Nothing truly worthwhile is easy, and most of us accept that. Yet, despite this knowledge, I have come to learn that we are quite terrible at understanding what success really is.  

Whenever we do a difficult task, we know that it won’t be plain sailing and we even anticipate that there will be mistakes along the way. However, most of us think success is the same as flawlessness and that every time we fail, we are somehow less successful. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is only through learning from our failures and striving to improve on them that we can be truly successful.  

So, the real thing that distinguishes successful people is that they anticipate bumps in the road and that they see these challenges as learning opportunities, rather than critical failures. We can all learn from them!  

Being successful, particularly by learning from other successful people, is my passion.

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By observing successful people and the way they deal with challenges and failures, I noticed the following things that distinguish them from other people:  

  1. It is not wrong to anticipate failure 

Successful people are different because they usually only accept tasks with a high degree of difficulty, as this is the only way to improve themselves. Because of this, they fully anticipate difficulty and even failure along the way to success. Studies have shown that people who plan for obstacles are much more likely to stick to a project until the end than those who don’t, and who are very disappointed when they first encounter an unplanned challenge.  

2. Challenges are not excuses 

We all know that we sometimes give up and say, “Well, I did what I could”. And to be fair, we often know that we are not being completely honest. The supermarket is closed, so immediately use that as an excuse to eat some junk food, for instance, knowing full well that the market just a little bit further away is indeed open. By anticipating challenges and not accepting them as a reason to give up, we make ourselves more resilient and successful.  

3. Your faults do not define you 

Well, successful people sometimes do think that their faults define them, but not in a bad way. Their faults define them as someone who is willing to take a great risk for a great reward. No wonder Theodore Roosevelt defined a successful person as someone “Who, at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Who can argue with that! 

Don’t get me wrong, none of us have perfectly thick skins. And sometimes, when we fall short, it really hurts. But knowing what the bigger picture his arms us with the perspective to overcome short-term pain for long-term gain.