I consider myself a successful person. I aim high, I often challenge myself in ways which surprise others and I love success. Even just the idea of excellence and achievement inspire and motivate me hugely. It just recently struck me that success was something fixed and often elusive which I was constantly striving for again and again in every area of my life. Then I thought about where I am now. Three years ago I ran the London Marathon, my first ever marathon. Now I’m barely able to run 5K. How the hell have I let that one slip, I hear you ask?!
In the freelance music industry I was always aware that I was only as good as my last gig. This kept me on my toes and ensured I kept my standard up. For some of those who had fixed regular jobs they believed they had ‘made it,’ they were good enough to get their job and that validated their success. What then happened was that they stopped trying, and gradually they let standards slip. If they had been re-auditioned at a later point there was no way they’d get their job, because the truth is you are only as good as your last gig.
What I didn’t do after my marathon was keep up the running. I had achieved what I wanted, I could congratulate myself that I was a marathon runner. But I did exactly what those in their jobs did, I stopped trying. The truth is, I was a marathon runner then, but not right now. Of course I can get there again, but had I just kept running a little everyday I wouldn’t have such a huge mountain to climb in order to run the Brighton Marathon next April. What I was missing was a mindset for success.
So why are we all chasing success, as if it is this fixed thing which once we achieve it we are done? I have just started reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which teaches that the real key to success is essentially to keep going. It is about cultivating a particular mindset for success. Where I failed, where we all fail is not in not trying, but stopping at the point we think we’ve made it. It doesn’t take much to let things slip a little each day, but equally it doesn’t take much to keep things going each day, and not only will you achieve success, but you will continue to be successful, no matter what life throws at you, because success is a mindset, not a ‘thing.’