I love creative fiction.
And there’s no shortage of fiction out there about what it takes to be successful.
So many untruths…
So many misconceptions…
So many myths…
…about what’s required to live the good life.
In reality, it only takes four simple things: clarity, confidence, courage and commitment. Those four ingredients make all the difference between a miserable life and a brilliant one. Can everyone have a successful life? Yes, everyone can, but only a few will.
Why is this?
The short answer is because they make excuses.
Dozens of excuses that keep them from living an amazing life or trusting they have what it takes to create it:
“I’m too old”
“I don’t have anyone to help me”
“Now’s not a good time”
These little excuses become the big chains that hold people back.
But some people have taken excuse making to another level…to an art form. Instead of just chaining themselves, they’ve built elaborate cages! Instead of excuses, they’ve built monuments of mediocrity.
And monuments to hide behind…
Indeed, many people avoid success altogether by making success seem unattractive.
These people try to make success look wrong, so that they somehow make themselves look right for not attempting to be successful. Any perceived shortcomings are justified with saying things like “at least I’m not like those greedy rich people” – and then they get to pretend that’s the reason they’re not rich.
But this type of thinking is a trap. It’s a self-imposed box that only serves to keep people from ever becoming successful.
By adhering to these strange sets of money myths they are actually prohibiting success. And the longer they keep themselves tied to these flowery ideas that are meant to make them feel better about their lack of success, the longer it’s going to take for them to wade out of the mediocre majority.
For instance, how many of you have heard…
Myth: Money makes people mean and greedy
This is the pet slogan of the determined unsuccessful. They build this moral trojan horse and parade it through the streets to justify their lack of progress. After all, who wants to be known as being mean and greedy? Nobody. The truth is that most wealthy people are admirably generous – not only do they create and deliver value to many people, as a group they give more, more often to charities and causes than any other group. Want proof? Check-out the Giving Pledge, where Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and other billionaires pledged to give the majority of their wealth to charity in their wills, and also the Give Back Promise, (founded by your’s truly) to do the same among the world’s millionaires and multi-millionaires. Yes, some rich people also happen to be greedy, but most greedy people never build significant wealth and most wealthy people aren’t particularly greedy. There isn’t a correlation between the two. Truth: Money doesn’t make you greedy. It just makes you more of who you already are.
Money doesn’t corrupt, people do. If all the money disappeared from the planet today, the object of temptation would then be whatever was next on the list of “most desirable things.” Eventually, you’d have corrupt people stealing and embezzling the new thing. The point is that the temptation to take what doesn’t belong to someone will always there. And the people who give into that temptation will always be corrupt. And it spans all socioeconomic levels. Truth: Money doesn’t corrupt, people do.
Myth: It takes money to make money
Not true. It takes capital to make money. Capital comes in many forms. It can be financial capital in the traditional sense, yes, but it can also be human capital. Ever heard the term “sweat equity?” It’s just another phrase for converting your human capital into financial capital. In the history of the world, it’s never been easier to start your own company and begin the human-to-financial conversion. There are literally thousands of people who started with nothing and built their way to wealth. I’m one of them. Wealth is not an accident or lucky break, it’s a function of your actions. Truth: There’s no shortage of money to be made, only a shortage of people who will do the work to get it.
Myth: Money is a burden
This one comes from the oft-repeated mistakes of the middle class. They take their hard-earned money and then buy a lot of expensive toys that they cannot afford in an attempt to act rich. The problem is that the cost and maintenance of all those toys later crushes them in a burden of debt. The problem is not money here, it’s the person behind the money. Money is not a burden, money actually lightens burdens. If you invest and create income streams with your money, it can create ease and abundance in your life. It can be a tool to accomplish your goals. Truth: Money doesn’t create problems. It solves the problems that not having money creates.
Opportunities for success are everywhere. But if you create a view that none of them are acceptable due to some myth of the mediocre majority, then it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your belief in what it takes to be successful will create its own validation.
The question worth pondering is: are you seeking out the imperfect to justify a lack of success? Don’t let some imagined “perfect” set of conditions hold you back. Deliberately choosing to color success in a bad light blinds a person from learning the very things they need to be successful.
Success and happiness are the byproducts of the things you decide to do. You make the things that lead to success. You make the things in life that give you joy.
It’s easy to deny the truth with fairy tales and fiction. To discover the truth, you must love it so much that you’re willing to let go of cherished, but false, beliefs.
Leave the monster stories to the children. Don’t wait until conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning is the perfect condition.
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.