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What Success Really Looks Like

by Adam Ayers on October 2nd, 2011

What success really looks like

I recently came across this sketch by Demetri Martin which explains in a very simple way a common misconception that we often have about success and what it takes to achieve success. I define success as achieving a goal, but I feel like a larger percent of the population defines success as being rich or famous. I guess it really depends on which side of the success you are on.  If you are the one who has achieved success you feel accomplished and almost a sense of relief that you were able to overcome all the challenges that were sent your way. If you are an outsider viewing someone else’s success you don’t naturally attach all the personal emotion and turmoil that person went through to get to where they are, instead you simply see a successful person and the outcomes of their perceived success.

We often get so caught up in the perks that come along with being successful that we become blind to the structure, process, hard work, and persistance that went into achieving that success. Looking back at the goals I have achieved in life (even the simple ones) I recognize a very simple pattern.  I set a goal, I figured out what it would take to achieve that goal, and the I pushed forward problem solving to overcome all the challenges.  The magic that is lost in translation is all the hardships, failures, and iterations that go into finally achieving that goal.

Take for example a football team that is trying to make it to the Super Bowl.  They don’t just show up and win, it is never that simple.  Countless hours of practice, strategy, and conditioning get the team as prepared as they can be to show up on game day and perform.  But on game day every down is a new challenge, a unique new problem unfolding in real-time that has to be solved by a team of players on the field and coaches off the field to beat the competitor and win the first down, touch down, or field goal.  The win isn’t made in one play, it is made through a series of advances that pile up to one large success (a win).  In order to get to the Super Bowl a team must compete against all odds and be better at overcoming their series of challenges than all of the other competing teams.

I guess the moral is nothing comes easy, the biggest successes require you to overcome the biggest challenges and at the end of the day all we can do is continue to dream big, set goals, and push our hardest through all the turmoil.

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