“When people say they’re skeptical, or pessimistic, I get it. But let’s face it, you’re gutless. It takes no guts to be a skeptic. It takes no guts to try nothing and say it’s not gonna work. It takes guts to put your ass on the line and believe something’s possible. It takes guts to pursue an answer. It takes guts to fail and step back up and keep pushing”
Your mind is designed in such a way to prevent you from getting hurt. In nature, this is a genius mechanism that ensures your survival. But in the our society, we have developed the “someday” mechanism.
Someday we’ll be good enough or brave enough or smart enough or have the time to do this or that.
Someday we’ll become what we’ve always wanted to be.
Someday we’ll write our book or start our business.
And most people wait their entire lives for this someday, which never comes.
Everybody who’s enjoyed some kind of success and Oprah will tell you that you can be great. That you are unique, special, fantastic, phenomenal…
But there’s a trap. It’s quite obvious, actually. As most things in life are.
I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote. But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in – I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.
To most of us this simple word means much more than just the muscle that keeps us alive. It defines our ability to feel, to love, to care, to suffer deeply, to evolve, to fight on… it is the source of all our power, our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.
To me the word implies all that is good and bad and wonderful and frightening in a human being. It’s the essence of who we are, the inexorable truth of the human condition. Found in the center of what we call one’s soul, the heart is the passion we are capable of mustering, is the strength that we are capable of summoning, the ability to love…
Contrary to what you might be inclined to believe about this photograph, it was taken in 1999, when Jeff Bezos was already worth around 9 billion dollars. Yet he worked from that 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 start something new.
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 rent 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…
“Planes are built for flying. Ships are built for sailing. Houses are built for living. And man, too, was built for purpose. He was designed for accomplishment, he’s engineered for success, he’s endowed with the seeds of greatness, and the greatest danger we as human beings have is when we do not do anything at all.”–Zig Ziglar
One of the most perverse mindsets is that of thinking that there’s always something else or someone else to blame. They think that someone’s supposed to come into their lives and give them everything they ever wanted.