We live in a fast paced world where everyone wants to be successful. We want to live the dream, post beautiful pictures of our lives – family, home, designer shoes, bags, clothes wristwatches, vacation in resorts, first class travels e.t.c. – without having worked for the career or dream that will afford us such luxury lifestyle. Some of us dream of hitting it ‘Big Time’ without actually putting in the time to make such dreams a reality. As my grandma used to say, ‘Hard Work (whatever that looks like in reality) never kills. You know what kills? Poverty!‘ Sometime this week, a friend was talking about how quick we are to envy or admire successful people and most times desire such too (who no like better thing? lol). Unfortunately, most of us never put in a quarter of the work and sweat successful people put into their careers or businesses. This hit me hard and I decided to come up with 5 rules I need to live by in order to avoid the Freebie Trap – the trap that deceives you into believing that life is a lottery with the false promise that you will get lucky in the not so distant future. The trap that tells you that you are a victim or that you could have been successful if only your circumstance were better. Or my personal favourite, the trap that tells you that you are entitled to other people’s good fortune by virtue of your association with them. To all freebie lovers – people who think they can get by or be very successful by doing little or nothing to achieve it – I got news for you… ‘Life is Not a Lottery’. So get your head in the game and you can as well remind yourself of these rules to rid yourself of all and any trace of the Freebie Trap.
1. Life is not a lottery.
Stop living day-in and day-out thinking one day you will guess the perfect numbers to secure you a jackpot win in life while you are busy doing nothing but daydreaming. If life was that simple, we would all be millionaires by now. Don’t wait for life to hand you handouts or dream about the future you think you deserve while doing nothing about achieving it. In essence, you will be doing yourself a big disfavour if you continue to treat this precious life of yours like a lottery ticket – always hoping that the next time around, you will have all the right numbers to make you a winner in life. You wake up one day only to ask yourself ‘what the hell have I been doing with my life’. Don’t wait until then, but do all you have to do today, to secure your tomorrow and the life you have always dreamed of.
2. Luck does not bring success.
Hard work, when it meets with opportunity brings success. Show me someone who is successful or has achieved a great feat in life and I am sure if you get a sit-down with them, they will tell you about the many hours, days and night that they persisted on a given cause until the day opportunity came calling. Now the days of preparation, working hard, clocking longer hours than necessary, honing your skills and nurturing your dreams or careers represents the days and nights that investments are being made until such a time when the market becomes bullish (opportunity). When investing (working on your craft, building your business e.t.c), you are consciously or unconsciously setting yourself up for success. When you eventually become successful, you owe it to yourself (and those who will be inspired by your achievements) not to discount or down play your success as luck because luck did not bring the success, preparation for the right opportunity did.
3. Stop playing the victim card.
You are not as helpless as you think. So you had a terrible experience that rocked your world to its very foundation – a heart break, a disappointment, abuse, exploitation, a failed business or you got scammed by the very person you thought was your friend, mentor or business partner or even family. Yes, we all go through this at some point and I know some have it worse than others. But the fact remains that one needs to keep going, keep showing up, keep trusting and keep hoping that the future holds better promises. In order not to fall into the trap (consciously or unconsciously) of playing the victim card, you need to look beyond whatever happened in the past, forgive yourself and your villain and make a conscious decision not to be victimised or held down by the pain and struggles of the past. Instead, turn your pain to war scars, wear the scars with your head high and let it be a daily reminder that you are a Survivor. Turn the painful memories into stories that heal, inspire and motivate people going through similar or worst situations. And as I a mentor would say, ‘every great story has a great conflict that has been overcome’. Hope you remember this next time when tempted to play the victim card.
4. Refuse to be schooled by your circumstances.
Refusing to be schooled by ones circumstances is one trap that one can easily get sucked into. It is when you blame the circumstance of your birth – family, neighbourhood, country or even a condition you were born with. It always starts with ‘my life would have been better than this if only …’ But every now and then, I read a story of a boy, a girl, a woman or a man who, like a phoenix, rose from the shackles of poverty, family breakdown, health challenges and even disability to becoming successful in life. I’m daily learning that life and whatever you make of it are all tied into our choices. What we choose we become. While some blame circumstances, others use their circumstances as a motivational capsule to achieve their goals. I am persuaded that you can bend circumstances in your own favour. . Bad circumstances or luck (as some call it) has never really decided the outcome of life. Even the most successful person has had his or her share of bad circumstances/luck. in essence, choose not to be defined by your circumstances.
5. You are not entitled to anything by association.
You work hard to get ahead. If your friend, colleague, neighbour or even a family member lands a dream job, a million dollar contract or the opportunity of a life time, trust me, it is theirs and theirs alone to reap the rewards. Not You! I repeat, Not You! Your friend, brother, sister or cousin’s success is not your success. Hence, you should never feel entitled to the reward of someone else’s fortune. Also, the fact that you know or are related to them (either by association or blood) does not automatically make you a shareholder or heir to their fortune. Even if they are your parents, they choose to leave their fortune as a choice. Remember, they could choose to give it to charity or someone else and still be within their rights because they have the prerogative to do so. Instead of falling into the entitlement trap, save yourself the heartbreak and disappointment that accompanies such wishful thinking by letting other people’s fortunes and success inspire you to work harder/smarter, seize your own opportunity and become successful within your own right. I personally feel that this is way cooler than getting oneself mixed-up in the entitlement drama.
Let me know if you have any rules you live by yourself.