21 Myths about Becoming Successful

6 minute read

By Christopher Brown

There’s a lot of talk about success but everyone’s idea of success is different. The trick is pursuing your own definition of success and celebrating the little victories. Start a search today to explore 21 myths about becoming successful.

The world contains two types of people: those who are successful and those who are not. At least, that’s what we have been taught to believe, but this overly simplistic world view is unrealistic. Success is big, small, natural, and difficult.

It requires skills that you don’t have

Wrong. We all possess the skills required to achieve our desired level of success. We’re all good at something! The trick is to double down on what you’re good at. Enjoy playing music? Play more music! Like writing? Write more! Enjoy knitting? Knit more. You know what you enjoy and what you’re good at. Follow your passion.

It’s measured in dollars

Success comes in all shapes and sizes. Sure, the media measures success in dollars, but that’s because they’re trying to sell you the latest and greatest gadget. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but a successful life is about more than your bank statement. Building a family, nurturing strong relationships, helping others … non-monetary paths to success are there if you look hard enough.

It’s about individual accomplishment

The corporate, dog-eat-dog world rewards individual accomplishment above most things. But team success is incredibly valuable and rewarding. The successful leaders of modern history accomplished their goals, and the goals of others, through teamwork.

You must compromise your values

The road to success may attempt to direct you down paths that feel uncomfortable, but it’s your job to pave a new one. Remember, you hold the keys. If your values are important to you, hold on to them tightly. Your values are what set you apart. Embrace them, share them, and never sacrifice them in the name of success.

It means less “you” time

Achieving your goals takes time. But, if your goals are in line with your own personal development, then it’s still technically “you time.” That’s just semantics, though. In truth, down time is just as important as your work day. You can still enjoy hanging out with friends and family, or catching a movie. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed.

It takes manipulating others

Corporate business culture might reward shady, under-the-table deals and playing people against each other, but that’s not always the case. If success means manipulation, count us out. Success is nothing if it can’t be shared. Be true to yourself, hold on to your core values and believe in yourself.

You must be tech savvy

Having a working knowledge of computers can dramatically benefit your personal brand or your small business. But it isn’t everything. For example, there’s an incredibly delicious Pho restaurant that’s been operating successfully, for close to a decade, without a website. It’s successful because the owners are generous, compassionate, and great cooks. People don’t care how many followers you have, if your product is good, it’ll sell.

All it takes is hard work

Yes, success takes work. But, more importantly it requires a passion for the job. If you dread punching in every day, then your life is going to feel a lot more difficult. But if you’re working towards something that you’re passionate about, work feels much more natural and comparatively easy. The trick is to find something that you love to do and do it!

It takes forever

Yes, building a thriving start-up, climbing the corporate ladder, or amassing a fortune on the stock market can take a long time. Having long-term stretch goals is healthy, but appreciating the day’s little successes doesn’t take long at all. Completing your pre-work workout, finishing your report on time, or bringing a smile to your SO’s face. Those are successes too.

You have to start young

What do automobile icon Henry Ford, fashionista Vera Wang, and Wal-Mart pioneer Sam Walton have in common? They all achieved their greatest successes after the age of 40. There’s no time limit on achieving your goals. Don’t underestimate the value of life experience. You’ve lived, you’ve learned. Now, take that wisdom and start working towards your very own vision of success.

It takes sacrifice

Again, you set the ground rules for your own success. You don’t have to spend the night at the office, skip breakfast, or miss out on your child’s big recital to be successful. Start by cutting out the things that matter less. You’d be shocked at how much extra time you’ll find when you spend less of it watching TV or on social media.

It’s stressful

Life can be stressful. It’s true, but you decide what you’re exposed to. You’d be surprised at how much unnecessary stress and anguish you unknowingly subject yourself to every day. But striving for success isn’t in and of itself a stressful endeavour. If striving for success is stressing you out, maybe you need a new angle, a new approach, or a new career. Build your life around you.

It’s about who you know

Sure, connections can help you get your foot in the door, but connections can’t develop your skills for you. Knowing the right people isn’t motivation fuel. Success is built on a foundation of passion and perseverance. Don’t let a lack of industry connections prevent you from pursuing a difficult goal. Stick with it, put yourself out there, and take it one day at a time.

It requires a formal education

Yes, a degree helps expand your knowledge base, but it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be successful because you have one. Look at what it is that you want and figure out what skills will get you there. Experience and the tenacity to get things done will serve you better than any degree. People like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Mary Kay Ash created successful businesses without relevant formal education.

You must be good with people

Some of the most successful people in the world lack communication skills. Being successful is all about doubling down on your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses. So, if you’re not the most outgoing person in the world, stop trying to be a salesman. Find something that you’re good at and let it drive your success. Stop trying to be something that you are not.

It requires an optimistic worldview

An overwhelming sense of optimism can have a tremendous effect on your happiness, but can it affect your level of success? Not as much as you might think. Individuals mine motivation from a variety of different sources. Some may credit their success to positivity, some may not. Everyone is different and many find strength in spite of a lack of optimism.

There’s one clear path

Self-help gurus are always peddling their one true path to instant success. To be realistic, if there was one true path to success, the self-help section at Barnes and Noble would consist of one book. Every path is different, but only one will work for you. Find your path and start walking.

It happens overnight

We live in a society that desires instant gratification. But we also live in a society where the path to success can be long and arduous. Goals take time and persistence and that’s never going to change. If you want to be an overnight success, start today and be prepared for a long night.

You have to pretend to be someone else….

The key to success is inside you. It’s not hidden in some alternate version of you. The only way you’re going to achieve success and feel successful is to be true to yourself. Forget about what everyone else is doing. Listen to yourself, set your own goals, and do what needs to be done to achieve them.

Or transform into a better you

Everyone has this mythological, all-powerful, ideal version of themselves implanted in their mind. Visualizing a better you can be a healthy exercise, but it can also hold you back. Stop waiting to be ready and start taking small, meaningful steps towards your overall goal. How do you find the road to success? One step at a time.

There’s a secret

There is no secret and the rule book is re-written every single day. The truth is, you define your own success. Chasing fancy cars and longingly browsing friend’s vacation pictures on social media can set an unrealistic standard for personal growth. Grab a pen and write down 3 things that make you happy. Then, make a realistic plan to follow through. Keep at it, find your own success, and keep on smiling.

Christopher Brown