Do Success Stories Inspire or Intimidate You?

By Seamus Anthony

By Steve Mills

You can learn a lot about life from reading and listening to the life stories of others. I love biographies, to see how my personal hero’s have structured their lives. The struggles they have faced, strategies they have used and the way that they have structured their lives in order to do what they love every day. The insight gained from looking at the place where people have started their life journey, and the steps they have taken to get to their goals is extremely valuable, like the condensed experience of every year of their life, put into the few hours it takes to read the book.

While it is important to use biographies and stories of success to learn and motivate us, there is one thing to be wary of. That is using the circumstances of others as excuses for not taking action ourselves. In the past I have caught myself, after reading about another self made billionaire, thinking things like “If only I got that big break then my life would be different” OR “if I didn’t have all of these responsibilities then I would have time to plan for success.”

This has lead to periods of inaction, or for settling for life circumstances that are less then favourable because I didn’t feel that I had the resources or advantages that others may have earned or been given by fate. I am now the first to admit that when we compare our life circumstances with other people, and then use the differences as excuses, we are entirely missing the point.

It is not that important to get hung up on the facts, but more to take the broad lessons of another’s life experience, and then apply them to your current life and dreams. Sure, your hero may have been a millionaire by 25, and you are close to pushing 40. Does that mean that you are in any less of a position than them? No, it just means that you have walked a different path, a unique experience that is the most valuable thing that you could possibly possess.

Sure, some of your idols may have been overnight successes, or been given a massive “lucky break”, but in general they were people just like you, following an inner urge to do their own thing, and not be confined by the rules of others. Don’t get caught in the game of looking for reasons why your life structure is less than ideal and stopping you reaching your goals. Look to see the advantages and benefits that are unique to you and give you an advantage. Always look to make small gains every day, and utilise the resources at hand as fully as possible.

If an interest in deeper spirituality has taught me anything in my life, it is that each of us must walk their own path towards their own truth.
We are here in this life as individuals so that we can learn and explore a way of living and a path to fulfilment that is unique.

Hi, I'm Seamus Anthony. I am an author, artist and musician from Australia. Here at Rebel Zen, I document my journey as an creative artist and human and in doing so, hopefully help you in your own progress through your life of creativity. Go get your free E-book by me: "Taming The Monkey Mind".

11 comments Write a comment

  1. Not only must we walk our own paths toward our own truth, we also MUST do this without looking over at Bob and watching him walk down his path.

    Keeping up with the Jones’ is for the birds. I no longer measure success on my “things” compared to your things, but how I feel, right now, at this point in my life (which I think is what you are pretty much hitting on here). You know, most of the time I feel MORE successful than “Bob” or “Mr. Jones” appear to be.

    Scotts last blog post..What’s Your Judas

  2. Great post!
    We do have to act based on our own advantages and benefits and we need to act to get the results we want.

    I often end up taking a different path:
    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference”

    The quote is from The Road less traveled by Robert Frost
    http://www.amandashome.com/road.html

  3. I’m with you. Biographies are some of my most inspired material. So much life packed into the pages. I’m never intimidated though. Successes may seem like eruptions, but that is because we often cannot see the bubbling magma beneath. When I read something about another’s success, it makes me want to work harder.

  4. I am inspired by biographies. Of course, the majority of my biographical readings has been been on Napoleon, but still, I do not aspire to become the emperor of France, so no need for intimidation. I like to learn from others and take the best of their success techniques and apply those to my goals where possible.

    “Don’t get caught in the game of looking for reasons why your life structure is less than ideal and stopping you reaching your goals. Look to see the advantages and benefits that are unique to you and give you an advantage. Always look to make small gains every day, and utilise the resources at hand as fully as possible.”

    You said it. I think Nike’s marketing department summed this paragraph up as “Just Do It!” So true.

    Ians last blog post..I Want To Do It With You

  5. When I saw the title of this post I was instantly engaged. Then I read the content and was equally pleased.

    You raise some great points, Steve! I have a tendency to either feel inspired or be discouraged depending on my level on confidence at the moment. But like you said, we’re all at our own ‘stages’ in life and what’s important is the view ahead, not the one to the right or left.

    Eric Hamms last blog post..Official ‘Sign In’ Post…

  6. Ummmm . . . inspire me. I know plenty of people who resent someone else’s success as though there is only so much to go around. You make me notice: I don’t think I have ever read a biography. Huh. Might have a look in the library for a pertinent hero tomorrow.

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  8. It seems that, in contrast to what is said in the success literature, not everyone is cut out for the acquisition of objective values. Too big are the differences in IQ, temperament and physiology, so that many of us are sentenced to settle with religion or spirituality, if one doesn’t want to corrupt ones ethics.

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