This Talk by Robert Greene covered a very common misconception that people tend to have about everything that is behind success. We tend to fixate on everything we can see with our eyes - which is generally only the end result of something - basically the product of success. When we look at other people who have been successful we tend to see the apparent good luck that helped them along the way (like meeting the right person with the right connections), or the project that gets them wealth and attention - all of the visible signs of 'manifested' opportunity and success. What we tend not to see is everything that went in to getting the person there, all the hard work and small steps that led to the big result.
People tend to lose touch with themselves over time and especially in adulthood. We listen to everyone around us telling us what we 'should' be and what we 'should' do. Unfortunately we listen to them more often than not. We start forgetting what it is we enjoy doing. We tend to end up living a life we don't like or enjoy.
So we tend not to see the story behind the success: the person's life experiences, the knowledge they gained, the skills they developed, the work habits they developed, their thinking patterns, the ability to withstand criticism and negativity. Visible change is something that manifests after time and preparation. By failing to see how change really works, we fail to change ourselves because we're expecting change to magically 'happen' or be handed to us. This leads us to become increasingly frustrated, because we feel bored and like we're not reaching our true potential. We then tend to reach out and grab some immediate and superficial temporary fix to make us feel better and 'feel like' we've changed - but the change and feeling of relief doesn't last. This becomes a pattern that repeats over and over until you either change it or die.
We need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and start focusing on our own processes. We need to learn how to change, how to develop discipline, how to develop skills, how to gather knowledge and separate the good from the bad.
We should welcome wrong turns and mistakes - they are opportunities to explore ourselves and the world more than before. You can learn more about yourself from making mistakes compared to when everything goes exactly according to plan.
we need to rediscover the things we enjoy and are 'naturally' drawn to - developing ourselves in the paths that we are interested in will make our journeys more interesting to us. Learning will no longer be cumbersome and boring, but exciting and self motivated.
We have great opportunities for change in something like work - we can make small changes to ourselves from which we will start seeing results with time and continued application. It gives us the opportunity to really see ourselves clearly - more so that trying to 'find yourself' in some new age or spiritual path. Looking for some magical answer outside of ourselves is actually more like running away from ourselves - it does not lead us to truly look at ourselves and challenge ourselves.
As usual, the answer is astoundingly simple and yet so often missed. With a little bit of dedication and discipline we can shape ourselves and our lives to be everything we would like to experience.