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.
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Hi Yitzchak-I first noticed this tendency to “not be good enough” when I was standing outside my 5th grade classroom. That particular classroom had a sign that said “gifted and talented.” I stood outside the door and cried. Certainly they had the wrong student. I still struggle with believing in myself even after graduating magna cum big deal from Seton Hall. I have been proactive about reading positive material and always having a mentor in my life. I look forward to grow some more through following your blog. Thank you. -Mary Lynn
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What you have mentioned in this article makes a lot of sense. I like the part on limiting beliefs. Many beliefs are put into me by other people that I associate with without much examination since I was young. This explains why I find that I am struggling at times. However, after reading many books and examining my own beliefs, I have managed to replace my old beliefs with new ones. I have also learnt that all power from within, I can find the answers to the problems that I faced within myself.
I have a leg injury that causes me to walk strangely. Every single day of my life people simply laugh at me due to the way I walk, sometimes children even mimic me. At first you think you can brush it off, just ignore them is the common advice but when its constantly in your face every time you go out it simply wears you down and no matter what amount of positive thinking you try it just takes one person to laugh again and you’re back at square one. So what should the advice be please because this is an issue I struggle with daily.
Yitzchak you have highlighted some very good points in the article specially the limiting factor . I have seen people limit themselves before even trying or pursuing something like the other day I tried to have my friend read a self help book which I really enjoyed and his limiting belief was that I can’t read self help books. He could not come up with any logical reason behind that statement other then that he just knew that he couldn’t . I think humans are limitless in capacity to grow and we as a society need to get rid of the limiting believes we create for ourselves.
This is uncanny! This article combines topics of two posts from my blog. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming plagiarism, but I think it’s awesome how you wrote this in the same fashion that I formed mine. I even thought about adding references of famous people who faced rejection, but decided to cut it. Get out of my head man!
Great article and I love your way of thinking. Keep it up!
Also, if you’re interested check out the first post below. It’s followed by “Worst advice you’ve ever received” if you want to compare.
Those who succeed, never give up.
I think if we peered into the private lives of every successful individual we would see a similar story to those you mentioned at the end of your article.
It is so important to change our attitude about ourselves. You are right that so many successful people have “failed” but because they kept going they achieved. This reminds me of the quote saying that we all of the same amount of hours in a day as helen keller, albert einstein, etc…
I agree that Facing ours fears in order to go through them is the key to our growth as an individual.
Thanks Yitzchak for your post. Yes to be successful in anything – work, business, relationships, love – we need to take responsibility for ourselves.
It’s true of course that people are born into different circumstances and with different abilities and things may come easier to some than others because of this. However whatever our circumstance we will not change and be successful if we adopt a victim mentality – which can often lurk behind our limiting beliefs – we need to take control by acknowledging that ultimately we are responsible for ourselves. You may be interested in article I wrote along these lines http://www.brilliantlivinghq.com/taking-control-of-your-life
Keep up the good work!