Is it possible to achieve success without struggle, despite what most of us have been taught from our younger days that success is impossible without massive hard work and sufferings?
As you go through stages of life, the painful reality you have to contend with is: Even hard work and struggle does not guarantee success.
To most people, success seems like a mystery, a puzzle. Despite pain-staking application of the universal rules and principles taught by the gurus, success remains elusive.
The irony, as you may also have noticed, is that some people seemed to have gained success so easily. These people are often deemed to be the lucky ones, with unexplainable factors that guide them to do the right thing at the right time.
What is this missing linking of success? Is it really a fuzzy factor that picks the winners at random?
The level of difficulty in reaching success is in direct proportion to the level of clarity we have about our life goals and purposes.
Do you have to toil away at tasks you never enjoy in order to gain success? Most likely so if you are fuzzy about what your want in life.
Can success be acquired in a joyful and fulfilling way? Absolutely! If you have achieved clarity in your life direction and mission, and have placed them firmly at the center of your focus, your life will be characterized by daily experience of joy and fulfillment.
The biggest problem many people have with success is: The glamorous kind of success that gain the recognitions and envies of others may not align with your heart's deepest desire. If you can reconcile success with what your heart truly desire, you can really gain success easily. This is the missing link to finding success without struggle!
Most people see success as achievement of goals. The fact is, success should be experienced during the journey. Over more than two decades, I have been pursuing success in studies, sports, career, and even self-development goals. I was extremely goal-oriented, always perpetuate the timeless principle of one of the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People": Begin With The End In Mind!
As I reflect on all these years of experience, I found myself looking at the glaring paradox of success: When I focused only on the goals, the joy and excitement of success is often short-lived. Success is usually achieved after a long period of struggles and sometime unpleasant hard work. The main reason being that I was pursuing success that does not align with my life purpose. I was drawn to prestige and glamor, more than inner joy and fulfillment. The simple lesson that took me years to realize is: Pursue only goals that you can enjoy the journey.
Most often it is how we define success that determines whether we are able to enjoy the journey as much as the end goal.
Take my favorite sport for example: marathon running. When I set my goal on running a marathon race, I give myself 6 to 9 months to train for the race. It is important to have a clear and specific goal on the marathon race. For me, I have a clear goal to complete the full course in three-and-a-half hours or better. I am setting this goal to push myself to instill better discipline in diet and exercise, as well as in my work. It is a challenging goal to me because the last marathon I run more than ten years ago was barely below four hours.
With this end goal, I work backward to find out the pace that I need to run during the race. I would then be able to know the gap between my current form and what I need to achieve in eight month's time. I work out a training plan to do weekly long run, speed work, and interval training. The training schedule will be in a progressive manner where I should achieve peak form when it reaches the day of race.
To cut the long story short, there are lots of details in preparing for a marathon race. However, the single most important thing I have to focus on is how I define success. It is a mindset business. While I have set a specific time goal to finish the race, it is not my definition of success. The success is not found in the distant future eight months from now. Success is defined by my daily commitment in working out the training program.
With this definition, I experience success everyday whenever I:
- Complete a 12-mile run.
- Work out an exhausting but satisfying speed training.
- Push myself to finish the punishing interval training even when my muscle is aching.
- Resist the temptation of tasty food to stick to the sports diet
- Defy the urge to run too hard so as to avoid over-training or injury.
- Diligently attend to blister and chafing so as to recover in time for next day's training without disruption.
- Remember to replenish my body fluid sufficiently to restore the required balance.
Even though I have to sweat, suffer muscle aching and even injuries, doing these is not a struggle to me. It is fun and exciting. It keeps me energized everyday.
I look forward to the training regime everyday, anticipating the excitement and fulfillment of finishing each exhausting training session, knowing that I have achieved success for that day. The compounding effect of such success mindset is empowering. I know fully well that these small successes will add up to huge success in time to come. Even if I do not meet my time goal at end of this year, I know I have succeeded anyway as long as I follow the training regime diligently. I would already have experienced success on a daily basis for eight months even prior to the end goal. The final achievement of running time will be wonderful but it will not undermine my success. I am not comparing myself with others.
This same success principle can be applied universally in our life, in anything we do.
It is absolutely possible to achieve success without struggle if you can:
- Find your life purpose by seeking your inner wisdom;
- Set your goals base on your purpose, and be guided by what really excites and energizes you;
- Break the goal into small tasks you need to do on a daily basis;
- Stay focus in doing the small tasks well and enjoy the process;
- The key to enjoying the process is to be in the state of flow regularly by aligning your mind, body and soul.;
- This can be achieved by daily meditation exercise;
- Do not be concern about how you measure up with others;
- Have the faith and belief that success will eventually come, if you persevere and never give up.
Everyone can do it and everyone can achieve success in his own terms, without struggle!