There are two styles of climbing the mountain of achievement. These are manifest by what we’ll call the “Visionary” and the “One-Stepper.”
Each is useful in its own right, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. Neither is inherently superior to the other.
The important thing is to understand which one is your natural style so you can 1) leverage its strengths to the fullest, and 2) compensate for its weaknesses.
Read the general descriptions of each to see which one resonates with you most:
Success — what it is and how to attain it — is a genre well-explored, with no shortage of gurus or devotees.
Today I wish not to speak with you of success, but rather of progress, for progress precedes success.
Success is the top of the mountain; progress is the path that gets you there. Success is the destination; progress is the journey.
Success is your ambition and objective; progress is your orientation and motion. Success is your True North; progress is your compass.
I must start today’s article with a disclaimer: I don’t know how much of this is Objective Truth.
I readily acknowledge that people much smarter than me can poke holes in my theory, and find justifiable fault with the journey I took to develop it.
But I do know this: Regardless of how I get there, the insight I stumbled over in the darkness of my limited understanding is profoundly useful and can transform your life.
Are you perfectly content with your life?
I hope not.
I hope you are driven by a divine discontentment. But I also hope that your discontentment leads to growth rather than grumbling, progress rather than protesting.
I once wrote that you should always be dissatisfied. But the truth is that I used the wrong word. There’s a profound difference, I’ve learned, between mere dissatisfaction and deep hunger.
The world calls us crazy.
The world has constructed a box of rules. From the womb we have been warned to never stray outside of the box.
Inside the box, so we’re told, is safety. Security. Comfort. The good life.
Outside the box is risk. Uncertainty. Shame. A life of struggle.
We say that inside the box is stagnation. Mediocrity. Impotence. A life of conformity.
On April 23rd, 1910, a commanding man stood at the Sorbonne in Paris, France and delivered a rousing 35-page speech, which has become immortalized for one electrifying quote within it.
As a child the man was asthmatic, nearsighted, and tutored at home because he was too sickly to attend school. As a teen, to overcome his physical weakness, he threw himself into bodybuilding and embraced what he called a “strenuous life.” Later, as a cattle rancher and war hero, he continually proved himself an embodiment of his famous quote.
You know the man and you know the quote. But do you know the full speech? It’s worth reading, pondering, and re-reading.
Suppose your daily source of water was a well, and someone were to put a low concentration of poison into the well.
The poison won’t kill you immediately, but slowly over time eats away at your organs and over the course of a few years will sicken and kill you.
Even in low dosages, would you still drink that water?
Seems obvious that you would either purify it or dig a new well, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not so obvious when the well is a metaphor.
An anecdote is told of a man named Jim who missed his chance to become wealthy during the gold rush days.
Surrounded by wealth and opportunity, he merely shuffled through life and never amounted to much.
His friend explained, “Jim has the gold fever, but he doesn’t have the digging principle.”
There’s a corollary to the digging principle.
You’re in a job or career that pays the bills, but isn’t your Soul Purpose.
You have an idea of what your Purpose is, and how to monetize it. But you’re not sure when and how to make the leap from immediate security to long-term Purpose and fulfillment.
Consider two possible strategies, as taken from Robert Greene’s book, The 33 Strategies of War:
There’s a certain song dominating the airwaves that represents everything that disgusts and angers me about pop culture.
I’m loathe to breathe more life into its stupidity and degeneracy. But to get us on the same page, I’m talking about “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor.
Here are the lyrics: