How To (not) Be Successful at Life

It’s the thing on everyone’s mind. How to get rich, enjoy life and pretty much get out of the hole a person is in. Everyone dreams of being wealthy and of having more money than God. That’s a bit of a weird paradox, right? Being richer than God? Well, if you think about it when Jesus was walking the planet he was poor. He didn’t own a house, nor did he have a stable full of animals and he didn’t have stockpiles of food. He walked and he talked and he healed. He cared for everyone around him but he was never defined by his relationships to humans. He was who he was.

My question is, would you consider God wealthy? Would you consider that Jesus was wealthy? That right there is a question full of paradoxes.

The internet is full of ideas and suggestions and here do this or that. We, as an internet culture, have forgotten the importance of listening more than speaking. We have forgotten that sometimes a person just has to say what is in their mind but that we don’t have to respond.

This blog post talks about 20 things the rich do every day. The author then goes on to write about what the wealthy versus the poor do. My question though, is this- is the author writing about what the rich do? Or about what the wealthy do? I believe I am wealthy but I am not rich. I am wealthy because I have a life I love and I have people I love and I have the dreams to do more than this. I do not have a fat bank account. My question is what am I doing wrong? Why am I not successful (financially speaking)?

Here are 10 reasons why I think I am not successful:

1. I know I should plan but I don’t. For example this blog post is being written as I think about things. I have no outline, no formula, no spreadsheet for SEO keywords. Instead I am simply writing as I go along. A fly by the seat approach that never yields success. This branches out to life in general. I have no plan as to how I am going to succeed. I have dreams, ideas, and ideals but I have no concrete map/ check list to get me there. I think those who are unsuccessful find that when they are asked: Well, how are you going to do that? The unsuccessful have no answer. The first thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is throw out the game plan.

2. Assume you know what people are talking about. Are you one of those people who finishes other peoples’ sentences. Who says I’m not going to talk to them, I already know what they are going to say. Do you find people who ask questions and who dig for more information to be annoying? This is another epidemic that seems to be spreading like wildfire throughout the internet. We’ve heard it all, we’ve seen it all and frankly, we don’t really want to have our views changed. Obviously, a loud mouthed idiot is rude and inconsiderate and therefore should be avoided like the plague. When we ignore others and talk over them or even better, when we don’t allow them to talk at all, we no longer view them as people but as objects that have no emotion. I am a natural-born bossy person. I hate listening to other people and so I shut myself away from them. Or even better, when they talk I have my internal dialogue turned on high. The second thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to disregard other peoples’ feelings.

3. Pretend to want to learn more. This is a big one. I know that I am guilty of this all the time. My chief complaint is that I’ve spent 16 plus years learning. I’m tired of learning and of feeling like I am expected to shove more information in an already overwhelmed brain. I frequently tell myself- I want to learn more. I want to grow but when I try to learn new things all I get is this sense of my brain wanting to implode like a black hole and like a black hole everything I know and remember disappears. The third thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to seek out new knowledge without having a student mentality.

4. Say you are multitasking when in reality you don’t finish what you’ve started. I was going to be funny there and not finish writing the sentence. On they have articles about anything and everything. The writers are funny, interesting and provide insight into the mistaken beliefs the general public have about society. Some of what they write is insightful. However, talking about led me away from the original reason for writing this paragraph. Case in point. The fourth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to start a task only to leave it unfinished.

5. Wake up in the morning, hit snooze and go back to sleep. Oh, I love sleep so very, very much. I enjoy my blankets all wrapped around me and the feeling of just lying there. Especially in the cold weather the last thing I want to do is get up, get dressed and go outside to feed horses. I used to wake up and get going an hour before I had to go outside. I would make breakfast, do daily devotionals and just mentally prepare myself before anyone else was up and about. I need that morning hour or so of quiet where I can just let my brain fire up and figure out what is going on. Instead, I lie in my bed half asleep until the last possible moment and then I rush around, glare at everyone who dare be near me and start the day in a rush. The fifth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to start your day in a rush.

6.  Have long term goals but not daily goals. I think this one needs a bit of explaining. I am a very controlling person. So you would think that I would have a plan for every single second of every day. That is incorrect. Sometimes control means you have a lack of control. I control my day by allowing it to have no structure or order. Think along the lines of anarchy. More importantly though, I procrastinate. I say, oh tomorrow. I’ll write or I’ll do that tomorrow. Laundry? Tomorrow. Figuring out where to live? Tomorrow. If I do set goals I constantly adjust them until finally the goal was to get through the day doing the bare minimum of required things. It’s the go with the flow mentality and although sometimes a person needs to just relax there has to be balance between goal setting and relaxation. The sixth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to set goals but not follow them through.

7. Know you need help but not ask for it. There are two extremes to this one. You can either ask for help too much or not enough. If you are like me you assume you can do everything on your own and that no one is going to want to help you or cares about your problems. Even worse; you know they care but you don’t want to trouble them by asking them to care. This one is what got me into a whole lot of trouble. I have pride and I don’t want to inconvenience other people. So, instead of going and filling out SNAP paperwork when I first lost my job I waited and waited until I’m so exhausted and overwhelmed that to me it is not worth going and filling out the paperwork; in essence I’ve decided that I am not worth it. Sometimes it seems like asking for help is too big of a task and when that happens you know that is when you need help. The seventh thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to never ask for help.

8. Know you should budget but don’t think you can. I’m a spendthrift and I know that my budget is way below what I need to survive. So instead of figuring out ways to cut costs  I just give up on a budget, shrug my shoulders and say “Maybe, someday!” There is a whole host of reasons as to why a person might not want to budget but whatever the reason know that when you don’t budget you have no budget and no money. I’m at a point where I want to say “I would budget if I could, but…” I need money to make money. There that is the crux of the problem. People believe that a person has to have money in order to budget but the opposite is true (even though I don’t want to believe it) people have money because they budget. The eighth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to never budget your money, time or energy.

9. Accept defeat and fixate on the reasons why you failed. How many times have you sat there explaining away why something didn’t go as planned? “I would have paid my bill but…”  “I would have aced the test but….”  “I would have sent you a gift but…” the list is endless but there is one solution to fixing all of your problems. Accept that you failed and move on. Instead of saying “Oh but if x, y, or z had happened we would have won!”  say “It doesn’t matter what factors there are, I am in control of my success or failure and either way I take responsibility of the outcome.” Sure, you won’t be great at everything but take each experience as a learning opportunity and apply it to the rest of your life. The ninth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to focus on the problems.

10. Believe that no matter what you do you will be stuck where you are. This one, right here, is something many people believe. I was in sociology 101 and one of the things mentioned in class was that it takes six generations for a family to move up a social class. Six generations! So my professor was implying we just need to accept our lot in life? Yes and no. Do you really want to have ten houses or do you think you want them? Do you really want to have lots of money or do you think you want money because that is what society tells us we should want. One of the things we need to remember is that society, media and our culture all shape and define us. We can either go with the flow without assessing whether or not we want what we are supposed to want or we can stop in our tracks look around and change things. The tenth thing you need to do to be unsuccessful is to believe that your fate is set in stone.

If you are anything like me you probably just scrolled down to the bottom of the page and looked at the bullet points but not the paragraphs. Hey, I completely understand. I do the same thing whenever I read a blog post. I read the first paragraph or so but then I get bored because the blog post just doesn’t end. It is too much to digest. Welcome to the world of the unsuccessful- impatience, exhaustion, and the belief that this is as good as it gets is all you need to be a lifetime member.*

*hats, t-shirts and mugs were going to be included but I got distracted and I have no money so maybe next time.


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