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Success: how our ideas about success are actually preventing it

Success: how our ideas about success are actually preventing it

“Success is not created in a moment, it is honed through practice, sacrifice, and commitment day in and day out; it is a byproduct of months, years, even decades; it is not effect of a single action, but rather, it is the entire journey’s toil compounded into a single moment of victory.”


Many people believe that success is all about THE moment… we feel as if we will be judged as people against the successes of our lives, and we feel that only those of us with the greatest successes have done something great with their life.

What if true success was something cultivated over time: something that came as a byproduct of a life long commitment to growth?

Wouldn’t people have more enthusiasm, less risk of burnout, and wouldn’t they end up achieving more success?


Product goals Vs Process goals

Many people tend to view success as an end product, a destination, and ultimately as a product goal…

Product goals and process goals are very different from one another, and this is where much of the confusion starts to pop up.


Product goals seek a specific outcome by a certain date; so if your goal is to make 1 million dollars in 5 years, and you end up making 200,000 instead, then you failed to reach your product goal.

Process goals focus not on the end result, but upon the process of reaching your goals. So if your process goal is to increase your income and become wealthy over time, then as long as you are making some sort of progress, then you aren’t failing.

Product goals are results based, but process goals are more action and progress based.



It is far more common for people to set product goals

Most people set a lot of product goals, and product goals aren’t always bad. Product goals follow the SMART acronym- specific outcome, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time based; they help motivate us to act, they set up expectations, and they give us a clear picture of what we are after in life.

The problem with product goals is that they place all of our emphasis on the end result of our effort and not on the actual effort.

If your goal is to lose 20lbs in 1 month, you might work hard every day, diet, and become a more healthy person, but if for some reason you only lose 5 lbs for the month, many people would become discouraged and give up. The product goal was not obtained, but the product goal also doesn’t take into account all of the successes you made over the month. You created better habits of diet and exercise, you became a better person, and made changes to your life that can change your life given enough time: if that isn’t success then I don’t know what is.

Focusing solely on results causes you to miss the entire process of success.

You will never learn math if you just stare at the answer after the equal sign, thats because the real magic is hidden with the equation- and all those little operations that take place within it.

Success is not the result of a single action, it is the result of many small actions taken each day, and added up over a long period of time.


The danger of our current views on success

Most people would tend to agree that success is all about results.

If they see someone with a six pack and someone with a beer belly they assume that the person with the six pack is more successful at being fit, but must that always be the case?

When people focus so much on results they can actually neglect looking at the process of becoming successful: this can lead to magical and immediate results seeking. Ever wonder why people want the magic pill, the secret to success, or the blueprint to a million dollars? When you focus only on success, and only on the things you want now, then you forget what it takes to get them; you will become more easily swayed to try out the get rich quick scheme or the magic weight loss pill.

Then, when that magic “shortcut” doesn’t work for people, they tend to lower their self esteem and feel even more like a victim. After a couple of these manic attempts to create success, they usually end up thinking that they aren’t meant to be successful and they then start coming up with excuses as to why they can’t do whatever it is they are after.

RULE #1: Success is not quick, easy, or ever the result of 1 “simple trick”


Another danger of results based thinking is that obsession with results can cause us to do things that are bad for us- or do things that we wouldn’t normally do.

This is why Olympic athletes often abuse steroids or performance enhancers, why students cheat on exams, or why a hardworking executives may back-stab many people on their way to the top. When one becomes so obsessed with the end result, they often forget about who they become in the process; they might create results based success, but once they achieve the success they are after they often realize that the success they sought ended up compromising their deeper values.

RULE #2 Who you become, and your ability to live a life reflective of your deepest core values matters far more than superficial success


Results based thinking neglects the process, it neglects our progress, and it makes us focus solely on results that’s are often short term and forever moving further away from us.

So many people have set lofty product goals for themselves, they work hard to obtain it, and yet once they get to their destination they realize they still feel empty inside. Suddenly the destination they were aiming for has moved further out into the horizon and they are forced to saddle back up and start chasing it once again.

If you all you are seeking is a moment of eternal success, then you will seek and search forever. There is no moment of eternal success; there is no magic time that will last forever as you bask in it’s glory, all moments and things will fade away with time; true success exists in the current moment stitched together into days, weeks, months, and years: where your actions and progress each day all compound into the person you are trying to become.

RULE #3 There is no moment of completion, success is a lifelong process and comittment- not a single moment


Learn to focus on the process, not the product

The process of success is much more important than the end product.

The process of success involves the daily sacrifices that make you stronger and more disciplined; it involves the courage and character you develop each day by doing what is right, what is required, and what is often more difficult; it involves the frequent mistakes and the little lessons you learn from them; and finally, it comes from the freedom of outcome that allows you to simply search for progress rather than searching for completion.

We tend to view success as this moment of completion: if I just lose that 50 lbs, then I will be a happy person…but it just doesn’t work that way. You might find happiness for while because of what you accomplished, but it won’t last forever; and if you don’t focus on maintaining the progress that helped you lose 50lbs in the first place, you will probably end up being overweight again before long.


Change your idea of success from a single moment into a process.

If you want to be a better husband, success doesn’t come from booking a huge surprise cruise for your wife: it comes from a daily commitment to being a better husband, to pleasing your wife, and to being the type of man that she needs.

If you want to become wealthy, success doesn’t come from making a million dollars at any cost (including your family or your health): it comes from researching, learning new skills, trying new things, and increasing your effectiveness as a person.

If you want to lose weight and become more healthy, success doesn’t come from liposuction, a crash diet, or a weight-loss pill: it comes from making small changes to how you eat and live, it comes from becoming more disciplined, and it comes from creating the structures that will make you successful.



If you want something, don’t focus on getting it…focus on the process that will make you ready for it.

Our ideas of success must change before we can ever find success. Success exists not in some distant accomplishment, but it rests within who we become in the process of finding it; it depends on how we live each moment and what actions we take each day. Don’t seek your salvation in some moment in the future, find it in the moment by becoming the person you want to become right now.

If you enjoyed this article, I would like to ask that you please give it a share with someone who might benefits from it, and I’m always looking for new friends and awesome conversations too, so if something from the article is on your mind, please give me a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I would love to hear from you!


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