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April 11, 2023

Success As A Destination

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We’ve all heard the expression “Life is a journey, not a destination”, and I completely agree. Life's fullest enjoyment is in the process of becoming rather than the reality that is your life once you’ve achieved it.

No matter how much we know this lesson we still often get it backwards with our feelings of being a success. We allow ourselves to be motivated by the idea that “one day, I will be successful” and we make short-term sacrifices to our well-being and life enjoyment as a means to achieving it.

That’s why I want to share the perspective of Tom Bilyeu, who by many people’s standards is objectively successful - Does purposeful work, has made more money than he knows what to do with, is in a great marriage, highly influential, the list goes on. He’s observed something about people that I want to challenge you to observe about yourself.

“If you achieve the same level of success as someone you admire, you believe you’ll feel that same sense of admiration for yourself.”

Read that again.

But Tom says that’s not true. Do you know why? Because it’s still you looking at your achievements and determining if it’s enough, and if you’re enough. 

In other words, the way you feel about what you've achieved is independent of what you’ve actually achieved. It’s a reflection of how you feel about yourself. So if you feel unsuccessful right now, and you have different’ insecurities, limitations, beliefs, or whatever that’s causing you see your life that way today, all of that will still be there in a different set of circumstances.

This is because of something called hedonic adaptation. We acclimate to how good things feel and over time, they stop feeling as good because we get used to them. It becomes more normal. When things get normal we fall back on the same old patterns and old ways of thinking. 

Your perception of yourself relative to your environment doesn’t change. On paper, the results you get may be bigger and better than they were before, but your perspective is blind to the scale of your external achievement because you’re seeing it through the same eyes. 

Success is an inner-game. Don’t postpone your feelings of success for that future moment because if you do you’ll be disappointed by how it all still feels the same. Start stacking wins today. Be grateful for all of the ways you’re making a difference in the world. Give yourself credit for what you’re contributing.

Are the results today a fraction of what they can become? Absolutely! And you should keep pursuing them and building. But don’t delay your sense of fulfillment about how you’re doing because you’ll feel just the same when those results scale.

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