Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker’s weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and a guide to using its waters to reflect on and improve your life.
What would you try in your professional life if you weren’t afraid of failing? Would you finally write that book of short stories? Strike out and open your own shop? Convince your manager you deserve to be in charge of a larger team?
“ATTENTION ARTISTS: sometimes your friends will have successes, and you’ll be jealous, even if you don’t want to be,” says author and Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North in an inspirational Twitter thread. He has two tips for dealing with that jealousy, which apply to anyone who’s envied a colleague:
People thrive when they’re working against some kind of force—even if that force isn’t real. If you’re looking for a way to motivate yourself, try giving yourself an imaginary scapegoat.
You spend more time with your own failures than anyone else on Earth. Eventually, you might internalize them and come to fear failure. However, for everyone else, they barely know your failures even exist.
Most of us tend to think about success in terms of working hard to accomplish something in order to find happiness. Neil Pasricha, author of The Happiness Equation, makes the case for the opposite: start with happiness, then use it to accomplish your goals.
The “perfectionist trap” happens when you see the successes of the people you look up to and aspire to them, forgetting (or not seeing) the hard work and failures required for them to get there. You try, you struggle, and assume you should give up. Don’t: they’re more like you than you know.
Who can give you better advice on how to succeed than successful people? Well, if you’re smart, you’d also listen to people who failed so you know what pitfalls to avoid. And maybe back it up with some unbiased data.
The idea of networking sometimes feels sleazy, and in can be if you’re doing it wrong. If you think networking is about using someone to get ahead, you’re thinking about it all wrong. It’s about building a community of like-minded friends, so you can make progress together.
We love stories about people who succeed by a young age. The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world become heroes while the rest of us feel like failures if we haven’t succeeded by 30. That mindset is completely backwards.
You’ll find no shortage of tips from many of the most successful and powerful people on how to find your “passion”, or what you truly love to do. Here’s a simpler way: gauge how you feel about opening your laptop.
In the movies, when someone quits their terrible job to do the thing they love, the burden is immediately lifted. In reality, getting to the job you love is a long, arduous process and you’ll probably hate it for a while.
Listing out your victories is a great way to build some confidence, but it can also warp your perspective on how you achieved success. Listing out your biggest failures instead will remind you how you got to where you are, and help you learn what you need to succeed.
Being successful in your field usually means you find a whole new set of problems you didn’t expect before. This can be isolating as your life’s path diverges from your peers. To maintain a healthy perspective, build relationships with new peers.
“Trust, success, and admiration are earned.” That’s the lesson in the quote above from investment expert Charlie Munger. As simple as it is, it bears repeating.
You’ve probably seen articles detailing what Warren Buffett does every day, or what Elon Musk eats before noon, or that “one trait” rich people have that poor people don’t. It’s interesting, but when it comes to building wealth and success, these habits don’t teach you anything about what it really takes to get there.…
Before you even finish high school, you were probably bombarded with people telling you how to achieve “success.” Without your own definition, though, that advice is meaningless.
We’re all prone to epic blunders from time to time, and knowing why they tend to happen can help you avoid them in the future. A study published in the journal Intelligence breaks down what we consider or dumbest mistakes into three categories.
A bad habit that many of us share is that we trash talk a lot...to ourselves. Recognizing our mistakes can be healthy and productive, but constantly thinking nothing we do is ever good enough—well, not so much. Here’s a powerful reminder that we could all use more self-love.
When you reach a certain level of success, it’s easy to get comfortable. If you want to stay there, though, be ready to act hungry. Even if you’re not.