The Fame Game: Success vs Failure

• May 18, 2011 • Comments (1)

famegame The Fame Game: Success vs FailureIn this article I’m turning my attention to the peddlers of the pseudo-scientific, quasi-religious, quantum quackery, that is The Law of Attraction.

Clearly I’m not going to be making any attempt to be of objective in this discussion but, to be fair, since a recent film raised awareness of this philosophical flight of fancy, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a depolarized opinion.

Just in case the hype passed you by, allow me to explain; Believers in The Law of Attraction assert that thoughts have an energy that attracts whatever the person is thinking about, and that anyone can gain their heart’s desire by focussing their thoughts upon it. Equally, dwelling on failure will attract tragedy and mishap.

I have no difficulty in believing that a person determined to succeed will have the motivation to work harder and will be more alert to opportunities. But to expand that idea into a mystical process that suggests everyone will succeed if they are stubborn enough – regardless of their abilities or unforeseen events – is irresponsible at best.

Despite what the preceding paragraphs might suggest, the purpose of this article is not to criticise The Law of Attraction (there are plenty of other people who have already done that), but rather to address the frustrations of aspiring entrepreneurs who can’t seem to make the breakthrough that will allow them to quit their day job. No matter how badly they yearn for it.

The solution to this common problem is simple, but it takes some honest self-assessment and the ability to ignore the scorn of others.

Despair.com sells a series of de-motivational posters that satirise corporate, inspirational art. My favourite is the one entitled “Stupidity”; the description reads:

“Quitters never win. Winners never quit.
But those who never win and never quit are idiots.”*

It’s cynical, to be sure, but there’s an uncomfortable truth hidden in there. The individual who attains success through blood, sweat and tears, will often attribute his achievement to an inner belief and a refusal to give up. Hear it said enough times and the implication becomes that everyone who failed, did so because they gave up.

There is only one gold medal for the 100-metre sprint given away at each Olympic Games, but is it fair to say that everyone who competes and doesn’t achieve gold, failed because they lacked belief, or because they gave up? Maybe in some instances but, for many, surely the reality is that they simply weren’t the fastest out of the blocks, or that their top speed was insufficient. It’s entirely possible to have self-belief and determination but still fail to achieve a goal that’s beyond your capabilities or that is affected by circumstances you can’t control.

Does this mean Homer Simpson was right when he said, “Trying is the first step to failure?” I guess it depends on your definition of failure.

If twenty, 100-metre sprinters, define success as a gold medal at the next Olympic Games, then at least nineteen of them are going to fail. But if they define success as competing to the best of their ability, then there is the potential for all twenty to gain satisfaction from the eventual outcome. Sadly, most fall into the former category. Despite achieving results that many can only dream of, these individuals will still wind up disappointed and frustrated.

This thinking isn’t unique to athletics. On the whole, the world defines success as wealth, fame, or a combination of the two, and the internet marketing space is no exception. In sales videos and at IM seminars, the vast majority of marketers will establish their credentials by revealing the wealth they’ve accrued, or the possessions they’ve purchased with it. These things are equated with success.

Six or seven figure launches, testimonials from IM celebrities, and a steady stream of invitations to speak at one seminar after another are the goals of so many online marketers. There’s nothing wrong with this but in an overcrowded and ultra-competitive marketplace, inevitably the majority end up disappointed. It’s a harsh reality to face but the truth is that most people will never come anywhere near attaining this level of fame.

Realists are often labelled as cynics because they lower expectations but have you considered the possibility that accomplishing an attainable, reasonable goal, brings more contentment than failing to achieve the improbable? What if you measured success, not by being the best at something, but by doing something you enjoy to a high level of competency?

Returning to the athletics analogy for a moment, imagine a 21-year-old runner who has to face the very real possibility that he has reached the pinnacle of his abilities and still isn’t good enough to qualify even for regional events, let alone national or international. He has two choices:

1) He can hire a new coach and attempt to push himself harder, refusing to accept defeat. For a minority this decision will be fruitful but for the majority all that will follow are years of frustrated efforts.

2) He can decide that he gave it his best shot, give up the goal of becoming a world-class runner and instead begin exploring a career as a coach, or a sports journalist, or a gym teacher, or a sports equipment vendor…

Some will never be able to see the person who selects Option #2 as anything other than a failure. Yet the individual who is able to continue working in the field of expertise that he loves – perhaps finding an unexpected joy and satisfaction in helping others to success, or reporting on their sporting achievements – views his personal decision as an overwhelming success. The second option may not deliver profound wealth or fame, but if you define success as earning an honest living, doing something you enjoy, then does it really matter?

If you firmly believe that you are perfectly suited for the lifestyle of an IM celebrity and you won’t be able to live with yourself unless you persist in striving for it, then maybe that is exactly what you should do. Otherwise, consider whether you might find more success in exchanging the current cycle of struggle and frustration, for something less glamorous but more attainable.

If you have a specific skill, rather than trying to shape it into a viral product that can be sold on a grand scale, generating vast wealth through recurring payments, epic upsells, and countless reiterations; explore the idea of exchanging your services for payment, on an individual basis. You could set yourself up as a consultant, a service provider, even a one-on-one coach or trainer.

Will you be disappointed not to become the next IM celebrity star, flying around the world from one seminar to the next, making videos of your shiny new cars? Only you can answer that question, but you’ll probably be making more money than you are now, without much of the stress and aggravation.

How many times have you heard celebrities bemoan the curse of fame that left them with broken families or drug and alcohol problems? If you’re making a good living, performing work that you enjoy, and enjoying more quality time with your family, then who do you think is the real success story?

* http://tinyurl.com/stupidityposter

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Category: Articles, Law of Attraction, Success

About the Author

David Congreave began working online in 2001. He is now an SEO and Internet marketing consultant, a writer, and an editor. He lives and works in Leeds, UK with his wife, Leanne.

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Comments (1)

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  1. John Reed says:

    Hi David, it’s me again – I know, I know….. why am I not focusing on my own make money functions??
    I have to do something simple whilst my Hot Toddy cools enough for me to drink it!! (Yes, it’s a dreaded summer cold, verging on “Man-Flu” OF COURSE but losing me a lot of sleep with all the coughing).

    Ha!! – I tended to write off any of this piffle about a Law of Attraction. Just as I took to task some American Speakers at a Nation Conference of Practice Managers a few years ago when they expected us stiff-lipped Brits to stand up during a presentation and clap our hands shouting out our belief in their doooozy teachings!

    But, I now admit that there definitely can be great benefits in motivational practices! It’s just not seemly (or necessary) to make them so blatantly obvious that everyone in the same field is aware of your use of them! I’m not against it, I just don’t want it forced in my face!

    It’s odd really, I find that I now have more ambition for what I hope will be my 5th career than I did for all the others. And yet I set my sights considerably lower than the lofty heights where my garage must contain at least 2 supercars, leaving room for boats, Quad Bikes and Jet Skis too! If I could earn a pretty regular $10k a month, and enjoy doing so, I’d feel I’d achieved something worthwhile and my current ambitions would be fulfilled.

    So, I believe that your comment about “might find more success in exchanging the current cycle of struggle and frustration, for something less glamorous but more attainable” is particularly relevant to me….. and I’m making that my goal for the next 2 years. Of course, I need to attain half that level pretty quickly, so therein lies my current target – $3k a month as soon as possible!! Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye, wish me luck with a tear in your eye – haha.
    JohnO’York
    (66 year-old Optimist)

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