There are a lot of interesting aspects to success, and most of them I realized after experiencing the journey. As Miles Kington said, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” There is a huge difference between reading about pursuing your dream and actually doing it – and since I started on my crazy musical and entrepreneurial path years ago, there’s a lot I’ve realized that I wish I knew earlier. Hopefully these help you out and provide insight, especially if you’re just getting started down the insane path of success.
1. Time is wicked important
The idea of “I’ll just do it later” is one of the worst thoughts you can have, and as you become more successful, you’ll realize how important time actually is. I’ll constantly be frustrated if I have to wait even just a few hours for something, because those few hours could be spent doing something more productive. Waiting is one of the worst things you can do, so start now.
2. More people are watching you than you think
I’m always surprised, even now, when I bump into random people who say that they’ve read tons of posts of my blog or watched tons of my videos. The truth is, once you start pursuing an ambitious dream, people will either do 2 things: 1. Live vicariously through you or 2. Use your story as inspiration for their own life. Either way, it’s inevitable that more and more eyes will be on you, so always remember that what you say can have a direct effect on someone else.
3. Your dream will change
I posted Conan O’Brien’s commencement speech in my post about 5 Speeches That Changed My Life, as he very intelligently explained how it’s inevitable that everyone’s dream changes. The key with this one is to not have your dream change for the worse – only for the better. While it’s important to have a strong vision of where exactly you want to be, remember that dreams and paths do change, and those changes can make all the difference. When I first started producing music, I never expected to also get into blogging, YouTubing, Motivational Speaking, and more, but here I am.
4. Content is key
I know a lot of club owners, and they tell me that they have DJs approach them all the time asking to perform. Most of them say something along the lines of “Trust me – if I’m up there, I’m going to kill it.” And while that may be so, do you have any proof? Do you have a DJ Mix, a good referral, etc? As simple as it sounds, most people forget that in any competitive market having viable content is key. You may be the best DJ, Actor, Athlete, Writer, etc in the world, but if you don’t have content or proof it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t jump the gun, however…
5. WAIT to post/release content so it’s your best
This, above anything, is most important for any creative persuits. Sometimes – actually most of the time – you only have one shot, and if you give someone sub-par content, they probably won’t look at your works ever again. This sounds harsh, but it’s true. It’s NEVER a bad idea to say something like “I’m still refining my craft, but I can send my content when I feel it’s ready.” Experienced people in the field will definitely understand, and even more, will look at you more highly for acknowledging that you still have some work to do.
6. You HAVE to say no
The bigger you get the more you’ll have to say no – it’s inevitable. Learn when saying yes is appropriate and when saying no is crucial, as putting too much on your plate can ruin any potential opportunities. I constantly get approached by people in numerous fields, and I have to say no to all of them – if anything, I say no 90% of the time. In the beginning this is hard, especially if money is tight, but you have to stick to your guns and understand what will help you and what won’t.
7. Money only solves money problems
I’ve been completely broke and I’ve not had to worry about money, and what I can tell you is that money only solves money problems. Yes, it’s an amazing feeling to not have any financial worries, but if you’re constantly pursuing your dream you’ll encounter tons of problems. Realize that money will only take you so far, because thinking that it solves everything will put you in a dilemma when it doesn’t.
8. Avoid being comfortable
This is a tricky point to explain, but being comfortable is one of the worst things you can do. It’s easy to see someone who’s achieved some level of success slow down, and all of a sudden they’re off the radar. As you keep progressing, put yourself in uncomfortable situations that push you to become stronger. The best way to truly become successful is being comfortable in massive chaos – this is what has allowed me to succeed in horrific situations.
9. You’ll be “that guy” (or girl)
Eric Thomas ate out of garbage cans. Tim Ferriss did pull-ups on random bars around San Francisco. Tony Robbins talked to himself out loud while walking. JK Rowling wrote all her Harry Potter ideas on napkins. I made powered food in public while traveling around making The Light Nearby, and even recently I was working on two computers while watching old school Pokemon (hence the main picture for this post). If you look at various successful people you’ll find that they all had to do ridiculous things to make it, and sometimes they had to be “that guy/girl.” As Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind,” and the only people who will critically judge you aren’t worth your time.
10. The hardest times lie ahead – but it’s worth it
Trust me when I say I’ve experienced the worst emotions and had some pretty horrific experiences, but it’s all been completely worth it. Especially when you’re in the flow of doing what you love, every single hardship that you’ve experienced will fade away, and you’ll realize how it was all worth it. Understand that your hardest moments lie ahead – and if they’re not that difficult, you’re not trying hard enough. Push yourself, don’t give up, and you’ll be amazed as what can happen.