“We attract into our lives what we are.” – Benjamin P. Hardy
If you want to be successful, you must be willing to do what most people are unwilling to do, and unwilling to do what most people are all-too-willing to do.
Most people aren’t successful. Most people will never be truly successful.
If you want to be truly successful, you must unwilling live your life the way everyone else does.
And what life is that?
A life where social media calls the shots. When you wake up, sit on the toilet, out with close friends, at your best friend’s wedding — your phone takes priority over the reality around you.
A life where you’re overweight, unhealthy, and unwilling to change that. You consume crappy foods, and so perpetuate the downward spiral of your tired, stressed, overworked body.
A life where it’s their fault — the boss, the spouse, the government, the traffic, the economy, the weather, God. The state of your life — in shambles — isn’t your fault.
That is the life people are unwilling to give up. That is the life you must be unwilling to accept.
A Quick 5-Minute Litmus Test
This is a great exercise to reveal the true nature of your internal life.
When you have 5 extra minutes, what do you do? Do you entertain or distract yourself? Do you avoid what’s bothering you deep down? Do you consume garbage? Do you just “zone out?”
Most people distract themselves, through their phone or computer. Maybe they just mentally check out.
Most people are uncomfortable with their current situation, but not enough to actually make a change. Most people are overly stressed, overweight, tired, bored, and directionless.
These aren’t pleasant feelings — in fact, they can become a living hell if left unaddressed.
But people still don’t change. They continue indulging in negative behaviors that perpetuate these toxic cycles as they drag their feet through life alongside the rest of the “mediocre majority.”
There are countless behaviors most people do that prevent them from reaching the best version of themselves.
Here are 5 of the most prominent you need to stop.
1. Social Media
“The time you spent being jealous of other’s success is time they spent working. Guess which one is more valuable.” – Jon Westenberg
Social media is about consuming. It’s not edifying; you never leave an hour long social media session feeling better.
Moreover, most of the individuals who use social media use it as a platform to promote a false image of their “perfect” lives to the world. According to their Facebook or Instagram, they’re always on some adventure, eating Pinterest-level meals, and having fun with beautiful people.
Of course, this isn’t true. Social media is a “highlight” reel that only shows about 5% of how life really is, but it looks like it happens 100%.
Unfortunately, people begin believing this is true about other people, and begin comparing that to their own life. Of course the comparison is dismal.
“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.” -Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
What are the things you think about the most? Is it other people?
Other people’s lives, what other people have, what other people are doing that you’re not?
While social media in itself isn’t bad — it’s just a platform to connect with others — most people aren’t responsible enough to use it without abusing it. We compare, we become jealous, we get resentful, we get stuck in a rut.
Get off social media.
2. Eat Garbage
“You body is a business you have to take care of, or the business goes away.” -Tim Grover, Relentless
What’s your diet been like recently? If you’re like most people, it’s been pretty bad. After only a short time eating the “majority’s” diet, it can begin to seem impossible how you could ever live without the staples: coffee, alcohol, fast food, pizza, candy and desserts…
The truth is, you can live without these. I still haven’t given up coffee, but in the past few months I have given up alcohol and sugar. They said it couldn’t be done, but of course, you can do anything you want, as long as you’re willing to pay the price.
The price of not having a 2:30pm afternoon slump is to stop overdoing caffeine in the mornings.The price of sleeping better is not consuming alcohol right before bedtime.The price of a 6-pack is giving up fatty carbs that slow you down.
In one of the most basic analogies of the body, your body is like a car. How far and fast you go depends entirely on the fuel you fill up with.
If you keep filling your “tank” with garbage, you won’t go far. You won’t go fast. Even if you really want to.
The majority would actually be unable to maintain anything like close adherence to the lifestyle of truly successful people. Waking up early, eating healthy, exerting monumental brainpower to tackle difficult problems, every day…
This is impossible for people who don’t take care of their body and mind.
The majority will continue eating garbage. Only you know what a healthy diet means to you — begin cultivating that to see expert-level results.
“How much you improve is up to you.” – Anders Ericsson, Peak
“Problems are rarely as bad as we think — or rather, they are precisely as bad as we think.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
Instead of seeing challenges, problems, and obstacles as opportunities grow and learn, most people just sit down and complain.
This is another reason why they’ll never achieve true success.
Unfavorable situations in life will never stop coming. Nothing will ever be perfect. Pain and struggle are guaranteed in life.
However, these situations are exactly what you need at this time, on this day. Much like a doctor prescribes medicine that might be unpleasant to take, we take it because we want to be better. In the same way, life itself “prescribes” situations for you that are unpleasant to take.
But instead of using these situations to become stronger, more patient, more resourceful, and more resilient individuals, most people refuse to accept it.
They balk, they drag their feet, they pout, and complain.
Marcus Aurelius, leader of Rome and one of the greatest leaders in human history, always had reasons to complain. Assassination attempts, corrupt government undermining his strategies, rude citizens, sickness, stress, from every corner of his life. But he refused to complain about any of it. “Complaining is expressing ungratitude towards what God has dealt to you. And what life he deals out is what he intended and wanted. By complaining we hack away and destroy a small part of the larger whole.” -Marcus Aurelius
Aurelius knew what these problems really were — tools to become a stronger, more adaptable leader.
If the Senate was refusing to work together with him, that was simply an opportunity to practice being patient and understanding.
If one of his most trusted friends and officials began planning a coup to betray Aurelius and take over his throne, it was simply a chance to practice love and forgiveness.
Complaining does nothing. In fact, it’s worse: complaining hurts everyone else.
Because if you don’t take the medicine life “prescribes” for you — unfavorable situations, difficult circumstances, unfairness — then the entire whole gets sick.
Individuals with true success don’t complain. They use their circumstances to propel them forward into greatness, not as an excuse to wallow in stagnation.
“Bad things are fuel. You don’t just want fuel — you need it. You can’t go anywhere without it.” -Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
4. Give Up When it Gets Hard
“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.” – Les Brown
The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.
Some of the most successful people in the world are the very people who have experienced the most tragic circumstances.
Jim Carrey had to drop out of school at age 15 to support his family. Shortly after, he became homeless. He was broke and alone.
Richard Branson has dyslexia. While in school, his teachers often thought he was just “stupid” and lazy.
Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times. It was maddening and disheartening, and he could have given up at any point to try a new career.
“Half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” -Steve Jobs
One of the main differences between these successful people and nonsuccessful individuals is simply their perseverance. These individuals were unwilling to admit defeat; every setback was just another chance to try again.
In the words of world champion chess player Josh Waitzkin, “Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously. If left to my own devices, I am always looking for more ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable. When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid confrontations but to become at peace with it. My instinct is to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.”
Most people give up when it gets too hard. But mental resilience in the face of difficulty is arguably the most important characteristic of a successful individual.
5. Avoid the Difficult Path
“Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or silence it only backfires.” Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Everything worth having is on the other side of pain. Most people shy away from pain and difficulty. They choose the easiest path of least resistance, in most of the key areas of life: work, family, money, and relationships.
At work, do you just do the minimum to get by without getting in trouble?
With your family and relationships, do you avoid having difficult conversations and confrontations about issues that need to be addressed?
Have you made any financial structure to your money — a budget, getting out of debt, or investing? Or is that “too difficult?”
This is how most people live their lives — taking the path of least resistance. They avoid difficult circumstances, even if that’s exactly what they need to do.
“It’s actually far more exhausting to not work than it is to work. It takes far more energy to sit with internal conflict than it does to get to work.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
The irony most people don’t realize is this way of life actually takes more work. It’s almost always more exhausting and stressful than just taking the difficult path.
The most important and genuine successes in life — deep and meaningful relationships, purposeful vocation, tranquility — all lay on the other side of struggle. They all require difficult, hard work to get there.
This is why most people will never experience these blessings. They are unwilling to put in the work and tread that long road of difficulty and hardship to achieve them.
If you want a deep, meaningful relationship with your partner, you need to be willing to have difficult conversations with them about the relationship. It’s imperative. The sure way for a relationship to end in heartbreak is not communicating difficult truths to each other.
If you want financial success and progress, you need to spend time creating a budget, analyzing your selfish spending patterns, and fundamentally change your perspective on money.
As financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Your credit score isn’t an indication of financial success — it just shows how much you love being in debt.”
We need to think about things differently. The majority of Americans are in debt; it should be no surprise that the majority of Americans are not on the path to reach true success.
You need to take the difficult road. The one strewn with obstacles to overcome and problems to solve. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.
Most people will never be truly successful. This is because they choose to remain unwilling to do what success requires.
Excessive social media, eating garbage, and complaining are all signs of the “average” person. And what is average? Mediocre. Common. Standard.
Success isn’t standard. It’s rare. It takes hard work, and a willingness to take the difficult path, to never give up.