Today, I want to offer inspiration to anyone and everyone fighting to become a better individual.
Success: Where You Are
“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.” – Jordan Peterson
At this moment, you want something. And I don’t mean sex or a tasty meal or a chance at entertainment. You want something bigger and more fulfilling then mere cardinal pleasures. I am confident that you want to excel at something. You want to master a skill, fall in love, or live life on your terms. You want to be out of debt, physically stronger, or more intelligent.
Life is full of desires. Today, I want you to focus on the big desires. Then, I need you to understand how you are capable of accomplishing your goals and earning what you want.
Your Fear, Shame, and Doubt Against Your Success
When you fill your mind with visions of becoming more attractive or more productive or smarter, you feel good. You try to put the process down to paper. You try to plan your days or structure your life. However, you’ll find that executing your dreams is exceedingly difficult and more troublesome than you realized.
No matter how long it takes, whether a few hours, days, or months, you roll back into your old habits, and your lofty goals remain unfulfilled. Now, there are many reasons why you lose motivation. However, I want to zero in on one mental practice, which has helped me: I focus on how I have succeeded before, and I will succeed again.
How Success Works
“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder
Success builds on itself. When you set a goal and accomplish it, other opportunities open. For example, if you learn a new skill, job opportunities become available. If you do well at your new job, you’ll earn more money. With more money, you can invest, attend networking events, and possibly start a family. However, all your more significant successes are built on the simple fact you took the time to learn a new skill.
Because success stacks, you need to remember your past successes. You are where you are because you fought to be here. No matter how small the battles seem now, they were not trivial when you started. For example, if you can 100 push-ups, there was a time you could barely do one. However, you have forgotten how much of struggle it was to get to one push-up or ten or thirty because now those push-ups are the warm-up.
You have to remember those victories and remind yourself of where you’ve been. You need to remember because you have more significant battles ahead. And one way to get to 150 pushups is to look back on how you’ve conquered 100 and remind yourself that you can win again.
Why You Can’t Remember Your Successes
Let’s take a step back. Why are you never taught to think this way? Why do most individuals have a hard time being grateful for the battles they’ve beaten and overcome? I argue there are two main reasons.
Firstly, you don’t track them. You are never taught to look at your successes and keep a close eye on them. Every time you force yourself to focus on a task, or eat your greens, or remain patient, is a moment where you have succeeded. You are slowly building the habits and behaviors which will make you a stronger, more virtuous, and capable individual. No matter how small such victories may seem, if they strain you, they are worth remembering.
Were you patient during a traffic jam? Write this in your journal. Did you manage to avoid distractions at work today? Write this down and reflect on your victory. Did you go to the gym and push yourself? Remember to make a note of this.
If you want to persist through trying times, you have to remember those small and big moments where you overcame vice and embraced virtue. Let these memories flood you, and you will feel lighter and more capable. Success is built on success. Every victory you experience is fuel for the next.
Society does not benefit from you becoming successful
Secondly, you live in a society which is designed to tell you how much you suck. Religious institutions, governments, corporations, and predatory people are focused on undermining your confidence in yourself. Because these attacks are so frequent, subtle, and relentless, you buy the messages and slowly lose sight of all the good you’ve done.
For example, corporations continuously tell you your life isn’t good enough: you’re not smart, you’re not sexy, you’re not a virtuous person, but if you bought shitty product X, you’d be golden. Governments want you enslaved to their power, voting for free goodies and meaningless reforms. Governments tell you how you are too stupid to save for your retirement, too incapable of helping the poor, and too dumb to decide what to put in your own body. Religious institutions tell you how gross, sinful, and horrible you are. Furthermore, they tell you how little wisdom you have in determining what is good and what is evil.
“Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good.'” – Ayn Rand
With such narratives, you will not see your gym visits as a win. You will only reflect on how you don’t look like the models. You will not see your financial decisions as positive. Instead, you will focus on how little money the government allows you to keep. And you will not see your actions as moral, because you will be reminded that no matter what you do, you will always be a small, sinful creature. Unless you worship at their altar, of course.
You know what needs to be done. Ignore the voices. Think clearly and have confidence in your life. If you are loyal, financially secure, hard-working, generous, grateful, and capable, you are living a good life. Do not let your jealous, greedy culture rob you of this reality.
Success Requires Rational Pride
Are you proud of yourself? Rational pride is an admiration for your virtuous actions and decisions. When you do well, you need to hold your head high.
As I said before, look at your past successes. You have overcome so much in your life. There are so many moments where you could have chosen the path of a savage, yet you decided differently. You should be proud of that. And if you have wronged someone or failed to be noble, then seek redemption. Such a journey may be hard, but if your soul is to have peace, you must bear whatever redemptive path you are on.
However, don’t give in to the cowardly voice, which calls you pathetic for missing a day at the gym. Tell it to shut up. Then, you need to go back to the gym tomorrow. Your mountain of success can withstand a few minor failures. Remember, you can only understand this logic if you are a proud, virtuous individual.
You will succeed, just as you have before
Always remember you have fought demon after demon. You have scaled mountains. Therefore, you can overcome your current challenges and achieve your dreams.
I believe, rather foolishly and passionately, that people need to be reminded, always, of their inner strength and potential. I did not write this post to give you false hope. Whatever you face, you will suffer, and sometimes you will fail. However, if you remember how strong you are, you can rise. If you gather strength from your spirit, you can get back up, no matter how slowly.
I don’t know you, but I want you to know: you have succeeded before and are capable of doing it again. You can win, but only if you fight through your pain, regrets, and fears. Fighting is hard, dangerous, and costly, but you’ll win, and when you do, you’ll stand tall.
Never give up. Crawl if you cannot walk. But never stop. Every day should be progress toward something great
- What was your last success? What do you remember about it? How did it make you feel?
- What does a successful person look like to you?
- How can you become a successful person? What would you have to do to become a successful person?
- When was the last time you felt inferior, incompetent, or incapable? Who or what made you feel this way?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.