The Myth of Successful People

We all think of successful people as if they were a different kind of people; like if they were not really normal human beings.

We all do this. It is not like we intend to do it. We just can’t help it.
I am not so sure why this happens. Maybe it’s because when we idolize something, in this case people, we loose clarity. We become biased.

Consider the following:
You are walking down the street minding your own business when all of the sudden you notice a damn beautiful Ferrari passing a few meters from you. You might stop and stare at it for a bit longer than a normal blink, and think things like: “Damn, that person must be wildly successful. He must have his life in order.” Ok, maybe you wouldn’t exactly say that, but you get the point.

Maybe you see a guy with a big, beautiful house and think: “He must be doing really well.” Or you might see someone appearing on national television being called a genius writer or a brilliant entrepreneur. You might feel like that person must be living the perfect life.

I could give you numerous examples like that one, but I believe I made a point.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I bet it does.

I know it’s true because it is something that has happened (and continues to happen) more often than what I would like to admit.

I call this: The Myth of Successful People.

We all tend to believe that successful (whatever that means) people live perfect lives. That there are no coffee spills or late-fees in their life. That they don’t arrive late at any meeting or that they don’t make spelling mistakes on important emails.

We believe that they have everything figured out.

Like I said, it is not like we consciously do this. But we do it any way.

This is perhaps one of the top reason of why depression and anxiety are so common nowadays. It is easy to feel stressed out or disappointed when you think that everyone else is doing better than you.

Sometimes we think that the grass is greener in other lands.

But is not true… So not true.

People who are portrayed as superhuman or perfect by the media are nothing but ordinary people, just like you and me.

Yes, they may be rich or famous. But that does not make them non-human.

They are still subject to the same human conditions just like everyone else.
They still feel fear, anxiety, self-doubt, sadness, despair, and all of the self-flagellation that comes with being human.

They make mistakes. And actually, it is the rule rather than the exception that they make even more mistakes than the rest of the world.

The only difference between these people is that they act regardless of these less-than-optimal conditions. They are willing to fail until they succeed.

Great entrepreneurs don’t stop working on the important just because they feel a bit tired. Emotional stable people don’t let the traffic ruin their mood for the rest of the day. Great writers don’t care if they don’t have their laptop when a great idea strikes, they use anything they can no matter if it is a napkin. Great chefs don’t wait until they find the perfect knife to start cooking. And great sport players don’t cry about how they don’t have the latest pair of running shoes, they train with whatever happens to be available.

That’s the whole difference between them and the rest of the world.

Successful people act despite of conditions not being perfect because they know that they never will be.

There is a quote from Arthur Ashe that fully illustrates this. It goes like this:

Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.

It is easy to feel despair when you think that life is supposed to be perfect at all times. Spoiler alert: it is not. No matter how good you become at your craft or how much money or fame you got, there will be problems pretty much around every corner. The trick is not how to avoid them, but to embrace them, and act despite of them.

If you want to be a writer, start writing. It doesn’t matter if you are not that good at the craft. You’ve got to start at some level. If you want to cooking but don’t have top notch ingredients, start with what’s on your refrigerator, chances are that you can cook some pretty decent meals with that. Do you want to speak another language? Don’t wait until you have money to travel, get some movies or listen to some music online. Take some free online courses. Want to become a designer or programmer but don’t have money for schooling or to buy special software? Watch some tutorials on YouTube and download some free trials.

The timing and conditions suck most times than not. Get used to that.

That’s just how reality works. But you have to do what you can with what you have. Make no excuses and act.

And yes, sometimes you will feel like you are giving your best efforts but still not making progress. Guess what. That’s how the process of growth feels most of the time.

I would like to end this post with the following thought:

Rome was not built in a day.

Be patient. Persist. Hard work is always compensated.

This article originally appeared on Fabila’s blog on Medium

Title Photo credit: flickr