Watching the media and getting caught up in the hype of success can make it hard to understand what success really means. From headlines saying the CEO of Amazon made $6B in 20 minutes to the constant wins of big companies like Apple and Microsoft, one can wonder what success really means.
Is it making billions, creating jobs, or even creating a product everyone uses? There are so many ways and methods to making money and being successful that the road to success comes with many false hopes and unrealistic expectations. In my 20 years in business, I have learned a few things that should hopefully help you pave the way to your very own future instead of the one others may seem to idolize.
Success is All Around Us, Even When You Don’t See It
A day doesn’t go by without someone teaching me how they made money in an industry I didn’t even know existed. From businesses geared to pick up junk from people to the smartest of apps and financial software on the market, there is money to be made in everything. The way to figure that out isn’t to discover a new industry all the time, but sometimes to come up with a new angle.
Facebook didn’t invent social media, Alibaba didn’t create international commerce, and Uber didn’t invent the idea of taxis. They all figured out a new angle to an existing solution that could have used some improvement. Learn to understand how things work, not just what is missing to create.
Learn for the Sake of Education, NOT a Reward.
Most people only get educated on topics they want to know about as a result of having something to gain. People learn real estate in order to sell homes and make money, and people learn to trade stocks so they can win money. We are trained as children from an early age to always focus on what’s in it for us, rather than what we can learn from it.
When I started the Secret Academy, an online platform geared to teach entrepreneurship, people asked why there was no theme to the learning such as learning to code or marketing. My answer was simply that if you allow people to pick and choose what they want learn all the time, they will only learn the skills that concern them for that moment, which gives them a chance to succeed today yet is far from helping them reach their long term goals.
The deal is to expose people to different industries and business models that they would not have any interest in previously, but as a result of the knowledge they may use the information in a different industry or in a different way.
Watch Others, Don’t Duplicate Their Work
Many people can understand the path others took in order to reach success, because it’s carved from beginning to end now that the person has succeeded. It may seem like the logical and easy thing to just copy someone’s work in hopes of making a few dollars yourself, but it is also guaranteeing you a much smaller return than they originally received. There are many variables such as time, location, work ethic, and so much more that go into a business that it would be foolish to think duplicating someone’s work will lead them to the same place.
Watch and learn from others who have paved a path, but remember that any path that is followed and not created leads to limited success. Someone else who paved such a path already has drenched it of its main rewards.
Learn to Beat the System, Not Ignore It
Everyone wants to defy the status quo; it may sound exciting but most people simply don’t find a place to “fit” in society and as a result try to push it away or escape it. In my book Third Circle Theory, I break down the importance of learning to master your environment before leaving it so that you may create the habits needed to integrate and beat anyone at anything within it.
When you think of standing out, you must learn to fit in first before doing so. You can’t cater products and services to people who live a certain way if you don’t understand how they live and why they make the buying decisions they make. Remember that while it’s good to be unique, it’s more important to be understood.
I hope these few tips will help you carve your way to success, and that you will remember that success is subjective to your perspective and the baseline at which you started. Looking at the constant reminders of big business success online or on TV as a measure of what success is could be poison to you; it will skew your perspective and prevent you from the success you are having right in front of your eyes. Don’t confuse reality with perception.
This article was first published on Business.com