How To Be Successful In Life (Really...)


From my previous blog posts, you might have noticed that I like to write about what happens in my daily life—and more specifically, about the questions YOU guys ask me. So last week, I talked about how to ask for help (five steps to get people to actually want to help you), and today, I felt like addressing another question I often get on my Instagram page, which is…

How to be successful in life?

Now, I know this is going to sound cliché and all, but bear with me. A lot of people are wondering how to succeed in life, but I think they’re just not asking themselves the right questions. So, before we start, let’s define success.

What is success? Any idea? For some, it’s all about money. For others, it’s about relationships; I personally think it’s about whatever makes you happy. So, instead of asking yourself how to become successful, why don’t you just try to figure out what makes you happy as a person?

If you want to know how to make money, then go learn everything you can on how to get rich. But please; don’t misuse the word success… There’s an entire world of differences between becoming financially successful and becoming successful in life. And of course, you can be both all at once, but one doesn’t necessarily come with the other…

So, to give you a heads up on what I consider to be one of the most important keys to success—whether you’re seeking financial freedom or just success in general—I thought I’d share with you a short story.

Here’s how it goes…

Once upon a time, in a happy little town, there lived a very successful merchant. One day, the man told his oldest son: “Boy, I think it’s time for you to know what it’s like to earn your own money. So tomorrow, I want you to wake up early, go out and work all day—you can sell fish, or do whatever you want. When I come home, you’re going to show me how much money you’ve made.”

The following morning, despite his father’s instructions, the son woke up at 11 like he would on a typical day. And before he could even realize it, his laziness had also taken away the whole afternoon, leaving him with nothing but a beautiful sunset scenery to peek at. Panicked, the boy then ran to his mother, and asked her for an extra $20—it was time for plan B.

Later that night, as soon as his father got home, the son took the $20 bill out of his pocket and showed it to the merchant, claiming he had earned the money himself.

“Alright,” replied the man. Seconds later, he grabbed the bill and tossed it in the fireplace—no hesitation whatsoever. Staring at the burning piece of paper, the merchant looked at his son and added: “Son, you didn’t earn those $20 today. Tomorrow is your chance to make it right.”

Speechless, the boy went to bed that night thinking about this very moment over and over again. Therefore, the day after, he got up at 6 AM. First thing in the morning, he went straight out to the lumber yard down the street and asked for a job, where he worked non-stop all day. That night, when the boy got home after an exhausting day, he took the $5 he had made to his father’s face and proudly said: “Five dollars. That’s what I made today.”

Ice cold, the merchant took the money out of his son’s hands. But this time, as he was about to throw it away like he had done the night before, his son came across and stopped him. “Wait!” he said.

Satisfied, the father gently gave the $5 bill back to his son and slowly added: “See, now you know what it’s like to earn something. These five dollars, no doubt you’ve earned them.”

That’s a story one of my mentors told me a few years ago. Now, don’t worry; when I first heard this, I was probably more confused than you are right now. But let’s take a deeper look at the meaning behind the story…

See, when the merchant threw the $20 bill away, his son didn’t care at all. But when he tried to do the same thing with the $5 bill, his son reacted totally differently. Why? Because he knew how much he had to work in order to get that money. By working for it, he had built some sort of respect towards it.

One of the most critical success factors is commitment.

If you’ve read my free 10-step guide to success, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about—and if not, well, check it out here—success comes when you’re 100% committed to make it happen. But how do you stay committed? I mean, it’s easy to commit yourself when you start something new; you’re motivated, and everything seems to go fine… Until you hit your first hurdle. So, how do you fight that and stay committed?

Just do the work. Don’t be afraid to put in the efforts. With an investment in time and efforts, you’ll create a certain attachment with what you’re doing; you’ll build a certain respect for it. And ultimately, this is what’s going to make it a lot easier for you to stay committed—and thus, to succeed. That’s exactly the lesson you should draw from this story; that you’re a lot more inclined to care about what you’ve worked on than what you’ve been given.

That’s one big key to success right here. Is it how you become successful in life? I think it’s just a small part of the answer—that being said, it’s definitely a good start. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about that; what’s your definition of success? Let me know in the comments below!


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