How do you plan for success?

That's an honest question. I have to admit I'm scared shitless of the idea of success.

A lot of people are afraid of failure. I'm not. I know what it looks like. I know I could fail worse than I've failed in the past, but failing is not all that difficult. It's pretty easy to look around you and figure out what the basic things you need are, and then to figure out how to get them (I understand that's more difficult for some people than for others, but stay with me here).

If I need to eat and a I have a couple of dollars in my pocket, I can find some rice and beans that, when cooked, will last me the next three or four days. If I need a job, I can walk into a coffee shop or restaurant and ask. If I need housing, a vehicle, whatever, I know where to go, and if I need help I think I've built up enough good will around me that, if people were to see my desperation, they'd have my back.

But I don't know what to do with success.

Success is relative, I understand. I live in a nice house in the suburbs with a woman I love and a dog who knows how to turn around a bad day like nobody's business. If I miss a meal, it's because I was too busy to remember to eat, not because I couldn't afford food.

I read some pretty motivational blogs. These are people who have started their own companies, and a lot of them focus on "you can do it, too!" with some regularity.

I've been saving these posts for a few days now, with the intent of writing this post and sharing them here. They don't answer the question for me, but I think they're important.

As good as it gets, from Mitch Joel. It's where I got the video of Henry Rollins talking about how he got where he is. Joel summarizes it, so if you're not in a position to watch it, go read this post. The two biggest takeaways: "Write everything down twice, show up early, shut up and listen" and "When luck comes your way, take advantage of the opportunity."

Failing to succeed, by Matt Cheuvront. This is what actually got the wheels turning on this post. Cheuvront started his own business not long after college, and I like his take on doing what you want to do, mostly because it's somewhat muted by reality. A lot of "YOU CAN DO IT!" people have a late-night television infomercial vibe about their writing. He just reminds you, "hey, if you're not happy, you have a way out." In this post, he introduces the idea that failure isn't an end, it's just a miss.

Quit doing your best, by Marc Ensign. "Oh well, I did my best" is not an excuse, writes Ensign. Don't expect a pat on the back for failure. Succeed instead. If Cheuvront got the wheels turning on this post, Ensign certainly took this opportunity to remind me that if I keep wondering what the plan becomes if I succeed at whatever it is I'm doing, I'm probably never going to succeed, and I'm never going to be great. I started, but that's never going to be good enough. Onward!

There's always someone better than you, also by Cheuvront. It's a reminder to never stop growing. Even if you do get to success, even if you do keep improving, someone will always be quicker, better, stronger, or more successful than you. Again, onward!


1 Comment

  • I’m going to tackle this one because I’ve thought about it often.

    I think most people aren’t prepared for success because all they have is the goal to get there, not sustain it or survive on what it brings. I thought about this a long time ago and realize that when I do finally get some success a nice chunk of that money is going into investments so it can make more money while I continue trying to do even better. If every person that ever won a lottery, or every athlete that made millions, thought about that instead of spending every dollar immediately, we’d have a lot fewer stories of down and out athletes and entertainers who have to do whatever they can to earn a buck.
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