post written by: Marc Chernoff

16 Reasons You’re Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don’t Feel You Are)

16 Reasons You're Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don't Feel You Are)

It’s often hard to tell just how close you are to success.

At times we all feel less than successful.  We feel like we’re running in place, struggling to make even the slightest bit of progress.  And while this is a perfectly normal feeling, you have to ultimately break free from it and see yourself and your life in a more positive light.

The key is to pay attention to the small things.  Just because you’re not where you want to be, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  To be truly happy and successful today doesn’t mean you don’t desire more in the future, it means you are sincerely thankful for what you have already accomplished and patient for everything yet to come.

Every morning when you wake up, think of three things that are going well in your life at the moment.  As you fall asleep every night, fill your mind with an appreciation for all the small things that went well during the day.  Examine your daily successes.

Give the power of your thinking to the positive influences in your life, and they will grow stronger and more influential every day.  Remind yourself of what works well and why, and you’ll naturally find ways to make lots of other things work well too.  The most efficient way to enjoy more success in life is not to obsess yourself with what hasn’t worked, but instead to extend and expand upon the success you already know.

Here are some much-needed reminders – sixteen good reasons you’re already succeeding in life:

  1. You are walking your own path, not anyone else’s. – One of the most foundational sources of both success and happiness is simply being comfortable with who you really are.  Not trading your reality for a role or your truth for an act.  Not giving up your freedom of thought.  Not putting on a mask.  So never let anyone’s ignorance, hate, drama or negativity stop you.  If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must continue to be different from the world.  Don’t be scared to walk alone on your own path, and don’t be scared to like it.
  2. You are gradually working through your fears. – As you know, running from fear is a race you’ll never win.  In fact, what you’re afraid of dealing with is often precisely what will set you free.  So keep doing what you’ve been doing – take another step forward today.  Don’t let your fear decide your future.  Don’t let it shut you down.  Instead, let it wake you up!  Take chances and indulge in the excitement.  Tell yourself that the fear of suffering is far worse than the suffering itself.  Convince yourself that everything you want is on the other side of fear.  Because it is.  (Read Start.)
  3. You have not let failure stop you. – Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading toward success.  Oftentimes our greatest insight comes from our failure, not from our accomplishments.  It’s a matter of taking each lesson and stepping forward with it.  At the end of the day, whether you choose to go with it, flow with it, resist it, change it, or hide from it, life goes on.  If what you did today didn’t turn out as you hoped, tomorrow is a new opportunity try again, or to do something totally different.  What’s important is to realize that you have a choice.
  4. You learn something new and grow stronger every day. – To find the best path forward we must occasionally stray from it.  There are no wrong turns; only paths we didn’t know we were meant to walk.  In the end, to be a success you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to remain perfectly capable of improving.  Keep letting your mistakes strengthen you.  Life is a series of little journeys.  Allow each step to be a teachable moment.  And don’t confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it’s stormy sometimes, doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine.
  5. You have overcome some considerable obstacles. – Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.  Nothing!  There is a benefit and a blessing hidden in the folds of every experience and every outcome.  Consider the possibility that the little obstacles in your life’s path are not obstacles at all, but stepping-stones to amazing places.
  6. You do your best to love what is. – A big part of success and happiness is not getting everything you want, but mindfully wanting what you get.  After all, stress is resistance to what is.  Continue to accept what comes to you totally and completely, so you can appreciate it, learn from it and then let it go.  Sometimes the best possible response is simply allowing yourself to be at peace with what is, rather than wishing for, and bemoaning, what is not.  It’s about doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.
  7. You try to be as present as possible. – We all have two lives.  And the second one starts now, when we realize that we only have one.  Really, nothing is worth more than today.  Because you can’t change yesterday or accurately predict tomorrow, but you can ruin today – your real life – by worrying about those two illusory eternities.  So stay present and focus on what you can create today.  Tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should, just as yesterday already has.  (Read The Power of Now.)
  8. You love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of everyone else loving you. – Putting yourself first does not mean being “selfish.”  It means being self-aware.  It means never forgetting to love yourself, too.
  9. You don’t judge people. – People are sometimes too quick to judge, but slow to correct themselves.  You know this and you graciously do the opposite.  It’s impressive, really.  Because it’s much easier to judge people than it is to understand them.  Understanding takes extra kindness and patience, and this “extra” is worth it.  This “extra” makes a big difference in the end.
  10. You are the reason some people smile. – Do not miss a chance – not one single, tiny opportunity – to tell someone how wonderful they are and how beautiful they are, inside and out.
  11. You have incredible people in your life. – Your capacity to be both effective and happy is directly related to the quality of people whom most closely surround you every single day.  Having just one or two of these people a phone call away is truly a priceless blessing.  These relationships are worth celebrating.
  12. You have been selfless in your closest relationships. – Almost every immoral action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive.  It is a trait we hate in other people but often justify in ourselves.  The fact that you have made sacrifices for people you love is remarkable in every way.  I know it’s not easy.  It’s one of the very hardest parts of loving someone – you have to give things up for them.  And sometimes, you even have to give them up, selflessly.
  13. You have given up doing things for others out of guilt. – Sometimes we give in to our loved one’s requests out of guilt.  But we need to stop feeling guilty for not giving the people we care about everything they want.  It’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but we foster the attitude of entitlement in our lives and relationships when we are ruled by a guilty conscience.  It’s OK to say “no” to friends and family sometimes.  You know this, so just keep doing what you know is right, and never let false guilt get the best of you.
  14. You aren’t overspending to impress or satisfy others. – I think it’s good for our friends and family to hear us say, “I can’t afford that” or “We will have to save for it.”  Because that’s real life.  We don’t have all the money in the world to buy everything we could ever want.  If you think about it, I bet you’ve known families before who are working multiple jobs to drive luxury cars and keep their kids in expensive extracurricular activities, when honestly, everyone would be happier and better off with more family and friendship time and less financial stress.
  15. You respect yourself enough to never let anyone walk all over you. – A simple reminder, but so very important:  Never, ever submit your self-worth or moral values to a relationship.  True love and friendship can flower only under the sun of mutual respect.  Some people may try to trample your garden and walk all over you, but you don’t have to sit there and take it.  Period.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  16. You know you can’t please everyone, and you don’t try. – That’s right.  Keep standing strong.  Don’t let the negative opinions of others derail you.  Ultimately, there are two kinds of people – those who are a drain on your energy and creative force, and those who give you energy and support your growth.  Avoid the first kind.  May the bridges you burn light your way.  Just be happy, be honest and be true to yourself every day.  If others don’t like it, let them be.  Success in life isn’t about pleasing everyone.


If you can’t check-off every point from this list, no big deal.  This list is just a rough guideline.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance, our own way.  But keep in mind, the principle still applies:

Success is not a skill; it’s a persistent attitude.  It’s not a place you arrive at; it’s a process you live through.  It’s what you do every day.  It’s what you are doing now…

You are succeeding in life.  You just have to believe it.

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one successful, positive part of your life that you often overlook?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Martina K.

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  • PS: I have exciting news. Our son, Mac, was born a few days ago, happy and healthy. Now that’s what I call a success! ;-)

    Or as Angel put it, “It wasn’t easy… It was amazing. It was magical. It was worth it.” You can check out a photo of the three of us here.

    And of course, we’ll be checking in and reading your comments over the next few days.

  • Congrats Marc and Angel! So happy to hear your new baby is happy and healthy. I actually gave your book to a friend who had her baby at just 29 weeks a few months ago. She was really upset at the time, but she told me your words really helped her. And I’m also happy to report that her baby is doing just fine now.

    And as always, excellent article! I have helped raise a healthy, happy, tight-knit family. It’s something I often overlook when I think about my “success,” but it’s so darn important to me. I think it’s time I celebrate my family more often. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Congrats M&A! And along these same lines, as it relates to this post… A happy, healthy child is a success in itself. After losing one you appreciate every moment. So many people can’t have kids, have lost children…so the next time your child has a tantrum, be grateful he is there to be able to do it.

  • Good one Marc. Your second point is a big one for me. I am working on my fears and I’m making a lot of progress. And I am only 19 … and I am no longer obsessed about being “successful” in everyone else’s eyes like I used to be. For the mean time I am just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life… Thank you for the dose of daily inspiration and congratulations.

  • Nicely written reminders of the little successes we are blessed with, which are not always those grand things of our dreams but the smaller steps, mindsets, and choices in life that nourish, sustain and encourage our growth. And congrats on the healthy baby boy. My wife and I had our first child last year. It’s been an amazingly rewarding experience… certainly a success!

  • Yes, I am successful because I focus on what matters most to me. I Love reviewing my mission statement for life and checking off things like strong healthy relationships, creative self expression, personal growth. I keep adding check marks because these things keep expanding in my life.

    Congrats on the new babe. My oldest graduated, turned 19 and moved out last month. Posting his pictures for his open house made me realize he had a happy childhood. Was it easy, no. But the pictures tell a story of happiness. He has grown into a Loving young man and reassured me that he would return the Love by taking care of me when I’m old. :) Now that’s success in my book. Check: Strong Loving Relationships.

  • I sometimes feel that I am not making any progress, and sometimes it is frustrating. I love the part where you said we should appreciate what we have done well and the things that are working out for us. That is great stuff!

  • YaY!! Congratulation!! Marc & Angel!!! :)

  • I don’t quite know how you got into my head - yet again. This is exactly what I needed to hear today - Success in life isn’t about pleasing everyone - especially after a not so great review I received yesterday. Of course this was just one downer in a sea of positive reviews, but of course I’m obsessing over it. So thanks to you I’m pushing on with a small on my face. :) Happy Thursday!

  • Hearty Congrats, M&A :)

  • I love this! Sweet sixteen for life!

  • Once again you have managed to write just the right blog post. Often I feel as though you are addressing some of the fears, frustrations or trepidations I am going through right at that moment with what you write about.

    Feeling completely overwhelmed with financial hardships, a house filled with home repairs and constant messes, a husband who has to work a lot, two active boys (5 & 1) starting my own business and just finding out that we’ve been surprised with another baby I am feeling more overwhelmed and defeated than I ever have.

    Let’s turn this around though: I decided to go into business for myself because I wasn’t getting paid fairly for my expertise in my industry. I have a lot of my own contacts and clients and begin my venture with paying clients. My husband works and provides a steady paycheck and supplies all of the necessary insurances. My house has it’s very own commercial space with its own entrance and half bath, and with a little elbow grease will make the perfect studio for me (with no rent!) my two boys are healthy happy adorable and full our lives with life (and toys strewn about) our family all kicks in and supports and helps us, even though they live quite a distance from us. My days are filled with bouts of nausea and I am definitely not as productive as I was 3 months ago but it is a temporary state and let’s face it…it’s a new baby! A new addition to this crazy, chaotic, messy life but that is equally filled with love, intelligence, acceptance and creativity. Most would say I “have it all” now I have to believe that.

    Congratulations to you both with the safe arrival of your beautiful baby!

  • Congratulations!!!

    And thanks for another wonderful article. It inspired me to press ‘Send’ on an important e-mail (wish me luck!).

    As the quote goes, “There are seven days in the week. Someday isn’t one of them.”

  • One of the greatest moments which I can appreciate is when my mind is still, empty if you like, not actively thinging. I could be walking down the street, or sitting having a coffee. It is then, that I feel most free.

  • 2, 3, 4 and 5… Love them! Congratulations Marc and Angel.

  • This is a great reminder. I wrote about reflecting on your goals. It’s important to take some time and really assess the changes and achievements that happen in a life time. Sometimes when I think things aren’t changing I take a look and see the difference in the short time I am thinking about. Having a good level of awareness, really helps this I find!

  • Congrats Marc and Angel… This post was amazing just like all others!

  • Congratulations!!

  • Thank you and congrats on the arrival of your new baby Mac. This is the best gift of all.

    I also would like to thank you for your continued positivity. The 16 points above really hit home however No.13 really resonated with me. All my life I have had felt a overwhelming guilt for my father. Seven years ago he had an accident and as a result he is now a quadriplegic. Each year I feel I cannot do enough for him, however with a family of my own and and a business under extreme pressure I must. Compounding pressure I am experiencing in many areas of my life at present is becoming extremely stressful. I do revert to positive thinking but I feel I am on a roll-a-coaster. The little things in life that are the most important become all the more valuable. Keep up the great work.

  • Congratulations on a happy and healthy child! I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog through StumbleUpon–your articles provide me with inspiration as well as remind me for my need for introspection. So thank you!

  • Big :) and Congratulations to the new family! Mac is as beautiful as you both together! May he have the same gifts that you both have with your lives! Now you will be up during the night writing blogs and changing diapers! Best of Everything! Also, love this post! I have burned many bridges only to find true friendships and better light in my life.

  • Jeanette Weinschel
    July 17th, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I just signed up for your emails recently and have felt a connection to many of them already. I like what you wrote that after a while a person’s physical attributes do not play a role in the relationship. For me that is important. Thank you. This is a great post too.

  • I’ve read your mails countless times and this is the first time I have left a comment. You guys are just an amazing bunch. I stumbled on your website when i was going through a really difficult period in my life and your encouraging and truthful words really helped me get through it. Big congrats on the birth of your son! So happy for you both. May he truly be a source of blessing to you guys as you have been to countless around the world! Cheers!

  • Congrats on the new addition! What a lucky boy! And thank you, because in a way you and Angel are helping to parent many of us. #15 is significant for me, I stopped allowing my mother and siblings to walk all over me, and since then, even if a stranger tries to bully me, I will (have) call them out on it! I can’t tell you how great that feels, to no longer let anyone guilt me or brow beat me anymore!

  • Congratulations! Having a child is the most centering blessing that will make you realize your true priorities.

    Thank you for this wonderful piece. It’s so easy to focus on the challenges of life rather than what we’re doing right. I really appreciate your articles and emails, they’ve become something I look forward to.

  • Congratulations, what an adorable photo! I’m wishing good luck and happiness to you all.

  • Woo-hoo!! Congratulations! That is great news!!

  • Success often looks like a ongoing, slow motion disaster you can escape from. And only at the end, when the noise stop and the dust settles, can you appreciate what you learned.

  • Congratulations, Marc and Angel! Our greatest purpose in life and on this planet is found in our little ones. So happy to hear everyone is happy and healthy. Warmest wishes, hugs and kisses.

  • You are really a strong source of inspiration to me.
    My two cents: success isn’t the skill or goal earned but the constant persistence that gets you there.

  • Congratulations and thank you again for this inspiring article :)

  • Well it looks like I’m doing really great so far.
    Thank you so much! I really needed to read this.

  • Wonderful news! I’m so happy for you both - congratulations on the new baby :)

  • Congrats to you both. A boy couldn’t ask for better parents. He is adorable. Thank you for your uplifting posts. They always hit the spot.

  • Wow. Amazing article!
    Nearly all of the points resonated with me. I am having issues with self-acceptance and this article really helped. Bookmarked this page for future reference.

  • Beautiful piece as always.You have no idea what your amazing blog does for some of us. I have been experiencing a lot of challenges in my life lately..but God directed me to your blog. I thank God i found you guys!!!

    Well done on your beautiful site and for making our lives a little less harder…may God bless you always and grant you the strength to run this great blog with life changing pieces.

    And finally a big congratulations on your new addition….children are amazing and your son is one lucky boy to have such amazing parents!

  • I wish more students and youngsters read this. Helps bounce back from those worrisome moments of uncertainty and despair… Great read, as usual.

  • Wow, really useful points to keep in mind. I only wish I lived up to more of them..

  • Things that stood out in the order of toughest to least toughest…

  • Awesome news! CONGRATULATIONS and the photo is lovely. I’m very happy for you both.

    Amazing article. They are always on point and inspirational. THANK YOU so much. I truly appreciate your website.

  • How wonderful! Welcome Mac, and congratulations to both of you!

    When I think about things to remember at difficult moments, I remind myself to not take things personally. Often circumstances and people can create situations that feel like they are actively trying to thwart me. But in objective, actual fact, these circumstances are almost never actually directed at me, but are things related to the other person or people.

    By reminding myself that what other people do or say is not personal and does not have to be allowed to affect me on a personal level, I can step away from, or around it and continue on my own journey focused on the now - as you say in the post - and remaining positive.

    Thanks for yet another timely wise post!

  • Congrats to you guys!

  • Great article!!

  • Biggest congratulations M&A. Thanks for being there. You guys are always on point

  • A wonderful article. Each day I remind myself of the good things I have in my life.

    This is a habit that I have developed and there are times when it can be difficult to find those things…..but they are always there.

  • This is definitely one of the most inspiring blogs I’ve ever come across to, and posts like this one are especially encouraging. Thanks for writing and sharing such helpful things

  • These are great reminders. Thank you for this another inspiring blog post. And congrats to the both of you! :)

  • Hi, another great article. I love reading your blog; it always gives me another good reason to stay positive in life. I will always keep your words in mind: “Success is not a skill; it’s a persistent attitude. It’s not a place you arrive at; it’s a process you live through. It’s what you do every day. It’s what you are doing now…” Thanks for sharing.

  • We’re all smiles over here (Marc, Angel AND Mac). Thanks so much for all the kind words and “congrats.” As you can imagine, it’s been a busy week. :)

    It doesn’t appear that anyone requires a direct response, but please know that we truly appreciate each and every one of you - for sharing pieces of your story with us, for motivating us to do what we do each day, and for supporting our work with your kindness.

  • Just stumbled upon your website while searching for another and I love it!! I live in an environment that is destructively negative and am always searching for positive sayings, quotes, anything I can post to my walls as reminders to keep the flow of positive thoughts in my head. A friend of mine that I recently met up with again a few years ago got me started on this path, initially because of my disability that hit me out of the blue a few years back, and has taken root to my already depressed mind. But! I am a work in progress!! I can only thank you for your blogs and thank Google for directing me to you.

  • Great article - I really love the first point about following your own path. I think a lot of people struggle with that and if each person would follow their own path we would live in a better world. Thanks for sharing your articles they definitely resonate with me!

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  • One thing that Tasha often overlooks is that she is a work in progress. As for Tanika, she often doesn’t reflect upon and think about how far she has come. Thanks to you and Angel for allowing us to reflect upon this.

    *The part where you talked about allowing the bridges we burn to light our way was such a unique perspective.

    May you both continue to lead happy and meaningful lives and raise an awesome family that will help to change the world one encounter at a time!


    Tasha and Tanika writers for A Beautiful Patience

  • Thanks for sharing these wonderful words which I still, after trying “convincing” myself about who really a human being is by reflecting deeply and writing ALL IS WELL Uplifting Poetry, need to be reminded. Absolutely being focused on the positive to attract more of it and taking any opportunity to experience life. I searched for this article in an effort to overcome a feeling of impotence because I am kind of “obsessed” with seeing my book read by millions…acknowledge not a good feeling, as I said I wrote it just to embed, convince myself…to have the experience…but now…it is becoming kind of a problem…I want more and haven’ seen any improvement…THANK YOU. Love Respect and Appreciation

  • Thank you so much. Your blog helped me.

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