The Truth About Success
I’m going to tell you some harsh truths about success that only successful people know but probably won’t tell you. I know I’m not exactly Warren Buffet, but a few years ago, I set myself the goal of running a successful drop-servicing business so I could travel the world and live on my own terms. And I achieved it.
Right now, my drop-servicing businesses make well over 7 figures a year, and I’ve ticked a ton of countries off my travel list. But over the years, I’ve learned some pretty unexpected stuff about success—things I could never have anticipated.
And if I could turn back time and tell myself the things I’m about to share with you in this article, I would do that in a heartbeat. I’d save myself so much time, energy, and money. But seeing as that’s impossible, I’m telling you instead. So here are the 10 truths about success you absolutely need to hear, even if you may not want to.
Truth #1 – It’s not as good as you think it will be
I didn’t know it at the time, but when I set myself the goal of running a successful drop-servicing business, it was because I thought it would make me happy. But I don’t often tell people that it didn’t work. Not completely. I’ll be honest – my life is much better now than it used to be. I no longer worry about money and live entirely on my terms. But there are things I still struggle with. Running a business is no picnic. Managing a team has its drawbacks. And traveling can be a pain in the arse sometimes. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I’ve adapted. This is just my new normal.
It’s like buying a new car. You get really excited about buying it, but when you finally do – you enjoy it for about two weeks, but then you adapt, and it becomes the car you drive. Why does this happen? Well, because I’m really into psychology, I did my research and learned psychologists actually have a name for this. They call it hedonic adaptation or the hedonic treadmill. This describes how we become numb to new stimuli, and pretty soon, we readjust and go back to our emotional baseline. Once we’ve adjusted, the stimulus needed to create an emotion like happiness or excitement must be more intense than the last. This is why people can go mental when it comes to buying cars. They’re on a treadmill where they need bigger, better, and faster in order to feel the same enjoyment they felt when they bought their first banged-up Nissan.
This effect has been studied like crazy, and the results have been a bit mind-blowing, to be honest. For example, who do you think is happier? Someone who won the lottery a year ago or someone who lost the use of their legs in a car accident? Obviously the lottery winner, right? Well, hold your horses. According to a study conducted in 1978, lottery winners and paraplegics were roughly as happy a year after the event. So I’m sorry to say that earning 10k per month won’t solve all of your problems. It will improve your life in every way, especially if you’re broke right now, so that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. But it does mean that you should adjust your expectations. Life is still life. You’ll still have challenges that success can’t solve. Be prepared for that. And when your learn that your success didn’t solve every problem in your life, don’t drown yourself in cheap vodka. Just keep going and don’t stop growing.
Truth #2 – Getting there is never as hard as you think it will be
Here’s something good to know. Just as we have a tendency to overestimate how happy things will make us, we overestimate other things. How hard things will be. The Stoic philosopher Seneca once said that we suffer more in imagination than in reality. I agree with him. And this imagined suffering (things like fear and dread) screws us up in big ways. One way is that it causes us to procrastinate. By exaggerating the challenge, we avoid doing what we know we should do. And the longer we procrastinate or avoid doing something, the more painful it becomes in our head. It’s like a vicious cycle.
However, when you actually take action, the discomfort is nowhere near as bad as you thought it would be. The problem with dread and fear is that it holds you back from taking on big challenges. But you’ll find that no matter how big the challenge – you will always adapt to it. I’m sure you’ve been through some challenging stuff. You adapted, didn’t you? Well, this is no different. So, if you’re holding off on setting big goals and getting after them, remember that the path to success is not as hard as you think it will be. And when unexpected challenges come your way – you’ll adapt. You’re a resilient little monkey who can handle way more than you think. So set some big goals and go for it. Life is too short not to.
Truth #3 – You earn as much money as you want to
What I’m about to say might be hard to believe. You’ll probably resist it or call it bullshit. You might even get pissed off at me. But before I tell you this, I want you to remember something. I want you to be successful beyond your wildest dreams. This is why I have this channel in the first place. Your being successful would be the best result I could hope for. But sometimes, I might need to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. So keep an open mind and consider that what I’m about to tell you might be true for you. Here it is. Suppose you’ve always struggled for money. Suppose you’ve never earned beyond a specific amount of money, which has always been a source of struggle, pain, and frustration. Then it’s because, on some level, you’re choosing it. A part of you is attached to being broke and pushes wealth away. You resist being a wealthy person.
This sounds like some new-age woo-woo bullshit. That is until you learn a little bit about a field of psychology called Self-Image Theory. The basic premise is that we all have an image of ourselves that’s created from our past experiences and conditioning. It’s our idea of ourselves. Everyone has one. And this idea of ourselves feeds our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. But here’s the exciting bit. We are always acting in alignment with the image we have of ourselves. Our self-image can be a prison that keeps us stuck or a paradise that makes success easy. For example, if your image of yourself is a broke person who constantly struggles for money, you’ll act in ways that keep you broke. That’s because the mind loves consistency and hates contradictions. Acting in one way and thinking in another creates anxiety, stress, and confusion.
In fact, the term used to describe this state of anxiety is Cognitive Dissonance. It is when you try to hold two opposing ideas at once. And there’s one more thing the mind loves but keeps you stuck. Familiarity. If you’ve always thought of yourself as broke, it’s probably become a kind of familiar comfort zone, even though you tell yourself it sucks. And if you’ve been broke your whole life and you won the lottery, it would probably be overwhelming. 70% of lottery winners go broke within a few years. Maybe that’s because they get a ton of money, but their self-image doesn’t update anywhere near as fast. Pretty soon, they sabotage their situation all because they want to get back to that comfortable identity as a broke person. It’s like an old comfortable coat they refuse to throw away. I’m not saying that other outside factors don’t contribute to financial problems. They obviously do. But I am saying that these things are secondary.
Wealth and abundance are more of an inside job than most people would have you believe. So, if you want to start attracting higher levels of wealth into your life – maybe you need to look at your self-image. Is it hurting you or helping you? Start thinking of yourself as the kind of person who takes the actions needed to generate wealth daily. You don’t need to fool yourself and tell yourself that you’re rich when you aren’t. That’ll just make it worse. But you do need to build the mental habit of affirming your identity as a person who generates wealth. Try saying to yourself, “I am taking the actions every day that allow wealth to flow to me,” and you’ll notice how this starts to build a new self-image. Soon, you’ll notice yourself naturally taking new actions leading to more wealth. It’s like magic.
Truth #4 – Almost everything in life is a distraction
As I started taking my goals seriously, I realized how hard it was to stay focused on them. Honestly – it was quite scary when I realized that pretty much 95% of the things in my life were unessential. They didn’t contribute to my overall vision. In some cases, they even took me away from it. It was like my life was a car windshield covered in mud to the point where I couldn’t see the way forward clearly. Things got way more manageable when I started cleaning the windshield. You’ll notice this, too. Success comes to those people who are willing to say no to basically everything. It’s not about what you can add to your life. It’s mostly about what you’re willing to drop. This will increase the one thing you absolutely need to succeed. And that’s the focus.
Let’s talk about that for a moment. For the past 50 years, IQ has been seen as the strongest predictor of success. But that’s changing. Fast. Now, don’t get me wrong, intelligence is still essential, but nowhere near as much as it used to be. There’s something far more critical than I.Q today. That’s the focus. If you can’t focus, you’re toast. And jam. Countless people with high IQs are incapable of focusing on any one thing for long enough to see any results. If you made me place a bet on the entrepreneur with a high IQ and poor focus vs. the entrepreneur who had the ability to go narrow and deep on a project.
I’m betting on that guy every single time. Today, there’s just too much to focus on. Those individuals who can focus and work deeply? These are going to become highly sought after as time goes on and the attention economy further grinds our attention spans into dust. A game-changing book that hits home with this message and will change your life is the book The One Thing by Gary Keller. Read that book and take massive action to simplify your life. Focus on one or two essential things in your life at any time and let go of everything else. You’ll notice more progress in 3 months than most people experience in three years.
Truth #5 – The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.
There’s one worldview shared by almost every unsuccessful person on the planet. This worldview is one where helping other people hurts you because it takes from what you have. This perspective sees the world as a giant cake. Every piece of the cake you have is the cake I don’t have. So, in order for you to win, I have to lose. Any resources you have, you need to cling to and fight for. This is a mindset of scarcity. With this, you believe that there isn’t enough cake to go around, and you’re afraid of losing the cake you have. It’s driven by fear and poisons almost everything you do. Now, let’s flip the script and consider what a successful abundance-based mindset looks like. From an abundance mindset, there is not only one cake but an infinite number of cakes.
If you want more, you make more. From this perspective, helping other people actually helps you because it makes the system better for everyone. It also builds relationships, trust, and confidence. When you’re playing from an abundance mindset, you’re more creative. You’re having fun. You’re continuously creating value for people instead of hoarding it. Instead of fear, you’re coming from a place of collaboration that creates more opportunities. This leads to massive success and wealth generation on a whole new level. Most people come from scarcity. Do the opposite. For example, I love to share my best insights with you on this channel. Some people have advised me to keep these things behind a paywall – but I don’t. That’s because doing so would be based on scarcity, and that’s not how success works.
Truth #6 – Waiting for the perfect time will ruin your life
Here’s a quote. “The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.” and that quote came from…to be honest, I don’t know. I read it on Instagram. But the point is, if you’re putting off starting something because of some imaginary perfect time – you’re actually caught in a pretty toxic trap. It’s the belief that you can’t possibly do it now and you need to wait until all your ducks are in a row. This is toxic because it will cause you to waste so much time that one day, you’ll look back full of regret and wonder where the hell the time went. You don’t want to be that person. The truth is – there will never be a perfect time to start.
Sure, you probably don’t want to go traveling when you’re 40 grand in debt. There are better and worse times to start. But if you’re chronically procrastinating on starting and constantly saying “one day,” then you aren’t being rational. You’re avoiding taking a risk because you’re afraid. And I get that. But consider this… life is short. When you really think about how finite life is and how we’ll all die one day – the only fear that makes any sense is having lived a life where you never did anything you were proud of because you were constantly waiting. If this is you, do yourself a favor. Stop waiting. Think of something on your bucket list and take the most important step you can possibly take—the first one.
Truth #7 – Retirement should never be the goal
One of the biggest ways we’ve been conned as a society is the idea of retirement. Basically, most of us have been convinced that working a job you hate for 40+ years is worth it because, eventually, you’re going to be able to relax and enjoy a cruise or two. They don’t tell you that by the time you’re retired, your body is battered, and your soul is drained from a life of unfulfilling work. You’ve essentially traded your most youthful years for money – and it’s hands down the worst deal you could have ever made. Retirement as a goal is bullshit. An alternative I propose is to focus on creating a life you never need to retire from. A life that fulfills you and sustains you naturally. A life so engaging that the idea of retiring from it feels like a punishment. An amazing life.
Now, you might be thinking, “Dylan, that isn’t realistic,” and if this is the case, I want you to tell me why. The internet has completely changed the working world. Before COVID, the idea of remote working was untenable for most companies. Now, pretty much everyone does it. And if you play it smart – you can completely uncouple your time from your income and your income from your location. You can make more than most doctors and travel the world as you do it. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible. They most likely gave up a long time ago and want you to give up, too. There is absolutely no reason you can’t create your dream life. And you don’t need to wait until your knees are screwed, and you can’t remember your wife’s name. You can get there if you give yourself a solid five years and create a plan.
Truth #8 – Competition is the enemy
Do you remember what I said earlier about scarcity vs abundance? And how does a scarcity mindset make you think there isn’t enough to go around? Well, there’s another way it royally screws up your chances of success. It makes you hyper-competitive. Now, in our ultra-individualist society, you might think that’s a good thing. Competition drives innovation. More technological advancements have occurred as a result of war, for example. Sounds logical, right? Sure, you can make the argument that competition drives success. But it isn’t the only thing or even the best thing, especially at this level of the game. Competition is overrated. From a business perspective, it cripples your maximum product reach and wealth creation. It becomes a battle of who can slightly outdo the other for cheaper and cheaper. It’s a race to the bottom for everyone.
If you look at how successful people operate, you’ll find they are excellent collaborators. They are great at manifesting opportunities through cooperation. They play win-win games with everyone. They surround themselves with amazing people they can learn from. And by the way – when I say successful, I don’t just mean “has a bunch of money,” and that’s it. I mean being successful as a person. A mansion is pretty cold when you don’t have anyone to share it with. And if you’re depressed but drive a Bugatti, you’re still depressed. Here’s a general principle to stick to: if you want to be successful, focus on helping people get what they want. Not just your customers. The people you work with, too. Focus on looking for win-win games everywhere you go. Get good at playing them. You’ll notice opportunities growing as fast as your bank account.
Truth #9 – You absolutely have to fail (but in the right way)
I’m about to reveal the holy grail right here. Are you ready for it? Here it is. You aren’t ready to succeed if you aren’t willing to fail. A big problem with social media is that we only see the highlight reel version of success. On some level, we know that the yachts and the rooftop parties we see all over Instagram are only telling 5% of the full story. Logically, we know that success is more complex than these people are showing us. But if all we see are the best bits, we can’t help but build a picture in our minds that success should be easy.
The reality is – the most successful people have gotten there because they’ve failed so many times. I can’t understate the importance of you understanding this. For example, Harland Sanders, KFC’s founder, was rejected 1,000 times when trying to sell his chicken recipe to restaurants. Thomas Edison, the lightbulb inventor, was said to have failed over 10,000 times before finding a design that worked. Pretty much every successful person got there because of a long history of failures. So, if you want to be successful, be willing to fail. But there’s a catch. Does that mean you should bang your head against a locked door 10,000 times, hoping you’ll get in? Not at all. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a bloody ridiculous idea. That’s not the exact quote from Albert Einstein, but you get the picture.
There’s such a thing as failing forwards. To fail forward, see every setback as a chance to re-examine what you’re doing. Become an expert at reviewing your progress and coming up with better and different ways of doing things. Embrace the art of experimentation. If you have a solid vision for the future and you combine it with an experimental attitude and a willingness to fail – you are simply unstoppable. Nothing will stand in your way. Thomas Edison knew he wanted a way to light a room without the use of a candle. With sheer determination, he found a way. And so can you.
Tip #10 – You already have enough
In an interview in 2013, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss had this to say about money:
“It’s totally okay to have lots of nice things. If it is an addiction to wealth, like in Fight Club, “The things you own end up owning you,” and it becomes a surrogate for things like long-term health and happiness — connection — then it becomes a disease state. But it’s a good thing if you can have nice things and not fear having them taken away. Because money is a precious tool.”
If that’s good enough for Tim Ferriss, it’s probably good enough for us. If you can fully appreciate what you already have, you’ll be able to appreciate more good stuff when it comes your way. But if you need more to compensate for something missing in your life, you’ll never be satisfied — no matter how much you get. It’s not all about how much you have. It’s also about how deeply you’re able to appreciate what you have. It took me achieving all my goals to get the value of this message. Success didn’t make me happy because I already had enough to begin with. I just wasn’t appreciating it like I do now.
So, on your journey to success, be on the grind – but don’t forget to switch your phone off when having dinner with your family. Don’t forget to enjoy your morning coffee before getting to work. Listen to the birds on your walk around the park. And let the people in your life know how important they are to you. Life is short. You don’t want to miss it. No amount of financial success is worth it. I promise you.