I wrote the most cliche’ article you’ll read all day and it may still be helpful: Attitude and success.
Imagine there are 10 people in a room; five of them think they are responsible for their own success no matter how difficult, and the other 5 think their success is someone else’s responsibility. Oversimplified, I agree but play along. They are all given a challenging task to complete which none of them are trained in. Which group do you think will have the most success?
Ok, it’s a rhetorical question but still I bump into people in life over and over that have this perspective and fail to see that it is self-defeating. Literally people who have my same job, live in the same neighborhood, and share so many other things in common with my socio-economic make up. We all have a back story of obstacles, adversity, and challenges; some much worse than others, but some of the most impressive people I know, have been dealt some of the most friction (to put it mildly). It’s having a mental narrative that says, ‘I will make my success in spite of this’ that makes all the difference. Yes people like this are sometimes outliers that prove to others what is possible. For example, the first runner to break the 4 minute mile. Up to that point it had never been done, but once someone came along and showed it was possible people began to rise to the occasion. The same is true outside of physical feats. It a person has any chance of making it at all, in most areas of life, it’s in keeping an attitude like this.
It pains me to see people fall into the marketing that panders to them, painting a highly inaccurate view of the cause and effect of their life’s circumstances, because it guarantees they will continue to live in the same experience and cycle of failure, constantly blaming others for why they can’t get ahead, sometimes legitimately, other times inaccurately, but always looking outside of themselves for someone to correct their future. Here’s a great article from doublingdollars.com on the subject.
This quote seems so direct and to the point from the book and life experience of Cheryl Strayed in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked.” -Cheryl Strayed
The stories and words you use to tell yourself what is happening to you in life become your reality. Be cautious of narratives that traps you in a victim status because you will always need to move beyond this.
The truth for many, many people(not all) is that there biggest challenge in life is the one that they look at in the mirror every morning-That’s the person that doesn’t stick to a budget. That’s the person that gives you unhealthy food and decides if you sit on the couch instead of seizing your potential as a human, and that’s the person you need to focus on for improvement when things aren’t going the way you want. Sure, there are bosses that are jerks, coworkers that are a “challenge” to work with, tragedies, human bias, a-holes, and financial surprises that aren’t your fault, but these are all amplified for the person that isn’t managing their life well to begin with, telling themselves self-defeating narratives.
Control what’s in your realm to control, that’s truly all each of us can do, whether we’re rich, poor, affluent, educated, uneducated, smart or stupid. Sure, these are “first world problems” but these are the people I’m talking to in this article. Third world hunger, disease, and war will all be solved in another article I’m writing about how to be all knowing and all powerful.