4 Success Myths Debunked

by Travis Wright on February 1, 2024

life hacks

By Terence Channon

“Look before you leap.” When you think about this common idiom, remember that it is not so much intended to keep you from getting into something too fast, but to help you understand what exactly you will be surrounded with when you make the leap. For instance, if you want to take a trip somewhere, you should have an understanding of exactly what to expect when you get there — and what not to expect. The same holds true when striving for success in your career or profession.

Definitions of success can vary, and depending on your expectations, there are a myriad of ways to get there. Too often, however, when people strive for success they don’t look before they leap and form incorrect expectations of what it takes to get there. Even worse, many incorrectly embrace some success myths that seem helpful, but are really not helping the cause and actually hinder the progress toward success. Simply put, while it is important to understand what it takes to be successful, it may be more effective to become familiar with how not to get there.

You Have to be Liked by Everyone

In the U.S., 51% of the people have to like you to win a two-party political election. Back when our country had more than two prominent political parties, you could win the election even if 75% of the people voted for someone else.

It is a great misconception that people have to like you in order to succeed. Obviously, treating people disrespectfully or rudely should not be par for the course, but in business, we have to remember that it is capitalism and not a democracy. At times, it is more important to be focused on the financial numbers and performance of a business than on human relations. Plus, you must have the spirit to make tough leadership calls, such as removing or scolding a nonproductive employee (a surefire way to get someone to not like you) or to properly voice your opinion on a subject, even if it is an unpopular stance.

Making unpopular decisions is part and parcel in the world of business: Consider top-level executives or managers who have to let people go during a merger or a cost-cutting phase (such as the CEO of Pfizer who released 10,000 employees in 2007 and took a 36% raise — he’s certainly an unpopular guy). Or consider the disapproving stares when you voice your contributions to a project when someone else is trying to take the credit; it may appear like you are throwing the other person under the bus when you’re simply trying to gain recognition.

Truly successful people in business, and even in their personal lives, focus on doing the appropriate and ethical thing for the situation. Typically, they’re unconcerned with making sure people like them.

You Have to be a Workaholic

Working hard is a common characteristic among nearly all successful people, but it may make more sense to say that they work smarter, not harder. With that in mind, taking three-hour lunches, extended vacations and not committing any of your free time to your career or business is almost a guaranteed ticket to not succeeding or reaching your goals.

Successful people make the most of their time and are not necessarily working 24/7. Sure, they may be inclined to check their e-mail or engage in business talk at any and all times, but successful people know how to get a lot done at once. They are able to do so because they understand the art of delegating, carefully selecting their business ventures, and balancing their social and work lives. Successful venture capital firms, for example, invest in very few of the deals that come their way, but they commit their best energies and resources to making the deals they do engage in succeed.

In short, find the right personal balance that allows you to maximize your professional and personal productivity. The master of delegation who can seemingly always accomplish the impossible multitude of CEO tasks with a wave of his magic wand will go farther than the guy who always pulls the all-nighter to do it all himself.

Advanced degrees from Big Schools are Required

This used to be more important, but in today’s world, having a big-time MBA is not a one-way ticket to easy street. Yes, you still see job postings where an MBA from an Ivy League school is a job requirement, but that just simply is not the case anymore.

While having a degree is a great feather in your cap and will help you stand out, in the end, it’s all about how you present yourself and what you can actually contribute to the situation that will determine your success and potential. Apart from the miracle story of the high school or college dropout who goes on to earn millions, there are more typical stories that we can all relate to.

For instance, most people know of Dell Inc. and the exceptional circumstances at the beginning of Michael Dell’s career. Look deeper into the company and you’ll find that half of Dell’s top 12 executives do not hold Ivy League MBAs and four of them don’t even have post-graduate degrees.

Successful people obtain results when they make viable contributions to businesses, programs and life — with or without a fancy degree.

Money Defines Success

Money is great, but it will neither make you happy nor unhappy despite the choices and flexibilities it provides. When you define success by the size of your wallet, you will sadly learn that someone always has more than you, unless you’re Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.

Money can buy nice dinners, nice homes, cars, and just about anything else, but there is absolutely no price you can pay to have genuine friends, fulfilling hobbies or activities, and meaningful relationships with your family. Furthermore, all of the money in the world will not do the work you need to do to be successful and accomplish what you have set out to do — it may, in some cases, merely be a result of your goals.

Success can be defined as setting attainable yet challenging goals, and making them happen. Perhaps for some it could be a financial number, but what is that number? It seems most people cannot answer that question. More likely, goals should center on completing your college education, getting out once a week with friends or spending more quality time with the people you care about. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with having some professionally linked goals, such as obtaining a promotion or adding a set number of new clients to your portfolio in the next year.

Success Myths Debunked

It could be said that the small business owner with a thriving landscape is more successful than a recently released CEO of a Fortune 500 company because goals were not met. Of course, the latter likely has a lot more money and his goals might be loftier, but in the end, he failed.

When you set goals and accomplish them, you will feel fulfilled and, more importantly, gain the confidence required to advance to the next level and be successful.

Link this article to your favorite Social Network! Thanks!
  • blogmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • Simpy

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post Post to Digg Digg This Post Post to StumbleUpon Stumble This Post

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan@Prospecting LIFE February 2, 2024 at 12:32 am

The amount of money earned is definitely not the best gage of success if you have to be working 24/7 and selling your soul to you boss in exchange for good money! We’ve got to achieve a work life balance, have time to smell the roses instead of just feverishly rushing to life as though life has no meaning other than work!

Rasheed February 3, 2024 at 9:30 am

The best definition for ’success’ that I have found comes from Earl Nightingale and it is simply put, “Success is the progressive realization of a worth ideal”

This worthy ideal could be to be the best stay at home mom and we all know that there is not much money being made there. This individual may also only be liked by her children and spouse, have no education and definitely not a workaholic. In her own right she is still a success as she has become a great stay a home mom!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv Enabled