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Success Has Issues, and I’ve Listed 5 of Them!

Success Problems
Image courtesy of Alex Proimos

Note: This is a guest post by Dreama.

Oh you’ll lose. Cash, respect, credibility and perhaps even your sanity – because success isn’t easy, nor is it meant to be.

Sure there are stories about how luck drastically changed a person’s life, that striking it rich, or famous was the result of a conversation that happened to fall on the right ears.

Of course these stories are never spoken from people we actually know, because seldom do they ring true. Often, such stories are formed from carefully crafted ideas channelled through media machines to keep aspiring artists frothing at the mouth.

Truth is, any successful book, article or conference boasting some “sure-fire” path to greatness, has a very real story of how hard work is the only real secret.

Thinking of some of today’s creative geniuses has taught me some worthwhile things about success – here are some of them:

Success relies on passion to survive

Success thrives on passion and without passion there is nothing.

Face it, no-one needs or wants your great skill until you prove to them they can’t live without it. Remember using candles and burners to lights a room? Of course not!

Electricity is essential to everyday yet so many countries in the developing world get on just fine without it. To you, it is an absolute necessity because it’s all you know.

Did you know?: Thomas Edison (the bloke who invented the bulb) made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing said bulb before he got it right? That’s 1,000 wrong attempts before the jackpot!

Success is absolutely terrible with money

If you want to be buddies with success you had better get used to being broke.

Money will be spent on things like, buying things for passion, losing things because of passion, being tricked by passion into investing in bad ideas, and many other passion-based expenses.

And remember, there is no way around this because success needs passion (see first point).

Did you know?: Walt Disney (the movie and media legend) was once fired from a job at a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” after which he bankrupt himself with several failed businesses… I bet that newspaper have since changed their tune huh?

Success is a members-only club, with harsh prejudices

Want acceptance? Fancy yourself as the “in-crowd”? Well success doesn’t let people in all that easy.

You’ll be judged and probably told you suck. You might even be encouraged to give up after being ignored by your peers, people you admire or even your loved ones. See, success likes to watch you suffer, kind of like an initiation – then, and only then, once you have gone on to show just how wrong everyone is about your undeniable genius, will success gain a little respect for you.

Did you know?: Oscar winning actor Sidney Poitier was told after his first audition that he should “stop wasting people’s time and […] become a dishwasher or something” – I bet he has his own dishwashers doing the chores for him now!

Success is shy, you need to make the first move

Let’s be clear. You won’t wake up one morning with a sweet note on your pillow about all the things success will bring you if you just wait around. Even if some Samaritan with good (if not slightly bizarre) intentions does happen to leave you a lovely note saying exactly that, it still won’t get you want you want.

Success requires you to introduce yourself first. To be determined and sure that it’s what you want. You won’t always know your calling right away and you can’t rely on someone to tell you what it is you’ll go on to do. You need to pursue your craft wholeheartedly before you see any gains…

Did you know?: Mastermind author J.K. Rowling (the lady behind the Harry Potter franchise) was once depressed, struggling financially and coping as a single parent whilst attending school and composing a novel. She had no clue as to the future success of her works, but kept on at it – the rest is Hagrid history.

Success will taunt you, often

Success will tease you into thinking you’ve got a hold of it and then will disappear into the distance. Sure, you’ll get a little taster of it, kind of like food tasters being handed out beside the main cart to lure you in. Well success is like walking up to that cart to buy something and then seeing it vanish into thin air!

Perhaps this is a way of teaching you it’s value. You know how worthwhile your hard work was to get that little sample of greatness, and you have to keep working as hard to keep the samples coming.

Eventually, you’ll have built up enough brownie points through effort, for success to let up and stop with the taunting, but it won’t happen overnight.

Did you know?: Philanthropic legend and billionaire Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter and once deemed “unfit for TV” – Not sure what individual made that decision, but I’m pretty sure they were wrong…awkward.

Dr. Laurence J. Peter once said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” I think he was right. – I guess success wants us to know what we want, and what it takes to get it…

About Dreama

This guest post was contributed by musician Dreama; who describes herself as ‘a girl-emcee sat somewhere sipping tea’. You can read more of her musings or jam-out to her tunes on her official website:

8 Comments on Success Has Issues, and I’ve Listed 5 of Them!

  1. Gina Femrite says:

    I thank you so much for your great articles. They are honest and without fluff, right to the point. Reading them has helped me a lot on the outlook I have in how to pursue my carrier as an artist. I hope you keep the advice coming. It is great that there are people like you that share there knowledge with people like me that need them.

    Gina Femrite

  2. JAIME ZAPATA says:

    …Success wants us to know what we want, and what it takes to get it…
    Great words to resume the thinking behind these 5 listed “issues”.
    Success is actually an elusive experience, and not exactly a situation or status in our lives.
    I guess after years of hard work, we get the intuition of success and must continue offering to the world the best of our dreams and efforts, both at once. It´s like starting to smell the pye, I guess…
    Thank you for this wonderful posting!!

    • Dreama says:

      Thanks Jaime, really glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

      I agree – success is elusive, and (in my humble opinion) should be; the satisfaction had when you’ve earned something you’ve worked hard for, is a feeling like no other…x

  3. kathryn says:

    wow…i’ve never quite heard it put this way before…you got me immediately with:because success isn’t easy, nor is it meant to be. i never thought about it like that before, but it makes perfect sense…and all my experiences with my art have shown me that! i also loved this: I guess success wants us to know what we want, and what it takes to get it. sooo true!

    wonderful article…you just made me feel much better about my art career and self!! thanks!

    • Dreama says:

      Hi Kathryn – really glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂 It’s always lovely to help inspire fellow creatives – yay!

      Also just checked out some of your work on your website & it’s pretty cool! – The animal portraits are gorgeous, keep it up! x

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