Success Is Not For You
Participation trophies aside, we live in a world where success feels impossible. Few have it. Most don’t. Why?
In Life Lessons from an iPad, Flip Flops, and Two Giant Dogs, I spoke openly about my experience with Junior in the ring. Now, many months later, I’ve stepped back to consider why we weren’t more successful.
For what it is worth, here is what I know to be true…
Success is not for you if you are looking for a quick fix, immediate gratification, or an easy out.
We all know “nothing worth having comes easy,” but most reject that phrase with a “that was then, this is now” attitude.
We don’t have to hunt our food down anymore, we have Instacart!
Let’s face it.
Technology affords us the luxury of immediacy, but at a cost.
We have become incapable of waiting, seeing a job through to its completion, and stopping for two seconds to empower our own God-given brain.
In a house with few screens, my children will sometimes come to me and ask, “I don’t know the answer to this homework problem, can I look it up?”
Ignoring the obvious insult to my own intelligence, I ask them a few clarifying questions first, giving them time and space to stimulate brain cells atrophied by inaction.
And what do you know… 99% of the time, they know the answer! They knew it all along. But they were impatient.
They wanted the magic SIRI fairy to save them from the devastation of a wrong answer. Of not being good enough. Of having to try.
Here’s my question:
If patience is a gift from God, whom can we thank for impatience?
Immediate gratification, easy outs, and quick fixes are nothing more than avoidance of failure. Bandaids protecting you from embarrassment, falling down, and the sweat of the unknown.
Success comes out of the journey, not the outcome. It’s the trying, the thinking, the problem-solving that determines your success. Not in whether you reach your destination.
And successful people know this.
Their businesses started in the garage where innovation is messy and uncertain.Immediate gratification, easy outs, and quick fixes are nothing more than avoidance of failure. Bandaids protecting you from embarrassment, falling down, and the sweat of the unknown.
Success is not for you if you believe others are more capable, better educated, or more worthy.
Success comes to those who want it.
Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
I recently told someone about my passion for helping dog owners learn how to trim their dog’s nails without force or frustration. As soon as I said “dog nails,” she exclaimed, “Oh, I could never do that! I take my dog to a groomer.”
While this may seem like a trivial example, perhaps even one where you find yourself agreeing with this woman, decisions about our own incompetence should not be made so flippantly.
Success is determined by our own determination to figure it out, ask better questions, and put in the time.
We can do hard things… when we want to.
Thomas Jefferson believed, “We are a people capable of self-government, and worthy of it.”
But this isn’t about politics. It’s about how you choose to live your life. If complacency has you declaring “oh, I could NEVER do that,” what would it look like if you believed the alternative?
What would the world look like if we rejected popular belief that men are incompetent, mindless sheep who need to be herded by self-proclaimed experts?
You do not need permission to rise to your God-given potential.
You CAN do hard things.
But that belief starts and ends with you. No one else.What if we reject the popular belief that men are incompetent, mindless sheep who need to be herded by self-proclaimed experts? You don't need permission to rise to your God-given potential. You CAN do hard things.
Success is not for those who throw their hands up in defeat when faced with a challenge.
Yes, we need experts and mentors and parents to guide us.
But in the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Toddlers learn to walk by falling down. Challenge in life is what defines us. Makes us who we are.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help when all other means of solving the problem have been exhausted.
But the phrase “I have no idea” is commonplace in a world of perpetual victims – the helpless seeking easy street off the backs of the doers struggle.
Some problems do require expert guidance. Most don’t.The phrase “I have no idea” is commonplace in a world of perpetual victims - the helpless seeking easy street off the backs of the doers struggle. Some problems do require expert guidance. Most don’t.
Success is not for those seeking answers, approval, or acknowledgment from a screen.
As my 9-year-old son so wisely explains, “SIRI doesn’t know anything… she just looks it up on the internet.”
Even he knows that artificial intelligence is just that… artificial. SIRI is not your friend.
And yet, for the dopamine hit of a “like,” we trade our independence, our relationships, and our self-worth.
We ignore that which is staring us in the face – a generation of children seeking refuge in a screen while the adults in their lives model the way.
Sad to me are the parents who readily acknowledge the risk to their own children’s future while sanctioning their downfall.
They throw their hands up in the air with excuses like “my kids need a way to get a hold of me in an emergency,” “I don’t want my kid to feel left out,” and “it keeps them busy while I work.”
Here is the cold-hearted truth for all of us.
These are lies. Excuses of the lazy.
The helplessness of a victim content to replace freedom and independence with a screen.
On the topic of screens, I stand on principle, even if I stand alone.
And lastly,We ignore that which is staring us in the face - a generation of children seeking refuge in a screen while the adults in their lives model the way.
Success is not for the entitled.
When I walked into the ring with Junior, I felt entitled.
I believed I had the best dog in the ring and no matter how bad of a handler I was, or who else was in the ring, I felt I should win.
But what the king of the Reserve Winners Dog taught me was that my sense of entitlement was the cause of my failure.
This is my truth.
There was a limit to how hard I worked. How much time I invested. And how much heart I put on the line.
I was lazy. I played the victim.
I behaved helpless and hopeless while simultaneously believing I deserved the blue ribbon without earning it.
And all the while I stood in judgment of the winners, making excuses for my failure.
Here’s the point.
If you are not willing to go all in. To put your muscles, your mind and your heart on the line.
To persevere up the hill without the crutch of SIRI, daddy government, or a guarantee on the other side.
You should not win – in a dog show or in life.
And it doesn’t always come. I believe Plush is the best! But he isn’t always no matter how hard we try. And that’s ok, to me he’s perfection. And as long as trying doesn’t build a wall between us instead of bringing us together then we shall continue on.
Totally agree technology makes things seem too easy.
Thank you so much, Emilia! Time in the ring is tough. I think we very naturally go in believing that our animal is the best and find it shocking when others clearly disagree. But, I have learned that so much of what I experienced in the ring was due to me, not Junior. And you are right – if for one second I thought Junior was unhappy out there or my desire to win was somehow bad for him, I would have quit. He loved it out there so at least I can say it was fun for him. That time really created a bomb-proof giant that I would not have without that experience.
Boy Stephanie, you can read my mind. This was brilliant.
I also enjoyed your article about Junior and you in the show ring.
Aw, haha! Thank you so much, Joy!