The "Secret" of Success

Photo by Chang Duong / Unsplash

Success is subjective. Everybody has their own definition, timeline, and limits to success. For some, it doesn't matter. For some, it matters a lot. For some, it's a far-fetched thing. For some, it's already there. For some, it's right around the corner. For some, it's big and grand. For some, it's small and simple. Irrespective of our definitions and scope of success, we have all wondered at one point or the other if there is actually such a thing as the secret of success. In this post, I'm hoping to think out loud about whether there is actually a secret recipe for success, and if so, what it is.

We are achievers. No matter what you think of yourself, you have achieved some things in your life that others might still be working on. Achievements, accolades, and even failures are all about perspective. Before continuing, I would like to take a moment to say that what I'm about to write can be applied to anything you are working on — be it building a habit, getting that promotion at work, aiming to hike a difficult trail, or trying to find yourself. This is my perspective on the secret of success.

I'm an average guy, by my standards. I could do a lot better, but I could've been a lot worse and I'm not. In almost all facets of my life, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and socially, I consider myself in the middle. I've worked hard to be where I am today, but I'm not arrogant enough to ignore the role of luck in my life. I've been lucky and unlucky equally. Overall, I think the good has outweighed the bad over the years and I'm grateful for that.

In my adult life, I've tried a lot of things. My twenties were eventful. I moved to a different country that was nowhere close (geographically or culturally) to what I was used to, I got a master's degree, I worked in the most humiliating and the most rewarding environments, I was in a lot of debt, I did my own thesis, I lost a lot of money, I earned a lot of money, I learned to solve a bunch of Rubik's cubes (thanks to my friend who opened a gate), I learned to make art on my iPad (I even tried painting on a canvas), I've driven a race car on a race track, I had a surgery that put me in bed for three weeks, I tried photography, I fell in love with space, I saw the Milky Way with my own eyes, I got more into science and mathematics. There's a lot more that I can't remember/don't want to specify. If you skipped the list, it's okay. The story is not linear at this point, but my point is, I've tried a lot of stuff.

Continuing on the list, about two years ago, I got a lot into personal development. I didn't know that it would turn out to be the most transformational journey I've ever undertaken. Why I got into personal development is a separate story, which I'm going to avoid, to retain some mystery! I wanted to make some changes in my life, so I started. I consumed tons of content on this topic — books, podcasts, and YouTube videos were my primary sources. Hit me up if you're looking for some resources, and I can talk your ear off. Anyway, I started waking up early, I started working out, I started reading, I started journaling, I started writing this blog, I started building my finances, I started thinking (and overthinking). I started to work on myself.

Two years later, when I reminisce, it has been fun. Not because I succeeded in everything I mentioned above (I did not), but because of the small wins and big challenges I've faced. What's life without a challenge? Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself. I think that should be the first goal of personal development — learn about who you are, before developing yourself. Believe me, there's always something you don't know about yourself. Nobody is that self-aware.

Overall, I've had the so-called "Success" in some things I tried, and not in others. If there was one thing common among the most successful people on the planet, be it hard work, punctuality, discipline, focus, etc., that worked without fail, it was CONSISTENCY. I'm not saying all the successful people on the planet are consistent (though it's a bold claim I'm willing to make), but I bet you cannot show me one person who has been consistent and has not achieved something. I'm no different, and if there is one thing that has constantly worked for me without any doubt, it's consistency.

Consistency is something that's not talked about very often in the world of self-improvement. If there is a key ingredient for success, I would bet my life on consistency. Of all the things I've attempted and failed, I have been successful in the things I've been consistent with, and I have failed in all the things that I have not. I have read every day for the past two years. I have journaled every day for the past 719 days. I have written a blog post for 93 weeks continuously. I have made an investment in every paycheck for the past two years. These are the most consistent habits I've cultivated over the years and these are the things I'm most thankful about. On the contrary, I haven't worked out every day, nor have I woken up every day at 5 AM. These are things that I need to work on.

No matter how much you work hard, how punctual you are, and how determined you are, you won't get where you are if you are not consistent. Conversely, if you are consistent, it does not matter how bad you are, how impunctual you are, or how easy you take it, consistency will keep you in check. So, if you ask me for a secret of success, irrespective of what success means to you, I would put consistency at the top. If you want to succeed at something, be consistent about it. Work on your goal every day, no matter what. The other parameters will take care of themselves. Let me know what you think of consistency. Thanks for reading thus far. Peace!

Vivek Arvind

Vivek Arvind

Santa Clara, CA