One thing I have noticed over the past year after starting my own business is the number of people who boast about their supposedly successful businesses.
You know the kind.
“Hey, look at my car which I earned by only working a few hours a week”
“Check out the beach that I live on”
“I love my life…I can take a 6-month holiday because I have my own business”
“OMG, I lost count how many zeros I have in my bank account”
The Story of (Unsexy) Success
A couple of weeks ago, a Twitter thread created by James Clear, an influential author, speaker and photographer went viral.
Just a quick background story about James – his main focus in life is about how you can live your life better. He especially focuses on “self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research”.
And because of his following and credibility, his words tend to resonate with many people.
But he is also honest and transparent.
So it all started with that one tweet:
1/ The success you see others experiencing is rarely as sexy as it appears to be.
— James Clear (@james_clear) July 29, 2017
And there began a long but very interesting and insightful thread.
I couldn’t possibly embed every single tweet (there are 18 of them in this thread alone), so I insist that you click on the tweet above.
Not yet though…read this post first.
James made a point that there are a lot of things you don’t see behind the scenes of every successful person.
Some of them are genuinely successful but they don’t show you how many sleepless nights they’ve had.
There are others who boast about a earning 100k per year, but leave out the details about their 80k expenses.
What happened to that part of the story?
Right, it’s not that sexy if you say it.
We tend to build up an idea of what they are like when we start seeing their tweets and Instagram photos.
But we don’t see is the real story, the stuff going on in the background.
4/ $15k/month profit is still a great life, but it’s not the $1M/year lifestyle you thought that person had.
— James Clear (@james_clear) July 29, 2017
Maybe it’s true, that a lot of them live a glamorous life.
But we should be careful about what to believe.
Not everything is what it seems, particularly if they don’t reveal a lot of information about themselves.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people and companies out there who are big advocates of transparency.
One of my idols, Pat Flynn, openly displays his income every month via his site on Smart Passive Income.
You can’t miss it – it’s right there on the top which links to his income report in more detail.
His reason is to prove to you that he didn’t get to where he is overnight. And you will definitely have plenty of ups and downs along the way, even if you reach his level of success.
Buffer is another company which lives by transparency. They even have a spreadsheet available to view showing how much their employees earn.
Groove, a customer service based company, documented their journey to $10m a year and share their story on their blog.
By doing this, they make it clear they are not an overnight success. And now that they have reached this level, they do not rest on their laurels.
If anything, they are working even harder.
What You Don’t See Behind Success
One of my favourite images is The Iceberg Illusion, created by Sylvia Duckworth.
It doesn’t need much explanation but this image tells you what goes into achieving success.
How often do you hear about what goes on behind the scenes vs versus what you see online?
Think about it.
Many people are quick to boast about the cash, muscles and fast cars.
But you don’t hear nearly as much about how they got there in the first place.
Either that, or you didn’t read their backstory and their journey to success.
And it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, this principle applies to everyone.
Examples of Real-life “Rags to Riches”
You could be a writer who faced depression, miscarriage, was on government benefits, divorced with a child and rejected by 12 publishers before becoming one of the most famous author in modern time.
You could be a skinny person who worked out at least 5 days a week, follows a strict diet and has no social life in order to gain the physical and mental strength to become a wrestler and then become one of the highest paid actors in the world.
Or you could be a musician who loves playing the guitar, took part in a local talent competition, performed to strangers and became a YouTube sensation before eventually becoming a global superstar.
And that applies to everyone we admire online and offline.
If there is one thing we should also be aware of, it is that we have nothing to prove to anyone.
You should also think about WHY are you doing this. Why are you creating this journey?
Is it to show-off and boast about it?
Do you want the attention that (may) come with it?
Or is to fulfil your own ambition, your own wish, your own desire?
Don’t be driven by other people’s success – drive your own!
Don’t you agree? Leave a comment below if you agree or disagree, and tell me why.
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