What determines our success? What is it that decides whether or not we make it big in life? Is it simply that some are born geniuses while others are fated to a life of mediocrity?
“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work; we will be brittle in the face of adversity.” – Josh Waitzkin
Everything is a matter of perspective. Our common perception usually offers only a narrow view of reality, and even then, many of us will conjure up thoughts and ideas that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our perspective is shaped by our beliefs and our beliefs are built when we take on self-responsibility. Below I share with you the link between self-responsibility and success.
We’ll appraise the lives and luxuries of others, convincing ourselves that they have always had it easy, and that it’s likely that we never will.
And the ridiculous little phrase which we subconsciously repeat in our minds is, “I’m the way I am because I was born this way.” Perhaps not in those exact words, but similarly it could be:
- I’m just dumb
- I can’t help myself
- I’m just a shy person
- I’m not a likable person
- I’m just weird
- I’m just poor
And it’s odd! In many ways, some people appear to invent their own personal caste systems, categorizing them saying, “Those people have it good, and I simply don’t.” Or, “Some are great at math, while I never have been.” And before, in my own case, “They have good friendships, while I just can’t.”
Most of us have spoken those words – thought those thoughts – at one point or another. And for a long time, I myself bought into it. I carried the unspoken belief that circumstance was determined by fate.
And you know what? I was comfortable. I was fine with my unsatisfying relationships. I felt alright being unclear about my future, because for some reason, I believed that that was simply the way things were, and that there was nothing I could do to change it.
Taking Responsibility for Yourself
Research indicates that perspective on our own condition can determine our outcome. People who believe that they can improve on what they are bad at almost always do. The same is true for the contrary. In fact, Henry ford put it very clearly, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
And yet, whenever we get frustrated, or face some form of adversity, we usually complain, give up, or blame someone else.
Why do we do this?
It’s takes less effort. It’s much easier to sit and cry about a wound than to take the pain and patch it up. It is a habit that starts when we are kids and later grow into a part of our character.
Reacting in this way will only bring us a step backward or nowhere at all. It is only when we take on our struggles that we grow and move forward; when you decide to confront that broken relationship, to bunker down and study, to get out of your shell, to put on the work, to feel the pain, to face our flaws, that we truly begin our path to success. There is no other way around it. It’s time to expand your comfort zone.
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place…” Lance Armstrong
Create Your Unique Life
So how do we go about it? How do we resolve this issue? Fortunately, it’s a simple enough problem to fix.
The first thing we need to do is accept that it is our problem and that we are the only ones who have to ability to fix it. When we take the responsibility away from other people/things, and place it on ourselves, we can become the masters of our life, doers running toward success.
If you think that the successful people of today have always had it good, think again:
- Steven King’s first novel was rejected 30 times.
- Oprah Winfrey gave birth at the age of 14 and lost her child, and was at first considered “unfit” for TV.
- J.K. Rowling lived in poverty as a single mother, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
- Steve Jobs was removed from the company he started.
- Albert Einstein didn’t speak till he was four and couldn’t read till he was seven.
And that’s just to name a few.
No one is truly unique among the multitude of people in the world. We may all have our own distinct interests, personalities, etc, that mark as us individuals, but we each carry an infinite amount of potential; even if it sounds like a cliché.
Any limits seen are those drawn by the self. We are who we choose to be.