Settling for easy – keeps success out of reach.


By David Joel Miller.

Is success out of your reach?

You have to stretch to reach the good stuff.

High fruit

Hard to reach fruit can be the best.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you drift through life going for the easy things you miss out on the exceptional life events. Settling for the things right in front of you keeps you from ever finding out what could have happened if you had just reached a little farther, tried harder and kept at it longer. Don’t create a mediocre life when aiming for higher goals would have taken you to places beyond the ones you see.

Just because you can does not mean you should.

One way you can cheat yourself out of great things is to aim for the things that are available to you right now. There are many easy things in life, the spectacular things are harder. Don’t cheat yourself by taking the quick, easy way now when the longer harder one would have taken you much farther.

The job you get because of a family member or a friend may be a great life start or it may be the beginning of settling for things that take less effort on your part. Quick pleasure can come back to haunt you for a long time afterwards.

If you live your life looking for the “I can do that” things you may miss out on the “I want to do that” things. Meaningful goals take time, preparation and effort. Don’t cheat yourself by taking the easy path.

Letting others set your goals means living their unlived life.

Having a parent or mentor that encourages you is a great thing. But trying to live your life to meet the things a parent wanted and never got is a way to live less of a life than you could have had.

Plenty of parents want their child to be the lawyer, doctor, actor or other profession that parent never made it at. Ask yourself if spending your life chasing someone else’s dream will make you happy.

The world is full of stage mothers and almost famous, hoping that their child will become famous and they can bask in that reflected glory. If this is your dream also have at it. But if you find you are pursuing someone else’s dream, wake up and set a course that is right for you. Avoid eating someone’s spoiled meal, cook up your own dreams.

You don’t get to start at the finish line.

Many people expect to start at the top. If you pick a goal that is close and easy you may reach it but at the cost of never having seen what you might have been. A large percentage of people who start out training for any given field end up quitting. Even people with masters and PhD’s drop out of their academic field.

Some find that what they studied did not fit them. Many more become disillusioned when they find that your degree did not lead to the high paid job they wanted overnight. Building a career or perfecting a talent take a lot of time and dedication. Pick a path you will enjoy walking.

Overnight success take years.

Those stories about people who became overnight successes are mostly myth. Those sudden stars often worked and practiced for years to get that one big break. When your chance comes make sure you have done the homework and the foot work that will sustain that good beginning.

For every person on the big stage there are many, many more who are traveling the country performing to small crowds in small places. Some people rise faster than others, but we have all seen the One-hit-wonders who came and went. Long term lasting success in any field takes staying the course for a long time.

Great things take sustained effort.

You can’t go a long way by running fast for a few minutes. Successful people, in all senses of that term, put in the hours, do the work over long periods of time to reach those ultimate goals. To reach your dream you need to show up for practice every day.

You build muscles by lifting weights and doing the exercises. You develop job skills by doing the task over and over each time looking for the things you can improve. High performers never stop perfecting their skills. They also discover that you do not get better just by doing the things you are good at over and over. Practice also includes finding your weak spots and practicing to perfect those skills.

Obstacles are temporary, giving up is permanent.

Most obstacles to accomplishing something are only temporary setbacks. Look for other ways to reach your desired result. Go over, dig under, or go around. Look for ways to turn that obstacle into a solution. When you find a new unique way to overcome obstacles you get a long lead over those others who are still back at the start saying it can’t be done.

Taking short cuts can get you on the wrong path.

There are short cuts. They works sometimes for a while. But if your way of winning involves cheating, dishonesty or cutting corners in the long run that kind of accomplishment is fleeting. Once you get caught cutting corners you lose others trust and they take away the prize.

Don’t follow the path of least resistance.

Great people do great things. They do things others told them couldn’t be done. Stay within the rules but make sure those rules are really needed not just the conventional wisdom of people who can’t see the possibilities you can see.

Doing the easy thing does not build up skills. Repetition of your mistakes does not lead anywhere. Do the hard things and see if you do not develop ever-increasing levels of skills.

Make sure you know what success will look like when you get there.

If you set off chasing money when what would have made you happy is being a better person you will be way disappointed when you reach the end of the trail. Doing things only for the cash burns people out. Find something you can love doing and still make the income you want and need and you have the best of both. People who love a subject learn it. If you love what you do you will be better at it and the practice will be a joy.

Take a look at your goals and see if you have set them high enough.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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