What Are You Willing To Do To Be Successful?


I see majesty, power, wisdom, pride and opportunity.

The rules of the blog demand the kind of honesty that is uncomfortable because the focus is inwards. It is an unflinching look inside at what has prevented us from being as successful as we want to be.

It is a spotlight shining on the good, the bad and the ugly. It is where you see the parts of you that have aged well and those that have…not.

But before we can go there, before we can get there we have to take a moment to ask, “What sort of success are we talking about?” That is because without asking the question there is no possible way to answer it intelligently.

And the answer in this particular case is multifaceted. It is both personal and professional.

“if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”
― Stephen King, On Writing

Jack The Author

Jack is a professional writer who has written for multiple publications on a variety of topics blah, blah, blah. That is all true.

I earn my living as a writer and I enjoy it but the truth is I am not doing the kind of writing I dream of doing…professionally speaking that is.  I enjoy my job and I enjoy a lot of the writing I do there but the dream is to become an author of fiction who makes his living writing stories.

That is what I really want. I want to be able to just let the words flow from my fingertips and have millions of people pay real money to read my words. Not because my ego needs the adulation but because my wallet does.

I want to make enough to live that luxury life we see on television and in movies.

Do The Work

The next question/comment I have is to ask myself if I am doing the work it takes to turn my dream from fantasy into reality. The answer is…kind of.

I have a checklist I can run down that I feel very good about because I have turned water into wine.  I have carried the world upon my shoulders and convinced Atlas to take it back.

Personally and professionally I have done things that I am quite proud of. I can look my children in the eye and tell them that when life got to be exceptionally difficult I found a way to get through.

I fought back and figured it out and we are better off and on the move upwards.

There are lots of good things going on.

But does that mean I am doing the work.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
― Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Is Right

Mary is right, if all you have known is easy, happiness and joy than there it is almost impossible to appreciate what life is like when you have to work for things. We can talk about whether it is fair to blame the rich who were born into money and wealth but from an outside perspective life seems a bit easier.

When you have a billion dollars behind you it is easy to start a business. It is far different when you don’t have that.

But the question of bravery doesn’t address the question of whether I have been brave in chasing my dream. It doesn’t apply any sort of metric or standard to whether I have done the work to breathe life into my unwritten books.

I can say that in the face of danger I haven’t flinched. I have looked it in the eye and stared back, but only in some areas.

Excuses, Excuses

The time has come to ask and answer if I am willing to do the work and if not, why. I have those answers but for now I am going to let them set because I think it would make a great follow up.

What about you?

Are you dreaming your life or living your dream?

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  1. bridgetstraub.com May 17, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I’m doing the work, that’s for sure! And I’m following my dream, but living it? Not yet, because like you I want the financial rewards and they aren’t here yet. Still, I have to believe that if I keep doing everything I can then the money will follow.

    • Jack May 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Bridget,

      My favorite part is that you are actively doing the work. So many people don’t even try so you are a step ahead of them. that is worth a lot.

  2. Betsy Cross May 17, 2013 at 3:29 am

    The older I’ve gotten, the less brave I am. I get to the precipice and doubt. And I now know why: I don’t like working or succeeding alone. I need partnership. I feed off of others’ energy; if they’re down, I pick them up, and I use their energy to pick me up when I’m down.
    I’m very much a loner, and it doesn’t really make sense. But it’s true.
    So, I’ve got it 1/2 figured out!

  3. zoe May 17, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I think I may have messed up and deleted my first response. SO I will try to reiterate it more concisely here. Sorry if this is a double. Anyhow… This was a pertinent post for me in many ways. In answer to the first question of “what is success?” Its really changed and become more of a personal and less of a physical/career type answer for me. I find myself reaching end stage of a very long disease process and feel as though I have spent too much time on survival and not enough actually living. It happens from the moment they say “incurable” to you. But I suspect the question of am I doing what it takes to be successful wouldn’t change much despite this situation. In answer, I am trying as fast as I can ( which may in itself be blurring my vision) to figure out something to look forward to and what would make this time feel successful. Beyond the typical dying repetoire…I got that down pat…connecting with people etc. I need to find something that feels worthwhile and meaningful. I guess we remain a work in progress until we can just no longer work, which I suspect is our last and final moment.

    • Jack May 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Zoe,

      It sounds like you have spent real time thinking about this. I think that is great and important. Time, life and experiences change us so it makes sense to me that some of our answers would evolve.

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