Why You Shouldn’t Look Up To Successful People All The Time

survivorship-bias-desert-joshua-sukoff

I remember reading my first self-help book and feeling like I had unlocked the cheat code to living. I also remember realising how little these books helped me in the grand scale of things.

Still, the desire to find the secret sauce never waned. Cut to the era of YouTube, and now, instead of books, I can access videos and podcasts on all things productivity.

The danger of that is it locks me into the same pattern of trying to find the silver bullet from these ‘authorities’.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about taking advice from successful people, it’s that survivorship bias exists.

We don’t know success

Think back to the best achievement in your life. Was it completing a marathon? Drafting your first novel? Closing that first sales call?

Now think of the reasons why you achieved it. Let’s take the marathon example. Did you complete the race because you trained really hard? Did you have a good coach? Or were you just lucky to have been born with legs?

That’s the thing about survivorship bias. We don’t know which elements truly played a role in your success. And while we could give praise to your rigorous training, we could also be overlooking your luck of the draw.

It’s the same in publication. We look at authors like JK Rowling or George Martin and assume that all they needed for their success was to write.

But who knows how many other factors came into play? It could be the country they were born in. Or their connections in show business.

And here we are, studying their plotting methods and writing tools, as if those are what will propel us to literary stardom.

(If you want to explore this topic further, you can check out Veritasium’s video on the success paradox.)

Don’t give up, though

You may think, then, that I’m encouraging you not to put in the work, since we can’t reliably emulate the greats. Not at all. In fact, I want you to ramp up your efforts instead, but only after you’ve found the pursuit that’s worthwhile to you.

Because while Murakami’s lifestyle of waking up at 4 a.m. may appeal to you, it could possibly hamper your writing instead. To him, the early mornings may be the reason for his high output. To you, it could be the reason why you hate life.

But! If you’re certain that waking up at ungodly hours is worthwhile to you, then by all means, go for it.

The Brandon Sanderson way

This is why I love Sanderson’s free lectures on YouTube. He doesn’t sugarcoat the presence of survivorship bias in publishing, and he admits that talent isn’t everything when it comes to acceptance.

Yet, he’d found his break by writing epic fantasy during the genre’s falling popularity. He’d accepted possible obscurity and found joy in the act of writing itself. Ironically enough, that’s one of the reasons why he became the renowned fantasy writer he is today.

But even that is subject to survivorship bias. Because we could reason that culling our expectations might lead to success. That if we write whatever we want, we’ll someday become the Sanderson of our genre.

I choose to see it as living in line with our values. As long as you go to bed happy each night, that’s all that matters. Who cares how other writers achieved their dreams, as long as you took the steps to achieve yours?

So what can you do?

Here are a few countermeasures you could apply when looking up to your heroes for advice.

First is to study the trait, not the person.

Let’s say you’re an aspiring musician, and your idol practises their scales every day. Do you blindly follow their six-hour practice, or do you ponder on what you really need?

Simply practising your scales isn’t going to turn you into a famous musician. You need to figure out what’s lacking in your journey, and you will have to determine which areas to grow in.

If scales are what you need, then so be it. But if you find yourself merely imitating other musicians in hopes of becoming them, then you may just be barking up the wrong tree.

For me, I can’t ‘just write’ and expect to find literary success. There are other gaps that I need to address, such as submitting, marketing, and networking. For you, it might be plotting. For someone else, it could be learning the nuances of self-publishing.

We’re all different. Know what you need.

Try it yourself

Second, always be a practitioner. It’s easy to read tips on how to submit your manuscripts and think you’re knowledgeable on the subject.

I personally can’t rely on the typical pitching tips since we don’t have agents in Malaysia. That means I need to do my own research and figure out what works in this region. And just because JK Rowling got rejected twelve times doesn’t mean we’re all fated to take the same path.

I’ve found other fruitful avenues specific to Malaysia that goes beyond cold approaching. And those are novel competitions as well as writer’s groups. And those channels won’t apply to you, even if I laid everything out step by step.

So scrutinise everything you learn, and judge the learnings based on your results, rather than relying on other people’s experiences.

Just be you

Lastly, be yourself. Trite, yes, but only you know what helps you sleep at night.

I myself can’t call a day well-lived if I don’t exercise, write, and improve the blog. You, on the other hand, will have your own set of expectations to fulfil.

If there’s one takeaway you leave with, I want it to be this: For every tip the greats put out, there could be ten other factors that contributed to their success, with luck being one of them.

Having said that, always choose to try, regardless of the outcome. Because that’s the only way you’ll get to a place to share your own tips, and your very own survivorship biases.


Want more content that I don’t put up on the blog? Just click the button below if you do. As a bonus, you’ll also get a guide on how to grow your blog. Also, we can talk more about survivorship bias if you so choose.

140 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Look Up To Successful People All The Time

  1. This was a thoughtful post. I tend to take experts with a grain of salt. Like you say, there are many factors that cause a person to be successful. We don’t know all of them and how it impacted their lives. What also I do is read or listen to these experts as more inspiration. Their success encourages me to keep going when it gets hard.

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    • Oh yeah. At the end of the day, we all have our own ways to achieving something. There are just too many things that may or may not contribute to someone’s success. Maybe me being in Malaysia led me to becoming a published author, and I wouldn’t have found my break had I been born in the US. Who knows? Thanks for sharing your points as always!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. First off, I think my WP reader randomly unfollowed your blog so I’ve missed a bunch of your posts and I need to catch up.

    Second, I love this post so much. I hate how the success stories propped up as motivation and inspiration never disclose that they’re usually featuring the stories of the outliers. Yeah, there’s JK Rowling, but there are also so many more stories of writers who tried and failed to achieve that level of commercial success, and so many more start-ups that went under vs. becoming the next tech unicorn. It’s not that people should never follow their dreams, but that they should keep their expectations realistic – and I think this gets lost in the inspirational messaging.

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    • Love your thoughts on this. Maybe I should start an anti-motivational movement and keep things real, lol.

      But yeah, that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to make our unique circumstances better, such as trying to write a book even though all the odds are stacked against us. And who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll be the one dishing out bias-based advised.

      I feel like there’s a wealth of topics to be explored in there, and it’s thanks to your comment that I’m getting some inspiration.

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  4. Great blog Stuart and Equally great responses . I pick up good things from various people from friends , colleagues, cousins so on which I am confident of putting them into practice when I face certain situations . For example one of my colleagues has this good habit jotting down points after a meeting even some of it may not be that important like the date someone told him that he did that particular visit to a customer’s place . Anyway thanks everyone

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    • Oh yeah, the community is awesome, and I love reading the responses, yours included. Thanks so much for sharing a slice of your life here. It’s always good to pick what works for us and discard the rest. Do stop by again anytime!

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  5. I appreciate you for making this post! I try to take mindfulness that some people were just there at the right moment, at the right time, at the right place and that doesn’t negate my skill or my effort—I learned to cope with reimagining my success and try to think about what it is that I want and how I’m going to accomplish that. I want my success to be a completed goal.

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    • That’s a great way to think—that your efforts aren’t negated just because someone else seems to have succeeded doing what you did. Because like you mentioned, there are so many factors at play, like simply being at the right place at the right time. Thanks for adding your perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You know, I’m just in the middle of quarter life crisis. I just feel disappointed about my life and my current job. But then your post is here.
    You give us a different point of view about life. And also about the definition of success. Thanks, Stuart 😊

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    • Well high five there, my Indonesian neighbour, because I’ve been having some serious thoughts about where I’m going with my writing career too. It’s all about finding our own unique path. Here’s to a great journey to both of us! Thanks so much for stopping by, Tisha!

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  7. I believe in listening to all the advice but doing what suits me. And I write from 3am to 7am, the ungodly hours. I go to bed at 8pm. Works great for me. Perhaps I should start a YouTube channel that posits my schedule as the best 🤣🤣🤣

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  8. Great post. My first thought reading was remembering that we all have different ideas of what success means. I love your idea of focusing on the trait, instead of the person. I may respect someone immensely, but their values, ethics, etc. may not line up well with my own. Great job. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Oh yeah. It becomes easier to be objective when you focus on the actions rather than the person. This is why I’m fine reading authors’ books even though they may have done less-savoury things in their lives. It helps me not to judge others too harshly as well. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Survivorship bias is a new term for me. I’ll definitely have to read more into it. I really appreciated your perpsective on this as that’s the issue I have with most self-help style books and guides. I feel like most of them lean into toxic positivity and completely ignore social, cultural and environmental factors that work against some people and that’s totally out of our control.

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    • Not only that, but as a consumer of self-help material, I feel that the onus is on me to apply the teachings into my own life. Which means I should probably read much less than I think I should, at least until I internalise any teachings worth adopting.

      The way the genre is designed though, it can lure us into feeling fake accomplishment, which is my biggest gripe about it all. Always great to see you here, Meagan!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Another insightful post. I agree that to a large extent, luck certainly plays a role in one’s success, but from what I understand, most of these successful artists or writers did not set out working on their crafts thinking that they would be huge success. It is mainly their passion and convictions that keep them going. Thanks Stuart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes. I think that’s why the advice is always to not blog for money, or write a novel for fame. Instead, we should always pursue the things we’re willing to endure—because every pursuits has its less-savoury parts. Always great to see you here, LH. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Totally agree with your ideas. Its true we are the masters of our lives ! so being at it is the best way to move forward. Yes being at the right place at right time and have talent both contribute to success stories.

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    • Oh yeah, luck does matter more than we think, even if it’s the fact that we weren’t born in war-torn countries. But at the same time, that shouldn’t stop us from trying our best with what we have. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  12. This is an awesome post! And you’re not totally wrong about J.K. Rowling. Apparently, the only reason why her manuscript landed on an editor’s desk was because his daughter was there one day and picked it up out of the sludge pile, and then gave it to her father to read. That simple. That lucky.

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    • A ha! What a great example. The only way to deal with this is to pursue what we enjoy, because there’s no saying whether or not we’ll succeed. But that’s part of the fun of life, isn’t it? Thanks so much for visiting!

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  13. Great post! I completely agree with you! We often forget the role that pure luck has to play in other people’s success, and this is something that we can’t really create, which means that we basically have to keep trying! I too learnt from self-help books that there is no cheat code to life and what matters is that you do something that fits your lifestyle, otherwise it just won’t be sustainable. Sometimes this needs a bit of trial-and-error but it’s what life is about I guess ;)

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    • What a lovely comment, Juliette! I totally mirror all your thoughts here, and I’m glad you shared them. There’s no cheat code to life indeed, and even if there was, it’d take the meaning out of living. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Same trailer different park. Most have it upside down I think enjoyment and love of art should come first, and be made to satisfy artist’s soul, not elicit audience applause. Very good piece 💖✌️

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    • It’s all about finding our ‘thing’, and discovering what makes us tick. It doesn’t matter that successful people do things a certain way, because you have your own abilities to discover, am I right? Thanks so much for visiting!

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    • Indeed! The worst part is that sometimes we don’t even know how many factors there are, and assume it’s due to our hard work. That shouldn’t stop us from working hard though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  15. This is an awesome post, Stuart. I read many motivational books prior to reading ‘Bhagwat Geeta’ (Indian Spiritual Guide), through the motivational book I read earlier, there were no immediate results, instead just the pressure of not following the hard rules that are required to achieve success kept pilling up. A few years back I read ‘Bhagwat Geeta’ and realized all that you have written in this post. Most of our success indeed depends on our conditions and we cannot just be in any other show but only on our own. I loved reading your post as I resonate with every word you have written.

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      • Yeah, you wrote one of the same points mentioned in it. Bhagwad Geeta is sometimes summarised as “Keep doing your task without the thought of results” and you wrote that too. Many of the other books on life talk about the same thing but I believe that as Geeta has a touch of religion, this makes it easier for the reader to accept the teachings without doubting their validity and thus leaves a greater impact on the mind of the reader.

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  16. Great blog post Stuart. I am pretty much answered on all the curiosity I had pertaining success. I love these tow sub topics you pointed out: Just be yourself and the Brandon method where I loved when you said “As long as you go to bed happy, that’s all that matters, who cares how the other writers achieved their dreams”. Have a great weekend brother✌🙏🙏

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    • What a lovely comment to leave. And yes, what’s important is that we find what allows us to sleep better every day, knowing that we’d made full use of it. Sounds simple, but not so in execution. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

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  17. I have never heard of this term, survivorship bias, before but it is indeed very enlightening and nuanced. Life is so complex. We never know exactly what factors truly pave the way for huge individual success. I’ve always been uncomfortable following step by step what someone prescribed, especially when it comes to creating lesson plans as a teacher. At our school, all the math teachers follow this same exact curriculum with same pacing. But all the English teachers do not. We always push back on what admin wants us to do in this area. We have our own ways of delivering content, though we plan around the same standards and major assessments. It is just so hard to pinpoint exact strategies to help students move ahead since everyone looks differently…

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    • Oh yeah, I definitely don’t envy the responsibility teachers have to educate the next generation, yet always being pressured or paid modestly for the amount of effort they put in.

      Plus, true teachers never put out cookie-cutter lessons because everyone learns differently, yet sometimes they are forced to do so due to practicality.

      Thanks so much for always being here, Jennk. I appreciate you!

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  18. interesting post; I don’t know too much about survivorship bias, but I think I got the general premise behind it after reading your post. Also, great advice on finding what works for you.

    By the way, I have also been a fan of self help books for a long time…

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    • Nice! How have the self-help books been treating you?

      I have to give them credit for getting me back to reading at an older age, but the most important thing I’ve learned from them is that the smallest learning put in action is much better than collecting swathes of ‘knowledge’ that I never use.

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      • I was a big fan of Tony Robbins’ books, but I think the main takeway is fairly simple – how we respond to an event is completely under our control. And he is not the only one who has said this.

        I also liked Stephen Covey’s book on the 7 habits…

        and youa re right, you can’t just read these books; you’ve got to put things into action in order to make changes in your life…

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  19. This is the same message we [idk who ‘we’ is, but still] keep preaching to those who want to succeed in college.

    That someone reads throughout the night, every night, and still attends all the classes doesn’t mean you should do same.
    There has to be some effort, all right, but let it be suitable for you.

    Thanks for the reminder!✨

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  20. I’ve never understood why people feel the need to mimick others in this way. I think it’s good to perhaps know how others work because it could give you a new approach, but as you put it what works for one doesn’t for another. It makes me think of English classes I took in school. I always made straight A’s cause writing is my jam, but I hated that they would make me write an outline of my paper beforehand. To teachers they thought this was helping the kids cause laying out what you’re going to write is meant to guide you. All it meant to me was I had to write my whole paper faster so I could then write an outline off of it to turn in a week before the paper was actually due. I’m not a planner. My writing just flows out and trying to plan as others might just causes frustration for me. But so often we are taught this is the “right” way and I think that’s why sometimes we feel like we have to look to others to find that “right” way.

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    • Oh dear I can totally imagine the frustration of being forced to outline. As a pantser, I feel the outline would be like a separate assignment in itself, lol. Yeah, that’s gotta suck. The best teachers should always say ‘it depends’ before answering, instead of having one cookie-cutter method that is always ‘the way’.

      On the other end of the spectrum, it can be neat to come across a technique that works for you. The a-ha feeling is always fun.

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful perspective!

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  21. Great post! I am doing what I love and going to bed happy at night. I call that success.

    I’ve read and listened to all the self-help gurus for the last 30 years and come to the conclusion that there is no ‘secret’, you have to find what works for you and makes you happy.

    Keep doing what you love Stuart!
    Roze

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    • Yas! If you spend your day exactly how you want to, then you’re already more successful than most of the people on Earth.

      And high-five for the self-help bit. I too had listened to them, hoping that one book or person would cure my problems. Nope. It’s gonna be up to me to change my life.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Roze, and you keep doing what you love too!

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  22. Ha I could have stopped at the title! Cos this is precisely the lesson I wish more people would learn. Including me! Took me only in the last few years to finally realise this. But hoping it’s never too late. Just the other day I was telling my wife that enough was enough. I refuse to envy those who appear to the world as successful if it means making me feel down on myself. Nothing’s worth that kind of adulation if it means losing faith in who I am. We need more folks like us to stand up to the juggernauts of this world cos behind every perfect mask most probably belies a closet full of skeletons!! So thanks for this important message Stu! Grateful as always for your ‘truth-telling’.

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    • It’s never too late, because the second best time to plant a tree is always today, amirite?

      And yeah, as humans, we all have skeletons in our closet. In fact, that’s a mind exercise I do every time I see someone who’s made it—I imagine what their weaknesses are, and how they face them, and I realise we’re all human. Great food for thought today, Kelvin. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 3 people

  23. Ya know, this is so strange, but when I think of the best achievement in my life…the thing that came strongly to me…was the time when I was in a friend’s car. He was sending me to the train station. We talked in the car and he did mention about the air-condition of his car having an issue.

    Ya know, me myself at the time…doing all the helping, service, healing stuff…and above all else, I truly cared about him (especially helping him)…I prayed for his car to be better (like, really hard). The next day, he messaged me…telling me that my prayer actually worked. I was quite happy, because I was able to help him.

    It was actually a very old incident…and I have no idea why your statement triggered that memory.
    I mean, it’s a story that is like…totally unrelated to me and myself in the present.

    If I were to related that ‘success’ to a reason…it would be that ‘I Truly, Honestly, and Wholeheartedly’…cared about that person. Ya know, like…total prayer, real…honest and sincere. It’s like my intention was to help…without any regard to what would happen to myself.

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    • Haha, I love it when that happens. I too have had very obscure memories triggered into existence by reading blog posts. And the posts didn’t have anything to do with those events either. They just conjured certain feelings which set off a chain reaction of memories. Can’t say I’m explaining this right, but that’s how it feels.

      That’s so cool what you did for your friend. It must be great to know that you have the capacity to give selfless service. The world needs more of this :)

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  24. This is very insightful, Stuart. My observation is that success is often a combination of hard work and being in the right place at the right time. Some extraordinarily talented people don’t make it, and others with very little talent or work ethic seem to be setting the world on fire. I suppose the bottom line is that life isn’t always fair so, in the end, you have to be true to your values and do what makes you happy—wherever it leads.

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    • Truly agreed. I myself have seen busloads of talented people who just didn’t make the cut, and it may seem unfair, but I know they’ll do great if an opportunity happens to come their way. The ‘preparation meets opportunity’ saying is so true, and that’s always why I try to stay in fighting shape in all areas of life (as best I can, anyway, procrastination and all).

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. It’s so true. Being yourself, being true to yourself and not comparing yourself to others is one of the keys along the path to success. There are so many freelance travel writers out there, yet I persevered and today I’m happy to say I’m published in magazines all over Australia. Honing your skills and loving your craft is a big factor. Great post.

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    • Oh yes. And if an aspiring writer were to try and emulate your career without taking their own lives into account, they’d be sorely disappointed. Awesome stuff, my fellow travel writer! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  26. Outstanding post! I’ve never heard the term “survivorship bias” before, but it truly makes sense to me. Sometimes, I look up to great writers as a wannabe writer and am inclined to take their advice on writing. Yet, most of these people live in different worlds, and I find their paths to success hard to relate to. I don’t mean they are insincere about their journey. It’s just that my background and theirs are like polar opposites, which nullifies their success stories for me, if that makes sense.

    One thing people tend to neglect when looking up to great writers is these writers’ financial background. I’ve recently read a book by a writer from my country. She’s a successful writer in the US now. When I read her bio, I knew we were different (again) no matter what language we spoke. I won’t name her here, but she comes from a wealthy family, went to an Ivy League college and probably never had the financial worries I had grappled with in my entire life. I wonder what my life would have been like if I had had the same privileges.

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    • Great points! On the flip side though, it’s amazing when you finally come across a perspective that you share, and a technique that works for you that someone else is using.

      Sometimes, after wading through tons of advice saying that outlining is the only reliable way to writing a novel, it’s refreshing to read about authors who just go into it blind. And that’s when I feel not alone.

      So yeah, as a Malaysian, I can definitely relate to not being able to connect with so many lives from the West, but that also means we have so many more opportunities to be role models.

      Thanks for your interesting food for thought!

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  27. “As long as you go to bed happy each night, that’s all that matters. Who cares how other writers achieved their dreams, as long as you took steps to achieve yours?”

    Drop the mic, Stuart. These lines say it all. I can’t be jealous of anyone who cracked the code. If anything, it provides hope to schmucks like me. Going to bed happy each night seems like a worthy ambition to me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh yes. I’ve never really felt the need to be envious (though I still feel gutted when someone gets selected over me in writing competitions) of successful writers because that’s just showing me that it can be done—success can be had through writing.

      I just need to find my own way.

      And yeah, I try to master each day to the best of my ability, and that’s something I enjoy aspiring to.

      Thanks as always for dropping by, Pete!

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Always insightful posts Stuart! I recently stopped reading a book that I was actually really looking forward to reading (yes self help/motivational) because I felt like I had achieved nothing so far. But you bring up the good point that there is a whole lot of luck involved in success as well and probably many many failures beforehand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not only that. After reading enough self-help books, they all start to sound the same. I hope I don’t end up sounding like them, since self-help books were what got me back into reading as an adult, lol.

      And yeah, while it sucks that we’re at the mercies of things beyond our control, it also makes success that much more meaningful, amirite? Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t compare myself to people as much as I used to. You start to see so many cases of people who worked hard and didn’t make it and vice versa that you realize there’s no use in looking for a secret formula. Sometimes things are just a matter of pure luck. Imagine two people who had the exact same background and worked equally hard. And imagine one person got to the elevator while someone was in it whom they were able to “network” with, while the other person in the alternate version had to go to the bathroom, missed the elevator, and never got the break. It’s no bad reflection on the second person. It’s just circumstances and luck coming together. I guess the lesson is to work hard and find things to make yourself happy regardless of what you think success should look like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your comment. It made me think of this analogy: that life is just another Instagram algorithm. There’s no telling what will stick and what won’t. But if you have the desire to do something and you enjoy it, then just do it.

      Which is why I don’t judge people based on what they have anymore (because like you said, some people are awarded the elevator), and I look more at how they conduct themselves (100% within their control).

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I take in tips from successful people like I eat watermelon: eat the meat and spit out the seeds. The best advice received was captured in ten two-letter words: if it is to be, it is up to me.

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  31. In my case, my day is not complete until I have written, exercised, and reviewed a book. No matter how busy I am, I must perform these tasks, or else I cannot sleep in the night.

    (Replace the book with anime sometimes.)
    Also, I wanted to ask, I have heard that you should not use headings like “Introduction” in the articles, or “Conclusions”. Is that true?

    Thanks for the wonderful article Stuart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love it. I always respect people who have non-negotiables. More importantly, I admire those who find ways to honour their word to themselves, even on the busiest days.

      Regarding your question, the answer really is ‘it depends’. I don’t see a reason why you can’t use them. Maybe it’s because the words themselves aren’t really flashy. But it does help the audience better separate the entire article into chunks, no?

      Thanks as always for stopping by, Tanish!

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  32. Very astute. I’ve been reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits book (super late i know) and the first few chapters mention that it’s more productive to build systems instead of focusing on achieving goals. I do believe like that’s why certain people can ‘succeed’ in life while others seem to fall short. Those who make it are those who focus on building a solid rocket before soaring into the galaxy, while the others do so on a paper plane. I think it’s a great mindset to build anf form good habits within ourselves, instead of focusing on acheiving the same as others have. Great read again Stuart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s almost like that saying ‘If a person is right, their world will be right’.

      Addressing your ‘self’ first is always a great way to go about life, and that involves building a daily process that gets you closer to where you want to be. I love the teachings from Atomic Habits.

      And likewise, YOUR comment was a great read!

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  33. Stuart, You ALWAYS give the best advice. If we look at the success of others it will drive us crazy. It’s so much better to focus on where we are right now. One of my favorite photography quotes is “The only difference between me and someone who’s better than me is time spent behind the camera.” Many people “fall” into success. Some is well earned but a TON of artists aren’t discovered until after they pass away. So just keep on truckin forward right? Keep improving the craft, putting yourself out there and trying to better who you are today from who you were yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not gonna lie, it sounds pretty depressing to only be discovered after death, but that’s the main thing we need to be okay with when trying to make something for ourselves in the arts.

      But if we just flip the script and take pleasure in approaching the process better than we did yesterday (Japanese tea ceremonies come to mind), then we can deal so much better with the doubt. Thanks for your insightful comment, LaShelle!

      Like

  34. Great post! Loved the tips you shared. I also like how you never seem to be afraid to challege popular thinking. Often we are made to feel that we must follow someone else’s blueprint for success, when what we need to do is find our own blueprint. (Not because waking uo at 4am works for John Doe means that it will work for me.)
    Thanks for sharing🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah. Even the ‘sensible’ habits don’t work for everyone. But you know what the best tip is? The one that works for YOU. So always take what’s useful to you and dump the rest. Life’s too short to adopt a process that doesn’t jive with who you are. Thanks so much for your thoughtful insights!

      Like

  35. Some great thoughts and tips here, Stuart. There are so many factors which can help or hinder the path to success. I like your point about going to bed each evening knowing you have given it your best shot. Maybe that is the best we can hope for, and the rest is left to fate?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup. Nothing beats that feeling of having lived a great day. There’s a reason why I’ve always felt the most accomplished when I’d spent the day working on meaningful activities (to me). And yes, I also like to think that we don’t control much beyond that, so Fate does have to swoop in and do as she pleases. Thanks for your thoughts, Davy!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Having a role model is certainly helpful for some people, but sometimes we should focus more on who we are, and what we can do to change ourselves without following others.
    Everyone, even successful people, has taken their own path!
    Thanks for the article!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yas. I’m pretty certain that our main goal is to forge our own path, even though we take inspiration from others. I’m also quite sure we have the ability to come up with our own answers. We just need to stop and listen to ourselves. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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