True Success is About Overcoming Adversity

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A lot of people think that success is an event. One magical, transformational event.

She or he was an overnight success.

We’ve all read crap like that in the media over and over again. For budding entrepreneurs out there, the expectation that you can become an overnight success, plays havoc with their psyche when that expectation is not met.

It’s emotionally and psychologically hard to succeed in business or your career. You have to overcome so many obstacles, hurdles, pitfalls and mistakes in the beginning. It’s no wonder that, according to the Small Business Association, 50% of new businesses fail in their first year.

When the pursuit of success fails to pay off immediately, many simply fold up their tents and quit. Most quit because they bought into the notion that overnight success is possible and so, they are not prepared when adversity comes along, stopping them in their tracks.

In reality, success is not a linear climb. It’s more like monkey bars. Sometimes you are forced to move downwards, or sideways before moving upwards. Those downwards and sideways adjustments are frustrating and test your mettle. They drag you down emotionally. They cause you to lose confidence and money.

But, with persistence as your partner, you will eventually overcome those obstacles, pitfalls and mistakes and find yourself moving forward and up.

You figure things out.

Every time you figure out what to do and what not to do, you grow. Every time you are forced back on your heels, yet somehow survive, you become better.

As you face and overcome adversity, you gain confidence in yourself. And the more adversity you overcome, the more confident you become, which empowers you to overcome new obstacles, pitfalls and mistakes.

When you do eventually succeed, it’s not some magical, singular event. It’s the culmination of many small successes in overcoming adversity. At the end of your journey, when you are standing at the top of the monkey bars looking down, you are a very different person than the person who started the climb. All of the negatives about you that existed prior to your climb, get washed away, like one giant eraser. You find yourself more confident, less insecure, mentally stronger, and forever grateful that you reached for that one monkey bar to begin your climb.



  1. Frank on January 7, 2022 at 7:21 AM

    Another great article Tom.
    So true.