People want to have the money, rewards and recognition before they put in the work that makes all of that naturally happen. They want the output before they focus on the input. The truth is that sometimes you have to fail many times before something works out and if it does, you may not even get the recognition you’re looking for at the end. Many projects I work on either fail, or receive no public visibility whatsoever, and that’s fine! I learn throughout the process of working on the project, and when mistakes are made, I don’t make them again in the future. I don’t want everything I do to be worthy of recognition because it’s unnecessary.
What I find the most interesting about my journey is that it hasn’t gotten easier, only harder! You may view someones success as impressive, but deep down that person is frustrated and challenged because they realize that it’s only getting harder. The most misunderstood aspect of success is that ambitious people keep on challenging themselves. There is no end and when you strive to make an impact, that comes hand-in-hand with more struggles.
While my friend Ryan Holiday was on his book tour for “Perennial Seller”, he kept citing Austin Kleon as stating that “Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work.” I find that when I work hard, and struggle, that I appreciate the success much more than if it were handed to me. We don’t appreciate things that come easy!
Many people fall into the psychological trap of wanting to feel like they are accomplished, when that feeling is temporary, and sometimes just an illusion. We want the success to fit in socially and to tell ourselves that we are worthy, living a life of meaning. While it seems human to strive for success, it will be only temporary if it’s not backed by stress, obstacles and failure. The best stories from my career come from an epic amount of failure before success occurs. Every book I’ve written has been rejected by every publisher except for one. When I get each book deal, I cry because I had worked so hard to earn it. If the publisher just gave me an offer, it wouldn’t be as impactful, hit my emotional chords and become a great story I could tell to you.
When I’m asked what I want to do in the future, I respond that I want longevity in my industry. I want to do what I’m doing, in some capacity, for the rest of my life. Since I’ve already been through so much failure and rejection over the past few decades, the aspect of having it occur again doesn’t frighten me as it used to. I used to get anxious, depressed and stressed out about failure because it’s hard not to take it personally. This leads me to believe that the more you struggle, the more you can accept it in the future so you want to fail as much as possible when you’re younger so you build up emotional strength for the rest of your life.