4 Reasons You Can't Shortcut Your Way to Success

There is no shortcut to success.

Unlike every episode with Indiana Jones, there is no Holy Grail of aspirational whimsy whereby you plot a few strategic moves and end up with all the pieces on the board.

Success is a mindset.  Not a point in time..

Everything we ever been told about success usually revolves around a single point in time.

When we set a record, crash through the ribbon at the finish line, win the trophy, land the biggest customer in the history of our business.  It's all about our "spot emotional index".

Around key dates like graduation, end of the quarter, and bonus time, we feel successful IF there is a physical memento to indicate that we were successful.  Without the trophy it can be hard for us to gauge "success"...

That's why I go back to the idea that success is less a date on the calendar and more of a philosophy.

Success is a way of life.

It's important that you adopt a successful mindset rather than aim for public indicators of success.

Flashy public indicators of success attached to a pile of debt leave you unable to to do the hard things that are required to realize your dreams.  You can either look like "the man" or turn your dreams into reality.  You can't really have both...

Turning ideas into dreams and dreams into success is hard enough.  It's a gut-wrenching, bloody nose battle.  It requires an absurdly special kind of toughness.

And when you are fighting for your dreams and the world is beating the life out of you you might be tempting to try to take a shortcut.

Asking yourself: "Isn't there an easier way?"

And why not?  Shortcuts look great on TV when Bo and Luke Duke take the dirt ramp up and over the washed out wooden bridge and beat the bad guys who want to shut down their moonshine business.

Real life though is a little different.

Shortcuts hurt you -- not help you.

Here are a few key things to consider:

1. Taking shortcuts is you admitting failure up front.

It's pretty mentally damaging.  If you really thought you could realize your dreams, you wouldn't be tempted by the thought of taking shortcuts.  Admit it.  You've had the same doubts that I have had.  Can I do this?  Can I make this happen?  Do I have the guts to try one more time?

When your answer to these questions is a shortcut rather than focused intensity, you are admitting to yourself (and soon to others) that you are a failure.  You may throw out your chest and claim to be on top of your game.  But you know, deep down, that you have given up before you even started.

If you want to get your head back-on-straight look doubt in the eye and fight for your destiny.

  • Get up two hours earlier.
  • Call three more people and ask for help.
  • Quit working on things that distract your focus.

Be intense!

2. Taking shortcuts is the wrong reaction to fear.

When faced with the audacious challenge of being successful, we find ourselves at the crossroads of fight or flight.  As soon as you decide you want to be something, you face resistance from the world.  That resistance turns into oppression -- people actively fighting against your success.

It's OK to be afraid.  But taking shortcuts is a flight reaction; not you fighting for your own success.  If you are running away from own success, it's impossible to believe that you are taking steps to actually move you closer to your dreams.

Use fear to help drive effort and focus toward your mission.  Use fear to build mental muscle around your purpose in life.  Relish fear!  It is your nitrous on the raceway of life...

3. Taking shortcuts conflicts with the outrageous effort needed to be successful.

The inherent idea that you can realize your wildest dreams without a passionate investment of mind, body, and soul is just nutty.  You can't get more from your life by doing less.

When you slow down and cheat yourself out of the self-investment necessary to build a brilliant destiny, you just won't ever find yourself where you want to be.  To be successful, you have to work so hard your eyes have blisters.  Against all odds you have keep trying -- when you're sick, when you're broke, when you have no fans.  It's raw sweat equity.

Taking shortcuts conflicts with everything that outrageous effort leads to.  You do nothing that means anything and still get everything.

4. Taking shortcuts doesn't mean you end up where you wanted to be.

Since there is rarely a certain, unchanging "end point" for success, you can't take a shortcut to a destination that doesn't exist.

Ever thought you really wanted something, only to change your mind once you see what you got?  You thought that you would be happy -- and you weren't.  Why?

Success is process -- a mindset.  And while success includes milestones, the emphasis is on the journey not on the original destiny.  Most of us dream too small.  We take our destiny and shrink it down into a small container that the critics can't get to.

Life has an amazing way of helping you realize your dreams in ways far from what you could have ever imagined at the beginning of your dream.  It's bigger.  It's better.  There's no way to get there with a shortcut

Dream bigger than ever.

And don't steal your chance at an amazing destiny by taking a shortcut.  It's not fair to you.