Do you want to be successful? Silly question right? Of course you want to be successful! I know I do! Until recently, approximately a year and a half or so, I steered clear of most social media. As incredible of an invention social media is, running on top of the internet, connecting billions of people around the world, it is also the quickest way to establish confirmation bias. If we assume that 1 out of 100 people are just flat out crazy, or have the intellect of a cave man, you know who you are… flat earthers, chem trail mind control believers, pizza-gate conspiracy theorists, and on and on. Social media is great because it allows people who have an interest or curiosity about a topic to connect on a global scale. However, if you think the earth is flat and you go to social media to research all the “proof” of a flat earth, you will find thousands of people with that similar belief. Viola, confirmation bias! You are now certain of your claims because hey, literally THOUSANDS of other people agree with you.
So what’s my point and where am I going with this? As someone with an ever-growing curiosity of the world, psychology, finance, technology, religion and the human condition I see confirmation bias formed on social media EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t matter the topic, people want to be right and will seek out confirmation for existing beliefs while putting up a wall to information that opposes their existing beliefs. As someone who over the past few years has begun to get more active on social media I notice when I join a community to talk about a topic that is related to said community, the community default response is they already know everything you say, you offer nothing new, or they may just troll you and may even resort to name calling. Hey it’s social media, it’s to be expected that, unfortunately, people have keyboard courage and feel empowered to talk down to people online, maybe it’s because they are talked down to in their real lives.
Alright, let’s get back on track here, how to be successful is the point of this post after all! Obviously utilizing social media is great for marketing if you’re a business, however if you are the consumer of information via social media platforms, be careful because I see the human condition form right before my eyes every single day. It’s the herd mentality, group think and confirmation bias that is established because of our need to have our current beliefs validated! The quickest way to fail at something is to put up a shield to any and all information that is opposite of what you believe or what you want. To be successful you must be able to see the big picture! You must take in as much information as you can absorb! Most importantly, it won’t be enjoyable, but you must listen to the opposition! Even if you never agree with them, like you, they believe with conviction that their views are correct. In order to have the most informed perspective you must be able and willing to objectively analyze the information you agree with and maybe even more so, the information you don’t.
Why is it important to analyze and spend time investigating information you disagree with? For starters, if you don’t, you are essentially putting on blinders, in other words, you have tunnel vision and are only able to see what you want to see. Without getting religious on you but using religion as an example, this is precisely why most religious people believe their religion is right and all others are wrong. From a business perspective, depending on your age, you may or may not get this next reference… Blockbuster used to be THE GO TO place for movie rentals. They thought they had a monopoly on the movie rental market and when competition allowed for the rental of movies through the mail they figured there is NO WAY that is a threat to the mighty Blockbuster! The blockbuster example represents the psychology of ego which in turn welcomes complacency. There is no room for ego when someone is driven, constantly striving to improve and there is certainly no room for complacency for those who are successful.
If you are a business owner and wildly successful, you are proud of your accomplishments, your ego is huge and you probably feel unstoppable. Right there! If you were lucky enough to get that far, right there is where the tides can turn, you can be stopped! There are thousands if not millions of others who want to have what you have and will tear you down to get it. Jeesh! That took an ugly turn didn’t it? Not really, just keeping it real folks, successful people are not motivated, they are driven, they are hungry and they will only stay successful for as long as they are driven. Motivation comes and goes but drive is internal, it comes from the depths, it’s in your DNA! You either have it or you don’t, however, don’t be discouraged, if you don’t have it! You can get it. But… you must be consistent.
Success starts with consistency and ends with complacency! Regardless of what your niche is, your side hustle, your skill or talent, to be successful you must be consistent. Work on your thing regularly. Fake it till you make it! Go through the motions. The saying “I was just going through the motions” is usually said in a negative way, however, combined with consistency that negative quote can lead to “the motions” becoming a habit, turning into a craft and eventually a marketable skill. Listen to the naysayers! Don’t let them discourage you, but listen. It will help you grow and also, in this world it will give you the thick skin you are going to need! An easy example of going through the motions is fitness. There are days when I am just not feeling it! I don’t want to go to the gym or put my shoes and go for a run, but I go through the motions anyway. This not only keeps me on track with my fitness goals but it also increases my discipline to do what I must at times when I want to and also at time when I don’t. So be consistent folks, it will pay off and will give you the edge you wouldn’t have had if you took days off just cause you weren’t feeling it that day.
Another key to success is to do something that scares you as often as possible. I don’t mean go base jumping without safety equipment! What I am talking about is that all of us, even the bravest of us, have things we WANT to do but there is a fear that prevents us from doing them. Whether it’s just avoiding an uncomfortable situation, embarrassment, or a fear of rejection and on and on. Each time you face your fear, confront whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable and accept rejection the easier it gets to do so! For some, myself included, I find practicing this similar to an adrenaline rush. It feels fantastic to overcome something or to achieve something you finally had the courage to do. If you are not yet your own boss, one fear I know many people have is interviewing for a new job. I used to hate interviews! Instead of avoiding them and being discouraged when I had a bad one I decided to take the good interviews and the bad ones and use each one as an opportunity to assess what I did right, what I did wrong, and improve for the next one. To this day I still interview for jobs, on average, 2–3 times a month. It’s good practice, not just for being good at the process but for also maintaining a good idea of what talent, skills and expertise is being sought after.
“The more you know…
the more you realize you don’t know… the less you know, the more you think you know.”
I could really write a book about this topic and there are countless books already available on this topic so I won’t make this too much longer! The most tell tail sign that I know I am talking with an intelligent person is that they are able to admit or acknowledge that there are experts in a variety of fields that make it so that they themselves are able to be successful. Paraphrasing here, but even Elon Musk has said for someone who wants to be wildly successful they need to be a really good generalist. That doesn’t sound sexy at all! Think about it though! If you are consistent, you are driven, you have decent time management skills and you have a strong, general understanding of most business processes than you can harness the efforts of all the experts to potentially build a successful enterprise, business, or social media ecosystem and so on.
I’ll share a few of my favorite motivational and insightful quotes and then I’ll try to wrap up this entire post into a bite size conclusion for anyone who has made it this far!
“The road to success is always under construction.”
“You’ll worry less about what people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words;
watch your words, they become your actions;
watch your actions, they become your habits;
watch your habits, they become your character;
watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.”