We are designed to succeed. It’s as simple as that.
When we do not succeed, that is unnatural and that is where the discomfort comes from. You’re probably rolling your eyes, thinking “well, obviously – so what?”. The thing is, many people actually do not know this. They allow themselves to believe that some people succeed and some fail and that this is normal or how things work. But it isn’t, at all.
A good friend of mine recently shared a story in a talk at church. He told the congregation about his little boy. He told us how his son, Lizo (3) will wake up in the morning with one goal for the day – to have fun. From the moment he wakes up, he knows that is what he wants, and he does what he needs in order to achieve the goal. For the most part, he has all the tools available to him, so he has a high success rate. What he also has is a lack of negative influence from the world, which over time will tell him reasons he can’t have fun today, why he will fail some days and why he isn’t good enough on other days. And slowly he falls into the mindset that most of us are in right now.
This is the mindset where we get up in the morning knowing what we look forward to achieving on the day and immediately think of all the things that will stand in our way. These might be actual obstacles, meetings, lack of time, money and so forth. All real issues that all of us face. But the biggest challenge we will face in the pursuit of our goals (and dreams) is the voice inside of us. The one that is trained by society, friends and family over time. The one that tells you about self-doubt, tells you that you’re an imposter, gives you reasons not to do things, tells you to always hold back, be cautious and most importantly to worry about what everyone else thinks and will say about you. The voice that says “I told you so” when you fail.
I recently heard a talk at an LDS General Conference where Reyna Aburto used an analogy about Monarch butterflies and how they migrate from Mexico to southern Canada. That tiny creature flies from Mexico to Canada! As small and frail as that butterfly is, with the odds of nature telling us that it shouldn’t survive a trip like that, it does. It is designed to succeed, and it makes good on that. And yes, some butterflies don’t make it. But I can bet my bottom dollar on it that the other butterflies don’t judge it, don’t tell one another about the failure and definitely don’t use that as an excuse to not try themselves. Like Lizo, they set out and go for what they want. Why? Each one knows with a surety that it is designed to succeed and is not concerning itself with reasons why not. It would be contrary to nature’s design for those butterflies to fail. Now, please list for yourself 5 things on this earth that are designed to fail. Trees? The ocean? The seasons? The sun? Your house? Your business? You? Nothing is designed with the goal to fail.
So, I said earlier that some people succeed and some fail and that people think this is normal. Does this contradict what I am saying when I talk about being designed to succeed? No. We will fail, sometimes. Not all the time. Not permanently. Failure is temporary. In fact, it often contributes to our growth and future success. In the book Tribe of Mentors, author Tim Ferriss asks each interviewee what their favourite failure was and how it led to future success. Failure was not the end of the line for any of them, it was temporary.
What I want you take away from this is the knowledge – the certainty – that you were designed to succeed. The voice that says “I told you so” when you do face challenges, when you do fail temporarily, needs to change and tell you that you were designed to succeed. It needs to remind you about the longer term, about the bigger picture, about what matters in 2 weeks, 5 years, 15 years from now. Not what just went wrong in the moment, yesterday, 2 years ago. If you are in Mexico now (metaphorically), and like that butterfly you need to get to wherever or whatever your ‘Canada’ is, understand this – you were designed to get there. Start your day like Lizo tomorrow – with the goal to have fun or at least have fun in pursuit of your goal. Enjoy the journey
“Like the Monarch Butterfly, let us continue on our journey together in purpose. Each of us with our own attributes and contributions, working to make this a more beautiful and fruitful world, one small step at a time” – Reyne I. Aburto