The Path to Success is Not Always Linear

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Success is the name of the game. We all want it, strive for it, and push ourselves for it. But the difference between someone who actually chases his or her dream through and through is a little word I like to call perseverance. Perseverance is that little voice in your head that tells you to keep going no matter how difficult and daunting it seems. 

However, the path to success isn’t a clear one. While there are many books and articles out there based on how to be successful, there’s not a big rulebook for everyone to follow. Those of us who are brave enough to follow our dreams (no matter how impossible) will get there with enough perseverance and patience. Even though hard work is extremely important, sometimes you need to have timing on your side as well. Being at the right place at the right time allows for you to seize opportunities that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

Success is all about being right; right in the sense of having the right idea, timing, and the right amount of work. You can’t overwork yourself and expect not to burn out, but you can’t do too little work either. Here are a few examples of individuals who despite their situations overcame that and became the successful people they are today:

1: J.K. Rowling. Yup, you can’t mention success without this author being there. She had a true rags to riches story. When she was 25 the idea of Harry Potter came to her while waiting on a four-hour train delay. It took her years to finally finish the book. But in between then she was married, divorced, had a daughter and lived on government help for years before the first Harry Potter was published in 1997. The rest, as they say is history. 

2: Jay-Z aka Shawn Carter. You cannot have a list of successful people without Jay-Z. Whether you like his music or not, you cannot deny the mogul that this man has become. But what is it about him that makes him so successful? It’s not about all the money or the cars; what made and continues to make Jay so successful is his patience. He never releases any song or album prematurely. This goes the same for anything else he is involved in. There’s no doubt about it, the man is hungry for success, but he also knows a key to success is patience. At the same time, his success is also due to staying true to himself and his values. He gets involved in projects that speak to him. That reveals his sense of passion and intrigue. The man is already on top and he continues to strive for more. 

3: Walt Disney. Face it, your childhood wouldn’t be the same without him. But can you believe he was fired by a newspaper editor for a “lack of imagination”? That’s another thing about success. In order to be successful, you have to face rejection and failure at some point. But that’s the best part. That’s how you know you’re really doing it, when people doubt you. Depending on the type of person you are, it fuels you to really go after what you want no matter what the naysayers say. What made Disney so successful? It was his perseverance. He continued to push forth his cartoons and to this day, his company is still changing the lives of children all around the world. If that’s not success, then I don’t know what is. 

4: Oprah Winfrey. Whether you like Oprah or not, you still have to give her props for being the success she is today. Like the others on this list, she faced her share of rejection and failure. She was fired from her television reporting job because they said she wasn’t fit to be on screen. Not only is she the reigning queen of television talk shows, but she’s also a philanthropist who gives back to the communities when she can. Oprah is the one television show you want to be on in order to cement your success. It was her hard work, dedication, and continued perseverance that really helped push her forward to be in the position she is today. 

5: Michael Jordan. We obviously saved the G.O.A.T for last. One of the best things about Michael Jordan is his ability to keep trying after failing. After all, one of the greatest quotes he gives us about success is “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” While he has always had that competitive edge about himself, no matter what he continues to push himself to be the best. And no doubt about it he has proven to be the best. 

So while you’re stressing about not being at a certain level of success despite your many trials, my only advice to you is to keep going. Many successful people have often felt rejection only to use that as fuel to stay motivated. The path to success is not easy, but nothing worth having comes easy. If you stay on track, stick to your goals and values and follow your intuition, success is your only option.

 

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