Why you shouldn't worry about success
Worrying about success. What a waste of time and energy! Yet we, life noobs, still do it every day.
Am I ever going to be able to this? Do I have what it takes to accomplish that? What if I am not cut out for it? What if?!
Here’s something you need to know: worrying about success is the number one obstacle to success.
Ooo, a writer using a cliché paradox to sound fancy! I'm outta here.
But wait! I have another one for you: the antidote to worrying is action.
Are you for real?
Yeah, I know, we’ve all heard this one before and it’s not what we like to hear. Even when we push laziness aside and decide to commit to action, we are depleted long before we see the results. We spend a week or a month on something, and then we hit a roadblock and suddenly we begin to think that maybe, after all, our dreams are too naive and they have no hold in the big world. That maybe it’s time to default to plan B because this action thing is a scam and success is all about talent and right circumstances…
Excuses, excuses. It's easy to give up under the premise that our work is in vain because we don't have the magic ingredient, we don't have the spice. If only we had some confidence… And how do we get confidence? Action.
Oh no, here we go again!
Will you sit down a second?! I am not finished. Let me give you an example that might make you reconsider the effectiveness of action.
If somebody asks you to pass the salt, you don’t worry about whether or not you can do it. You don’t start having a panic attack and getting all depressed and twitchy thinking "Crap, what if I can’t do it? I haven’t watched any tutorials on salt passing in a really long time."
No, you don’t think any of that shit. You just say "sure thing, ma dude" and you pass da shaker. Mission accomplished. Boom. Success!
Yeah I know, passing the salt isn’t writing a symphony, and maybe the latter takes a few years longer to figure out, but why was passing the salt so damn easy? Because moving through space is the most advanced skill you possess, second perhaps only to breathing and blinking. You’ve been working on this skill for *insert age* years every day. In all kinds of different environments you’ve been grabbing, throwing, kicking, hanging, biting, squeezing, punching, scratching… During winter, during summer, on skis, in the ocean, on planes, vertically, horizontally, upside down, under the covers with your roommate’s twin sisters... You get the idea. You got sweaty, and through constant repetition and fine tuning you became a master. Even couch potatoes are pretty good at passing the salt because they’ve gone through the motions enough times. But don’t go challenging them to see who is better at fishing the chips out of the MegaExtraSuperFamily-Sized Pack. They’ll tear you to pieces. They’ve got way more mileage on you. See that state record certificate framed on the wall next to the TV? It's not talent that got them there, but thousands upon thousands of hours of practice. Long story short: Repetition. Practice. Until the skill becomes second nature, becomes subconscious, effortless. When you pass the salt, you don't even think. That's the level you want to reach.
But I am rambling. So how did we get so successful at moving our bodies? How come we didn't stop mid-way? What’s the secret?
Well, I have this theory and I think it’s gonna blow your mind. Check this out: apart from the sheer number of hours we've spent working on our motor skills, there is another huge contributing factor to our success: we learned to operate our body long before we learned to worry. We saw someone walking and we just tried to copy them. We didn’t get discouraged because they could and we could not. We fell again and again but then we kept on trying.
The complete inability to worry about whether success is attainable - what a perfect recipe for success!
If, on the other hand, we sat around all day long thinking that we cannot walk because the sun isn’t shining at exactly 35 degrees to the 5th ring of Saturn and we are not under the right atmospheric pressure, who knows if we’d ever be able to take a couple of steps? But since most of us didn’t worry and learned to walk, we now pretty much have a historically proven strategy for success: just stop worrying, start doing.
But how do we stop worrying for god’s sake? How do we get off that damn forum on which we’ve spent the past three hours looking for encouraging comments that invalidate our fears and reaffirm that whatever it is that we want to do is indeed possible?
Two things: (1) We need to identify the loopholes in our worrying cycle to destroy it. And (2) we need to build our confidence through action.
Number one (you’ll like this one): Basically, when it comes to doing something, there are two options. You either do it… Or you don’t. You cannot possibly be starting a company and not. You cannot be practicing the piano and not. So you are either moving forward, or you are not. We get all wimpy and sad when we forget about this, so we have to remember, whatever it takes, that when shit hits the fan, all we need to know is that ACTION IS SUCCESS. Period. Doing is success. Success is doing. If you aren’t doing, you are not successful. If you are doing, success is yours. So if you are crying in the corner because you have no money and all your Instagram followers hate you and are still following you just to leave nasty comments on your pictures, remember, this does not mean failure. As soon as you are doing again, you are instantly successful again. As soon as you are posting again, you are successful again. Success is not a destination. Success is moving forward. So what if you aren’t the greatest yet? As long as you are doing, you’re not not doing, which means that you are successful. Inevitably. (Do I need to repeat the word "successful" a few more times?)
But what if your worst fears are indeed true? What if your worrying is only a confirmation of your lack of abilities necessary to succeed? Ok, you want to break into an industry but it’s cut-throat and your chances are slim? Damn right they are. And it’s scary. But ok, your chances are slim. Are you going to stop? If you are, then what are you doing still reading this? If you are not going to stop then why are you spending so much of your precious time worrying if you are gonna make it or not if you are gonna do it anyway? I am not saying don’t prepare yourself but worrying for the sake of worrying? Skip that. Your choices are few. To do or not to do. Worrying does not fit into this plan. There is just no reason for it. So from now on, from here on out, hereafter and forever and ever, for the eternity of space and time, worrying if you can do or be something is once and for all proclaimed bullshit. We found the loopholes in the mechanism. Worrying is stupid. Bye bye worrying.
Number two. Lack of confidence. Yes, here it is, the catalyst of failure. Often disguised as “the circumstances aren’t right”, “it’s too late”, “I have no talent”, etc., etc. We worry about these things. A lot. The arguments are multifaceted and they go deep and maybe talent is a real thing. Fine, I’ll give you that, BUT! Ever seen those dudes with no legs who skateboard? I don’t mean like sit on a board and roll around in circles, but actually legless dudes shredding in skateparks and landing gnarly tricks, rails and all. Yeah you’d think that if skateboarding required any talent, having legs would be it.
You ain’t got legs? Sorry to hear that, bro. *chuckle*
But those limbless sons of bitches are stubborn, passionate, brave! They know they ain’t got no talent for skateboarding, so they say screw it, and they take the talent that they do have (their determination), and… they reinvent the game. That’s right. They carve out a niche for themselves so they can go all the way to the top. Best legless skater! Woo hoo! They find ways to bypass their missing skills. They REINVENT THE GAME.
Whew. Any more questions?
(Psstt, could you pass the salt, mate?)