One of the most common myths of success is that successful people don’t fail or make mistakes.
I get a deep belly laugh every time I hear that.
Want to know the truth?
Successful people actually fail more often that non-successful people. That’s right, they make way more mistakes and errors than their counterparts.
Why is that, you may ask?
It’s because successful people try more.
They’re constantly working and moving forward. Unlike the mediocre majority, they’re not afraid of failure or looking bad because of their mistakes. So, they try more things. They attempt success more often and therefore their failure rate is higher. But guess what else is higher? Their success rate!
Which leads me to the point of today’s essay…
Being too focused on “manufacturing” success.
Let me explain.
I think if you asked most people for a definition of success, it would include some form of statement about winning. It would also include words about achievement and accomplishment. Which are all true about success.
But there’s a problem with this thinking…
It can lead many people to think they have to make all the right moves to be successful.
Which is patently false.
As important as it is to make good decisions for your financial future, it’s equally important to work on avoiding bad decisions, especially the major bad decisions. More about this in a moment.
You’ve heard the phrase, a good defense is the best offense?
It’s the same in success.
I’ve seen more people come up short in success, not because they failed to hit a financial “homerun” or make some brilliant investment decision, but because they didn’t protect themselves from making one or more major bad decision.
Let me explain…
There are a core set of “life decisions” that a person makes over time that while on the surface don’t seem directly related to success, but are entirely related to the probability of someone becoming successful.
And that’s the point.
Some people can be so focused on making a “good” decision about investments, money and the like that they totally ignore the fact that they’re making a major “bad” decision in other areas. And it’s those other areas they totally trip-up a person.
Areas such as the following:
Marrying the wrong person. Who you choose as a spouse is the single biggest, and most consequential, decision you’ll ever make in life. Yet, many people get married after knowing someone for only a year! Marriage puts your life on a trajectory, good or bad. The most frequent source of financial failure I see is from marrying the wrong person. It leads a whole host of bad financial decisions that haunt a person forever. Don’t ever rush into a marriage. It’s the single supreme bad decision you want to avoid.
Buying way more house than you can afford. This bad decision ranks as the second worst financial decision people make. Buying more house than can be afforded puts a person on a financial treadmill that will take decades to recover from, if ever. It sets in motion a ton of over spending on things such as furnishings, vehicles and toys as the homeowner attempts to keep up with an image they believe is conducive to owning that house. Avoid this bad decision by purchasing less house than you can afford. You’ll never become rich by first becoming house poor.
Associating with the wrong people. Like marrying the wrong person, associating with the wrong people can drastically affect whether you’ll be successful or not. Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the 5 people we associate with the most. That means you’ll adopt the habits, ideas and philosophies of your closest friends, good or bad. There’s a common misconception people have here – that they’re better than the bad friends or relatives they associate with. That’s completely false. If you wallow with pigs, you’ll become one. Choose who you associate with wisely.
Doing illegal drugs. It may surprise some to know that I’ve never taken any illegal drugs. Never smoked a joint, never taken ecstasy or any derivative thereof. Does that make me boring? Probably. I would rather be boring and successful than the alternative. Success requires your full attention and presence. From what I understand about illegal drugs, they alter the mind – the opposite of you being fully present. Successful people don’t need to escape from reality. They love reality. They love creating their reality. Leave the illegal drugs to those who want to party all the time. Avoid this bad decision by being fully engaged in your life and you’ll have plenty of reasons and resources to party.
Friends, achieving success is not about making all the “right moves”. It also about consciously avoiding all the “wrong moves”. When you do, success generally takes care of itself. In other words, you don’t have to manufacture success as much as you need to be certain that you’re not unconsciously manufacturing failure.
Before I close this essay, I want to touch on something. Today’s article was about avoiding bad decisions. But what if you’ve already made one of the bad decisions mentioned above? What if you’re currently on one of these wrong paths?
The good news is that you’re not a tree. You can change. You can grow. You can move on and move up.
One of the most frequent statements I hear from those that struggle financially is this – “That person/house/situation is bringing me down!”
That’s completely false.
If you’re married to the wrong person, if you’re saddled with a mortgage you can’t afford and if you’re simply hanging-out with the wrong crowd, know this – you are bringing you down.
Don’t build a shrine to bad decisions. The mark of the successful is awareness, knowing they’ve made a mistake and then doing what all successful people do – changing course.
Focus on making good decisions. Yes, take action in the positive for your success. But while you’re at it, make sure you avoid and move on from the major bad decisions in life. For when you do, you’ll automatically be making a good decision!
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
P.S. Why aren’t you wealthy yet? It’s because of something you don’t know. Otherwise you’d already be rich. Isn’t it time to learn what you don’t know? Consider signing-up for my newsletter below, to help you build wealth faster.
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Ready for more tips on how to achieve the free life? Check-out more articles from the blog archives below: