It’s all a lie, but guess what? — Truths about success, fear, and life

Last week I had a realization... we’ve all been lied to about success, fear, and “figuring it out”. I am 20 years old, in my third year of university, and last week I felt like I had to figure out my life. Surprise! I didn’t end up figuring out my life… but I did go through a process of learning the truth about success, fear, and life in general. 

Based on my week-long journey of untangling these truths, I learned some life-changing lessons from my parents and mentors. 

I hope that what I’ve learned can help you. Here is the truth about life, success, and fear.   

  1. 1. Nobody knows what they’re doing

    You are not the only one; nobody knows what they’re doing. All last week I was trying to figure out one thing: “What should I, Efuaye Abu, do with my life after university?” 

    I was on a rollercoaster! I read, observed, and listened to the lives of other students, professionals, and entrepreneurs. However, instead of extracting value from their stories, I tried to craft a roadmap for my life by using their paths. 

    Another surprise! It didn’t work. 

    Everyone’s path is different. If you are doing some random combination of the things you love to do, it will somehow work out for you. 

    Of course I believe in setting goals and having a plan, but you should never set goals based on someone's else’s goals because the path set out for you is different. You have different dreams. You are your own amazing.  Embrace your talents, dreams, and the unknown, and walk in your own path. Do what keeps you striving. 

    Luvvie Ajayi, a NYT bestselling author and amazing speaker, says it perfectly, “I firmly believe in the power of dreams, because the world is basically one giant realization of people's collective dreams come true. We need to dream to aspire to do something that keeps us striving. But those dreams and ideas and wants mean nothing without execution, which doesn't usually happen without a plan.”

  2. 2. You define your own success

    I was scrolling through Pinterest and stumbled upon this graphic that said, “Success ~ Insert your own definition here.” This changed everything for me. 

    Taking control of your success is easier said than done.

    (H3) How to Define Your Own Success

    1. Visualize what you want to achieve based on your “why”

    -For example, I aim to help X number of people. It’s okay for this change to depend on what season of life you are in.

    -Figure out what success looks like for you. 

    2. Stop caring about what other people think

    -Do not let others control your dreams; it’s your life.

    3. Take the first step and make it happen! 

    The former co-president of Disney says it simply, “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live.”

  3. 3. Procrastination isn’t the end of the world

    You can’t be productive all the time. I always go back to this one reminder from my mom, which is, “Don’t stress; just try to do better than you did yesterday.” 

    We spend so much time complaining about procrastination and how long our to-do list is, but when you shift your focus to just trying to do better tomorrow, you’ll actually see that you accomplish more.

    This leads me into my next point: it’s not all hard work — you also have to have faith and belief. 

  4. 4. Believe in yourself more

    You have to believe in yourself! After trying to figure out my entire future in one week, I realized that my belief was low, not only in myself, but in my possibilities. 

    My dad hits the nail on the head when he says, “There’s magic in believing! You have to decide to believe before you can attract. Nobody else can believe for you more than you.”

    Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker & entrepreneur, outlines it perfectly, “You’ve got to believe in the possibilities. You’ve got to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. And here’s the big one: believe in yourself.” 

    Now that we believe, what about fear? 

  5. 5. A lot of your fears don’t belong to you

    Fear is a part of life, but when fear stops you from doing what you want, then that's when it becomes dangerous. 

    I was listening to Luvvie Ajayi on one of her IGTVs, and what she said transformed how I view fear. She said, “A lot of your fears don’t belong to you. Most of our fears are other people’s fears. Pass courage to others, not fear.” 

    When you come face-to-face with fear in any situation, intentionally think about where the fear is coming from and don’t let it stop you from doing what you were destined to do. 

    Find people who pass on courage to you, not fear. Strive to be fearless, not by removing fear, but by mastering it. What you do with fear is what matters.  

    Fear is what stops us from jumping into the unknown, which is where our true purpose and success lies.