Suffering isn’t necessary for success

To be physically attractive to others, you need to hit the gym.

To build a successful business, you gotta hustle.

To get a meaningful job, you have to sit through years of graduate studies.

No doubt you’ve heard this sort of advice many times before. The good news is that it’s just not true.

You can be successful by a) doing things you want to do and b) avoiding things you don’t want to do. 

That’s not to say that hitting the gym, hustling, or getting your PhD is a bad idea. But if you choose to do those things, make sure it’s because you enjoy these things, and not because you want what comes after.

For example, I write every day because I want to. That doesn’t mean I always feel like writing in the moment. In fact, I usually don’t. But I still want to in a broader sense, because I can help people through my writing. I’m writing to help people, not because I want what comes after having written.

By contrast, if you’re doing things that you never really want to do, then just stop. Success requires trade-offs, yes, but it doesn’t require you to be miserable.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is: do stuff you want to do and don’t listen to people who tell you that you’ll never find success that way.

Yours,

— Peter

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