Success. It’s what everyone strives for. Success in life, in business, in finance, in everything. We all want to succeed. We don’t want to fail. Most of all, we want success now. Not next year. Not the year after that. But now.
I was like this for a very long time. In 2004, when I first self-published Expired Reality (now Endangered Memories, the first book in my Expired Reality series), I thought success would come to me overnight. I truly, wholly, believed that. In fact, I believe it so much that I hit one of the lowest points of my life when the book, in fact, did not become successful overnight. Or ever. Yet, anyway.
What led to my delusions of overnight success? Perhaps the famous authors who went before me. Perhaps society’s focus on instant gratification. Perhaps my own desire for success the easy way – Publish a book. Become successful. Publish another book. Become more successful. Publish a third book. Become superpowered.
What I didn’t understand – which years of hardships has now taught me – is that success is actually two-fold. Success is what we make of it, and success can take a while to manifest – which is a good thing.
To me, success is writing a book. To me, a greater level of success is publishing that written book. An even greater level of success, to me, is having that written and published book sell millions upon millions of copies. So for me, my levels of success are varied, and they build upon one another.
When I have someone tell me that if I should die having only sold one copy of my book, that I’ve accomplished more than millions of others in this lifetime, I don’t buy into that. It doesn’t matter to me what others have accomplished. Not really. Who cares that my next door neighbor wrote half a manuscript and then decided to stick it in a drawer, never to see the light of day. I don’t consider myself reaching a level of satisfaction in regards to success simply because I went a step further than him. I want to set my own levels of success and reach those levels, not the levels others have set for themselves or for me.
I have also learned that the slow burn of success is a necessity in this life.
Say I did become an overnight success back in 2004. That would have ended badly. I was immature, easily manipulated, and I had no grasp on ‘why’ I wanted to be successful. I just wanted to be successful in the sense that my book sold millions of copies and I could retire at the age of 25. It would have resulted in a quick burn, with nothing to really show for it at the end.
Meanwhile, since 2004, while struggling toward success, writing more books, and carving out a life, I have learned a near limitless amount of valuable lessons. I have grown, matured, and have learned to not be manipulated by those who do not want the best for me. Many of these things came through my striving toward success. Many came through life in general.
Overall though, I think the struggle toward success, the long road toward reaching our massive, impossible, improbable goals is what actually brings us success in other areas of our life. So when the goal is finally accomplished, we are more well-rounded, better able to handle the success, and realize it’s just that – success. Another stepping stone toward another bigger goal. And another.
This is how life should be. We should be striving toward bigger, better, not for the glamor or money, but to continually challenge ourselves, to venture out beyond our comfort zones (if even little by little), and continually define success in our own terms.
The long road benefits us in the end. So we need to appreciate the long road, the long process of publishing (or whatever career you have chosen to pursue). Slow down. Enjoy every step of the journey, because every step is growing you into the person you’ll need to be when success finally does come.
And then you can venture from that success to the next.