The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure.

August 8, 2021

The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure.

Focusing on outcomes we want to accomplish, in anything we do in life, is a sure way to fail slowly and painfully. On the other hand, when we focus on the process, we are able to create the stillness and clarity necessary to be creative, authentic and excellent in our most important tasks.

Look at an elite athlete for example. Turn on the TV, and look at the top tennis players, or the top soccer players. The top golfer. What do they focusing on? Look at the way they look at the ball. They are fully present, in the here and now, to accomplish the task at hand. Every play, every ball, every run to the ball, is the only thing that truly matters.

But if they were to focus on the outcome of the whole game, they would lose. Why? Because at that level of excellence in competitive sports, the power of the mind is what makes all the difference. The power to concentrate fully, during the entirety of the game, focusing like a hawk on every single ball like it was the first, and doing it all over again for hours at a time. That’s what makes champions champions, and that is what we need to mimic in our daily lives as well.

Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater and one of the richest man in the world once said, that had he focused on making money, on becoming rich, he would never have made a dime. He focused on the systems he designed day after day, concentrating on the process. The money and the success were just by-products of his commitment to the process.

That is the same thing Coach Wooden, a hall of famer basket ball coach, who won 22 national championships in a row said too: he didn’t think about winning a game, ever. He focused on the plays, he focused on the players. He focused on the little details that mattered to create that edge. He focused on the game, because he loved the game.

“Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.” — Essentialism Greg McKeown

And so back to us. The next time we have a goal, or a project, this is what we must do. Ask ourselves the question, each day:

What is important for me to do right NOW?

What is the next, most important task?

Forget a whole list of tasks. Minimize. This is what we are aiming to do in the whole productivity process of the Eudaimonia app — one task only can ever appear on the dashboard.

Focus on that task, like it is the first task. Focus on that task, like it is the last task. It might very well be so. Give it your heart, and the outside success (money, fame, whatever) will come as a by product of your excellence, love and commitment to your work.

Trust the process.

Trust yourself.