The Flawed Cycle of Success That Could Be Causing You To Fail

IN: Business 101

You’re going to want to slap me, tar & feather me or violently X out of the page when you realize that this post is about the one thing you’re quite possibly sick of hearing how to make, find, or achieve…but, I urge you not to.

Not yet, at least–namely because I’ve got a hot date tomorrow, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a resin-free pucker might yield me considerably more lip action.


You’re over this topic. You don’t care to read yet another key, tip or secret, luring you with their big brown eyes and endless promises to make you an overnight celebrity.   The topic is over-saturated with regurgitated advice persuading us to “think positive!” “write down your goals!” “be persistent!” “work your ass off!” “sleep with your boss!”

Your eyes are glazing over as we speak.

So…why am I bothering?

Because like it or not, we’re still measured by how “successful” we’ve been.   And worse—the real reason I’m writing this—is that we’ve been taught to use it to measure ourselves.

We’ve got a love/hate relationship with that little word, and rightfully so.  In the love department, it’s what we know.  It’s what we’ve been taught to want.   It’s the general, overarching goal that we hold ourselves accountable to in life.

To be a success.

We can each take a different path in life, but we’re all bonded by the common desire to be successful–no matter how we define it for ourselves.  Whether you define success as money, happiness, health, or some combination of all three, it remains our number one objective.

And to that end, we chase after it, idolize it, glorify it & sacrifice everything in the name of it.

On the flip side of things, to some degree you might resent success as well. You might resent that you haven’t yet achieved your idea of it, that it’s taking far longer than you imagined to reach, or maybe just the fact that you’re expected to be successful in the first place.  It can really mess with your psyche.

For me, the issue isn’t so much whether or not we should be going after it (and how), but rather in the way that we’re using it.

Traditionally, it’s been considered an outcome. The end result.  Where you stand at the end of the day.  To seek success implies that there exists a certain point where, if you make it there, you’ve accomplished something. Until that point, though, you’re more or less considered a work-in-progress.

This all or nothing mindset must go. Victory or defeat.  Black or white. Chocolate or vanilla. Rum or vodka? Successful or unsuccessful?

It’s really kind of laid out in terms of one or the other isn’t it?

It’s a game of win or lose.  And we really, really hate losing.  That only leaves us with one choice.

So instead, we fixate on winning, i.e. achieving success.  And as such, we engage ourselves in a vicious cycle.

Because we’re fixated on achieving that particular success, we hesitate to take risks as to not sacrifice any of the momentum we’ve built up.

And because we forgo risk, as a response to being so painstakingly afraid to fail–so terrified of being unsuccessful–with it, we forgo our opportunities for the very thing we were seeking in the first place.

This flawed cycle of success seems to be one thing that’s actually causing us to fail.

From my perspective, we need to scrap all that.  Success shouldn’t be characterized by an outcome, but rather by a series of actions.  It’s an ongoing, real-time process, not a one-time event.  It’s not what you’ve accomplished, but what you’re accomplishing.   It’s not what you’ve done, but what you’re doing.  And it’s not who you are, but who you’re becoming.

Could it be that success is a representation of all of the present progressive tense markers in your life?  The number of meaningful -ings that characterize your life?

We’re human beings. There’s nothing about us that’s all or nothing, or black or white.

We’re dynamic, fluid, ever-evolving creatures, and the ways in which we choose to measure ourselves, i.e. in terms of success, should be just as flexible.  Don’t ask yourself if you’ve reached your goal; ask yourself what you’re doing to reach your goal.  It’s that right there–the doing–that’s the true indicator of success.   It’s the moment when you move from thinking about what you aspire to do, to getting out there and doing what you aspire to do.

It’s all in the doing.

Want some examples of extraordinary people who are getting out there and I-N-Ging the hell out of life, letting nothing stand in their way of doing what their soul calls them to do?  Skip on over to the series of video interviews that Satya has put together–you’ll be so motivated you’ll barely be able to finish your burrito before you leap out of your seat, hail a taxi, slam a shot of whiskey & start putting your plans into action.


The action part, I mean.  Not the whiskey.

Though, maybe that was long overdue, too.