3 Common Beliefs About Reaching Success That Just Aren't True

We all want to be successful. It’s that promise of finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel that inspires us to keep hustling—even when the going gets tough.

Yes, success is always the end goal. But, stop and ask yourself this: Do you really have a clear picture of what it is? Or, are you only operating with what you’ve been told?

Are you falling into the trap of believing common myths about success?

If so, it’s time for a friendly wake-up call. Here are three things you’ve likely heard time and time again. But, remember, just because they’re oft-repeated, doesn’t mean they’re true.

1. Success Makes Your Life Perfect

Once you finally reach that big milestone—whether it’s a certain salary, a specific position, or a particular accomplishment—you’re convinced that the rest of the pieces of your life will fall into place. All you need is to achieve that objective, and everything will be coming up roses.

Unfortunately, this rarely holds true. Sure, maybe that level of success will mean that your career has reached an all-time high. But, if you’re counting on it to be the key to eternal happiness and a flawless life, you’ll likely only be disappointed.

Remember, your work is only a portion of your life. So, while achieving a professional goal is always rewarding, it doesn’t mean that suddenly you’ll find nothing to complain about.

Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a perfect life—regardless of how much professional success you achieve.

So, instead of waiting for that major milestone to create the life you want, focus on your happiness now. Leave adequate time for the things you enjoy and celebrate all of your wins—even the small ones.

Related: On Mediocrity, Excellence, and Perfection

2. All it Takes Is Hard Work

You know that success involves rolling up your sleeves and putting in the hard work—there’s no denying that.

But, if you think that putting your nose to the grindstone is all it takes to achieve success, you’re in for a rude awakening.

It’s the stuff that can’t be predicted or planned—like a little bit of luck or being in the exact right place at the exact right time, for example—that often leads to the greatest amount of payoff.

Of course, the willingness to work hard, pay your dues, and put in the necessary elbow grease will always be important. But, unfortunately, that’s usually not all it takes to achieve what you want.

Related: The Sad (But Necessary) Secret That Only Successful People Know

3. It Looks the Same for Everyone

Perhaps success to one person looks like a high-power job with a huge salary and 80 hours spent climbing the corporate ladder each week. But, maybe it’s different for you. Perhaps your idea of being successful is being able to work on something you love for a decent living, while having enough time for the things you enjoy.

As with anything, it’s far too easy to fall into the comparison trap—we convince ourselves that we need to want what that other person has.

However, it’s important for you to realize that success is personal. It looks different for each and every one of us.

So, before you hustle to achieve that dream that you’re ultimately not that inspired by, make sure you take the time to identify what would truly make you—and not everybody else—feel fortunate and happy. Despite what you may have been conditioned to believe, success isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” sort of thing.

Related: Want to Become Successful? Avoid These 9 Toxic Personalities

There are tons of myths about success that float around the working world. But, just because something is frequently repeated doesn’t mean it holds water.

Ignore these three myths, and you’re much more likely to head down a path that will ultimately lead you to where you want to go.

This article was originally published on Inc. It has been republished here with permission

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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