billion-dollar company.

The same way Elon Musk had to borrow money to pay the rent for his apartment in the early days of SpaceX, all successful people had to deny themselves pleasure and comfort in order to bring their dreams to life.

There’s no way around it, I’m afraid.

And there are certain aspects of success that rarely get talked about. We romanticize success to the point that it feels like a walk in the park. You do what you love, always a smile on your face…

Here are seven brutal truths about success that no one ever talks about.

1. At First, You Will Be Invisible

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
Theodore Roosevelt

When I first started my blog, nobody would read my posts. I’d be lucky to get six or seven views. And I put a lot of time and effort into my words. I tried to write the best damn article every single time I sat at my desk.

Yet, it felt as if my efforts went unnoticed.

If you want success, you need to keep at it mercilessly, because it’s typical to get little to no attention at all in the first few months.

In other words, no one cares how good you are until they know who you are. And to get them to know who you are, you need to persevere, to keep doing your thing, to be enthusiastic even when you feel invisible.

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  1. How much can one man do…more always more. Awesome post, very true. I can relate to all of it. I’ve learned that things will work out as long as I just don’t stop and continue to crank out words whether people read them or not. I started my blog for people to read some of my novel before it gets published (rejected by 3 agents!) but it turns out that people pay more attention to my poetry than my book. And that’s okay…for now.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Success to me? Well… putting a dent in the Universe. I know it sounds vague, but I want to do more and more to that extent.

      And, yes, only 20%. If you have a brilliant headline and great introduction, that is. If not, it’s even less than that.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. This is a totally kick @$$ post and I loved every word. Anyone who has traveled (and is still traveling) the road knows that these are truths. It’s what separates the successful from everyone else. We’re being tried by fire and I’m not giving up until I get what I came for or burn up in the process. Loved this!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. When people talk about people have done something incredible seemingly overnight, I always remember the acceptance speech Huey Lewis gave when he got his first Grammy. He stood up there, looked out over the crowd and said, “I want to thank everyone who booked us for a;; those High School Proms, and the owners of all the bars we ever played in. I want to thank the organizers of every county fair who booked us, and for everyone who believed in us and supported us for all those many, many years before we became an overnight success.”

    What he was saying is that it didn’t just happen. It took a lot of work to get to that moment.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Wow! Thank you for inspiring me today, Christian! Although, I’d like to believe that success is cupcakes and rainbows, I know that it isn’t. But reading this post made me feel much better about it. All the quotes inspired me a lot and so did the amazing content.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you for capturing so many of the battles that we as writers face. It’s comforting to hear of your similar struggles. I agree, it is a very lonely road. But we are all here because we’re determined, we believe in our writing, and we refuse to give up. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. it’s so much relatable and beautiful. it’s just not about success ,it’s about the pain,the dilemma ,the confusion that all of us humans face.there are times when we want to give up but we look back and remember how far we have reached. thanks to your blog for reminding us of that. great work. would like to get inspired more by the reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There are so many valuable messages here. But these words are the ones I jumped in my lap. “it’s not the fall that breaks most people. It’s staying on the ground”
    Thank you for the inspiration

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I always remember what Huey Lewis said when him and his band won their first Grammy. he said something to the effect of thanking all the people who supported them for so many years while they played the bars, the county fairs, the college campuses, and then became an overnight success. Translation, it took a lot of work to get to this moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. How “Austin Kleon of you” to put out a 10 points on the road to success. But this is real beneficial. I am defintely going to print this and put it next to my desk as a reminder. Thank, Cristian. I needed this as encouragement on this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is… wow. It’s as if you knew exactly what I’m going through (especially the first one). It’s frustrating when it feels like nobody notices your articles that you worked so hard on, especially when you know in your heart that you are a good writer (like I do). This gives me strength to keep going. Sometimes the rocky road is worth taking.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I love this! I think staying humble and having a reminder of wher you started (like working in the old office even if you could afford something lavish) is a great motivator to continue working hard and striving for something even better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Staying humble is difficult, but otherwise we might lose all we have gained.

      I think the struggle keeps you humble. No struggle, nothing to be humble about. Also nothing to be proud of.


  12. All very true points. ‘The wealthy and successful live like the poor and the poor live like the rich’ is what that picture reminded me of.

    Those who really want success are going to sacrifice, put in the hard work and go through the trials and tribulations even after they gain success. Great article!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. That’s a great list Cristian. I especially appreciate: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” That’s very true. Thanks for sharing it. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I felt invisible too when I first started my blog. I felt as though no one cared as to what I had to say and even worse I was being ignored by people who know me in real life. When I first started out I thought for sure they would flock to my blog even if no one else did. But, nope expect for a couple of people the support was not there. That’s when I began to understand that, “no support is all the support you need to move forward.”

    Liked by 2 people

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