The national pastime of being successful
“I’ve been in a severe, to put it mildly, ‘rut,’ for the last few years, and my life leading up to those years, I did not use to set myself up for success the way I should have.” -L.
I’m a big fan of people creating the “luck” they need, but really by “luck,” what I mean, are opportunities, passion, even “just” the head-space necessary to get their mind right, and get to work. I suppose you could call me an opportunist, in the best sense of the word. I believe in making my own luck. As a coach, I help clients make their own luck. (The nagging is my gift to you. Don’t bother to thank me!)
But this quote from an email I recently received really got me thinking; what does it even mean to set yourself up for success? To my mind,I think that in America in 2015, we’re obsessed with being successful…and authentic…and emotionally intelligent, and having perfect figures, and great sex, and obedient brilliant children and adorable pets, but first and foremost being really, really successful like five minutes ago. Meanwhile, there’s such a stigma on the necessary process of failure. Or, people talk about failure like it was a bad speed-date, “Um, yeah I was a failure for 5 minutes and I learned some very profound um life lessons and now, dude, you know, I get laid all the time and my life is awesome.” Oh.
People nowadays are more comfortable talking about surviving cancer, or their fluid sexuality or whom they’re going to vote for in the next presidential election, then admitting that they have no idea what they want out of their lives. And if you don’t know what you want, how can you set yourself up for success? What does your success even look like?
Success is only useful as far as you know yourself, and define it for yourself. Success depends on your values, goals, personality, experience, life and life choices. And maybe, like most of us humans, on your long and winding journey, you’ll have to endure a lot of self-inflicted failure and poor choices and un-sexy life lessons before you can even think about mastering anything as tricky as the transitory “possession” that is success. Perhaps I’m suggesting that a large portion of setting yourself up for success, entails weathering a great deal of failure, misery and doubt.
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