Success Does Not Equal Perfection

By most accounts I am a successful man. This concept is further cemented in people's minds when they learn that I am self-made, meaning that I did not inherit, steal, or somehow win my wealth. My story of being born into a family of drug abuse and neglect, then being adopted at a young age by an extremely physically and mentally abusive family, and my bouts with homelessness have been well chronicled, as have my successes that enabled me to rise through the business world. I am very grateful that sharing my story in print, on television, and through speaking engagements has given people inspiration and, more importantly, hope. But sometimes I wonder if this acclaim in some way hinders me in fulfilling what I believe is my life's main purpose: helping people fulfill their goals, dreams, desires, and the grandest vison of themselves.

Let me explain. The narrative that I overcame overwhelming odds to not only survive but thrive, and then went on to achieve recognition, is true and may be uplifting. But it gives people who only hear and read about this facet of my life the illusion that I may be extraordinary in some way. Maybe I have a Buddhist-like discipline. Maybe, even though I did not graduate high school --let alone college -- I am a secret genius. Maybe I have an uncanny ability to spot trends months or years in advance and take advantage of them. I can assure you that none of these things are true.

Here is what is true: I am deeply flawed. Some days I am impatient and occasionally snap at people; I have a great deal of self-doubt and second guess myself often; I have been known to forget my loved one's birthdays; I eat too much read meat and indulge to often in pie and pastries (and consequentially I am 40 pounds heavier than my ideal weight); I procrastinate more often than I care to admit; the list goes on and on. But I will quit right there, because I do care about what other people think of me and I do not want to appear too self- deprecating.

I tell you these truths and leave myself vulnerable so you understand that success does not in any way equal perfection. You will never achieve perfection. Never! But the good news is you can be successful beyond your wildest dreams despite not being a genius, gorgeous, prophetic, or ultra-disciplined.

If you or I were fortunate enough to spend a week, or even just a few days, with Mark Cuban, the well-known investor, businessman, and media personality, you would likely learn that although he may indeed live up to his moniker of "America's coolest billionaire," he could occasionally be unfocused, dismissive, even arrogant. In other words, human. The same could be said for Warren Buffet, the Sage of Omaha, or Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of all media

The point is this: You are enough at this very moment. I have had successes in my life and will continue to work toward my goals and life's purpose despite my weaknesses and flaws. You can do the same. Strive to get better and immediately start working toward fulfilling your goals, dreams, and desires. But do not struggle for perfection or wait until you are somehow perfect. There will never be a better time than right now.