Most people do not understand success.
Most people understand what the end result of success looks like. They understand trophies, wealth, attractive partners, entourages and fans, and the glamor that follows.
People hear about that 28 year old who sold his mobile app to Facebook or Google for $500M USD and champion him as “the overnight success”.
However, people do not understand that every “overnight” success story is actually usually a 10 year grind and struggle filled with uncertainty, doubt, heartbreak, anger, tedium, and the hope that an idea will turn into something brilliant.
Nobody knows that he spent his weekends cranking away at learning code and failing at lots of small projects by himself while his friends were at the club.
Nobody knows that his girlfriend broke up with him because he invested his meager savings into a hail mary project that ended up failing, temporarily leaving him a dejected and broken man.
They did not see the nights he spent pacing around his desolate studio apartment, chasing away the roaches and wondering how he got so lost down the narrow road.
They have not experienced the bleak pain, strife, anxiety, and uncertainty that defines the narrow road that we must brave and conquer on our path to our unlikely success – in whatever form it may manifest for you, the lone pilgrim.
Success is not a result. It looks that way because that is how success is presented to us. However, more often than not, success is the improbable result of months or years of toil, pain, and fear.
Fear of financial ruin.
Fear of failure. Fear of judgment because of that failure.
Fear that we will be openly or quietly mocked for not reaching our potential or accomplishing that which we set out to do.
Fear that our loved ones will tell us that we tried our best. That they will tell us that we do not belong to that class of pioneers who has endured the narrow road. The same class of pioneers that has torn through the excruciating grips of mediocrity to make a dent in this universe before ultimately becoming dust.
And you WILL someday become dust. You will return and be absorbed back into this indifferent universe and life will go on.
The question is, what kind of dent will you make in the universe before you become dust?
You are not guaranteed success. You are not entitled to success.
Simultaneously, you are not guaranteed failure.
You are not entitled to failure.
The universe is indifferent. You can choose to assume that this means that you will doomed to mediocrity or you can assume that this means you have an equal chance of seizing your purpose for why you exist.
We’ve evolved to have fear because there once existed very real threats to our lives in the wilderness thousands of years ago. Fear served a very real purpose in our evolutionary biology: to keep us alert and capable of escaping or battling that which threatened our mortal souls.
Thus, you must harness your fear.
Don’t battle your fear. Use your fear.
Grip it by its mangy neck and refuse to let it conquer you.
Once you have done that, you will be able to endure the narrow road. You’ll understand that the fear exists as a hurdle to separate yourself from those who lack the endurance or wits to brave the treacherous path to an uncertain nirvana.
Then after you’ve clambered and struggled through the hell that is your personal path…
…you will find your overnight success.