Success is pretty much every person’s goal, right? Whether success looks like your own private island or simply managing to pay the bills on time, it all boils down to the same thing: setting goals and accomplishing them.
Goals and success are very personal things. In order to make a truly happy life for yourself, you must know what it is that makes you happy. This looks different for everyone. If you do a quick Google search on the keys to success, a lot of things will pop up telling you what characteristics successful people share and how they achieved their dreams.
While many of these things can be useful to you, in my opinion all signs generally point to the same thing. Being successful means taking responsibility for your actions and working towards positive change.
In an article by Dan Shawbel for Forbes called 14 Things Every Successful Person Has in Common, a lot of successful characteristics are explored.
The one that stood out for me the most was they make change instead of being affected by it.
This is a trend that I see over and over again; not only in other people but also in myself. We all fall victim to change sometimes but the greatest things starts to happen when we take control of things instead of the other way around.
Hard work, preparation, confidence, focus, goal setting, self-awareness, creativity and every other little thing that helps you achieve success is important. But it will ultimately be impossible to put any of these things into action if you are falling into the trap of the victim.
Think about the last time you scrolled down your newsfeed. Think about all the different posts that you saw. Now think about dividing your friends list into two categories: successful and unsuccessful. What kinds of things were these two different types of people posting?
I will give you an example. One particularly successful acquaintance of mine consistently posts useful information and positive things on social media. A lot of it has to do with important social issues: poverty, human trafficking and children’s rights. Sometimes it is just useful tips, like how to budget if you are a student and living with little cash flow.
The posts of the unsuccessful often go something like this:
“Don’t confuse my personality with my attitude. My personality is who I am. My attitude depends on who you are.”
“Why is it that girls just want me to buy them drinks and take them home? I am sick of being treated like a piece of meat.”
“So sick of how ridiculous people are.”
“I am so sick of being treated badly when I treat everyone so good. F*ck this.”
See a trend? Instead of success, these people are all just feeling sick all the time. I am no psychologist but it’s not difficult to see what the issue might be. Instead of adjusting your reactions to make yourself more personable, you are blaming someone for your bad behavior. Instead of NOT buying girls drinks and taking them home, you are complaining about it on social media.
Successful people make change instead of being affected by it. They don’t sit around and complain that their life circumstances are not exactly what they want them to be. Instead, they get up and do something about it.
Psychology Today describes the victim like this: “People are always against them, the reason for their unhappiness.”
Victims consistently refuse to acknowledge their role in the events in their lives. By doing so, they give up any small piece of power that they might have. Every hardship, every failure, every indiscretion coming from another person, every time they didn’t accomplish what they wanted to accomplish during the day is everyone’s fault but theirs.
There’s also another really weird dynamic at play. While the victim refuses to believe that anything is their responsibility, they also make every little thing about them. If someone doesn’t smile at them while they were walking down the street, it is obviously because people are just rude assholes.
No thought ever crosses their mind that the person was just having a bad day. No thoughts are directed inwards towards themselves. Maybe you should take a look at why that bothers you so much instead of getting mad at the person whose dog just died.
The sad truth is that we all play the victim role every once in a while, even me. There have been a zillion times where I have caught myself in the victimization mentality. Really weird times, too.
For example, once I was singing karaoke and it sounded bad. I never sat down and admitted to myself that I wasn’t exactly Beyonce. Instead, I was like “this karaoke machine sucks.”
Yes. I was the victim of a karaoke machine.
Sometimes these things happen. It’s important to catch yourself when you are having thoughts like this and to try and pull yourself out of the trap.
Now, I bet you are asking what this has to do with success. Well, think of the things that help to make a person successful.
Successful people have a plan. They know where they are going but they are also flexible enough to allow for changes. They stick with this plan. They persevere.
The victim? They might make a pretty decent plan. But when something happens and they have to throw that plan out the window? They do not adapt. They do not persist. They blame everyone else and consequently, they get nothing done at all.
Successful people know that reaching their goals takes hard work and perseverance. They are willing to make sacrifices and put their all into any situation that they find themselves in.
The victim? They give up. If the going gets tough, then it’s someone else’s fault. They will sit down and try to unload the blame onto another person.
Successful people often display confidence in their decisions and in their actions.
The victim? How could you be confident when you think the world is out to get you? You have effectively given up your power in every situation. The only thing the victim is confident about is that it isn’t their fault.
I could go on. But you get the point.
Believe it or not, the world isn’t here to make you happy. No one is going to bend over backwards to make sure that everyone is nice to you or everyone gives you what you want.
In all honesty, no one really cares if you aren’t successful and no one is going to help you achieve your own goals. If you haven’t already checked out the Cracked article, 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person please re-direct your efforts right flipping now.
And don’t get upset. Don’t sit down and say, “well that’s a rude article.” Successful people use these things to motivate them to make a difference in their lives and others.
There is only one person who will make you successful and that is you. It is genuinely hard to stop blaming other people for some things. Like when your boyfriend got upset at you the other night for whatever reason. Your first instinct is to say but he was being unfair.
I hate to say it but I will. Life isn’t fair. You cannot control the actions of other people and make them fall at your feet and apologize for the things that happened. The only person you can control is yourself. If you are falling into the victimization mentality, then that is your choice.
It is your fault.
So the next time you sit down and wonder why your life doesn’t look the way that you want it too, I suggest being totally honest with yourself, no matter how harsh it might be.
Because successful people make change instead of being affected by it. So shed the victim mentality. And start being the successful person that you want to be so badly.
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