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Why You Should Disregard Traditional Advice on How to Be Successful in Life

How To Be Successful In Life

“There’s no such thing as what you ‘should’ be doing with your life. If you’re not holding yourself back from something you really want to try, and you enjoy the way you spend your day, then you’re a smashing success.”  – Lori Deschene

The traditional advice is to let you how to be successful in life:

  • decide what you want and where you want to be
  • make a plan and set a time frame
  • take action – every day – alter strategy when applicable

You’ve read this before. You know this. Every success course. Every goal-setting course. Every motivation course starts with these three steps in order to explain how to achieve success in life.

Yet you’re still stuck.

In fact, you’ve probably tried so many times to be successful in life that you feel like you’ll never achieve it. You’ll be a failure. Insignificant. And overlooked. Once again.

What is the problem to achieve success in life?

It can seem indefinable. You get fleeting glimpses. Then the insight disappears just as quickly. You just give up.

However – you can be successful in life if you can understand what is happening and why. And, how to overcome these hidden issues.

Why failure is more common than you think

Did you know that of all the participants in all of the courses, seminars, webinars, readers of books, listeners of talks and so on, only 3% of people actually succeed?

That’s right – anytime you read a glowing testimonial after an event, it will be from one of those 3-percenters. Yes, you read that correctly: only 3% succeed by following those steps above. Only 3% go on to achieve their goals.

That means that 97% of participants or readers fail in their quest to be successful in life.

Do you find that figure alarming? Do you find that failure rate acceptable? Do you feel you’ve been set up to fail?

Does that make you feel any better – being in the majority, that 97% failure group?

Probably not. It might make you feel angry at being duped. It might make you feel that you really are above that group of failures. That you just haven’t got it yet. And, that could be true. It might even make you feel that the experts should be locked up for promoting misinformation…

The experts, people who have “learned” a way to succeed in life, who have overcome difficulties, who have done the hard yards – they simply want to pass on that information to you in the easiest way possible, so that you too will be able to succeed more quickly.

However, if the information they’re selling you is wrong – then we have a real issue here.

The issue is not one of failure. It is one of lack of knowledge. The issue may be that they do not have sufficient information about how humans operate, behaviourally, in order to commence their program at an appropriate stage.

Imagine if one diet book could solve all of those burning issues such as: loss of belly fat, loss of fat in general, increase energy, overcome obesity, teach you how to eat well and so on. And, this one book solved ALL of these problems. Theoretically, there would never need to be another diet book ever written again.

Life is about choice. People approach success differently, probably because success might mean different things to them.

A generally accepted definition of success is: the achievement of an aim or purpose. It could be social status. Being prosperous or wealthy. Or having fame.

Whereas being successful in life means the achievement of a desired vision or planned goals. Theoretically when you do that, you will be happy.

So, you can see when people do talk about being successful in life, they imply that the steps involve the achievement of some goal. And, that’s what the problem can be for many people.

So, if we know the stats above and we know that what is written doesn’t work for everyone except the 3%, what can we do about this?

What is happening and why? And, how do you make sure that you can be instrumental in achieving your own personal success? Of moving out of the failure group and into the successful group?

Traditional steps for achieving success in life include:

  • stop procrastinating
  • get rid of distractions
  • seek knowledge, not results
  • get rid of stagnating thoughts
  • be focused
  • have clarity
  • be motivated… etc.

I can hear you saying: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know all that. We’ve heard all of that before.

You might also have seen these types of strategies:

  • copy experts
  • get a mentor
  • get some coaching
  • program yourself for success… and so on.

Now, all of these steps might well be sound advice. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming because these experts have achieved so much and appear to be so far advanced and removed from where you are – at the beginning of your journey. This can put you off from the outset. Because you keep comparing yourself to those people who have dedicated years of self-discipline, of instant self-gratification, of perseverance to achieve the success in life they have. Whereas you are just starting.

From my observation and experience, the intention of leaders is to show you a better, easier path. As I mentioned, the issue is in the first step of those traditional methods.

The fatal flaw commences with the assumption that ALL participants are starting from the same place.

The same life experiences. The same beliefs. The same degrees of success to be achieved. It is assumed that you, the participant, have decided what you want and are able to do that, and also decided where you want to be as an end goal.

Unfortunately, it is not possible in these courses or books to take into account the starting point of every individual.

Okay. Knowing this, the issue appears to be around your starting position on the well-being scale. And, it also appears to be one of appropriate goal-setting.

When people set goals, they’re either based on fear avoidance or goal achievement. They are motivated by moving away from fear, from what they don’t want. Or, they are motivated by moving towards a happier place. There is a natural push-and-pull thing happening here.

The problem for the majority of people is that fear avoidance is so much stronger that the drive to achieve a goal.

Why would that be so?

People have generally experienced so many knocks and put-downs in life, they are used to not getting what they want. This constant repetitive knock-back will eventually lead to giving up. Once this has been experienced indefinitely, then eventually people give up because they know they will not achieve their goals.

The problem is that they do not understand what’s driving those negative forces that keep pulling them back from achieving their goals. They just know it’s too hard and they tend to give up. They try. They do it for a little while. When their limit is reached, the end result is inevitable. I know my time limit is around six weeks for many things. Even perseverance is not an option here because they would be butting their head up against an immovable wall.

So, what happens with this constant evidence of failure to achieve a goal leads people to eventually not know what they want anymore. In effect, they don’t really have any goals they desire. They might know what they don’t want, but they don’t know how to change that perspective into a positive.

So, the first step is that you need to be able to get to that positive position of understanding what’s driving the negative and what’s keeping you from gaining the positive. And, you need to know how you can implement that change.

How you can increase empowerment and achieve your goals

So, if we know that there’s an issue with being stuck in the negative in some way, a solution could be that we need to get you above the line.

Gaining Empowerment - How to Be Successful in Life

Your position of empowerment comes from being above the line. Above the line means you are operating from a more positive emotional position. You’re feeling goodness, appreciation, kindness and love on a daily basis. That’s your default position of how you approach the world.

When you feel this way, you will automatically feel more present. Being more present means you will be more aware.

Being more aware means having more conscious choice in life. Having more choice brings freedom.

When you’re stuck below the line, you’re living in fear, doubt, judgment, criticism, victimhood, etc. You’re training yourself right down to your individual cells to come from a position of lack.

A position of lack also means lack of worth, of self-esteem, of self-confidence, and so on.

When you train your cells to operate negatively, then you won’t be able to achieve what you want because there is that constant pull away from your goal and towards the fear, the lack, the negative.  That is what keeps you below the line.

How do you train yourself to be above or below the line?

You keep repeating patterns of behaviours until they become ingrained into your psyche, your body/mind.

If you are not succeeding in life, you will be living below the line. Negativity will be your default emotional position.

So, how do you get above the line?

You have to retrain your body/mind to adopt more positive emotional feelings as your new default emotional position.

In his book Power vs. Force, Dr. David Hawkins tested where the world’s population was living, vibrating from, a level of consciousness. He found that the world’s population – at least 85% of people – were operating from a negative/below-the-line position. They were living in fear, shame, doubt, guilt and so on. In doing so, they kept training themselves to live in negativity. This means they will be stuck in a poverty mentality: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The question you might ask now is: Why is it that the vast majority of the world’s population is living below the line, in fear, and coming from a position of negativity?

And:  How can I get out of this cycle?

The “why” is that peoples deeply held negative beliefs keep them stuck in negativity. Mostly they do not know that this is the case. They have “learned” these beliefs when they were young and trying to learn how to survive. Their behaviour is unconscious. It is ingrained. And, this is because they keep repeating patterns of behaviour on a daily basis, without having real control over their thoughts, feelings or actions.

So, how can you retrain yourself, your cells, to be above the line, living from a position of love, of positivity, instead of fear?

There are at least two methods that will guarantee your success here:

a. A DIY approach or
b. Enlist the help of a therapist.

Re a: You can retrain your thoughts, behaviour, actions, attitudes, beliefs and emotions when you retrain how you respond to stress. You can change how you respond to stress through correct breathing. Incorrect breathing stems from how you respond to stress. You gasp for air and create a method of shallow breathing. Shallow breathing keeps you stuck in the stress mode.

It takes time and practice, but it is guaranteed to work. It has been scientifically proven to work over thousands of people worldwide over decades.

Re b: By enlisting a therapist who deals with helping people release those deeply held negative beliefs that keep you stuck. Those unwanted negative patterns of behaviour that keep you operating below the line.

One is easier than the other. Which will you choose?

What will your choice be?

At some point in time, a decision needs to be made.

Do you want to continue to live a fearful life? Or, do you want to be more present? More aware? Coming from a position of love, of being able to make conscious decisions about what you truly want in life?

There are ways you can solve your dilemma of not being successful in life.

You can do it yourself or enlist the help of a therapist.

In both instances you will then be able to:

  • Decide what you want and where you want to be – as there will be no constant pulling away from the desired goal
  • Then you’ll be able to make a plan and
  • Take appropriate action

There is no magic pill.

The work needs to be done: DIY or enlisting help?

Your choice.

Let me know what you think and leave a comment below.


About the Author: Celine Healy is a speaker, writer, blogger, and a trainer on topics such as: stress, wellness, leadership and corporate well-being. Celine is also passionate about mental and physical health. Celine approaches these topics from a scientific point of view. “If you can’t measure something, you will never understand it.” Discover how to increase your overall wellness by utilising The Ultimate Guide to Letting Go and Moving On (In 2019) Visit Celine’s website:

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38 thoughts on “Why You Should Disregard Traditional Advice on How to Be Successful in Life”

  1. You wanna succeed in life? Here’s is how to make success be yours. Achieve your goal and let success be yours. Lovely piece, thanks for this one guys.

  2. This has got to be one of the most sensible articles I have ever read on how to be successful in life. The author is correct in pointing out the obvious. There is an ocean full of programs and products that people market for others to become successful, too. Unfortunately, these resources always look at their intended audience as coming from or having the same exact background. The ideas are very general. If you want more meaningful success strategies, then you should really start with a much-deeper knowledge of yourself. Only you can truly evaluate who you really are and not some other guy masquerading as a guru or a mentor.

    1. Lovely. You have really understood the gist of this article on becoming successful.
      We are all different and have different needs, wants and desires.
      The only way to achieve anything firstly, is to clarify who you are.
      It starts with working out who you are at your core. Releasing those beliefs that hold you back then
      doing some work that will guarantee your success.

  3. Meldred Judith

    Success strategies are very important to survive in this life. It’s a must to observe and follow such strategies.

  4. Janine Bocateja

    Achieve success in life by starting in your self. Clear all the worries away. Leave all the negative vibes and turn into poistive one. I always believe in if you sourround yourself with positive people, eveyrthing will go through. I wish everyone success in life in their own way.

    1. Look. Surrounding yourself with positive people can have the opposite effect UNTIL you have done some work on yourself. Why? Because some people will measure themselves against those “positive people” and come out wanting or lacking. Do the work first.

  5. Disregard might be a strong word for it. I rather use consider or weigh things. That said I always believe that success in life is not math or an exact science that has a fixed formula??? Whether it is old school or new take one thing is sure. It will always require a lot of work and heart into it. Something that is subjective as it is also innate for anyone.

    1. True. Success in life is different for each of us. For the alcoholic it might be: not having a drink that day.
      For a person who is learning how to walk again after an accident it might be: taking 10 steps.
      Unfortunately, for a lot of people, they measure success in dollars and possessions. Yet. being happy beats that every time.

  6. castillomaria

    Success strategies is what all people should have, because they are not always going to succeed, you have to learn from mistakes to not make them again and there is always the risk, to jump that obstacle, you must have some successful strategies.

    1. The first strategy is always: what is best for me and what one simple thing can I do as a first step?
      As you beocme well or healed, other more intense strategies will become more evident. I always believe in doing simpke and easy things as I hate pain, whether ti is emotional, physical or mental pain.

  7. Well, I will have to agree with this to a large extent to succeed in life for me, is more of an individual thing than following the paths of other. it more like charting your own course of life.

  8. Everyone’s life goals are different so that everyone has their own definition of success. It would be nice if everyone can succeed not solely for their personal selves but can provide benefits for many people.

    1. The first step in succeeding is: overcoming the basic issues of survival: food, shelter, warmth, water and so on. The next level is: security – how to keep safe, a job, a home etc.
      You can only provide benefits to others when you have achieved that level of success – see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – whereby you are close to self-actualisation. You are then looking for ways to make a contribution back to society or others.

  9. David Mureithi

    It is somehow hard to succeed in these modern era if you aren’t ready. Change is happening and we should evolve together with it.

    1. Our biggest fear is change as we hate being out of our comfort zones.In order to succeed you need to be conscious. To be conscious you need to be present. Being present means you are more aware. Being more aware means you have control over your life, more often. When you arrive at that space you have choice. Choice brings freedom. That is the ultimate goal.

  10. Obalade Damilola

    steps on how to achieve success in life can seem impossible.. I think peoples definition of success is flawed..they tag it with wealth..building mansions, owning fleet of cars and so on but that is not success..success means to achieve a goal and objective.. if you are successful in achieving that goal you set,then you are a success..your tips on how to succeed are novel to me and I will put them to good use..nice article..

    1. Hello. Am glad you found my article interesting.
      Eventually, people do want to be comfortable and this means a level of income that makes life easier. However, that end is derived from cleaning up your life from those issues that hold you back. It is a journey which requires effort, patience and constant adaptability.

  11. Oyeyipo Oladele

    How to be successful in life has just been broken to its simplest here. Being more aware means having more conscious choice in life. Having more choice brings freedom. So success means your determination to succeed.

    1. ok. It could be. Success requires effort and constant change. Sometimes people are not willing to put in the work. And. Be patient until a result is achieved.

  12. How to be successful in life has always been a mystery. With this post, I think there are qualities here that can make success feasible in our lifes.

  13. Success is very subjective. But I think most people equal success with money.With all the success strategies that have been taught to us, it’s really weird why there are only very few people who become financially successful. Anyway, this is a great read. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thx Alice. Yes. People do equate success with money. True success brings peace of mind and contentment with your life, whatever that is. Then, if you are able to contribute your gift to the world, in many cases this will result in being more comfortable financially.

  14. ogunyemi Segun

    How to be successful in life is a matter of personal decision and the people you relate with. Nice post

    1. Success in life is a personal decision. My approach is to make it as easy and as simple as possible. To achieve success, there are steps to take. If you understand this and be patient success will arrive in a form

  15. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any assistance
    is very much appreciated.

  16. Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working
    with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and
    I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

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