On Success and the Illusion of Choice
Everybody's work and home calendars are constantly filled with urgent deadlines. Every day, we face more decisions that have to be made than there is sand on the beach. We might as well stamp “URGENT” on our forehead in bright red letters, because that is how our lives need to be if we are to achieve success in the home and in the workplace. However, with work and home life constantly competing for our time, how do we make the best possible choices to achieve success in both?
In the pursuit of success, all of the choices that are presented to you are just illusions. As legendary football coach Nick Saban explains:
“All these guys that think they have a lot of choices are really sadly mistaken. If you want to be successful, you really don’t have a lot of choices, because it takes what it takes. You have to do what you have to do to be successful. So you have to make choices and decisions to have the discipline and focus to the process of what you need to do to accomplish your goals.”
What this means for us is that in our constantly changing world, you need an unchanging purpose that you can measure against all of the other things that are forever changing. The United States’ unchanging purpose is the constitution. With only twenty-seven amendments in 240 years of existence, I would say that it has stood the test of time.
If unchanging purpose is pivotal to your success and if choices are just mirages, how can you weed through all of the distractions?
The choices we face in life often disappear when contrasted with our goals. [Photo courtesy Pixabay]
Success Requires Taking Risks
Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we want at the moment for something more important. Risk taking is a common trait among successful individuals. They have learned that being comfortable taking calculated risks will bring about positive change. This mindset, and its accompanying mechanics, strategies, tactics, or training methods are essential for success. Residing in perpetual comfort zones and associated risk avoidance will consistently blunt progress. If you want to be successful, get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Many times, we stay in the same situations because we are fearful of the next chapter. Like a river that becomes quiet and turbid after a fallen tree blocks its flow, so does your mental and spiritual growth when waiting to muster up the courage to take the next step or change paths from the route you are currently treading.
Success Requires Evolution
Successful performances evolve over time. Tactics, mindsets, and behaviors that worked in the past must change as demand increases and as situations transform over time. Living in the past is a guaranteed avenue to frustration for both you and those around you.
Selective effort will result in disparities in performance during pressure situations. If you are less than mindful and lack purposeful attention to detail, you are guaranteed to have gaps in your performance. Success is in the details and the most successful people never tire doing the fundamental tasks that support their career and enjoyment. When everything you do daily has a purpose and intent, you won't be just ticking boxes without understanding or value.
Don't Let Perfectionism Ruin Everything
Strive for balance and excellence in all areas of life. Whether it is at work, in relationships, or in the community, successful people are always pushing boundaries, limits, and currently accepted ceilings. However, believing there will be a perfect performance is a deadly trap. The attachment to perfectionism ruins both practice and performance and will ultimately decay your own life balance. All performances contain flaws, but within the imperfections lay opportunities for improvement.
See the big picture and do not get hung up on minor letdowns. Failure is embraced by leaders in all walks of life. Never let it paralyze, diminish risk taking, or influence behavior. Treat failure as a catalyst for problem-solving and change. Resiliency and being anti-fragile in nature gives you the ability to pay attention to, embrace, and accept constructive criticism from your mentors. This feedback will allow you to keep detailed records of your journey. Find patterns in the critiques you receive in order to eliminate faults and damaging behaviors.
Finding pleasure is critical in all endeavors. Find a way to enjoy every step because there is always another chance for everything in life. But, there is no chance of another life, so enjoy every moment.
Communicate Well, Inside and Out
Self-talk is powerful. What you think and say to yourself eventually becomes habit, and then drives your practice, competition, and life. Body language is closely related and if you express despairing traits, they will drive everything you do. Self-talk and body language may have a considerable negative effect but when positivity is expressed, the effect can eclipse any destructive behaviors.
Your external communication is just as essential. Successful people are on a never-ending search for answers and solutions and will usually have a mentor that will give them wisdom, guidance, and advice. The most successful individuals know how to network and use networks and communication as oxygen to those relationships. The inability to express your thoughts, moods, concerns, and desires will be the demise of any relationship. Learn to communicate, or any relationship will be short-lived.
With a Defined Purpose, Choices Make Themselves
Successfully balancing all that life has to throw at you is a finely tuned skill requiring years of practice, along with the ability to calmly ride out the multiple peaks and valleys of frustration that will inevitably occur along the way. Creating your own unchanging purpose will guide your decisions along the way and make the vision of your future distinct and well-defined. Allow yourself to accept that choices are just illusions and distractions on your journey to the top. Because if you want to be successful you don’t really have a choice, it just takes what it takes.
Start with your purpose, then get rid of all the clutter in your life: