Most of us desire to be successful, but not many of us believe that we have “arrived” or that we have achieved our desired level of success. We all have different definitions of what it is, but there are some common lies that we believe about success, how it is achieved or what it gives us. Here are seven of the biggest, most common lies we believe about success:
1. You need to have all the answers.
Joan Baez said, “As long as one keeps searching, the answers come.” Successful people are not the ones who start with all the answers. They have simply learned how to find out what they don’t know.
Thanks to our global online information ecosystem, all excuses are gone for not being able to find answers. We have access to valuable resources with just the click of a mouse.
Many entrepreneurs have reached success by trial and error, learning from their mistakes along the way. They are not intimidated by what they don’t know, and they are not afraid to take action, even if it means making mistakes.
You cannot wait till you have all the answers before you take action.
2. You don’t need to make changes.
The basic text of Narcotics Anonymous states, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” So, let’s be honest here. There’s a fine line between perseverance and insanity. It takes awareness in knowing when to keep going and when to make changes. To achieve the level of success that you want, you need to be prepared to pivot into a new industry or change your product’s unique selling proposition.
What you have done so far has got you to where you are now, but if you want to go higher you have to make some tweaks. Sometimes the only change you need to make is just a difference of one degree.
3. Overnight success is real.
Beyonce has said, “I’ve never met anyone that works harder than me in my industry.”
One of the biggest fallacies we believe about success is that it can happen overnight. This lie has been built by media stories that we read about overnight successes. It’s true that everyone loves a good story about how a person, with no money and no status, arose overnight to incredible levels of success. It lets us imagine that the same could happen to us.
But the fact is, all those overnight successes have been working at their trade and refining their skills and businesses for a long time. The only thing that happened overnight is that they finally got recognition.
If you interview any successful person, they will tell you that they worked hard to get to where they are now. Mark Zuckerberg often attributes Facebook’s early years of progress to long hours of boring coding. Even someone with natural talent like Taylor Swift says that she works extremely hard.
4. You need not make any sacrifices to be successful.
“You can have it all. Just not all at once,” said Oprah Winfrey.
Yes, you can have it all. You can earn a million dollars a month. Go on vacation to 50 countries in the year. Spend every single waking minute with your family and be the world’s greatest parent. Have fantastic health and complete 10 marathons. Set up your own charity and end world hunger.
Just not all at once.
The fact is that you need to make choices about what you really want now. Our lives will never be a perfect balance of everything. You need to choose what needs to be sacrificed now so that you can have what you want more of.
Your priorities can shift as you enter different phases of life, but expecting perfection in all areas of your life will only set you up for disappointment.
5. Success will make all your problems go away.
American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn summed it up, “Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
Successful people don’t have fewer problems, they just have better strategies and resources to deal with the problems. Problems are necessary on the road to success and it’s not different for people who have reached the zenith in their career. To continue being successful, they still have to continue to solve problems -- bigger ones. That’s right, the more successful you are, the bigger your problems will be.
So don’t be fooled that life will be easier once you are successful. No, the only difference is that you will be more capable in dealing with the problems you face.
6. People will like you more after you are successful.
“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way," said Marilyn Monroe. "It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”
How many times have you heard people criticizing someone else because of their success? At the very least, successful people often make others who are not successful, feel uncomfortable about their own lack of success. The more you are in the public eye, the greater the likelihood that you will be criticized for what you are achieving.
The fact is that you are more likely to lose friends after you have achieved success. But the good news is that you will also have the opportunity to make new friendships with others who are experiencing success like you are.
7. Success will make you happier.
“Money won’t make you happy," said author Zig Ziglar, "but everybody wants to find out for themselves.” Money can indeed buy you some happiness, but it is only short-term. It is not long-term happiness on a deep, satisfying level.
The only way success will make you happy is if you take the time to be grateful for each moment, both good and bad. Gratitude is a choice and truly fulfilled people are masters at being grateful no matter their circumstances.
Whether you are successful now or not, choose to be happy now because success won’t make you happier.