Over the last couple of years life has flown by; days, weeks and months seem to pass in the blink of an eye. Almost everyone I know feels the same.
Sometimes I look back and feel I should have done more by the age of 24. Over the past few years I’ve read more than I ever have; more books, more blog posts, and more magazines. After looking at others personal successes, business successes and other achievements, I feel that I could, and should, have achieved more by now.
There are so many stories out there; inspiring tales of people living out their dreams and living by their rules. It’s easy to spend all day reading about others; their successes and failures, but getting caught up in this leaves less time to actually ‘do’ and somewhat blurs the lines of success.
It’s a trap. And an easy one to fall into.
Have you ever spent a significant amount of time reading a blog post or a book; felt incredibly inspired by what you’ve just read, and then never put that learning into action?
I know I have.
Taking in so much content leaves us with less time to digest and action what we’ve just read. It also spawns a lot of talking; something I’m guilty of myself.
The trap isn’t really about taking in too much content or advice to actually action (I don’t think people should ever stop reading and learning), the real trap is becoming a talker, not a doer.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that by talking about something, you’re doing it:
- if I talk about startups enough, people will think I’m a founder
- if I talk about social media enough people will think I’m a guru (for the record: I hate that word)
Reading is not working and talking is not doing.
The only way to truly become something; to be successful at it, is to do it.
If you want to run a marathon you don’t head out to run 26 miles in your first practice run. The same applies to business or whatever else you want to do.
Work out a plan, take small steps, but don’t just talk or read about it; do something; do more.
How I see success is probably slightly different to the way you do. As ateenager my idea of success was mainly monetary; it’s different now and will probably be different again by the time I’m 30.
Success is a blur.
It’s pretty hard to define. And there’s certainly no blueprint to achieving it.
What works for someone else may not work for me, but in this content driven world it’s easy to get caught up in what others are doing; reading about their success and trying to translate what they did to work for me. It’s also easy to use someone else’s marker for success as my own.
I need to stop. Be myself. Make my own path.
It’s far too easy to compare myself against others; X done this and received Y; Z had $100,000 in the bank by 20, and so on. These comparisons can create, an often unattainably, high standard by which I compare myself and sometimes breed the feelings of under-achievement I mentioned at the start of this post.
Should I have already achieved more? Or have I just been putting the pieces into place, learning and following my own path to success?
In reality, comparisons are a waste of time, every situation has a different circumstance, and no two are alike; all I need to do is be myself and take the time to celebrate what I have achieved, large or small.
Metaphors – such as missing the boat – are often used when describing opportunities.
I’m sure I’ve missed out on a ton of opportunities, or as some would say; plenty of ships have sailed – but the great thing about opportunity, just like boats (or any mode of transport), is that the next one isn’t too far away.
As each 24 hours pass technology is developing and creating more and more opportunities.
When I left school I couldn’t have dreamed of becoming a published author, musician or videographer. Now, thanks to the internet, I could do all three within a matter of hours (assuming I had talent in those areas, of course).
Today is the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had to do something; to create something, and tomorrow will be full of opportunity too.
Catch the Right Boat
I’ve missed out on a lot by being picky, waiting for the right time and not taking risks. I know that. Yet I feel patience is essential when it comes to opportunities and maximising the right ones.
I could have quit my 9-5 job in order to chase my dreams ages ago; it just never felt right. I missed out on opportunities for the safety of a paycheck, sometimes I regret that, but deep down I’ve always felt there would be another opportunity; another ship would sail past soon, and this next one may be heading where I want to go.
I guess patience is the key, but at the same time I’ve found that as I ‘do more’ I find more opportunities coming my way. Whether it’s creating content, writing here on Medium, meeting new people or attending events; they all lead to more opportunity.
Looking back over the past 24 years I can see that sometimes (read: most of the time) when something hasn’t worked out – either work/business wise or personally – its lead me onto something new, something more suited and something which takes me closer to where I want to be.
Recently, just as I started doing more again; writing, meeting new people and looking for the next ship to pass my way; it did.
I jumped at it, and don’t plan on looking back.
So, I guess the point of all this is to be you and bide your time. Don’t put yourself under pressure because of what you see others doing and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
It’s not about being an overnight success or doing it while you’re young. It’s about doing it when you’re ready.
Be patient; relax, your time is coming.
This was originally posted on Medium.
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