I’m sure you’ve wondered at least once in your life how some seem to always find success and how other always fail. I did, and not once. I lived ups and downs, and somehow I always believed that if you worked hard and do good, good things should happen. But surprisingly, sometimes it doesn’t always happen that way. So, the natural question followed: Why? What am I doing wrong?
A few months ago, I finally understood…
A friend gave me this book “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Scovel-Shinn and told me: “Read it with an open mind and heart. Meditate a little about what she is saying in there and make your own thoughts about it. Take from it the things that make sense to you. Ignore others if you don’t feel them, but read it.”
I did and somehow understood a lot of things…
1. Success is a state of mind. In order to find success you have to believe in it. You know that saying: “If you truly believe, the Universe will find a way to make it happen”? It’s actually true, but trust me, truly believing in something is a lot harder to do than just saying you believe. You can so easily say I’m an optimistic person, but in reality there are so few of us who really are. It takes some exercise to let go of what’s keeping you from truly believing. It’s not enough to want something, you have to imagine that you already have it, so this proves you believe you will.
I wrote here about another lesson of successful thinking that I learned from 2 award winning designers.
2. Fear is your greatest enemy. Fear is good when it saves your life and stops you from doing stupid things. But fear of what others may say or think of you, fear of truly living, fear of trying something you know you want, fear of following your heart, this damn fear stops you from finding success. Fear is powerful, it makes you question your decisions, it stops you from being who you truly are, makes you stand still when your heart tells you to run, literally and metaphorically.
3. Wanting success, but preparing for failure. I’m sure we’ve all done that, me included. Tell me if you recognize this situation: I want to be a great manager, I want this job, I want to pass this exam, I want to have a beautiful relationship, I want to find love, I want this house, I want to have that car, I want (you fill in)….. but I don’t think I can do that, I don’t know if I’m good enough, I don’t think I’m prepared for it, I doubt things like this will happen to me, I’m not that lucky, etc. I’ve heard this statement so many times: “You attract the things you think about or talk about” (the Law of attraction) and I thought I understood it, but I didn’t completely. I understood the concept, but I didn’t apply it. Now, every time fear tries to take over me, I remember that I attract what I fear, I attract negativity if I think negatively, I attract sickness if I’m terrified of it, I attract failure, if I fear it so much, and I try to change my thoughts. Of course we all fear these things one way or another, but at least we can stop thinking about them so much, stop talking about what might happen so we won’t give them power. Being aware of your own thoughts and words is actually the first thing you have to do on the path to success. You speak of success, you will find success, you speak of failure and you will find it for sure.
4. Truly listen to your instinct and to your inner voice. They are also powerful and they are your true friends, but we are not always allowing ourselves to listen to them, sometimes because we fear what they have to say. We think the mind knows better, we trained it so well, haven’t we? We trained it to make decisions, so of course our mind knows best… 🙂 Wrong. We write on walls and share on social media quotes like “Follow your heart. It knows the way”, but how many of us understand it and how many apply it in their real lives. We all know it’s true, but we decide to let the mind make decisions. The mind can be cheated, the mind fears, but the heart always knows. I read it somewhere that when you don’t know an answer, when your mind is blocked, when you are in a situation you haven’t prepared for and the mind is not helping, concentrate on what your heart is saying. Your instinct is sometimes the only thing you have. This explains those situations when you have no idea how you were able to do something, or the stories you hear about others that came up with genius solutions in extreme situations.
This book has a lot of things to teach, if you want to learn. That’s why you need the open mind and heart, I guess. This book was published in 1925 and is as true now as it was then. The good thing about it is that it also gives you some “tools’ to work with to exercise on finding success, whatever success means to you. While I was reading it I considered some of the stories too good to be true, but then I tried to evaluate my life and my actions, the moments when I was in similar situations and what did I do or thought. Many things made a lot more sense. As too good to be true as some things might sound, the truth is that I doubt that it hurts to exercise on success, to be more careful with your words and thoughts, to believe more and to listen to yourself more.
I’m trying to apply some of the wisdom in there using those ‘tools’, and I’m starting to see some results. It’s not easy, because fear is a bitch and tries to take over. I will tell you more about my own results, more about what I’m learning on the way and the things that I found helpful.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
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