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.

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The Paradox of Changing Oneself to Get Rid of Negative Traits

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers

Every night is a dark night of the soul; fear and loathing overwhelm you whenever you stare in a mirror or think about your actions. You fail at everything you do. You struggle with low self-esteem, high-functioning depression, and social anxiety.

How do you change that?

Because you’re not going to change by spending all the time wishing you didn’t feel like that; you’re not going to change by writing down a bunch of positive affirmations and reading them aloud in front of the mirror every morning.

The paradox of changing oneself is that the more you want to change a negative trait you have, the more you become it.

When it comes to getting what we want, desire is an important element. Set a goal, go all in, and achieve it. The beach body, the business, or the book you want to write, all require that you genuinely want to do them.

But when it comes to changing the inner reality of who we are, it doesn’t work that way.

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This Mental Hack Allows Me to Work 12–14 Hours a Day

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

Did you know that you can deduce how much money someone earns by asking them a simple question?

You can, in fact, deduce a lot about them, about their principles, ethics, dreams, and goals.

What is that question?

Well, it’s simple.

“Do you believe in work-life balance?”

If it takes you less than 10 seconds to have a negative emotional reaction to what I am implying here, stop and think about why.

If you feel the need to say, “Yeah, but…” you should also stop for a minute and ask yourself if life’s a balancing act or not, and if going through life as if walking on tightrope is the only available option.

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The Art of The Hustle

Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

Today’s culture is saturated with articles, clever memes, and podcasts that idolize terms like “grind” and “hustle.”

Personally, I believe that assuming the responsibility to work hard for your dreams is one of the key elements of success, but at the same time, it’s equally important that we understand how to work, why we are doing the work, and what price we’re paying for the time and energy we invest in the work we do.

I am writing these words as my girlfriend is getting dressed for us to go out. I woke up 4 hours before her, after only 5 hours of sleep, in order to write my articles, edit them, and schedule them to be posted.

I woke up long before the sun was up in order to reply to my e-mails, check my stats, and figure out the day’s strategy.

I’m all about the grind. Always was. Mental laziness has this strange side-effect on me; it makes me anxious to the point of wanting to jump off a building.

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The Duality of Arrogance

The Dunning–Kruger effect might the secret ingredient to success

“Every morning, upon awakening, I experience the supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali, and I ask myself, wonder struck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali.” — Salvador Dali

Dalí was famous for two things: his art and his eccentric and often ostentatious behavior.

In 1955, he delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne, arriving in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflowers.

To promote Robert Descharnes’ 1962 book The World of Salvador Dalí, he appeared in a Manhattan bookstore on a bed, wired up to a machine that traced his brain waves and blood pressure.

Dalí would avoid paying at restaurants by drawing on the checks he wrote, thinking that the restaurants would never want to cash the checks since they were artworks by the Spanish master.

There are plenty of critics that have often considered these antics to have obscured his genius, or to have been nothing more than the marketing gimmicks of a creatively bankrupt artist who had peaked in his 20s and 30s.

I, on the other hand, believe that it was his nonchalant demeanor that allowed him to produce great art.

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7 Things You Need to Do if You Want to Become Someone You’re Proud Of

Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

Do you vacation on Someday Isle?

What dream or goal are you fantasizing about that you’re not actively working toward today? That you’ve postponed until tomorrow, or next Monday, or when you’ll feel like it?

Are you waiting for a bit of luck? For someone to hold your hand? To do your push-ups for you?

Most people exist in a mindset that tells them that becoming someone they’re proud of is a matter of the stars aligning in just the right way, of some mystical event taking place someday.

The opposite is true.

The world changes its opinion of you the day after you do. You get what you want in life by first becoming the kind of person who has what you want.

It’s as simple as that. But it’s not easy.

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The Number One Trait of the Unsuccessful

Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

We’re all self-made, but only the successful ever admit it.

After all, why ever admit that you don’t like what you see in the mirror if you do not plan on changing?

But what if I were to tell you that the root cause of unhappiness and failure are not external factors, but our inner reactions to those factors.

After all, what is required of one in order to be successful?

Is it being a billionaire? Changing the world? Find one’s soulmate?

Aren’t those things intricately tied to a lot of external factors? And isn’t our perception of those factors the result of a combination of behaviors, beliefs, thoughts, and adaptations?

After all, some people are happy while having little reason to be so, and others are unhappy even though wildly successful.

It seems to me that we are only as happy and successful as we make up our minds to be. Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure, and ultimately it’s our inner reality that that dictates our own happiness.

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The Struggle Alone Pleases Us, Not the Victory

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Back when I was in high-school, during one of my kickboxing practices, I had to act as a sparring partner for a few weeks to one of the best fighters in the country. 

It was the most humiliating and excruciating experience in my life. There’s no other way to put it. There was nothing I could do to even touch the guy, let alone beat him.

Yet, even though I consistently got beat, my skills improved considerably. When I look back at the four years I spent as a fighter, I often remember that one time I got a lucky jab at him or when he broke my nose. 

Quentin Tarantino once compared our work towards progress as running a race. 

If we run against people who are slower than us, yes, we win, but if we race against people who are much faster, we’ll come last every single time, but our time will be much better.

We live in a society that loves winning. 

Winning is the only thing. The desire to be first. To be the best there is. 

There are some victories that are impossible. Sometimes, a good defeat is its own reward. Sometimes, the best we can do is fight an impossible battle and manage not to lose it.

Having to fight against someone with far superior skills would provide me with the kind of mental clarity and focus that made me be so present in the moment that everything was moving in slow-motion. 

If I wasn’t careful, I’d find myself on the floor, trying to figure out what day of the week it was.

I couldn’t win, but I still struggled. And I enjoyed it so, so much.

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The 40% Rule: Get Rich, Get Fit, Become Successful With This Simple Rule

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I don’t know you, but I know this about you: like all of us, you have one goal you’re struggling to achieve. Maybe it’s a business venture, maybe it’s turning a passion into a source of income, maybe it’s your desire to get in better shape.

What usually happens is this: you begin to feel tired. Maybe exhausted is the better word to describe what you’re feeling.

What if the problem isn’t how much you’re trying to get done, but rather your mindset?

And this is how the 40% rule can help you achieve all your goals.

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What’s the Opposite of Loneliness?

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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

Hunter S. Thompson

Loneliness, defined as an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. The key word here is perceived.

Loneliness, defined as social pain — a simple mechanism that forces us to seek others. The key word here is pain.

A perceived pain, for even one who is surrounded by others might end up feeling lonely. Some might say that’s what real loneliness actually is: feeling alone when you are, in fact, surrounded by others.

Today, when we’re all connected via invisible waves of technology, there are but two great tragedies: one is to be lonely alone, the other is to be lonely among others.

I often wonder which is the selfish option of the two?

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