So many, many people want to learn how to be successful in life. They read books, listen to podcasts, even shell out big bucks to go to conferences in order to learn the secrets of success.
Somewhere, deep inside, they know that they can’t live a truly abundant life without success.
Of course, success is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s nail down that definition first.
What is success?
People today look at someone who makes a lot of money and who is climbing their career ladder and think, “That person is successful!” We’ve been brainwashed by corporate advertisers to have a preconceived notion of success.
But I think we all can agree that, by and large, success is in the eye of the beholder. So let’s drop the mainstream concept of success. Let’s forget about wealth and careers and broaden the definition. Let’s say that success is the achievement of a deeply desired goal that brings you fulfillment.
These goals can be related to money and career, sure, but they can also be related to relationships, health, hobbies, lifestyle, and so on. They can be goals that take only a few days to achieve, or goals that take years to achieve. They can be goals that you work on by yourself, or goals that you work toward with other people.
When these goals bring you a sense of fulfillment once you reach them, you are successful.
That established, what is this big key to success nobody wants to hear about?
My sad pea patch
I am an avid gardener. In fact, I’m working on producing most of the vegetables we eat, and – at least in the summer – a good number of the fruit. As a gardener, allow me to tell you the number one goal of every single plant on earth: to reproduce.
In a kitchen garden, all of the plants growing there reproduce via seeds.
As I’m writing this, my sugar snap pea plants look pretty pathetic. They grow tall, and even though they hook onto the trellis I provide with their tendrils, a strong wind can cause them to bend, even break.
Well, in the past two weeks we’ve had two storms that brought really strong winds. The winds broke one of the plants. Most of the rest of them are bent over.
But, here’s the crazy thing: they’re still growing pea pods. Looking at them, you wouldn’t think enough nutrients and water would be able to get through the stems where they’ve bent.
But each plant has one goal, and one goal only: to produce peas, which are the seeds of the plant. So they’re doing it.
The question is, are they having an easy time of it? Probably not.
Which brings us to the big key to learning how to be successful in life…
Yep. If you want to be successful, regardless of your goal, you have to struggle.
Among the author community – both traditionally and Indie-published – there’s an ongoing joke about how it take ten years to become an overnight success in the business. The fact is, all the big-name authors out there were rejected by numerous agents and publishers with numerous manuscripts before they ever got published. And then, most of them had to write several novels before hitting a bestseller list.
The Indie publishing atmosphere requires just as much work, because authors have to constantly market just to keep their heads above the water. Most go through a steep – and sometimes painful – learning curve before they reach the point of making four- and five-figure incomes every month without having to spend hours every day on marketing strategies.
The same could be said for any career.
Consider the goal of raising children in a loving home with a life-long partner. If you’ve been married for more than a year, you know it’s a struggle to maintain a strong marriage relationship. And if you’ve been a parent for more than a day…well!
Fitness goals? Weight loss goals? Healthy eating goals? Struggle, struggle, struggle.
Don’t get me started on financial goals, such as getting out of debt or saving to buy your dream car with cash.
You might glimpse an idea of how to be successful in life when you get behind the scenes of the big YouTubers, the young people who get behind the camera every day and play out elaborate scripts. You have to know that they’re not living a stress-free life, or a life that’s nearly as fun or exciting as what you see on the screen. They have to struggle to continually create fresh content that will entice their subscribers.
How badly do you want it?
Now you see what I titled this post the way I did. Who wants to be told that the key to success is struggle? But that’s what it takes to achieve your deeply desired goals.
So I leave you with that age-old question: how badly do you want it?