The key to success in adulthood is to recognize that weaknesses can be perceived as strengths. For example, people who struggle with indecision could also be considered thoughtful souls who examine all sides of an issue. Likewise, wool-gathering dreamers might just as easily be called visionaries.
“The goal of adulthood is not to become a well-rounded success machine. The goal is to polarize yourself. The goal is to take bold actions that allow your tribe to recognize you as one of their own. The goal is to double down on your strengths and build a career around them, rather than trying to shore up your weaknesses,” wrote one leadership coach named Sandra Naylor.
Naylor challenges her clients to take it easier and enjoy restorative sleep, time spent in the great outdoors, and with family and friends. She suggests that accepting mediocrity is healthy and a trait of successful people and asks if you could stand to pedal back on any of the following goals – even if only for one day?
Wealth, status, fame, achievement, keeping your house clean, owning your own home, being fashionable, having a nice car, owning a car at all, looking fab in a bathing suit, training for a triathlon, going to a top tier university, going to grad school, going to college, getting married, having kids, starting your own business, changing the world, eating vegan, eating paleo, overcoming addictions, having a rich spiritual life, staying healthy, working on your art, volunteering, getting promoted, traveling the world, learning new things, keeping up on social media, having an active social life, networking, reading up on industry news, being active in your community.
Those of us who want to be perfect at everything are almost certainly bound for disappointment. It’s simply not humanly possible to chase that much perfection.
Many Europeans can’t relate to the American work ethic which preaches a minimum 40-hour workweek. Certain salaried jobs require their employees to work 50-70 hours a week to keep from being fired. This slavish pace can eventually beat a person down and lead to health, interpersonal, and career problems.
Like Alice on the other side of the looking glass, we run feverishly just to stay in one place. There is an art to letting go, to embracing an average performance, to relaxing rather than competing.
Speaking of letting go, the following is a list of suggestions for improving your chances for life-long success:
- Dump old friends who no longer support what you stand for and share your dreams. Surround yourself with people of like mind and common interests.
- Deflate your “helium hand” and resist the urge to volunteer for each and everything no one else wants to do. Accept the fact that some things won’t get done – by you, at least.
- Curb habitual overtime and cultivate leisure activities, meditation, and self-improvement instead. No one ever lay on their death bed and said, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t skipped work that day to go to my kid’s school play.” Instead, they say, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time with my kids.”
- Don’t compare your achievements with those of others. Be yourself and celebrate your unique contributions to the world.
- Set boundaries on other people’s expectations for you. This includes your parents and spouses. Allow them to feel disappointed and understand that this is their emotional reaction, not yours.
- Put your needs first sometimes to make yourself happy.
- Stop obsessing over your children’s success. Just because your parents couldn’t afford piano lessons for you doesn’t mean you have to force them on your son or daughter.
- Cut yourself some slack. Set goals with a mindset to meet them but accept the truth that everyone fails from time to time. This doesn’t make you a failure.
- Seek a healthy balance between effort and ease.
In closing, consider this bit of wisdom from the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu:
“Nature never hurries but everything gets done.”