September 07, 2015 5 min read

Setting the Record Straight on Success

Success is realizing your own full potential.  That's how you should measure success, and that's Andy Frisella's bedrock principle. In this episode of the MFCEO Project, he explains that success is a very misunderstood concept--and he sets the record straight.  Joining him in the studio are Ben Newman, Vaughn Kohler, and special guest, "Big Jim" Frisella, Andy's MFDAD.

You are the Measure of Your Own Success

Andy says that it is unwise and unfair to compare yourself to other people.  You don't know what advantages they have had in their lives.  You don't know what unique gifts they possess.  And you don't know how long they've been working on your goals.  It is not about how much other people have accomplished.  It is about what you can accomplish.  You are the measure of your own success.  In addition, success is not ultimately about money or cars or the wealthy lifestyle.  The true measure of success is realizing your own full potential.

Success is always present tense

Andy says this:  "I think people think that that once they get rich or famous or build a business, they are successful. That’s not true.   They WERE successful. But they currently ARE NOT successful.   Success is a noun that only has a present tense – at least that’s what it has to have for it to be successful. You used to be successful? You will be successful? Bullshit. The only thing that matters is the present tense. Are you successful today? If you worked hard, if you realized your potential TODAY, you are successful. Imagine telling your wife or girlfriend, “yeah, I used to be a great husband. Um yeah, who the fuck cares?” Or “I will be a great spouse in the future.” So what? You act today. You are a successful spouse. Period.   Sure, past success can build up a little equity and goodwill, and the momentum is helpful. But in the end, if it’s all in the past, it doesn’t mean shit. Don’t even get me started on the future.  Let me say it again: Success is not a one-time accomplishment. It is an ongoing process. It never stops. It’s not static. It’s dynamic. It’s always a forward motion. The moment you stop or go backward, you’re not successful anymore." The idea that success is a journey and not a destination is the truth.

Success is Cumulative            

 Andy says "Success is cumulative.  You can be successful today—if today you are doing everything you can to maximize your potential. But that’s not to say that increasing your levels of success doesn’t take time. It does. For you to be the best you can possibly be, you’ve got to put in the work, day in and day out. There are too many people in the world who are ADHD about their work and goals. If they continue to jump from one thing to the next, they won’t be successful. But the guys I’ve met who are just killing it in life found a way to focus on a goal, a path, a dream—and then consistently get on it. The people who are successful stick with a plan—for the long haul. If you think of success this way—as something that is already, but not yet, as something you can claim now but still have to pursue—you’ll find there are two huge benefits. First, you can be happy right now, knowing that today you worked to maximize your potential. You can feel good about yourself because—at this moment—you are successful. And that encouragement will keep you going. Second, by also thinking about it as something you haven’t yet attained, you can motivate yourself. You can give yourself a purpose to pursue, a goal to seek. And that will keep you humble and hungry. That will help you always keep yourself open to learning, getting better, improving, and keep your taste for winning sharp and alive."

Success requires honesty

Andy says this:  "Most people will tell you they are “doing their best" (usually in a nasally whiny tone) but 99% of the time it just isn’t true. Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you are putting in a Herculean effort when you’re really just doing things half-ass. Don’t let yourself off the hook by cutting corners. Get up every morning, look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m going to give this day everything in me.” Then before you go to sleep, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Did I do my best?” If the honest, no bullshit, from the heart answer is “yes,” then you were successful—and I have no doubt things will work out for you.  If you’re answer is anything else, like a “uh, kinda” or “maybe” or “sorta” or “no,” then don’t get pissed off when life doesn’t go the way you want. And don’t get envious or sad comparing yourself to other people, because ultimately it doesn’t matter if you fell short of their standards. What matters is that you fell short of your own.  Bottom line: You’re the only one who knows—in your heart of hearts—if you are really giving it all you have. You are the only one who knows what you’re capable of—and the only one who can evaluate your effort relative to your own standard. So don’t lie to yourself. Don’t give yourself a halfass effort. Do everything you can to live up to your won potential. And you’ll be a winner. You’ll be successful."

Your Peer Group Largely Determines Your Success

Andy has said it before and he will say it again:  "while you are ultimately responsible for your own success, your chances of success are profoundly affected by your peer group. In other words, who you hang out with will influence what you accomplish. Let me ask you a simple question: If you’re an alcoholic seeking to stay sober, which group should you hang out with: A bunch of teetotaling senior citizens or party-crazy college kids? Obviously, the old people You’d be an idiot to hang out with the sorority or frat kids because their actions and attitudes are going to transfer to you. No doubt about it. In the same way, if you want to be successful, if you want to maximize your own potential, you need to surround yourself with other people who want to do the same thing. You can’t expect to hang around with lazy, half-ass people who do nothing but get drunk and watch television and expect to over-achieve. It’s not going to happen. So go find yourself other people who have a desire to better themselves. And together you’ll kill it. I guarantee it. I’ve learned from experience that the most successful people hang around other successful people. They feed off each other. It’s cliché, but true. “Birds of a feather flock together.” Fuck yeah!"


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