Why is it when we hear that someone is successful, usually most of us connect it to money, and when we hear that someone is really successful, we connect it to a lot of money?
Since our childhood, we were conditioned to believe that money buys everything: Nice house, fancy cars, vacations, entertainment, gadgets, you name it. Most of the world wants it and gets lost in chasing money. It’s a never‑ending rat race.
So the question is, what’s true success? Can money really define success, or there’s more to it?
Think of a car. It consists of many components. Some of them, for example, engine, battery, wheel, mirrors, seat belts, gas tank. Nobody really can say that I bought a car to listen to my MP3 player or to look at the mirrors all day. We purchased a car to get from point A to point B.
So the same thing with money. Life cannot be just all about money. We came down into this world to have a fulfilled life. Money is just a component for us to experience certain things, acquire certain things, share certain things, or help others.
So I believe that to be truly successful, one needs to be very balanced, balanced with their spirituality, with their material pursuits, and everything else in life. If you think of your friends or people that you know and try to analyze what they’re good at, you will see that they’re good at one or two or three things. Some of them are really good with parenting, some of them have very good relationships, some very good at their career, and some really good with their nutrition and health. But do you know anybody, or how many people do you know that are really good at everything, that they’re very balanced?
That’s what I call true success. True success is when you come across people ‑‑ it could be even you ‑‑ that is very balanced. If someone asks you, “How are you with your kids,” you’re on top of your game. If somebody asks you, “How are you doing with your nutrition,” you’re on top of your game. If somebody asks you how you’re doing with your career, you’re on top of the game. But the trick is, not at the expense of anything else. All the components of life are very balanced.
So can it be even possible? We do come across some successful people. And usually you might think of celebrities and you ask yourself how in the world those speakers, trainers, or coaches got to that level where they have everything so balanced, and usually we think it’s some kind of gift or talent. In reality, it’s not. In reality, it was acquired. It was acquired through a lot of challenges, a lot of effort, a lot of falls, and constant never‑ending improvements in life with every single component of life.
I like what Eric Thomas said about when you hit the oak tree a thousand times, you’re not going to get it down. But if you hit it in one spot a thousand times, it’s going down. So if we’re persistent with something, we can acquire it.
Now, there will be opposition. Who’s the opposition? Opposition is us. It’s not our competitors in business. It’s not our friends or relatives or neighbors. The only challenge that we have there is us, ourselves. Notice I said challenge, not obstacle. Challenges are there to make us grow and make us understand something, teach us something.
Think of a water dam. I found out that — it’s very interesting how it was created. Basically, there was a challenge placed in front of the water, and water had to slow down and rise above, in a controlled matter, of course. And once it overcomes the challenge, it produces electricity that helps a city, besides controlling the flood and some industrial use that water is being used for.
There’s two things that create the intensity of power: The height of the wall, the challenge in front of water; and the amount of water that falls down. So the further water falls down, more power it produces. So when we face a challenge in life, the bigger the challenge is, it’s actually better for us. Yes, it will slow us down. But eventually, we will rise up above it. And when we overcome it, we come with such a strong power to overcome this challenge.
Now, you can’t just go and go for the biggest challenges out there and overcome them. It doesn’t work that way. You have to start small, very small. For example, start waking up earlier in the morning; go for a run, one‑mile run each day; read a book, 15-20 minutes, on personal development. Make it your habit, tiny habit. Once it becomes your habit and your second nature, take upon yourself another thing and another thing and another thing.
Eventually, you get to the point where you’re getting better, better, better, better. And as if you heard, not once, they say greatness is not achieving one thing, succeeding in a career or something. Greatness is succeeding in a lot of small things on a consistent basis.
So it’s all about committing, disciplining yourself, and being consistent. And if you’re consistent, eventually you overcome it.