The Road to Success (in Pictures)

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As Seen On:
by Joel Ohman in Business, Entrepreneurship, Life
The Road to Success

This will not be a post full of Road to Success quotes, because I’ve got something even better: pictures!

Imagine that wherever you are, right now, you are inside of a circle that defines your current circumstances and situation. And it’s not necessarily a bad circle. Possibly, hopefully not even a horrible circle, but all the same, it’s a circle.

And circles are confining.

You don’t want to be in the circle any more because you know, you just absolutely know, that success is outside of the circle.

There are a lot of different things that you could do or accomplish or become that would constitute success for you. If you could just reach any one of them, then it would be a success. Mission complete. You just need to get out of the circle.

In fact, you’ve long felt a calling to get outside the circle. Maybe your circle has been keeping you from living a life of faith, taking the risks that a life of faith necessarily entails, and you’ve found yourself cocooning yourself in your comfy, cozy circle and not becoming who you know you have been created to be.

So you start by envisioning all of the possible routes you could take.

A dizzying array of choices, really. It’s no wonder you’ve stayed in your (sometimes pretty comfy, honestly) circle for so long. You could become a Doctor or an attorney or an entrepreneur, you could write that book you’ve wanted to write, or you could finally take a risk and do that thing—you know, the thing you’re thinking of right now? The one that popped into your mind unbidden when you read things like this?

You know.

So, you plot your course.

This is how you think things will go…

A straight shot! Everything goes according to plan! SUCCESS!

Well, sometimes it goes that way.


The hard part is that the road to success is usually a long, hard journey. It takes a lot of time. A lot of missteps. A lot of learning from failures along the way. But the important part is that you stick to the course you’ve charted.

Easier said than done.

Because with so many different definitions of success outside of the circle, the easy thing to do when you encounter your first setback or difficulty along the way, is to change direction and choose a new definition of success. It’s not to say that any of those competing definition of success are good or bad, per se, but one thing is absolutely, immutably certain: You can’t have them all. 

You have to pick one, sometimes two, rarely a few, but never, ever try to have them all, or you’ll get none.

You’ll be traveling a long time, covering a great distance on the road, but after a while, it will seem like you are going in circles, because you are.

You can have a rich, multivarious life full of vastly different types of experiences, skillsets, and experiences—and, in fact, it’s a good thing to have a broad set of interests and skillsets (recommended reading: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)—but you can’t have it all, and all at once. You must chart a course and stick to the course. If you graduate pre-law then go back to school for pre-med, and then find yourself contemplating a career in civil engineering, then you are officially going in circles.

Here’s the thing. It’s true that the road to success is not a straight line. There are winding loops and switchbacks and even blind curves, but your road to success is not going to start out east then take you west then south then north for extended periods of time. If your course is east, go east and stay east. Don’t get distracted by others on their road to success, even if they are heading west and that path just looks so much more shiny and promising (it’s not).

Your road to success will look something like this:

And, if you really want to be prepared, you should know that breaking through the circle is often the most difficult part. Being so close to success? That’s when it’s most tempting to give up on your course and head in a new direction, to stay in your comfortable circle. But if you keep trying, not new directions, but new angles, then you will break through.

Okay, I lied. Here’s one quote about the road to success.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” – Proverbs 24:10

So, on your road to success, chart your course, stay the path, and don’t give up.

But what is true success? Is all success outside the circle equal? Well, that’s a post for another day, but consider this:

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36

Just remember, you don’t have to stay in the circle.

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