Busting success myths: #1 Born this way?

Sharron Lowe, author of The Mind Makeover, helps you overcome the success myths that are holding you back. First up; the myth that success and happiness are dictated by our genes or our environment…


Busting success myths: #1 Born this way?

Many of us carry around the weight of success myths day in and day out. We unconsciously carry them through our lives like a heavy weight on our back that pulls us down, stopping us from moving forward and achieving our goals. Sound familiar? Sharron Lowe, author of The Mind Makeover: The Answers to Becoming the Best You Yet (Piatkus, £13.99), busts the top success myths in this three-part series.

Myth 1: Some people are just born successful

Being a happy, successful and fulfilled person is not a gene passed on to one baby at birth and not to another. There isn’t a fairy godmother flying above the cots in maternity wards sprinkling fairy dust and success glitter over some babies and not over others. And you certainly aren’t placed in the delivery ward with a ‘This is your life’ tag on your toe saying one of the following:

• You’ll have a happy life

• You’ll be miserable and a moaner

• You’ll have an average life

• Oh dear, you’ll go through life blaming everyone else for all the things you haven’t done or achieved, or

• Oh lucky you, you will have a phenomenal life

Happiness, success and fulfillment are states and emotions that we create and control. Your destiny is just that – your destiny. It’s in your hands and you are in charge of the controls. You are born positive, powerful and full of imagination and potential. Who you become is dependent upon:

• What you think about and focus on

• How you perceive and interpret what happens to you and what things mean to you

• What you do about it – the decisions and actions you take

So understand right now that creating and living the life you want isn’t dependent on a family gene or your circumstances. Life doesn’t work like that and it’s a myth and cop-out to think it does.

It is true that we are each born into different environments, and some people are dealt a better deck of cards and more advantages at the start of their life than others. We all receive varying levels of love, education, financial and family support. Yet each person also has the potential to create the life they want. We all know stories of people who have demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity and soar to achieve the life they want. These are individuals who break through the boundaries and social disadvantages that have held others back.

How does this happen to one person in a less advantaged environment and not to others who find themselves in a similar situation? The answer is that successful people:

• make better decisions about what to focus on, think about and believe is possible

• commit to ambitious activity and take positive, massive action

• are proactive and not reactive to their environment and circumstances

The last point is a very important one. Such people interpret situations simply as experiences and do not judge them to be either good or bad. Positive experiences are to be embraced and repeated or learnt from and viewed as opportunities for personal growth. Negative experiences are not viewed as such: they are challenges to overcome and solve, not obstacles that stop them getting where they want to get to in their life. They do not allow them to dilute their life or put a stop to their dreams.

Bear in mind that there are also many examples of people born into tremendous privilege – wealth, the best education and family love and support – who squander their advantages.

Think about the following statement:

‘How we all live our lives is determined not so much by what life brings to us as by the attitude we bring to life; and not so much by what happens to us as by the way our minds look at and interpret what’s happened.’

Adapted from Sharron Lowe, author of The Mind Makeover: The Answers to Becoming the Best You Yet (Piatkus, £13.99).