Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

March 31, 2020

You Get To Choose If (But Not When) You Are Successful.

Success isn’t automatic; but it is guaranteed.

Just like the laws of nature and science, success is an exact and very consistent outcome.

What you do turns into the results that you experience. That much is guaranteed. What’s not easily known is when that’s going to happen.

It’s been said by many philosophers that as humans we dramatically overestimate what we can do in a given day but underestimate our ability to achieve seemingly impossible things over a lifetime.

That is all too true. In truth, you’re not wired to be good at predicting when your awesome actions are going to lead to epic results.

The problem is that your brain is smarter than you think it is. And not in a good way.

It’s ready with excuses and plausible explanations about why the laws of success aren’t meant for you. Why you’re different. Why you should give up and quit because nothing is working.

You might not want to hear it, but success isn’t measured on your timeline.

You don’t get to determine when the boomerang you’ve thrown reaches your hand again.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot you can do to influence success.

You can try harder or work longer. You can leverage the influence of others, borrow money to move faster, and enroll mentors to help you avoid costly mistakes.

What you do and who you are have a direct impact on your success. But you don’t get to decide the exact day and time for your success.

You don’t even get to decide what your success exactly looks like.

What you want and what you get always end up being a little bit different. And usually in ways that are more magical than you can imagine.

Take wealth for example. It is wildly appealing to dream about building the next Facebook app — where as a 20-something-year-old you can put together a platform that turns you into one of the world’s richest people.

That sounds awesome. It’s just not realistic. It’s not logical. And it is directly in contrast with how success works.

You’re not going to be a millionaire in your 20’s. Or your 30’s. Or for most of your 40’s. Did you know that the average age of a millionaire in the developed world right now is almost 50 years old?

Why? It takes time to get the experience you need and to find the purpose you have to have in order to achieve epic results.

And more importantly, the timing of success is something that you don’t get to control.

And the more you try to control it, the less successful you will become.

When you try to force success on your own terms you find yourself chasing scams and shortcuts and activities that might have worked for somebody else but are completely ridiculous for you to pursue.

Success is guaranteed. Remember that.

Doing the right thing matters. Just be patient while it’s happening.

But how can you be patient? Especially when the world feels like it is crumbling in pieces all around you. When you can’t see the next move. Or even the next few steps.

But that’s a bit of frustration and chaos that you can fix. You just have to move to a better spot. A higher spot.

See, the higher you are, the further you can see.

I am reminded of this every time I go trail running. During a long ultra marathon, you find yourself twisting and turning through the trails to make it to your destination. Sometimes stumbling. Falling over rocks and sticks.

You can’t run too quickly because what you’re stepping on is uneven and sometimes unsteady. More importantly, you usually can’t see too far in front of you.

Sometimes just a few feet is all you get.

And then as the trail bends and climbs, you see a little bit more. But every once in awhile you make your way to the summit of a mountain ridge.

And looking out between the gaps in the trees you can see for miles. And it’s beautiful. Especially if the sun is just right as it hits the trees.

It takes your breath away. And not just because of how it looks — but because of how far you can see.

There is freedom in a bigger vision. You don’t have to guess. You don’t have to twist and turn.

You can see the path ahead of you. And sometimes even the finish line. Success.

Now, if you’re running a race, you still need to make it to the finish line. But knowing where that is and how far you have to go gives you the confidence to put in the effort.

That’s true for running. That’s true for relationships. That’s true for building wealth, raising kids, developing confidence, or for achieving any other goal that matters to you.

That is true for success. No matter you think of it. The higher your perspective, the further you can see.

When you’re running through life kicking rocks and looking at your shoes, you’re find yourself discouraged and frustrated. Feeling helpless and discouraged.

But when you get vertical, everything changes. So how do you get vertical?

  • Hire a coach or therapist
  • Read a book or take a course
  • Put in some exercise
  • Surround yourself with new people who inspire you
  • Spend 5 minutes to meditate

In truth, it’s probably not any one of these things.

It’s a bit of all of them.

And together, they give you the vertical you need to see more of the path in front of you. To see success.

So when you find yourself tripping over rocks, discouraged by your path through life, take a moment to ask yourself a simple question: “How would this look from above?”

Know that success is guaranteed.

But plan your life for a long journey. Not a short one. Stay fit so that you can weather the storms that come your way.

There isn’t anything you can’t do if you persist. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you get to choose when success happens.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.