Success Is Something You Deserve.
Here Are Six Reasons Why
As Martin lay in his bed, his mother leaned over him.
"I wish you were dead."
While anyone, most of all Martin, could fault a mother for wishing her son was dead, Martin remembers feeling understanding toward her in that moment.
Understanding and pity.
Martin had been bedridden for a few years at this point. And not only was Martin stuck in his bed, he found himself entirely unable to communicate.
In fact, no one even knew Martin was awake.
At the age of 12, Martin developed a disease that baffled all of his doctors. He rapidly lost muscular control, mental acuity, and went into a coma months later.
A few years later, Martin woke up.
But no one knew it.
He couldn't move. He couldn't communicate. Actions that Martin thought were enormous, such as barely moving a finger, were barely perceptible to onlookers.
For years, Martin was trapped inside his own head: a burden to his parents and caretakers. He described himself simply as being in the way, and when his mother had a death wish, he recalls understanding.
“It broke my heart, in a way,” he said in an interview with Today. “But at the same time, particularly as I worked through all the emotions, I felt only love and compassion for my mother. My mother often felt that she wasn't a good mom and couldn't take care of me. One of the hardest things for me was I couldn't tell her that, ‘No, you are doing great.’” (source).
In a miracle that sounds like it came out of a movie, Martin emerged from his isolation: once a nurse noticed that he was responsive, he was given the attention and therapy needed for limited movement and communication.
Today, Martin has to use a special computer to talk... but he can talk.
And not only can he talk, but Martin became a successful freelance web designer, developer, and a best selling author.
Martin was successful because he knew that he deserved success. He overcame horrible scenarios, the worst background imaginable, and still found personal success (oh yeah, did I forget to mention that Martin married the spouse of his dreams?).
And while you probably aren't reading this in a coma, or having ever been in a coma, or having ever been conscious in a coma for nearly a decade, I want you to understand something:
Just like Martin, you deserve success.
If you just want to get to the meat of this post and only want to hear all about why you deserve success, you can click here.
But if you'll hang with me a minute, I would like to talk about the greatest roadblock to your success: negative beliefs.
As a human, you undoubtedly have a past. I would love to hear that your past is only filled with good things: sunshine, rainbows, and lots of dancing in flower patches on a hillside; but since you're human, that probably didn't happen to you any more than I fought a battle with a Sith Lord while in my penguin PJs.
Many times, our self beliefs come from things that happened to us in the past; this can even be true if we barely remember the actual event.
Imagine this with me. A child (we're gonna call her Emma) is an an entirely loving, nearly perfect home. Emma's parents play with her, raise her well, and teach her how to be an excellent adult in today's society.
While Emma's parents are very loving, they are quite poor and never too far from the negative numbers in their bank account. They talk about wealth like they talk about being poisoned with ricin: rich people are always greedy, cruel, and worse than most Bond villains.
Would you be surprised to learn that Emma grows up to believe that wealth is evil, to be avoided, and that rich people only make for good movie bad-guys?
While there's nothing particularly wrong with believing that life is superior without much wealth, this example shows how many of our beliefs are formed.
Have you ever had someone say to you:
"You won't ever..."
"It's not good for you to..."
"You should do it like..."
"Never, ever, ever..."
Well-meaning parents telling their children that they can't may have stolen from the world many a star athlete, movie star, astronaut, and genius.
Many beliefs, including the negative ones, may have been instilled at childhood. Others are brought about by experiences.
Let's say that you have been in the dating game for a while. A long while.
In fact, you've been searching for so long that you're right on the brink of giving up.
Last night, as you were waiting on a text back (which may not have come), you began to question: "What if I just can't find anyone for me?"
Not you? Let's try again.
You're at your job, frustrated you aren't moving higher up. You aren't feeling accomplished. Despising your morning alarm, you think "Maybe I'm just not meant to be happy."
You and your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse keep coming back to one argument. You begin to think "I've done all I can, but maybe I just can't have good relationships with people."
Life hits you with another curveball you didn't see coming. It's financial stress, emotional weight, family problems, pick your poison. Sullen and hurting, you begin to say to yourself "I'm just not someone who life works out for."
Whether these beliefs come from what you were taught or what you experienced, we all believe something negative about ourselves.
You are not alone.
These limiting beliefs are deadly to our happiness and to our success.
How To Find Your Limiting Beliefs
The first step in eliminating a problem is to figure out what the actual problem is and, like I often am, you may find yourself surprised at exactly how nasty your self-talk is.
Try this: say "I don't deserve success because..." and finish the sentence.
If you had more than one thing pop into your head, well, you're probably like the rest of us. The goal here is volume. Think of (and preferably write down) as many of these thoughts as possible.
Other prompts are easy to come up with and any of these below will work.
"I don't deserve good relationships because..."
"I shouldn't have happiness because..."
"I'm a financial failure because..."
"I'll never have the body I want because..."
"My mind/life/personality will never be right because..."
"I'm not worthy of _________ because..."
Feel free to create your own. Your objective here is not to find one or two things that are really working you over, but to think of as many limiting beliefs as possible.
Again, I encourage you to write these, stick them on a mirror, wall, vision board, or another place you're going to look at often.
And spend every single day proving these beliefs wrong.
Why? Because success is something you deserve.
Fire Up Your Super Powers
While Joanne hadn't quite collected a Tim Ferriss sized rejection list (25 publishers rejected his first novel, The 4-Hour Workweek), she was hurting due to her only 12 rejection letters.
Not only that, but she was about as close as a person could get without actually being homeless. Her mother was dead, her marriage was shattered, and Joanne could barely afford to buy food for her and her daughter.
But Joanne had a passion surpassing almost all her other desires.
She was a writer. Stories were her love and her joy. Ever since she was a child writing tales of bunnies and their friends, she had wanted to grow up to be a author; a creator of wonderful fantasies, people, and places.
Her manuscript was finally accepted after one publisher's daughter wanted to read more than the first few chapters, but it turns out that even Joanne's name wasn't good enough: the publisher highly recommended a pen name, as boys were less likely to buy books written by a woman.
Taking an initial from her grandmother's name, J.K. Rowling was born.
You probably know the rest of this story, but her Harry Potter franchise became such a powerhouse that it turned Rowling into one of only 1500 billionaires worldwide, and the first billionaire to be a female author.
How did the poor single mother Joanne go from the verge of suicide to worldwide bestselling author?
She unleashed her super powers.
Passion is the closest thing to a super power that you and I have.
While I never recommend people start businesses based on their passions (a tip from MJ DeMarco's book The Millionaire Fastlane), following your passions for other purposes is extremely sensible.
In fact, you'll probably never be happy if you don't follow your passions.
Here's the thing, and it's pretty cool: you're good at something.
I don't have the foggiest of what that thing is, but you're pretty good at it. And if you aren't that good at it yet, you definitely want to be.
Maybe it's something you have always dreamed of but don't know how to do or you haven't found a good time to do it yet.
Maybe it's something that keeps you up at night, unable to fall asleep.
Maybe it's something that you want to see changed.
Nothing sounding right?
Let's make it easy. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
While it may not be in your most effective life to be a princess or an astronaut any more, this makes for a good starting place: what about that lifestyle was so appealing to you?
What did you want to wake up every day doing?
Passions make for bad business advice, but good life advice. If you truly want to be content with your life, you need to find and do something you're passionate about.
When you allow this passion to become a part of your life, you are allowing yourself to accomplish something that you feel is meaningful and that you know will leave a legacy.
Even if you're in a situation as bad as J.K. Rowling where life has no ups, you don't think you can take more punches, and you're even looking at suicide, I want to encourage you: take a few minutes every day to pursue a passion of yours.
It may be something simple: you want to learn to sew, to speak a new language, or visit a foreign country.
Take one step today, right now, to get you closer to that goal. Even if it's just saving $5 or downloading an app, start pursuing your passion today.
It's your superpower.
And your passion may never grow into a multi billion dollar book series, but you can definitely use it to change the world, no matter on how small of a scale.
Just think: if everyone changed the world just a little bit for the better every day, we would almost be living in paradise right now.
You deserve success because you have the power to make the world a little bit better from right where you are, no matter your situation or circumstances.
Pursue that passion. Unleash your superpower. Make the world a little bit better today.
You deserve the joy that it will bring you.
Take One More Big Breath
The Mona Lisa is, quite literally, priceless.
The world's most famous painting hasn't exchanged hands in quite some time. In fact, the last time it was sold was to King Francis I of France... in 1518.
Due to the fact that the painting is never bought and sold, it is impossible to assign an exact price to it. The closest estimation was back in 1962 when the Mona Lisa was given a value of $100 million for insurance purposes.
To give you some perspective on the size of that number, if a person with $1.5 billion were to invest his or her money and received only 1% return on investment per year, this person would have about $1,250,000 in monthly income.
But if the Mona Lisa is that valuable, why are we able to go on Amazon or in Walmart and buy a copy for $15?
Value, contrary to popular opinion, is not exactly an arbitrary or random number. Value can always be determined by two things: scarcity and exclusivity.
In other words, an item's value is determined by how many of this item exist and how different it is from everything else.
The copies of Mona Lisa are, in comparison to the real painting, nearly infinitely worthless. They can be mass produced, photo copied, and have no real distinguishing feature from other mass produced, photo copied copies.
The real Mona Lisa is an item that is fundamentally unable to be replicated. Age cannot be magically disposed onto a painting; nor can any other painting claim to be the original Mona Lisa. No copy of the Mona Lisa can claim the benefit of being the most famous painting in the world; no piece of art carries quite the same weight of exclusivity.
Wondering where I'm going with this? Have you ever heard the saying "no two people are alike"?
Since value is based upon scarcity and exclusivity, I want to tell you some good news my brothers and sisters: You can take a big, deep breath.
You are valuable.
You are valuable for tons of reasons (chief among them that you're just stinking awesome), but let's analyze you the same way we do a painting, a car, or anything else that is assigned value: through the lens of scarcity and exclusivity.
To start us off, you're pretty rare. In fact, even if you have an identical twin, you've still got some genetic differences going on inside. (source).
You aren't able to be replicated (not even by cloning, you nerds reading this) because your experiences like your unique parents, school, talents, and desires have all shaped you. We'll talk more about this in just a second.
Since you can't be replicated, you're pretty scarce. In fact, even though there is probably someone who looks a lot like you in the world, there's no one who is you in the world except for, well, you.
You're literally one of a kind. Your DNA says so. That makes you unable to be replicated and, as such, inherently valuable.
But being unique is not quite enough to generate loads of value; while there is no road that is exactly like the one that my grandmother lives on, there's nothing particularly valuable about a dirty, winding, unkept road.
To have a particularly high value, an item must also be exclusive: namely, unlike other items in a useful way.
You are certainly unlike other things on earth: as mentioned before, your past experiences, unique personality, and memories that you keep ensure that you are literally one of a kind.
So how do we be useful?
I point you back to this section on unleashing your inner super power: your passion.
When we pursue goals that are helpful to others and bring joy to our lives, we become a stronger force of good. We become exclusively ourselves as we were meant to be and as we want to be.
You have value for one reason and one reason alone: you are human.
While this sounds depressing ("I only have value for one reason?!") it's actually quite liberating. You do not have to be the greatest athlete, singer, friend, parent, or worker in the world.
It's not a bad thing to want to be the best (here at Elite Happiness we want to publish the best content on the internet), but the liberating truth is simple:
You don't have to be the best to be valuable.
If you want to increase how valuable others perceive you as, then do something that you enjoy and that is helpful to others. Follow a healthy passion.
You deserve success because you're human. Mistakes and all, nothing else is needed to make you valuable and important.
So take a big, deep breath. Life is good. It's okay. You deserve success because you, faults and all, are uniquely you.
And that is a good thing for the world.
The Real Reason You Don't Box With Bears
Unless you are literally a robot, you've probably had at least one night where worry, stress, anxiety, depression, or racing thoughts kept you up. If you're like the rest of the human race, you have these nights nearly weekly... maybe with a big serving of existential crisis.
What-if scenarios are running rampant, emotions are rolling unbridled; all because your mind is stuck believing one single truth: you have no control over the situation.
Or maybe, even worse, you had control over a situation and you blew it.
Out of these worries comes a disturbing phenomenon: without any further evidence being necessary, we begin to believe these negative thoughts.
And slowly, over time, these negative beliefs become part of who we are; these beliefs become our essence.
Earlier, we spoke a little of these negative beliefs, calling them our "limiting beliefs". And while our previous discussion was quite brief, I now want to dive a little bit further into how we can defeat our limiting beliefs to unlock our success.
And before I say anything else, I want you to understand one essential truth:
You are not your thoughts.
This is because there is an interesting occurrence that happens when we are afraid, stressed, or anxious. Our thoughts tend shift in the direction of increasingly bad scenarios and, as such, tend to shift further and further away from situations that are the most likely.
In idiot-speak? Our emotions and thoughts don't always reflect reality.
In the context of survival, this can be a pretty useful trait. If you're debating whether or not to forage from a bush, see it ruffle, and immediately fear that it may be a lion inside, you can probably find other, more safe bushes to eat from.
And if that rustling bush is dangerous, then you live to forage another day.
In our modern context, this survival instinct is a bit less useful. If you're going to die after not turning in a work project on time, it's probably about time for you to move on.
In the past, our extremist emotions taught us that we weren't quite good enough to initiate hand to hand combat with bears (to date, only one person has killed a bear without weapons - and he did it by sticking his arm down the bear's throat), but today, these extreme feelings and worst-case-scenario thoughts are the cause of a different feeling.
They cause us to feel insufficient. These long, stressful nights breed the belief that we simply aren't good enough to be happy, accomplish our goals, and live the life of our dreams.
These emotions cause us to believe that we can't succeed and that we aren't destined to success.
In the context of fighting wild animals, this can be true. In the pursuit of your dreams, these beliefs are absolute lies!
You are not your thoughts, your thoughts do not define you, and even if you have a bad past, you are able to change.
You deserve success because your negative thoughts and emotions don't reflect reality. Even though you feel like you don't deserve success, that is simply not true. Consider it a well-intentioned gift from your parents: you probably won't be trying to fight with any bears, but you can accomplish what you want in life.
It all starts with a little bit of change.
Can Old Dogs Learn New Tricks?
From ancient times to our modern world, life has always been in flux. New inventions, whether it be Facebook or fire, have always been displacing older, more settled ways of life. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus summed it up nicely when he said that "change is the only constant" in the world we live in.
In many reputable self-help sources today, you will hear the phrase "you are not your past." While an interesting and seemingly wonderful statement to make, it is quite untrue.
In fact, you are literally nothing but your past.
While some of your past may have been out of your control (such as where you were born, how your parents raised you, how much money you had as a child, etc.), many factors were in your control (how you decided to perform in school, your career choice, whether or not you read books).
Out of these environments and decisions comes you.
So while saying that "you are not your past" may be said with the best of intentions, it is ultimately untrue. And while we all wish that we could change the past, it probably won't be happening unless you have a DeLorean and a mad scientist on hand.
That's the bad news. Are you ready for the good stuff now?
Changing the past is impossible. It simply can't be done.
But changing the future is not only possible, it's easy.
How do we change the future?
We change what we do in the present.
It's brutal honesty time. Ask yourself a question: "If I continue pursuing my happiness and pursuing my dreams the way I am right now, how much closer am I going to be six days, six weeks, six months, and six years from today?"
Excuse me one minute while I stop Snapchatting and go move my phone to another room.
As a child, I remember asking my father to play video games with me. A kid of the Atari generation and possessing, at most, a Nintendo 64 almost exclusively used for Mario Kart, he insisted that he could never get used to the multiple buttons on my Xbox controller. As I insisted that practice made perfect (and that he should practice with me), he often said a line that haunts me to this day.
With a sad smile, he would say, "Son, an old dog can't learn new tricks."
Even now, typing that sentence makes me grimace and cringe; whoever said those words didn't love their dog very much.
If you are stuck in life, feeling trapped, and not even inching towards your dreams (or going backwards?) perhaps it's time to try something new. Give up a little TV time to work on your dream, delete social media from your phone (yes, you can live without it) to spend more time with your family, or cut out some sugary delights to drop those few extra pounds you've been making excuses for.
The best change I ever made was that I stopped having "zero days", a term made popular in this post on Reddit (WARNING: lots of swearing). A zero day is a day where you accomplish absolutely nothing. As the author of the extremely influential post says (lightly edited for language):
"Didn't do anything all day and it's 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero."
You deserve success because even though your decisions have brought you to where you are right now, you can always change your future. Start by changing your present.
Perhaps it's less "old dogs can't learn new tricks" and more "it's never too late to mend."
Dinklebergs And The Pursuit Of Happiness
In the Nickelodean show Fairly Odd Parents, the main character's father, Mr. Turner, has a problem.
His neighbors are the worst people on the entire planet.
What do they do that's so evil?
Well, they have nice cars, a beautiful home, a well-kept yard, and never experienced the financial burden of having a child.
The Dinklebergs are, to the dismay of their protagonist neighbors, the best at pretty much everything. They have better fighting robots, financial ease, and an undeniably green thumb.
For the entirety of the show, Mr. Turner is flamingly jealous of his neighbors, having no way to one-up them. This is the case until one tiny episode swept through TV sets across the nation: while ranting against his possession heavy neighbors, Mr. Turner lovingly tells his son, "You are the one thing the Dinklebergs don't have."
The constant connection of our modern world forces us to be in eternal comparison mode. Every tweet, post, or picture is maximized for likes. Each update is intended to one-up our friends, family, and people who we will never ever meet.
We dive into the world on our phones and the mental voices in our head are quietly screaming "I need that like, I need that follow, I need that share, I need to be valued."
The horrible dichotomy of social media is one where you either create a fake life for yourself online or you share your true feelings ("I've had a horrible day today) and get called attention seeking.
We surround ourselves with Dinklebergs. We compete on our salaries, our boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives, our follower counts, and how fantastic we can make our lives look.
We spend our whole lives trying to compete with the Joneses only to find that the Joneses aren't much worth competing with.
It is not until we stop looking at what we don't have (that nice new car, a big salary, a wonderful vacation multiple times a year to exotic locations) and start looking at the things we do have that we can be happy.
If I could offer one piece of advice to someone to maximize their happiness in life, it would be to stop looking at the strengths of others and start looking at their own strengths.
There's no need to be upset over your neighbor's many possessions when you have the thing that they don't: love and legacy.
While this may sound wonderful and rosy (and it really is good news), it can be difficult to implement in practice. After being trained for years to live a life of comparison, it can be a difficult habit to break.
Here are some practical tips on how to stop comparing yourself and be happier.
1) Set Your Own Goals
You know what would make me really, really hate my life?
Owning a big home, having a cushy job in an office working 40+ hour weeks, being married to someone slightly above average, and having 2.5 kids.
The "American Dream" is, for me, more of a nightmare.
Understand this: you are the only person who knows what will make you happy. Don't allow others to set the standard for your life. If you don't want the same things other people want, that is perfectly fine.
Good for you.
Set your own goals, set your own dreams, and pursue them wholeheartedly.
And whether you and I meet at a dinner party in your mansion or bump into each other on a bus in Costa Rica, we'll both know that we didn't settle with what others expected for our lives.
2) Stop Filling Your Weaknesses And Start Maximizing Your Strengths
It's easy to look at our coworkers, friends, family, or people we barely know and think "Wow, I wish I had all that they do! I wish I had their money/talent/fame/etc."
But you have one thing that no one else will never have:
Remember earlier when we talked about value? You are valuable because you are human. And because you're unique, you have talents, gifts, and passions.
There will always be others who have more money, more fame, more X, Y, and Z, but there will never be anyone else who can be in your exact situation and thrive like you can.
Stop looking at what you don't have and start maximizing what you do. Use your unique talents and passions to increase your impact on your situation and live happily knowing that you have lived in a way which others only hope to do:
You have made a visible impact on the world around you.
3) Avoid Your Triggers
Whatever inspires the feeling of you being insufficient or not good enough needs to be immediately eliminated in your life. Do not allow these feelings to have any purchase on your soul because they are ruining your happiness.
Learn what causes negative emotions for you and immediately get yourself in a position where you don't have to be around it.
Whether that means kindly changing the subject when your coworker begins talking about his or her dream vacation or getting rid of social media entirely, you will find your life is much improved after you begin avoiding what causes anxiety.
It's no sin to block some people from showing up in your news feed.
4) Remember That Everything We See Is Exaggerated
See that person's fancy new boat? Kinda makes you a bit jealous, huh?
Just remember that they now owe $50,000 more dollars than they did before. And, like you, they probably can't really afford that.
We hear of great things without hearing about negative ones because of what is called Survivorship Bias - this rule essentially means that for every person who bought a brand new boat, camper, or other fancy toy, there are thousands like you and me who didn't.
We simply don't hear about them because no one posts to social media or tells their friends that they didn't buy a boat today.
Remember that all social media (and most of your friends' stories) is an exaggeration of real life. The good stuff is multiplied a hundred times while the bad stuff is swept into a corner.
When seeing stuff that inspires a feeling of jealousy, just remember: you don't know the story behind that item or experience. That camper may be hiding 5 years worth of $1000/month payments or that vacation may only signify another maxed out credit card.
Social media is an exaggeration and the grass is always greener on the other side. Don't fall for that trap.
You deserve success because you success for you is different than what it is for me. That's a good thing.
So stop looking at the Dinklebergs and start pursuing what will really make you happy.
Deserve Is Overrated
I don't want you to be angry with me.
I have walked you through this entire post without truly telling you the secret to it all:
Deserve is overrated.
Don't allow your circumstances, your friends/family/followers, or yourself to tell you what you do or don't deserve.
Just get out there and do it.
You deserve success because you're you. Nothing else is necessary. So stop reading posts on why you deserve success, go out there, and get it done.
Be successful. It doesn't matter what others say or think of your efforts.
Deserve is overrated.
The fact of the matter is that whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, and no matter what your past looks like, you deserve success.
So use your superpowers, unleash your value, ignore and crush your negative goals, change into the best version of you, stop comparing yourself to others, and just do it.
Tell me in the comments below: how have you kept yourself motivated for success?
Thanks for reading.
Stay awesome. Have a great day.
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