“There is one thing that 99 percent of failures and successful people have in common: they all hate doing the same things. The difference is successful people do them anyway.”
– Darren Hardy
“Higher success requires you to be a better version of yourself.” Prolific motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that, many years ago. “If you want to have more success, you need to become more.”
Up until about a year ago, I wasn’t living up to my potential. Like most people, I was stuck in a mediocre life. I was at a job that wasn’t a good fit for me. I was at university for a degree that I don’t use now. I was overweight, lazy and busy all the time. I drank too much.
I finally decided to change. I graduated and quit my job. My wife and I moved to South Korea and began to travel the world. I began developing a personal business, reading dozens of books, and taking my development seriously.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these past 12 months, it’s this: if you want to succeed, you need to become more.
Here’s how to constantly become a better version of yourself.
Everyone is given fuel. Not everyone uses it
“Bad things are fuel. You don’t just want fuel – you need it. You can’t go anywhere without it.” – Ryan Holiday
If you’re confused about how to improve, the answer is probably right in front of you: the obstacle itself. I used to lament my hardships: “Why me? No one else has to go through this.”
But bad things are fuel. Difficult experiences are extremely valuable. They can launch you into being a far more evolved version of yourself – if you let them.
Feel like you’ve been dealt one of the worst hands in the game? Perfect. You have more fuel than anyone. Tremendously difficult experiences are incredible blessings. These experiences always offer the greatest and most potent opportunities for incredible growth.
The best way to become more is to learn from your most difficult challenges, not avoid them. Massive growth comes when we turn our failures into fuel.
When most people experience hardship, embarrassment or failure, they usually avoid it. They don’t want to learn and grow from it; they don’t even want to think about it.
But these experiences are exactly what we need to become more, to become better. We just have to use these experiences effectively.
Elif Batuman once put it this way: “for you, every setback is an advantage, an opportunity for learning and glory. When a difficulty comes your way, you should feel proud and excited, like ‘a wrestler whom God, like a trainer, has paired with a tough young buck.”
If you want to become more, the answer is obvious – charge at whatever is in your way.
Look it square in the face. Bare your chest to it. Embrace it. Learn about your obstacle. Study your adversity. Become a student of it. By using the very obstacle that impedes you, you immediately transform your biggest challenges into hyper-potent fuel.
This is the fuel that can launch you higher than you’ve ever been. Everyone is given the exact fuel they need to succeed. But few use it.
“Within every obstacle is a chance to improve our condition.” – Ryan Holiday
Your personal development directly determines your amount of success.
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Hal Elrod
How far you go is entirely up to you. Most people actually don’t value learning or self-improvement. They’d rather spend their time on entertainment and distractions.
But this is exactly why most people will never achieve true success. Since they never improve, they remain where they are. Their life – their relationships, their career, their behaviours – remains average and, frankly, mediocre.
Your amount of personal development directly determines your amount of success. If you want to succeed, you need to become more.
“The only way things are going to change for you is when you change.” – Jim Rohn
When I was growing up, I isolated myself through an addiction to pornography. I was bullied, I had a stuttering problem and I was scared of people. Instead of confronting my problems maturely, I took the easy way out by living in mind-numbing fantasy. If I felt uncomfortable or awkward, I’d just numb myself from feeling anything.
But when I met my now-wife, Kimi, I knew I needed to become more if I wanted to marry her. So I decided to walk the excruciating path of counselling and therapy. I finally confronted 20 years of unaddressed destructive behaviour, family issues and deep-seated toxicity. It was awful. But I became so much more after it.
Now, married life with Kimi is better than I ever thought marriage could be. I became a far better man, and now I can enjoy having a far more fulfilling marriage than I ever dreamed.
“If you keep living like the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life you already have.” – Jim Rohn
World-class success starts with world-class choices
“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavours is to build your performance around world-class routines.” – Darren Hardy
Common choices create common results. Most people don’t ever experience world-class success because their choices are, at best, average. Your life is a product of your choices; since most people don’t make great choices, their lives aren’t defined by greatness.
Individuals with world-class success make extraordinary choices. The lifestyles of such individuals often seem ludicrous to the average person. Authors like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins have explained how they’ve chosen to spend tens of thousands of dollars on self-improvement, courses, and books – in a single year.
World-class performers and athletes almost always practice an intensely-disciplined morning routine. They do this every single day, even if it becomes boring. World-class individuals know their success is dependent on making world-class choices.
Hal Elrod once said: “repetition can be boring or tedious, which is why so few people ever master anything.”
If you want to start seeing world-class results, you need to begin making world-class choices. An easy way to start is by researching how world-class performers live their lives. Jim Rohn is a huge advocate of “studying success”. You must observe it, become a student of it. What kind of choices do you make? What do you eat? Who do you hang around with? What do you spend your time on?
Would you say you regularly make world-class choices? Or, like most other people, would you have to admit your choices are often average and mediocre?
How do you become a better version of yourself?
“Champions aren’t made in the ring. They’re merely recognised there.” – Joe Frazier, World Champion boxer
There is no such thing as ‘overnight success’.
In his famous book Good to Great, Jim Collins and his team remark how the greatest companies in the world had to spend years of slow, hard work before they became recognised.
Comically, when magazines like Forbes finally got wind of these flourishing companies, the articles invariably included lines like: “brand new company an instant success!”
No, they weren’t. Those magazines only saw the result of years of hard, dogged work.
How do you become a better version of yourself? Quietly, doggedly and simply. It takes a long time.
Collins later commented on conversations with the leaders of these prestigious companies: “throughout our research, we were struck by the continual use of words like disciplined, rigorous, dogged, determined, diligent, precise, fastidious, systematic, methodical, workmanlike, demanding, consistent, focused, accountable and responsible.”
If you want to become more, all you need to do is start small. ‘Fancy’ is the enemy. Just do what you need to do to improve a little bit.
In his enlightening book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy explains how easy this process is. “Isn’t it comforting to know you only need to take a series of tiny steps, consistently, over time, to radically improve your life?”
Small, consistent steps, if followed, always create massive results.
Start small. Be simple. Be consistent. You’ve already beaten 95 percent of the competition if you just take another step.
“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to the open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.” – Les Brown
“Success is measured by the size of your thinking.” – David Schwartz
If you want success, you have to become more. Most people don’t think big. Most people are content to stay where they are, even if those conditions are unsatisfactory and low. Big success is reserved for those few individuals who decide to become more. This process of evolution isn’t easy; it’s difficult, it takes a long time and it’s often very lonely.
All around you is an environment constantly trying to pull you back to who you used to be.
If you want to see Big Success, you need to change. You need to become better.
You need to become more.