Be aware of the implied and menacing lessons society teaches. To truly thrive in this world you’re going to have to unlearn and disregard some of the ludicrous advice people reflexively pass along to each other.
Here are eight dangerous pieces of advice you may have learned:
1. There is a clear path that everyone should follow.
Your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding in life at all the wrong things.
Choose a path that fits YOU. Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. Challenge yourself to ask with each and every step, each focus point that consumes your energy: “Does this thing I’m doing right now serve me and those I care about in the next few minutes, few months, and few years?”
Whatever you settle on, just make sure you don’t gain the whole world by losing your soul and purpose in the process. Read The Untethered Soul.
2. Success is a particular outcome or object that can be acquired.
Success is a consistent pattern of behavior more so than it is an isolated event. It is the way you live rather than some object or outcome you acquire. Success is yours when you persistently embody the discipline, integrity, attitude, and other attributes from which it is derived.
It is a mindset within you. If you consider success to be something outside of you, that’s where it will always remain – somewhere else. So in your thoughts, your words, your actions and your expectations, be the living embodiment of success, and whatever you touch will have the potential to be successful too.
3. You need more to be happy.
You are doing just fine. You don’t need any more or any less to be happy.
Life would be so different if you stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your perception with their words and opinions. Happiness is derived from the way you see your own life; it depends on your thoughts, not on what you have or what you do not have, or what other people think about what you have. Read The How of Happiness.
4. Rejection and criticism stifle growth.
No matter how good you are at something there will always be people who criticize your efforts. And while it’s never a comfortable experience, the feelings of criticism and rejection can actually help you access your more creative self. Free from the expectations of maintaining a status-quo that everyone is pleased with, you can push the limits of innovation and self expression.
5. The future is what matters most.
Right now you are alive. This moment is your life. Today is too valuable to waste thinking of another time and place.
Your friends and family are too beautiful to ignore. Take a moment to remember how fortunate you are to be breathing. Take a look around, with your eyes earnestly open to the possibilities before you. Much of what you fear does not exist. Much of what you love is closer than you realize. You are just one brief thought away from understanding the blessing that is your life.
6. Big opportunities only come to a lucky few.
Big opportunities come to those who make the most of little opportunities. Little opportunities are present in each moment and in every situation.
Today is filled with little opportunities. Everywhere you look, there are small ways for you to make a positive difference. In little bits of time that might otherwise be wasted, there is a piece of something larger waiting to be created. String enough of these pieces together, and absolutely anything is within your reach. You just need to decide what it is you want to achieve. Read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
7. All relationships should be held on to and nurtured.
Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something. They come and they go and they make a difference. And it’s okay that they’re not in your life anymore.
Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do. If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you crazy, can teach you something worthwhile.
Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. We all are.
8. The past is indicative of the future.
The mindset of your past being indicative of your future is hogwash.
Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.
Quite often, the successful people who act the happiest are the ones who have overcome the most. Sometimes you have to lose something precious in order to gain something priceless. So if you hit rock bottom, just think, you’ve got nothing to lose, everything to gain, and a solid foundation without expectations or obligations from which to rebuild your life.
Photo by: Bo Insogna
Excellent words of wisdom. I’m going to pass this on to my daughter who recently lost her job and is feeling pretty hopeless and unsure of her direction in life. This might jolt her into looking at things a little differently instead of worrying about what everyone thinks – something I know she’s doing.
Staying where my hands are says
“Quite often, the successful people who act the happiest are the ones who have overcome the most.”
So true. I always thought the happy people were the ones born lucky without hardship but I’ve learned it’s a choice we have to make, every single day, over and over.
You guys are one of my rocks, thank you for continuing to share your wisdom!
I’ve been reading your articles for over a year now. That being said, this one is the one that actually hurt a little to read. It’s a wake-up call for sure. Almost like I have been doing the complete opposite of many of these. Thank you for setting me straight and opening my mind to a better way.
Good to feel that I’ve acknowledged and moved past some of these – and some that I have work still to do.
I especially like your final point. It’s so true, no matter how tough the past has been, the future is still filled with opportunities.
“Big opportunities come to those who make the most of little opportunities.”
If more people acknowledged that wisdom there would be a lot more successful people in this world.
Opportunity is not a limited resource. It’s not just available to the lucky few. But it requires an open mind to see. It requires facing fear.
Opportunity is there for anyone who’s looking, but it will only be found by those who have not turned their backs to it.
Simply precise and beautiful 🙂 I sent this to my son for I know he’ll appreciate it.
Thank you and have an amazing week!
Kyle Richey says
Starting off strong with this one! I loved #1:
“There is a clear path that everyone should follow.
Your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding in life at all the wrong things.
Choose a path that fits YOU. Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.”
Wow, this article is a real relief to me and my siblings. Keep doing what you do Marc and Angel. Thanks.
This is priceless. I have recently made a job change to a position where I am using all the skills that make me happiest, yet it pays 30% less than my last job, which is somewhat terrifying. This helps me see that I made the right choice. My 20 year old daughter is following her dream, attending Conservatory in Manhattan with a goal toward performing on Broadway. Many (including me at times) have questioned her path because it is potentially so full of rejection and pitfalls. Another “starving artist” in NYC. This has helped me see that she is doing everything right! Thank you so much!
Fayaz Pasha says
Hi Marc n Angel,
What an inspiring post as usual. Little opportunities are present in each moment and in every situation. This is so true that often we disregard or undervalue small opportunities that may change our lives.
Success is a consistent pattern of behavior more so than it is an isolated event.
This is important to me as that I am building some habits. I hope I can be consistent and change my habits one by one.
Thank you marc and angel.
While I find everything you write to be thought-provoking and insightful, this one particularly resonated with me the strongest. Most of us define ourselves through what we did in the past, how we acted or did not act and how we made decisions. This helped to really highlight that the past was only created to bring us to today, and it is today that breeds a new life, opportunity and definition of one self….really powerful and humbling message. The same idea (as you so articulately described) applies to past relationships, (regardless of how difficult they may have been to let go of). They served a purpose and brought forth lessons and opportunities for growth,
Thanks for these daily meditations.
I always get something good from what you write, but today from this I got something great! Somehow everything you have said here has been just what I needed to hear and think about, especially about the past indicating the future being hogwash. I believe that many do not but I see it’s what I believe that counts for me. Thank you so much for all of your wisdom. It’s been and I’m sure it will continue to be a blessing to me.
Edward H. Tran says
Oustanding post. This is among the best advice one can find on the web, or anywhere else. I love it!
#7 resonated with me so much.
@All: Thanks so much for the feedback. Keep the comments coming. We love to read them. You all are our inspiration.
Today I’ll follow in Angel’s footsteps by letting a few more comments trickle in first, and then I’ll revisit them later this evening and reply to each of you individually.
Love the last paragraph the most!
Dearest Marc (and Angel),
I personally find the content that you and Angel choose to write resonates very closely with me and my life situation – every article has something for me to take away and gain knowledge from. We are all a work in progress, the learning/growing never ends, if we choose to help ourselves and decide to have the essential “best friend” relationship with ourselves.
I have been suffering from a broken heart and home over the past year – I am starting to come out of the “funk” and beginning to understand more each day the little things that are primarily important in life. My broken heart is only a symptom of what I have gone through … trusting another human being with your heart is a major risk, I will take what I have learned into my future.
Discovering who I am, who each of us is, as an individual is one of THE MOST valuable and significant life experiences to face.
Your writings have definitely helped me along this path of unearthing who I really am.
Thank you from my healing heart.
Big will says
The part about relationships really helped me to make a decision today. To disconnect from a person I was so unsure about. Yet the sense of peace I gained is unbelievable. I learned a lot from her both good and bad. Eyes and heart wide open kinda felt duped and uncomfortable .Just grateful i did not get trapped in the fog forever. Thanks for your continued hope and strength.
David Rapp says
Great article with great commentary. I truly enjoy it when others let themselves be vulnerable. Your courage is my encouragement.
Lori Anderson says
#7 is spot on for me. It’s taking me a long time to get to where I’m good with it, but I do believe that even the people who have hurt me the most have given me SOMETHING positive.
Jorge Blanco says
The second one reminds me of the story on the man who can turn anything he touches into gold. Be the success and everything you touch will have the potential to be successful. Be the gold, and everything you touch will turn into gold (not literally, though).
This blog has taught me so much in just a few months. Really helps to lift my spirits in times of stress and despair.
Thank you for the uplifting words!
I think the most meaningful line of all to me was this: “Much of what you fear does not exist.” Something I’m definitely trying to ingrain in my head!
I have been reading these articles for about a year… however this is my first time responding. They have definitely inspired and challenged me, so thank you.
I’m reading The How Of Happiness based on your recommendation. It’s wonderful. Thank you.
Brenda Pemberton says
Really powerful words of advice!!
Some great points. Thanks Marc. Let’s all make a commitment to teach something different to everyone in our lives, including ourselves.
Lily Scarrett says
Such vital information to share. The point that resonated with me most is #7. A best friend of mine and I grew apart and the relationship is now over. I learned a lot form her, do not regret the relationship but have learned that some relationships are best left alone or ended.
Sorry. I got hung up yesterday and didn’t get a chance to reply.
I just read through your comments. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and stories with us. Honestly, on some days it’s your words that make us smile the most. Although it doesn’t appear that any of you require an individual response this time, please know that we appreciate you and the time you take to leave us your thoughts. We read every one of them.
Thank you for writing this. There isn’t anything I don’t agree with. You gave me a realization that I am on the right track – especially when so many follow the sheep. Sometimes its hard to always be the minority with the way you think.
Great site! This post touched my heart.
Sandy Peckinpah says
Number 7 was very powerful for me. I often feel guilty about the friends from my past who have drifted off. Your thoughts helped me understand that people join together in purpose, and it’s okay to drift apart knowing we had impact on each other’s lives.
Thank you for confirming some recent choices that I have made. I think I have experienced and learned through every single one of these statements in the last two years. It’s been painful, but freeing at the same time.
I wish I’d learnt these lessons many years ago, but am grateful I am on my own path now 🙂