If you are a frequent reader of Hustle Branding, you know that I am a strong believer in telling people what NOT to do, as opposed to the other way around.
There are many reasons for this, one main one being that every business has their own unique set of experiences, so trying to give some universal formula to success, in my opinion, is futile. What I can tell you are common thread mistakes entrepreneurs make that I have learned from my own experiences, in hopes that it can give others some better insight so that they may avoid some of the most prevalent mistakes I have made which, in turn should greatly increase their chances of success.
Here are 9 reasons why you don’t deserve success:
1. You Expect It
There is no current formula that I know of to achieve success. I have heard people say success is the intersection between preparation and luck and I think that is very much true in many cases that I have experienced. Nearly every person I know who has achieved some level of success caught some breaks along the way, much in the same way that they jumped over many hurdles as well.
When someone “expects” success, I believe they are focusing way too much on the end goal without appreciating the journey and, since there is no current formula to success that I know of, I don’t understand how someone can expect it. I know red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green, but I still have yet to find a universal formula for success. Most people look at success as a noun. I think of it as a verb … a state of achievement that has no ending point. I only like ending points that indicate the starting point of something else, much like a goal. Once I achieve it, I set the next one, and so on and so on.
2. You Think You Deserve It
(Hence the title) Those who think success is “owed to them” have it all wrong. Nobody owes anyone anything. You have to create it. I have been unsuccessful at many things thus far but I am still putting in the effort. I don’t worry about what I can’t control. I used to, but not anymore. I can do one of two things if I don’t succeed. One option is to bitch and moan and complain and say, “That’s not fair, I deserved it”… the other option is to keep my mouth shut, refocus and try again. I have found that the latter works much better… for me at least.
3. You Are Working Just As Hard As Others Who Are Achieving Success
One of the most important posts on this blog (in my opinion) is a post I wrote about the difference between working hard and working smart. As they say, quality works at a thousand times the pace of quantity. I would even go as far to say that working hard sometimes gets in the way as it becomes some twisted justification that you will benefit because of your effort. I love Tim Ferris’ thinking in The Four Hour Work Week because I think it really opened people’s eyes. I have to admit, however, I am not even remotely close to a 4-hour work week (let alone a 4-hour work day) however I do think that I have learned to pack in my days with a much higher level of quality and efficiency than I used to.
4. The World Gave You A Bad Hand
If you are a student of success you will notice that most entrepreneurs and successful business people did so out of necessity. Some of the most successful people on Earth came here as immigrants with nothing. They say success comes out of either desperation or inspiration. I think the former far outweighs the latter.
Some of the people I admire the most are the owners of the corner bodegas that you see in cities like New York. Some may look at these tiny nickel and dime stores as eyesores but what they don’t realize is that the majority of the owners of these stores came here with nothing and are now heroes to their families.
I met a friend of mine at one of those bodegas one day. My friend is retired and was an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur having had an outerwear company worth several hundred million dollars. When he told me how much the owner of this little sandwich shop made a year I almost choked on the sandwich. Success looks us in the face every day, many times each day without even knowing it.
5. You Have Not Struggled
If you are successful and have not struggled I can guarantee one of three things. Either you inherited your money… got a lot of help, or you were extremely lucky. I have yet to find a person who has just stumbled on success without a struggle. I read some fabricated article on someone the other day who was asked about how they had gotten to the point they had in their career. The person responded by saying he had been an executive his entire career. That is the most obnoxious and bogus statement I have ever heard of in my life. He was as much born an executive about as much as Michael Phelps was born the best swimmer in the world.
Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice
6. You Are Not Adept At Handling Success
I used to say I would make my money to shut everyone up and show them how great I was. If anyone achieves any level of success while possessing that mentality, they are setting themselves up to crash and burn. I know this from experience. I used to think I had all the friends in the world… until I lost my business. Then I realized I had about three, Gary being one of them. Don’t ever expect money to change you… or it will.
7. Because Your Ego Tells You So
I have told you about people I know who think they are successful because of the money they have. One thing you will notice if you haven’t already is that self-made men and women walk a lot more than they talk. Why? Because they are used to it, that’s why. Ego’s, however have a funny way of clouding memories, if you have one for too long. I have noticed that when ego’s rise, personalities tend to deflate. I love confidence, but despise ego’s, despite the fact that I used to be the most egotistical fool. In realization, it wasn’t ego after all, it was insecurity disguised as obnoxious confidence. Ego also has a funny way of hurting you in business as well. If you don’t believe me, click here.
8. Your Definition Of Success Is Wrong
To me, success is doing what I want, when and where (and how) I want to do it. Money is but a byproduct, that is if your definition of success is material. For many, teaching, helping and/or giving yourself to a group or cause is success. Personally, I have always said the same thing. “I want to have enough money not to worry about money.” Why? … So I can do what I want to do, when, where and how I want to do it.
9. You Don’t Love What You Do
Like I mentioned above, I want to do what I want to do. If that requires money, then, again, that becomes a small part of a much larger equation. I know more miserable multi-millionaires than I care to know. I know some cool ones too. The difference that I have noticed is that the miserable ones talk more about their money and less about their passions. Personally, I have to love what I do no matter what. I love writing and expressing the lessons I have learned in my time on Earth and sharing that experience with others. Nobody is going to pay me a million dollars to write this post. At the same time, however, if I do make some money from something I write for commercial purposes, even better, as it will afford me the time to write more and, like I said, I love to write.